Being Quiet is Challenging!
I was driving in the car with two small peeps. One of the small peeps said, “I like the quiet in here.” “Me too,” I said.
Apparently when this little man gets in his dad’s car oft times it is filled with loud music and commotion, so he was enjoying the peace that came with the quiet as well.
Caught my attention, how easily noise fills our American lifestyle and culture. Everywhere we go elevator music is playing, closed circuit T.V. screens stream commercials and infomercials 24/7 while standing in most grocery store lines. T.V.’s play continuously in most households (I enter into anyway). Radio’s, IPod’s, MP3 players, and even old fashioned boom boxes.
When did we lose the art of silence?
When did that noise take over?
Quiet provides us an opportunity to listen to Holy Spirit and seek a calm that can be retrieved when we purpose to do that. Listen, that is.
Let the words of the “Word” come back into memory and do that promised work, you know the good work He started and promised to complete.
I am challenged by how much more I need the quiet than I even realized.
How refreshed I am in the presence of peace, again His peace, that really does surpass understanding, unless you have experienced it, it is hard to explain.
Lord bring back the art of quiet; heal us from the need to constantly fill the so called background with noise. Let us become familiar with Holy Spirit and communion with peace.
Time Mutated to the Max
I work at an elementary school, part time, in a special education classroom. I am a para educator and I thoroughly enjoy my job. It is delightful and exhausting. My shift is in the afternoon so I am there until the end of the school day. (this is a re-post, brought to mind by a current conversation, thanks Pastor Chris.)
I had completed my day and had just got to my car. Sitting in the driver’s seat and stretching my legs, taking a deep sigh and just getting buckled in. I was hurrying because if you don’t get out of the parking lot by 3:20 you’ll be stuck in the congestion for 10 or more minutes. Nothing like what you find on Highway 405 at 5 pm, but stuck none the less. I was struck right between the eyes with the realization that so many others here were doing the very same thing. Shoving to get in and then get out. Jostling their vehicles in just the right position to pick up the child and get out. Get on to the next task. Funny we are so polite to others until our parking spot or time has been absorbed.
I began to think about the process of multi-tasking and getting every possible ounce of productivity out of each and every moment that we breathe. I mean really sometimes that is how some of us live. We are a success if we can describe in detail the very best and most productive use of each minute in any family, job, even vacation or relaxation moment of time.
I think the fact that I had just read a job announcement from a company with a complete and ridiculous cold calling expectation might have had some impact on what was bringing this thought around. The advertisement on craigslist for the job had how long it took to dial a number, how often you would get a voice mail and the time it took to leave a message and then if you got a real person the average call would last 4 minutes and their goal for you was to make 800 calls a day. Now mathematically speaking it works out, but having done this as a job I can tell you 120 calls a day is really good.
So back to my point and thought: God created time way back in Genesis. As soon as He created day and then night a calendar began. Not before that – but just at that very moment. God created time for man, as a way to keep things in order and help prevent chaos. Seems we, man, have taken time and tried to micro-manage any of the freedom out of it we can. We are trying to be the god of time, instead of allowing God to be our time-clock. No longer can we stop and help someone, what if we are late? We have lost the value of craftsmanship and creativity to machinery that churns out 30K identical items per hour to be sold and reordered the same for the next shopper.
I think we have surpassed the line of productivity and entered into the twilight zone of a mutation of time. When will it end?
A funny thing happened today while on the way to the forum. Well ok I wasn’t on the way to the forum, but on my way to “Soaking Prayer”. Once a month Set Free Ministries and Chapel in Lakewood has an hour set aside for congregational prayer. There is something sweet about coming together with other believers and basking in a quiet hour to pray for the church/s, healing, direction, or you name it.
I had just left the house and was barely even a mile from home when my cell phone rang. It was my sister-in-law so I answered it. (Yes I know I was driving!) Usually she communicates via text, but I figured it must be important and it was.
Hi Jean, are you home?
No, I am on my way to an appointment and then work, why?
Well I forgot my license in my purse and my purse is in Janice’s car and I can’t get a hold of her because she does not have a cell phone right now. I can’t do my job here at Auto House unless I have my license. So I need a ride home. I will try someone else because I am sure your appointment is far more important than giving me a ride home.
Well important it is, I had been anticipating the quiet time in prayer for some time and really was hoping to lift before God again the upcoming Prayer Conference and all of us on the team and some of the challenges and concerns that have been presenting themselves.
Laura was talking in my right ear (through my cell) and I in a sense could hear Holy Spirit speaking in my left ear. The conversation went a little different than you might think.
