The Long Haul
Happy New Year
As I sit here trying to pour out wisdom I don't have onto the page, it strikes me odd that every year we fail. At the beginning of every year we make promises we don't keep, set goals that are unobtainable, make resolutions. I get so frustrated with myself when I do that, so I've chosen never to make a New Years resolution again. I guess I'm strange that way.
Just like it's very difficult for me to write a short story, or confine myself within the few lines of this blog, so I suppose I look at the long haul. Nobody knows the future (except God Himself)! Not even Christ knows when He will come back. For centuries we have speculated and theorized and caused mass panic with the idea the He's coming now. Make no mistake, we all will have to answer to Him eventually, and yes, He is coming back!
However, if our focus is on our failures, we're missing the beauty God has for us in the meantime. The long haul, so to speak. Yes, life can be cruel and hard, especially when you are going through a season of difficulties – something we all experience sooner or later. But I look out my windows and see the beautiful trees that look like they had been dipped in glass. I mean – WOW! Driving down to Connecticut for Christmas Eve with the extended family, it was absolutely gorgeous! My children drove down in the early morning and experienced a glorious sunrise.
Right now it's snowing. My fireplace downstairs is cranking out heat, and it's absolutely peaceful. Now and then I see the snow being blown off the roof and when that happens little wisps of white are carried through the air. It makes me giggle when I see it (yes, I'm strange). At other times,though not today, the whole shebang of snow slips off our metal roof with a loud boom, crashing down like an avalanche. The first time that happened, we were quite disturbed and every time it happens, the house shakes.
Am I just rambling? Possibly, but there's a point to this.
My point is to let you catch a glimpse of the beauty I see right now. When we take stock, even in the midst of our deepest sorrow, our hardest moment of doubt or fear, we get little glimpses of God. He sends us these little moments of encouragement. But we have to be open for them and acknowledge them as such. God wants us to take heart and hold on to Him through the hard times. It's not about practicing a religion - going to church on Sunday and then repeating what we've been doing. Our life should be about surrendering our hearts and minds to Christ. He's the vine and we're the branches. New Year resolutions are short term, usually, and there is such a great chance to fail. And then we give up. If you feel the twinge that you need to change, then fall to your knees and ASK for guidance and help!
Before I lose y'all in my rambling, the long haul is where God has us.
It's not about these short bursts. We are being sanctified. I love Oswald Chambers' 'My Utmost for His Highest'. He talks a lot about sanctification. We don't become a Christian one day and all our troubles and all our trials and our character flaws are wiped out. Some of us do experience a cleansing, a peace that doesn't come from us, when we come to Christ. But after a while, we are told to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. And with that, we enter back into reality and our existence becomes muddled again and mixed with all sorts of things.
The long haul.
We're in this journey called life for a reason. God didn't put us on the earth and told us, You've got it, my friend. Move along. You're all set. Here's a piece of paper that specifies that you're a Christian. When your life is over, hand it in. Good luck with life. How cruel would that be?
We have a God, who wants to be an active participant in our life, no matter how ugly and muddled we've become with the world. And sometimes that is a painful experience for us, because it requires Him to cleanse us (with supersoap, people. As the song declares). He's sanctifying us, setting us apart for His glory.
I have a father (you may now shout, Really?!?!?). I love my dad very much. Unfortunately, and I don't mean it in a negative way, he wasn't around for a lot of my life due to his career. I'm exceedingly happy for that job of his because I got to travel the world from the time I was a child. And I got to live in some pretty amazing places. On top of that, I met my exceedingly wonderful husband, something that wouldn't have happened if my father wasn't in the business he's in. He's done a great job being my dad, but he couldn't always be there for me all the time.
God, on the other hand, can and is. He's there with you when you're going through the highs of a mountaintop experience, such as getting married. The bride and groom at their wedding are totally oblivious of things going on around them during the ceremony. It's all good, no matter what. I'm talking of that kind of a feeling. Like when you're looking at the face of your first born child and notice that he's slightly blue. But it doesn't matter, because he's absolutely beautiful. God is with you.
He's there when you hold the hand of a loved one for the last time, watch them draw their last breath. He wants us to know that He doesn't leave us in the valley experiences. He's there when we don't know if we can put food on the table. Somehow, He even provides in that instance, be it through an anonymous person who feels the need to drop food off at your door, not even knowing you. I've seen that happen.
No matter where you are right now, know that the creator of the universe, the one who spoke life into existence with His Word, is with you. Let that marinate for an instant, please. Just sit there and let yourself experience it. You may never have allowed God to enter your life, you may feel that He can't possibly because of what you've done. Or you may feel that He's just too harsh. Let God speak to you right now and let Him love you. Remember that He's your Father! A father loves his child. My own earthly father loves me. But he won't let me make a mistake. He'll sit me down and speak to me, sometimes lovingly, sometimes harshly if I don't pay attention. And he'll watch over me always, no matter where I am.
God is that Father, only much more so.
As we go for the long haul of life, I pray that no matter where you are God will speak to you. Go for the long haul! It takes a lot of courage and strength to not let the valley moments keep you down. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to lift your head to cry out to God in those moments. And that is when the Father picks you up, whether you realize it or not.
Have a wonderful, happy New Year, filled with little moments of God.
If you came up to me and asked what I do, I'd have to tell you that I'm a wife, mother and teacher. A writer? you ask. Wow. Now that is something I never thought I'd be. But through God, all things are possible.