Monday, October 22, 2012

When God Reinvents Us

"While the earth remaineth,
seedtime and harvest,
and cold and heat,
and summer and winter,
and day and night shall not cease."
Genesis 8:22

The thrill and chill of fall is in the air!
To me, there is nothing like it.
As the outside temperature drops,
my heart is warmed and content.

The other day, my sister and her family came to visit.
We decided to make pumpkin pie to go along with our pot of decaf.
The air just seemed to make us crave it!
(I make it with sorghum, instead of sugar...
the recipe is at the end.)

I even got out my special mug from my dear friend, Wanda...
the one I use for homemade hot cocoa....
and I used it last night.

The leaves from our cherry tree
have begun to fall again...
and gently drop in a circle below its branches.

Soon, Zach will want to make another pile in the front yard....
from all of the fallen leaves....
like we did with Austin a few days ago at Granny & Papaw's house.

Another round of seasons has come full circle.

Life comes in seasons...
phases, if you will...
periods of time...
that vary greatly one from another.

As I look back over the years,
I see six defining lines of distinction
that God has drawn,
separating the phases of my life.

Have you ever contemplated your life that way?
It is almost as if you have lived several lifetimes...
all in one....
so different are the phases.

Some of the time periods I have lived through were longer than others,
but regardless of the time spent there,
I can see the way God reinvented me...
in each phase.

He is continually remaking and remolding us into His Own image.
Each phase of our lives prepares us for what is to come...
in the next.
We don't see that at the time.
We don't realize it as we live life day by day.
Sometimes, we feel stuck...
in a rut...
like every day of our future will drone on 
with day after day mundane monotony.

If only we wouldn't view life that way.
For the season of today will soon become yesterday.
And we will look back and wish we would have enjoyed it more.

Life is such a gift.
Such a treasure.
So precious.

While the hours turn into days,
the days into weeks, months, and years, 
God is continually working for our good.
He allows the good and the bad,
the sunshine and the rain,
the laughter and the pain....
all of it is part of His plan...
to propel us onward....
to make us better.

We are constantly learning....
hopefully, maturing....
both emotionally and spiritually.
There is something going on inside of us...
as we do life.
The moments that seem inconsequential
actually aren't.

As God began to present these thoughts to me...
as He took my mind on a backward journey...
over the course of my life so far,
I began to see exactly what He meant.
I went and found my notebook,
and I wrote a description of the six seasons...phases of life...
I've lived so far.

Reasons for bitter tears,
the purpose behind heartaches,
the necessity for times of brokenness,
the value of time spent waiting....
the answers were right there.

So many things became crystal clear to me.

Nothing was without reason.
Nothing in the life of a Christian ever is.

In retrospect, I know that I could never have stepped into phase 6 of my life,
had I not been tested severely and proven what I was made of in season 5.
I could not have survived phase 5, had I not learned valuable life lessons in phase 4.
I would not have been able to succeed in phase 4, if I hadn't received the training I did in phases 1-3.
I wouldn't have walked so fearlessly into phase 3,
without watching God see me through phases 1 & 2.

You get the picture.

Now, it is today.
I am not the person I was when I started out.
God has reinvented who I am more than once.
Undoubtedly, He is in the process of reinventing me now.
Each time, He has made me stronger...
more capable....
and more dependent upon Him.

He does that in all of our lives.
We can fight it,
we can buck against His plan,
we can resist with all our might....
but He loves us too much to leave us where we are.

"What we are to be, we are now becoming",
says the old quote.
So true.

There is more for us.
There is more to be done.
So, He prepares us...
remakes us...
into what He needs us to be.

Life is like building blocks.
We can view the blocks as inconveniences,
obstacles that make us stumble,
or we can see them for what they really are....
learning experiences and lessons to prepare us for what comes next.

I love the second verse of the song, "Bright Anticipation"
written by B.E. Warren.
"When I look o'er the past, I behold,
How His wide arms of mercy held me; 
Oh, His sweet love and peace are untold,
In His favor, I'm happy and free."

This is my testimony.
Through all of the phases I have lived so far,
God's wide arms of mercy have held me.
His everlasting arms have sustained me...
kept my head above the water...
and given me the grace to keep swimming...
even when the going was all upstream.

