Tuesday, January 9, 2018

When waiting is the last thing I want to do.

Are you good at waiting?  Where do you most hate waiting?  In line at Walmart?  The grocery store?  Traffic?

What do you do while waiting?  Look at your phone?  Sigh? Loudly?  Complain?  Loudly?  Tap your foot?  Clear your throat?  Whistle?

I've done a lot of waiting in my life.  I've waited to be older, to graduate, for a ship to come home, for a child to be born, for a child to move out (wink, wink), for relationships to flourish, for important phone calls or emails or text messages to come in.  I wish I could say I'm good at it.  I wish I could say that I LOVE waiting. I don't, but I wish I could say I do.

What is it about waiting that tries our patience? What happens while waiting that causes a normally happy go lucky, or at least reasonably most of the time happy go lucky person to become impatient and/or unhappy while stuck waiting?

Our impatience while waiting, whether at the doctor's office or in the school pick up line, has nothing to do with what we are waiting for, but rather what we're being asked to do:

Live patiently outside control of our circumstances.

Waiting is hard.  Some can wait a long time before being fed up with waiting, while others can only wait a few short minutes, or even seconds, before the sighing or complaining or talking loudly begins. This is not to pick on those who are able to wait less than those who can wait longer.  No one likes to wait.  No one likes to be asked to wait.  And no one is exempt from waiting.  No one.  So when we wait, we sometimes wait begrudgingly or sometimes we wait expectantly.  The problem with waiting is we don't really have a choice in the matter.

It starts when we're born.  The demands we placed on our parents for food from day one has been the catalyst for being trained (or not) in waiting.

Waiting isn't something we do well by nature.  We have to learn to wait, to be trained to wait, to expect to wait for a lot of things because we all have to wait sometime.  And often.  Waiting is not something we grow out of or graduate once we're adults.  Waiting never ends.  From the first wait for a breast or bottle to our waiting for a visitor to come when we're old, waiting never goes away.

To wait means several things but all are closely related.  None of them are nouns, all of them are action, even though when we wait it seems like we are doing nothing.

to stay in place in expectation
to remain stationary in readiness or expectation
to pause for another to catch up
to look forward expectantly
to hold back expectantly
to be ready and available

None of these definitions change the fact that most of us hate waiting.  But the difference in a few of them is not so much in waiting but in the attitude while waiting.

Do you see the adverb?  The how of waiting?

Expectantly.

To look forward...expectantly.  Waiting while looking forward.  Looking forward while waiting.  Waiting.  Expecting.  Staying.  Remaining.  Pausing.  Ready.  Holding back.  Forward looking. Waiting.

Waiting is not the problem.  In fact, waiting is a fact of life.  The problem is not in the waiting or really what we're waiting for; the problem is our attitude while waiting.  That is my (our) problem at least.  When circumstances beyond my (our) control are causing me (us) to wait I (we) tend to lose sight of the value of waiting.

If we're "waiting" for good things to happen, the wait is exciting and filled with imaginations of what the vacation will be like, what the new grandchild will feel like when we hold it in our arms.  When we're "waiting" for bad things to happen - the phone call from the doctor, the news from the employer that your job is part of the downsizing, the trip to the dentist - our minds are filled, not with hopeful excitement, but rather with anxious dread.

It is during those times the most work is being done on our souls.  Waiting is the room where preparations are being made for the circumstance being waited for.   When whatever it is we're waiting for comes, the attitude we had while waiting will have an effect on our behavior when the Wait is over.

What do you do while waiting for bad things to happen?  Chew your fingernails, pace, get angry?  Maybe you pray a little, maybe you pray a lot.   If every answer was given immediately, if every vacation taken on demand, if every desire were granted immediately, where would the need for joy or eagerness or prayer or hope be?

You see, Waiting has a purpose.  No matter what we're waiting for -  good or bad - waiting is hard.  Whether waiting for good things or dreading bad things, waiting is a part of life.

Do you know what Jesus did while waiting?

