Saturday, June 30, 2012

You don't build muscle by watching exercise...

After vegging in front of the tv and computer today, I have come to a conclusion.

You don't build muscle by watching exercise....

You can't satisfy your hunger by watching cooking shows....

You can't fulfill your need for love by watching love stories....

You can't grow in God by watching others worship.....

It takes work...effort....sweat....and sometimes tears.

But it's worth it. 

Time to stop thinking about living, watching people living, and wishing you were living. It's time to jump in with both feet to join in the fun.

Psalm 118:24

New Life Version (NLV)
24 This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us be full of joy and be glad in it.

One more thought on just sweep....

Okay, so I knew there was something more to the Just Sweep post (just sweep) but it wasn't until today that it hit me. It was the story of Moses and his staff.

God had just spoken to Moses from a burning bush (yep - that would have gotten MY attention!) and told him that he would lead the children of Israel out of captivity and into the Promised land. 

We pick up the story in Exodus 4: Moses objected, "They won't trust me. They won't listen to a word I say. They're going to say, 'God? Appear to him? Hardly!'"

So God said, "What's that in your hand?" "A staff."

Now, there's a lot more to this story, but it's this part that hit me today. Here Moses is, feeling quite overwhelmed by the enormity of what he has been called by God to do, and God asks him a question. What's that in your hand?" God didn't tell him to focus on ALL that he'd have to do, but to look at what he already knew.

There are three things that I think Moses knew. 

#1 - Moses knew who he was dealing with. Moses had been raised in the Pharaoh's house and knew that he was a human as anyone else. He might be really powerful, but he wasn't a god. The Pharaoh got sick like anyone else, he went to the bathroom like anyone else, he had good days and bad days (and I'm guessing Moses was hoping he'd catch him on a good day but wasn't counting on it!) Moses had been raised in the palace and knew who he was dealing with and what he was doing there. This wasn't completely unfamiliar territory for him. 

#2 - Moses knew what it meant to be a shepherd and hold that staff. It wasn't like the pictures of shepherds we grew up with in Sunday School. He didn't spend his days sitting under a tree playing a harp. Shepherding was a constant job - always making sure the sheep had food and water, rounding up the strays (and since they were pretty dumb animals, they could get themselves into pretty rough spots at times), constantly checking them for bugs that would get into their ears and torment so he'd have to pour oil over their heads, and, of course, always watching for that which would come to steal, kill, or destroy the flock. I'm pretty sure he didn't have a lot of time for harp lessons with all that going on. Moses knew the shepherd's staff represented all those things, but they were things he really had already been trained how to do.

#3 - Moses knew who was in charge of this plan. He had no visions of grandeur. He was just following orders, so it wasn't like it was up to him to make things happen. All God was telling him to do, was what he'd been prepared to do his whole life....and it started by picking up the staff. And he did it. Oh, he was obviously still quite apprehensive about whether he'd be accepted, and he made quite a few mistakes along the way...but he did it anyway. The rest, as they say, is history.

So how about it. What is it that God has allowed in your life that has prepared you for today? What is it that you feel He's calling you to do? I know, personally, I can quickly get overwhelmed....but God simply says - pick up YOUR staff. Not someone else's....YOURS. Do what's in front of you and let God take care of making it happen. All we are called to do is obey.

Gee, come to think of it, a broom handle is sort of like a staff. Time for me to pick it up and obey.

Here's a link to the WHOLE chapter....for those who want to study more!(Exodus 4)

Friday, June 29, 2012

I just want someone to tell me exactly what to do...

It's payday!!!! Hooray!!! 

After a week of having to make do with whatever groceries are in the house, I finally get to go shopping and restock the pantry and fridge!

This, of course, means sitting down and making out a grocery list, which means figuring out a menu for the week. Ughhhh. Now this is the part I DON'T like. So....I go to my handy-dandy computer and start searching menu ideas for the week. What I really want is someone to just hand me a menu of easy to make healthy foods complete with the grocery list that goes with it. See, that's where I start to run into a problem. No one out there has yet come up with a menu that fits my family. 

