Dec 20, 2012

Shut in with God

Life is full of changes, both unexpected and planned ones.
Having a special needs child puts our family in the "Unexpected Change OVERLOAD" category.
A great mentor once taught me that:

What you focus on - you empower.

Easier said than done.
Especially when you keep facing challenges and unexpected changes.

Have you ever said to God:
"Umm, Hello - God..... This was not in my plan." Or " This is REALLY bad timing God!"

After years of facing many health crises with my daughter and the roller coaster ride of being a leader - I have learned a lesson worth more than gold.

Position is power. 

How I choose to position myself, my perspective, my heart, my mind and my words will determine my outcome and my experience during unexpected change.

1.  condition with reference to place; location; situation.
2.  a place occupied or to be occupied; site
3.  the proper, appropriate, or usual place
4.  situation or condition, especially with relation to favorable or  unfavorable circumstances
5.  status or standing
6.  bodily posture or attitude
7.  mental attitude; stand

The ONLY way I have learned to find the right postion when facing unexpected transition and change, is to choose to be "Shut in with God." This is where I find gold in the heat of the fire.
Sometimes circumstances cause an involuntary "lock down" on life as you know it.

Even when the involuntary circumstance comes - YOU get to choose whether to :
  • be a forced prisoner
  • be a willing occupant of a divine habitation
One choice leads us to injustice, anger, and a sense that things are happening to us that are out of our control.
The other leads to surrender, secrets and strategy.
The richest, most life changing learning has happened for me,  in the Shut In Place

Consider these words of an old hymn:

The disciples were praying for the power to fall
Ten days they did tarry, on God they did call
Then God sent His spirit to baptize them all
For they had been shut in with God

Shut in with God in a secret place
There in the spirit, beholding His face
Gaining new power to run in this race
Oh, I love to be shut in with God

Of all pleasant places on land or on sea
There's no place on earth that is sweeter to me
Than to kneel at the feet of my Master and Lord
For there, I’ll be shut in with God

The louder the fear, the bigger the questions, the greater obstacles... the longer and more intentional become about being Shut In With God.

This isn't escapism... it's strategy.
It isn't running from the problem, it's running into power and perspective.
It isn't abdicating responsibility, it's alignment and enlightenment.

When transition or trial or change comes,  our minds often try to run wild finding answers and ideas. They are not wrong within themselves, but they are not enough.
New power and perspective comes in being Shut In. 

In this place:
  • the voices are gone or only a faint, distant whisper
  • the questions become easily answered
  • things that seemed important either disappear or become clearer
  • new ideas burst forth
  • you emerge with a renewed sense of alignment, peace and clarity
Doesn't that sound better than being a "forced prisoner"?

I don't pretend to know what needs to happen for you to be Shut in With God. It is different for each of us, and an exercise worth practising on a regular basis.

Here's some keys to finding your Shut in Shack with God instead of being a forced prisoner:
  1. Shut the door to the noise outside. 
  2. Take time to rest and reflect. 
  3. Remember and review the story of God in your life.
  4. Ask for His perspective.
  5. Wait and listen.
  6. Respond accordingly.
God, the one and only - I'll wait as long as he says. Everything I need comes from Him, so why not? He's solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I'm set for life. 

Apr 7, 2012

Unruly Problems

Everyone I know has been itching for spring to arrive. Even people who don't like to garden are celebrating the bursting forth of buds on the trees and tulips popping up their heads in response to warmth and sunshine.
About a month ago, as I walked in and out of my home, I noticed wonderful clusters of green showing up in various places in my garden. Even when a dust of snow would appear, the green would resist the elements and stay alive.
Oh how happy I was to see some green again!

My mind curiously began to wonder:  what perennial is now beginning to grow back?
Often from one year to next, I forget what perennial I planted where - and therefore spring becomes somewhat of a "treasure hunt".

In the past few years, I've discovered that if I allow a certain annual to remain in the garden right through the fall and into the winter, it will leave copious amounts of seeds that regrow in abundance the next year. What a pleasant discovery! Not only that, but this annual resists cold and continues to deliver lovely white scented flowers mixed with large tufts of green  right into the first harsh cold days of winter.

Between a busy fall and the decision to leave a certain annual... I neglected to fully clear out my gardens as we moved into late fall. I actually liked the look of the various tones of all the browning leaves and the artistic expression they created on the canvas of my garden soil.

Yesterday I finally got to cleaning out my garden.

The small cute, delicate bundles of green that were a welcome sight just a month ago, were out in large groups to greet me. Some even had lovely white flowers to entice me. Problem was.. for the most part, they were all WEEDS.

