Thursday, February 15, 2007

In popular praise songs we sing “You’re all I need, You’re all I’ve ever wanted,” “You are my all in all,” “You are the Lord of all I am,” “In all I do, I honor You.”

Do we really mean it?

I know God is trying to pound into my head the fact of these statements. Right now, I am so out of my comfort zone professionally, I have no reputation, I have few friends, I don’t feel like I’m doing very well (however, I do have the approval of my principal – that's huge) Anyway, my point is again about us starting over, you know, at this stage in our lives. I know I sound like a broken record and I don’t mean to. All of us need people in our lives to encourage, to learn with, to share with, to laugh with. There are times when we all feel alone, even when we really aren’t, like me, today.

As I grow to love my students, I’m adjusting and dealing better. Most of the time I sleep well, but there have been a few nights I couldn’t seem to let go of the concerns.

Actually mornings are my favorite. They always have been; the fresh start idea. I’m a morning person who basically wakes up singing. I blame my father. Because, of course, we must place blame instead of taking responsibility for our own actions; it’s the world we live in! (a little joke) He used to sing at the top of his operatic lungs down the hallway as he’s turning on lights and waking us four kids up. A fond memory of my father who is no longer himself. I’ll tell you his story.

Talk about feeling alone. Mom’s not a widow but she is lonely. She has Dad’s body to take care of, which is of some comfort, she’s thankful she’s able, but his mind is severely brain damaged.

After Dad’s car accident in March of ‘97, I learned there were worse things than death. He was in a coma for 2 weeks, then he awoke and was being rehabilitated. We were encouraged, he was making progress. He would talk and sometimes not make sense, but he was partially there. Then, he had a stroke, and another one followed. It set him back and in the ten years since, his health continues to fail and his abilities continue to diminish. His physical therapy was discontinued because he didn’t improve. He doesn’t talk, he has little expression and he’s becoming bed ridden.

The thing is, Dad was a dynamic pastor for more than 40 years of his life. He served in Korea, got a master’s at seminary, he sang tenor and played the saxophone. He loved playing golf and was always in excellent shape. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Now, he is just a shell of a man, either not aware or puzzled by those around him. I guess I understand his predicament less than what happened with BJ. His life seems to have little purpose.

On different occasions we’ve prayed that God would take Dad, but yet, he lives. We see the strain on Mom and we continue to pray and leave it in God’s hands, for what else can we do? She is a testimony of God’s grace no doubt as she continues to allow God to hold her hand and give her strength through her many dark hours.

Is Jesus all we need? Is His grace sufficient?

There are so many difficult scenarios in our lives, when healing DOESN’T come. How do we tap in to His resources? How do we get the power He promises? How do we let Him “reign in us?” We need a “how to” book.

Guess what? We have one. It is timeless. It holds the wisdom of the ages. It is as relevant today as it will always be. It is God’s love letter to us, yet do we read and re-read with the hopeful anticipation of that love? Do we truly hunger and thirst for it as we sing?

It is not about religion. It is about a relationship. Incredible, that Almighty God would want me, with or without a reputation, as if I could have anything to offer the Creator of the universe. It is an amazing love that we can’t possibly understand in many lifetimes of scenarios. And that’s as it should be.

It’s really not about us – we keep forgetting that, and we need to keep being reminded. Believers have all eternity to come to understand and appreciate the height, depth and length of His expansive and mysterious love.

“You are not a god created by human hands,
You are not a god dependent on any mortal man,
You are not a god in need of anything we can give
You are God and that’s just the way it is.

You were God alone from before time began
You were on Your throne, You were God alone
And right now in the good times and bad
You are on Your throne, You are God alone.

You’re unchangeable, Your unshakable, You’re unstoppable
That’s what You are.

You’re the only God whose power none can compare
You’re the only God whose name and praise will never end
You’re the only God whose worthy of everything we can give
You are God and that’s just the way it is.”

Thank you Billy and Cindy Foote for penning these lyrics and giving us a powerful musical illustration of our Almighty Father.



At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Deanna, Dan and I watched an extremely inspiring (and true) movie a couple of nights ago: Facing the Giants. The line spoken by the main character that keeps reverberating in my head is: "We will praise God when we win, and we will praise God when we lose!" This is such a worthy challenge! It obviously is not easy, but something that I am striving to adhere to more persistently.

Several years ago when Dan lost a church job under ugly circumstances, he and I did NOT continue to praise God...we became bitter instead. It took a great deal of time for us to be cleansed from the bad feelings and to again praise God sincerely. We allowed the circumstances to dictate our joy (lack of joy, actually). We have learned from the experience, and regret the wasted time that we should have been serving God, but instead, were wallowing in self-pity and anger!

It is so complicated when we really, really want to know WHY something is happening, but don't get an answer from God. He's not obligated to tell us why, but we feel like we will feel better if we can just understand why! We would do things differently if we were God, huh? Not better, but just differently.....

We've often wondered what is going on with Papaw's life, too. And of course, we still don't know!

But with new resolve, I "will praise God when we win, and praise God when we lose!"

Praying for you and Brent!

Love, Jolene

At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are so many times in our lives where we thank God without actually realizing what He has done for us. We thank Him for a moment of Peace, when He has offered us eternal Peace, we thank Him for getting us through a rough spot, when He brings us through our very lives. God has really been bringing this home to me lately, so thanks for your honesty.

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the story and the reminder of God's continuing faithfulness!!
Love and prayers,

At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ecclesasties 5:1-7 - Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifices of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.
When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fufilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fufill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fufill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, "My vow was a mistake." Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless, therefore stand in awe of God.


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