Wait!

We sit on weathered gray benches of rough-hewn pine worn smooth with use and age. Tiers of them are positioned to view a burbling, boiling cauldron of vaporizing turquoise liquid.

There must be close to a hundred souls here, seated or standing, wrapped in cold, late spring air.

Youth aren’t usually known for the fruit of patience, and the two groups of youth filling most of the benches are no exception. They’re waiting, antsy, talking, laughing, and bantering with each other and their counselors.

Some are from homes far away. We hear many different languages spoken, and faces from cultures different from our own, smile back at us.

A common reason brings us to this place. We want to watch this geyser reach for the sky.

“Does anyone know how long is it supposed to be before it erupts the next time?” I ask those who sit next to me.

There are some shrugs and head-shakes. But an attractive dark-eyed teen rubs her cold hands together, and replies with a grin “I don’t know for sure, but I just heard it should be in about fifteen minutes or so,”

Above us one of the groups blend their voices to sing “Happy Birthday” to an older counselor. We all applaud and wish him well. Next to us another group floods the chilly air with the same song for their friend, Rachel. Rachel covers her face with gloved hands in embarrassment. There’s more well-wishing and applause.

Time drags it’s feet, and another song begins. But this one’s different. “Jesus Loves Me.”

Hmmm, they’re more than just summer campers. And we learn that there are youth groups from churches in many other states around the country.

The songs become a gentle rivalry as one group attempts to outdo the other. They do “the Wave” then sing some more. And most songs bring back memories from my own church camp days. The songs lift up the Lord.

It becomes quiet for a moment. Then the crystal clear music from a single young voice graces the atmosphere with “How Great Thou Art.” Her group immediately joins in.

I can’t stop myself from singing along. Neither can most everyone else, and it becomes a time of worship and awe of God’s handiwork. I sense His arms around us. Jesus is here. This piece of time becomes a witness to those who don’t know Him.

The song ends, and immediately the music of the turquoise pool begins. Amazed at the timing, all of us draw in deep breaths of the icy air, watching as the heated bubbling waters roar upward in a crescendo of silver-white foam soaring skyward in leaping waves, one after another.

The heat permeates the cold air and creates a steamy cloud of vapor. Miniature tidal waves send liquid flooding over the multicolored edges of the crater. Our awe continues as the pool settles into another cycle of quiet.

Are you waiting for something right now?

Waiting for a geyser is one thing, but what about when you’re waiting for test results or for a change in your life or a baby, a new job, or simply peace of heart?

 Sometimes it isn’t easy.

“I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God” (Psalm 69:3).
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5).

“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).
“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20).
“And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You” (Psalm 39:7).

Here’s how God wants us to wait:

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

And check out James 1:6, too.

I’d love for you to leave a comment.

The photo above is of Old Faithful. To see photo of Echinus Geyser erupting click here http://marlimillerphoto.com/Ig-65.html

 All scripture is from the New King James Version of the Bible.

Into the Deep

“When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’”

Sunrise

Has God called you to move away from your safe harbor, from the security and comfort of the known? Are you hanging back, fearful of what might lie ahead? Is your trust in safety, or in God?

 

So many times I’ve moved away from my safe harbor–and dog paddled like crazy, nearly drowning until I finally learned to trust in God.

But it didn’t feel crazy when I said “Yes” to my high school sweetheart when I was seventeen or when I said “I do” a year later or when I said “Hello, Baby Girl” a year later than that. Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing, but in between then and now, I’ve passed judgment on myself many times with “You must have been out of your mind!” But honestly, I don’t believe I was wise enough to have hung back or to have been fearful of the future  back then. Not to say I’m any different now. Do we really ever change much? I wonder.

“But Simon answered and said to Him, ’Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’”

Simon was hesitant, but he went with what faith he had in what he knew of the man, Jesus. Our Lord is so patient, loves us with all our faults, and walks with us even when we don’t know He’s there.

My mother insisted that if I married at that age, I must have more than high school, and business college had an important impact on my future. After our July wedding, I sneezed my way through our honeymoon at Niagara Falls with allergies that wouldn’t quit.

And a year later, along came baby number one, but not without the side effects of high blood pressure, labor with complications, and an emergency C-section. All that made a man and a woman out of a boy and a girl, strengthened my faith, and scared the stuffing out of my husband. The net was full. Yet it didn’t break.

Those were the rough beginnings of “on my own.”

As God holds his hand out for you to grasp, he promises not to leave or forsake you, but to always be with you as you launch out into the deeper, unknown waters. They are well known to God. God asks us to trust him, not the waters.