There's my daughter who loves real, old-fashioned home cooked meals just like her grandmother makes. (That would be code for "filled with fat, salt, and flavor.") Then there's my son who won't touch anything with sauce, most vegetables, or anything that has cheese on it. Add to the mix my husband who is such a sweet heart and will eat anything, but loves pork; and me, who is diabetic, hates to cook, and doesn't really like pork, and you can see our dilemma. 

It was almost easier when there was no money in the house to go to the store! Everyone had to eat what was already there! Now, however, we have money to shop, but with that comes the responsibility of choice. (Personally - since I hate to cook, all options seem like too much work but that's a blog for another day.)

What I really want, is for someone to just tell me what to do, how to do it, and then preferably come and do it for me. (Did I mention I hate to cook?)

I'm thinking it's not just menus that I want this way. Honestly, sometimes I think I act like I want my life to work out this way, too. I want someone to arrive at my door with a telegram that tells me exactly WHAT to do, HOW to do it, WHEN to do it, and preferably they will also tell me they have taken care of all the details - all I need to do is show up. But it never really happens that way. No one else can tell me exactly what to do with my life because the way THEY are not ME! Only God knows the plan He has for me...and He gives me a choice.

I have so many opportunities, but each of them require me to make a choice and then to prepare to make that choice a reality. We often look at "overnight" sensations and think that everything has just come easy for them...but we forget that along with that opportunity came the choice to make it happen....and the work that went with it.

Right now in my life, I'm facing some "choices". I am trusting God to direct me to the right one, but to be honest - all of them require a great deal of work on my part. It seems like it would be easier to just stay where I am and do what I already know how to do...but that's not what's going to get me where I believe God is telling me to go. I had a person tell me that we should do something everyday that takes us a little outside our comfort zone. (I think this is an Eleanor Roosevelt quote.) Pretty good advice, I think.

So I sit here, writing this blog and knowing that the menu plan/grocery list still needs to be made. I can go to the store without a plan and come home with the same old tired choices...or I can step outside my comfort zone and choose better.

Don't know what the future holds exactly - but I know that the only way to get there is to get up and get moving. Time to quit sitting here at the bottom of the hill waiting for someone to tell me EXACTLY how to climb it. I'll most likely make some mistakes along the way, but at least I'll be moving forward.

With great blessings (payday) come great responsibilities (what to buy)...I don't want to make mindless choices that keep me where I already am. (I also want to use my resources wisely so that they last till the end of the month!) I am ready to move forward. How about you?

By the way...feel free to suggest menu items because I am still clueless on what to make for dinner this week! (I am QUITE serious about this!! All ideas are welcomed...but remember - I really don't like to cook!)

The following is from a blog post by Gwen Smith that I read this morning: (girlfriends in god)

"Jesus told his disciples that if they loved Him, they would obey His commands and His teachings (John 14:15-27). A simple if-then statement. If you love me, then you will obey. He also told them that when He returned to the Father in heaven, He would send the Holy Spirit to teach, to guide in truth, to convict of sin and to remind believers of what Jesus taught (John 16:7-14). To help us. To empower us.
The Spirit of God lives within every Christian. He equips us for each task as we yield to His leading. When God prompts us to do something on His behalf, He is faithful to lead the way and to bless our obedience – for His own glory. It’s all about His glory. He simply wants our willingness and our obedience. Friend, His plans need to be our plans … even if His plans sometimes seem to “interrupt” our plans. Let’s be women who accept His call. Are you willing today?"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just sweep....

I don't know how God speaks to others, but it seems I hear Him in the most practical ways sometimes. 

Take today for instance. I had just come from a friend's home that is absolutely beautiful. One of those spotless, beautifully decorated, picture in a magazine kind of homes....and I came home to my blessed mess.

I needed to go mail a letter, so I took the long way to the mailbox mainly so I could take a minute and pray. On the way, I decided to ask God about my home....about my mess. Where do I start God? What do I do to make it better? What can I do to make my home just a little more like the one I just left?

The answer I got was very simple. "Sweep." 

Okay - I got it. Then what, God? The reply was, "Just sweep."

Now, I don't want you to think I don't clean at all. I actually sweep every day - well, almost every day. I was, however, expecting some elaborate plan on how I was going to transform my home to that ideal picture I had just left. But all I was getting was simple instructions to do something I already knew how to do. I was waiting on some grand plan that included new paint on the wall, new couches, new art, new everything. Sweep? That's it?

Since I got no other instructions, I came home and picked up my broom and started to sweep. I took a rag along with me and wiped the baseboards as I went. Little things came into view as I swept, and as I saw them I'd straighten, dust, and rearrange. And I swept.

As I made my way from room to room, I started to think about those simple instructions and it occurred to me that what I'd really been given were instructions for my life.

I am one of those people who gets overwhelmed sometimes when I try to wrap my mind around how God will do things in my life. I know the direction I am supposed to go, but when I try to figure out how to make it happen, I start to hyperventilate! I think my ADHD kicks in, I look at all that needs to happen and then try to do it all at once.

But God has only called me to do one thing...sweep. It's something I already know how to do. It's not really overwhelming or spectacular, but it is what I need to do now. And as I put my hand to that which I know how to do, God will lead me to what comes next. I don't have to redecorate the whole house at once. I just need to do that which is before me that I already know how to do. 

Okay, so maybe this isn't some deep truth to others, but it was what I really needed to hear. I don't have to figure out how to make the plan of God work in my life...all I have to do is put my hand to what is in front of me that I already know how to do. I have to open my eyes and be ready to do what He shows me. At some point, it may include some giant steps (like painting or shopping for a new couch), but for now, baby steps are enough. 

Just sweep.....that which God has placed before me today. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Who knows? I might even get instructions to mop!

Matthew 6:34

The Message (MSG)
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Micah 6:8

New International Version (NIV)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

  And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

    and to walk humbly with your God.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Still here...

Another friend is moving away. You'd think after 30 years of dealing with this, I'd be used to it by now; but it never really gets easier to say goodbye. Well, I guess thanks to face book it is a little bit easier - at least I know my ADD self will be able to sort of keep in touch. Still, I don't like having to say goodbye.

Then there's that whole part of me that has started to wonder over the years - where is everyone going and why am I still here? 

In my mind, they move on and up to greater adventures and blessings and I stay the same. The enemy whispers to me, "You are stuck. Evidently God has a bigger plan for them. You're not really doing anything - if you were, you'd be traveling the world and moving up in life and making a difference in the lives of others and....."well, the list could go on and on if I allowed it.

But if I am honest, I will admit that I whined again..."God, how come we're still just here? How come you don't move us on to bigger and better things?" That was a part of my prayer yesterday as I headed off to work, and I got a rather unexpected answer to my prayer.

No, I did not hear some booming voice or have some miraculous event take place. Instead, a thought simply entered my mind. "No - you haven't seen the world, but you have touched it in some small way. You've been to Costa Rica and Kenya through gifts and prayers for those who have served there. You have never seen the beauty of China or Russia or Bolivia or Peru, but you have known the beauty of their people through the students you have had the privilege to teach. You have never moved to Texas or North Carolina or Tennessee or Florida or Wisconsin or Minnesota or Oklahoma or so many other places, but you know and love many who have and despite the distance that physically lies between us now, they still reside so close to your heart...a piece of you is in each state...all over the world in fact."

As I thought of the overwhelming goodness of God, tears started to flow. No...I'm not stuck. I'm planted. God has allowed me to be just a teeny tiny little part of the lives of so many who have traveled this way on the road to their destination and they are a part of me. I get to put down roots and hopefully become a shady spot where they can rest on their journey. Being planted isn't such a bad thing...if it's what God has planned for me.

One friend commented on my face book post, "some people are the 'dandelion seeds' in life and others are the 'soil' in which the dandelion must grow" and another posted, "Lots of people envy those folks that have deep roots! God planted you in this place to bloom and prosper for His glory." 

Yep...30 years of saying goodbye...or at least "see you later", and while it looks like I have just stayed the same, I know I haven't. I've least I hope I have. I've put down roots close to the river that God chose for me...and I get to "see" the world through the eyes of those whom God has allowed me to meet, right where I am. (Plus, I don't have to move all my junk!)

I'm not stuck...I'm planted right where I need to be. Who am I to complain?

Jeremiah 17: 7-8 (Message)
"But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, 
   the woman who sticks with God.
They're like trees replanted in Eden, 
   putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers, 
   never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts, 
   bearing fresh fruit every season.

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Off track...

