Aged Cheese

A week ago, my dad brought home some sharp cheddar cheese, one of his favorites…this particular cheese though was a bit more special than normal because it was 12 year-old aged cheddar….that’s pretty old cheese I thought.  And cool too, just because I think stuff like that is cool, for no reason.

Okay, now I’m 26 years old, and that cheese is 12 years old, that means that when I was 14, someone decided to put this cheese away & wait 12 years to serve it.  For 12 years that cheese sat there, wherever that may be, waiting for just the right moment to come out & be served.  Had it only sat for a few years, it probably still would have been good, but have you ever eaten 12 year-old aged cheddar? It’s amazing…it’s good, it has a unique taste, etc. etc. Ha. I’m not really THAT crazy about cheese, but you gotta think about this in this other way…think about us as cheese.  Laughing yet? Just hold on….

Psalm 139:13 & 16 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb….Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  This is amazing if you think about it, because God knew us, knew our every step & all about us before we even existed.  Wow. That tells me that over 26 years ago, God knew that I would be typing this blog, where I’d be & that there must be a purpose to my life…to each of our lives!

Like a fine wine or a fine cheese, as we enter into the family of God, even before we entered the family of God, we were set aside for a purpose, we have been given a story, we have reason to live.  Isn’t that interesting though? To think of ourselves as in this waiting position, waiting to be taken off the shelf for God to use us?  I don’t think He is completely passive though, at some point this analogy breaks down because I think we’re used here & there throughout our lives, but as it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  I wonder if that means that we won’t die until God has fulfilled in us the purpose He has created us for.  It is not until that point that we will finally see the Glory of God fulfilled & complete.

Just thoughts.  It makes me appreciate the cheese a lot more though…:) Hope you can see it differently too.  You are special, you’re made with a purpose, you are loved, you are meant for something and no one can take away that meaning from you. You are God’s child, designed intentionally to be who God purposed, to bring Glory to Him & reconcile you to Him in due time. Amen!!

A little something

I just found the following, hidden away in my documents folder….not sure when I wrote it, but I wanted to share it with you today.

Like little seeds planted in the ground, the seed must die for a new plant to grow! It’s like us….when we were ignorant to the grace of God, we lived for ourselves & though we may have done “good” in the eyes of the world, ultimately there was no purpose, no end goal that we could strive for, except for pleasure in ourselves & our works. Now, through the ultimate sacrifice of God’s death & divine miracle of His resurrection, we have a hope of something else. We have something to live for, someone who died for us, and now we can live a new life, dedicated to honoring Him for the gift he’s given us….freedom, forgiveness, faithfulness, fullness of life, a fearless way to live.
I want my earthly inheritance to be spent before it’s stockpiled…I hope to give it away, and to bless those who may never be encouraged to take a step of faith into a life they never dreamed of.  In Psalms 68, it talks about putting the lonely in families. Well, I’ve been given a family, but others have not. They are the lonely, and they can be part of our family…my family…God’s family. The love, care & provision that I have been blessed with all my life, can be someone else’s if you or I care enough to share it with them. Sharing not only the practical things like food, shelter, & water, but God’s blessings of love, acceptance, forgiveness & encouragement.

Wherever I go, whoever I become, this is the person I want to be: I want to be someone who serves others, who cares about the people who are rejected from society, who is involved with missions, who goes wherever I’m needed so I can meet a need, someone who seeks God first, who is unashamedly Christian, who gives all that I am to love on people, & listening at all times.

Anticipation

Standing on the precipice of something extraordinary….or maybe just new, I cannot help but feel anticipation and eagerness to move forward, to feel whatever this is that the Lord is moving around in my life. Big pieces are moving, and slowly things are taking shape.  I’ve been praying much the past few months of what does God have for me next.  I am “content” where I am, yet some of the situations that surround me make me uncomfortable, and yes I do realize that uncomfortableness can grow you….however this type of uncomfortable is the kind that can kill you. So. What is it God, what will it be? Where will it be? When will it be?

Looking forward, I cannot help but look back as well…I recently saw this verse at one of the 5 funerals I’ve attended in the last few weeks…”The memory of the righteous will be a blessing….” (Proverbs 10:7a).  What a blessing that I have been given through all of the people in my life & now who have passed on to the next.  One of my favorite kids books, tells the story of an old woman who refuses to name things that she knows she will outlive.  So the puppy that starts to visit her daily goes without a name until at one point he stops coming & she believes she has lost him forever. Through his visits, she has grown to love him…and when the dog pound guy asks what the lost puppy’s name is, she thinks back over all her friends that she had outlived, and realized just how lucky she was, and decided then to name the dog “lucky”.  As I look for what this new thing is that God is stirring, I want to bring the memories of the righteous people in my life with me…they will be in me and their memories will live through me, in whatever place I land.

