Monday, February 23, 2015

this thing called monday



i love mondays.
said no one ever.
except for me.
because i'm a little funny that way.
i don't work outside of the home.
I am an 'old fashioned' wife;
i get up each morning and
make his breakfast, pack his lunch
and send him on his way to work
with a kiss and a smile.
and i love that.
i love that "this" is my job.





i love the weekends.
said everybody.
including me.
because it means time with hubby
and chores and church
and couple stuff.
projects to work on, maybe some playtime.
weekend get aways
even if they happen in the backyard.
gathering with friends, social time.
but...draining my battery,
even as i laugh and love and live.




but come monday
i am happy to have my house back
under my domain.
my time to recharge from the weekend
happens on mondays.
bye-bye honey,
come to me you big beautiful cup of coffee.
let's sit here awhile
there is plenty of time
to start the laundry and
wash the dishes.
i love this solo time.

come monday.




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Restored!

photo property of Robyn Burke


Do you believe God heals? 
I do. I have experienced His healing in my life. It took time, because it's a process, but I've healed. 


google images
You may already know this, but I have had surgery for torn rotator cuffs on both of my shoulders. The pain I felt when I injured them was bad enough but honestly, the recovery after surgery was worse! My right rotator had not only torn but there was an impingement in the shoulder area that needed to be fixed. This required some shaving of the bone and a pin was inserted to hold things in place. I don't even like thinking about what all took place while I was knocked out by the anesthesia! However, once I was home and the numbness wore off -- I was TOTALLY aware of just how much tweaking had gone on inside of me! And the pain pills barely took the edge off. If I so much as raised my shoulder even a fraction of a fraction pain would ripple through me. I roared like a lion, I cried like a baby. It hurt!! 


Then... a few weeks later I began physical therapy. Oh. Oh. Oh. Even while I knew that the therapy was designed to help restore healing and it was a necessary evil, that did not stop my tears from trickling down my cheeks as I laid on the therapy table and allowed the therapist to manipulate my shoulder in directions it fought against.  As the weeks went on however, and more flexibility returned to my shoulder, the pain lessened. Eventually I was able to do the exercises on my own, without need for prescription pain pills or even ibuprofen. Eventually the pain subsided until there was no more. 


When I began my adult life as a single mom, I also began a journey of seeking healing for years of abuse. Part of this was dealt with the aid of a gifted, compassionate counselor. Some was accomplished through my private journaling, some in writing letters to those who had hurt me. But the single most powerful healing took place as one by one, I brought those broken places in my heart and laid them before God. It was painful-- Oh! It was painful! For so many years I had buried the hurts deep inside of me, the only way I knew to cope and survive. Inviting Jesus in to heal those areas meant exposing them. Digging up long buried shame and resentment, excavating pits of despair-- there was nothing pretty or pain-free in any of that! 


But God was with me every step of the way. It started when He spoke to me through His word: He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul. (Psalm 23) In that verse I heard Him saying loud and clear, "Come. Come and rest here in this safe and quiet place. Give me the broken pieces- all of them-- and let me begin restoration." 




photo property of Robyn Burke 

Honestly, it was much like surgery and physical therapy! The surgery repaired the broken parts but the therapy brought healing and strength back to the damaged areas. God touched the hurts in my heart, mind and spirit, repairing the damage, and then over the next months and years, worked with me to restore life into those areas I thought were broken beyond repair. 


So much has taken place over the years since I first started that earnest journey into healing and wholeness. Sometimes I look back and shake my head in disbelief that I was once so fragile. God was-- IS-- so faithful. He spoke life back into me. It was a process, just like healing from a broken bone or a shoulder repair, but the torn up places in my spirit have been restored. 


If you have areas in your life that are in need of healing, I encourage you to take the next step to begin the process. Dr. Jesus is waiting. 



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

REWIND??

Back in 1986 I watched a fantasy/comedy movie called "Peggy Sue Got Married"  In the movie, a woman named Peggy Sue attends her 25- year high school reunion. She's recently separated from her (cheating) husband Charlie. She regrets some of the decisions she made in her life-- such as marrying Charlie. When she faints at the reunion and wakes up in 1960-- back in high school, she's suddenly given the chance to live her life again. She sets out to change things... only... some choices are more complicated... her relationship with Charlie being just one of them.

