Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Have You Ever Been Blind?

Have you ever been blind?

Maybe not literally, but I am willing to bet we've all been blind at least once in our life.  It can happen a couple of different ways.  Perhaps you were blind-sided by something that you just didn't see coming;  a loved one leaving, a job loss, news from the doctor.  Perhaps there were signs along the way that you were simply blind too.

Maybe your blindness came from the dark.  Darkness of one kind or another surrounded you and you simply couldn't see past it.  You were stuck, in the darkness, with no idea what lie in front of you and unable to see what lie behind you.  There was no way to retrace your steps, no way to get back to where you came from.  You were blind.

The Bible has something to say to the blind.  

I have suffered from blindness lately, not being able to see what lies ahead of me, or even where I am at now, and a friend led me to this scripture...

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."  Isaiah 42:16

Regardless of where you are right now, whether you are in the darkness or the light, God will not forsake you.  He is there and He is guiding you, perhaps in a way He never has before.  The path maybe unfamiliar and it may be dark and rough, but trust in Him.  He will turn that darkness into light and he will make that rough path smooth.  His promises are good.  

I don't know about you but this verse brought me immeasurable hope, it lightened the darkness and just like that my path was smoother.  He doesn't always work like that, but He does always work.  Trust and believe.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Turmoil Inside

I was so very, very blessed to get to go to my church's annual women's retreat this past weekend.  This is the fourth year in a row I have gone, and I have a blast every year.  But this year there was something very special about the retreat.

My husband Erik often travels for his job and last week was no different.  He left early Monday morning for the Northeast part of the country where the weather was cold but snow free.  He was scheduled to fly back into Kansas City late Thursday night.   When the reports of a massive snowstorm heading straight for KC, scheduled to arrive Thursday morning, started rolling in, I called to let him know, encouraging him to come home a day early if possible.  It, of course, wasn't possible.  We were hit with 12 inches of snow and sure enough on Thursday morning Erik's flight for that night was cancelled.  He re-booked to Chicago and got a flight from Chicago to KC early Friday morning.  Then that flight was cancelled, he re-booked again, the last available seat flying into KC for the next 3 days.  Then the snow hit Chicago.  UGH!!!  But God wanted Erik home as much as he wanted me at the retreat.  His flight finally made it out of Chicago.  A neighbor's husband agreed to watch the kids until Erik actually made it back to the house and I headed for the retreat!

That retreat is exactly where I needed to be this weekend. It renewed and restored my soul in a way I'm not sure I have ever felt before.  My cup was filled, filled to overflowing at some points (especially on the way home-thanks ladies!)  

It's been a hard couple of weeks for me.   I have been feeling sorry for myself and frustrated with where I am at or more accurately where I am not.  There are so many days I feel like I am not being used, at least not the way I desire for him to use me. And then I start to question if he can even use me at all.  I have been writing less and less, reaching out less and less, too busy with the big things in life to do the little things that mean so much to me.  I wondered a little bit too far from home, and this weekend God gently brought me right back into his arms.  

I was reminded this morning on my way into class that Jesus literally calmed the raging seas.  There was a time when he was in the boat with his disciples and a storm came, the wind blew, the waters were turbulent and the disciples were in turmoil.  And Jesus, with nothing more than his words calmed the seas.  

If He can do that to for the seas - the real, actual seas! Surely he can just as easily calm the turmoil inside of me.  And do you know what?  He can.  And He did. He calmed the turmoil that has been eating me up inside, the lies I know I shouldn't believe but sometimes are too loud to ignore.  And he can do the same thing for you.  Whatever the case may be, whatever turmoil you find yourself in.  He can calm it.  Listen to His words, soak in His words and let His peace that passes understanding calm the turmoil inside.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rest in this Promise

It has been a crazy 11 days in the Lundgren household, absolutely crazy! 

And I am tired, bone tired.  Yesterday I ended my day in tears, I was just too tired.

I know that you too are busy and tired, just like I am.  

I know that many of you are going through some really hard times right now, harder than I could ever imagine.  So I'm not going to complain.  I'm not going to list our schedule and compare it to yours.  I'm just going to sit here and soak up some strength from the only one who can give it to me when I face days like this.  And as always He meets me right where I need him!  I am stronger today than I was yesterday, I am stronger this afternoon than I was this morning.  Each moment I spend with him strengthens me.

There are times in our life when things out of our control wear us down.  There are times in our lives when things very much within our control wear us down.  There are times in our lives when even the good things, like vacations and birthday parties, wear us down.  The question is when you get worn down, and you simply cannot take another step, who will you turn too?  Where will you go to restore your spirit and replenish your soul?

"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."  Matthew 11:28-29

"Rest for your souls", oh how sweet that sounds!   I love the sweet simplicity of that promise.  I will gladly lean on Jesus and learn from Him, and in return I will get rest for my soul.

That is a promise worth resting in.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Don't Wait

The first time I went to Disney World I was 24 years old.  Erik and I were married in May of 1999, and that Christmas his family took us to Disney.  The "kids" were ages 21, 22, 24 and 26.  His parents were so proud to take us, even though we were a little older than the average family there.  We had such a great time.  I will never forget the memories we made there.

Isabella was born in October of 2002 and that Christmas Kent (Erik's dad) asked how soon he could take his granddaughter to Disney!  We asked that he wait a couple of years.  Nate was born in April of 2004 and again Kent asked when he could take his grandkids to Disney and again we asked him to wait.  Finally, in December of 2006, we said OK, we could start planning a trip.  The kids were still very young but he SO wanted to take them, I knew we couldn't put him off much longer.  We agreed to go in spring of 2008.  That gave him 18 months to plan the trip of his grandkids dreams!  Kent passed away in March of 2007.  He never got to take his grandkids to Disney World.  The one thing he wanted so very much to do, he never got the chance.  I kept telling him to wait.  And we waited too long.  

We did take the kids to Disney in Spring of 2008, just like we had planned.  We left on the one year anniversary of his death.  JT was 6 months old, Nate was almost 4 and Isabella was 5.  The WHOLE family went, my family of 5, Erik's mom and sisters and sister's fianc├ęs, even great-Aunt Kristin joined us.  It was quite the group and we had a wonderful time.  But we all knew someone was missing.

Tomorrow we leave once again for Disney World.  This time it is just my family of 5.  Erik and I, Isabella, Nate and JT.  We could have waited, we just did a family vacation in July.  We could have waited a couple more years, waited till there was more money in the bank, waited until summer when the kids were off of school or at least until Spring Break.  But we didn't want to wait.  There are some things in this life that you just can't wait until the "right" time to do them.  I'm taking my kids to Disney because memories are more important than money in the bank.  Time as a family is more important than a basketball game.  Life is too precious, and sometimes too short.  So we are not going to wait.