Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Be Still and Know...One Thing is Necessary!

It's that time of the year again. The craziness of the holidays - Oh my goodness! The hustle and bustle: traffic gets worse; the weather is unpredictable. We've had rain, really cold temps for this time of the year, rain, wind, it snowed, and did I mention the rain? And sometimes our lives, my life gets so hectic and in such disarray I just want to hide under the covers! Here is just a small description of the last two weeks.....

The weekend before Thanksgiving we discovered a small drip in our bathroom. After a phone call to the landlord, a plumber came out to take a look. The next day this is what our bathroom looked like:

Really? They decided to replace the entire cabinetry and sink, but the one they purchased and delivered was broken and had to be replaced. Now I had no plumbing in the bathroom, and family coming for the Thanksgiving holiday. So all of us were using MY bathroom! On the Saturday following Thanksgiving, the new cabinet was delivered and a counter-top brought in...only the counter-top didn't fit! So we had to wait again for a new counter-top. Oh, did I mention they delivered the cabinet and put it in my living room right where my Christmas tree was going? Yeah.... that wasn't going to work! So now all the bathroom things (towels, toilet paper, soaps, shampoos, etc...) are in the office. Where the Christmas decorations are.....

Finally got the tree put up, but the boxes the decorations were in can't go back in the office because that's where all the bathroom stuff is being stored....

In the meantime, I had sold the behemoth 65" television someone had given us in order to clear out my living room; my children bought us a new television on Black Friday which we were waiting to have delivered. I began to clear out the family room and make room for the new television. So now it's in disarray as I clear out clutter and rearrange the room.

The television was delivered yesterday and it was beautiful! And broken . . . Seriously?! Did I mention this is the first NEW television we have had since we got married in 1983?? Fortunately, they had purchased it online from Costco, so I packed it up and headed to my local Costco to exchange it and, while they didn't have the same television the kids purchased, I did find one comparable to it. So I now I have it installed and ALMOST have the family room in order.

Finally, yesterday, the cabinet, counter-top and sink were put into place. But still no plumbing..... I don't know when the plumber will be showing up! Now we have this:

We did have a really great Thanksgiving Day and I had all five of my kids together...in the same state, in the same city, in the same house! I even got ONE good picture! However, a nasty case of the stomach flu began the rounds of our family beginning on Thanksgiving night. Of the ten of us, I think five of them ended getting hit with it over the next six days. My son was to fly home to Tennessee on Tuesday, but he became sick and missed his flight. So we had to purchase him a new ticket to get home when he recuperated...his one way ticket was almost the same price as his original round trip ticket!  Don't you just hate money??

While I missed out on the stomach flu, I did get a nasty sinus infection that took me out for four or five days.Then add to all of this the rehearsals for Christmas events, pre-school programs for my granddaughter, trying to decorate for the holidays and just getting through the day-to-day stuff: laundry, dinner, groceries, vacuuming, etc. and missing loved ones who are no longer here to celebrate with us.

In the midst of it all, I forgot the most important thing, the one thing God specifically spoke to me over four years ago...

Be still and know that I am God!

This is the one time of the year that I so often dread. We've lived away from our family for 25 years now and one would think that we would have adjusted to that by now. But this is the time of the year that we miss gathering with them the most. It was also around the holiday season that my mother, aunt and my sister left us and moved to Heaven. We miss them so much, especially at the holidays. The weather affects me a lot - I need sunshine and here in the Pacific Northwest the winters tend to be so wet and dreary; shorter days mean a lot less sunshine anyway. And then there are always the financial concerns...will we be able to buy Christmas presents for the kids?

But when I stop long enough to listen, I hear the Voice that reminds me...Be still! Much like Jesus said to Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary" (Luke 10:41,42) . . .

I have been anxious about many things; 
and I have felt guilty for feeling anxious!
And I have forgotten the One thing necessary...

One day many years ago an angel appeared to a young teenage girl with a message . “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:30-33).

And again to the shepherds a while later: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).

