Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Road to Here

Today is Spiritual Journey Thursday, a day for me to spend some time turning toward God.  Please feel free to join me on this journey each Thursday with Holly Mueller and friends.  For the next several weeks, Holly will be featuring our one little words.  Today's featured word is TURN, my one little word. 

My road to here has not always been a straight path, a safe drive, nor have I taken the scenic route.  Along the way I have encountered...

wrong turns
speed limits
traffic jams
caution lights
stop signs
one-way streets
speeding tickets
construction zones
speed bumps
dead ends 

I have met roadblocks along the way.  But God placed them there not to make me stumble, but to make me stronger.

I have taken curves, a different path than what I expected.  But this is when I learned that it is God's plan, not mine.

I have had detours.  But this is when He taught me patience.

I have gone over speed bumps.  But this is when He told me to slow down and be thankful.

I have have been given the wrong directions by people I trusted.  But this is when He taught me about forgiveness.

I have made some wrong turns, turning left when I should have turned right.  But this is when I learned about grace and mercy.

I have been lost.  But this is when He taught me to follow Him.

Looking back down the road to here, I realize that God was always the yellow dotted line in my road.  He was what I needed to focus on to keep from veering away.  On the sharp curves he was the double line telling me not to pass and to stay in my own lane.  To trust in Him.

As I make my turn toward Him, He has given me a roadmap, His word.  There is never a dead end when we take the right turn, a turn toward Him.

I leave you with my devotion from Wednesday.

Trust is a golden pathway to heaven.  When you walk on this path, you live above your circumstances.  My glorious Light shines more brightly on those who follow this path of Life.  Dare to walk on the high road with Me, for it is the most direct route to heaven.  The low road is circuitous: twisting and turning in agonizing knots.  There the air hangs heavy, an dark ominous clouds predominate.  Relying on your own understanding will weigh you down.  Trust in Me absolutely, and I will make your path straight.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

On Eagle's Wings

Today is Spiritual Journey Thursday, a day for me to spend some time turning toward God.  Please feel free to join me on this journey each Thursday with Holly Mueller and friends.  For the next several weeks, Holly will be featuring our one little words.  Today's featured word is Fly from Michelle at One Grateful Teacher.  Thank you Michelle, for letting us fly with you this week.

I finished Gari Meachum's Spirit Hunger, and once again found inspiration for this week's post.  This book is about seeking God and feeding our Spirit hunger.  I think because we share our words each Thursday, we are all seeking God in some capacity.  Maybe we are seeking Him because we have been away awhile and need to rekindle that relationship, or we are seeking for a deeper, more meaningful relationship, or simply seeking to be with Him on a regular basis.

Just because we seek, doesn't mean our journey is easy.  Seeking is difficult for me personally, which is one of the reasons I started this blog.

Gari's last paragraph in the book says:

Spirit hunger is a lot like kite flying.  If we are willing to get in the air, we'll be carried by the Spirit's current, which is more than able to sustain us.  We don't need to be afraid of the wind of the Spirit; instead we can fly in it.  For with this sure hope, our Spirit hunger will find wings of its own, and soar. (Emphasis is mine.)

If we can just get into the air, we can fly.  I don't think this is too easy either.  Each of us go through dark times, times when we don't want or can't get into the air.  I have learned during these times God lifts us and "under his wing is where we find refuge."  ~ Psalm 91:4

One of my favorite Catholic liturgical songs is On Eagle's Wings written by Father Jan Michael Joncas and is based on Psalm 91.  Many Catholics sing this song at masses and funerals, and it is a good reminder how God raises us up on eagle's wings so that we can fly.

My prayer for all of us is that we continue
to seek Him,
to feed our Spirit hunger,
to be sustained by the Spirit's current and 
to ask God to help us fly.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

He Listens

Today is Spiritual Journey Thursday, a day for me to spend some time turning toward God.  Please feel free to join me on this journey each Thursday with Holly Mueller and friends.  For the next several weeks, Holly will be featuring our one little words.  Today's featured word is Listen, the one little word from Carol at Beyond Literacy.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

This is probably a familiar verse for many.  It is certainly one of my favorites.  As I continue to read Spirit Hunger by Gari Meacham, I am inspired once again.  I wrote last week about God's timing and how hard it is to wait for an answer.  It is during those long waiting times when many of us get discouraged or disheartened, and sometimes the spiritual journey takes a pause.  We start doubting and thinking God doesn't hear us, and He doesn't listen.

I find comfort listening to this verse, to know that yes, God does have a plan for me.  Even if that plan is not our plan.  But Gari says the words that follow this verse are the ones that "hold the punch."  

"Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me when you search for Me with all your heart."