It blesses me to look back and see God's hand at work.
Things I didn't understand at the time,
now make perfect sense.
I love seeing how
He transitions us from one phase of our lives to the next.
How He propels us forward, ever so gently.
And how He reinvents us into the person He wants us to be...

The past is over and done with.
There isn't one thing we can go back and undo...
or change.
The door to its passageway is forever closed.
Yesterday is gone.
So, it does us no good to try to linger there...
or to stay held captive in a place we will never be again.

We are here today.
In this current phase of life.
Thank God for now.
For this moment.
To be who He wants us to be.
To fulfill His plan...
for this moment.

If you are in an uncomfortable phase of life,
take courage, my friend.
You won't stay there forever.

It didn't come to stay...
it came to pass.

God is working on you and shaping you
in preparation for what is coming next.

Maybe you've been here a long time,
and the waiting-for-the-next-phase is becoming hard to bear.
Remember, God doesn't measure days and hours like we do.
He isn't in a we are.
He knows that to move us to the next phase...
before we are ready...
would spell disaster for us.
So, He takes His time.
He works at His pace.
He uses His timetable....
not ours.

He will not be hurried....
just because we are tired of waiting.

He ultimately knows what is best...
in each of our lives and situations.
And He will work accordingly.

I'm glad God waited until I was 34 years old to send Zachary to us.
I had done a lot of living...
before I ever became a mother.

I used to wonder.
I really thought God was being unfair...
by not sending the baby we so longed for.
"Why, Lord?", I often asked.
He saw me squirm..
and complain...
and question.

But, it wasn't His time.
He knew when I would be best suited for motherhood.
He knew when Kevin and I would need Zachary the most.

Hindsight reveals that God's timing couldn't have been more perfect.
But, I couldn't see it at the time.
God was reinventing me...
as a person...
to become a mother.
As He has done
in so many other areas of my life.

I think a huge part of parenting is simply passing on to our children
the wisdom we have acquired through living our own lives.
I love it when I am able to prevent a mishap in Zachary's life...
simply because I relate a blunder I have made in my own.
It blesses me to be able to tell him about my own mistakes.
This way, hopefully, he won't make the same ones, 
and I can thankfully spare him at least that heartache.

I am glad God let me live life
in order to share with him the nuggets of wisdom I have been taught first-hand...
and am still learning every day....
as a lifetime student in life's school of hard knocks.

I pray Zachary will take those invaluable lessons
and use them as tools of direction in his own life.

He is watching us now,
as we live through the phases.
He is an apt student.
He doesn't miss much.

God help us to be faithful...
to be good parents....
to teach him Your ways...
through the way we live.
Being a part of his growing-up process...
the miracle of it....
is one of the dearest and most precious gifts I have ever been given.

What a blessing to look back
and trace God's reinventing hand....
how He has moved me from one level of faith to another,
from one branch of service to another,
from one role of life to another...
with such gentle, smooth motions.

And what a double blessing to see Him doing that in the life of our child.

Where are you today?
Not geographically, but chronologically?

I hope you are happy.
I hope you have found contentment.
I hope you know that you are loved...
and appreciated....
and important.

I hope there is someone in your life who tells you those things.
I hope someone lets you know how special you are...often.

And whether you are in a good phase,
or a more difficult one...
I trust you feel God's love...
surrounding you...
comforting you...
letting you know that...
you are being reinvented...
into the person He wants you to be...
in the next phase.

That no matter what the season,
no matter what the outward conditions,
He is performing a work inside of you...
to make you better....
and more equipped.

As the leaves fall,
the temperatures drop,
and the skies become more gray,
I hope your heart...and filled with peace.

Sorghum Pumpkin Pie Recipe

3 eggs
3/4 cup sorghum
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
2 frozen pie shells
(Or if you are extra-industrious, you can make your own!)

Thaw pie shells and prick with fork to maintain crispness.
Beat eggs slightly.
Add sorghum, spices, salt, and pumpkin.
Mix well.
Add evaporated milk.
Pour mixture into 2 thawed pie shells.
Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, or until knife blade comes out clean.
Cool thoroughly before serving.
Serve with Cool Whip on top,
alongside an ice-cold glass of milk or a steaming cup of your favorite hot beverage!

Take a deep breath of the crisp fall air,
look around at all of your blessings,
bow your head...and heart...
 to Him from Whom all blessings flow,
cherish the moment....
and enjoy!


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