Jean I know you are on your way to “prayer” but I have let someone call you so you can be an answer to their prayer. How effective do you think going to prayer would be and how silly would it sound to say I can’t answer your prayer need for a ride because I need to be at prayer right now?
I am always amazed at how quickly conversations like this take place in our hearts and minds.
I told Laura no worries I will be there in 20 minutes, I was already in route.
About an hour earlier I had asked a friend about meeting her for lunch and she declined. I had wanted to take YO to lunch for quite some time as kind of a blessing for all the times she had taken me out while I was unemployed. But alas she could not make it. I was disappointed at first, but after the call from Laura kind of relieved, because it would have been real hard to take her home and be back in time to meet YO for lunch.
See God knows our days and plans ahead, even before we do.
I picked Laura up and took her home and enjoyed very much the conversation, it had been awhile since we had really had any time to talk and catch up. When we got to her house I came in to greet her husband and Zitto the dog. Then I used the rest room and was back out on the road.
Wondering ok what next Lord? This day has been totally different then what I thought. I grabbed a bite to eat and slowly started heading toward my job looking for some form of a distraction as I had about 2 hours before I needed to clock in. I like being early, but I did not want to be that early!
I received another call this time from a buddy of mine in a panic about how to find the “playlist” she had created on RealPlayer for the worship service on this coming Sunday. I smiled and saw a place two blocks ahead to pull over and listen. I knew I was going to need to give full attention to this one.
As she was explaining her dilemma and frustration I remembered I had taken my laptop with me as I had planned on working on my workshop for the Prayer Conference. So I told her, hey wait a minute, let me open up my computer and my RealPlayer program so I can walk you through the process.
After a few minutes of fumbling trying not to hang up on my cell and getting my laptop unpacked I was ready to co-pilot her through it. We figured out what she needed and got the songs on the playlist in order and set up for service.
I am smiling again as I think about just the small things that God intervenes in, in our lives.
I left that morning really needing prayer and desiring some time on my laptop to complete my workshop presentation. Instead I got to be used by God to be a prayer answered twice all while sitting in the comfort of our “Nox” and learning to be flexible with my day.
What would God do for you or someone else if you allowed him to reshuffle time and intrude on your destinations?
Today my Honey and I celebrate 29 years of wedded bliss. OK maybe not always bliss. We have been married more than half of my life. I have known him since I was almost 12.
Many of you know our story, but some of you don’t.
Rod and I met when I was in foster care. His sister Fay was my foster parent, who later became known as mom, and to this very day is my mom! When we came into her care way back when, Rod was then considered my uncle and he was the cool kind of uncle that always brought his guitar and played songs we could hear off the radio and some goofy ones I’d never heard before. One of which I heard on a cassette tape (yes this was back in the day) and I fell in love his voice from that point on. I had a crush on him when I was 12 which I eventually out grew, since he was 12 years older than me and was committed to someone else at the time.
After I graduated and got a place of my own I became engaged and had asked Rod if he would sing at the wedding. He refused. I was heartbroken and very disappointed. How could my cool uncle Rod not sing, he did it for all the rest of the family!
A couple months more went by and I called off the engagement. I discovered that being espoused to someone addicted to pot and an alcoholic was not a healthy choice and God got me out of there!
Another few months later Fay, me, and Rod started hanging out on Friday and Saturday evenings going bowling, out to eat, and enjoying each other’s company. Rod began coming over and we would tinker around in my dad’s workshop. I was attempting to build a shelf and Rod had volunteered to help me. I needed an oil change done on my Ford Torino and he went with me to K-Mart to get the supplies. Simple adventures and a romance between Rod and I began. We were kind of keeping it quiet for a while because of the age difference and knowing that once it was out, that I was dating my uncle, the family may be a bit undone.
We were right about being concerned. It was hard at first. Rod’s daughter was only 3 and a half when we started dating and people wanted to make sure she would not be confused and unsettled. Many wondered how 2 people with the track record we each had could even be successful at dating, let alone getting married.
I have told many family members, friends, and others over the years the testimony of Rod and I. How God is so good about turning things around. He took two people that did everything backwards and created a new direction of forwards for us. We are together today because of the great love we share for each other and in Jesus Christ.
We could never have surpassed the odds of still being married without the hope we have and belief we share in a Savior that heals and provides a way for each and every one of us.
Our life together is fairly simple in that we don’t do much in spending for celebration, but we do, do much, in recognizing the moment, each other, and God for such an incredible journey. We will probably go grab a cup of coffee and take a brief walk to commemorate our day. We have agreed to do the fancy meal after Valentine’s Day has come and gone and the prices return to somewhat normal. (Part of the hazard of choosing a wedding date so close to the sweetheart’s day.)
