Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I write day after day because I discover extraordinary lessons from ordinary life experiences. I record my visual portraits of everyday life filled with something sacred in hopes that my reflections might bring an insight that blesses my readers.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Waiting in Peace


"Waiting on the Storm" by Sandra Lee Baron

Lessons on Learning To Wait

           As noted in my last blog, I am learning to wait.  Two weeks later, I still  have my kidney stone and all its irritations.  I am waiting.  The doctor has decided I need surgery to remove it.  This is scheduled February 27th.  However, I will continue to wait on Jesus’ timetable.  I know He knows my circumstances, and because I trust  Him , I can wait, hope, enter a new plan, and keep my eyes on Him, which I define as trust.
            It has taken many years to learn to wait in peace.  I am an impatient person and want to create the best painting on my first lesson.  Whatever I create, I push for success.  I remember when I learned to sew. My mother gave me a piece of fabric and a shirtwaist pattern. She said, “Read the directions carefully and cut precisely.  Do it in that order.” She left to work the midnight shift in her nursing career , and I was on my own.
            I opened the pattern carefully and trimmed it as I had seen her do many times.  I tried to read the instructions, but some parts were unclear, others seemed out of order, and one section had arrows pointing on how to lay the pattern on the fabric.  I put those aside.  They were too tedious.  I laid the pattern on the bright navy fabric. I turned it to fit like puzzle pieces, pinned, and cut.  I began by threading my bobbin with a navy blue thread.  My mother had taught me how to use the machine and how to make aprons.  That was my previous experience, but it gave me confidence.  I just sewed that night and followed my gut feelings on how to assemble.  Every once in a while, I'd glance at the instructions.  I followed the visuals on how to insert sleeves and gather the skirt onto the waistline.  So, I assembled and sewed. After ripping out the gathers in the skirt and resewing the bodice to the correct side of the skirt,  I was so happy with my first creation.  I put it on, swirled around, looked in the mirror and decided to mark the hem. 
            I tried and tried to get that hem even, but because I had not followed the directions and cut the skirt on the bias, it just did not hang well.  So, I settled and hemmed it the best I could.  I added buttons, pressed seams and the hem, and hung it on a hanger.  I thought that was so much fun.  It wasn’t perfect but it was my creation. I reached into my mother’s sacred fabric stash, neatly folded on a shelf and chose another piece.  I felt a pang of guilt but shoved it down and started another shirtwaist dress.  This time I looked more carefully at the layout process.  I aligned the pieces on the bright cerise cloth as the directions suggested.  I cut and assembled much faster because I had experience.  I finished in two hours and marked the hem.  This time the hem was even and hung attractively.  However, as I sewed on the buttons, I noticed in my haste I had put the buttonholes in backwards.  I had not read the instructions carefully as my mother had recommended. I gained a little more confidence, and lots of experience in ripping out buttonholes. 
              I have read the Bible every morning for forty plus years. At first, the directions were blurry because  I  read hastily and chose not to meditate , discover, or read carefully.  I had ragged hems a lot of years.  But, God waited patiently.  As a young mother, I gained experience, speed in doing things several tasks at once, but I still made mistakes that reminded me of my backward buttonholes that I made at sixteen. God waited as I unraveled each buttonhole.  
          As I built my career in teaching, I learned to wait on students until they took the  time to read directions and follow them instead of just jumping in and doing things their own way.  I waited for them to find their confidence and begin to write to express their joys or hurts. While reading their essays, I smiled at their mistakes, marked some, and wrote encouraging comments about their content at the top of their papers.  I learned to wait until they learned a concept before I tried to teach a new grammar rule and apply it.  I waited. It took many years for me to understand that waiting brought new truth, fulfillment, and peace. 
            Because of my impatience, I cut a lot of patterns out incorrectly.  Because I wanted to do it my way, I made some serious mistakes. Because I didn’t want to slow down and meditate, I missed some insightful truths on living in peace. However, Jesus has waited for me almost seventy years. 
            I’m still not a patient person.  The difference in that sixteen year old who made her first dress is that I  read the direction manual carefully and meditate how God's words apply to my life that day.  I know He is with me even when His timing is not mine.  I have learned that I can wait and still know peace.  So, I close this blog waiting, hoping, knowing, and loving Jesus.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Open Hands Bring New Truths

Prying my hand and heart open

“ It’s mine . You can’t have it!”
“Ellie, open your hand.”
“I want to give you fresh candy, not that old stuff you found on the floor.”

I know many of you have heard similar arguments from your grandchildren and children.  The tight fisted one just won’t open up her hand to what could be better. Instead, she holds tight to what is in her hand.

That sounds like we adults sometimes.  We have in our hand sickness and are so anxious; we can’t open our hands to accept healing.  We have in our hand bitterness, and we can’t open our hand to give or accept forgiveness.  We have in our hand sorrow, and we look only at our broken heart and cannot open our hand to God’s comfort. 

I remember when my art teacher, Bill Inman, told me to open my hand and hold the brush loosely.  My grip was white knuckle tight because I was unsure if I released my bulldog grip, if I could be successful. Even though my strokes were tight and not professional, I was afraid to try a different grip. Life holds so many of these paradoxes, but we seem  to relearn the same lessons over and over.

Just like Ellie, my granddaughter, we think having some candy is better than your big sister taking the candy in your hand. It requires us to surrender as well as trust.

I have learned some wonderful truths when I finally opened my hand to others.  When reaching out to the Kazakhs, they taught me the beauty of pure friendship.  I became my mother’s caregiver for five years and learned to love her in a way I had never known.  I reached out for total healing for John, our oldest son , trusting he would not to be crippled from purthees disease, and he walks tall and even to this day.  Adam, our youngest, required me to go to bed six months to keep  from loosing him. I trusted and believed that Jesus would give me a healthy son.  Adam weighed ten pounds 9 ounces at birth and was one month late. He made it and made it big. Regardless of what the doctors diagnosed for Denny , Jesus opened my heart and Denny's that he would not to be plagued with cancer or chemotherapy.  All those prayer petitions were fulfilled because I surrendered to Jesus and asked Him to make the way.  I couldn’t hold on to my fears, my logic, history, case studies, or probabilities. I  had to trust every moment of every day.  It’s much easier to do so every moment than try to climb the mountain all at once.  Now, I am required to trust each moment again.  This time I am opening my hand for a kidney stone to pass.  Moment by moment I am feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit and the power of my prayer partners because I want fresh manna, not the old from the dirty floor. I am learning not to hang onto what I know or have in my clenched fist, but I still resist sometimes.  Why?  I'm not sure, but I know trusting a moment at a time seems doable. When doubt or fears pop in my head, I just say, " Wait one moment, I'm trusting right now."