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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Working together

Aquarium in waiting room of ICU
My brother Joe, one lung removed because of cancer now the other lung  pneumonia,  is struggling for his life in the ICU unit- tubes helping keep him alive until he can breathe on his own. We spent the week there in Arizona to be with my brothers and Joe's wife, to do what we could and to pray.
I was encouraged to see how the people in the ICU worked so well together to selflessly take care of my brother. Each with their own task, not getting in each other's way but doing their important part to get him better and keep him alive while he regained strength and pounds. He was as low as 93 pounds when we arrived, skin and bones, not able to speak with tubes down his throat so we could only ask him yes or no questions.

 When it was time for us to leave AZ, the new antibiotic was starting to be effective and he had gained 10 pounds, but a long way yet to go. It was hard to leave except for the assurance of the competant medical care he was under and staff who hugged us. We knew God was there caring for Joe.
As I waited for my husband Neil outside Walgreens one night after being at the hospital most of the day, even the ants moving the grasshopper encouraged me to to trust God and the staff who were working together for Joe's healing. I knew we, who loved him, needed to work together the same way.
Isaiah 40:27-31

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Out with the old


For some reason I identify with the land. I want to protect it and keep it from harm. So when the bulldozer comes to tear it up, dig holes, fell trees, I usually go into a state of despair and vulnerability. First my phone dying, my blackberry, all my contact numbers, my calendar, then my mind, my sanity, my stability, only you Lord stay the same and never leave.

The place I have been meaning to get to on the land, the homesteader’s dump, has been dug up and taken away to prepare for a new septic system and drain field. As I think about the excavator service taking out the old stuff, the artifacts, broken objects of the past that I cling to and hold onto, I let them go. I put on music, loud operatic hymns to drown out the squeaking and banging of the repair. I let it fill my empty places instead.

The excavator also digs out deep roots to make way for the new system. “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and many to be defiled.”[1] Who knows what bitterness I might have, but take it away even though it hurts. “Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me,”[2] I sing. I want it. I give you the right, Lord, to excavate my heart, mind and soul, tear out the things that get in the way of your work through me. I am weak and vulnerable but I know this is where I can be best used for your glory and your work, because in my weakness, you get the credit. The hole that opens up what is buried deep within me, the squealing wheels of the excavator slowly moving across the landscape of my life, all opened up with my permission. I trust you Lord. There was lots of stuff plugging me up, lots of waste blocking my life like the old septic system. I need a clean out, Lord. Thank you for sending your pump truck to pump me out, and your backhoe to do a new work so I can be effective for You.
[1] Hebrews 12:15 NIV
[2] Psalm 51:10

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Freedom

Mouse trapped in bucket for awhile can't figure freedom out
(click blue link to watch video)

A few days ago when we returned from town, I went into the greenhouse to water some plants. In the attached shed, I picked up some gloves to get rid of thistles and I heard a noise coming from the bucket that I use for weeding, - a trapped mouse. We have found them before when they fell in and couldn't get out, but usually they were already dead. Finishing my tasks, I came back to put away the gloves. I knew I could not let it be, even though I set lots of traps in the house. Somehow the shed was fair game. So I carried the bucket to the end of the field and tipped it on its side. The mouse tried to climb up the rim like it had been used to doing in the bucket, going around in circles even though now freedom was less than an inch away.

The autumn of the year reminds me it is time for a change. Most years northwest autumns come gradually until one day you discover the leaves turning color, the crisper night air and lower sun of the days. Autumn seems to me to be the time to reorganize my life, make living more manageable and meaningful.
I get in a rut making it harder to change the way I do things and manage my life. Yet the ruts, the normal way of doing things in my daily life, even though ineffective, feels like the only way. Some of the ways I do things have outlived their usefulness. I go around in circles a lot, not accomplishing as much as I could. I'm stuck lately too. Instead of trying to avoid change, I want to face this change head on with a meaningful solution. Maybe I, too, need to be taken to a different place (in my mind) and put in a place where a different perspective is visible. So I ask, "Lord open my eyes to see your way to my internal freedom and give me the courage to follow."

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1