He prayed while waiting for His time to come.  He lived his life doing what each day brought for him to do and then He prayed some more.  Early in the morning, late at night, he prayed and waited and waited and prayed.  When the time he was waiting for came, He asked that it not be so soon.  But then, when the time came, he stepped out of the waiting room of his short earthly life and entered into what waiting had prepared him to do.

I imagine He waited with human dread but at the same time He waited in eager expectancy because He knew what was waiting not just for Him on the other side, but for us.  He couldn't help but humanly feel excitement and dread simultaneously.  Maybe a little like I felt as I expected my unborn children to be born.  I dreaded the pain and the sleepless nights ahead, but I was filled with excitement to finally meet the child growing inside of me and see who they grew up to be.

Paul said, "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed."  That eager expectation is like a physical action, "attentive or earnest expectation or looking for, as with the neck stretched out and the head thrust forward."

What do you look like while waiting?  Eager or anxious?  Fearful or hopeful?  A mix of all four?  Is your neck out, like standing at the bus stop looking for the bus to round the corner?

Waiting is not my problem.  Waiting only points a finger at my problem...not what I am waiting for but how I am waiting.  How I respond to waiting for good things or bad things is what God is using as preparation for what I'm waiting on to happen.

It doesn't make me want to wait anymore knowing this, but it does cause me to pause and ask myself, what is the fruit God is trying to grow in the waiting room I am in?  In my impatience I often jump the fence and say, "I've waited long enough."  Even though to me it may look ready on the outside, the fruit isn't as ripe and its taste is tart or bitter to those who may get squirted with it.  The right amount of waiting produces the sweetest and most nourishing fruit.

So I guess I'll just wait for what God has asked me to wait on Him for.  My neck is sticking out, I'm looking in all directions to see where He's taking me next.  If you're looking for me, I"ll be here....

Waiting.


Peace,
Ronda












Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Land of No More

I love the phrase in the Bible....

No More.

No more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things have passed away.  We are living in the old order of things.  The olden days.  Maybe we'll call them that up there.  The olden days when hate reigned, death overwhelmed, sickness paralyzed.  "The olden days," maybe we'll say, "are over, the new order has come."

Come on, new order, come on.

Do you think we'll get to give the old order of things a big shove as we believers cross over the threshold of Heaven?  "So long," we'll shout, as the gates open wide and the new heaven and new earth are unveiled before our eyes.

I wonder if shame and doubt and guilt will try and piggy back on us and sneak in?

No more shame and doubt and guilt allowed.

No more.

Gone.

Kapooey.

Seeeee yaaaaaa!

Our present sufferings are nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed on that day we arrive in No More.  It stinks now, it really does.  We have glimpses of joy... in new life, a child's laugh, a young couple's love, but none of that will compare to the joy that is waiting.

The child's laugh will be heard, never again shouted down by pain.

The love a couple has for one another here will, in No More, be undivided adoration for the Savior who stands at the open door, inviting us to come in, look around, relax, get comfortable, make yourself at home, find your new room, the one I've been preparing for you.

No more death.
           No more mourning.
                    No more crying.
                                No more pain.
                                         No more sickness.
                                                       No more cancer.
                                                                    No more abuse.
                                                                                    No more greed.
                                                                    No more worry.
                                                  No more indecision.
                                            No more shame.
                                No more guilt.
                       No more loss.
                  No more hate.
No more division.

We'll check them all at the door, no valet ticket needed.  There is no need for any of those in No More.  Our new clothes, of the finest fabric, will be given.  The table will be spread with foods fixed for royalty.  We'll all take our places, in our new bodies clothed in our new clothes and bright shiny clean souls.

No More will be filled with everything new, everything pure, everything as it was always meant to be.

And He will be there.  Wiping the tears from our eyes, watching joyful reunions take place and seeing the reality settle over us.....No More.  We're here!  We made it!

No More is our forever home.


Peace,

Ronda


Revelation 21:3-4;
Romans 1:16; 10:9-13



Monday, August 21, 2017

If no one calls 911 does that mean we don't need help?