This simple message brought so much hope to a nation of people who had not heard from God in nearly 400 years. And this same message brings hope to us today. In the midst of all of my worries and frustrations I can find answers in the message of the angel - a Savior has been born and He brings with Him hope, greatness, and sovereignty over all. 

In my frustrations, there is peace; 
in my fears and anxieties, there is hope; 
and in my uncertainty, there is faith.

As I look back over the last six months, I can see God's hand in so many events - miracles, really. Huge things that no man could have accomplished. And then I look at my worries and concerns and realize they are nothing compared to what my God has already done. This morning a friend of mine posted on Facebook, "Everyday, even when I have to encourage myself, I CAN DO THIS. I CAN DO THIS...Nothing is impossible...I CAN DO THIS." She reminded me that even when we doubt we can do what we are facing, with God nothing is impossible! Even Mary wondered how this could possibly come to be as the angel gave her his message; and he answered her by saying,  

"For nothing will be impossible with God" 
(Luke 1:37).

So, much like Martha as she complained about all she had to do, I have found myself discouraged and complaining about the things going on around me and my own inability to change things. But as Jesus told Martha, "Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:42), I will choose the good portion . . . Jesus

The psalmist wrote,

"My flesh and my heart may fail, 
 but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalm 73:26

Jesus, my portion . . . all that I need. The One necessary thing!

'Lena Ehlert
© 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

There's something about the light...

"In Him there was life,
 and that life was a light for the people of the world."
 (John 1:4)

The past six months have been filled with so much "life". Some of it good; some of it really hard. I have often found myself in the "just keep up" mode. And the one thing I have really missed is writing. Oh, I've written a lot in the last few months, but it has all been papers and assignments for school. What I have really missed is just sitting and writing whatever the Lord speaks to me.

This week, my husband is on vacation and I discovered I had a week long break from school. I have spent the first few days just catching up and breathing. Today I decided I would try to write. When I opened up my blog, I discovered a post I wrote in December that I never posted. And while it may seem to be the wrong season, as I read over it I realized it is the right season in my life, and the life of others I have spoken to lately. So, here's my Christmas post in July.....

There's something about the lights...

Christmas usually comes with anticipation. Children are writing letters to Santa and making wish lists; parents are checking the ads and websites to fulfill those wishes. There are school Christmas programs, church Christmas concerts;

I have to admit that usually when I think about the upcoming holidays my first reaction is not one of joyful anticipation. While others are anxious to begin playing Christmas music and are out fighting the traffic and crowds to purchase Christmas presents, I begin to miss the big family holidays I remember as a kid; I start thinking about the family members that have left us and won't be here this year. I begin counting the pennies and looking at the budget to try and figure out what we can get for presents. I usually begin the season with dread . . .

And then we put up the Christmas tree; we string the lights and put up decorations. And soon I find myself getting in the spirit. We start playing the Christmas carols, watching the Christmas movies and I remember the reason...it has something to do with the lights.

All those years ago when Mary and Joseph found themselves in a stable with a newborn baby, there were others outside looking at the lights. The wise men found themselves following a star. The shepherds were out minding their sheep when the angels appeared and filled the sky with light. What they didn't know at the time was the light of the world had just been born.

Years later, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).

As we look all around us we can see there is darkness in our world. For some of us, we don't have to look far -there is darkness in our family.

But then we remember - there is a Light.

When God created the world, it started in darkness. And then He said, "Let there be light." He always intended for there to be light in the world. As sin entered the world so did darkness and we have been battling the darkness since then. So God sent the Light again in the form of a baby . . . Jesus, His Son. 

The hardest part of Christmas for me is taking down the lights; I love that soft, warm glow as they illuminate the room. It makes me feel safe, surrounded in peace and comfort. But then I remember, there is still a Light that illuminates my life bringing peace, comfort and joy, shining the light of His love on me and giving me the "light of life."

So now, Christmas is long over, the lights have been put away for months, and to be truthful, I have found myself battling the darkness again. I needed this reminder of what God spoke to me months ago. The Light of the world has come and  . . . 
there's just something about The Light.

Merry Christmas in July!