Remember I mentioned above Rod not wanting to sing at my wedding to another man. Well the truth about this came out later after Rod and I had been married for some time. Rod confessed that he did not want to sing because he discovered he was jealous and did not want me to marry that man, but him. (Ah how sweet)
Happy Anniversary to my Honey and Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you who are reading this, may God bless you and keep you always!
Here is a great story about keeping romance alive and well by an acquaintance of mine Jodi Dietrick
Man’s Wedding Band Lost
Rod my husband lost his wedding band about 3 weeks ago. We were both very bummed. We will celebrate 29 years of wedded bliss this February and it was just something that I really did not want to hear, “Honey I lost my wedding band. I have looked everywhere and I cannot find it anywhere!”
We tore apart the bedroom looking under the bed, in the dresser drawers, through the things on his nightstand, in shirt pockets and coat pockets. In his tote bag and around the guitars and equipment. Near and around his computer area and throughout the garage. Anywhere we could think of.
He and I prayed and asked God please, please, please let us find this ring!
It is not about the cost, though I did wonder what if someone else found it would they just turn it in, exchange the gold for cash. It would not have any of the sentimental meaning that it has for the two of us. He has worn it sense we married and it has been part of him and us and that whole illustration of a band being like the circle of love, and now it is somewhere out there just rolling around. Ugh!
So we were disappointed, yet Rod continued to pray, I did too, but he more than me maybe because I lost the emerald that was in my ring. A gift Rod had given me for our 10th Wedding Anniversary while wrapping items for location closure in a warehouse while at work. And it took me two weeks to tell him about that! I was so scared to say hey guess what I lost? It was not found and my heart still aches over it. God did however provide a replacement stone. I certainly do not wear it while doing any laborious stuff anymore though!
Rod called me the other night and said, “guess where I…” that was all he got out of his mouth before I blurted out, “Where did you find it?!” Funny being married so long it doesn’t take many words to know what is coming next.
He did find it, or I should say Big Bird found it. Big Bird is one of the guys he works with, obviously not his real name.
Rod and Big Bird were in the warehouse unloading product and there it was lying on the floor as the fork lift moved another pallet full parts the gold shimmered and glistened and caught the eye of Big Bird.
God works that way, he glistens and shimmers and catches the eyes of those who are near. The testimony of finding the ring is better because someone else found it. I told Rod how wonderful is that, that Big Bird found it right there and could know that God answers the prayers of those he loves.
Rod could have found it somewhere on his own and he and I would have been grateful for it. But God revealed the ring to someone else so that a bit of who He is could be shared for the testimony of His name!
Wedding band lost and found!
Become encircled by the one who sent his only son just for you!
BTW his name is Jesus, do you know him?
Demanding God to send the humming birds now!
Claire is one of the great ladies attending bible study and our church. She is a visual person much like me, though God seems to communicate even more in Dreams with her.
She was getting ready for church this morning and had cleaned, filled, and hung up her hummingbird feeder. Getting kind of excited about the prospect of seeing the hummingbirds come and have some breakfast she in a sense demanded that God would send them even before she left for church. Send them right now!
I like Claire and her boldness. She always has a spiritual take on things just a little differently than I might and gives me a lot of food for thought.
Well she came up and greeted me this morning in the sanctuary and told me about her conversation with God and telling him to send the hummingbirds now! And she then said, “But you know what God told me not to test him since that’s what I was doing. So I won’t do that again.”
Claire kind of giggled and then said, “He was right ya know, I was testing him and I shouldn’t do that. I was just so excited about seeing them come to feed.”
Funny how there are times and things in our lives that we can and should ask for: healing, financial needs, a place to live, our spouses, needs for our family, a vehicle to drive, food to eat, clothes to wear, a job or promotion, salvation for people we know, understanding the Word, and discernment. We are even allowed to test him in our giving. But not allowed to test him with a hummingbird feeder.
Claire was wonderful in her sharing. Just letting me know that this was not a “best” practice to make a request, and that God had corrected her in love and she will enjoy the bird feeder all the more as the season continues and God provides.
I enjoy honesty and sharing the stories of life. God is so good to gently correct us and get us back on track.
My husband woke up the other morning thinking he had gone deaf.
Well let me back up a few days.
Rod and I went shopping for some items at the store. Nothing really out of the ordinary shampoo, toothpaste, dental floss, you know the daily consumables. As we were pursuing the store we passed an en cap with some impulse items for sale. One of the pegs contained ear plugs in a new formed blister pack and ever so appealing package. He bought some. Here is my self admission. I snore. Doesn’t usually bother me, but alas it does bother him. So he kindly showed them to me and announced that he thought these might help him get a better night’s sleep. True love, don’t ya’ just love it. We came home from the store and put the items away. And the ear plugs sat.
