Happy New Year everyone! Oh that we take what we've learned, remember it, and apply it to the new year. Pastor Mike preached this past weekend on how you can't move forward until you've taken time to look back. Reccommend listening to the sermon if you get a chance. It's free: http://www.rockypeak.org/podcast.asp. So, using what I learned in the sermon, here's a little of what I've been thinking of.
First of all, I don't do New Year's resolutions. It's like knowing you have to do a term paper at the beginning of the semester but it isn't due until the end of the semester. It hangs over your head like a heavy rain cloud while the rest of the world is having a sunny day. Not gonna do it. Not gonna torture myself willingly. So, for those of you who are making resolutions....good luck and don't forget your umbrella.
Second, this year was a big one for us as we completely changed everything.
Let me recap:
I've moved from one state to another while downsizing my living space by 2000 sq ft.
My husband has changed jobs and consequently we changed churches.
I've left very dear friends and made new ones but kept the old (la la la).
I've watched my child change from a baby to a boy.
I still have girth on my hips that I wish was not there.
I wrote, acted and directed and it still brings me great joy.
I went on my first missions trip to Ensenada Mexico.
I've had sex with hopes of becoming pregnant and just for fun but to no avail...well we had fun.
I've rediscovered an urge to teach that wakes me at night.
I've learned to drive in LA traffic without fear.
I've become a kid again at Disneyland.
The beach has become a place of great fun and peace.
So, what has God taught me this year?
Smaller is better....louder but better. Also, moving requires purging. Purging is good.
Growth in a church is something we desire to be part of no matter the cost.
Friends are one's anchor. New friends build a fence around the hole in your heart left by leaving old friends. They can't fill the space but they keep you from falling in.
Childhood is fleeting and one must cherish it.
One's hips will not diminish without moving...significantly moving.
Joy comes from using your gifts.
Ensenada...that's the big one, I'll save it for last.
Perhaps we are not to "have" more children and sex is great. (I already knew that but just in case you were wondering.)
God's stirs you at night not to pee but to listen.
LA is just geography.
Dreams come true at Disneyland.
All God's children should have access to a beach.
Okay, here's the big lesson I learned this year. This was a HARD lesson by the way. This one didn't sit well with me for many many weeks. When I finally came to accept this lesson, I grew and learned something I didn't really get before. God broke my heart and began to mend it. Ensenada caused great fear in me. I did not want to go. Not under any circumstances did I want to go but God had it so I had no choice. I went. I went not kicking and screaming but more huddled in the corner in the fetal position sucking my thumb. I just wanted to get it done and come home and never think about it again. Oh, child of such limited thinking and ignorance to God's power and sovereignty and love. Poverty and dirt and illness do not cause God to tremble on his throne. My biggest hang up about the mission trip and what broke my heart was not getting an answer to WHY? I couldn't understand why just over an imaginary line there was such a colossal gap between have and have not. And honestly I still don't get it. I don't know if what we did helped for more than just a day, an hour, a minute...at all. I don't know. I may never know if painting pictures on the hands of little, dirty, kids will ever make any difference in their lives. I finally came to accept that it is not my place to know. My place was to be obedient. To take advantage of an opportunity to serve. To do it with a willing and glad heart. To walk away wishing to do more. To make a tiny stitch and help close the gap between the have and have nots. But that was not the lesson dear friends. That is not what I learned. That was what I was reminded of. I realized I already knew that.
Finally, here's the lesson. It is a lesson in altered thinking. It is a question of perspective and big picture. I came to realize by example, that my definintion was backwards. The definition of Have and Have-not is not quantified by measuring wealth, cleanliness, health or education. I know that sounds like it should be easy to grasp. I thought I knew that. Easy to say, however, most difficult to learn; espcially if you have much. The have and have-not is instead distinguished by a higher quotient of JOY. It is in Ensenada that I recognized and saw with my own eyes that joy comes in quantities. This is it...are you paying attention? "When you do unto the least of these you have done unto me." I, dear friends, went to Ensenada, crossed the great gap, ready to sevrve the "least of these" and discovered that it was I that was the least of these....I observed and watched these people who have nothing and yet have everything. A higher quotient of joy dwells within the lives of those who live on the side of the gap we consider the have nots. It is I, who walked away having been served. What broke my heart then was how unbelievably blessed I am and yet how small my joy was comparitively speaking. I'm still trying to wrap my heart and brain around how one goes about raising one's joy quotient. It is something I'm going to keep learning in the year 2008. I don't have it all figured out in my head yet. The lesson of learning that one can quantify joy surprised me. I always thought you either have joy or you don't. 'Tis not true! So I put it out to you. What is it that makes one's joy cup overflow? Must we suffer in order to experience a higher quotient of joy? Can we not learn and have this said joy without doing without? What is it that lets you rejoice in all circumstances? Friends...I have so much to learn. So very much to learn. It is here, I ponder and wonder and seek to understand so I can move forward. Move forward with greater joy.
The most important blog post I'll ever write
2 years ago