As usual, my perennials were also popping up, in the carefully planned locations that they had been originally placed. These bright green bundles though had decided it was time to dominate, multiply and take up the real estate of my precious black soil.

Weed - noun
  • a valueless plant growing wild, especially one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop
  • any undesirable or troublesome plant, especially one that grows profusely where it is not wanted: The vacant lot was covered with weeds.

One of the ways God speaks to me is through metaphors. Since becoming a professional coach, the value and message of metaphors has only intensified for me and it has become an incredible tool in my practice. 

Metaphor - noun
  •  a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally      applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God.” 
  • something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol.

Did you know that a metaphor has the ability to actually create a shift in your thinking and perspective? 
It can actually alter certain neural pathways in your brain.
Metaphors give us a picture of what is, or what could be. Often knowing reality or truth in our head isn't enough for us. We often need to see it in action in order to get a picture of the real impact. 

The right metaphor at the right time can kick start us from knowledge - into experience, action and impact.

Jesus Christ used the power of metaphors in the parables he told. He told allegorical stories to paint a picture in our minds to illustrate and teach a truth.

My garden clean out day, became yet another opportunity for tremendous illustration that drove home a truth and caused me to shift my perspective and make new choices for the future.

And here it is in a nutshell:
 Leaving what seemed like a "beautiful thing" a "last glimmer of life and beauty" in my garden became my excuse not to give my soil the necessary preparation for winter. 

As I write this post, I stop for a moment and google: "importance of cleaning out gardens in the fall"
Oh boy... now it's really hitting home!
Within 15 seconds I see pages of links on this important gardening step. Here's the first thing I click on:

It’s important to clean up all the dead foliage every fall, because garden pests and plant diseases can overwinter in garden debris and cause problems in the garden next year.

No kidding!!! 

Yesterday as my husband and I gardened, we were muttering and complaining about these "unruly problems". What was supposed to be a fun discovery of spring and preparation for growth, ended up being a weed extraction on the mammoth scale!
Not only had these unruly problems taken over real estate on my beautiful black soil, they had creeped onto the lawn. 
By the end of it all, I had a garbage can full of pests  -   a garden that had holes - lost alot of precious soil AND some nasty, pesky roots still trying to hang onto it's turf.

Lesson learned. Metaphor burned into my mind, my spirit, my memory.

As I dug and picked out weeds, I kept asking myself:

What "good or beautiful things" have I decided to keep present longer than what is best? 

What "healthy steps" or "principles" or "processes" have I avoided that are impacting me now?

What are the necessary steps I must take as I exit one season and move into another?

Great questions, and lots of great truths that I am taking away from my time in my garden.
Every choice we make today impacts us in our future. 

Wisdom and truth can become our friend and support structure for future success. 
Doing what feels right or enjoyable in the moment, can be a set up for future "unruly problems" that rob the landscape of our lives and can cost us and take "seasons of time" to bring back into a healthy balance.

What might this metaphor be speaking to you?

The Pursuit of Wisdom Brings Security  - Proverbs 2
1 My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
3 For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
4 If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart
And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul

Jan 28, 2012

Psalm 2012 v.128

Why must a mother's heart feel such anguish?
Why must the helpless one suffer?

Human minds try to reason with mysteries
Trying their theories on the needy, the wounded, the broken
Some things are beyond all reasoning, beyond all that one can bear
Where are You?
Are You there?

Weighty, crushing is my heart of anguish
Breathless, helpless, life suspended
Wishing, waiting, almost listless
In the stillness, so alone

You are listening, waiting, watching
Crying, grieving, heaving, sorrow
In the stillness, I hear You breathing
And I faintly see You leading
To a place - - so rare

The place of leaning, cleaving, bare
Into something beyond reason
Where - oh where -  oh where?

The place that only You can go
The place that only You can know
The place of humble resignation
And yet - without despair

My hope is found in You alone
The kindest One I've ever known
Who speaks of things I do not know
And keeps me in His care

Come meet me, greet me, in this place
And let me see Your loving face
The One who wipes away my tears
And keeps me in His care

I find my rest in You alone
I lean away from all I know
And press into Your beating heart
And find my safety there

For You are with me, breathing, listening
Touching, reaching, healing, kissing
Your child, your love, be-loved one
I - am in Your care

Now I feel You gently reaching
Loving, caring, breathing, listening
Now I know that You are here
And I am not alone

I - am not alone

Isaiah 66 - As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you

Nov 8, 2011

Looking for the whole story?

A great big thank you to the many many people who read the story of The Making Of A Miracle.

If you have just arrived and would like to start at the beginning, then go to this link, scroll to the bottom and work your way up.

It will be worth it. God's work always is.