Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Drift Happens!

Remember what it is like to spend  the afternoon just floating at the lake? You start off near the dock, enjoying the sun. You open your eyes and realize that while you were relaxing, you drifted far from where you started . You didn't intend to, and didn't even know how far out you had gone. Yet here you are, with a swim ahead of you. So much for relaxing!

A sweet friend and I were discussing how drifting doesn't just happen at the lake. It happens in life, too. We drift with our weight, our finances, and our jobs. Sometimes we drift in friendships. We don't intend to, we just sort of relax into life and before we know it, we have drifted away from a friend. It happens in marriage. We start out so excited in our marriages and assume that "LOVE" will keep us close together. Then life happens. Children are born, jobs are acquired, and suddenly you wake up one morning and realize that you have drifted from that person who meant so much to you. It happens in our relationship with God. We don't mean for it to happen, it just sneaks up on us. One day we wake up and realize that the last time we really felt close to God was back at youth camp in high school. We float along in life and expect to stay where we began, but that isn't what happens. We drift.

There is only one solution for drifting- being intentional. If we don't want to drift at the lake, we must intentionally secure ourselves to the dock. If we don't want to drift with our weight, finances, or in our jobs, we have to intentionally set goals, make plans, and work at it. If friendships matter, we must intentionally communicate and connect. If we care about our marriage, we must intentionally spend time together and encourage one another. If our relationship with God is to be all it was designed to be, we have to intentionally seek Him. If not, drift happens.

Where are you right now in this lake we call life? Are you near your "dock" or have you opened your eyes to realize you have drifted far away from the very things that matter most to you? If you've drifted, start swimming my friend! You can't wait expecting the dock to swim back to you. It doesn't work that way. If something matters to you, you have to make the move to get back to it. The sooner you intentionally start to paddle back, the sooner you reach the dock!

Be on the lookout, my little floating companion.  Drift happens!

Every day you spend drifting away from your goals is a waste not only of that day, but also of the additional day it takes to regain lost ground.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day From Far Away

My poor dad. Raising three girls couldn't have possibly been easy. Perhaps that is why his hair is so white. Being the only man in a house of women involved late night runs to Circle S to buy four pair of pantyhose on Saturday nights, lifetime membership to Girl Scouts (yes, for him) and enduring 4 sets of mood swings on any given day. Dodging those must have been rougher than running the gauntlet! But before you feel too sorry for him, he did find ways to get a little revenge. If the man ever says, "Hold your sister's hands and touch this wire.", don't do it. I also wouldn't recommend sticking your tongue on a battery, but that is a different story. Today I am thinking about things I know because of my dad. This weekend is Father's Day and we are in Houston for more appointments and can't be with him to celebrate, but we don't have to be together for me to think of him--and thank him.

My daddy has always called me Dandy Andy.  Dandy, for short. I am his first born, and favorite (don't tell my sisters, they don't know that part).  My dad and I are very much alike. We can be a little feisty at times, love a good problem to solve, can be a little stubborn, and want to see people treated right. I have learned a lot of lessons from my dad over the years. Some serious, some funny, and some just good-to-know.
 I know that with bailing wire, duct tape and a Prince Albert can, you can fix most anything.
I know that if you wrap hot dogs in foil and set them on the engine of your car, you can drive around on a lazy Saturday  and they will be cooked when you are ready to eat.
I know that if you chew wheat, it turns to gum.
I know how fast a Fiat can really go on a dirt road when a kid is in the driver's seat for the first time. (He probably regretted that one.)
I know how fast a combine can stop. (Bet he regretted that one, too since he was standing up on it at the time.)
I know how to change a tire and oil in my car. I can even remove a radiator in a pinch.
I know it is never too late at night to call home for help.
I know that you should alway loan things without the expectation of getting them back. If it comes back, great. If it doesn't , it is okay because you didn't expect to anyway. (Sorry about that cowboy hat I borrowed as a prop, Dad. Oh, and the knife, too.)
I know that taking care of people who can't take care of themselves is important.
I know a good leader never stops learning how to be a good leader.
I know that God provides if you will just wait on him.
I know to be grateful for what I have.
I know to live one day at a time.
I know that if I am ever mistreated my dad will come to my defense. 
I know that love, forgiveness and grace are some of the best characteristics of God.
I know you just can't rush some things.
I know there is almost always more than one way to do things.
I know if you can't solve a problem, to walk away for a little bit and think of something else. It is amazing how often the answers will come to you then.
I know sometimes you have to let people learn things the hard way and that standing back and watching can be hard. 
I know serving God and others is always more important than serving yourself.
I know that being a parent doesn't stop when your kids are grown and that watching them struggle is never easy.

I know that my daddy would have gladly traded places with me during the past seven months fighting The Nuisance. I also know I wouldn't let him. He can't trade places with me, but he raised me well and taught me lessons that have helped me persevere through trial. I am grateful for my father. I am grateful for how he reflects my Heavenly Father.  I wish I could be with him to celebrate.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Transplant List

I just heard a story of the Bingham family of North Powder, Oregon.  They have five children who have had, or will need, heart transplants due to genetic heart abnormalities. Two of the children have already received transplants, another a pacemaker, and the others will find themselves on the transplant list soon. Can you imagine the burden of that load? The physical, emotional and financial stress? My heart so goes out to them. The reporter stated that he had been surprised to find that in spite of it all, there was much happiness and gratitude in the home. I bet I know where that strength comes from.
Some heart transplants aren't physical.

I have been blessed to discover, like the Binghams, that it really is possible to find joy in distress, strength in challenges, gratitude in trials and courage in the face of fear, but it requires undergoing a heart transplant. You see human hearts have defects.  We are prone to complaining, doubt, fear, and discouragement. When trouble comes, our defective hearts immediately begin to race and expect the worst. They pound out  rhythms of defeat. They pulsate with fear. But new hearts are available. Psalm 51:10 says, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." With these new hearts, come new ways of seeing life. Trembling can be replaced with steadfastness.  Troubles don't disappear, but they no longer lead to heart failure. The great thing about this type of transplant is there is no waiting list or need to find the perfect match. The psalmist just asked for a new heart. In the New Testament, Jesus promised, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Luke 11:9. No insurance policy required.

After a physical transplant, patients typically have a lifetime of medications to sustain their new found health. The same is true of a spiritual transplant. Maintenance is required. I find that my heart is subject to weakness if I don't care for it properly. The medicine for spiritual maintenance is prayer, scripture and fellowship with others who encourage, support and help with healing. The new heart you have received won't ever be taken away, but it may not function properly if you don't care for it. Don't forget you daily doses to keep you heart strong!

There are amazing outcomes from a spiritual heart transplant. Our prognosis is found in Psalm 112:7  "They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord." I have a feeling that the Bingham family can claim that verse. I know I have found it to be true. The reporter of the Binghams's story said that it wasn't just the Bingham's that had been changed through this experience, but it was all of them involved with the story. He was changed. That is the power of a transplanted heart. It can touch others as well! 

I hope you will find the power of a transplanted heart!

Here is a link to this amazing family's story. Pray for their family! Their story will be featured on Dateline 6/5/2013.