An Average Woman

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, yesterday was Martin Luther King day. And honestly, other than noticing how busy it was in town and that my son was out of school, I didn’t give it much thought. In truth, it’s just another day on the calendar for me. A holiday that’s observed, and by observed I mean Federal agencies and various offices are closed. In the fullness of yesterday, that’s the only thought that came to my mind regarding the holiday… busyness and closings.

See, I’m a busy woman. And yesterday, my son was home. So I hit the ground running. I had places to go, people to see, groceries to get, work emails to answer, dinner to cook, and aerobics to attend. And after all that, I had a baby to tend to. She was a bit fussy yesterday evening and her sleep was not sound. So, I slept on the sofa with her by my side in her bouncy chair. I wanted to be close…

That brings me to this morning. And that’s when revelation struck… Yesterday was Martin Luther King day. But what does that mean? Or more specifically, what should it mean to someone like me… your average woman. Overloaded and overwhelmed by duty and tasks. See, at the basest, I know what the day represents. I’ve heard all about this significant man. And he had a dream. And he had a purpose. And he gave his life, literally, for that dream.

But you know, there’s a song that sheds light on something more about Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s called Up to the Mountain (MLK song). And from a video, I learned that Dr. King’s last speech was the inspiration for the song. And I believe anyone who hears the lyrics will be moved. Moved to go up to the mountain… just like he did.

thVYBXUSVW

This morning, God reminded me of another man who went up to the mountain. Just like Dr. King. His name was Moses. And in Exodus 34, Moses’ instructions were clear. They were simple. Be prepared, come up, and stand before Me on the mountaintop. But God also said, “No one may go up with you.” And that stirs me this cold day. See, there are just some places you have to go alone. For some journeys are meant for only two… God and the individual. At least that’s what I gleaned from my reading this morning.

Moses, indeed, trekked up that mountain. Alone. And you know what happened? The LORD came down. God stood there with him. And God proclaimed His name to Moses. Moses received revelation, for He glimpsed God’s glory. And there he stayed for forty days and forty nights. In the presence of God… basking in His glory. Just God and him.

And so, I ponder Martin Luther King, Jr. And the MLK song. See, he went up to the mountain because God asked him to. I’m sure he prepared. And he stood before God. And most assuredly, I think he went alone. At least that first time. See, some journeys are meant for only two… And you know what I think happened? God came down. Dr. King received revelation. And a dream. And most assuredly, He glimpsed God’s glory. Just God and him.

But what does that mean to me? An average woman. Because going up to the mountain seems so lofty. See, I’m no Moses and I’m certainly no Martin Luther King. But does that mean God’s invitation went forth to only men like them? Or is it for me, too? A tired, harried, disheveled 41 year old woman. What in the world would that look like… going up to the mountain?

You know what? I can tell you. Because this morning, it happened. Amidst the chaos of my home, I heard God’s call. He told me to come up, and I did. But that meant I had to leave some things behind…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Look at my house. Anyone who knows me knows how unhinged I can be when clutter abounds. But you know, I couldn’t do both. I couldn’t ascend the mountain dragging my stuff with me. So I left my duties and chores behind. The dust on my surfaces and the laundry in the basket and the emails in my inbox? They remained at the base of the mountain. And so, I prepared for my ascent in that I didn’t prepare my face. Or my hair…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And I went up and stood before the LORD in my Spirit. All by myself. Face and soul bared. And the most remarkable thing happened…for He came down. He met with me. And I received revelation. A received a fresh glimpse of God’s glory. And there I basked in His presence. Just me… a tired, middle-aged, average woman. And God. A journey for two. And this… this is what going up the mountain looks like in my home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You know, this stained glass piece has been hanging in my window. But today, it means so much more to me than a simple decoration. It seems significant. For it’s a reminder of God’s invitation. But see, I can’t have it all. I can’t do it all. And so, every day hereafter, I’ll have a choice. I can stay at the foot of the mountain dusting and decluttering and accomplishing my lengthy to do list. Or, I can leave all that behind seeking something greater. Something more. Seeking God. The choice is mine. And today, I’m so glad I made the right choice. Because had I not, I would have missed God.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

So yesterday was Martin Luther King day. And it’s true he was a great man. He stood for what he believed in. He fought and gave his life for what mattered. See, he had a dream. And you know what… so do I. This average woman has a dream, too. It’s from God. It’s His purpose for me. It’s what I’m to stand and fight for. But you know… I could have so easily missed it. If I was too busy to hear His call, I would have missed His revelation. It’s so easy to do. We’re so incredibly busy… the average woman has such a full plate.

But hush now… quiet your busy mind. Can you hear Him? He speaks softly and His invitation is for you, “Come up to the mountain,” He says. Because there He’ll meet with you. But you must go alone. See, some journeys are meant for only two. God and you. Because He has a dream. And a purpose. Just for you. An average woman.

 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12

 http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=up+the+mountain+patty+griffin&qpvt=up+the+mountain+Patty+griffith#view=detail&mid=587AB0D52418B325C526587AB0D52418B325C526

Too full to see

The below content was written on June 23, 2013. Somehow, in rereading and updating, I’ve turned it into a draft again. It’s disappeared from my published blogs and I don’t want to lose it… thus, I’m going to publish again.

Maybe this is God’s plan, though.

See, it captures exactly how I feel this day, over four years later. I look at the eyes of my little boy and ache. Because he’s not so little anymore. And I ache because the lesson didn’t take with me. Instead of stillness, I became busier. And I missed so much. And not just the wonder of God’s creation. Sadly, I missed the wonder of my sweet boy.

Sigh.

Anyway, I read this about a week ago. Not sure why, I just did. And lo and behold, the Psalm I used within this blog came up not just once but twice this week.

