Friday, December 3, 2010

Knitting and Weaving

This is what I'm talking about when God knits and weaves through our lives and how I need to be able to sense when He's on the move.

I posted 'The Soul's Speed Limit' on Monday.

On Thursday, I got this devotional:

FamilyLife - Moments With You

December 2

Just Say No
by Barbara Rainey

Which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost?
Luke 14:28

Join us 2-11-11

One of the main causes of the pressure that invades our lives is our unwillingness to discard optional responsibilities--not because they're a waste of time, but simply because they distract us from the main goals for our family and marriage.

I remember being at my children's school one day, talking with other moms about plans for the coming year. The woman leading the discussion said, "We need some of you to sign up for substitute teaching, to help out on days when faculty members need to be out."

Normally I would have been quick to volunteer. Nothing comes much easier for me than taking on more than I can handle! But on that day, I did not raise my hand.

Every good reason for volunteering popped into my head: (1) I'd be helping the teacher; (2) I'd get to know some of the other students in the class; (3) I'd be supporting my school and could keep better tabs on what's going on.

But at that time, I knew my plate was already more than full. Just then, the woman next to me, whose hand had been one of the first to shoot up, looked over at me, laughed and said, "I just haven't learned to say no yet."

We feel such a pull to be involved in anything that sounds reasonably worthwhile or wins us outside approval. But when people have asked Dennis and me how we do it all--especially back when our home was full of six active children--we have responded, "We don't do it all."

"No" has been one of the most liberating words we've ever used.

How often do you exercise the word "no"? Talk about how you can protect one another by discussing an opportunity before you respond. Being accountable to each other for decisions you make is not easy, but it builds oneness.

Ask God for clarity in decisions--and the courage to know what to say yes to and what to say no to.

Then today, I received this devotional:

FamilyLife - Moments With You

December 3

Four Places at Once

There is a proper time and procedure for every delight.
Ecclesiastes 8:6

Join us 2-11-11

If you were to point your car southwest of Cortez, Colorado, drive exactly 38 miles along Highway 160 and then hang a right on Four Corners Monument Road, in about a half mile you'd run into the only spot in America where you can be in four states at the same time: the intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. It's out in the middle of an empty desert, surrounded by dust, rocks and boulders.

But that doesn't stop upwards of 2,000 people a day from visiting Four Corners and waiting in line just for the thrill of having their picture taken standing in four states at once. Truly the American way, huh--trying to be four places at one time!

Truth be told, it's a picture of the way many of us elect to live our lives. We are constantly pulled in several different directions. Our pressure-filled, rush-rush, hurried lifestyle has a way of leaving us winded, dazed and addicted to the next item on our activity list.

It leaves us little time for serious spiritual reflection. Little time for anything more than snap judgments. Little time to share our dreams with each other as a couple. Little sense of where we've been and where we're going.

What's more, I fear that by crowding out any room for meaningful communication, original thought or spiritual insight in our family schedules, we're fueling in our children a raw addiction to activity, constant motion, continuous noise and endless sensory stimulation.

I urge you to stop and check the speed limit on this road you're on. Imagine a life that allows for real living ... the kind you'll never find at Four Corners.

What cutbacks and other restrictions could you impose on yourselves that would make your lives dramatically more manageable three to six months from now? Start by finding one thing you'll say no to.

Ask God to give you both the tenacity and the wisdom to build some margin into your lives and family.

I mean seriously. Does it really say, 'I urge you to stop and check the speed limit on this road you're on'? I marvel sometimes at how God speaks so clearly. The words of our pastor Pete ('our soul's have a speed limit') and just days later, almost the exact words in a devotional.

I so want to go-go-go sometimes. Take today for example. Nothing on the calendar to get done today. My boys just want to loaf around on the days they don't have school. I get it. I do, too. But there's this (ridiculous) pull in me that says, 'I should go to the gym,' or 'we should really get out and do something today.' But to what end? To just put something on the day as if the day didn't happen if we didn't do something. As if just being without doing is wrong. Then I read stuff like these devotionals and feel so convicted about how I want us to live. It is so okay to have one or two days a week when we actually hang at home. What a concept.

As with so many things in life these days, for me, this too ties into this experience of adoption.

I've been such a homebody the last several months that I've started wondering why. For the last several weeks, I've explored this more and suspect that perhaps God's preparing me for the days after we bring our kids home from Ethiopia. We won't be able to go-go-go. It will be many, many days, even weeks (maybe months!) before we can start socializing with friends and family as we do now. We'll just hang at home to allow them to adjust to life with us. To life here in the United States. To life anew.

When our social worker came yesterday, I was telling her that if I could have my way (which is a laugh when it comes to controlling the timing of adoption), I would love for the children to join us in May or June so we'll have the whole summer to just hang together. We kind of 'check-out' in the summers anyway, so it'd be perfect timing to just be together without the demands of school and having to beat the clock all the time.

Sorry for the sermon. I just can't bear to not speak up when God pulls out His knitting needles and yarn. :)

I will update you very soon on how the home visit went yesterday.

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