Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When the Moon is Coming Up and the Son is Going Down

What is your first gut reaction to bad news? Do you have a group pity party? Do you try to console the one who is most affected with kind words? The challenge is to say nothing or at least very little. Just listening is perhaps the most important act of love. Those of us with verbose personalities will find this almost an impossible task, but even the Holy Spirit can tame the loosest of tongues.

Recently, I was with a group of friends sharing a meal. There were eight of us at the table, and one person monopolized the whole meal’s conversation. I was disappointed not to get to know the other six people in the group. I wish I could have found the politically correct way to get the woman to give it a rest for the sake of all the others. To be sure, the seven of us were being kind listeners.

This week I got bad news from my daughter. I asked her on the phone how she and the baby she was carrying were doing? Since she’s the only nuclear family I have left on this earth, she’s important to me. She said, “I lost the baby, Mom. It was an unusual condition and happens in about one out of a thousand pregnancies.” My heart was pricked. The words ripped another hope away from my sense of family.

She then said, “I have also broken off my wedding engagement.” I was stunned into silence. I let her tell me "how great it is to be back to just me and Andrew and to be so free". I said, “I’m sorry about your baby and about your fiancĂ©. He seemed like such a nice guy.” It turns out he wasn’t so nice, and she elaborated.

I have to give her credit for not marrying because he wasn’t the kind of match she wanted, but I do hope she won’t remain a single mom forever. My preschool grandson is precious, and I believe he deserves a dad on a full-time basis; and my daughter needs to have the love of an excellent Christian husband. So I pray. And I pray some more. I pray until God is weary of me knocking on the Gates of Heaven with my intercessory missives. It seems life now is upside down with the moon above the sun. The son-in-love I hoped to have soon is going down into my daughter’s list of “thrown-to-the-curb” men in her life of twenty-four years.

I searched the scriptures for the exact words to weld onto my spiritual heartbeats after I hung up the phone from my daughter’s call. This scripture spoke intimately to a widow with one adult child.

"I will wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning."
--Psalm 130: 5-6.

I will wait with hope for a bright morning, a day of fulfillment of my hopes as God is my witness.

Can you wait upon the Lord, too? Can you keep the watch for those you love and your hope at the same time? I pray you can, my dear sisters and brothers in Christ.
Blessings and Agape from L. B. Greer as always.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Are you Growing or Just Going?

In the mind spinning and hectic pace of our lives, there are times when we need to jump off the six lane highway. Retreat means something negative when you are in a war. But when your enemy is time pressure, “retreat” is a positive term of refreshment and rest. Praise God for retreats with other Christians, but an extra hurrah goes for retreats with Christian women.

This weekend I sojourned to such a place. A special retreat for writers of Christian media happens each year in October in a private cabin in the North Carolina Mountains. Many of the women have been coming for all six of the retreats thus far. As a result we’ve melded into a sisterhood of Christian writers. We keep in touch throughout the year by email or blogging. Our accomplishments in publications and our lives’ highs and lows are celebrated and prayed over. We’re family.

During the retreat we had the blessings of a live-in chef extraordinaire, and a loving hostess who provided extra toiletries and accommodated for any special needs. The paramount blessing was being cocooned inside the grandeur of God’s creation. What is it about these Appalachian Mountains that puts our hearts and lives into perspective? Is the air clearer, the sky bluer, the birds more joyful in song? Whatever it is, life is at a pace of ease allowing our minds to unlock secrets and satisfy the thirsting soul for drops of love from Heaven.

This past weekend we have shared from our hearts and souls through our writing, our reading, our devotions and all the great meal conversations. I had one of the best roommates ever. It seems we have lived very similar lives and experienced much of the same heartaches within a half century. Our friendship reached a higher level and now we have promised to be accountable to each other within a small critique group birthed out of our retreat. “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our joys and griefs to share…”

Can you find a time in your own life where you can retreat for several days without your own biological family? I think this is critical for your soul and spirit to grow immeasurably. It broadens your network of friends in Christ. It opens your heart to the trials and dreams of others. Lastly, it spreads a sense of awe about God and his ability to give you such wonderful gifts in this life. Makes me want to shout—Hallelujah! I see a glimpse of heaven here on earth.

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." NIV, 2 Peter 3: 18