After reading in COD yesterday, I didn't have much to say...re-reading the introduction and back through my "old" highlighted spots....my heart doesn't question any of the things that moved me back then...especially on pg xiv, in the middle, where he writes " It hardly mattered who I read in those days - Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God, Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle, John Woolman's Journal, A.W. Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy - they knew God in ways far beyond anything I had ever experienced. Or even wanted to experience! But as I continued to soak in the stories of these women and men who were aflame with the fire of divine love, I began desiring this kind of life for myself. And desiring led to seeking and seeking led to finding. And what I found settled me, deepened me, thickened me."
This really resonated with my heart, and reminded me of so many times that I have (or still am) drawn to what I see as "spiritual giants" who just live the life....and realize that spending time with them (or reading about them) will usually draw me closer to God in great ways.
Then, this morning, to open up (well, to "bring up") Proverbs 13, and read: "20 Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble." and THAT fit right in. OK, so am striving to "walk with the wise" whether it is in physical "walking" in the flesh, or spending time with on line, or even the media that I expose myself to (i.e.; tv, radio, computer web sites).
Does this mean that I won't ever come in contact with "foolish" people...not really....but I believe that the more time I spend with wise people, the better prepared I am to spend time with the foolish ones. I need that solid foundation.
I've also been re-learning the lesson that "just because it's Christian (or honorable, or legal), doesn't mean that it's good." An addiction to work (or food, or tv, or computers, or unhealthy friendships in church) can be just as harmful as one to drugs (or alcohol, or porn). Giving my heart and mind over to anything in excess is unhealthy....physically, spiritually, and all places between. To keep God at the head of my life, and other things mindfully put in places below, is where I am now....sorting through all those things under God...
This is good timing to relearn this, as I've been struggling with my place in life. Perhaps it's a normal "empty nester" thing, but it's taken a year and a half for it to hit me. I had a great job when I married Mark, and have had a few jobs that I've enjoyed in our 24 years of marriage, but nothing that's hit me as "career material". Mark's always "allowed" or "encouraged" me to try new things....the years I did Pampered Chef, working as a pre-school teacher, librarian, volunteering, or just being home and teaching the kids, or playing "parental support" roles. Now I have lots of time on my hands, but don't know what to do with it. We are not as involved in church as we used to be (however, we are as COMMITTED as ever!) and part of that is from being farther away (it takes a bit over an hour to get there). I'm not cooking for youth group, or church activities, or on the side for other groups....and I don't know that I want to right now. I like the freedom to be able to be home when Mark is home, and he has said that his work projects are going to get crazy this spring, so I'm not sure how that will affect me at home.
I tend to be a loner here....I live in a place where I know a lot of people, a lot of people know me, but I don't have any friends. Oh, if there was a tragedy, I think people would come to help out, but no one calls to say "let's do lunch" or just to hang out. It's always been sort of superficial that way here....and it's always driven me nuts...so I've withdrawn from society here.
I DO have great friendships though, with people all over the world!! Some of my closest friends are people that have spent time in this area (and experienced the same superficial society) and have gotten to move on....some are my friends from where we go to church now....some are friends from where we have lived before...GA, AR, CA....those are my oldest friendships...the women that know me best...and love me anyways.
SO....I have this time, and not really any goals or plans (besides hosting a mini-family reunion this summer in honor of my dad's 80'th, which was in Jan., and maybe getting to sneak to PA to visit my daughter and her family). Mark's told me that I can work, go to school, volunteer, do whatever....but nothing hits me as "worthy" to do....I LOVE learning...but know that education is expensive and don't want to put time and money into something that I don't KNOW I'll do for the next 30 years. I have a LOT of interests...from cooking, photography, computers, acupressure, kids....I can list things for a day and not be done.....but not all of those things are good career choices. I enjoy working with people....am pretty good at sales...and can catch on to just about anything.....but if I got a job it would mean making a commitment to NOT spending time with Mark when he is "available"....and that's something I need BADLY. I thought that volunteering at the hospital would be good again, but I was looking for one day a week, that would be pretty regular, but it's already been changed to 2 days a month (that are not even the same day...). So that's not as I had hoped...or planned...which is ok....
I want, more than anything, to be in God's will. To KNOW that when I get up each day, I am going to be doing things that bring honor to Him....representing Him to people that don't know Him, sharing my HIStory to those that don't know all that He has done in me, and hopefully planting seeds that will encourage others to want to be a follower of Jesus too. I don't see that happening so much when I'm parked at home alone.
So, that's my prayer....to see God open a door (or 2) that will clearly show His leading, directing, building my faith and encouraging others. I want a strong marriage, to be available to help/serve others, to be there for my kids (when needed). I want to be defined somehow, but not restricted...if that makes sense. I am not quite sure how to describe it. Of course, at the core, I want to be doing Kingdom work....and believe that any job can be a mission's field...but I don't know where that field is for me right now. sigh.
OK...back to the Word....
Ephesians 2......this is what hit me.....
"1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
OK....that was my point all along...I need to know (want to know) what good things he planned for me long ago to do....so I can do them now...... :) sigh