Posted in discipline, learning boundaries, prayer, rest, Rheumatoid Arthritis, trusting God

Margins

This past week has been really emotionally draining for me. It is one of those times where everything catches up with you. I realize that I forgot to remain in Him, and I decided somehow that I was in charge of coordinating life. No wonder I am exhausted. How do we so quickly forget?

Greg has really been struggling with the fatigue side of RA, and the doctor told him that this is the hardest part of the disease to accept. I think I have tried to make up for the strength that he has lost. I have been trying to figure out how to solve things and power up to make life run the way it is supposed to with both of us with full gun energy. My body and the Lord have told me that this is impossible. Sometimes I need tangible ways to learn these truths…and this week the tangibles are a smoking 3 month old lawnmower and a broken 6 month old carpet cleaner. The tools in which I can control things around me that look out of control (ie my lawn and muddy carpets–all from the much needed rain) are not working. I am reminded that in EVERYTHING God is in sovereign control. He is working all of these things for my good–the conformity to Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28 )

My emotional and spiritual and physical resources have been low–and for a reason. Even though it is hard, I thank Him so much that I know Him and am loved and cared for by my gracious Heavenly Father. There is no where to go but Him. It is at times like these that I do need Him to take my chin and lift my face toward Him reminding me of who He is and reminding me of His truth. This morning and this week I have been reminded that I need to make margins for health. Sometimes my page has got writing all over it–no margins. I allow myself to be pulled here and there, and I end up completely spent with not much to show for it. In forming this new ministry non-profit ( I have a name–Women’s Discipleship Concepts), caring for Greg and picking up slack at home, meeting with women and helping with camps this summer, I have to look at how to create some margins.
Please pray for me as I spend time with the Father. Pray that I remember to remain in Him. That the truth of the gospel be at all times in my heart and mind.

Posted in rest, suffering in joy, trusting God

My Shepherd

         Yesterday, I was reminded of Jesus as Shepherd through my friend and mentor, Melba.  We were talking through suffering and broken dreams and trust in Him.  I expressed how I can look back and see how God had drawn me to Himself and prepared me for this time in my past heartaches.  I had seen how He carried me in the past and drawn me into intimacy through prayer and clinging to the truth of His word.  If not for the difficulties of the past 3 years, I would not be prepared for the battle at hand now.  

        She spoke of her favorite picture of Jesus as Shepherd.  There is a beautiful and true imagery to Christ as Shepherd to us.  We all are more familiar with the 23rd Psalm and the beauty of His care for us, His provision, His love, His steadfastness.  I also learned that shepherds would sometimes break a leg or legs of the sheep to teach them if they were going astray.  The shepherd would then carry them close for the time of healing teaching intimacy and dependence upon the shepherd so they would follow.  Most of the time, the sheep would not want to leave the shepherd after that.  My heart so swelled when thinking of that because I have experienced that in Christ.  I have been broken and experienced Him carrying me and calling me to greater intimacy.  There was joy in that time.  And, as I think on that picture now, I am comforted.  He points out sin in me not for me to atone but that He has atoned.  He made the atonement and He binds up my wounds caring for me, growing me.  He is my safety, my refuge.  What wondrous love is this, o my soul.  There is no greater picture to me right now of His all sufficiency than Shepherd.  It is a beautiful way to show His character and His heart.  

          Dave Hunt wrote a song called “Search Me” that speaks to this…

Search Me, O God and know my heart.

Test me, O God and know my thoughts

See if there be any wicked way in me

Lead me the Way everlasting.

Hold me close to your heart

Never drift, Never part

Let me know you are near

In your love there’s no fear

Hold Me near, Hold me close to your heart.

      We sang this song last night at Crossroad.  It is amazing how God uses things together.  We had just talked about this scripture from Psalm 139 at Bible study about examining our hearts for sin with God, and then, I had talked about shepherd earlier in the day.  It was the marriage of these two thoughts in the song…test me, show me my sin and hold me close to bind me up.  He is amazing, friends.  He calls us to intimacy with Him…brokenness…and he carries us and gives us the strength to make us whole.  May I worship Him today in thankfulness, in awe, in trust and intimacy.