I suppose all of us at one time or another has wondered if we had the chance do our lives over again, if we wouldn't do some things differently. I know I have.  If I woke up to find myself back in high school I want to think I'd make much wiser decisions, knowing then what I know now. However, who I am today is based on the experiences I have had. So, if I had a rewind button on my life, while I might be tempted to push it  I think it would be to revisit the highlights of my life, just for the pleasure of reliving those moments...

family hikes...
camping...
the birth of my children...
the falling in love experience with my sweetie....
vacations that brought much  happiness....
meeting my grandchildren for the first time...

But perhaps the one thing I would truly love to re-experience are the mountain top highs in my relationship with Jesus. 

I've been a Christian since I was 9 years old. I was raised in the faith, having attended church my whole life and except for some teen-age rebellious years, have pretty much tried to walk the talk. It wasn't until I was in my 30's however that I realized that what I'd been calling my "Christian Life" wasn't exactly the full life that God had planned for me. I'd been living life according to Robyn, making decisions based on what I thought was best for me, not on seeking out what was God's best for me. 

The day I came face to face with this truth was the day my relationship with Jesus got real. I realized that a lot of what I had been doing was based on religion: going through the motions of bible reading, attending church, praying and signing up for lots of 'do-good' activities. When I caught a glimpse of just how much Jesus loved me and how much He wanted a real relationship with me, that's when things began to change. For the better.

Since then, it's been a process, a journey, full of ups and downs, twists and turns, but an exciting adventure with laughter, tears, sorrows and joys. And while I wouldn't trade that for anything, there are times I realize I've been coasting, sort of taking my Christian life for granted. I start getting a little lukewarm about things... the passion cools, the mind wanders, and then I find I've drifted into a dry and weary desert... again.

I really don't like when this happens. That's when I wish I  could push a rewind button and go back to the times where I felt the Holy Spirit powerfully at work within me. This last time of desert dryness I finally reached a point of such frustration that I did something either incredible brave or incredible stupid. I asked the Lord to ignite in me a Holy Passion for the things He wants me to go after.

I prayed that prayer and then sat back in fear and trepidation wondering what would happen next. It's been a few weeks since I prayed that prayer-- and I've even repeated it a time or two. It's been a slow, tender unfolding but change is happening. I feel like I am coming out of a long winter's nap and as I stretch and yawn and look around, I feel like a little branch on a tree, it's delicate shoot gently unfurling a little more each day.

God knows me so well and while in someone else's life He might bring change swift and powerfully, He knows me and He knows my circumstances. He knows at what speed I need to travel --when to go fast, when to go slow. But each day I have felt the passion re-igniting. Yes, it's slow but it's enough. And I am aware that the rewind button isn't necessary. It's a brand new movie and while occasionally I might catch a peek of the trailer, it's with my best interest in mind that God reveals things to me in just the right measure, at just the right speed, at just the right time.

Praise  God!



Friday, February 13, 2015

All You Need is Love

happy valentine's day!


spread some love around!





Monday, February 9, 2015

When No Becomes Yes


If you read my post on  Divine Appointments and then the follow up Handling Disappointments, about the whole job opportunity for my sweetie that didn't come to pass, this may be of special interest to you.

When the "divine appointment" happened, we clearly could see it was a God-orchestrated thing. And then, after the interview, when they called and said "sorry, but not at this time", we trusted there was still a lesson in all of it and we'd just roll with it.

Then, last week a couple of things happened.

First, a little out of the blue, Bruce was offered a part time-short term position with our church helping assess a maintenance position that needed to be filled. He thought that sounded rather interesting and said sure, why not.

On the heels of this, another call came in and.... yep, the job that didn't happen was now calling back asking was he still interested? (Apparently, the first person they offered the position to, didn't work out.) Short story is, he will start working full time for the building supply company in March!


(Insert insanely happy dancing and yippy-ki-yaying here)

Our take on this is that given the way the job came to his attention in the first place (with a little bit of shock) and considering the internal struggle he has wrestled with,(is this really what I want to do?)  God was just giving him more time to think on it. And to flex that ol' trust muscle a little more. The interim position with our church is also an interesting piece of the pie and I am sure the next 30 days will prove to be greatly beneficial in ways we are yet to discover.

