Archive for July 2011

River of Life

July 29, 2011

A friend and I have been having some discussions lately about knowing God’s will.  Initially I was surprised to find myself at such a loss for how to describe the process of knowing God’s plan and doing it, but I realize now that I had only been dangling my feet in the mighty river of life myself, so it’s no wonder that I had such trouble explaining things.

I feel as if I’ve spent the last few years sitting on the banks of a river, splashing with my feet in the shallows and eddies, occasionally wading around, but pretty much just enjoying the view.  I’ve been learning, however, that the shallows are not where God would have me.  He wants to teach me to swim.  And I, I’m ready to learn.  While I’m sure that I’m still going to be grabbing at low hanging tree branches every once in awhile, afraid of what’s coming next, I know that I can no longer be content to play among the reeds.  It’s time to find deeper water.

That river represents the Spirit to me.  If we are willing, we can plunge in and let the Spirit’s current take us where it will, like a twig upon the water.  By staying in the shallows I have been depriving myself of the opportunity to participate fully in whatever God is doing through His Spirit.  I see the water rushing past, and am blessed by it, but I am not taking part.

Granted, the river will sometimes leave the things it carries in little eddies along the way, to be picked up later by a new swell.  So perhaps there will be times when I will be able to rest aside for awhile, catching my breath for the next plunge, as it were.  And just because I’m drifting along the river does not necessarily mean that I’m moving from ministry to ministry.  More like I’m allowing the Spirit to direct me within the ministries to which He has brought me.

Or perhaps it’s more like the river in Ezekiel 47, which began as a trickle and became a roaring river he dared not cross.  I’ve been walking along in it, but I’m reaching a point now where the river is strong enough to carry me along.  The question is, am I going to fight the current, or will I let it take me wherever God wills?  These pictures are probably different aspects or different parts of the same illustration, but perhaps one is easier to understand for some people and the other is clearer to other people.

Now, how can I expect to share the water of Life with others if all I can do is splash them from the shallows?  While it might get them a little wet, it won’t convince them that they want to come join me in the river.  It’s about time I jumped in and showed them what swimming looks like!  Am I a little scared? Yeah.  Am I going to go ahead anyway?  Yes.  Yes, because this is where God is leading me.  Yes, because I want a deeper relationship with Him through the Spirit.

What’s it going to look like?  Who knows!  What did it look like while you learned to swim?  I’m figuring it’ll take awhile before I have a handle on this, but I’m discovering that that’s no reason to stay on the sidelines.  I want to be refreshed and refreshing.  I want to feel the River of Life flowing over and through me in a deeper, more powerful way than I’ve ever felt before.  So I’m going to trust God to teach me how to swim.

As far as what it looks/feels like in shoe-leather on an earthly level, well, that’s going to be different from person to person.  Do all your relationships look the same?  Of course not!  To all outward appearances, it would look like I’m still making all my choices, but the reality is that more and more often I am praying silently about the issue as I talk it through, or I am taking extra time to go home and pray and talk over a decision with my family (if it’s a big decision).  How do I know God is guiding me through the Spirit?  Good question, but one that’s hard to answer unless you’ve also experienced it.  Because I simply have peace in the decision.  The Spirit first prompts me to a decision, and then gives me a sense of its rightness.  If I don’t have that peace, then I know I need to wait until I do.  Sometimes it’s just because I am looking for the answer too soon.   He gives us His answers in his perfect time, not just whenever we think we need to have them.

I know what it feels like to be full of Joy and full of Peace.  I feel like singing every song there is at once, like dancing till I fall exhausted, and so happy that I could burst.  I have a feeling this is going to be similar.  I’m excited to see what God will show me as I let Him have his perfect will in my life.  Like I said, I’m a little worried because I don’t know where He will lead me, but “perfect love casts out fear,” and I trust Him.

Spring Up O Well

I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me;
Makes the lame to walk, and the blind to see,
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free,
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me!

Spring up o well, within my soul,
Spring up o well, and make me whole,
Spring up o well, and give to me that life abundantly

Themes

July 28, 2011

I think it’s about time I apologized for the ever changing look of “Reflections.”  Those who’ve been around awhile may notice that the current theme (design/layout) is one I’ve used before, back when I first started blogging.  Somehow I don’t think I’ve ever seen the perfect theme for my blog, and I’m becoming more and more convinced that I won’t find it.  However, I did like this one, and I have decided to return to it.  At least for now.  I’m getting tired of getting tired of my theme!  It’s older and simpler than the themes I’ve been using, and it is missing some of the cool features WordPress has been adding, but I’m not really utilizing most of those features anyway, so I think this is going to be fine.  And after all, blue is still my favorite color . . .!!

Wallflower

July 26, 2011

I’ve been a wallflower kind of person most of my life.  I say most of my life because at times I will mingle and mix just fine in social settings (although I’m still no social butterfly).  Mostly, however, I’m more inclined to stay on the sidelines and watch, or chatter at the poor souls who make the mistake of speaking to me.  Yep.  I’m a shy chatterbox.  Get me going and you’ll wish you hadn’t.  But if you don’t get me going, you might think I’m the quietest person you know.

