The hiatus is over. What a long hiatus it's been!
I've gone some places, done some things, spent time with some people. It's too much to try to catch up on right now. Maybe I'll try sometime. I'm not really sure I will though.
To put it simply, work has been work lately. It's draining physically, emotionally, and mentally. I'm grateful for my job. Don't get me wrong. I really am. It's just that we've been very busy, had more responsibilities added to what we already had, and then some people were let go, thank you to the lagging economy. It makes each day feel a little like we're cooking out of the More With Less Cookbook.
As a result, I find life tiring right now and like it's just tough to keep up. I have a new schedule, which I love by the way (four 10-hour days, no Mondays), but it often stretches into much longer than 10. We've all been working a lot of extra hours. Good for the paycheck. Not good for the tiredness scale.
Here's the skinny. I've been asking God for help. I tend to find myself crying out with a quick prayer in the morning or just before bed. It seems like I'm too tired to really find the time I need to give him each day. I've decided I'm too tired not to. There are several changes I'm making in each day's decisions that are helping. It's not like I just drank 10 cans of Red Bull or anything (never tried the stuff), but it's helping in small bits. The other thing is God showing up in the small bits to let me know He's there and has my back. I already knew that, but sometimes it's nice to see it practically. I asked for prayer at small group Sunday evening for God to help give me His joy throughout the day each day and to be aware of his Presence. It's working! I'm not surprised, but I'm sure pleased as punch that I have such a cool God. I have to share a couple of the examples.
1. We're doing a new Bible study at church. Our pastor has been preaching about the Holy Spirit. He didn't read the Bible study, but the text and what he's said go hand in hand. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to get through our days and to live the lives He has for us. With salvation we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit giving us the power to do that. Don (the pastor) and the study are saying the same thing.
2. I've been looking at some practical ways to destress, shift my focus on God throughout the day, and get more rest. The study today offered 7 practical ways to incorporate a God-consciousness into the regular rhythms of our day. Do you remember that I just said I asked for prayer about that on Sunday? He doesn't waste time messin' around!
3. One of the group discussion questions in our study asked "what represents God's presence to you?" One thing I thought of was light. I love that when you fly high above the clouds on a stormy day, the sun is still shining above the clouds. Even on the dreary days, I enjoy knowing the sun is still shining. There are oodles of verses reminding us that God is Light. This morning the moon was glowing like a big gorgeous pearl in the sky. It was so big and so pretty it looked fake. I even thanked God for it in my facebook status. Within a minute or two, there was a song on the radio that talked about the fact that He puts the light in the sky to let us know He's there. Here's the link. Hmmmm.......didn't I just write that as an answer for how he shows us His Presence?
4. I don't usually think that I have a gift of words and encouragement. Yeah, I can write decently (when it's not too late at night:) And I often send a card or email to a friend that I know is going through a rough time. I feel like I know so many other people, though, who always have just the right thing to say. Much more than me at least. A friend of mine recently had a very sudden death in the family. She thanked me for the words of encouragement I shared with her. She told me that it's a gift I have to make a person feel comforted and at ease. I smiled, said I was glad it was a comfort, and then told her there are a lot of other people who have just the right thing to say more than me. She started with "no, Cheryl, it's a gift" and then pointed out that she knows I have a close relationship with God, so when I share encouragement or say that I'm praying, she knows it's true. Well.......that night I opened my Bible to read before bed. I didn't have a destination in mind, just opened it up. The first page my eyes fell on had Isaiah 50:4-5.
The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
Whoa! Talk about feeling like you just got hit in the chest by a big rock! I had underlined this verse a few years ago. The prayer I penned in the margin........Lord, give me the grace to look like this. I'm not telling this one to pat myself on the back. Like I said, it's not necessarily the way I see myself, but I am going to boast in my God who heard a prayer I wrote years ago and answered it. If I hadn't had the conversation with my friend, I probably would have moved on from that page with the underlining and not even noticed it. Two pieces of confirmation in the same day made me stand at attention and listen. This isn't something that I'm saying is me at all. I'm saying this is that my God is good. He really is. All the time. Even on the rotten days that it feels hard to be who He wants me to be. He showed me that He's going to help me be who He wants me to be.
See, it's not any one HUGE instance, but He's showing up each day and letting me know that He's in control. I'm so glad that His ability to be faithful doesn't run out!
Note ~ I posted this with the thougth in mind that about the time you open your mouth, that's when your mouth gets you in trouble. Sure enough it did :( Boy, am I thankful that we get to start every morning fresh. And for co-workers who are still good to me even when I'm not perfect.