So little. It’s still pretty

Full-time I used to serve others in my healthcare profession and now I can barely get a meal to my husband on a daily basis. My reserves for giving are diminished but not gone, or so he says.

Each night and morning I poured over my caseload, looking for the best ways to make the most of each patient’s time in occupational therapy. Shall I bring Sally a 2-pound weight that I picked up at Walmart or load up adaptive equipment for a better education and training session? Now I’m lucky if a couple of times per year, I can drop off a gift to a friend after one of my medical appointments. Or ride an exercise bike for 5 minutes in the middle of the night.

Sending a card for each birthday and gift for close family has shifted from 1) before his or her special date to 2) days or weeks afterwards. We apologize. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Then I send a PM (or is it DM?) to a friend via social media to ask how she is doing when I really need to pour out my own heart on how wretched I feel, the new symptoms and diagnoses that get added to my pile. Aren’t you tired of my tears Lord?

But enough of my sorry lot. Giving to others in my own strength will never balance the angst of my days. Pitching the good against the opposite is a mental exercise at best that risks the tasks being done for the wrong reasons; they barely even measure on the MET scale of physical activity anyways. What’s the point? My weak bones need resistive exercise as do my muscles that are softening by the day. Both my mind and my frame need REAL exercise. The kind that stretches me, tears down and re-builds muscle fibers for measurable strength. The kind that transcends a weary heart. But how is this possible? Gee. Looks like I need a refresher here on how this really works.

If I can only do a little then that little bit needs to be pretty enough. If I am to do anything significant then my strength must come from a source outside myself. I don’t have it. The Lord does! If He leads me through the Holy Spirit to these acts of grace then I trust that He will provide whatever is necessary to finish the task. This is true even if it stretches me beyond what I think I can do. His power is infinite! And if I can keep my eyes on my Jesus no matter the horror of my suffering then I know I will be stronger somewhere down the road than I ever could have imagined. Seeing our Lord’s power in our lives is how we grow our faith. Moving towards Him as He leads makes it so, makes us resilient as we go. And the more we follow His lead in His power, like a weak muscle trained over time, we will shine for His glory not ours. It’s really better that way anyways.

Doncha think, Gentle Reader? JJ

Did She See Them?

redtulipsimagesIn my weakness, it is the Lord who helps me think of others not me! Many times this is a blessing for both of us.  Today, this is my test of faith.

I am grateful to finally get the thank you card together for the staff of the hotel that we stayed at during the remediation of our home this past Winter.  Now it’s time to bake lots of cookies and deliver them at the staff’s shift change  for maximum sharing of the goods.  Hey, I don’t want any of these fine folks to be left out!  We’ve been back in our home a month and I still remember their kindness that cannot go unnoticed, even now that life has gone on . . .

If  I am guided by the Holy Spirit to serve or give to someone else and I let it go by, then I am probably too preoccupied with the stuff of my life to focus on anyone else.  When that happens, it is a sad moment indeed.  I could easily make an excuse that would sound legitimate with how I feel these days.  But that would be cutting out the strength that the Lord adds when I am too weak to do anything.  If He gives me the insight that I need to reach out to someone else, do something above my abilities, give more than I feel comfortable, then He will also provide the “goods” needed to complete the task.  He leads us unto good works as an outpouring of His Spirit in us, sometimes as a manifestation of our spiritual gifts and other times by His grace as noted in His Word:

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Psalm 23:3b

If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.  1 Peter 4:11

“And Jesus, looking upon them, saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”  Mark 10:27

I see that following His lead is for my good as well as it brings me close to Him:

Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV).

I may feel like crap yet I know from my experience of this past year that if I just start in the right direction, He will be faithful to help me complete the work to which He leads.  When the task is completed, the next step, perhaps a more difficult one begins.  Yeah, letting go of the results, the human need for appreciation and recognition is a tougher one for me.

Such is the case with the red tulips.  I don’t really know if she ever saw them, planted for her back in time.  After all, she has her own calling and tasks to complete.  Sometimes it hurts for my sacrifice of precious time and energy to go unnoticed.  It hurts even more when it is repeated and that largely comes when I haven’t gotten it right the first time, trying something again and hoping for a different result the second time.  In the Twelve Step program, they call this “insanity!”  Expecting different results is also magical thinking and rarely helps in reality.  There’s so much more missing in this relationship with this gal than red tulips.  Flowers simply may not have been on her radar at all.  Lord, help me let this ol’ memory go.

The Lord sees my heart and always notices.  He notices every time, perfectly, on time, and in my personal heart language.

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Colossians

So Lord I pray that You:

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139

Bring my motivations to light and help me to serve others in the language of Your heart not mine.  Lead me in Your ways, strengthen me in my pajamas, and let any light that may shine on me be for Your glory alone.  Thank you for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, teaching me, guiding me.  For the glory of Your name Jesus Christ I pray.  Amen.

Now where’s the sugar and vanilla?