I was headed out to my class this morning and something just didn't feel quite right...I admit I was in a bit of a daze when I left the house, but nothing out of the ordinary...I figured I was tired and just needed another cup of coffee.

As I made my first turn, however, I kept looking for some of the familiar landmarks and they just weren't there. Something was wrong...then it hit me. I was headed to the gym! I wasn't really paying attention and I automatically wandered along a familiar path.

I'd like to say this is the first time this has happened, but I've noticed it happens a lot more lately. One night I was headed to the gym and next thing I knew, I'd missed the turn and was headed to the church! I'd gotten distracted again.

I know I'm not the only one this happens to. I once heard a pastor tell about heading to Jackson and next thing he knew he was in Meridian! Just got distracted and one interstate looked a lot like the other. What should have taken about two hours took a whole lot more. 

I have to wonder if that is a VERY small picture of what happened to the children of Israel. Oh, I know it wasn't a matter of missed turns and wrong interstate numbers, but they were distracted all the same.

These were the people who had seen God deliver them so many times before. They had been delivered from slavery in Egypt, crossed the Red Sea (on dry land), seen the Pharaoh's army destroyed, been fed, sheltered, protected - you name it. Then they come to the southernmost edge of the promised land. They send in men to explore the land, and wait for them to come back with the report. 

The land is flowing with milk and honey - Hooray! BUT there are giants in the land - woe is me! They said something along the lines of "We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and they looked at us like we were grasshoppers!" The promises of God were right there before them, but they got distracted. They fell back into their old slavery mindset. They started "traveling a familiar path" and before they knew it, they were way off course!

We all know the story. They spent the next 40 years wandering around a mountain. Talk about a wrong turn! All because they got distracted by what they saw and took their eyes off what God had promised - they forgot where they were supposed to be headed.

I was able to turn around this morning, only losing a few minutes of my day. I made it to class in plenty of time, but I have to admit I was still kind of distracted...only now it was because I was thinking about how many times in life I haven't paid attention and have fallen back into old patterns. The old "slavery" mindset takes over and I find myself once again wandering paths I never intended - paths of fear, doubt, or just plain worry.

I think I need to live my life more intentionally, keeping my goal in sight. I'll keep my GPS (God Positioning System) turned on and daily check to make sure I'm still on course. Oh, and I think I may have to have another cup of coffee before I head to class in the morning....and I'll try to get a little more sleep tonight!

Just a few verses to help keep me focused!

Deuteronomy 6: 6-12 (Message)

6-9 Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.

 10-12 When God, your God, ushers you into the land he promised through your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you, you're going to walk into large, bustling cities you didn't build, well-furnished houses you didn't buy, come upon wells you didn't dig, vineyards and olive orchards you didn't plant. When you take it all in and settle down, pleased and content, make sure you don't forget how you got there—God brought you out of slavery in Egypt.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pigeon holed

My son came home from football practice that day looking as if the wind had completely been knocked out of his sails. I asked him how practice went and all I got was "fine". I pressed and asked more because my usually talkative son seemed UN-usually quiet. All I got in return was, "I'm just tired."

Now as a mom, I have learned at least a little about my two kids and in my son, "tired" translates to discouraged. (I think he's a lot like me in that way.) Finally, after giving him time to process, I asked again. That's when I really discovered what was wrong.

Since the end of the football season last year, my son has been working toward a goal. He wanted to try for quarterback. Now, I in no way encouraged this - I know there's really only one quarterback position and EVERYONE wants to play it. Still, he was adamant in his goal. He started to work on his "skills". He talked his dad into hanging a hula hoop from a tree in the front yard - yes, it's done wonders for my landscaping....not. He worked on getting his weight down - not that he was overweight to begin with. He'd heard they usually don't pick the bigger guys to play QB. He worked out with weights, ran, and then put on pads and went out EVERY day to throw through that hoop. He begged his father to go run pass-plays with him, and when it became obvious Dad couldn't run as fast as was needed, he invited over a friend. 

Finally, it came time for summer training and he would get a chance to work out with the new coaches and show them what he could do. We had talked often about how he would have to do what was best for the team and if the coaches decided he'd be best at linebacker, or whatever position, he would do what they asked. He just wanted a chance to show them what he could do. He had worked for almost a year, and all he wanted was a chance.

