Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I found her the other day. 
Her name is Ann Voskamp. I read her writing. I am one of thousands who will. 
She calls me back to Him.

I have made this new schedule for school, and things have been going really well. I have felt so pleased with myself. Aren't I clever!? Things go well, so long as things go according to "the schedule". Otherwise, I begin to feel lost. I begin to feel behind. I begin to lose the joy. Then I look up, through the window and God gently whispers through the sunshine in the leaves of my favorite tree, "You are missing it. You are missing the point." 

There is a place for schedules, order is good, even commanded. But there is more. The more that is missed in the activity of the making and keeping of schedules. The more that goes unnoticed as I plan my life, this life, this gift from Him. There is so much more than I could ever plan. I go through days wishing for more. I have everything, how could I want for more? I want to use this life to make a difference. Don't most people? But, truly, I feel it in my very core, I was sent here to do something that only I, Shelli, can do. How will I ever find out what that is? Why am I here? I know why in the grand scheme of things. I know some of my purposes and I do not dismiss then as small or insignificant, but still, there is something wanting. 

Could it be that He is trying to show me? Could it be that I am just to busy to see? Through the schedules and all the activities, all the things that must be done in order to simply keep order, the sunlight dances through the leaves and He tells me that He is there. He is there in the sunlight. He is there in the words of others. He is there just when I need Him most, He will never abandon. He steps in like that sunlight through those leaves. He does not blow me over as would a storm. He will not burst through my door. He will dance through the cracks of my life, the soft spots of my heart, and if I will notice Him, He will bless me with that which He has been trying to bestow. Whenever I feel lost or lonely, He is never far behind. He comes in the shape of a friend, sometimes new, sometimes well known. He is there is their goodness, in the faith, and in their hopes for me and my success, if I will take notice of every good thing that He is, and is in. 

Slow down, is His message. Notice all that I have given you. Be grateful for the moments, of trial and tribute.

There is so much to do, there is no time to be

And then I remember another commandment, Be still.....

Opening your heart, your hands, and your home to all he has to offer, and in return, offer up thanks - that is Ann's message. This is a gift to ourselves - the place we will find peace. If we could change the means, how would that change the end? If we could pick a different path, one with a few less bumps, then would everything be different? And the truth is that yes, it would. But would it be better? Sometimes, for those of us who have gone through a trail on the list of unimaginables, we could tend to think so. But we cannot see the big picture. How could we ever orchestrate our lives from down in the audience? How could we ever tell if what we had in mind would have been better in the long run? Why do I have to go through these trials, we can ask ourselves. The answer is simple, though not always understandable. Because He is in charge, because this life is a time to be tested. Because He knows better, and thankfully so. He can see what we cannot. Through whatever He has to offer can we be grateful? Through the ugly and sad, not only the good? There is so much to be learned. That is where he would have us grow, but NOT where he would have us stay. 

He is here, in the kitchen, as children squabble, and I am weary. This is a chance for me to practice patience and long-suffering. It provides those much needed opportunities for me to teach, as would the master, those life lessons we (myself and my children), for some reason, need repeated over and over, until the natural man gives way to the light of Christ, and we become closer to that being God created, after the image of Himself. 

Open your eyes. This is what the sunlight tells me this morning. Open your eyes to all around you. Find the goodness in the ugly. Give thanks for all. Here is where you will be led to your greater purpose. How did I ever expect to find it in my schedules? It is not there. It is in everyday. I, alone, can do something everyday that will make a lasting difference. Slow down....... and listen to the child who points out the simple wonder of the birds in the trees gathering up berries. Slow down....... and play a game with that child who is growing up faster than my heart would have him do. Slow down..... and see. Notice what is around you. Put down your list and let go of the schedule and follow my lead. Then, and only then, when I have learned these lessons of stillness, silence, acceptance, and thanksgiving, can I hope to be lead to those opportunities He will give me for greatness. There is a plan. But I will miss it if I don't follow an agenda greater than my own. And when my vision is blurred once again, with all the have-to's I will be grateful for His voice and His hand in the world around me, calling me back, as he did through his daughter Ann, to a better way of living, a life filled with gratitude, in all things.

Below are just a few of my favorite pieces of Ann's writing, which you can find on her blog.

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