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Posts Tagged ‘Jeremiah 29:11’

Why do I forget what I know?

Why do I overlook the obvious?

Why do I look for what I need in the wrong places?

Why do I look at all, when what I need is right in front of me?

“A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24

3cc4f3db908903d40e74834f0fc5823dWhen we experience disappointment, loss, loneliness, discouragement … and we all will … it is important to remember that we are never alone, and that all that this Earth and life offer (people and things) is dust in the light of what god offers.

We have all had hours, days, weeks, even years when it seems as though there is no hope at all in our life. The future, whether tomorrow of every tomorrow until our last breath, can appear to us to be void of any hope.

But we have it all wrong!

Our hope is not in ourselves or our abilities.

Our hope is not in our families.

Our hope is not in our job.

Our hope is in nothing but Christ.

He is always with us … “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

He is always for us … “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

He is our strength  … “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

This song came on the radio one day, when hope seemed lost:

“You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It can not hide the light
Whom shall I fear?”

Along with the fitting lyrics of that song, were the words I had written on My Loves page, Numero-Uno. It was a good reminder to me that my hope is not in anyone, but Christ.

The words of that page were written on a ‘good’ day, but they are true for every day!

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Abbott and Costello made that one question an entire comedy sketch, that has lasted, and been retold, for about sixty-seven years. It is one which can make just about anyone laugh. It is a comedy sketch told to give people a giggle, about how easy it is to misunderstand what others are trying to communicate.

The main question that is being asked, throughout the sketch, is “who’s on first?”

That question is a good one to also ask ourselves in relations to life, and priorities.

Who’s on first in our life?

As a Christian, I would say that God is on first, but, in reality, I do not always live as though that is my reality.

There are those who say, look to where you spend your money, and you will see what you put first in your life. Or where you spend your time, is the indicator of greatest priority. Or what you think most often about.

Exodus 20:3 says that God comes first. In different translations and versions, it is communicated with different words, but the meaning is the same … God’s on first.

I have said before that one of my biggest struggles, in marriage, has been in confusing the expectations I have of my God and my hubby. Now, don’t get me wrong, there has never been a time when I have bowed down, sacrificed burnt offerings and worshiped hubby (although I did put his socks on for him, once, when he was sick). Nonetheless, I have still struggled with not expecting God-like results from his very human person.

There are things that I think we often look for in others that, when they don’t (can’t) follow through and provide for us, we feel greatly let down.

I can only speak for myself, but I have often looked to my hubby as the provider of my security, of my future. That is a terribly big expectation to heap upon a mere mortal. And, of course, the disappointment that happens when hubby is not able to live up to that expectation I have had on him, is immense. He is no more able to control my future than I am.

It is only God who should hold on to that expectation.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “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.”

God, and only God, can provide the security of the future. And, it is only when we make the decision to put Him first, that the security of our future, both now and for all eternity, is truly secure.

 

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There is a life mystery that I expect I will never fully understand. It is twofold: First is the amazing love, and dedication, and awe, and commitment that a parent feels when their newborn is placed in their arms. Second is how that beautiful, innocent, miraculous bundle of joy turns into a surly, snarly, stubborn teenager.

As a parent, who has experienced both the beautiful babe and the surly teen, I am baffled at how one morphs into the other. I am also confounded at how I have morphed as well. From the moment that I would have confirmation of being pregnant I was in love, I was willing to die for that child …

  • and then they become a defiant two year old,
  • and then they won’t eat their veggies
  • and then they get into a fist fight on the playground
  • and then they talk back
  • and then they argue over anything (as in anything you say)
  • and then they won’t talk
  • and then you understand why some creatures eat their young …

I also work in a school, and so I get to see teens, daily, with their chosen packs (you know, like wolf packs … so many similarities 😉 ), and it does a number on my ‘parent perspective’ of those surly teens.

Here is what I see:

  • ‘friends’ who embarrass and humiliate them in front of other ‘friends’
  • faces of failure, because they didn’t get the mark they thought or hoped they would on an assignment or test
  • not wanting to ask for help in class, because they truly feel they are the only ones who do not get it
  • exhaustion caused by working late, so that they can have the money to buy the ‘things’ that keep them ‘in’ with the pack
  • exhaustion caused by the reality that a teens body has a different clock from an adults (and from our school schedule), their bodies are programmed to ‘awaken’ in the evening, making sleep hard to come by until late into the night
  • inattention in class, causing reprimands from teachers who have not been alerted, by parents, of the illness of a family member, the pending separation/divorce of parents, deaths, etc., etc., etc.
  • students who look like a scared creatures when they walk down the hallways, because they feel they have no ‘pack’ to belong to
  • students who are self-injuring (cutting, eating disorders, drugs, alcohol, illicit sex), who have so much going on in their minds and bodies, that they hurt themselves to distract from the big hurts in their lives

This is what I see, it is not all I see (I do see good stuff too, and lots of it, but the good stuff doesn’t contribute to surly so much), but this is what I see that makes me look at my surly teens differently. I now know that when they hop in the van at the end of the, our van might be the only place they have felt ‘safe’ all day, and they might be surly to me because I might be the first person in their day who they know will love them, despite their behaviors, or their looks, or their hearts.

Moms and Dads, we need to continue to be the same ‘in love’, willing to die for you parents that we were when we first laid our eyes on our babies. We need to stop responding to our kids surly behaviors, and start seeking the reasons why they are surly. We need to stop being offended by their attitudes, their music choices, their clothing and hair styles and start looking through all of that to the child/adolescent/teen/young adult at the core of who they are. We need to love them through the eyes of a Father God, who looks at us, not as we are (thank goodness), but as who He knows we can become.

Every week, I know of a daughter who willfully breaks the rules of her Father. She lies, she snubs others, she can be really mean to those younger than her, she has hissy fits, she leaves the house without telling anyone where she is going, and she might spend days without saying a single word to her father. Then, one day every week she goes out in public to say how much she loves her Daddy. And you know what, because her father is God, He welcomes me back … every time. Because my Father God knows I am going to be surly (it’s a given, just like our kids), but He sees in my the enormity of what I can become, and He isn’t going to give up on my until I see it too.

Don’t stop seeing the enormity of what our surly teens can become.

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