Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Complaints or Creativity

“You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (Colossians 3:9, l0).

Creativity and adaptability have never been my strong points but God is using my health problems to develop these character traits within me.

As my health has deteriorated I have given up various activities and responsibilities, and I am learning to accept these limitations. Yet I am also learning there may be creative ways to work around some weaknesses, rather than complaining and giving up hope.

Some of these adaptations are rather humorous. I have difficulty sleeping so have acquired quite an accumulation of pillows to keep me comfortable. Thankfully our bed is big and my husband is not, or he would be pushed on the floor by the mountain of pillows which varies nightly. Because of back pain, many times I either carry a heating pad or wear an ice pack under my clothes. Finding outlets and hoping I don’t develop leaks can be challenging! I play games with friends and do my computer work on my knees, and my pile of pillows are great knee pads.

These adaptations and others are a work in progress. At times I get very frustrated about all that I can’t do in a “normal” way. But God is using these circumstances to grow me in new ways. God is a God of creativity. We see that in the myriad species of plants, animals, insects, and humanity, ranging in all sizes, shapes, colors, and personalities. We as humans have been created in His likeness. We are not God or gods and never will be, but we possess the attributes and characteristics which He has chosen to give us.

Becoming more creative rather than complaining is one positive aspect of my pain. As I search to find new ways to manage my limitations, I quite possibly may find some God-given treasures along the way.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for renewing me in Your image. Rather than complaining, let me seek Your wisdom in finding the perfect balance of acceptance and creativity in my limitations. Amen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Our Ebenezers - Signs of God's Faithfulness

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the Lord helped us.”
(I Samuel 7:12).

In Scripture stones were sometimes used a symbols of God’s faithfulness. Whether it was deliverance from or victory over their enemies, stones were visual reminders of what God had done in the past and an encouragment to trust Him for the future.

I once experienced a great example of this concept. Our former church was celebrating its 25th anniversary. The pastor asked every family to bring in an item symbolizing some way in which the church had significantly impacted their lives for God. It was a beautiful thing to see all the “stones” that people brought and to relive great shared memories. As I look back over my own life, sometimes I am tempted to only dwell on the painful memories. But I can also choose to remember how the Lord has brought me through each of these experiences, using them to draw me into a deeper and more faithful relationship with Him.

Many times my old fearful nature still struggles within me. When I think of the future I wonder how I will survive my health struggles, and honestly - at that moment - may not even want to try. That is when I need to remember all that God has done for me. For a visual reminder I bought a bag of small stones. I have placed them in certain places to help me remember what the Lord has done throughout my life – on my nightstand, in my makeup drawer, in my wallet, in my car, on the kitchen windowsill. When I seem them I remember God’s faithfulness. He will not fail me now, regardless of what lies ahead. Taking one day at a time and remembering my Ebenezer stones, I am clinging to God - the Rock of my salvation.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, just as the Ebenezers in my life are signs of Your faithfulness to me, so may I be a faithful “living stone” in Your kingdom as I represent You to those around me (I Peter 2:5). Amen.