Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What My Chinny Taught Me This Week

I’ve introduced you to my ninja chinchilla, Fiona. She continues to inspire me as well as make me smile, which is a challenge these days while we continue to wait for a career job for my Daniel.

Anyway, every evening and every morning, I get Fiona out of her cage so she can stretch her legs and do all the ninja moves she likes to do. In the evening, she is quite active because she’s just waking up and getting her ‘day’ started. In the morning, she’s not as wild and crazy, spending most of her time tunneling in my oversized pajama pants.

Fiona is a fearless ninja when it comes to the heights she’ll jump or walls she’ll scale, but she is a skittish critter if she hears any loud or startling noise. Anything unexpected, she moves at lightning speed (you think I’m kidding), zipping into the nearest available ‘tunnel’ for what she perceives as safety.
Now, her playtimes are held in a basement bathroom. No windows. Just a small, enclosed room. As far as she’s concerned, it’s the only place on earth that even exists. Except that her hearing is so good. One footfall from above, water rushing through the walls if someone upstairs turns on the sink or flushes the toilet, even sounds from outside that I’m not even sure I picked up but she sure did – all these things have the potential to send her scurrying for cover.
As if she understands me, I reassure her that she is safe, that the ‘noise’ can’t get to her, and that she should come on out of my pants and enjoy her run-around time. Sometimes it works. Other times, she’s so convinced of danger, she hovers at my cuff and peers out in what I call her ninja trance. That means, she is not moving another muscle.

At times like these, I wonder if in the cosmic scheme of things, I act like Fiona. I mean, walking in fellowship with God my Father, the palm of His hand is like Fiona’s enclosed play space. Safe. Yet, I insist on ducking for cover, stressing out, letting fear paralyze me even when God is telling me it is safe.
His Word is full of ‘fear not’s. Why don’t I listen to Him? As Fiona’s guardian, when I tell her all is well, I’m certain it is. How much more certain is God when He tells me that all is well?
Certainly, I should believe Him.
Do you?
Have a wonderful weekend, Dry Ground friends. I continue to appreciate your patience with me!
(photos by yours truly) 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Low Down on Grace

Have you ever been ‘low’?
Not I-broke-a-nail or stubbed-my-toe low. Not the-picnic-got-rained-out low or front-row-tickets-already-sold-out low. Not even we-lost-the-championship low or my-dog-ran-away low.
No, I’m talking about the bottom of the barrel, rock bottom, the end of the rope already frayed to single fibers – so low that you wonder why you’re still breathing?
This world is full of things that will drag you to the low point. It’s different for everyone, that last straw, that one thing that takes you from standing strong to utter weakness, from seeing the silver lining to pitch black loneliness and despair.
I don’t know if everyone experiences that hopeless feeling of wanting to give up. But I’ve sure met a lot of people who’ve been there or are there.
Even {gasp} Christian people. 
True, Christians have the resources to stay positive – we have the ultimate, eternal hope secured that exceeds death itself. We carry the heavy burden of feeling we should keep it together all the time, not ever reach that lowest of lows.
But that doesn’t exempt us from troubles (Ps. 34:19), and as humans, troubles can take us down low.
The thing is, God’s Word is full of righteous people who have been that low. Those who have suffered incredibly more than I could ever imagine. And in those stories, I find out how they overcame the awful pressure to give up.
God loves us so much that He addresses this issue, really throughout His Word. Two accounts especially stand out to me lately.
First, the Apostle Paul. I’d say he was a pretty strong dude, physically, mentally, spiritually, everything. He was stoned within inches of his life a couple times, ship wrecked, imprisoned… but he keeps such a great attitude! Sharing with us his encouragement through the letters to the early church. But in 2nd Corinthians (12:7-10), he also admits that he was given a thorn in his flesh. It says it tormented him and he begged the Lord to take it from him three times. He really, really wanted whatever this thing was dragging him low to be gone!
But God said no. Even gave a reason. But He also gave Paul a tool to cope. He told him: My grace is all you need.
Second, Jesus Himself. Of course, we know He suffered. That’s the whole point – He suffered in a way we’d never survive, but would have had to endure if He hadn’t done it for us – pay for our sins, penalty of which being death. But just because He was God didn’t mean that the act wasn’t a sacrifice through which He suffered greatly. He even asked God the Father to be delivered from it, sweating drops of blood He was so stressed (a human, physically possible occurrence). (Luke 22:42-44) Yet He ended that prayer with: not My will but Yours be done.
I don’t know where you are. Perhaps life is trucking along great with no worries plaguing your upbeat, joyful, smiling attitude.
I just know where I am. But if I have two weapons left in my arsenal for this spiritual war called life, it’s these:
God’s grace is all I need.
God’s will be done.
I hope this reminds someone else to look Up no matter your current vantage point.

 P.S. I found this looking for a picture to go with my thoughts. This is what grace does to our despair! When our sight says - this pit is bottomless! - grace reminds us that our low has a measure and God has it all under control.