09 March 2010

On the Road to Restoration

I am not one of those people who will take their bible, open it randomly and read a verse being convinced the verse I pick is a direct message from God to me at that moment. The first and last time I tried that my bible opened to Leviticus and my finger landed on Leviticus 21:20. However, I do think that our God sometimes uses a series of seemingly random things or coincidences to get our attention.

I dragged myself to our Tuesday morning community bible study this morning. I almost talked myself out of it. After my last post I knew that I was grumpy, not feeling well and in no way going to be blessed by showing up with my attitude. Yeah, it's always good for me when God dumps me on my butt and shows me that I don't get to decide what He is and is not going to do. I was blessed. I was blessed by the women who were there in our small group. Their backgrounds are so diverse, their experiences so unlike mine and yet the common struggles of life our ours. I am blessed to be surrounded by kind, open, vulnerable women who tolerate my opinions, moods and opinionated soapbox monologues.

One of the things I am struggling with is the feeling of uselessness I have from not being able to work. A month or more ago while standing in line at the pharmacy, I got to talk to a women from my church who told me about classes that were offered to seniors in the community. (Seniors? Ouch!) One of the women involved in the bible study on Tuesday's had a list of the classes offered by the University of Kentucky. The cost for the classes is minimal and there are several history classes that are offered. Registration was today. Had I given in to my flesh and not come to bible study, I would have missed the chance to go to the classes.

Registration for these classes took place at the library. I have been here 5 years, the new library has been open for 2 years and I had not gone to get a library card. It was on my list of things to do to feel better about myself. It was a small sort of accomplishment but something I could do and I enjoy reading. How fortuitous that I could register for classes and get a library card all at once.

As much as I enjoy reading, I seem to enjoy buying books more. I have way too many books that I haven't read at all. Which is partly why I wanted to go to the library. My guilt glands are swelling because it's much cheaper to go there to look for books that I wont read than to go to Amazon and buy them. When I got home I decided to pick up one of the books in the unread pile and at least give it a glance over. The first book I picked up I bought probably three years ago. It's titled "Lost in the Middle: Midlife and the Grace of God" by Paul David Tripp. Thumbing through the pages, my eyes landed here:

Standing in a Pile of Your Own Leaves

You're now in the autumn of your life, and you're quite aware that the leaves are off the trees. You're standing in a pile of the leaves of your marriage, your parenting, your extended family, your work, and your ministry. These leaves of the past have grown wrinkled and dry, and you know you cannot put them back on the tree. It's tempting to sit down in the pile and examine leaf after leaf and wish you were holding a new bud from anew sapling, but you aren't. the harvest has come in, and it is what it is. Yet in all this there is hope because your Lord is the Lord of new seasons. With the new season comes the freedom to pant new and better seeds. With the new season comes the expectation of a new harvest of new fruit.

Stand up and walk away from your pile of yesterday's leaves. Take the seeds of a new way into your hands, press them into the soil of your life and thank God that you ill live to see a better harvest. (p. 113)

Coincidental random acts or divine providence? The latter. That was certainly not a Leviticus 21:20 moment. My hope is restored.

Psalm 121:1-8
1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come?
2 My help {comes} from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.
8 The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth
(NAS)

Romans 8:24-31
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees?
25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
26 And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for {us} with groanings too deep for words;
27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to {the will of} God.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to {His} purpose.
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined {to become} conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;
30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God {is} for us, who {is} against us?
(NAS)

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