Catching Hope

Looking for the grace of God that surrounds us

Glass Lazarus

Sometimes prayer seems this way, I think. Like a Glass Lazarus.

Go with me on the imagery here….

Our deepest desires, our most fervent prayers, the things that makes our hearts weep for longing…these are the miracles that we pray for, and sometimes they seem as impossible as raising a dead-four-days man from the grave.

And it seems that every time we pray, the dream of our Lazarus-like miracle collides with the harsh steel of reality.  Disappointment shatters that dream into a thousand pieces, like one of those tiny, delicate glass ornaments that falls on to a concrete floor.

But I think there’s hope.

In some cases, I think that God shatters our self-dreams because when the distraction of these desires are gone, we can see that underneath lies a God-dream that is so much better.

In other situations, I think we are called to hold on to the pieces of our God-given hope, despite how they seem to be shattered.

But I guess that’s the tricky part, isn’t it?  We can try to pick up the shards of our dream and glue them back together.  Odds are it won’t work, and it won’t make us happy.

Perhaps what we should do instead is sweep up the pieces and put them in Jesus’ hands.  He will give us His dream instead…or He will put the pieces of our hope back together to make something even more beautiful than we can imagine.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21-22)

2 Comments »

Single

“Single” is a descriptive word.  It is an adjective–as in, a “single hamburger”.  A “single pencil-eraser”.  A “single person”.  It means, one.  Alone, by itself.

Let’s be honest, here, friends, this isn’t always easy.  I have recently realized how cranky I get when doing things I feel I shouldn’t be doing, but am because I am not married (i.e. mowing the lawn, placing paving stones in the yard, etc.).  I am the first to tell you it’s lonely looking over at the other side of the bed and seeing a pillow (or, incidentally, a book…or a forgotten pencil from my study session…or a cell phone…well, you get the idea.)

However, I think perhaps the word “single”, or at least the idea of the word in this context, should be a verb, not an adjective.  It should be something that implies action, being, moving, changing.  Changing my thoughts and my heart to realize that the world does not exist for me (and, incidentally, neither would a husband!)  Moving to avoid stagnancy in spirituality–instead always being in motion toward sanctification.  Being the kind of daughter, friend, sister, aunt, grand-daughter, employee that the Lord calls me to be.  Acting to decisively make positive steps toward spiritual growth, as well as toward career development, church involvement, etc.

Not looking at others wondering “why them? why not me?”.

Not letting sadness and lonliness take over my heart so that I am constantly dwelling on them.

Not allowing the ease and flexibility of this period of my life to foster selfishness.

Realizing that this state of life may be permanent, and not being paralyzed by that thought or feeling fearful of the future.

And most of all, learning to trust the great Planner who knows what is best for me and has plans for my life beyond my wildest imagination.

4 Comments »

About This Thing Called Life….

…I am glad that I am not ultimately in charge of it.

I am glad that I can rest in the sovereignty of God….while taking responsibility for the things that He gives me the ability to do, but does not do for me.*  I wish I were better at it…but I am learning.  Slowly.

– – – – – – – –

*this concept is explored fully in the study, “Helping Others Change”, by Paul David Tripp.

1 Comment »

Time’s Bending Sickle

I stop at the red light.  Glancing over at the car next to me, I catch the eye of the white-haired woman in the back seat, who looks at me through life-worn eyes and plastic-rimmed glasses.

“How old she looks,” I think.

“How young she is…” I imagine her saying.

I think how much life she has lived.

And I imagine her thinking about how much life I have yet to experience.

Her care-worn face, wrinkled by the hand of time, looks full.  Full in the sense that she has lived–whether or not she has lived well, I will never know.  What kind of experiences she has had will remain a mystery.  What burdens has she carried?  What joy has she seen? What tragedies and moments of laughter have lent wisdom to her life?

And I wonder what my experiences will be.  If I will live life fully, as she has done.  If I will live well…if I will grow old and cultivate wisdom in my eyes and experience in the lines of my face.

When Time’s bending sickle’s compass comes and my rosy lips and cheeks have long faded*, where will my heart be?  By grace I pray and trust it will be in the arms of my never-weary Savior.

*Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

1 Comment »

Things I Learned During My Stint as a Single Mom

I watched my friend’s three delightful children while she and her husband were away at a marriage retreat this weekend.  I learned a lot–especially about myself!  Here’s a sample:

1.  A large german shepherd, two running children, and myself cannot all fit through a doorway at once.  When I try to fit, I lose my balance and run into cupboards, spilling bath salts all over the floor.

2.  It is nearly impossible to keep small children from trying to eat the said same bath salts while trying to clean them up.  They’re so pretty and purple and look like candy.  Non-toxic “candy”, I hope.  : )

3.  I am not as patient a person as I thought I was….

4.  …but the Lord gives LOTS of grace!!!

5.  It is nearly impossible to get three children bathed, dressed, and out the door in two hours.  Who knew?

6.  I love nap time.

7.  The weekend was easier than I thought in a lot of ways–early bedtimes and long naptimes helped with this…but was challenging for me as I realized that there is very little room for selfishness and impatience when caring for children 24/7!

8.  I really, really like doing homemaking-ish stuff.  I wish I could do it more.

9.  Play-dough is our friend.  Although, pink play-dough is hard to remove off of jeans after one small three year old intentionally sits on her play-dough to squish it down better.

10.  7:15 am snuggles with a just-woke-up but still sleepy three year old provide for priceless moments.

11.  Showering while trying to supervise a 15 month old is also nearly impossible.

12.  I LOVE little kid questions about things–they’re so refreshingly blunt!  (i.e. ‘Miss Kristi, where is your husband?’ [I don’t have one, David]. ‘Oh.’ [Next day]  ‘Miss Kristi, why don’t you have a husband?’)

13.  I also love how kids get excited about mundane things–like a dead ladybug or a garbage truck passing by.

14.  One cannot get a five year old boy to temporarily put on his sister’s pink mittens to pick up some snow.  Because, “Well….(long pause while he thinks very hard)….Miss Kristi boys aren’t supposed to wear pink!” I should have known better than to even try.  🙂

15.  The Lord is indeed very, very faithful–and gives us so much joy.

4 Comments »

7 Ways to Encourage a Single Friend (well, from my perspective anyway!):

1.  Avoid the cliches–you know, “Someday your prince will come”, that sort of thing.

2.  Invite us over to your house to eat with your family.  We “singles” don’t do as much together as you’d think–and sometimes we’re lonely and want the company of different generations.  Even better–“adopt” a single person and make them part of your family dinners, celebrations, etc.

3.  Provide opportunities for smaller groups of singles to gather at your house–invite 5-8 single people over for games/food…this type of non-pressure, neutral environment is great for encouraging young/single people to get to know each other in a non-threatening environment.

4.  Don’t bring up e-Harmony.  : )

5.  Encourage us in our careers and life pursuits, whatever they may be…there is no guarantee that any of us will be married, and it’s nice to be affirmed in ways that do not communicate that we are “only doing this until we are married”.  This encourages women to understand that they do not “need” a husband to be complete in life (instead they are to pursue biblical womanhood partially through the career or pursuit that God has led them to); and encouraging men to settle down and pursue a career promotes Godly, biblical manhood that is attractive to a woman.

6.  Avoid the “My brother-in-law’s sister’s cousin’s boyfriend’s uncle is single–he lives in Ireland and he’s great.”  Carefully chosen encouragements toward one person or another are ok, but please make sure 1) the relationship is practical and 2) that you know both the man and the woman well and feel that they are spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually compatible.  If you absolutely MUST set up a blind date situation, please don’t be offended if I’m not excited for it…and please provide a non-threatening setting for it, such as a small group of friends (including the “intended” and I) for dinner or games.

7.  Encourage us women to learn and practice biblical womanhood (the same applies to men and biblical manhood).  Mentor us–we want the accountability, and need it!  Encourage us to be involved at church, too–small groups, women’s Bible studies, men’s prayer meetings, etc.  Don’t let us try to figure everything out on our own!

8.  One last one, just because it must be said.  A carefully-timed reminder that, “It is better to be single then to wish you were!”, is often appropriate.  : )

2 Comments »