I’ve had to challenge myself to be more outgoing.  To step out of my comfort zone and go greet that new family at church.  To take the initiative and strike up a conversation with someone sitting near me at a meeting.  It’s not that I’m not friendly.  I’ve gotten plenty of comments about my smile and people don’t seem to be afraid to start conversations with me.  It’s just that I don’t like being the one to initiate the conversation.

Can I do it?  Certainly.   Have done it plenty of times.  Does it get easier each time I do it?  Pretty much.  So for you other wall flowers out there, I encourage you.  Surprise yourself and your friends.  Take the initiative and start a conversation with someone new.  What’s the worst that can happen anyway?  It’s not like they can eat you, really!  In the meantime, here’s a poem I wrote about two wallflowers that you might like.

Wallflower

People talking gaily
but none of them to me
I sit on the sidelines
and watch the causerie*

Soon I spot a fellow
flow’r of the species wall
The relief is great in knowing
I’m not alone at all

We sit apart, but smile
as we catch each other’s eye,
Conversing with our eyebrows
about the folk nearby

The gala whirls onward
and time begins to drag.
I laugh to see my lone friend
act out a sleeping bag.

Then suddenly I look up
to find myself twice lorn:
No longer does that friendly soul
the opposing seat adorn!

My glance around is fruitless
for he’s nowhere to be seen.
My heart falls to my stomach,
and the room starts to careen.

But once again I’m startled
to find a friendly face;
My friend now sits beside me –
I missed his dash from place to place!

My heart is doing double time
as we stumble out ‘hello’s.
Then we catch the giggles
since we’ve no great need of those.

People talking gaily
till late in the p.m.,
But I don’t mind a bit
because I’m one of them

I’m not quite sure what happened,
nor how I made this friend.
I only know that misery
changed to happiness in the end.

~Homeschoolgraduate

*causerie – informal conversation, chatter

“I Kissed Dating Goodbye” — A Woman’s Question

July 24, 2011

I recently read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” for the first time.  Yeah, I know, you would have expected that I’d read it long ago.  Probably I would have except that I read “Best Friends For Life” as part of my last year of highschool, and Mom and I figured it covered pretty much the same ground.  While there’s a point where you need to be ready, there’s also a point where dwelling on one subject too much or too long can be unhealthy for your relationships.  So I didn’t read Josh Harris’s book then.  But I’ve read it now.

I’d recommend it, mostly because it comes from the perspective of a 21-year-old who’s right in the thick of waiting for romance himself, but who is able to articulate the reasons why he stands where he does.  Of course, knowing that Josh has gone on to marry, have three children, and pastor a church gives the book greater credence — he’s not just talking a talk, he has also walked the walk.

In the book is a poem that I especially loved, and I wanted to share it with you.  It’s by Lena Lathrop and you can find it on Josh’s website here.

A Woman’s Question

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing
Ever made by the hand above–
A woman’s heart, and a woman’s life
And a woman’s wonderful love?

Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing
As a child might ask for a toy,
Demanding what others have died to win,
With the reckless dash of a boy?

You have written my lesson of duty out,
Man-like you have questioned me;
Now stand at the bar of my woman’s soul
Until I shall question thee.

You require your mutton shall always be hot,
Your socks and your shirt be whole;
I require your heart to be true as God’s stars,
And as pure as heaven your soul.

You require a cook for your mutton and beef;
I require a far better thing.
A seamstress you’re wanting for socks and shirts;
I look for a man and a king.

A king for the beautiful realm called home,
And a man that the maker, God,
Shall look upon as he did the first
And say, “It is very good.”

I am fair and young, but the rose will fade
From my soft, young cheek one day,
Will you love me then ‘mid the falling leaves,
As you did ‘mid the bloom of May?

Is your heart an ocean so strong and deep,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell
On the day she is made a bride.

I require all things that are grand and true,
All things that a man should be;
If you give all this, I would stake my life
To be all you demand of me.

If you cannot do this — a laundress and cook
You can hire, with little to pay,
But a woman’s heart and a woman’s life
Are not to be won that way.

Let Me be a Mirror – Poem

July 22, 2011

Let Me be a Mirror

Lord, let me be a mirror
reflecting all I see
Showing more of you each day
and ever less of me

Those around me need the truth
but all I have to give
Are truisms and shadowy thoughts
on which it’s hard to live

But you, my Lord, are the truth
that lights the paths we tread,
And I wish to reflect that light
your glory, Lord, to spread

Lord, may I be a mirror
reflecting only light
Ever may your love shine through
clear, complete, and bright.

~Homeschoolgraduate

Open the Gates

July 21, 2011

Open the Gates of Righteousness – Latitude821.
~A prayer from Tommy Hays.

Words for Change

July 20, 2011

Rachel Starr Thompson posted this video, and I just had to share it here with you.

Think about it.

How can you make a change in someone’s life by the words you use today?


%d bloggers like this: