Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Always Changing

"My heart is overflowing with a good theme;
I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer."  Psalm 45:1

The kids read Psalm 45 aloud today at the beginning of our school day.  We read through the New Testament in 2011, and when January came along, we decided to start reading through the Psalms.  I love starting our school days with verses full of joy and praise.   This verse jumped out at me right off the bat this morning- the part about the heart overflowing is just so spot on.  My heart is overflowing, each and every day, and just when it seems like there's no more room in there, I am reminded of something else and my heart swells to near bursting.  God is just so wonderful.  

We've been very, very busy these past weeks.  January was such a calm and relaxing month for us, but February has been quite the whirlwind!  It seems like we've been moving from moment to moment with little time in between to catch our breath.  The blogging has suffered this month because of it, but be assured it's not because of a lack of things to say, thoughts to dwell on, or moments of joy that should be shared.  In fact, I've often crafted little short blog posts in my head, and have simply not found the time to sit and put words to keyboard.  

But last night as I sat at dance, as I do three evenings a week, I was thinking about how I really wanted to sit down and blog about something, and then the perfect verse popped up just a few moments ago, and I just had to do it.  The kids are off doing their reading assignments for the day, so hopefully I can accomplish something here while that is going on.  My routine at the dance studio has pretty much been the same ever since we started going there nearly six years ago.  While class is going on, I bring a book and sit and get my reading in while classes are going on.  I've loved doing that, because I honestly don't have as much time these days to just get absorbed in a book- but when I'm sitting there for a few hours while the kids dance I can get a whole lot of reading done.  It's wonderful.  But last night, as I sat there, simply holding my book, I reflected on how I haven't been getting as much reading done as of late.  On the one hand, that's kind of saddening to me, because I love to read!  But on the other hand, it shows to me exactly how God is stretching me and molding me.

Because the reason I'm not getting my reading done is not because I'm so focused on the kids dance classes, but because in the last few months I've actually set the books down and started chatting with those around me.  I know, I know, that seems like such a normal thing, but for me, well, I'm just a quiet person.  I'm not chatty- when talking, I like to just get right to the point and not waste words.  And yet, here I have been, chatting it up with the other parents around me so much more than I used to.  Oh, I've talked with people here and there in the past, I'm not completely void of social skills, but it's always been a few things here and there, and then I'd dive right back into whatever book I've got with me.  It's very interesting, and I'll tell you what totally struck me about the verse I posted up above today is the line that says "my tongue is the pen of the ready writer".  Because 95% of the time, in my conversations with people at the studio, I find myself in the role of the encourager.  Something is going on with their lives, their kids, something with dance, etc, that the person I'm speaking with is wrestling with or is concerned about, and I've been spending a lot of time encouraging those around me.

Sadly, I don't hear near enough about that.  I find most often that when people are complaining or voicing concerns, most often what is on the other end of the conversation is commiseration.  So many people out there are sad, concerned, depressed, and just feeling negative about various things in life.  By speaking words of encouragement to someone who needs it, I am using the pen that my tongue actually is and I am writing words of joy, encouragement and strength into their lives and minds.  I've literally seen the stress in another mom's eyes melt away as I've shared bits of encouragement here and there.  It's remarkable how simple words can make such a difference in another person's life.  And as Christians, I don't think we do near enough of it.  I think all too often we're too quick to want to engage someone in conversation for the express purpose of getting them saved that we get caught up in their issues ourselves and find ourselves commiserating or affirming the negative feelings instead of encouraging and exhorting.  

The Bible clearly tells us to exhort one another, to encourage one another, 

"Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing."  1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NASB)

Now, I realize that these particular verses, and many others in the Bible are speaking to us as a church- we're being given directions on how to behave towards one another as a body.  While I definitely agree that we need to be building each other up- how much more important for us to build up someone who maybe doesn't know Jesus as their personal savior?  Because I'll tell you exactly how this will play out.  As these people hear encouragement over and over from someone, over time they're going to start to get curious, and one day they're going to want to know how exactly it is that someone can be so positive all the time.  And that right there is the opening worth waiting for- the moment to introduce them to Jesus, the one who makes everything positive and wonderful.  That's where we get to share with them our faith in a God who takes care of all things, no matter how dire it may seem on the outside.

As Christians we're often referred to as clay- we talk about God being the Master Potter and molding us and shaping us until we're perfect. 
"Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:  “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! "  Jeremiah 18:5,6

When I think about that I think that as the clay, we'll probably never really be finished being molded.  There's always something new that God would have us do.  It makes me wonder sometimes, what I might look like 20 years from now.  How different could I be then if God is working on me each and every day?

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