Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Set My Course Upon the Stars

I have often commented to those in my peer/social group how as a child there were days that couldn’t seem to go by fast enough (typically the days before a holiday, Christmas, and/or a birthday), but as an adult the days -- the years -- just seem to go whizzing by.

Take today, for instance. I spent four hours at work before having a nice lunch out with my husband, after which we ran some errands and then headed home. Amazingly, two hours have gone by since then in which I’ve done some good things and some things that were, just, well, a real waste of time to be honest.


And I am a bit boggled to think another year is drawing to a close! It seems with each wedding anniversary, each birthday, each year, I marvel at the amount of time behind me. I look at where I am with things in life compared to my parents, my siblings, my friends and acquaintances. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the right spot, other times I feel like I’m off the mark by miles. But through it all, time keeps moving forward. There is no time machine or magic wand to allow me a trip back in time to correct my mistakes, take a different path, to speak up or quiet down.

And in every part of every day, there is God. Unchanging. All-knowing. Unfettered by the things which we mere mortals so often desire to change. He is absolutely unsurprised by anything I do. He knows me better than I know myself, and through it all His love remains steadfast and sure. God’s blessings are conditional, His love is not.

So as we all look ahead to 2009, I hope we all look to the Maker of the stars, to the Giver of every good gift, to the One who truly loves us warts and all and who loves us too much to leave us struggling with our own particular set of knots.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Best & the Beautiful*

Another year is drawing to a close, another birthday is almost upon me and once again I find myself in a reflective mood. What has been done this past year? What was good? What was bad? What needs to be tossed and what needs to be kept?

Now the above reflections seem innocent enough, but I have a tendency to focus on the negative and miss the good when it comes to what I’ve done with what God has given me. Crazy, I know, but it’s a mindset I’m learning to lay down and leave at the foot of the Cross.

What I’m finding tricky, I guess, is having an accurate view of myself. I don’t want to get bogged down by the negatives, but I don’t want to blind to them either because then how do I change them; or, more accurately, how can God change them?

Paul, as he so often does, has some good advice:

Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

~Philippians 4: 8-9 (The Message)

I’m not much of a gardener, but I do know if I’m focused solely on getting rid of the weeds the beautiful plants and flowers will eventually die from neglect. Also, if I make sure the ‘good’ plants are healthy and strong, the weeds will not have much of a chance to flourish. And to use the driving analogy again, where I want to go is where I need to focus. So yes, I’ll deal with the weeds. My focus, however, will be on the One Who, when I trust in Him, will guide my steps (see Proverbs 3: 5-8) because that is a true win-win-win** situation.

*I’m sensing a theme with the last few entries . . . how about you? ;-)
**A win for today, tomorrow, and eternity :-)

Friday, December 26, 2008

I Couldn't Have Said It Better

There are times when I read something and think I really couldn't have said it better myself. This is one of those times.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Looking Forward, Looking Back

So I'm pretty much done with Christmas shopping (hubby and I have to decide for sure on a possible 'joint' gift for he and I) and am thankful the only store I was in today was Wal-Mart before it got crazy-busy. Other than that, my day consisted of breakfast out with my family, coffee and (almost forgot!) a trip to Ten Thousand Villages with my hubby and his mom; then at home it was to peruse some stuff on the 'Net while my cat decided to snuggle on my lap with a break taken to try and eat the zipper on my hoodie.

But I'm also finding myself in a contemplative mood as I think back over the year so far and some of the years before that, and try to look ahead to the year yet to be. What have I done? What was worthwhile? What needs to change? What gets built upon and what gets to be either abandoned or given a new foundation?

On "Canada's Worst Driver", one of the prevalent pieces of driving advice is to look where you want to go. So where am I looking? And do I really want to go there?

God tells us in His Word to not remember the things of old because He will do a new thing (Isaiah 43:18-19); He knows the plans He has for us -- for me -- to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). These are good things to keep in mind as I contemplate and plan and prepare, because it won't just happen as I sit here, doing nothing. That, to me, is one of the things I find to be so amazing about God. He doesn't just program us all to do this 'n' that in a mindless manner; He wants us to be actively engaged and involved in things on this side of heaven to help us prepare for whatever lies on the other side with Him for eternity.

So look where you want to go. And don't miss the sign posts God has placed along the way.