Candy blogs: I am honored to be guest posting today over at my new online friends’, Kevin & Melissa Main’s, blog … MainWriters: Faith and Family. Click here to read it. This is one of my favorite posts written as I was pondering and praising God for freedom in Christ.
Kevin and Melissa Main are avid writers with many gifts and talents to share with the Body of Christ. You will enjoy their work, photographs and their wisdom.
For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy! Psalm 149:4-5
Candy blogs: It’s official! I’m finally going to be a grandma! I’ve been talking about it for so long, now it’s time to settle some longings into thoughts and actions.
Our daughter and SIL will make us grandparents early next May. They’ve been married for three years and we have tried not to inundate them with when’s. On a day not so long ago in September we had our kids and their honeys over for Sunday dinner to celebrate my husband’s birthday. After dinner we went to the living room to visit. Our daughter brought out a big gift bag which, of course, we assumed was for her dad’s birthday.
The first instructions were not to open the card yet. So when he opened the bag out came TWO tee shirts … hmmm … Abbey said one was for mom. I unfolded it and there is was!
And there was Scott’s shirt with a computer progress bar …
Grandpa-to-Be Loading … please wait
All four kids stared at me, holding their breath, waiting for the screams and giggles they were expecting. But I sat there with my mouth wide open and not a word came out for a full minute. I was just stunned. I’d been trying not to think about it for so long and now it was here. What had just happened?! My baby girl was going to have a baby. I finally came to and we started the hug fest.
It turns out that the card was actually the ultrasound picture! We could see the little Barinaga baby right then!
I do look a little dazed …
And, just like all grandparents-to-be before me, I have had trouble thinking of anything else since that day.
We want our children to experience parenthood …
As our kids grew up and left home, the “circle of life” became more meaningful to Scott and me. Our primary job was done. The kids were raised. Bring on the empty nest! And we have had ourselves a great life so far as empty-nesters! But always in the back of our minds was our aging parents and grandpeople.
We want our children to experience the joys of parenthood … to wonder at the miracle of new life … to elevate their oneness to a new level … to hold life in their hands and stare into the eyes of the past, present and future … to take their place as part of the ages.
My grandparents meant so much to me …
I’ve always been very aware of the “timeline” of the ages. Even as a child I was focused on listening to family stories and saving memoribilia and taking pictures and putting them in photo albums. I always had a sense of the importance of the past and being responsible for my portion of the timeline.
My great grandparents and grandparents left behind a beautiful legacy of photographs and journals and albums and family Bibles. I deeply loved and respected them. In just a few days will mark 14 years since my beloved Grandpa Ken passed away. Grandma Blanche followed 18 months later. I spent much of my life with them all the way through high school.
Grandma sent me $20 every month when I was away at college. They encouraged, protected, nurtured, affirmed and accepted me. They made me sing solos and gave me piano lessons. They told me Bible stories. The prayed over me until the day they died. They pointed me to Jesus Christ and laid the foundation for a lifetime of ministry. I can’t imagine my life without their influence.
I want to be that kind of grandparent. I want to honor them by continuing their legacy in my portion of the timeline. I will tell my little grandpeople about those who came before them and the God they served.
The history of our grandparents is remembered not with rose petals but in the laughter and tears of their children and their children’s children. It is into us that the lives of grandparents have gone. It is in us that their history becomes a future. ~Charles and Ann Morse
your grandma-in-waiting …
Candy blogs: God only opens the door to the future one step at a time. I remember about 15 years ago I was right in the middle of a huge jam. I was raised to DO and WORK and SERVE in the church. I was raised to try to get more on the DO side and less on the DON’T side. More on the good side than the bad side. I did and worked and served and rarely said no because I thought that the approval of men would make me more loveable to God.
At the age of 38 I found myself to be an angry, exhausted, resentful, frustrated, powerless, empty woman. I saw my life then as a mini tornado that swirled and swirled in front of my face. And I could see “issues” swirling around in the tornado but they were moving so fast I couldn’t make out what they were. I knew these were things God wanted to talk to me about but I didn’t know how to make the swirling stop so I could focus on those issues.
When I finally stepped off the roller coaster life I’d been leading my whole life, I began to see the swirling slow and then stop. The issues became clear to me.
What I had feared, my Red Sea, was solitude. Quietness. Lack of activity.
Through a powerful class and God’s Word, I began to unpack those issues in quietness and stillness. I was afraid of the quiet because I knew that the knocking on my heart’s door would become so loud I would have to
actually DEAL with it. The first lesson? Stop all forward motion. Sit at Jesus’ feet. Listen and don’t speak.
This seemed impossible for me to do. I was a doer. I was goer. But the direction was clear. STOP. BE. What I discovered was that I had gotten to the place where I could no longer hear God’s voice. I was wandering around in the desert hitting my head on brick walls. But as I put myself intentionally into times of quietness, adding margin for stillness into each day … time to process and think things all the way through … reading His Word and talking to the Lord … and just sitting in His presence, His voice became familiar to me and I could begin to understand the other issues He wanted to talk to me about.
When I held up the mirror of God’s Word, I saw ugliness looking back at me. … pride, arrogance, self-sufficiency, dominating, cruel, irritable, easily angered, needing to be the center of attention, craving approval & applause. These were my bondage, my Egypt.
