Wade in the Water

by mendibpng

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I’ve been rereading The Shack by William P. Young. I read it long ago when a friend sent it to me. I like how the characters challenge my notion of who God is and what kind of relationship the two of us can have. Here’s one of the quotes that stuck with me…

Seriously, my life was not meant to be an example to copy. Being my follower is not trying to ‘be like Jesus,’ it means for your independence to be killed. I came to give you life, real life, my life. We will come and live our life inside of you, so that you begin to see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, and touch with our hands, and think like we do. But, we will never force that union on you. If you want to do your thing, have at it. Time is on our side. (Jesus)

I remember knowing and experiencing what Jesus is talking about here: as a teenager, I started listening for the voice of God. Not just through my reading of the Bible but also in my prayer life. Life giving words came to me–things I knew without a doubt came from Him. Those moments of hearing God speak in the years that followed have been so profound, I can remember where I was when I heard them.

But here’s the thing. He’s always been around, wanting to speak to me. But other things crowd my heart and mind: preparing food for my large family (most of which is made from scratch), dealing with cross cultural ‘hevis’ (problems) with expats and local people, worrying about the emotional health of my Third Culture kids, coping with the reality of the ‘unexpected’ which is really the expected here, and preparing for transitions to and from our translation workshops. In order to survive these things, I’ve ‘treated’ myself to quick fixes: distractions, really, which provide quick relief but don’t really provide the peace and solitude I really need.

Two weeks ago, our three year old twins began preschool. I have two full mornings a week to myself in which I don’t schedule anything but ‘self care’, and I’ve devoted that time to finding myself and being quiet enough to listen for God to speak. Occasionally that means going back to bed and sleeping because God told me a long time ago, through the words of a wise minister that sometimes the best thing you can do for your walk with God is to rest. Another thing I’ve done is to unplug a little…only checking Facebook and email once a day, for instance, and turning on music instead of a TV show when I have ‘discretionary’ time. I love noticing God through the beauty I encounter at every step I take outside my door or out my living room window. And finally, Ben and I have been debriefing more regularly about what needs to happen daily with our kids and ministry. There have been times when life has spiraled out of control and we can go days or even a week without sitting down to talk about what’s going on. With both of us taking time to hear God and each other, our jobs as partners in parenting and ministry has been so much better.

I love that saying that goes, “this is the first day of the rest of your life.” It’s never too late to seek solitude and listen for God’s voice. Do you know what He has said to me recently, when I voiced concerns about some key relationships I have? “Don’t worry about his/her heart. I’ll take care of it.” and then he’s given me something specific for me to work on myself or to do in that situation, often something I didn’t consider before, like humbling myself, particularly when I really want to address the injustice of a situation. Instead of the dire outcome I expected, a miracle happens. This has come to pass often enough in recent weeks that it’s starting to make me think about the quote from The Shack. Following Jesus is really about giving up my ideas of how to ‘fix’ things and asking Him what He wants me to do.

So here’s to today.
And the rest of my life.

Seek God while he’s here to be found,
pray to him while he’s close at hand. (Isaiah 55:6 The Message)

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3 Comments to “Wade in the Water”

  1. Yes. Mom

  2. Thank You, Mandy.

    ‘Good thoughts for a new Retiree too, with more “discretionary time” than I ever thought possible 🙂

    Love and Prayers for You and all of those being blessed by your Ministry of serving and sharing.

    Sue Stuebner

    Sent from my iPad

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