Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A New Song for Thanksgiving

Surprisingly, this was a year of new blessings to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. I think I got into a groove of regular blessings for many years - family, health, provision, ministry, a home…..those all relatively stayed static. And then this year. THIS YEAR!!!

Lord – thank you for showing yourself to be so mighty and yet so intimate with me this year. You provided a job for me that helped beyond “feathering the nest” …this job from you was provided in such a low economy, yet at such timing that You knew I’d need the ministry to direct my energies toward since the chicks are leaving said nest. The team I work for is a daily encouragement and an iron-sharpening-iron tool for me….I am amazed You would be so loving to me to provide a job in my area of passion, grace me with the flexible hours that this mommy needs, and use this seemingly low job to bless others! I am surprised and grateful that “my job” is a heading the top of a Thanksgiving list!

Lord – thank you for caring for my heart this year by giving me new people to love. The whole Robertson clan has nestled into the “family” portion of my heart, and has been a consistent and deep channel of Your love and encouragement. Thank You that You’ve chosen to do a lot of that via Starbucks. J Thank you for Linda, a mentor and kindred spirit – my New Old Friend. (How did you know I needed that?) Also, Baby Avery and Baby Paisley have delighted me, and have reminded me of the sweetness of the circle of life – while my own babies are growing and leaving, You are giving me new babies to cherish in what must be an interim stage…..someday the babies I cuddle will be my grandchildren. Thank you for their soft skin and trusting eyes – thank you for reminding me of innocence and the value of life.

Lord – thank you for caring so well for those I care about. Abigail is happily ensconced at NuHouse, surrounded by faithful friends, and in a godly community. Ben is thriving at Sammamish High, and Katie is connected to the majority of Bellevue College in some manner or form. Our parents have supportive and active friendships….thank you Lord that loneliness isn’t a burden for us in 2009.

Lastly, I’m grateful for the traditional things that have mercifully been added to my list again. Jon. Health. Music. Provision. Our Home Fellowship Group. Laughter. Coffee. Books. Chocolate. Education. Safety. Katie’s cookies. Humor. OCC Student Ministries. Grace. My flannel nightie. Mostly – Your Word, which is a balm to my spirit, a light to my path, a tool to sanctify and sharpen me, to comfort and bless me, and which connects me to the heart of You.

Lord, thank you for the new song you put in my mouth this year. Not only are Your mercies new every morning , they are recognizable year to year. You are a God who surprises us and blesses us far beyond all we could ask or imagine!

I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

(Psalm 40: 1-3)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Being Myself While Learning Who I Am

Last month I got to pop over to Pullman to check in with Abigail in person….she’s a great texter, a decent phoner, but only an emerging emailer or Facebooker. Being great at texting is a tremendous blessing – it transmits “real time” on my phone and catches me wherever I am – so I’m super thankful for it. But – my phone is from the dinosaur age and so her whole life gets summarized in three succinct sentences or else it overloads the phone memory and gives me the heartbreaking \\missing text\\ announcement halfway through a really newsy or poignant epistle from Miss Communication.

Thus the trip to WSU. Time to look her in the eyes and watch her talk, unedited. More than three sentences worth.

Amidst all the stories pouring out of her – covering her daily routine, her varied career aspirations, new friendships, two jobs, homework, rec time, college residence life, fashion needs….oh let’s see what else….awkward guy stories, fabulous guy stories…..news, weather and sports…..well, a significant summary line stood out to me. “Mom, it’s challenging to BE MYSELF while discovering who I am.”

Part of me immediately synched with that. Of course, young adults at college are continuing to grow and mature – their worlds just grew fairly large, their education is (hopefully) expanding their minds in new ways….of course they would be stretched. Relationally, Abby just added about 49 more people into her world – people she lives with, not just high fives after class. Recreationally, she just blew the doors off of any parental supervision and is getting to live virtually at “camp” 24/7 – granted, it’s Pullman, of course…but there are movies to watch, rec centers to sweat in, hills to hike, cliffs to dive off of, parties to avoid or attend, and people to play with at all times. So, discovering “who am I?” is natural for a college freshman.

Am I someone who fits in time for studying? Am I someone who sleeps instead of going to class? What do I eat? Which crowd of friends do I hang with? How do I spend my money? What do I pray about?

The more she talked the more I realized how much we still had in common. Age and stage might change the details, but the question remains the same – it’s challenging to be myself while discovering who I am. (OK, technically that doesn’t look like a question, I realize.) But it begs to ask, “WHO am I?” And, “am I being myself?”

Am I someone who fits in time for learning? Am I someone who sleeps instead of works? What do I eat? Which crowd of friends do I hang with? How do I spend my money? What do I pray about?

Good thing I had a five-hour drive home from Pullman to figure all that out.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say, "Look! This is something new"?
It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. (Eccl. 1:8-9)