When the summer flies by . . .

August is almost over and this coming Saturday is . . . only 4 months and 10 days until Christmas! I just threw that in to scare you.
It is always a wake up call to realize the year is half over and all those things you were going to get done got bumped by the urgent things in front of you. I believe that I have learned to slow down some, but I realize that I still move at a fast pace and often don’t stop to smell the roses as I should.
Not that I can grow roses. Roses around my yard are called by a different name – deer food – and the more I plant of ANYTHING, the bigger the buffet grows for the herd that comes through morning and night. The deer, knowing we are Swedish, refer to it as a Smorgasboard out of respect to our heritage.
But the grandchildren are growing, the grass needs mowing, the laundry, new roof, car maintenance, license plate renew, company coming, did I mention that I had closets that need cleaning out? Quarterly taxes, blog to write, new siding on the house, trip to recycling, perm my hair, pay bills, kids birthdays, and those popped into my head as fast as I could type them! Everything! Urgent!!!  I just want to relax . . .
I have learned that I will wind up eating what I dish out – that is – if I choose “peace” as my calendar theme, I will be battling anxiousness and stress all year. This year has not disappointed me on that level. I have had to constantly force myself to calm down and see past today’s circumstances, knowing that all this has passed through my heavenly Father’s hands and He knows how it will end. I hear Him ask me over and over, “Do you trust Me?” and I answer that I do and ‘let it go’ like a Disney movie. But that’s not to say that the next thing comes up and I feel my blood pressure rise and am alarmed that I can get riled over ‘stuff’! Haven’t I had this lesson before? Didn’t I pass? Why must I go though this again?
I remember Elisabeth Elliott asking that question attending at the bedside of her second husband while he died of cancer. Her first husband of 2 years murdered. Now her 2nd husband of 4 years lay dying. (When she referred to these statistics in public, she would always look to the back of the room where her 3rd husband, Lars, was standing and ask, “Are you feeling ok, Lars?”)
Why do we have to go through the same lessons over and over? Because it produces a sweetness in our relationship with Christ that can’t be ignored, cast aside, or taken away. People can smell it on you, see it in your face, and sense it when in the same room with you. Some people have this sweetness so strong in their countenance, it can take your breath away.
Young people, there is much to be said for hitting the road hard and fast, crashing and burning, getting up and finding your way back home to the Savior. That’s how most of us find the straight and narrow – not all of us, mind you, but most. You can’t be who you are if you haven’t traveled your own road. You wonder why life’s so easy for others and hard for you? You don’t know their road. You’re just seeing the cliff notes and thinking you’ve figured it out.
There isn’t a shortcut to learning patience. You have to suffer – patiently – from one end to the other. You want Grace and forgiveness? You must give it to others until it quits tasting bitter, and then you’ll taste the sweetness of it when extended to you. You want wisdom? Experience teaches you to make better choices, and God grants wisdom to those who ask. You’ve got to experience making choices in order to learn it.
Fiddler on the Roof nails it with this lyric from ‘To Life’:
Our great men have written words of
Wisdom to be used
When hardship must be faced;
Life obliges us with hardship
So the words of wisdom
shouldn’t go to waste.
I have found that my greatest mistakes have served their purpose in ministering to others. Not my perfection – my mistakes. The falling, the stumbling, the learning to surrender and ask for forgiveness. What I have learned from being in the pig pen of life has helped me see the heavenly feast awaiting.
Soldiers are made on the battlefield, not sitting in the barracks talking about stuff. A ship is made to sail the seas, not to be tied up in the harbor all it’s life. That’s why things happen. That’s why we struggle day by day. Look for God in every circumstance of your life and He will show Himself!