Leaving harbor at sunset

In the hills of Bethlehem in Judea, a young man was called by God to leave the safe haven of shepherding and walk into the unknowns of kingship.

Generations later in Nazareth of Galilee, a young woman was called by God to leave the safe haven of her girlhood and walk into the unknowns of motherhood.

Because King David, and Mary, mother of Jesus, were willing to walk into uncharted waters when God called them, the Son of God came into the world to bring us forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Through them God gave us priceless gifts.

What will you do when God calls you out of your secure environment to do something for him? What will God do with your obedience if you trust him?

Choice? You have one to make. You are called, not commanded. Will you trust and go? Or will you remain in your safe harbor?

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid . . . ” What have you to fear with your hand in God’s?

From the Book of Luke, here’s the whole story of what happened that day on the shores of Lake Gennesaret.

“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’
But Simon answered and said to Him, ’Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’
For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.’ So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him” (Luke 5:1-11 NKJV).

No, our stories may never be anywhere near as wondrous and dramatic as this true story, but they are God’s gift to us as we journey through this life. Treasure yours.

I’d love for you to share part of your story in the Comments.

Father, in the name of Jesus please grant us the patience, flexibility, and perseverance to accept all the changes you place before us with graciousness and with courage. Amen

Love,

~Sally~

Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.
~ Mark Twain

 

Little Things

Multitasking as a wife and mom, starting a new job, and keeping a household in some semblance of order was a challenge.

There were mornings when I’d end up on my hands and knees, maneuvering in a business suit, wiping up spills when my six-year-old tested the effects of gravity and let his nearly full cup of juice do the Jersey Bounce off the kitchen floor.

Then before I could breathe again, “Mommy, the dog got out!” from my frantic ten-year-old daughter—wearing exactly what I’d said she couldn’t only five minutes ago. You know—the times when you could just grab a pillow and scream into it.

There was always that choice—

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, there was always hope I’d find the dog, deal with the dressing disaster, get them to school on time, and make it to work without wearing some of the juice—

And prayer. There were times I’d be mopping up mess and praying  “And while I am down here, Lord . . .” and the prayers would spill like the juice had, with splashes of complaining, and pleas for help with patience, and wishes for more time and energy to cope.

It helped to come across little things like Klara’s poetic prayer and how Brother Lawrence turned work into worship.

And while I am down here . . .

Lord of all the pots and pans and things
Since I’ve not time to be
A saint by doing lovely things or
Watching late with Thee
Or dreaming in the dawn light or
Storming Heaven’s gates
Make me a saint by getting meals and
Washing up the plates.

Although I must have Martha’s hands,
I have a Mary mind,
And when I black the boots and shoes,
Thy sandals, Lord, I find.
I think of how they trod the earth,
What times I scrub the floor.
Accept this meditation Lord,
I haven’t time for more.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy love,
And light it with Thy peace,
Forgive me all my worrying and make
My grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food,
In room or by the sea,
Accept this service that I do,
I do it unto Thee.

Poem by Klara Munkres

 

 

 

“We can do little things for God. I turn the cake that is frying on the pan, for love of him; and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king.”
Brother Lawrence, from The Practice of the Presence of God

When have you tugged on the Father’s robe with your most earnest prayers?

“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13 NKJV).

“Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand” (Psalm 73:23 NKJV).

“The LORD is a shelter right by your side”  (Psalm 121:5b  HCSB).

Popcorn Memories

I’m honored to have author, speaker, singer, Ann Cooper McCauley, posting on the blog today! I know you’ll love her warmth and humor as much as I do. Enjoy Ann’s . . .

POPCORN MEMORIES

One night, a few years ago now, my body as always longed for rest, but the alarm jolted me awake at midnight’s blue, when the kids would be fast asleep. What?!? Then I remembered. I slipped from beneath flannel sheets and electric blanket into the still cold of our ancient house, looking back with longing at my soft pillow. The century-old stairs creaked as I scaled them in cloak of darkness, a tight fist about a one-dollar bill. I tiptoed through the upstairs maze, my feet dodging dressers, cast-aside shoes, and prickly, little carpet tacks at every portal. As I shivered, I smiled to myself; my mission would soon be accomplished. A baby tooth awaited me in a snack-sized Ziploc tucked under my second-born’s pillow.

