A flood of Thanksgiving... in my basement

It is inevitable, isn't it?  Your home has a basement, it WILL flood... maybe just a matter of when?  On Friday I had my day well-planned - some shopping, blog writing, some studying, and the big time killer... cleaning my house.  So I began the morning with a sweet time with the Lord, then thought, 'hey, I will just carry this time onto my cleaning'... so I headed down to the basement to find my favorite Christmas worship CD... skipping down the steps... and then I hit the basement floor... no better word.... SQUISH, SQUISH, SQUISH...  Covered, soaked, flooded... MESS.  So, of course, I did exactly what you would think... I walked right back upstairs, found my phone.. and just like Lucy would call Ricky... I called... FFFFFRRRRRRAAAANNNNKKKKK! (Frank)

Yes, I realize as you look closely at Clay's schoolbook, we have missed a few years.. maybe as we dig we will come across a 6th grade, a 9th grade and an 11th grade picture - is this an "epic-fail mom reality??!!

As you can imagine we have spent the last few days, digging out cardboard boxes that are turning to mush, retrieving shoes that have been stored for years, papers that we will never look at again, clothes that need to be given away... and pictures and memorabilia.... valuable on to us, tender moments of precious memories and time stopping floods of thought, memories and tears of a lifetime.  

So this week as we continue to discover some new and some forgotten memories, we will remain thankful... for the perfect presence of a thoughtful Heavenly Father in our lives.  He knows our day before it begins...  there is a peace in that thought for me that is overwhelming, at the very least.  Join me this week, as we just simply thank HIM.  Most all can quote at some level, Philippians 4:6, 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERY situation by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.

Nothing is too big or too small to pray about…
God, through Paul, wouldn’t have instructed us to pray in every situation if every situation wasn’t affected by prayer.

The Bible gives us beautiful examples of how to pray with thanksgiving.  A favorite of mine is Psalm 138.  Would you just take a few minutes and use the words of David to guide your thankful heart.  You insert your family, your situation, your concerns, your joys...

Like Paul, I so often say of you, my beloved friends... I thank my God every time I think of you!

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
    before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
 I will bow down toward your holy temple
    and will praise your name
    for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
    that it surpasses your fame.
When I called, you answered me;

    you greatly emboldened me.
 May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
    when they hear what you have decreed.
 May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for the glory of the Lord is great.
Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
    though lofty, he sees them from afar.
 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
    with your right hand you save me.The Lord will vindicate me;
    your love, Lord, endures forever
    do not abandon the works of your hands.

That really hurt...

It was a typical Sunday afternoon at our house... several had been here for lunch... there was conversation, there was some sporting event on television, there was a nap or two.

I had a full week ahead having just started a new position, so I was reviewing the calendar of upcoming meetings and activities.  It was a gorgeous, warm July afternoon, so... of course, I said yes when asked to "fill in" for an unnamed daughter in an evening coed softball game at the park - it was a sweet little church league... it'll be fun!  I had played for years... through high school, college intramurals, church league...

I was happy as a clam to be placed in right field... hmmm.. it had been a while... surely like riding a bike, the rhythm of the game would quickly envelop me.  The first inning was going well, and then, I heard the ping of the bat, and saw the ball coming my way... I knew it was going to bounce in front of me.. a low line drive it was - so I tried to slow my momentum... but my slick running shoes so appreciated the damp grass and I "slid" toward the ball.  My memory of scooping a ball right up was quick... but somehow I didn't time it so well, and as my right gloved hand made an attempt to scoop, I felt a significant pop.  (So, yeah, I heard the pop, too.)

That really hurt!

I was determined to continue playing... surely with a little ice later, I would be fine.  I batted a couple of times... even got on base.  My confidence was increasing, and I was up to bat again.  Even with the challenged strength in my hand, the hit was solid.

I hustled toward first... I was almost there... I was actually going to make it... I might even need to think about making the turn toward second... I still got it...

