Choose This Not That

I will or I will not.  I can or I can not.  I change or I won’t.  I seek or I don’t.  I act or ignore.  Choose.  Today is just another day, really.  But the world was created to be marked off in years, and so we begin a new year.  365 days.  What will you do with yours?

I want to read through the Bible in a year, something I did 3 years in a row once.  It changed my life.

I want to walk/run/bike 1000 miles.

I want to determine to speak words of encouragement and kindness and build up those around me, to be a living, breathing, walking example of Ephesians 4:29.  May Grace fall on those around me and may I not sound like a clanging gong or a noisy cymbal.  This one needs work.  I used to be an encourager.  But “used to”s are yesterday’s vapor.  We must guard our heart but not let it harden. “Watch over [guard] your heart with all diligence for from it flows the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

I want to choose people over schedule.

I want to be a person who chooses God’s strength over my weakness and can face weaknesses, submitting them to the loving Potter hands of God who can mold me no matter how stubborn or set in my ways I am.

I want to take a photography class and capture time in space, a moment of falling suspended snow or the invisible curiosity of my grandchildren who are cousins and know they are connected in that untouchable thing called love and can’t quite figure out why.

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I want to choose Christ over culture.

To do that, I must understand that more than being a choice, it is a submission of my will to God’s will and that to do that I must yield to the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within me.

It is supposed to snow today.  I’m going to put on my ten layers of clothes and boots and outerwear and take a walk with my husband in the subzero windchill.  Maybe I’ll even make a snow angel.  Catch snowflakes on my tongue and wonder how each crystal can be as different as every one of the billions of humans on the planet.

Listen to the deafening presence of God in the winter stillness and know that I am connected to Him in that untouchable thing called love and can’t quite figure out why.

 


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Just Another Running Toilet

Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” Genesis 16:13 (NLT)

“Have a great time on your date!  Michael and I will have fun this morning,”  I reassured my middle daughter and her husband as they snuck out the back door.  My 2 year-old grandson Michael played with his car garage in the front room, talking happily to himself and his zoom-zooms.  As soon as Emily and Clark left, college sophomore daughter, Molly, set herself to doing dishes in the kitchen.

Then I noticed it. AGAIN.  The sound of running water coming from the bathroom.  I walked into the bathroom, determined to find the source.  Ah, coming from the toilet.  So, like any normal person, I hoisted the lid from the back of the commode to jiggle the little chain thing.  (Excuse my lack of toilet terminology knowledge.)  Except there was no little chain thing.  Only a small white tube to run water  into the return pipe.

That white tube was decidedly out of place.  It whipped up, rising above the toilet like an uncoiling snake, knowing no shame.  This was not a trickle of water.  This was a torrent.  Out of control, the little monster spun around and soaked my face, my hair, my clothes.  In a mili-second, I was standing in at least an inch of water on the floor of the bathroom.  I tried to shut off the water at the base of the toilet.  The valve. Would. Not. Budge.  I confess, I prayed not.  I screamed.
     ”MOLLY!!  CALL EMILY AND CLARK NOW!!!”
Unbeknownst to me, my nineteen-year-old was happily plugged in to her iPhone.  She didn’t hear a thing.
     ”MOLLY!! HELP!!”  No response.
Okay, I said to myself, put the tube in the return pipe and replace the lid on the back of the toilet.  Right. Water squirted out from under the lid, continuing to pour onto the floor.  That’s when I saw the clip.  The tube had a microscopic white clip on its side.  Clip attached.  Annoying sound stopped.   Situation under control.  A woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do.  It took all the towels they owned to mop up the bathroom.

Just another running toilet.

“You need to go in the prayer room!”  My bright-eyed roommate’s passion spilled into her voice.  Even though she carried her sweetly round belly, pregnant for the fourth time, mother of 3 boys, her energy caught me.

“Prayer room?  Where is it?”

Two days before visiting my daughter, I had arrived at the Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, ready for a surprise encounter from God, wanting direction for where I was to journey next in my semi empty-nest life.  I felt too unsure and too under-equipped, in mourning from life changes over the past 2 years. But I prayed.  Others were praying with me.  ”God, speak.”

Fending off the sleepiness from getting up at 3 am that morning to catch a plane from Iowa to North Carolina, I took the elevator down to the first floor of the hotel where the prayer room was located.  The door stood ajar, and the room was empty.  God’s presence beckoned as I walked in.  The Presence.

“Our names have all been prayed over.  Your name is next to a Name of God that the staff felt we needed to know.  You should look for it,” my roommate had encouraged me.

Arranged on tables around the room were sheets of paper with the names of God and over 750 women’s names placed next to them.  My name.  There.  Written on God’s heart next to El Roi, the God Who Sees.  El Roi, a God so watchful that He cares even when the smallest sparrow falls to the ground. A Fatherly God who is always near in the desolate places, helping us find a path through troubles, working out His plans for our future.  

El Roi, the Name of God that had been placed before me over and over the past 2 years.  I cried.  Tears of relief, tears of joy, tears because this God touches each one of us personally.  No, He doesn’t just touch.  He lifts, He provides, He restores, He heals.  He knows.

He knows every sleepless night you cradle your baby, every tear shed for an aging parent who can’t remember your name, every fear from the doctor’s diagnosis, every scar from feeling ignored in this life.  He sees the seemingly mundane, too.

Not just another running toilet.  Not just another tired toddler or challenging teenager.  Nor just another misunderstanding with your man or oatmeal that overcooked and stuck so hard to the pan that it took two days to clean.  He sees.  Like Haggai questioned, have you truly seen the One who sees you?  Ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  Ask Him to speak.   He promises that He will find you.





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