 

 

Posted in God's word, rest, trusting God

Limping along

 My life is a lot about relationships…listening, praying, counseling, teaching, checking in, studying (in order to teach).  The other part is the task oriented piece of keeping our house in order and managing our finances.  (I make it sound like I should say words like portfolio and fiscal.) For those of you who do not know, I have been pursuing avenues of discipleship with young women on UT’s campus.  I am praying about and exploring the possibility of forming a ministry (not in stone, yet).  I would like to equip other women to pour in solidly to younger women who continue the process.  I am attempting to work on a curriculum, however loose it is right now, to point women toward living in Christ by knowing him through clinging to his word.  There is such a lack of true discipleship…I see people blown by the winds of circumstance and false teaching when we have his Truth to guide us.  Though, most in the church do not know it (His word) or know what to do with it.  The only constant we have is Christ…our solid rock. All of this to say, I have a million thoughts of shoulds in my mind a minute.  In the moments I am not meeting with people and having intense conversations, I think, “I should work on a lesson of the curriculum…I should call person x to set up a meeting…I should mop my grimy kitchen floor.”  (Might I add that the floor is always last–who has a white floor with a Boxer puppy and a bald back yard?  Yes, only the Pinkners…)   This week is spring break for UT–it has come at a good time.  I find myself without a lot of words and at the end of my patience rope.  I have a weary exhaustion inside.  There are a lot of things to do, but my body feels like it will only go half speed.  I thought our nights would be slower this week, but they are full.  However, it has been good to sit with Him in the morning and read of Christ’s life his last week before his death and examine my heart in the light of his scripture.   I reflect this morning about all the times Jesus pulled away to be with His Father.  We all need times of Sabbath rest where we are reminded that He is our all sufficient one.  Within myself, I have no wise answers or perfect responses or even love to give anyone…it all comes from Him who is making me like Jesus.  I am humbled that I desperately need Him.  My body tells me that. My quick, terse tongue tells me that, and the grimy floor tells me that.

Posted in fasting, rest

A little break…

Blogging has been really good, but it can be a bit all-consuming.  I am excited about sharing my thoughts and encouragement, but I found myself on the computer a lot last week.  It seems that between the internet, the radio, the T.V. and people noise, that I needed some rest.   When I was a freshman in college, I went through a time when I learned about fasting from the media.  I attempted one week during the summer (which lasted one day) to avoid reading the paper, listening to music, watching tv (and the internet was around but it was above my head).  In fact, now that I think about it, life was simpler then.  (As you read this and think I sound 80, remember I am just 32).  I did not even have a cell phone.  But, back on topic…  It was extremely hard.  I wanted noise all the time.  Even though I did not make it a week, I did pull a media fast once in a while for a day or even an afternoon.   The noise has just increased…with the computer, cell phones (where there is never a way to hide), facebook, myspace, email, blogs, more people.  God calls us in the Psalms to “Be still and know that I  am God.”  This is a discipline.  This will NEVER happen by accident. In fact, all the things that “make life easier” also tend to imprison us to noise all the more.   So, all this to say, I did not get on the computer this weekend.  It was refreshing.  I did not miss it.  I think this will be a regular practice in the quest for “disciplining myself for godliness.” It is funny that the things that can be started for good (a blog, facebook page, etc) can ensnare us quickly where we lose our focus.  We sang a song yesterday morning that said:  

 “Spirit now living and dwelling within me   

Keep My eyes fixed ever on Jesus face.

Let not the things of this world ever sway me,

I’ll run til I finish the race.” 

Oh, that is my prayer.  May I throw off the things that so easily entangle me!  By the way, another good practice is riding in your car in silence.  It creates space for prayer, listening, and rest.  Have a great day!