Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What Now?

Sitting here this morning, drinking cold, fresh water, with an air purifier cleaning my air and a washing machine humming along, I cannot help but feel guilt mixed with relief that it isn't me out there staring at a pile of sticks that was once my home, sifting through debris for any salvageable part of a life that has been blown away.  I am almost ashamed to be sitting here at all, with so many out there working to help others recover, but the little ones need their mommy here, and prayer is my work for the moment.  I am busy making lists of things we can donate, wishing my bank account held enough to make a difference, but knowing God always takes the gift and makes it enough.  All of us have felt, to some degree, the gravity of this disaster, and my heart swells to see the work being done and the sacrifices being made to help others rebuild and recoup.

I find myself asking, "What now? What is it that I should learn from this and how should this event change me, my perspective, my habits?"  Because when life is interrupted, in any way at all, doesn't God shout to us in these times? Doesn't He say, "Wake up! Listen! Look around! See My hand at work, see My people moved to love and serve, see My provision when all is lost, see My Grace in the midst of the suffering!" And how foolish would we be to SEE and then go back to life as usual? Chalk it up to a temporary inconvenience and move on with our busy schedules and priorities... Isn't that what we tend to do? We don't like change. We like comfort.  So we cling to Him in the middle of the crisis, and as soon as our comforts are restored, we forget.  So what should we remember? A month from now? A year from now? I don't know about you, but I have a list (of course, always a list with me) of things I don't want to forget.

1.  God is big. He is in control, and really, there is NOTHING that we control.  Our very lives are in His hands at every moment, awake or asleep, and every provision comes from Him, whether we take the time to be grateful for it or not. So I want to be THANKFUL in all things. Hold my hands open to accept ALL that He gives. The things that I see as good, the things I don't understand, the things that hurt, ALL of it, with a grateful heart and a childlike trust.

2.  God is good.  Life is unfair and harsh, nature is relentless at times, unspeakable tragedy happens all around us, but He is GOOD and He loves us and is bringing ALL things together for His purposes and in the end, we will see with Heaven's perspective and understand, but for now we REST and know that He loves us.

3.  God doesn't hurry or get stressed out, so if my life and purpose are in Him, neither should I.  If I am following Him, there is no need to worry about what I might run into, right? If He is leading and He is good, then can't I trust that where my steps go He has gone ahead?  Easier said than done, for sure, but it is truth and I want to believe it. Lord, help my unbelief!

4.   The people in my life are more important than the stuff in my life.  Of course we all know this. But look at how we spend our time... Are we living it? The last few days with no power, we have spent time visiting relatives, playing games with our kids, literally sitting on the front porch all afternoon blowing bubbles and lying on the couch late into the night with a single candle burning, just talking.  And it felt right, and good, and soul-nourishing, and I wonder why we don't turn things off when we have the choice?  I don't want to forget how full my heart has been as a result of slowing down and just being together.

5.  To be like Jesus, I MUST HELP those in need. I must give what I have, sacrificially, and trust God to provide for me and my family.  If we do not do this we can not call ourselves Christ-followers. I am so convicted about my selfish hoarding of resources to the point that I feel the urge to give everything away.  I am praying about what God would have us give to help others in this crisis and in the future, because that is what we are called to do!  We are not saved to sit comfortably and whine about electricity and hot water while our brothers and sisters go without food, clothing, and shelter.  (I am preaching to myself, rest assured, I did my share of whining!)

6.  I want to teach my kids to see outside the walls of their own home and their own comforts and be moved by the hurts and needs of others. They will be helping me this week gather items that can be donated to families with children who now have no toys or clothes to call their own.  I don't want them to forget this event. I want it to change them, too.  Parenting isn't always about sheltering your children from every unpleasant thing.  It is about shaping hearts to care for others and teaching them to live like Jesus.  If we don't, who will?

I know this post is a little "preachy" and I do not intend it to be, I just want to get these thoughts down in black and white before life gets back to its relentless pace and I get distracted and forget.   I want to truly SEE God in this, and my selfish heart fights me all the way.  I would love to know what things others are doing and changing as a result of this tragedy, because I think we can all inspire one another to do the good works that God has already laid out for us to do.  I love seeing believers being "Jesus with some skin on"!

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