Sunday, July 13, 2008

Boo Boo Shoes

Hosea 14:9

"Who is wise? He will realize these things.

Who is descerning? He will understand them.

The ways of the LORD are right;

the righteous walk in them,

but the rebellious stumble in them."

Carter has a particular pair of toddler-sized flip flops which have ceremoniously been nicknamed his "boo-boo shoes." Whenever he wears them, he is due to experience at least a couple of fairly major wipeouts. In fact, Carter wore them this last Saturday to Lake Mission Viejo. Before lunchtime, he had a fat lip, a wiggly tooth and two skinned knees.

Carter knows the danger of his shoes, and when his eyes are rimmed with tears after a fall, he contemptuously glares at his boo-boo shoes, knowing full well where to place the blame for his lack of coordination. Despite this, he gravitates toward them every morning, pleading with mama to let him wear his "flip flops." Deep down, he feels like they are big boy shoes, and his vanity and strong will suppress the red flags that are warning him of impending danger. More often than not, I veto his desires, as I know the shoes are not practical and will cause him to fall.

To take a literal illustration and figuratively twist it, I was pondering Carter's shoe dilemma with my own struggle to "put off" things in my life that inevitably cause me to stumble in my Christian walk. In Philippians 4:8, God tells us to think about what is pure, true, right, lovely, noble and admirable. As we all know, it is a battle to dwell on rightoeus thoughts when we are living in and surrounded by a fallen world. However, we can make daily choices that can hinder or support us in our pursuit of holiness.

When I know I should be having quiet time with God, am I pushing everything aside and grabbing my Bible, or am I settling onto the couch for one quick click around the channels or a much desired catnap? When a magazine causes me to struggle with vanity or covetousness, do I cancel my subscription or do I gloss over my sins and continue to pick up the pages that lead me astray? If a certain friend continually gripes, gossips and brings out the worst in my sinful nature, do I repent of my contribution and admonish the friend (perhaps even having to put the brakes on the friendship) or do I ignore the situation in an effort to be "at ease" with others?  In other words, do I value people pleasing more than I value obedience and righteousness?

God often gives us red flags that should send us running in the opposite direction of the danger, but, sometimes, much like Carter with his big boy shoes, we are drawn toward the danger due to the lure that sin can take on our hearts. It often seems attractive and benign, but it ensnares us and causes us to fall.  Let us listen to the loving discipline and warnings of our Heavenly Father. Recognize what in your life can cause you to stumble and experience spiritual injuries. Turn from what causes you to sin and replace the danger with righteous disciplines, friends and conduct.

Psalm 116:8

"For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,

my eyes from tears,

my feet from stumbling,"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Waiting on the Lord

Psalm 27:14

"Wait on the LORD;

Be of good courage,

And He shall strengthen your heart;

Wait, I say, on the LORD!"

For the past month, I have been repeating this verse over and over in my quiet time, while I am getting ready in the morning, and while I lay down to fall asleep at night. I even wrote the verse in "window" markers on our sliding mirrored wardrobe doors. It has given me such joy and hope!

Ryan and I have been waiting on God for a few months. We had plans to get pregnant at the end of spring, and we thought, since Carter came so easily, we wouldn't have any issues. Well, we quickly found that saying you are giving your plans to the Lord and actually GIVING your plans to God are not always the same. Our mouths had uttered "God willing" numerous times, but our trust was tested when our pregnancy tests came back negative a couple of times and health issues were at our door. We, and I mean mainly me, had to work through some disappointment, some anxiety and some just plain sadness in the process. God exposed sinful idols and selfishness that needed to be pruned from our hearts during the wait.

Well, this week we found out we are pregnant! We are due March 17th, one week before Carter's birthday. We are ecstatic to meet this little blessing and answer to prayer, but I am mainly in awe of the work God has done on my heart. I was able to live out the promises and truths I mentioned in my recent post, "Trusting God on the Detours." I failed miserably on some occasions, and I trusted on others. Through it all, I have clung more closely to Him and realized how my expectations can lack flexibility and how they can be plainly sinful.

Through the wait, we had bloodwork done, which revealed a hypothyroid condition I would possibly have missed for several years if I hadn't had God say, "Wait." However, regardless of whether or not I see the reason now, I trust God knows best. The sooner I lay my plans at His feet and submit to His will, the sooner the peace and strength He offers can bless me while I wait.

Psalm 28:6-7

"Blessed be the Lord,

Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!

The LORD is my strength and my shield;

My heart trusted in Him and I am helped;

Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,

And with my song I will praise Him."