Eleanor Roosevelt, in my mind one of the greatest inspirational women to ever live, said this…”The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  That’s what I’m trying to do…..reaching out to find whatever is out there, whatever God has that holds a rich newness to it. His redeeming & loving character will provide that, in his way.  Hm. How are we, am I, living that is tasting His will to the utmost, am I reaching out eagerly & without fear?  Will I remember the past with a blessed feeling?  I will, and I will try to take steps in faith to be one of those women who live without fear of the future, to be confident in the hope I have in Christ, and the boldness to follow wherever He may lead…seeing how He worked so vibrantly in the lives of my loved ones past, and fully trusting that He will do the same in me.

Never stop waiting for God

Well how do I begin to tell you just how amazed I am each day that I am alive, at the miraculous & strange ways in which our God works?  Most days it’s mundane, some days slightly boring. But occasionally, and more often than I would admit to enjoy, I get an unusual & exciting adventure.  The last few days has been an occasion of that sort.

In the middle of a weekend night, I was startled with a call that my home had been broken into. Despite my prayers, my computer & external hard drives were stolen.  To some, this would merely mean a few lost papers, maybe some pictures or your running music.  To me….it was all the photos from my travels, the family pictures of my now lost mother, the memories of clients’ babies & vows. The horror devastated me.  It was ironic in the ways that I had been telling people how my neighborhood was “just fine,” and how I had just read about how in David’s painful or frightened waiting he found ways to praise God.

I sat stunned, lost, robbed & unsure of the future. The Lord reminded me to trust Him & not in the things I had lost. It was an understood message, one I “knew” but didn’t enjoy knowing.  But still, the praise was needed to Him…..so I thanked Him for keeping Lisa & I away from home that night because we were SAFE, I thanked Him for clean robbers because our home wasn’t TRASHED, I thanked Him for grace because my clients were FORGIVING. All these things to be thankful for. Yes, I was angry at what had been done, but thankful for God’s protection….I still had a home to sleep in.

My friends at church prayed for me. I’m sure many people did. For protection still, and also that something would turn up. Monday was the worst. It hit me that I would never see those photos again, that someone had been in my house, taken valuables from me, probably sold them, had probably watched me for a while & might be back. The Bible study I’m in helped to take away those thoughts that evening though…..through prayer & some late night fellowship I celebrated the people who surrounded me & the God who provided them.

Monday evening, my brother came back to my house so I did not have to be alone. He let me log-in online with his computer (since mine obviously was “out of service”). Trying to get online I realized that the thieves had also stolen my router. Dumb. I figured it out though, and went to Facebook to update some folks.  Right away, I saw that I had a friend request & an email from the same person who was unknown to me.  Opening the email, my disbelief was stretched.  A man told me that he had purchased a computer that weekend, and after he opened it up & looked around, he noticed that the “brand new” computer he bought was really some one else’s….mine. He had found my computer! But the best was yet to come–he wanted to GIVE IT BACK!

Wait….what? Give it back? No questions asked?  He said he understood what it felt like to have things taken, and that he wanted me to have it back.  Tonight….I sit here, writing this story, as I sit in front of my previously stolen computer.

The last few months, the ponderings of what God requires of us….of me….has been on my mind.  And this story cannot hide the fact that this is God’s love lived out in action.  This guy, innocently bought a computer, discovered there was something wrong and gave it back, without expecting anything in return, trusting God that this is what He would require of him. I think this is SUCH an awesome example.  Trusting in God, waiting on Him to provide, to protect, to restore & to renew a hope in His awesome love.

My life never ceases to amaze me….and neither does my God.

Deserving?

In a conversation this week, talking about the horrible happenings weaved throughout this persons life, the question was posed “what did I do to deserve this life?”  The thought was chilling, and unsettling. I don’t know that we really deserve any of it….any of the good or any of the bad.  For what really could we do to deserve anything good in this life, and what could we do that would warrant such hard events? I know that if we really get spiritual here, there are probably very legitimate answers for these questions…..sin in the world causes us bad things in our life…or doing good for others often will allow us to reap plentiful benefits.
But in the simplicity of this question, ….I remembered a story in my past.  I once had a wonderful band teacher. He always chose great music & taught us well.  One particular choice of song, had a particularly difficult timpani piece.  This he chose to give to me. The other parts he let the other percussionists choose for themselves, but for the timpani, he chose me to play.  Just looking at the piece someone would understand this was not going to be easy.  It had multiple tone changes, varying degrees of intensity within short measures, odd rhythms, parts where I was the only player amidst the entire band, & so on.  I questioned his choice, pleading that I was not able to do this piece and that he should choose someone more capable.  He insisted, and would hear none of my protest.

So I practiced, and I practiced, and I practiced, I screwed up & I practiced some more. Finally I was OK with the piece….just OK. And when it came to the concert, I stood & played…I was not perfect, but I was alright. I did better than I thought I would, that’s for sure.  Later, I asked my instructor once more….why did you choose to give me such a difficult piece? Surely someone else could have done it better. To this he replied, “I knew you would have to work at it, but I wanted to see you try…” (this next part is what really got me) “…I chose it for you not because you were the best, but because I wanted you to see what you were capable of.”

In many ways, I see this situation as something similar if I now asked God why I deserved this life & the situations that fall into my way….He allows them to come not because I’ve done something to deserve them necessarily, but because he wants me to understand what I’m capable of overcoming when I trust Him.