We Can Do It Background

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trust Issues Part 3: Lessons from Strays

It's been a stressful couple of weeks at work, and I've found that exercise is definitely valuable as a stress relief. On my usual jog route yesterday, I happened upon two little dogs. They were obviously a pair, likely even sisters from the looks of them. One was quick to come up to me and let me pet her. The other barked a little and kept her distance but was very curious. I looked around for owners, but none were in sight.

They were hot and thirsty, as was I. I decided that, if they followed me all the way home, I'd try to call the numbers on their tags. I didn't have my phone with me or leashes, so it was up to them.

And follow me they did, all they way back to my house and right through the front door like they had every right. It was a long walk for such little legs! I called the numbers on their tags thinking, "This'll be a quick fix. I can call their owner and run them right back over to their house somewhere in my neighborhood."

Is life ever really that simple? I know, I'm a naive sap. The only number that worked was the vet, which was closed. So my two-dog home quickly became a four-dog B&B. Great.

They are sweet dogs and all has gone well thus far. Unfortunately, their presence means that I will be late to work trying to reunite them with their owner, lose valuable time for the stressful workload I have, and likely encounter more headaches at the end of the day because of the chain reaction that was my innocent jog and act of kindness.

Then, God decided to to teach me a few lessons through my house guests this morning by asking me a couple of questions.

1. How do I follow Him?

My Bible study this morning spoke to the reason Jesus was able to obey God in everything, even a death on a cross. It was through His small obediences all along the way, which were all powered by the Holy Spirit. He lived a Spirit-led life 24/7. It was because He lived that way that He didn't hesitate to follow God's path for His life; He just lived it.

The same Spirit that brought about complete obedience in Christ is alive in me and available to lead me every second. I  follow Him knowing He'll provide a safe haven for me and cool water to drink, just like those little dogs followed me home. But also like the dogs, I get distracted by my surroundings. I stop to sniff at every mailbox or tree, take a few little sidesteps to check out open garages, and stop along the way to "take care of business." I stay aware of Him, but often lag behind to indulge my own desires. I need Him to whistle and get me back on track.

At times, I even shy away from His touch. I trust Him enough to let Him show me the way home, but trusting Him enough to touch me and become a friend is a different thing altogether. The little dog that didn't hesitate at my touch was quick to follow and stayed more focused on the journey home. She has had less anxiety than the other dog and was the first to lay down and relax when we got home. Hmmmmm. Yep, I can learn a lot from a stray.

2. Am I thankful for His provision and actively enjoying it?

When I dished out the dog food this morning, my two dogs jump right into their bowls and were happy to do so. Our guests, on the other hand, sniffed the food and looked at me like entitled little brats. One even stood on her hind legs to check the dining room table for the "good stuff." Really? Do you know how lucky you are little homeless ones?

But let's be honest, Kerri. Who are you to judge? Don't you do the same thing?

Okay, so I am a spoiled little brat sometimes, too. I live in abundance but complain about being another broke girl in the city. This life and every bit of it is a gift. Instead of looking around for something better, I could eagerly accept all that is laid before me and be filled and satisfied.

While little miss fancy pants stray over there sat with her tummy growling looking for crumbs elsewhere, her sister finally decided to dig in and enjoy herself. She now has a full belly and is back to relaxing and lying down in comfort. Oh, what I must learn from these little ones!

How about you? Do you trust God enough to follow from a distance, or are you walking in step with Him, close enough to touch? Are you focused on Him as He leads the way, or are you distracted by the things along the way?

Are you living satisfied and resting in His provision, or waiting for the next big thing? The next better thing? The thing you think you're supposed to have?

Yep. I still have a lot to learn about trust. Thankfully, I have a patient and purposeful Teacher who will use the interruption of a couple of strays to make point.

Faithfully, fluffully His,

Monday, August 20, 2012

Trust Issues Part 2: Wind vs. Wind Blower

I happened upon this little bit of news a while back, and it fits right into my series on trusting God. In my last post, I introduced you (or re-introduced, for some of you) to my girl, Hagar in Genesis. Hagar's journey to trusting God began with meeting God and getting to know Him for Who He is. We'll get back to Hagar in a future series post. For now, let's continue with "getting to know" God.

Newsflash: There is new evidence that the Red Sea could have actually parted for the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. Brace yourself for shocking science…. the WIND did it.

According to an article by the UCAR, a computer model shows the possibility that a 63-mph wind from the east could have pushed the waters back enough for folks to safely cross. I grew up in the Texas Panhandle, so I have experienced firsthand a wind like this, and yes, waters could part!