I came across a word the other day.  As it so often happens, my agenda to study a certain passage or word is set aside when I see a light shining in another doorway and the Lord is whispering, "Come check this out."  It's so annoying when he doesn't let me study what I think I should be studying.   So, I give a good eye roll and walk through the door that is opened down the hall, promising myself, "I'll only be gone a minute," as I look back at my tidy and organized thought processes written out and begging my attention.

I see this word on the door, and I nod my head and say so haughtily to the Lord, "So?  I get this word, I get its relevance in this passage.  I get this story.  I've heard this story, over and over and over again.  Yes, you have saved me.  Yes, you saved me by dying for me on a cross.  Yes, I get it, Lord, you've rescued me.

Do you know what rescue means?  We're not talking the romantic hollywood version of rescue where the damsel in distress is pushed out of the way of an oncoming car and she and her knight walk arm and arm into the sunset.  We're talking about rescue, rescue.  Like the Arnold Schwarzenagger kind of rescue or the Seal Team six kind of rescue.....sort of, but that's still not it.

What kind of rescue are we talking about then, Lord?

Remember when your daughter was lost in Sesame Place?  Remember when you searched and searched and searched for her, telling everyone what she was wearing, what color her hair was, begging everyone within shouting distance to LOOK FOR MY LITTLE GIRL!  I CAN'T FIND HER AND SHE WAS JUST HERE A SECOND AGO, I SWEAR!  SHE HAS BLOND HAIR AND IS WEARING A WHITE JACKET WITH TINY BLACK POLKA DOTS AND NEON PINK AND NEON GREEN STRIPES ON THE SHOULDER.  HAVE YOU SEEN HER?  HELP ME FIND HER, PLEASE!!! SOMEONE!  HELP ME FIND HER!

Yes, I remember.  I was very afraid she had been snatched by someone or hurt somewhere we couldn't see her.

Remember what you felt when you found her sitting in that theater, the lone child who just wanted to watch the play one more time?  Were you happy to see her sitting alone in that big theater?

Yes, and so relieved.  So very relieved.

Were you glad for her she wasn't hurt or more glad for yourself she wasn't hurt?

To be honest, I guess I was more glad for me.  She was having a good time and was mad at me when I made her get up and leave because the field trip bus was leaving.

So you were glad she was back with you, even if she had been hurt, you would have been glad she was back with you?  Even though she was crying you were taking her away?

Yes, I knew she was safe and I was so glad and mad and relieved and irritated and so very thankful.

Now you have an idea of what rescue really means when I put it in my word.  Take a look.

So I looked and this is what I found.

I was having a blast in Colossians 1:9-12, basking in the concordance and original Greek, finding new hope, being reminded of constant truths and when I was just ready to close my notebook another word jumped off the page, just a few words into verse 13.

The word I pooh poohed earlier and said to myself, "Yeah, I know what that's all about.  I'm done for the day."  I closed my notebook and my bible and pushed myself up from my desk and walked away.

Now, I meditated throughout the coming days on the passages I had studied, but "rescued" kept interfering with my thoughts, shining a light on the door yet to be opened wide if I would only press in.

So here I am today.

Rescued, in Jesus' way, by Jesus.

Not just a rescue that saved me in death, but a rescue that reached down and snatched me and pulled me away and dragged me away crying from what I was innocently enjoying, yet was not where the Master wanted me to be, away from Him.

He rescued me, he has rescued us.

To rescue, rhyomai in the Greek means, "from rhyo (Key word study Bible)
to draw, drag along the ground.  To draw or snatch from danger, rescue, deliver."

Biblehub.com says it this way:
"rhyomai - to draw or rescue a person to and for the deliverer.  In Matthew 6:13 (the Lord's Prayer) rhyomai is used in the closing sentence "deliver us from evil" - i.e. "Deliver me to Yourself and for Yourself."  That is "Lord deliver me out of my Personal pains and bring me to You and for You."