It humbles me and scares me at the same time. One thing I am learning over and over again is that when we choose to be Christ followers, we allow God to be in control. The journey with God is best enjoyed when we let Him choose the vehicle that will transport us from one adventure to the next. The best thing I can do is get in, buckle up and let God drive. When I let God have His way with me, I experience that Peace that Passes Understanding, for which there is no comparison.

This new job for Bruce is going to be an adventure for sure. Thirty-some years ago, God led him into construction, kicking and screaming, and then he discovered how well suited he was for it. We're trusting that God's leading into a different realm of the construction world is just as big a part of God's plan for our lives as it always has been.



Friday, January 30, 2015

Imagine That!




You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, 
because he trusts in you." 
Isaiah 26.3

Having peace of mind in troubled times can often feel unobtainable. I don't know about you but when I'm worried or anxious, my imagination can run wild. I start thinking of all the things that can go wrong, and it just mushrooms from there. Peace feels like a fuzzy concept. I desperately want it but it seems just out of reach.

The bible tells me that the only way to have peace is to 'fix my mind' on God. I recently learned that the word 'mind' in the Isaiah passage does not refer to the mind as in logical, rational. problem solving but it's the word for 'imagination'. It's our imaginations that can cause us to lose our peace.  I'm learning that the only way to fix my mind on God is to grab hold of my (run away) imagination and bring it to Him.

There's a great lesson is the quote "Don't believe everything you think."  There's been a lot of "junk food" my mind has been fed over the years. Junk food like "you're worthless" or "God doesn't care about your needs." As a result, I can't be trusted to tell myself the truth all the time. It's not enough to just erase the old tapes; I need to replace those thoughts with something else.

When I let my mind have control I will copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but when I let God have control, He will transform me into a new person by changing the way I think. (Romans 12.2)

2 Corinthians 10.5 tells us to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." I have an imagination given through God's design but instead of using it for negative scenarios, why not instead imagine all the great and marvelous works my God is capable of? Instead of imaging all the bad things that can happen, I can concentrate on all of His marvelous works, provisions and His Sovereign Grace. I'm choosing today to let God shape my imagination.


Now Glory be to God, who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more that we would ever dare to ask or even dream of-infinitely beyond our highest prayer, desires, thoughts or hopes. May He be given glory forever. Ephesians 3.20-21





Monday, January 26, 2015

Grace, Strength, Hope

He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12.9

What a timeless verse! I've shared it many times here on my blog but its a passage of scripture that never loses power, never fails to stir a hope in me that surpasses whatever dark and weary emotion is weighing me down. The word 'grace' itself has several meanings. There's the grace that brings to mind a ballerina, pirouetting gently. There is grace as in being courteous. And then, the grace as in unmerited favor, offered freely, giving us eternal life. Grace is also the word I chose for this year as an area to concentrate on and grow in.
 



We all struggle with a weakness. Some physical, some internal. We are, after all, fragile 'jars of clay' as Paul puts it. I think of all the times I have struggled to find energy to do the thing that lies before me.When physical ailments challenge me the thing I need to do instantly becomes bigger. When I'm having a dark day internally, the thing I need to do can quickly get pushed to the bottom of the list. It's sometimes easier to pull the covers over my head and hide than try to forge ahead. It's on days like this that this verse saves me. Think about it. Christ is saying my weakness works to His advantage. If I am feeling strong and confident, I won't likely turn to Him. ("I can do it myself") Christ says it's when I am weak that He does His best work. It's as if being weak is the whole point!

And what about the next part of that passage?

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

God says "my grace is sufficient" but the take away for Paul was to boast about it! And not just to boast, but to also be content in it. I've said before that with chronic depression I have found ways to be thankful for it. It has made me all the more dependent on the Lord. I do feel like Paul, in that I have prayed-- and been prayed for-- that the depression would leave and I wouldn't need to take my little mood stabilizers anymore. So far it's not happened. And I'M OKAY WITH THAT. Because the power of Christ lives in me. I have learned to be content with my condition, with the gray days and the low energy. I'm okay with others judging me when they don't know the whole story. I'm okay with the difficulties that a chronic condition brings. I'm okay with it ...and I am grateful.

Because... when I am weak, then I am strong.