Monday, October 10, 2016

The Resting of Change

I love fall. I love the change of colors, smells and definitely the change of temperature! I love snuggling into a warm sweater and hearing the leaves crunch under shoes. I can relate to the squirrels saving up for winter. I’m all about the change of seasons, but changes in the seasons of life…not so much.

I hate change. I’m what some would call boring. I’d rather say I’m stable. I like routine. I like vanilla ice cream, if I’m feeling particularly daring I’ll add sprinkles. I take the same route every time I go to the grocery store, church, or my moms. I like consistency, stability and certainty. Period. Change? 

Not a fan.

I just turned forty-seven. but, I will tell you, on my fortieth birthday, the BIG 4-0, I struggled. A lot. I knew this would be a decade of enormous change and I dreaded it. Honestly, I was mad and terrified. At forty, several huge changes were staring down (or should I say up?) the hill, at me and I wanted to run and hide.

These changes included being a caregiver to my parents. Walking with them through end of life issues, including my father’s Alzheimer’s, has been rough. Having my “nest” empty and learning what it means to be a mom to adult children. It’s really hard! Who knew?! Finally, I knew this decade meant starting to go through “the change”. Don’t even get me started! Unexpected facial hair and hormone flairs, really?!

Well, as you can tell I panicked at forty. FYI, panicking never helps. As I threw myself down on my kitchen floor (yes, I actually did) I was reminded and have had to remind myself over and over again. He never changes. Life was changing in big emotionally exhausting ways all the time and yet. He doesn’t change. Over the course of the last seven years, still in the midst of these changes, He speaks in a still quiet voice through His Word.

"Mandi, I don’t change."

"I don’t get tired"

"I don’t get overwhelmed."

"I don’t freak out with hormonal changes."

"I don’t grow weary and deplete."

"I don’t change."

"I am safe."

"I am full."

"I am complete."

"I am Who you need."

"I AM."

I have often camped in Isaiah 40: 28-31 (NASB). Reminding myself of what is true, because it is true. I remind myself it doesn’t have to feel true to be true. Truth is true.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.”

He doesn’t change, seasons change. Seasons of life definitely change. I change. So, where do I look for my strength? Do I wait on the Lord? Or just wait for the season to change? Do I look to Him and draw near?
In these changing seasons of life I’m learning…I need to stand, lay and sometimes drop in a sobbing heap on the bedrock of the Truth, because He is True. Jesus is True and He doesn’t change.

As my faith learns to rest on Him and His finished work alone, I start to rest. I rest in the midst of the swirling changes. I learn to rest in the midst of unexpected loss and unmet expectations. 

Learning to rest in the changes, because He does not change. What about you? Where do you find rest in the midst of chaotic change? Draw near to Jesus to what is true with me. Rest.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Out of the and exciting things!

New exciting developments!

New things are always exciting, right? Well, not all things. I’ve been battling an itchy spreading rash for the last four months. No worries, it's not contagious!! After several rounds of high dose steroids...which made me hungry and more cranky, than usual!

The doctor had me go “fragrance free” for a month, that was super fun! Talk about lame-o! No good smelling soaps, hair products or perfumes. You know the drill. So, I endured being hungry, cranky and smelly for several months to finally be patch tested. Again, super fun!

Now, for the exciting news! Drum roll please!

I’m allergic to the dye dispersed blue number 106, which is evidently in EVERYTHING!

Lol, on the upside, I can still look at blue and even eat it (not that I eat much blue). I simply can’t wear any dark colors, at all- black, blue, purple, green, turquoise and so on are out, at least for awhile!  No shades of blue at all, and anything this blue dye could be in. Oh, I can wear men's Levi's 501, there is a sporty look for me! 

I absolutely love and wear blue- all the time!

SO, my new color is taupe, tan, beige, white and shall I say…off white. I can where red, orange and yellows! I can wear some pink, if it is cool pink…not sure what cool pink is?!? Pastels too, I think! We will see! Yes, fall and winter is coming and I'll be in winter white and taupe! Oh, and possibly hot pink. John says I look like Pepto-Bismol. 

Out of the blue, no pun intended…I’m allergic to blue. Go figure!  It's new. It's lame. It's really not that big of a deal, it's just a pain.

But, it has made me realize how much I like to do what I want to do. I like my way. I want to wear what I want to wear.  It's made me realize how some very petty little things, when taken away, seem more important than they should. This silliness has shown me a bit of a window into my heart. Out of the blue... 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

On the Hamster Wheel

Do you ever feel like you are on the hamster wheel? Me too! Fall is here. The school year is in full swing...fall ministry is starting up and life will soon feel like the hamster wheel. Exhausting. Uggg. 

I was able to get off the wheel this summer. It was great! But life has responsibilities and duties. Life has a calling as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Life is not passive it is active. My question is: how do we stay off the hamster wheel of busyness and get actually moving forward following Christ? 

It is time to sell the hamster wheel! But how? 

No, It is time to sell the hamster wheel mentality. Busyness does not equal godliness.But, it's also not about taking a full-time nap! It's about fruitful running, not duty-filled-exhausting-pointless running. 

I think part of the answer is found in learning how to "abide". In John 15:1-5, Jesus tells us, I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing". 

I don't want my hamster wheel running to count for nothing! I want the fruit of exercise to last and go somewhere. Abiding, resting, trusting and leaning into the Vine is how we learn to follow Christ and move forward. 

I need the reminder to sell the hamster wheel and take up starts with recognizing the wheel. Sell the wheel! Trade up for abiding.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Scared Rabbits...

I don’t know about you, but I do not like change. To be fair, I like certain changes - the change of  the seasons- hairstyles, and changing clothes! BUT, in regards to life changes…not a fan!

Honestly, my faith can rock, a bit, in the midst of change. How do I know my faith is rocking? Because my emotions and fear factor get slightly (ok, a whole bunch) out of whack. I FEEL like a scared rabbit…looking nervously back and forth, ready to bolt- I just don’t know where!

When this happens, it needs to become a “red flag” for me. I need to recognize the “fearful rabbit” posture for what it is…so that, I can put Truth to those feelings.

I’m reminded of, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.

It’s not a question of IF I get fearful and anxious…but WHEN, I do. I've tried the pull up your boot-straps, "I'll just get right on not being afraid" tactic, and it doesn't work!  
Which causes me to ask; what do I do with the fear and anxiousness? Do I “bolt” emotionally in the fearful rabbit posture?  Or do I look to the One who holds all things, including me? Do I look to Him, as the One who does not change? Is my faith in the One who is not freaking out about change? Do I realize HE is safe?

And Who is seated at the righteous right hand of God? Jesus…our Jesus!
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:1-3

Jesus the One who never changes…We are safe, in Him, my fellow anxious rabbit. Now, this does not mean everything always turns out like I hope or, it doesn't, but it does mean He holds the anxious rabbit.  I’m reminding myself of that today… in the midst of change.