The journey out of that mess was long and painful. I faced a few armies and obstacles and changes of course. It felt like I was crossing the Red Sea, looking at the wall of water on both sides of me and wondering if they would hold, wondering if God was truly making a way for ME … but all the while being totally aware that I was walking on dry land.
I crossed into freedom and have never been the same. I don’t walk perfectly but I no longer feel guilty about things that don’t really matter. I have a strong sense of joy and purpose. I rest in knowing that no matter what I DO or DON’T do, God will never love me more or less. I don’t wonder anymore if I am good enough. I listen more than I talk. I lean IN to His will and purposes for me instead of running away from them. I serve in my God-given strengths instead of saying yes to every opportunity that presents itself. My spirit is teachable and ready to hear and apply Truth. I hear His voice when He speaks to me.
I believe that every step of our journey is a choice. We can shake our fists at God and question His ways (which, BTW, He can handle and doesn’t love us less for) or we can look for how He is building our character. We may not always control what comes our way but we can choose our response.
Now … the questions for pondering and discussion on the way to our transformation …
What is your Egypt? Are you in bondage to anything?
What is your Red Sea? What do you fear?
We all have our own list. Is anything standing between you and freedom?
But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? Galatians 4:9
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
There is an old song I used to sing. So meaningful to me at different times in my life. It came to mind as I was working through this post.
♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ Janet Pascal ♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
Keep choosing His ways … they always lead to freedom.
Candy blogs: The Israelites are such a great example of what not to do, aren’t they? I remember the first time I read through the entire Bible, I was in my 20’s. I kept stopping to whine to the Lord about what idiots the Israelites were as they wandered around in the desert. God would do a big miracle for them and they’d be happy for about five minutes. Then they’d go do something stupid and get themselves in a huge jam that only God could get them out of. And God would save them. And they’d be happy for another five minutes and the cycle just seemed to continue until Jesus came.
In my 20’s this was frustrating for me to read over and over. I just wanted them to learn the lesson, love and obey God and WIN! Get on with it. Start LIVING the life God freed them to live instead of wandering around hitting their heads against brick walls all the time.
And this happened right out of the chutes. They had just barely left Egypt after the HUGE miracles of the plagues. They were all believing God and ready to BE FREE. God had been leading them with the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. They could actually SEE the presence of God every minute of their day and night. God’s presence was tangible. I like to imagine going to sleep at night in that camp and perhaps awakening to troubling sounds. But then looking over at the pillar of fire … there it was. God’s presence. What a comfort.
Pharaoh changed his mind about letting them go and sent his army after them to bring them back. So when the Israelites saw that the Egyptian army was coming after them, they were suddenly aware that they were a huge, vulnerable group of newly freed slaves, untrained and unaccustomed to war. The Egyptian army, on the other hand, was the best trained and best equipped army in the world. So they had 600 Egyptian chariots coming at them from one side and when they turned the other way, there was the Red Sea.
They were truly trapped. This was their first huge jam.
Well, of course they were terrified and started screaming at Moses about why in the world they were out in the middle of the desert in this horrible situation when they could be back in Egypt happily making bricks and living in slavery.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But is it?
What would our first reaction be if we found ourselves figuratively between an army and the sea? We always SAY we would choose freedom. We’d choose GOD’S ways. We would be OBEDIENT because God’s side always WINS.
But the challenge the Lord put before me recently is this: WE SAY THAT GOD WILL MAKE A WAY. We believe this. We know God’s Word, the Bible, says this. We often say this to others when THEY’RE in a huge jam.
But when WE’RE facing adversity, often our life actually reflects something more like: BUT WILL HE MAKE A WAY FOR ME?
God usually leads us one step at a time.
Very seldom do we hear of someone who got the whole life plan from the Lord when they first came to know Him. It was the same for the Israelites. When they set out in the desert, no one knew exactly where they were going. They were just … going. They just followed the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. The pillars confirmed God’s presence and His leadership.
So that meant that God had led them directly to this very tight spot. It wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t an error in judgment. It wasn’t rebellion. How could there possibly be so much trouble when they were clearly where God wanted them to be?
Moses was just following orders. He didn’t know what to do. He’d just spent 40 years on the other side of the desert. He didn’t know how to lead a million or more people. So God took over.
The pillar they’d been following then moved behind the people to stand between the army and the people. It stayed there all night. And while the pillar was protecting them, God told Moses to stretch out his staff over the sea so that the Israelites could go through the sea on dry land. This took all night long. I bet they weren’t expecting that.
What the Israelites feared (the sea)
became their way to freedom.
God’s plan for us doesn’t include coexisting with “the Egyptians”… he wants us free. Coping … getting by … settling for is NOT the plan. Overcoming is God’s plan. Staying in Egypt means slavery and bondage. God always wants to lead us to a better place. He always leads us forward to the promise.
What do I mean by God will “make a way”? Did God always intervene in the battles of Israel? Did they always win their battles? No. There were many, many years of enemy occupation of Israel. Does this mean that God will always get me out of all my jams … at least as I see jams? No. None of us
escapes hard things. The promise of God isn’t to spare us from conflict but to
help us overcome them.
God only opens the door to the future one step at a time.
This makes me think … does my life really line up with my beliefs, values and the words that come out of my mouth? There will be more in Part II …
This post was inspired by a lesson written by Daniel N. Berg