Here are the other places this word is used in forms of rescue or deliver:

Matthew 27:43
Luke 1:74
Romans 7:24
2 Timothy 4:18
2 Peter 2:9

Matthew 6:13
2 Corinthians 1:10

2 Thessalonians 3:2
2 Timothy 4:17
Romans 11:26

He didn't rescue us solely for our own good as I didn't search for my missing daughter solely for her own good.  He rescued us and I searched for my daughter because I needed her to be safe and to know she was safe.  He searched for us and rescued us because he needed us to be safe and to know we are safe.

He risked our tantrums and kicking and screaming and thinking we know best and ignored our threats to find a way to save ourselves and he reached down and snatched us from the dominion - (the authority, the physical capability to do something, the right and authority to carry out the action) of darkness - (spiritual darkness, implying ignorance or error; sin and misery).

Why?

Yes, for our sake, but as a parent, for His sake too.

No parent wants to lose a child.  No parent wants harm to come to their child.  God is certainly no different than us in that regard.  If we could, most of us who are parents would take every ache and pain and grief our children experience just so they don't have to suffer.  But also, if we're honest here,

so we don't have to watch them suffer.

He rescued you.  For many reasons, but only one that matters.  Because He loves His kids.  He broke through heaven's gates to come and rescue us in a way no other God or human being would ever do again.

You, my dear Reader, have been rescued by the God who wants no one to perish but for everyone to come to a knowledge of the truth.

That God rescued you, when you denied needing to be rescued, when you hated to know you had been rescued, he still pulled you out of darkness, for your sake and for His.  He's a good dad who hates to see his kids suffer.  He took the punishment we deserved, the suffering you would take for your own child if possible, and rescued us when we least wanted it or needed it or  believed we needed it.

Your God rhyomai you, for your sake yes, but for His sake too.

Peace,

Ronda







Tuesday, July 25, 2017

You're turning violet, Violet!

It's been a busy summer.

Four years ago we left our Tennessee home of fifteen years and moved to our home state of Wisconsin.  At the time our grown children were all married, but there were no grandchildren and no indication of any in the near future (that all changed on the day we handed over our keys to our daughter and son in law who informed us that we were indeed going to be grandparents).

What was done, was done.  The place of living was changed, boxes unpacked, pictures hung, a garage was built, and our new life in our old state began.

It was working well.  The driving between Wisconsin and our southern children was doable.  FaceTime was working fairly well for daily interactions with the newest member of our family.  It still was working when #2 grandchild was born in 2015.

Last summer, right around this time, we were anticipating the birth of #3 grandchild to be followed about a month later by #4 grandchild.  All was well, we were making it work.  I had scheduled time off from work so that I could be with both of our daughters after their babies were born.  We were managing.  We were making a tough situation doable.

Until.....

I had spent a good portion of August and September driving across the state of Tennessee helping out both of our daughters who lived on opposite sides of the state.  After #3 grandchild was born and my husband and I were on our way to assist the parents of #4 grandchild, I experienced at the time what I was sure just emotional grandmother blues.  My babies were having babies and I would have to leave them and be at least 700 miles away from them.  At least that's what I told myself it was and I told my husband too, because really, who in their right mind would move.....again.

I kept telling myself it was emotions and they would pass.  I'm always telling myself to not let my emotions rule my decisions.  As much as this "felt" emotional, it also "felt" different.  Like a pressing on my heart that something was up, much bigger and more detailed than planning 700 plus mile drives at Christmas and birthdays.

I told my husband this too.

He looked at me like I was crazy.

I felt crazy and emotional, and to be honest, a little out of control.

But in-between babies being born he made the call to our realtor and we decided that we would put our beautiful lake front Wisconsin home up for sale.  We would leave it in the Lord's hands that if we were meant to move, it would happen and if it was purely emotion, it wouldn't sell.  And, we would give it a year.

The contract was signed at the end of September.

Who buys lake front property in the winter, in Wisconsin no less?  This house wouldn't sell.  We'd be in Wisconsin through September and the house would go off the market and we would continue to make our long distance relationships work.

And then we got an offer on our house.

In February.

By March 31st we were moved out, our belongings in storage, and we had moved in with my parents.  In June we closed on our Tennessee home with a small acreage and here we are.

