I woke up this morning to cool air and rain. It was 80 yesterday and still felt like sweaty summer but in a nice way. It stays warm in the South for so long. Watching your blogs over the years the reality of how cold most of the states are has become a living picture. Reading your posts I often think, "How can they be getting cold so soon it just got warm there?" I think about how each one of us has some kind of struggle where we are. Some of us are too cold, and some of us sweat.
Do you remember when you were young hearing old people talk about their bones? My grandparents did. They talked about old bones and rheumatism. My Grandpas hands were gnarled up and they were the hands of a gardener. He was the one who toured me through his massive gardens showing me cute surprises and asking me what I liked. I loved him. I loved those walks in the gardens. It was my first experience as a child of quiet communing. I enjoyed my time with him because he settled me, he quieted me and we walked and talked together. I suppose you could say my grandpa treated me like a person when I was a child.
This year is almost over and I am thinking of how long we have been here, almost 12 years. For twelve years I have been miserable in the long hot summers with the deluge of bugs, until this year. This year I made a conscious decision to avoid negative thinking. I haven't accomplished this but I'm working on it. I can't take credit for this but I heard somewhere, "My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I should never go there by myself." I love that. Who to take with me into the hood? I can't think of anyone better than the Holy Spirit. Murmuring is serious to God. Really when we are complaining we are in God's face about our circumstances. The current trend today is to talk about God as Daddy and all the love and grace. That is true, but God is also God, high, holy, and lifted up. In His physical presence we would be undone. The appearance of angels causes men to fall down as if dead, how much more so the God of the universe?
That helps me with being a whiner, complainer, negative thinker; when I realize that really I am letting God know in a most disrespectful way that I do not believe. You might be thinking, "How did she jump to that?" If I complain about my circumstances then I am not believing and resting in God's sovereign plan for my life. He is either all knowing and all powerful or not. He is either on His throne and I am in the palm of His hand or not. I either solidly believe He has a purpose and plan for my individual life or not.
That's why the Israelites were in so much trouble in the wilderness. They kept looking at where they were instead of who God is. They forgot about all that He had done before and complained. The consequences for that were a 40 year march instead of a 6 month trip. Do you think that maybe God takes unbelief seriously?
Each week that I teach my small ladies Bible group I grow in amazing leaps. I don't understand why God is blessing me with this. He is faithful and I am not. Each week He takes my meager portion of study, my two fish and a piece of bread and He makes a feast for all of us. Jumping in to serve has taken me to places I never thought I'd go. The Word of God is more alive to me than it's ever been and I am applying it to my life.
My mind is a hood and I don't need to go there alone. My circumstances are not important. My focus CAN be a sacrifice of praise. When is the last time you really thought about what that means? A sacrifice of praise. Sometimes we are praising God when what we really want to do is a have big bitch session. We have the choice about what we offer. The miracle happens when we offer the sacrifice.
When we enter that throne room and come into the presence of the Lord of all, and praise, something happens to us. His presence comes upon us like a soft cloud of peace and light drifting gently, enveloping and comforting, it's so soft quiet....holiness. A place to rest, a place of quiet holy prayer.
There in His presence fears vanish, problems shrink, complaints depart, we are strengthened, and hearts are mended. When we go out from there we are ready to be wherever we are. We are ready to go wherever we need to go. We can endure whatever it is, cold, heat, pain, sorrow, or stress, because we do not go alone and that is reason enough to praise.