Uncertain that a throw was coming, I was taken by surprise when the ball collided with the left side of my head.  You know, those cartoons that show the little character getting hit by the bus... yeah, that's how it felt - like being lifted off my feet and flattened to the ground.  My right compromised hand wasn't much help to break my unexpected crash.

That really hurt!

So, sports fans...  there is a strong possibility that this particular "Casey at the Bat" may certainly be hanging up the bat and cleats.  My hand was broken, and the ER doctor confirmed a concussion.

I probably should have listened to the other players, my sweet husband, and my family in attendance, and stopped playing after the first inning.  My hand really hurt!

Firmly believing and always acknowledging Romans 8:28 that "in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose", I am aware of how the Lord used the weeks that followed in teaching me about listening carefully and quietly to Him, about resting in His timing, about His perfect provision, and about learning from this experience even in the future.

With that said, as I am a few months away from this event, the reminder of my decision to keep on playing after significant warning encourages a bit of pondering.  Nehemiah is fast becoming my favorite Old Testament book.... the beautiful prayer of Nehemiah in chapter 1, the building of the temple in Jerusalem with opposition, the building of the temple with resolve, the sincere confession and repentance of sin... and then...

Nehemiah 9:16, "But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands."  Nehemiah was recounting the story of the Israelites as they wandered in the desert, continuing over and over to doubt God's provision, to refuse to listen, to fail to remember the miracles they had seen, and to rely on their own strength.

Some synonyms for stiff-necked -obstinate, intractable, willful, pigheaded.  Just sayin'

Not thinking I would list "stiff-necked" in my bio for an introduction, BUT I'm afraid it just might be a noted quality of mine.  I know best in this situation; I can handle this one; I don't want to give this up; I got this...

The middle letter in the word, stiff is "I"... just noticed that...

So, my prayer today... that I will be in such close communion in His word, in prayer, in thought... that He will lead (just as He promises) and that I will clearly listen and obey ... the first time.

Who was... the father of Methuselah?

As a child I looked forward each summer to a weeklong visit to Perryville, Kentucky.  There was certainly nothing spectacular about the week - it was simply a wonderful time to visit and learn from my very wise, encouraging grandparents.  My granddaddy was a carpenter by trade - he taught me that if I drank coffee, my elbows would turn black and a few other things, too!  My grandmother was a Godly woman filled with grace and wisdom.  She taught the same ladies' Sunday School class for 50 years... she gave me a love for God's word and an awareness of the tender understanding of the privilege we have in prayer.

So our evening ritual included a yummy home cooked dinner, then Granddaddy retired to the couch, Grandmother took the big brown chair by the lamp, and I jumped in the recliner ready and excited to watch Wheel of Fortune and... of course, Jeopardy!  My grandmother was a college graduate who had taught school for many years, so her answers were often right on.  She would always answer the correct way as the contestants did.... What is... __________  or Who is ___________.  You know the "answer" is really the "question".  

I've recently been studying with a group of ladies about prayer.  Our journey has taken us in several directions, and as I have prepared this week, I have again been struck by the faith of so many saints we are privileged to meet through the Bible.  Hebrews 11 once again reminded me of so many of those faithful saints, and how they followed God simply by faith.  

Bible trivia games everywhere use the question of who was the oldest recorded person in the Bible... do you know?  It is Methuselah... he was 969 years old.  (Genesis 5:27)  Even better trivia,  do you know who his father was?  Again Genesis chapter 5 offers the genealogy...  His name was Enoch.

21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

Twice in four verses we are told that Enoch walked faithfully with God... and just in case you're interested, God just took him away - Hebrews says he did not experience death.... Now that's a trivia question!!

Don't you just wonder.... why Enoch?  What did he do?  What was his prayer life like?  How did he treat others?  What characterized his attitude... his thoughts... his words... his actions?  

We know that Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as "confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."

So once again, we begin a new week... simply walking with God... by faith... assured only that we can fully trust the God with whom Enoch walked....