Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Respite

I'm tired.  I have had a sinus infection this week on the heels of a very busy few weeks.  I didn't think I was going to make it all day at work today.  I prayed several times for extra strength, and the Lord provided.  I gathered up my things after school and decided to leave on time.  I stopped by the store to get some things for a small salad to go along with some chicken and rice I had cooked in the crock pot earlier this week.  I sent the kids upstairs to finish homework and practice.  After seeing to the four-legged family members, I set everything on the stove to warm, mixed up the salad (love the ready-made salad in a bag), and made some iced tea.  I turned on the fireplace, grabbed my favorite blanket, sat on the sofa and picked up a book.   It was a strange, but wonderful half hour.  I read next to the fireplace under a blanket as if I had nothing else to do.  I curled up on the sofa and put our of my mind the three-hour college course looming over my head, the laundry pile growing minute by minute, a house to clean, and supper to finish.  But I chose to sit by the fire and read under my favorite blanket....in the quiet.

Homework was finished.  Practicing completed.  The giggles that go along with dancing in the bedroom started seeping through the ceiling along with the rattling of the floor above me.    I haven't heard those sounds in many weeks.  Life has been busy.  Unscheduled, free play has not existed.

But for today, we led a quiet life....at least after 5:00.  The day up until then had been far from quiet and unhurried.  This little respite was very welcome and appreciated.

Until we meet again.....  

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Balance Beam

I have always been fascinated with the balance beam.  I love watching the summer Olympic games, especially gymnastics.  Not only is it athletic and competitive, but it is absolutely beautiful and graceful.  I am amazed at the skill of the gymnasts when they get on the balance beam.  With poise and control they navigate the beam and perform a beautifully choreographed routine from start to finish.....and make it look effortless.  We all know it is not.  Even the slightest miscalculation and they can fall.

I understand more and more the importance of a well choreographed routine in my life.  Without it, my beam routine will be a disaster every time.  Choreographing my daily routine takes time, thought, and yes....practice.  Oftentimes I choreograph my routine in its entirety instead of building it over time.  There is something to be said about building a great routine.

I can't do it all.  I can't do it all at once.  I also have to teach this to my children so they don't make the same mistakes I have.  One thing at a time.  One element at a time.  It takes well-balanced walking and navigating the beam to be able to add a flip, a stunt, a turn...  If I can't walk and navigate securely, I might as well add some extra padding to the uniform because I am surely going to fall hard.

I think I need to spend some time walking and navigating.  The flips will come.  Fancy footwork will be needed at times.  I pray my dismount is amazing.  It all depends on what happens along the way!  As long as I stay balanced on my beam, I can dismount with joy and confidence.  I'm not ready to dismount yet....though there are days!  Until then, I will work on my balance until it is effortless.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Living Sacrifice

One of my goals for 2012 is to read through the Bible.  I have set this goal other times in the past, but never really had the discipline to follow through.  When I would get behind I would get discouraged.  I would quit and go back to doing something different with my Bible reading.  I never really liked having to read what I was "told" to read.  I follow a strict schedule every day of my life as a teacher.  Bells ring, I jump.  Bathroom breaks are scheduled, lunch is scheduled, and even prayer is scheduled!  As Fine Arts Director I sit on the admin staff.  Sometimes we all read the same book and discuss the first few minutes at each meeting.  This means that the time I would have to "leisurely" read is taken up by an assigned book.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading good books.  I love discussing books.  I believe it is my stubborn nature that kicks in sometimes when I wish I could have picked my own book to read.  I usually end up enjoying the book and get a lot out of the discussions.  I digress. (another reason I never completed the "read through the Bible" goal in the past)

This year has been different.  My husband is doing it with me and we are keeping each other accountable.   I have been digging into the Old Testament and now find myself in Leviticus.  I have walked with the Israelites through the wilderness on their Exodus from Egypt.  I have tried to picture the radiance of the glory of God streaming from Moses' face.  I have envisioned the Tabernacle being built and readied for the presence of a Holy God.  The one thing that keeps creeping back into my mind is the thought of sacrifice.   God was very specific in His instructions for making sacrifices.  The instructions were repeated over and over again.  If one thing was out of place, the sacrifice was void.  People lost their lives after offering unclean sacrifices.  God was serious about this.  He is Holy.  In order for the sacrifices to be pleasing and acceptable to Him they had to be perfect, unblemished, and presented in specific ways.  I wonder if we would go to all that trouble today.  We don't like being inconvenienced.  I picture people trying to find ready-made sacrifices on the Internet to offer.   Click and buy.  No mess, no fuss, no blood on our hands.....all from the comfort of our couch.  

But Jesus came.  

Jesus.....the perfect sacrifice.  There will never be another.  All the pains and trouble that people went through in the Old Testament can not compare with the blood of Jesus.  We are free.  Free from the restrictions of the Law.  But what does this really mean?   "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."   We often read Romans 12:1 and wrap it up in a bow.  Our busy minds can quote that scripture.  It is short and to the point, just like we like it.  No detailed instructions, no specifics, no restrictions as to "how" we are to go about this sacrifice.  No blood on our hands.  Right?   Wrong.  
Reading on in Romans 12 gives us our instructions----the marks of a Christian----our call to duty-----our call to sacrifice.  I feel I fall very short of offering my body as a living sacrifice....one that is truly acceptable and pleasing to God.  So do we have it easier than the Israelites?  I think not.  Romans 12 is our lifelong work in progress.   It is the process of growing us into who and what God calls us to be.  

I am living, but am I truly sacrificing?