First reading was yesterday at our breakfast table as we discussed Romans 1:20. That verse inspired me to turn to Psalm 19. Then this morning, coincidentally (not really a coincidence), both Psalm 19 and Romans 1:20 were referenced in a book I’m reading. When I saw those words, I was once more awed at the complexity of God and how He weaves together life to get His message across.

The message being stillness. A caution to slow down.

In fact, I heard the same from Him last week as I did laundry with my daughter. She’s three now. I had thrown socks and underwear into the bottom of the basket but laid out other items across the top so as to avoid wrinkles. In my daughter’s haste, she kept trying to get to the stuff underneath, threatening to mess up the smoothed out clothing on top.

I cautioned her, “Wait.” And then again, “Wait.” But she didn’t listen. That’s when I spoke sharply. “Wait! That means stop doing what you’re doing! You’re going to undo what I’ve already done!”

Perhaps a little more wording than Annabelle’s toddler mind could ingest, but most assuredly those words were not intended for her anyway. No, they were for me.

Yep, to my soul I believe God was cautioning me through my own lips.

“Wait,” He said. And again, “Wait.” But I wasn’t still enough to hear Him. That’s when He got firm with me. God issued His warning…

“Wait! That means stop doing what you’re doing!”

The fact is I’ve been busier than I should be. Always in motion and always going too fast. Because see, He’s doing a work inside me. A work that will require a little more time and a lot more stillness. And if I rush the process, I may undo all He’s already accomplished.

And so, I believe the message in the below blog – Too Full to See – will really take this time. I believe what God has been trying to tell me for so many years has finally – finally – penetrated my dull ears and hardened heart.

Yes, Lord, I hear what you’re saying. You want me to stop. To stand still and see. To observe. You want me to recapture the wonder of You. But also, You don’t want me to miss what’s right before me…

There’s wonder #1 and wonder #2. And their names are Levi and Annabelle.

Yes, Lord, I hear you now.

I really, really do.

Too Full to See – June 23, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The past two weeks have been full… so full. It was last Friday when I came home to a full sink, a full hamper and a full inbox. And today, I sent well over a hundred emails for work. In my kitchen, I have four full buckets of produce for canning. That’ll be my task for tomorrow. And right now, I am bone weary.

All I can see is what lies before me…

And tonight, honestly, all I feel is tired. But this morning, I felt differently. It was then I tasted a bit of God’s word. And it was what I read at daylight that’s been hovering on the outer edges of my brain all day. It’s what I’ve been wanting to simmer in all day. But I couldn’t stay there… in His word. No, I had to move on.

Chores to do, job commitments, and a son to raise. Life entered the holy hush of the morning, and it hasn’t been quiet since. Not till now.

I’ve come to the conclusion the way we live our lives today cannot be part of God’s plan for us. Our daily schedules are much too full. And for the life of me, I cannot seem to find the exit ramp from the fast lane. Try as I might, I cannot seem to eliminate the busyness. And thus, my days stay full. Thus, I can’t see!

Because life is too full to see, I don’t glimpse the wonder of a holy God.

No, all I can focus on are the dishes, and the paperwork, and the dirty clothes. And sadly, I lose the wonder of life. Because life is a blur. I move way too fast to behold the glory of each moment. And so, I’ve decided. I want it back.

I want the wonder back in my life.

The past few months, I’ve watched at least 150 Andy Griffith shows. And it’s awakened a hunger within me. It’s the call of simplicity I hear in the distance and it’s what I crave. Episode after episode, I watched Andy Taylor sitting on his front porch, slowly strumming his guitar. I watched his friends join him in song. I watched him take time to explain things to his son. I watched, and ached, for that life-style. And unfortunately, it’s truly a thing of the past.

Not often will you find people sitting around the front stoop singing songs and enjoying life. No more can we stop and smell the roses… or more importantly, the Rose of Sharon. Simply, we’re much too busy.

It was parade night last week and even that awakened something deep inside. Sadness, perhaps? Or nostalgia… because a parade is not what it once was. At least not in our small town.

See, I eagerly looked forward to the carnivals when I was a child. And parade night was the best. So many people, so many smells. Lights and sirens. And the best part of the parade was the thumping of the drums you could feel inside your chest. But the last few parades I’ve attended had no high school bands. And not many majorettes. This type of parade is becoming extinct.

And so, I’ve lost the wonder of it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But my son… he still has it. His eyes sparkled and shone with anticipation. He could hardly contain his giggles and ran around in circles when it was time for the parade. Yes, my son still holds the wonder of life. He still basks in the pure pleasure of each day. And this is what I want… what he has.

I want to bottle up how he feels and drink deeply. I want to remove myself from the fullness, and the busyness, so I can see. Oh, God, please help me to see the wonder of it all. In the midst of each day, help me to stop. Help me to gaze upon Your creation with new eyes. Help me to see – to really see – the wonders of this world. And the wonder that You are…

In Habakkuk 1:5 we read, “Look at the nations and observe – be utterly astounded! For something is taking place in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it.” And that’s it right there. Look. Observe. But this takes time.

See, we can hear about something all day long. But when we have firsthand knowledge of it (whatever it may be), it changes us. If we want to live fully and abundantly, as He so intends, then we must look and see and observe. We must pay close attention to this thing called life. Otherwise we may miss it all. And that would be a shame. That’s not what God has in store for His children. No, He wants us to be like our very own offspring… full of wonder.

God doesn’t want us to be so full of busyness that we miss His awe-inspiring works. He wants us to witness just how majestic and holy and wonderful He truly is. But first, we must pause our hectic lifestyles and drink in what lies before us.

His creation.

If we stay still long enough, and open our eyes wide enough, just maybe we’ll see what He wants us to see.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. Psalm 19:1-4 (NKJV)