My Bunny Slope of Faith

 

“Come on, Mrs. Hylton, you can do it!” my friend’s daughter said. I wasn’t sure. We’d joined the class together while my friend, Linda, tackled the grown-up part of the mountain.

Three hours into the ski class I’d fallen a dozen times–only when I tried to move. I was determined.

To graduate, I tackled the mini-mountain and only fell three times. Smiling from ear to ear we found Linda.

“We graduated and I made it down my first slope!”

“Great! How about we try this other slope?” She showed me a placemat-sized-map of the mountains and pointed to a slope halfway up the map. I searched the map trying to find the mini-mountain I’d conquered. I found it–a quarter  of an inch from the bottom.

That’s how I feel about my faith. I’m on the proverbial bunny-slope. The placemat-of-faith looms before me. The multiple falls mock me.

Aren’t you ever going to get this right?

Thinking myself a giant in the faith only to realize I’m a light-weight.

But, it’s a start.

I’ve been praying a three-part prayer this last year: to know God better, for Him to go with me, and to see His glory. I’m beginning to understand my faulty view of both God and me. I made myself big and God small when in truth it’s the other way around. So He’s answering my prayer, just not how I expected.

But that is exactly how He works.

And did I mention grace? I’m just beginning to grasp its meaning.

Grace is helping me conquer the bunny slopes and moving me up the mountain. And it’s all done in love without a single critical word.

Wow.

How’s your faith journey? Be encouraged, we serve a mighty, grace-giving, all-loving God.

Here’s a song I love to sing. Paste it into your browser and meditate on it today my friend.

And keep climbing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNClAJO2tnQ

 

 

The Life of Faith

There was a time I thought I’d write a book about faith. I came up with a catchy title and believed the words would stem from them.

Wrong, again.

I have no idea what it means to live a life of faith, much less write about it.

One of my prayers a few years ago went something like this:

“Lord, my desire is to know you more and understand Your ways. I want to live a life of faith even though I don’t understand what it’s about.”

He’s answering and I’m whining.

A friend of mine said “If you can figure out how God is going to do something, that’s not how He’s going to do it.” I may have posted this previously but it’s worth repeating.

God does whatever He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants–because He’s God. The Only One.

The comfort is in His character.

So when I can’t understand His ways, I can trust Him. Isaiah 30:15 states, “For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.’”

The verse finishes with, “But you were not willing,”

I’ve worked through that verse several times over the last few years. Anxiety rises up and sometimes overtakes me until I’m so weak I have no choice but to call out to God. And He answers.

In fact, on my knees was where He wanted me in the first place.

Weakness is strength.

So right now I’m pretty strong.

But sometimes I pack my anxiety up again and rehash it. That’s when the last part of the verse comes in.

That’s also when His character comes in.

Just like with the children of Israel and Peter the Apostle and Pauline the Rookie–He is faithful–not us.

So reader, if you’re at the edge of the Red Sea and the water is lapping at your toes, memorize Isaiah 30:15 and then with the help of the Holy Spirit, live it.

Usually, you’ll be on your knees.

It’s a good place to be.

Have you ever felt as if you were standing at the edge of the Red Sea? Mounds of water ahead of you, mountains surrounding you, and an army at your tail?

That’s how I’ve felt lately. Wet toes.

My heart is weak.

My faith is small.

I haven’t written for a while because I almost drowned in that hypothetical sea. I’ve spent the last four months calling out to God, mostly on my knees. Sometimes several times a day. The weakest I can remember in my life. Desperate for God.

Guess what. I didn’t drown. Not because I held on but because He held on.

He’s like that. Powerful. All-knowing. Full of grace and truth. Generous with it too.

I won’t bore you with the details because they aren’t important. At least for this blog. What’s important is that God is great.

He answered each time I called out either through scripture, music, a text, a person, and especially prayer. Even people who don’t believe ministered to me during this time. If you were one of those people, thanks.

I’m so thankful. And so humbled.

It occurs to me that you may be standing at the edge of your proverbial sea. And you can’t see a way through. Call out to Him. His Word says you don’t have because you don’t ask.

Sometimes we don’t ask because we think we can handle it.

Maybe you’re there. You’re standing at the Red Sea with a teaspoon, shoveling away. And you’re pleased with yourself.

Jesus said in John 15:5, “without me you can do nothing.”

I guess that’s what I’ve learned.

And I just wanted to pass it on.

 

 

Dancing With Dolls

Life is full of surprises. And sometimes you get a blessing from a place you least expect it.

That happened to me today.

My husband and I–along with a friend–visited an older man from our church at the VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina. We’d never met him before.

We entered his tidy room with an attractive wood floor. He sat in his computer chair while we made our introductions. Jesus hats were placed on a display shelf along with pictures of his family.

“I’ve had three different kinds of cancer. The last one took my arm.”

The hour and a half flew by. He smiled a lot. So did we. We laughed and prayed, too.

“When I was six years old, a preacher visited my father in the field at our dairy farm and asked if I could attend Bible School at his church. At first, Dad said no but after 45 minutes he agreed just so he could get back to work. The catch was the preacher had to pick me up and take me home.”

He went on to tell of how his family ended up that attending church and coming to know the Lord. I wondered if the preacher that spent 45 minutes in a field ever knew the little boy who he picked up from Bible School went on to be both a preacher and a missionary.

The older man went on, “I try to enjoy myself and be involved. I’ve figured out how to move this thing around in circles, and back and forth.” He pointed to the motorized wheelchair. “So the other night, a little girl visited, along with her doll, Marianne.”

He smiled and leaned forward. “I had them attach the doll to my chair and I pretended to dance with her all around the hall. Everyone laughed and clapped.”

“But when Marianne the doll winked at me, that just cracked me up!” He threw his head back and cackled. So did we.

Soon it was time to go. As we walked out, he stopped us.

“I just want to tell you one more thing. At first, when they took off my arm, I had trouble, but then, I felt the Lord wanted me to praise Him for the loss of my arm. It took a while, but when I did, I got my joy back.”

I’ve paraphrased his words but I won’t forget them. In fact, when I arrived home, I shared them with my 94-year-old mama. We figured we should praise Him, too. Not just because we have two arms, but for all of God’s blessings and trials–which are blessings in disguise.

And we did.

And we had joy.

Thanks for that blessing, Ron.

 

The Terrible Two’s

We’re heading into our third year of farming. I think we’re out of the terrible two’s. I’m counting on the thrilling threes. Otherwise, I might have to be a greeter at “you know where.” Visit at the Grit site and add a comment… Or better yet, email me!

http://www.grit.com/community/humor/the-terrible-twos.aspx