All from an Ember

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Sometimes it takes getting away to help us think; contemplate.  Where we are, what we want, what we may be missing, or what we are thankful for, and the memories we are making.  But whatever is on our minds, we certainly can think better if you get in a place where the noise of the world is far from us.

This last weekend, I was in such a place…our Cabins on Big River.  As my grandson was the fire attendant, he thought the embers were so low at one point that fire was out, so he spread the coals around a bit to allow it to go out.  Since we wanted to continue to use the fire, I used the bellows and gave wind to the embers and watched as the coals became flames, and the flames became a bigger fire once again. He was quite surprised!

IMG_2473I thought it was a good example of our life, and so with a teachable moment, I told Ethan a story… “Life is kind of like that Ethan.  It make look like there is no hope in sight.  Nothing is going right, there is a lot of stress, sometimes hurt feelings in the process.  We may have lost something important to us.  It can feel just like this fire that you thought was going out.  But when the bellows gave wind to the embers, they became coals of fire, and then became flames once again.  In my case, it is God who gives wind to the embers. He helps me see the good.  Encourages me to have faith.  It may also be a friend who calls or texts at the right time to encourage me.  Or, it can be someone who comes my way and for whatever reason, is led to help me.  It is kind of like your dad’s car situation. God worked out something for you both that you weren’t expecting.  That person gave wind to what seemed like a dead situation.  So when things look grim, and you see no light at the end of the tunnel, let the winds around you give your heart a little firing up.  Fan the flame of hope for something better to come along.  God IS faithful to me, and He will be faithful to you.  He wants us to trust Him completely.”

It is always such a joy to me when God gives such profound wisdom over the simplest of things…but then He always does.  He WANTS us to understand.  It IS simple.  We just need to allow it to breathe life back into us.  I think Ethan got the message too.  At least that is my hope.

How about you?  Where do you need God to breathe wind into your life to fan the flame of your heart?  Ask Him.  He wants to do that; just as He breathed life in the beginning, He wants to do that again in you.  Will you let Him?  Will you close off the world’s noise to get quiet and lean in to Him?  Let that wash over you.  Just like a fresh stream of water you can sit by, let the trickle and rolling of the water refresh your soul.

Until next time,

~JoAnn

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Things Change…It’s Hard

Time to make some changes?  How are you with change?  Do you go with the flow?  Do you have to be dragged along into the change?  Do you find change is easy for you, or is it hard?  Change can mean we have to make a U-Turn and go back, or it can be going in the direction you are going with changes, or forward with a possible detour to something new.  Sometimes its leaving something behind that needs to be left, and sometimes we are moved forward toward something new.

Here are a few definitions:

  • change is different from what is.
  • make or become different.
  • the act or instance of making a future course change.

We don’t usually ask for change, ever notice that?  So, I would assume from that, change is not so welcome to most of us.  We might think, what if we want change and it doesn’t come to us?  What if it does?  Ok.  Let’s say it doesn’t seem to come for us.  Are we willing then to do something else?  Are we willing to stay where we are and ask God to change us so we can be more content where we are?  The struggle is real!  No matter how we define our life, it will require us to take some type of action.  It can look like a big mountain before us, but God will make a way around or through.  Nothing is too big for Him!

Let me share some of my changes with you so you know that I know about changes.  Since 1992, there have been many changes.  That year I had the unexpected death of my mother.  Big changes there as I helped my dad navigate life after losing the love of his life.  I was a fill in driver for my dad as his eyesight became an issue.  Changes…  In 1996, I became a single parent with 3 boys, and in 1998, a divorce.  Later a remarriage.  A step-daughter added to the family.  So from 1996 to 2015, I have moved 13 times in 19 years.

  • A move to Missouri is one big change.
  • Another one of those changes was the loss of my dad from complications from a car accident so back to Washington.
  • Yet another one was a move to Idaho; both of these Idaho and Missouri moves were away from family and friends.
  • The move to Missouri meant moving two times while there.
  • Next, a move back to Washington; both of the above two moves were into houses sight unseen.  We only talked by phone and made arrangements. We depended on God to take care of us.

Changes…

Change isn’t just about location, although it is hard to break into new neighborhoods, churches, and make connections.  It can sometimes be about being set apart for a season from everything you know, so that, you can have more time for something you are called to do. I have found that because of so many changes, I have gotten better at it, and I am better at turning it over to God. I am feeling pretty good about it most of the time.  THEN, comes a BIG change that hits me sideways, and I have to remind myself again of what I need to do.  My head knows, but my heart?  Not so much.  However, the quicker I take it to God, the more clarity I have of His direction.  I’m not letting my feelings get involved first, but God’s direction.

So what’s the solution?  Maybe thanking God for placing us where we are is a good start.  Confession?  I like my house and all we have done with it.  I LOVE being close to the ocean!  But if I could, I would move back closer to my family and friends in a millisecond!  However, I’m not in that position.  God has a different idea for a different purpose.  And His different purpose just might be a smaller connection than what I thought it was when we moved here.  You see, He definitely answered my prayers for a quiet place to live!  I have a wonderfully scenic back yard with the deer to watch come and go at times.  Not much traffic and quiet enough to hear birds singing and watch them come and go in the trees.  I prayed for that.  He answered that.  But it looks different from what I thought it would be.  Change usually is.  I have to accept that God knows what is best and He will help me in these circumstances that He has brought me to.  He has called me away from the noise, but for a different purpose; to study, and to do a little excavating within myself.  I need to ask Him to help me see where I need to change and what I might need to do differently.  Or  bigger yet?  Where I might need to THINK differently.  Allow Him to do the work He wants to do in me and not be yanking at His arm trying to pull away from His grip like a child would do to a parent.  Because…He will allow me to pull away if I want to go my own way.  But that isn’t what is the better path for me.  In fact, that will just get me into trouble.  He reminds me that I don’t have to see where the path is going all the time.  He does.

What changes may God be telling you to get ready for?  What changes might you need to make within you so that you are content where you are right now?  Are you living for what Jesus has for you to do?  Or are you living out what YOU want to do in your life, as you convince yourself it is God’s calling?  It’s easy to do.  I have gotten stuck there a few times.  Ask the hard questions and God will give you answers.  But…be ready.  Here comes the truth!

The Bible says, “How a man/woman thinks in his/her heart, so is he/she.”  The decisions we make, makes the lives we live.  So, the bottom line for me is this question in the words of a well-known man, Chuck Colson, “How Now Shall We live?”  I, and only I, can decide.

Until next time…

~JoAnn