Thursday, March 17, 2011

Intentionally Intent

Some words just won’t go away.

My head is spinning with life:

¨    dwelling in the season of Lent
¨    pondering things of the wilderness, the Cross, the empty tomb
¨    keeping track of medical appointments and tests for three of us
¨    thank you notes that must be written
¨    cards that must be sent to friends fighting one battle or another
¨    rearranging the house—downsizing—creating uncluttered space
¨    cleaning out—organizing—fixing—repairing
¨    and then there is the outside (oh shudder-shudder; too much too soon)
¨    waiting for reports from various doctors
¨    trying to get to the work-out pool 3xWk
¨    and then there are the meals, the laundry, the regular house upkeep

          Those are just the “normal,” as most of you know. [For my younger readers, I never said life got easier with retirement. I did say that multi-tasking becomes more complicated.]

          In the midst of the above and daily life in general, INTENTIONAL has bounced into my life like a brick. It won’t go away.

          The word first yelled for my attention in my first reading of Ann Voskamp’s A Thousand Gifts some 3 weeks ago.  I thought about it awhile and decided, “Yes, that is a good thing to do… be intentional about my faith.” 

 I even began naming my gifts—writing down the little and the big and the in-between things that God bestows unearned and unsought.

 I worked on my prayer time. I watched for God’s unexpected gifts…. I worked on my attitude…. I made lists of gratitude.

And then.. I got busy with the “stuff” above …and then I forgot.

How many times in my life have I seen the word intentional?  None that I remember until Ann’s book.

During the past 4 days, INTENTIONAL showed up in:

©    two blogs I read regularly
©    in my Other Favorite Author Number 3 Debbie Macomber’s new book God’s Guest List
©    in the fine-print of some medical information
©    and in Connie Cowan’s on-line Lenten Study Walking to the Cross.

OKAY. Okay. I’m getting it.

I looked up INTENTIONAL in the dictionary. You don’t need me to list the synonyms but you know I will:


          On purpose

          Seems to me that the funny little word, INTENTIONAL, shows up in my path, over and over, to remind me of my own mission to PRACTICE and FOCUS and LEARN and STAND FIRM.

          You know, those things Paul said. The things I just wrote about three days ago on Grappling with Contentment!!

I hope you’ll join me in keeping on keeping on and

Standing on the Promises

And Jesus said, “Why are you sleeping?
Rise and pray that you many not enter into temptation.”
Luke 22:46 [NAST]

Monday, March 14, 2011

Grappling with Contentment

This year, Lent seems very long. Because Ash Wednesday came so late? Or because Easter won’t arrive until April is almost finished?

To me, Lent is a time to sit at the feet of Jesus to learn and grow. Like most moms and great grannies, I do a high “Martha” season all through Christmas! Then I pack away my apron, the tinsel, ribbon, glitter, and manger just in time for the dark days of winter.

In these retirement years, I really try to let winter be a time to rest, to sit at the feet of Jesus, and to practice the better things of a “Mary” spirit.

However, I don’t do resting well.

This year is particularly difficult because I’ve had a number of medical challenges and I have been “home-bound” more than usual. But, little by little, I kept seeking God’s face.
On Ash Wednesday, I thought I heard Him say, “Hummm. How about that lesson you keep forgetting?”

Oh. Well. Un... You see, He’s talking about a lesson I have learned many times, but I forget. Over the last few months, I forgot it totally and completely.

And yes, I asked. As I poured over His Word through the dark days of winter, my heart soaked up His promises and I yearned for more.

*sigh*  CONTENT.
You know what I mean… as in Paul’s acknowledgement:

”I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” [Philippians 4:11, The Message]

Can’t do it. Grumble. Complain. Cry. Whine.
My hands are too full.
My nest is too empty.
There is too much to do.
I'm bored.....
Then, in the middle of a HUGE whine, I happened to notice words in the earlier part of chapter 4. …. “stand firm” … “Rejoice in the Lord always” … “in everything by prayer…with THANKSGIVING” … “and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” …..

And then I came to that verse 9 !! “..PRACTICE these things;”

I truly am blessed. I have much. I NEED NOTHING.

The truth is that if all of these earthly, material, physical, relational things aren’t enough, MY SAVIOR LIVES!

Join me in thinking on His Goodness with thanksgiving - - - for at least FORTY DAYS!!