About a week and a half went by and he decided to try them out one evening. He comes to bed late, always has. I am the early one, he is the late one. Puts in the ear plugs and has a wonderful and quiet night’s sleep. He woke up the next morning having forgotten about them and thought surely he was deaf.
Now if you know Rod and his imagination this is a funny scene. He thinks to himself, “What I survived prostate cancer and now I am deaf! What next!?”
Then he realized that the ear plugs were still in.
I don’t really have a spiritual connection to share here like I usually would just words of encouragement in what may seem like the mundane themes of life. We sleep, eat, work, play, busy ourselves and start another day. Remember to listen for and look for the things of God even in the mundane. Don’t live without purpose or you could wake up deaf.
Consider not being able to hear music or song or laughter or family and friends talking ever again. Thank God that these are part of how he created us.
Psalms 139:13-14 (NIV)
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
I got out of the shower today and was getting dressed. I notice on my right forearm a quarter sized bruise and wondered where did that come from? I do not remember smacking my arm against anything recently or anything hitting me with that kind of force, what it takes to leave a bruise. I touched it with my pointer finger and did not feel any pain. Hmm deep enough to leave a mark but no pain when pressure is applied that’s odd. Our past life experiences are sometimes like that. We have some hurts that left a scar but by the grace of God and the blood of Jesus Christ they don’t hurt anymore. We may see or remember these bruises from time to time. Often we refer to them as our testimony. Maybe it was abandonment, divorce, abuse, neglect, addictions or whatever the case may be. Somehow by our act of laying these down before the cross the pain has been removed. We have walked through the healing process and moved on and see that there is life after such a tragedy. For others when they see the visual reminder the pain is immediately there! The agony of the hurt inflicted while going through the divorce or abuse lingers and they have not let God heal them. They are so used to wearing the pain and have become a victim of the action that they seem to not know any other way to respond. I hear it from time to time as I minister to people. The victim tone. My husband and I were facilitating a time of worship and Bible study recently for a group of men recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. One man came up to us afterwards and asked for prayer, but in his asking did more wining than confessing. He was being wrongly accused and set up. Now it is true that this happens, but it was his tone in the describing of the events that caused concern. Do you know what I am talking about? Think about it for a moment. Is it not true that sometimes we so love the attention and concern that we get when we wear our bruise or badge as a horrible accusation or infirmity that only we have ever had to bear! The ole woe is me story and no one else has ever been through this like I have! I am not assessing judgment here just pointing out the difference of allowing God’s healing verses continuing to wear the bruise. The choice is up to you. What are you going to do?
The Glory Spot
My husband likes to go to the “Glory Spot” and he had that opportunity yesterday. You may wonder what the “Glory Spot” is. For him it is located not too far from where we live here in Puyallup. He hops in the Blazer with his Bible and heads out to Wildwood Park off of 23rd and parks in one of two stalls that get good reception for his favorite Christian radio station 88.8 (he actually picks it up more clearly at 89.1) and takes some time to listen to what God has to say. Often times he will go for a walk and do even more pondering about God and his word. Yesterday was a great time for him because his natural gift of gab and evangelizing also took place. He was listening to the group Selah during one of the radio programs and had the volume turned up a bit. A gentleman got out of his vehicle and scowled at Rod indicating that the volume was too loud, so Rod politely turned it down. The gentleman continued to scowl and Rod turned it down some more. And then the man got back in his vehicle and drove off. Funny how easily people our offended. So Rod thought he would be left alone and get some devotional time to himself. Then another vehicle pulled up this time with a couple in it and they got out. The woman had a curious look on her face as though she was trying to focus and it became clear to Rod that she was interested in the song she could hear floating through the air so Rod turned the volume up a bit and she smiled.
The lady said who is that?” and he mentioned that it was the group called “Selah” and she said, “Oh I have heard of them I like them.”
They continued in conversation a bit and her husband did not seem too interested what they were talking about but was trying to be courteous at least. Rod began talking about how he likes to come here to his “Glory Spot” and spend some time in devotion and reading the Bible. The lady began to ask him questions about what do you mean by glory spot and how do you talk to God? Rod has a natural gift of evangelizing and so he just started sharing about his routine and life and having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the lady continued to ask him questions and the husband again just stood there quietly yet a bit uninterested. As the dialogue continued the usual question came up, do you go to church and where?
So my question to you do you go to church and where? If not, why not? No time like the present to begin a good habit more than that to reestablish a relationship with Jesus Christ and become familiar again with the family of God.
How does the chorus from the Gaither song go: “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God, I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, for I’m part of the family, the family of God.”