We need to remember that a future filled with hope doesn't just happen.  We have to do our part in seeking God and praying for our future.  The real comfort lies in that He is always listening to us, even when we think He isn't.  In turn, we need to listen for God's voice to guide us along the way.

We seek.

We search.

We pray.

He listens. 

Update - I just returned from our teacher devotional/Bible study this morning and the lesson was about listening to God's whisper.  I love God moments.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Time For...

I revealed on my first post that my one little word for 2015 is TURN, and it was the inspiration behind this space for my journey.  

When I think about the word turn, I start singing the song, "Turn, Turn, Turn" by The Birds. Although this song was written during the time of the Vietnam War and was a controversial song, the lyrics come from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NRSV)

For everything there is a season, and
a time for every matter under heaven'
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

These verses remind me that there is a time for everything.

God's time.  

We don't always agree with His timing, but His timing is perfect.

Prayer is often about timing.  Many times when we ask for something, prayer becomes cyclical.

We ask, 
we wait, 
we ask again, 
we don't get an answer, 
we stop
we start over

Waiting is hard. When we don't get answers quickly, or we don't receive the answers we want, we wonder

Life is full of ups and downs and yes, times to weep and laugh, and mourn and dance, and embrace.

There is also a time to ask, and a time to wait, and a time to listen.

Because God answers, He always answers.

In His perfect time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Even the Disciples Lost Focus

Today is Spiritual Journey Thursday, a day to spend some time turning toward God.  Please feel free to join me on this journey each Thursday with Holly Mueller and friends.

For the next several weeks, our topics will be each other's one little word   Today's topic is Holly's word - focus.  I had a post ready to go, but another idea surfaced the other night as I was reading Spiritual Hunger by Gari Meacham.  I was reading a chapter on engaging God with prayer.
This particular section was "Lack of Stamina or Staying Power in Our Prayers."

I am a cradle Catholic, so most of my prayer life has been ritualistic, traditional prayer.  I can say a decade of the Rosary with no problem.  But it isn't long before I am rote praying, and my mind easily becomes focused on everything but the Our Father or the mysteries.  It is easy for me to lose focus when praying this type of prayer.  Or as Gari puts it, I have "...Attention Deficit Disorder when it comes to prayer."

As I kept reading, I realized the disciples, Jesus' closest friends, struggled with staying focused while praying.  

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray."  He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them.  "Stay here and keep watch."

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping.  "Simon," he said to Perter, "are you asleep?  Couldn't you keep watch for one hour?  Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

The last line is key to understanding that sometimes no matter how much we desire to be focused on God and want to have engagement with him through prayer, we are still weak.  He knows we wander and through His grace continues to center us.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Provider

My husband and I have been married almost 25 years, and I would describe our marriage as very traditional.  Maybe not quite a June and Ward Cleaver, but more like the Bradys minus four kids and an Alice.

I was a stay-at-home mom and enjoyed every minute of it.  We made sacrifices in order for me to do this, but it was worth it.  My husband takes great pride in being the provider for our family.  He worked hard as a banker for 30 years up until this fall when he started a new job.  Sunday, a decision was made and our life took a major turn.

We are left with so many unanswered questions.  How are we going to do this?  How do we get through this turn in life?

Last night I opened my devotional and God knew just what I needed to hear.

"Adverse circumstances become growth opportunities when you affirm your trust in Me no matter what.  You receive blessings gratefully, realizing they flow directly from My hand of Grace.  Your continual assertion of trusting me will strengthen our relationship and keep you close Me."

Then I went to the verse for this day.

"So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory."

As I closed my book, turned out the light and lay my head on my pillow, I knew this decision was in the hands of the real Provider.  We will be fine.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

It Begins...

A new year
A new journey
A new turn
A turn toward Him

Today marks a new journey for me.  It begins with my one little word for 2015.
I was roaming on Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience and once again, found my word.  I wasn't looking for it.  It found me.

When I read her words, "How when you are turned away from God, life turns ugly, but when you are turned toward God, life turns lovely." I knew TURN was my word.

I am ready for a lovely life.  Last year was a wonderful year for me.  I REACHED places beyond my expectations.  Most of my accomplishments involved my professional life.  It was great, but I was still missing something.  

I have a wonderful family and I love being a mom, a wife, and a teacher.  But I am missing that spiritual something.

This year, it is my turn.  It is time to focus on me through Him.  It is time to turn toward God.  It is time to turn toward His word.  

His light beckons me to
His light beckons me to
turn toward him

For you are my lamp, O Lord,
and my God lightens my darkness ~ 2Sa 22:29

This is my new place for my spirit and soul.  I hope you like it here, and I hope you come back.  Please feel free to join me on this journey each Thursday with Holly Mueller and friends.