Wednesday, August 26, 2009

One day at a time

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

I have a problem with worry. It stems from perfectionism and my personal preference to have things planned out. It is good to have a plan, but I need to remember that MY plan is not the one that keeps the universe running.

I also have a problem with depression. I think I am beginning to see a partial link between these two problems. When I am busy teleporting myself to the what-ifs of tomorrow, next month, and 2012, I see enormous obstacles and future failures, and I lose heart. I lose hope.

I have often associated this verse strictly with money, but it has broader implications too. I need to hold my plans and dreams lightly, whether for the day or for next year.

"Give us today our daily bread."

I have my daily bread. I have what I need for today: financially, emotionally, spiritually. I may not yet have the grace that I will need for the future-- but neither do I need it yet.

I find the short view to be helpful in fostering my faith and contentment. My God has never failed me, though I have often been impatient and frustrated with Him. Looking just at today I see a new day, with new mercies and familiar responsibilities, that He has equipped me for and will walk me through. Today is enough. If it is a troubled day, then it is difficult enough to get through this one day alone. If it is an ordinary day, the shorter view shows me how much I have to be thankful for.

Looking just at today, it makes it easier for me to sit in quietly in peace, resting in the Lord's care and provision for that moment.

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

The link above is to a New York Times photography blog entry that depicts the state of many of Sadaam Hussein's former palaces. They are opulent rubble heaps. The blogger aptly references Shelley's poem, Ozymandias:


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

I was struck with a similiar feeling when we visited Westminster Abbey for the first time, and walked over graves whose markings were obliterated. Being buried in the abbey is one of the nation's highest honors, and yet there are bones there that no one can identify.

How fleeting is the success and praise we so desperately strive for here. Isaiah 40 and Psalm 2 are mighty passages that showcase the strength of the eternal God. Here are some selections from Isaiah 40:

6 A voice says, "Cry out."
And I said, "What shall I cry?"
"All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.

7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.

8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever."

22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.

24 No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

25 "To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

I'm going to meditate on that promise today. Lord knows I have no earthly might or prestige to invigorate me. Maybe that will help me to see His power and strength.

Thank you Lord for being mighty over all the rulers of earth, whether they bow the knee to you or not.

Baby Update

As I sit here in bed with what I deeply hope will be a quickly passing stomach bug, I find myself with time for a few blog posts.

I am 16 weeks pregnant today. Time has been passing much more quickly the second time around. I know from friends that this is common as your first child tends to take a lot of time and focus away from being pregnant. But I am still experiencing a lack of comprehension that this is happening. I am beginning to wonder if I will ever feel pregnant with this baby, or if I'll still be somewhat surprised when the doctor produces a newborn from my nether regions!

Generally everything has been happening earlier: my stomach is expanding more quickly, my joints are loosening, and I really think I have felt baby move quite a bit! This is shocking, since I didn't feel Iain until sometime after 20 weeks, but there it is.

We are working on names, but have yet to find anything that we love. The naming process is complicated by the fact that Brian and I really love to choose names that have a significant meaning. All too often the best meaning names have some truly terrible monikers attached.

And yes, we will be finding out whether baby is a boy or a girl, and we will let you know! That should happen sometime next month.

Lastly, I feel completely overwhelmed by the medical costs of having this precious gift from God. They are completely beyond our ability to pay. Please pray that God will grant me peace and faith in knowing that He will provide for us and for baby.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you so much for this new gift of life. Thank you for entrusting him or her to our care. Please give us wisdom and grace as we raise the children you have richly blessed us with. Strengthen our faith, help us to hope in You alone. Pour your redeeming love over my children. Please save and protect them both. Give them tender hearts that desire You above all.
In Your precious son's name, amen.

Psalm 113

1 Praise the LORD.
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.

2 Let the name of the LORD be praised,
both now and forevermore.

3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD is to be praised.

4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.

5 Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,

6 who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?

7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;

8 he seats them with princes,
with the princes of their people.

9 He settles the barren woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the LORD.