Thursday, November 27, 2014

Watching for God's Quiet Gifts This Holiday Season: The Gift of Portion

My own personal fears and pressures had threatened to rob me of joy on this indulgent Thanksgiving Day even before it began. Amazing how one conversation can trigger the monsters of the past and have us in a chokehold instantly. Being a Hider, I wanted to hide from people as I worked through the personal pain. But mothers don’t have the hiding privilege.

I had to muster up the courage to clean up, dress up, and show up. One line from a song caught my attention as I dressed this morning: “You (Lord) are my portion…” On this day of generous portions, I chose to cling to that thought and went out the door wearing my brave face.

At the Feasting House, the dishes overflowed with the delicious promise of more than enough, of satiation and deep satisfaction. Three kinds of pie, oh my! Turkey, ham, Grandmom’s oyster stuffing and golden yeast rolls. Sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus and deviled eggs, spiced pickled peaches as a nod to generations past. It was a day of second-helpings.

Warm, dozey, and happy, we sat around the table afterwards and smiled as we listened to the youngest grandchild interview her grandmother about Thanksgivings long ago. Now, as my young daughter bent over the page, her brows knit in concentration as she carefully penciled the words of her grandmother’s childhood memories, I quietly realized that my earlier fear and pressure had been usurped by His portion.

Lamentations 3:24: The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.

I don’t like to wait. But He came as promised, and now like a piled-high dinner plate, my heart was loaded with a portion of peace, a pile of joy, a generous ladle of love, a spoonful of belonging, and a huge slice of safety. I was stuffed.

And then the dessert…

“For the Lord’s portion is his people…” (Deuteronomy 32:9) 

Not only is He my portion, I am His. Hard to believe it, the mess I am. But if He said it, I will believe it even if I don’t always feel it.

Tomorrow we will return to our busy lives, the sleepy spell of pleasant overindulgence broken, our minds clear and focused on the urgent at hand. The pumpkin pie will be gone, but His portion will remain. I think I will cling to that. What do you cling to? How has God shown you His portion for your soul during the holiday season despite the fear and pain? Our stories are part of each other’s portions of His faithfulness. I can’t wait to hear yours.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Watching for God’s Quiet Gifts this Holiday Season: The Gift of Perspective

My perspective changed today.

Like a breeze in my heart and mind, it blew refreshing over my thoughts, swirling the dust off my fears and waking me from my hibernation in the cave of resentment.

I have hated coming here for the past year. I have despised the circumstances that bring me to this place. No mother chooses heart disease for her child.  

Every time I walk through those double doors beside the happy-fonted sign reading “Children’s Heart Institute,” I mourn inside. Sad I have to watch my son stickered-up and examined, measured and probed. Afraid of what the results will be today.  

But this day, this NEW day, I looked up, and I listened. I looked up and saw gentleness and compassion in the eyes of the nurse who took our names. I listened and heard kindness in the doctor who holds hearts in his human hands. 

I looked around me and saw people, all trained and equipped to help us, even on the inevitable day when the results are “it’s time for surgery.”

And my heart flooded with gratitude for the provision of people. God’s provision of caring, compassionate, skilled people, there for me and my family.

I left today not angry and resentful at what brought me here, but overflowing with perspective:
He provides in the midst of our pain. Thank you, Father.

Perspective can hunch us over, nose in the corner of our circumstances. Not much room to move. God often comes to us quietly with the gift of perspective change, prompting us to look up, to stand up, to turn around and see something we may have had our back to all along.  

For me today, it was the realization that I am not alone. God has provided people to help me in this unwished-for reality. Amazing, compassionate, experienced people. What a relief! How did I not see that before?

How have you experienced perspective change in your painful circumstances? I would love to hear your story.