Carefully, carefully, I inched toward Jarred’s bunk. Five feet… Four feet… Three feet away from his wee, slumbering snore… Faint moonlight softened his little face into a deceiving sweetness. Two feet… I reached out… And the world plunged from its axis! My legs went sprawling in mid-air; the breath I’d been holding burst into a wild, squeal of terror. The room shifted, rocked, rolled, and I landed in a bruising heap among more than a thousand glass marbles.

Looking up at the ceiling, I knew with icy certainty— my favorite red-haired mischief-maker had booby-trapped the tooth fairy! Every scene from The Ransom of Red Chief went flying through my head, as I turned red with fury.

That night carried the real potential to send me over the proverbial edge, though I forgave my repentant son, toothless grin and all. The next day, black-and-blue and sleep deprived, I needed a vacation, but there was no money for such a luxury. I calculated the cost of a sitter for the day and decided I was worth it, but none were available. Randy will watch the kids this evening, and I can escape. But events conspired against me, and of course, he had to work late.

I was stuck. Stuck! Stuck! Stuck! And in the midst of my stomping about with no glamorous place to hide from this exasperating day, memories began skipping through my brain like popcorn. Pop! Pop! Pop!

POP! The time my creative toddlers destroyed their room. No, I really mean destroyed. As in every toy out, every stitch of clothing strewn. Have you ever stood at the door to that room? Well, I knew they couldn’t clean up their mess alone – but I simply took one look, turned and walked away, shaking my head like a lunatic and babbling, “Just – clean it up.” When I returned, they had cleaned it all right. Around the baseboards in perfect rows marched a baseball, a shoe, a Big Bird bank, a sock, a soldier, another shoe, baby lotion, a Fisher-Price tape player, another sock, and on, and on, all the way around the room. I sipped my iced tea and studied the two-man clean-up crew, now chasing their squealing younger sister.

POP! The morning my son, Joshua, decided to take down the chain link fence. I had never analyzed how a chain link fence is put together, much less taken down, but my son visualized a fort built from that section of fencing. Not only did he dismantle the section screw by screw, he also took the garden shears and cut an ingenious doorway through the middle of it. Would you think dull garden shears could cut through chain? I stared at the gaping hole, thinking, My head is actually going to explode this time.

I had two choices: I could have an aneurysm, or not. Making the obvious choice, I looked at my son and said – teeth clenched – voice low, “Put. It. Back.” By sunset that evening, the section was back in place, the center bound together with wire like a great incision.

I learned from each catastrophe. When did each shenanigan my children pulled, transition in my mind to an endearing memory? Finally, I sat wilting on the back stoop, watching my kids romping in the yard, and with memories came bubbles of laughter.

I sipped my iced tea and reflected on my life with children. Hadn’t God been good to me, after my first child was stillborn? Hadn’t He whispered to me that I would have children? Me. The mom of six blessings. My heart softened. Despite my annoyance, He refreshed me. From that night forward, the tooth fairy never again retrieved teeth from under children’s pillows—making the exchange instead at the downstairs’ bookcase.

But I learned that survival is about clinging to God’s merciful gift of humor, gracing me with the perspective to laugh at, and occasionally even with, my children’s hoodlum ways. Sometimes a restorative vacation is just a step backwards into a few blessed minutes of hysterical laughter.

So, pop back in time, and tell me your funny. When did humor help you survive?

Previously published on anncoopermccauley.com shared with permission.

Thank you, Ann for sharing your post with us!  Be sure and visit Ann’s blog and enjoy her delightful sense of humor as she shares her many stories. Here’s a little about Ann.

Ann McCauley married her sweetheart thirty-eight years ago. The McCauley’s have seven children, four internationally adopted. Ann’s first stories were published by Baker/Revell in the book, Loved by Choice—True Stories That Celebrate Adoption. She led a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a national organization for grieving parents, and a grief counseling support group, Wellsprings. Ann, a songwriter for many years, has led praise and worship, shared her original music with churches, and performed in fundraising for Holt International Adoption Agency. Mrs. McCauley has shared her adoption and homeschooling experiences with churches, rotary clubs, women’s seminars, and homeschool support groups. She’s been a speaker and singer throughout Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Ann’s motivational speaker service, The Power Behind the Story, can be found on her website. She is now taking bookings for engagements. Having written three historical novels, Ann hopes one will be picked up by a publisher soon. Her agent is Diana L. Flegal of Hartline Literary Agency.
Website and Blogs: anncoopermccauley.com

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV).

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7 NKJV).

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 NKJV).

Has humor helped you survive? We’d love to have you leave a comment!