Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking to the new year

God has been working hard on me in the last year or so. He had brought me face to face again and again with the reality of myself, a nasty business I assure you. He has chipped away at me through sticky fingers and pee on the floor, and piles of laundry, and, and ,and, until I snap and the ugly me, who can stay so carefully hidden, even from myself, pops up and comes shining through- and I am shocked at who I am. Selfish, impatient, proud, irritable, vindictive, keeping track of every supposed wrong against me...all the things that are the very opposite of love.
A friend of mine cares for her mother, who is sick with dementia. Watching their struggles as this illness unfolded, I was struck with how illness can also strip you bear and reveal your heart. You no longer have the sense to hide your faults from yourself and the world. Yet some people face illness and loose their minds and become more beautiful and Godly with each passing day. I watched all of this and I knew if I wanted, one day, to be lit up with the Spirit of God, even when I had lost my  mind I had to start changing now. There are so many carefully hidden weeds to be pulled. Even though I know all these things and have a heart to be a better person, I have found I can't make lasting changes all on my own. I need God himself to win these battles, that can so easily overcome me. I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but I can't be filled with something if I'm already full. So many "good" things can fill our hearts and keep us from being filled with God.
I've also been thinking of how little time we truly have to do work like this. One of my dearest friends just lost her precious 17 month old baby, Lilly. I spoke with a mutual friend of ours at the funeral, and we made tentative plans to have dinner together. A couple of days ago, she passed out, they took her to the hospital and found that her heart was failing, though it is perfectly healthy. One day she is young and beautiful, cooking dinner and raising four kids and the next she needs an emergency heart transplant. I don't know how much time I will have to become more Christ like and to influence my children for Him. Each day is a gift that needs to be invested wisely, whether it is 17 months, thirty something years, or a hundred. I pray that we may all move closer to Him, make the very most of whatever little time we are given, and be purposeful in our journey each day.

"Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them." 
James 4:13-17

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