However, I'd like to point out one aspect that was completely left out of this new "research." The point of the waters parting was not the grand escape itself of the Israelites or how it happened. Exodus 14:13-31 tells the story plainly and wondrously. And yes, the “wind” played a role.

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night THE LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided… And when the Israelites saw the great power THE LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.” Exodus 14:21, 31 (NIV, emphasis mine)

The point of the story is THE LORD. It is He alone who calls forth the wind on our behalf. He is the "Wind Blower," if you will. The point is not the wind, but the relationship we choose to pursue because of Him who controls the wind. The Israelites chose holy fear and trust as a result of God’s display of provision and protection on their behalf. It just so happened to be in the form of a stiff breeze that time.

Windblown much?
What is your choice? Do you feel the wind in your face and trust it’s mere existence as your hope for something more? Or do you trust the Source of the wind to do what only He can do: save you by making a way with dry land?

I have to confess to being windblown on many occasions. I've also missed the point in more than one wind storm of life. It's easy to get so focused on the wind or circumstance and even see the results of the wind, good and bad, and still miss out on God's part in all of it.

No more! Lord, help me to recognize you in the midst of my circumstances or wind storms. Take my trust a step further by opening my eyes to you as my Wind Blower. You alone make dry land in the midst of a sea of fears and uncertainty. Your trustworthiness is certain. So blow your mighty love my way today. Call forth your wind into this world and let all who feel you trust in you alone!

You can read the article from UCAR at https://www2.ucar.edu/news/parting-waters-computer-modeling-applies-physics-red-sea-escape-route.

Faithfully, fluffully His,

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Trust Issues Part 1: Let me introduce myself...

I was reintroduced to a woman from the Bible recently. She has two significant stories in the Old Testament, one of which includes my favorite name of God as a key part of the plot. However, as I studied her anew, I compared her two stories. In doing so, I recognized exactly what God has been doing in my own life in the area of trusting Him. I thought I'd take you on a similar journey in a series about trusting Him, so this blog post is Part 1.

Have you met Hagar?

Poor girl... horrible name. Sounds just as depressing as her life was: Egyptian slave forced into a marriage with her mistress' husband then tormented by her rival. Here's the recap of the intro to Hagar's first story in the Old Testament (for full story, see Genesis 16).

Sarai is married to Abram but can't get pregnant. In order to give her husband a child, Sarai gives her slave, Hagar, to Abram as a wife.  Abram + Hagar = preggers. Sarai gets jealous and turns into a royal witch. She "dealt harshly" (Genesis 16:6) with Hagar, so Hagar runs away into the wilderness. Better than The Young and the Restless, right?! Then enters our Hero.

A pregnant and despondent Hagar sits in the wilderness next to a spring of water when, "The angel of the Lord found her." (Pause for effect.) Hagar was an Egyptian slave girl, not a native Israelite. Not only had she been living with a people who were not her own, was placed in a relationship not of her own or her family's choosing, but now she was in the freaking wilderness, most likely suffering from morning sickness. Define "rock bottom."

In the midst of circumstances beyond her control and as an alien in a foreign wilderness, God sought her out. GOD! THE God. The God of the universe. Busy, important, almighty God "found" her. Go ahead and take a moment to relate.

Not only did he "find" her, but He already knew her name and her place in life (v. 8): "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?"

So God "found" her, called her by name, identified her desperate circumstance ("servant of Sarai"), and then identifies just how lost she is ("where are you going?"). He then gives direction to Hagar and further explains to her her current circumstances ("you are pregnant") and reveals her future and that of her son's.

Her response (v. 13)? "So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, 'You are a God of seeing,' for she said, 'Truly here I have seen him who looks after me."

God didn't not hold out His hand to shake hers and say, "Hi, my name is the God of seeing." He didn't wear a nametag or have a shirt with it embroidered on the chest. Instead, God introduced Himself to her by showing her Who He is.

She was a seemingly worthless piece of property. He called her by name.

She was lost and alone. He found her and joined her.

She had no direction for a future. He outlined her next step and gave her a glimpse into the generation to come.

She was a woman forced to look after the needs of others, even at the sacrifice of her own body. He looked after her and provided.

He didn't ask her to trust Him. He showed her that He is trustworthy and gave her the choice.

As I end this first part of my series on trusting God, I ask you to challenge yourself as He challenged me. Looking past your circumstance and even yourself. Put aside your wilderness and your place in life and ask this question: Who has He shown Himself to be?

The first step for me in truly trusting God is not about me. It's about knowing Him. In order to trust someone, I need for that person to be worth trusting. I'm so thankful that my sweet Savior loves me enough to show me that He is trustworthy.

Faithfully, fluffully His,