Sunday, June 10, 2012

The right place at the right time

On a Saturday morning when the kids are all asleep I wake up early. I can't believe I am up this early!  Normally I wake up to kids in my face asking for breakfast and eager to start the day. I close my eyes tight praying I can go back to sleep. I need more sleep! Not going to happen.

I head downstairs quietly, if I am going to be up this early I welcome some quiet time. After doing my devotions and making some tea I curl up on the couch with my laptop. I check my email and then go online and end up chatting with a friend.  As we get caught up she shares a major trial she is going through. My whole attitude changes, I am up so early and have the time to talk with out the distractions of the kids. I am able to be there for my friend and offer comfort and help her digest her situation. I spend the rest of my day feeling guilty about my bad attitude.  God obviously had other plans for me early that morning. 

The Lord must be trying to drive this point home with me because just a week later I had a meeting to go to early in the morning on a Saturday. By my own choice I had stayed up late the night before and was not happy about heading out to my meeting. I spent my morning being frustrated that I had this obligation to attend instead of enjoying a waffle breakfast with my family before I left.

As I finished up at the meeting I asked a friend who also attended how she was doing. You know the typical, "how are you?" when you expect, the "oh I am just fine" answer. My friend was really struggling. She is also a foster parent and has been really having a hard time. She was feeling drained, overwhelmed, dealing with issues that she didn't see coming. I have been there. I knew her exhaustion.

We were able to chat and vent and talk about possible solutions. I left with a heavy heart for this dear friend. I am so glad I was there and could be a support to her. So often as foster parents, it is hard to have others who understand what we were going through. She told me that she felt so alone and was shocked but thankful that I could relate to her situation. What a blessing that God had me attend this meeting and have time to chat with her on a day when she was really hurting. 

On the drive home I was thinking about everything we talked about, hoping I left her with something useful. I was so thankful I could help her because of something I went through. However, I don't think I would have been a big help to her if I hadn't completely digested my own situation. If I was still mourning my trials and not in a place where I could see how God walked me through it all and used it for His glory.

The idea of this really grabbed my attention. When God provides us with people we can give comfort to because of our situations or past experiences we have to be careful about what we are portraying to them. If I was still hurt, frustrated and angry I would not be able to give her hope and encouragement. I would dump all of my negative baggage on her which then makes it about me and not her. I could have made her feel worse or direct her in to a place that isn't where God is. 

When we come to a place where we are living a life not tied down by the past hurt and anger we can be filled with hope even after the worst situations. We can know that we survived and made it through by the grace of God. Our hearts will be full of love and our attitude will show it. 

We will go through trials big and small in life.  We will hurt and have pain and people will let us down. We will feel alone and scared. Are those feelings we want to carry with us each day? Do we want to hold onto them and then reflect those feelings to others around us? I don't think that is our intent but often what we do. 

It is my prayer that we can be deliberate about asking God to take away our hurt and show us His glory so we can be a hope to others. I often listen to speakers that can talk about their own personal struggles, some of them have been through tragic loss and pain, in a way that doesn't bring you down with them. They have made it through and you can hear in their words that they have been able to step back from the situation and heal from it and it isn't taking over their life and thoughts each day. 

This is my prayer for myself and all of you. God does so much more for us and we could miss out on so much joy if we keep holding on to the loss in our life.

If we can’t learn to stay focused on the joy of the Lord with the small hurts in life then we will not be successful with the big hurts in life.

Lord, I pray that you will work in my heart. Lord help me not have a negative attitude about the small inconveniences in life but see them as opportunities to follow you and be a servant to others. Thank you for my trials, they have helped me grow and have helped me love others around me. Please God help us focus on Your will and the love that comes from having a joyful heart. Amen. 

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