But now he had come home from practice (about two weeks in) and all I saw on his face was weariness. He was discouraged. Finally he told me what had happened. He had been asking for a chance to try for QB, to show them what he could do; but the coaches, (who honestly, I believe, were basing their decision on what they knew best) told him no. As my son put it, "They said I look like a linebacker and I'm built like a linebacker. I'm a linebacker." They weren't even giving him a chance to pick up the ball and try.

As a mama, I was furious! It's not that I wanted my child to play a certain position...shoot, I'd probably have been happier if he'd chosen band - far fewer injuries there! But to tell a child no without even giving them a chance, that just seemed wrong! He had worked so hard. I had watched him run in the cold and the heat and the rain. I had watched him practicing with that ball - he practically slept with it. I had seen the focus in his eyes. All he wanted was a chance.

I also know, mamas DO NOT need to go to the coach. That would be the kiss of death for my son. So I prayed...and I asked a friend who also knew the coach if he'd just ask them to let him show what he could do. If he didn't have what it took, then fine. But at least let him try...they might be pleasantly surprised. (By the way, I did this WITHOUT my son's knowledge. He would have been furious with me! He doesn't read my blog, so there's no real worries he'll see this.)

The next practice came and when my son got home, I could see in his eyes he'd gotten a chance to show what he could do. You'd have thought he'd been offered an NFL contract simple because the coaches had let him pick up the ball and throw. He admitted he wasn't as good as the other QB's, but that they had seen potential in him. The parts he lacked were the parts he'd never been trained in. They were going to let him "throw" a little each practice in addition to his other areas. He had a chance to do what he loved.

As I watched this whole story unfold, I had to ask myself, "Have I been guilty of doing what the coaches had done? Do I, in my 'expertise', pigeonhole people into who or what I think they are? Do I decide based on what I see with my eyes and never really give them a chance? Or do I take the time to look into their eyes and see their heart?" Honestly, I'm not sure of the answer. Sometimes I see beyond, but sometimes I say, "You look like a linebacker, you've always been a linebacker - you're a linebacker." If I am honest, I even do this with myself, never stretching beyond what "others" have said I can do.

I have no idea if my son will actually ever really play the position of quarterback, but I know at least he has had a chance to find out if he could. That is all I hoped for. As a mother, I saw not only what those coaches could see, I saw my son's heart. 

Now, I am faced with the realization that I've got to learn to start seeing others that way as well, like my Father, God, does - not based on outward appearance, but on their hearts. I've got to step beyond my own predetermined view, and look beyond what I think I see.

Pigeon holes are for pigeons....not people. I'm going to have to remember that.

1 Samuel 16:7(b)

New International Version (NIV)
"...The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Raising Kids and Haircuts...

This morning I got up and had one of those "bad hair days" you always hear about. I actually have very few "good hair days" since I was born an almost bald baby, and while I did eventually grow hair, it was never like the stuff you see in those shampoo commercials.

I have battled with my hair for years, and only recently found someone who consistently manages to cover my unruly cow-licks. I have a double swirl in the back that unless my hair is cut correctly will go off in its own direction thereby making me look like I'm going back to my newborn bald days!

Well, today I was battling my cow-licks once again. (Even with a good haircut, they sometimes make their presence known.) It was then that the "Random Thought" hit me. Raising kids is a lot like dealing with hair.

The Bible tells us to train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) A lot of people think that only means teaching your children about God so that they will follow the Lord, and that is a part of the picture. I think, however, sometimes we miss a very important part of the verse..."in the way that he should go." The trick is in finding the way that he should go, as opposed to the way we think they should go.

Children can be a lot like hair - they come with a natural "bent" that requires training, but it's also a bent that is a part of who God created them to be. Just like hair, they come in all different kinds, the trick is in not working against the way they were created, but with it.

It seems we always compare ourselves to others and try to go in the direction they should go! For example, when my son was in 6th grade, he decided he wanted his hair to be like his best friend. He wanted his hair to be board straight and long...and blond. The problem with this was, my son's hair is jet black, thick and curly. Still, he was determined to have hair like his friend. He would stand in front of the mirror for hours after shampooing his hair, trying desperately to smooth it down. The result would look okay for a little while, but as the day progressed, his hair would dry and start to revert back to its "natural bent" and puff out. He continued to smooth the top throughout the day with his hands, The results were that by the end of the day, he looked like a mushroom. Smooth on top and puffed on bottom. was quite a sight to behold. He walked around with a constant frown on his face. He became a giant frowning mushroom.

