Friday, January 14, 2011

THIS IS THE STUFF YOU USE

Just heard the song This is the Stuff You Use by Francesca Battistelli.  Going through a rough time right now with a pretty important relationship to our immediate family.  For the past several weeks I have been struggling through anger, frustration, irritation, forgiveness, letting go--in short, being the person God wants me to be instead of the fleshly person that kept crying out to be let loose. 

I was shocked at the level of anger I felt.  I was surprised at the unkind and hurtful thoughts that came so easily to mind and the willingness of myself to at least allow my mind to unleash fury on this person and revel in their pain.  It was sin.  Dirty, ugly, "I have a right to feel this way", sin. 

Thank God, the Spirit was able to speak through all that anger and hurt and continue to whisper--this is not who you were made to be.  I SO didn't want to listen to that voice.  Thank God again that I had a husband and good friends I was able to share my struggle with--that I was not winning the war in my own heart against Satan trying to creep in.   They were able to enter into the battle with me and pray that God would have His way and not the flesh.

It is a moment by moment struggle sometimes.  The situation with the relationship is not resolved--it's not all tied up in a pretty bow and fixed.  It's messy.  I know things now, that I didn't know and that changes things.  I have to relearn how to trust (or if to trust!) the person.

But the song this morning--This is the Stuff You Use--reminded me that God used this situation to remind me that Satan is always there(sin is crouching at your door)--waiting for the opportunity to come in and wreak havoc in my heart.  But God is SO much bigger and when we cry out to Him, He hears, He answers, He loves, He teaches, He renews this fleshly heart of mine and turns it again towards Him. 

Thank you so much Father.  And even though I know saying this will cause me pain--Use whatever You need to, to keep me close to You.  Thank you for loving me and for showing me the ugly that is still in me.  Thank you for holding my hand through this pain.  Thank you for making me a little more like your Son today.

I love you.

Monday, January 10, 2011

AN AFGHAN

I love God.  He is so cool how He works.  Yet at the same time, I am human and get frustrated at how He works.  But today--He showed me something cool.

I am attempting to crochet an afghan.  I learned how to crochet from my mom when I was young and haven't even attempted anything in probably 15+ years.  For whatever reason, I got a whim during the month of December to take the hobby up again.  I have crocheted 3 scarves and really enjoyed the process (and they are pretty!!).  My daughter told me I should choose something besides scarves to do.  So I was looking around and found a pattern to crochet an afghan.  It was marked "easy" and I thought--hey I made 3 scarves, this shouldn't be too difficult--I just have to follow the directions.

Have I mentioned here how I tend to lean toward the perfectionistic side?  How I like things to go the way they are supposed to?  So I'm crocheting away, feeling smug as I follow the directions and watch the yarn turn into something pretty.  BTW, this afghan has 9 rows--each row is a different pattern of stitches.  So I am going along and hit row 5 when I realize I'm not quite understanding what the directions are saying--b/c things are not coming out quite right.  I rip out a few stitches and try again--still it doesn't seem right.  So I ask my husband to take a look and see what he thinks.  He gives me a different viewpoint and wa-la!  it goes much better.  But as I look at it, I realize that it still doesn't look quite right.  When I stop and look at the whole thing, I realize I had  made a mistake (just a teensy one) a few rows back.  That's why it doesn't look quite right.  Now, my husband looks at it and says he doesn't notice.  My kids don't notice--no one is probably ever going to notice.  But  I notice.  And while I continue on--I know it's there.  That mistake is there and will effect every single row until the end of the afghan.  It bothers me.  It makes me want to quit.  I want to rip out everything I've done and start over.  Then I made another mistake a few rows later.  Again, it's not a big one that everyone will notice.  But I realized, even if I did rip out back to my original mistake--I would probably make another.  Am I gonna rip it out everytime until it is perfect? 

God whispered to my heart that the afghan is like my life.  My life is made one moment in time just as the afghan is made one stitch at a time.  I must take my life one moment at a time--I can't get ahead of myself.  My hands are full with this moment now.  Just like in the afghan--knowing what the next stitch is or concentrating on the next stitches instead of the stitch right in front of me will cause me to make mistakes or rush ahead!   I can't unravel my life and fix my mistakes--and those mistakes do influence the rest of my life--no matter how small.  But if I concentrate on my mistakes I will miss out on the beauty of my entire life.  I will miss the joy of each moment (each stitch!). 

Thanks God for each stitch of my life.  Help me to follow closely to you and when I don't and I trip and fall flat on my face--thank you for the grace of forgiveness.  Help me to learn how to forgive myself for my mistakes and also to forgive others for their mistakes.