Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Letting God Change My Normal

Today, I had to get out of the house for a minute and clear my head.  I was venting in my journal when I found myself about to write, "I wish things could just be normal."  A comment from a friend about "Changing Normal" popped into my head.   I have to admit, the comment on changing normal had sort of convicted me.  I don't always look at change as a good thing and when I don't mind change, it's because it's not really changing me--not like when God changes things.  Caring for my grandmother with dementia is not what I would consider normal, looking at photos of her as I remember her as a kid makes me wish she was still that same grandma that used to laugh and joke with us.  Finding humor and laughing with your family at weird things and sometimes just acting downright crazy to be silly just to help each other cope is not what I would have considered normal, but I see that laughter is one of the things that helps to ease our tension and stress.  Going to church in separate vehicles and having one or more of us missing at church, is not what I would consider normal, we used to always go together as a family.  Even how I spend time with God would not be considered normal a year ago.  My prayer and Bible time has a whole new depth and meaning to it that wasn't there before.  This week I was challenged by Isaiah 43:15-16.

"Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness and and rivers in the desert."  

 So as I look at how God is constantly changing things, I'm glad I'm not the one defining normal.  I guess my outlook on life should be, "So, God, what's new?" rather than groaning cause things just changed or got harder. 

The other hard thing is letting God do the changing when it comes to heart issues.  I'm realizing why these last couple weeks have been such a struggle.  I know what God wants me to change, but I think I need to do something, when in reality I don't need to do anything!  I need to let the Holy Spirit do the work in me.  Sometimes it's hard to let go and let God.

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."  Romans 12:3

So my challenge for the week: "Let Christ change you!"

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Harvest Time!

There is something about harvest time on the farm.  Hard work, dust, brown beans, golden corn, diesel engines roaring...the excitement of fields ripe for harvest!  

 Beans are done, on to the corn!

Picking corn to fill the crib.  The ear corn will be ground up to feed our market steers and heifers.

Corncrib full.  Time to fill the bin and haul loads to town.  Look at that combine go!

Here's our Allis Chalmers grain hauling crew!

I found these wagon tongues hitched to the tractors to be a farmyard version of hurdles.  So, I challenged my sister to run this on our way to and from shutting in the chickens by the barn.  
I love being a farm girl!

God's To Do List

I wrote this a while back in the summer and thought it's about time I posted this.

Today as we were playing a CD by the Spoken 4 Quartet, I was able to really listen to the words of a song titled "Only Here for a Little While".  As I continued to listen, I realized this song reflected what God had been teaching me this week.  I felt like my life lately had been going really well, almost too good to be exact, which bothered me.  When life seems to be going how I want, that's when my focus on God starts to wain.  I began to ask God to show me if there was anything in my life that He wanted me to change or work on.  Look out!  When you pray in that way, He is sure to show you and fast!  One night, the Holy Spirit began pointing out some things that I needed to work on. I began to feel a little overwhelmed by the challenge and asked God to make the changes in me that needed to be made as I knew that I couldn't do it on my own.  I thanked Him for showing them to me and that I didn't have to go through a major trial in order to reveal them to me.  I went to bed feeling a lot more at peace, but that peace was soon to be tormented or should I say the expectations for my schedule for that week would be tormented.

Most every person has a list.  A list of things to do.  A list can be good.  It can give a person direction and order when there is an overwhelming variety of things to do.  It's also helpful to remind a forgetful and tired brain.  For some it can become the list of failure when at the end of the day the items to do are left undone--lacking the triumphant line of completion drawn through the middle.  I knew that God had been showing me that I needed to focus on building relationships with my family, I also needed to practice putting the needs of others before my own, helping someone else complete there "to dos" even if it meant putting off my own "to dos" till later. 

The next morning was going really well, and I was thinking, "Wow! I'm ahead of schedule, maybe I will be able to get all the stuff on my list done today."  Then 10a.m. came around and an unexpected visitor exited our house with his mother who had come to help our family.  My brothers were both gone and I realized this kid would need something to do.  "Ok, God, I see what you're doing, even though it means I won't get those gobs of zucchini preserved this morning."  
"So what are you good, baseball, football?"  "Football" came the reply.  I found a football and a Frisbee and got my two youngest siblings to play catch with us.  My siblings played for a while, but soon lost interest.  I am not very good with a football, but my catch improved and as the football went back and forth so did our conversation.  Pretty soon I found out what sorts of things interested this 13 year old boy: military/army, fishing, hunting. 

Another day, I was heading out to the garden to plant some fall produce, when my youngest sibling asked me if I could play with him.  At first I said no, but then I thought to myself, "So you are too busy to give up 5 minutes to spend some quality time with your little brother?"  I sighed and turned around, "I can play Frisbee with you for a little while."  I watched his face light up and observed with admiration as his ability to catch the Frisbee improved.  There were other opportunities that God threw in, having the neighbor kid stay at our house for a few hours while a storm blew through, honoring Dad's request to get the weeds taken care of in the yard at our old house, redoing the electric fence with my brothers after finding that the coons had gotten into the sweet corn patch because the corn got blown over from the storm, and dropping all my original plans for the day to drive an hour to help my grandparents.  Now don't get me wrong, I still struggled to respond with the right attitude to some of these situations and I had to apologize at times for overreacting.  Little by little, I was learning to let go of my idea of what needed to be done and adopt God's idea of what needed to be done for each day.  Trusting God to give me the time to get done what I needed to do later in the day, if He felt it was necessary.  In the words of this song  God was challenging my thinking by causing me to ask myself, "What's the hurry, why the running?" 

Today I stood singin' songs and sayin','Amen'
Saying goodbye to an old friend who seemed so young
He spent his life workin' hard to chase a dollar
Putting off until tomorrow the things he should have done
Made me start thinking, "What's the hurry, why the runnin'?
I don't like what I'm becoming, gonna change my style
Take my time and I take it all for granted
'Cause we're only here for a little while"

Let me love like I'll never see tomorrow
Treat each day as though it's borrowed
Like it's precious as a child
Oh, take my hand
Let us reach out to each other
'Cause we're only here for a little while

I'm Gonna hold who needs holdin'
Mend what needs mendin'
Walk what needs walkin'
Though it means an extra mile
Pray what needs prayin'
Say what needs sayin'
'Cause we're only here
For a little while

 "Only Here for a Little While" was written by Leigh, Richard C / Holyfield, Wayland.

It's time to change my style! I'm asking God to let me love like I'll never see tomorrow, treat each day as though it's borrowed, like it's precious as a child. I'm learning to hold who needs holding, mend what needs mending, walk what needs walking--even though it means an extra mile--, pray what needs praying, and say what needs saying.  After all what will matter in eternity?  I need to remember that in God's eyes, I'm only here for a little while.
So at the end of the day, even if my to do list remains, it doesn't mean I failed at getting something done, but that I succeeded in getting what God would have me get done!