Finally in the summer between 6th and 7th, my son decided he wanted his hair cut short. Oh my - what a transformation! He looked so handsome! Gone was the constant "smoothing" and fidgeting with his hair.  He walked with new confidence and finally his smile returned. He was no longer fighting an impossible battle. He was finally becoming who he was created to be!

I am learning that with my children, I'm sometimes guilty of trying to "smooth them" into the image I see in other people's children...and they just aren't "bent" that way! I try to get their walk with the Lord to look like my own (forgetting how difficult and rocky that "walk" has sometimes been!) But they aren't me. They are unique and their walk with God will be uniquely their own. I've got to find the way to work WITH their natural gifts and help them find the way that THEY should go. As I help them grow in their own walk with the Lord, which probably won't look like my own, they will discover a faith that they can hold to for the rest of their days....and not depart from it.

I have to chuckle because as I sit here and type this, my daughter is working to straighten her own hair and she just said, "Mom, I wish I had hair like yours. This is so hard." I guess we always think someone else has an easier path to walk in this journey. (Honestly - I wish I had hair like hers and I absolutely LOVE her tight spiral curls!)

Yep, raising kids to follow God is a lot like working with hair....there will be "good days" and "bad days," but when you realize you've got just the "hair" you were meant to have, things get a lot easier. It's all about learning to work with the natural bent God intended....and sometimes wearing a hat.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Everything was in black and white

The following is a "repeat blog"....I was watching The Wizard of Oz tonight and it came to mind. I wonder if a lot of us don't still live in a "black and white world"....
I still remember the where I was standing the day my class and I discussed what life was like 100 years ago. The students were naming things that they used everyday which did not exist 100 years ago. I hated to admit that they didn't even exist when I was in college, but I digress. Finally came the statement, "Everything was in black and white." I paused...."Do you mean the pictures were in black and white?" I asked. No, they thought the world was black and white. 

I had to laugh and shake my head in disbelief. At first I wondered how could an 11 year old be so naive'? Then it happened again during a similar discussion...this time the students were two years older! That's when it hit me. These students were basing their conclusion on what they could see, on what they thought they "knew". In both classes, these students were assuming that since the pictures from long ago had no color, evidently the world had no color either. Yes, I know you're laughing, but these kids were sincere in their confusion. They could operate a complex computer and do advanced math, yet in that one area, their understanding was definitely flawed. 

In my classes, I usually try to find a way to answer my students in such a way that they don't feel foolish for making incorrect statements. I tell them, the world has always had just took a while to catch up. 

The idea of "catching up" got me to thinking. I remembered that when my sister was a little girl, she got very excited that The Wizard of Oz was going to be coming on TV! She had heard that once Dorothy landed in Oz, everything turned to color! That of course must mean that our old black and white TV would be suddenly transformed and we'd have a color TV at last! Yes, the confusion existed even in my own family....because it is normal. (She also thought orange juice came from ducks because there was a picture of Donald Duck on the can.)

As an educator, we learn that children are not really capable of abstract thought up to a certain age. Oh, we may think they understand the difference in pretend and real, but probably less than we realize. Some concepts, such as spiritual ones, are very difficult for them to grasp. As children grow and mature, they reach a stage when they can make the connection....understand the "color" of the situation as it were.

What strikes me is, as adults we think we have matured past all that. We think we now understand...but do we? In the 1 Corinthians 13:12 (Message translation), it says, "We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!" 

We think that we understand so much about God and about the Christian walk, but do we really? We are basing what we know on our ability to understand....just as my 5th graders based their understanding on life 100 years ago based on the pictures they had seen. But God is so much beyond our comprehension!

To think that I have the audacity to try and tell God how He should go about "fixing" things. I am basing all that I know on what I can understand, and the older I get the more I realize how little I really understand!  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

All this makes me wonder how many times have I said something that makes God want to just shake His head in disbelief. In my limited knowledge, am I spouting off something that is the equivalent of thinking life used to be all in black and white? Right now, I'm feeling a bit like a five year old trying to figure out the world....and discovering, guess what - it's in color!