When we sat in the closing office the previous owner told us about a blueberry patch on the property.  She told us that there had been up to 100 gallons of blueberries in a season.  Being the non garden, non country girl, non any type of plant girl that I am, I had no concept of what that meant, nor did I care.  Blueberries were the least of my concern at that particular moment.

A few days after we closed my husband and I strolled out to see the blueberry "patch."  They looked like this.




About two weeks later, when the pages of the calendar flipped to July, those green balls suddenly became blue and this green in the garden city girl has been picking blueberries like her life depended on it.  We are quickly closing in on those 100 gallons.





What a difference a year makes.

It's been a bittersweet transition.  We said good-bye, again, to extended family and renewed friendships.  We said hello to little people who are just beginning to grow and learn and explore and hope and pray and believe.  We sit in a house, hubs and I, with a project list a mile long and just as wide, shaking our heads and marveling at how we got here.

Just like we were sling shotted up to Wisconsin four years ago is how this move seems too.  I quit using the word never four years ago, but I really hope this is our last move.  (Please, God).  And so I will pick my blueberries and relish the sunsets off my back deck.  I will watch the deer and the turkeys and enjoy today.  I will praise God for the wild ride He seems to think is good for me.







And I will pray that this is the last move.


Peace,

Ronda






Sunday, July 2, 2017

No exchanges or returns

One word.  One time in all of the New Testament.  Its context can be discussed by the theologians and those smarter and more learned than this gal but this word has been swimming around in my brain, not rattling, swimming.  Floating on its back, enjoying the sunshine on its face, every once in a while rolling over to tread water when it sees I've drifted a little too far from shore.

Irrevocable.

The English definition according to MW is

"not capable of being changed; impossible to revoke."

The Greek definition of the word ametameletos

".....about which no change of mind can take place, not affected by change of mind....without regret or remorse for an action because it was done from deep conviction (true concern)."

Would you like to know where that word sits among the flowers of God's word?

It's tucked in a verse that really has nothing to at all to do with my present day troubles or concerns and it speaks to me not as Paul intended its readers to understand in regards to his fellow Jews.  God's word is funny like that.  What is written for one, benefits many.

A verse or a word or a chapter or a book taken without full instruction on Hebrew or Greek, ancient practices and history, jumps across time and rests in the heart of a woman far removed from the original writer or intended Roman readers.

".......for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable."

The words and sentences surrounding these 8 words really are not very comforting for this Gentile as they are written for and about the Remnant of Israel.  The truth of these words, especially the longest word - irrevocable - make my heart sing praise to Him who has freed me from the bondage of sin and made my heart clean.

God doesn't take back his gifts.  Once he gives a gift, it's for keeps.  Once he gives a gift, even to a passive or ungrateful heart, he is bound to himself to never change his mind, never regret, never have remorse that he gave the gift.

Why?  Why God?  Aren't you ever sorry you made us?  Aren't you ever sorry you saved us?

I think his answer would be:

"No, because the gift was given out of true concern for my creation."

He saw us in our sin, and where you or I may leave us wallowing in it until we learned our lesson, God pulled us out, gave us a new heart and said, "It's yours to keep.  No returns or exchanges accepted."

He never regrets saving us or calling us out of our sin.

Never.

No matter how wicked and evil the times are, he never regrets saving us.  We would rather see some serious punishment for some of the evil we are living in and through, instead of the free gift of salvation still available to the most vile offenders. (Like I often, often forget I once was).

But God?  Nope.  He doesn't regret giving us the gift that will never be taken back.

So, tucked in Romans 11:29, out of complete context for this 21st century woman sitting at her computer with bed hair and great peace, is a singing hope -

for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable

I rest in knowing that his gifts that I so often misuse and abuse and not use, and the call on my life to be who I am, where I am, doing what I do - none of it's a mistake.  None of it was done on a whim.  The gift God bought for me was not an impulse buy.  He put great thought into just the right gift of salvation.  He put great thought into just the right place in history where he would put you and me.

And he made both of those irrevocable.

For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever!


Peace,

Ronda