Thursday, May 15, 2014

STRENGTH, DIGNITY, AND A GOOD LAUGH

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." ~Proverbs 31:25

Life has been a bit crazy these past few months! I haven't had the luxury of just sitting at the feet of Jesus and savoring my usual quiet time.

I think that's okay.  I've been busy learning to put into practice all those luscious teachings I've  soaked up over the years. I feel my body growing stronger as we prepare our home for my folks to move in. Though the grunt work is tiring, I have loved the lessons on various home repairs. I may even ask for my own set of tools this Christmas!

Most days, I am dog-tired as the dinner hour rolls around. Some evenings, I'm too tired to shower. I have served up more to-go meals then I will ever admit to. And if I could, I'd skip the coffee mug and opt for an IV caffeine drip.

Despite all this, I  have had the energy to fret. Worry. Wrestle. Honestly, I have feared the dawning of this new season. Will I feel trapped as I take on the role of caregiver? Will I grow frustrated? Impatient? Even resentful? These are the thoughts that bounce around in my mind as I tackle jobs I'm really not wired to handle.

The negative emotions are an outflow of the flesh. And all are potential reactions I know I'm very capable of. Been there, done that!

But my heart's desire for this season looks so different. A passion to serve, to make this last chapter in their long lives a grand finale ~ this is what I am aiming for. And I think, if I can do this well, there's no limit to how God can use me.

I wish I could say that I start each day before dawn in a rich time alone with God. But the truth is, I'm too tired! My quiet time is spent sleeping. I reach for a nugget in His word here and there to sustain me. My prayer life is no different, haphazard and messy.

But what I've noticed in the process is how God will bring a timely word ~ a simple message ~ and it will sink in deep and replay over and over until I find I actually get it.

Proverbs 31 verse 25 hit the bullseye. And I believe it is my theme for this new season of mom and stepdad occupying our home while I provide care. "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."

"She is clothed..." What you wear is a choice, no matter how busy you are! Everyday we make the choice what to clothe ourselves in. I have God's power inside of me that enables me to dress myself according to the needs of the day.

"With strength and dignity..." At first, I picture strong arms, lean body. But when it's coupled with dignity, I detect a much deeper strength, an inner resolve and power to do the right thing no matter what. Dignity tells me I can rise to any challenge with my head held high as a servant of the King. Nothing He asks me to do is undignified or below me.

"She can laugh at the days to come." By far my favorite part of this verse, it says I don't have to be overwhelmed in the process. I can have PEACE, JOY, and even a good LAUGH! It's part of the whole package ~ this radical, unexplainable peace and joy.

I caught a glimpse of it the other morning. My day had begun roughly, and my heart was already racing with anxiety before my feet hit the floor. Then, BAM! Out of nowhere, I felt it. This totally unexpected JOY washed over me, unlike anything I've ever experienced. I believe God was telling me, "This is what I have for you as you walk this road with your parents." JOY. Unexplainable. Unexpected.

There will be seasons and assignments that, from the outside looking in, appear too difficult. Too messy. Too risky. But I can already see, they usher in blessings too wonderful to miss.

Let's be real. God assignments are often hard, challenging, stretching, even painful. But He never fails to equip us if we let Him. As I ponder all the unknowns, I realize it's all part of the Abundant Living package. Comfort and ease won't get us there. We have to be willing to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work.

I can do this! So can you.

"He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." ~Job 8:21


Copyright 2014 by Julie Cowell. All rights reserved.

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