Thursday, August 21, 2008

Endure or Embrace

My Mom and Dad. They will be married 65 years this year. Their theme song? "No two people have ever been so in love as my lovey-dove and I."

Many of you know the last couple of weeks ushered in unforeseen circumstances. It would have never been my plan to surrender my holidays in place of hospital visitation and daily care of my parents, but for some reason, it was part of God's plan. As I crawled into bed last night, exhausted, not so much physically, but emotionally, I questioned the Lord regarding His reason and timing for this unexpected end to my summer. The words I'm hearing Him speak to my heart this morning are: "the time came..." (Gal.4:4)

The time came for what Lord? Surely not purposeful pain.

God's timing in my eyes seems so offbeat. The music of my life was playing beautifully. All the chords were in harmony. I was just beginning some bars of rest with my family on vacation. Then, like a surprise symphony the sound of dissonant chords crescendoed across the pages of my musical score abruptly halting the melody. Why now? Why me?

Have you ever asked those questions? I think back to when my son was really small. We'd be out at the park, laughing, giggling, enjoying some perfect mommy and son playtime when suddenly he would fall and scrape his knee. Oh the tears. As I'd cuddle him close and wipe his eyes as we'd head home for some bandaging and more loving, I would question, 'why'? Why now. Why in the middle of such fun and joy?

Accidents happen. Pain is part of life. Not of our choosing, yet allowed and still controlled.

"The time came..." There is a purpose. God has a plan. Everything is not random or chaos.

The time came...for giving care and love to aging parents. The time surrender my plans for God's will. The time came...for trusting in the unseen. The time came...for releasing self-absorbed tendencies in favour of serving. The time came...for acknowledging that life is not all about me and my wants and desires. The time came...for waiting to see His purpose revealed. The time came...for relying on God.

How am I handling this 'time'? Yesterday the Lord showed me that I have been enduring instead of embracing these days. Instead of asking the Lord to use this season to shape me into His likeness, I've been frustrated, disappointed, confused, and angry. A friend of mine sent me an e-mail yesterday that said...and I quote..."You have such a sweet pure heart and a great attitude." Those words, as kind as they were, stung. My reaction to this hasn't been 'sweet' and definitely not 'pure'. Words have rolled off my tongue at home that have been unkind and accusing. My nerves have pushed me to the edge and over as my mind races to the possibilities and extended ramifications of my Mom's injury and my Dad's challenges. Friends, there are so many days when my reactions are far from 'sweet' and my thoughts definitely not 'pure'. morning...'the time came' to confess my failings. The time came to begin again. The time came to lay my dreams at His feet and take up my cross, not as a burden, but as a delight. The time came to acknowledge my shortcomings. The time came to submit to God's character building. The time came to exchange my hurry for His patience. The time came for revelation of my sinful nature and God's forgiveness. The time came to give up and let go and accept and embrace.

Today I am trading my desire for perfection for His longings for God's moment for His unknown for God's sunset for His Son rise.

To everything there is a time. Today time has come for you to.......

Enjoy the following. Ecc.3


Marilyn said...

Dearest Joy,

I can identify with some of what you are feeling. Several years ago my hubby had taken a week's vacation and we were to leave for the mountains of North Carolina to see friends when my Daddy had a light heart attack and had to be taken to a hospital in a nearby town for a heart cath, etc. So instead of relaxing with friends in another state, I spent most of the week at the hospital or at my Daddy's home. I am afraid that a lot of that time I simply "endured" instead of "embraced" also! But I'm glad I don't have to live with regrets either now that Daddy is gone. I feel like I did what I could as long as I could. I sometimes wonder if some of the rest of my family can say the same!

I have been feeling your pain and your frustration in your writing these past couple of weeks. Not in your blog or your emails but in comments you made on other blogs. It's a natural thing so don't beat yourself up over it. You have come full circle now.

I've been praying for your parents and for you. Just keep doing what you know to do and let the Lord bless you. The devil so much wants us to get depressed, stressed, and angry over things that come into our lives. And so many times we....or at least I....can't see past the devil's tricks to hurt us and see the triumph the Lord has waiting for us because of obedience to Him. You will be blessed for "honoring thy father and mother"! Be sure of that!

I appreciate your honesty and your love for your family. God bless you my Friend!

Marilyn in MS

Holly said...

What a beautiful post Joy! And I'm so glad you posted a picture of your parents - they are dear.

hkudla said...

Know i am praying for you. I also glanced at your sidebar, and saw that you just started Beth Moore's 90 days with Jesus. I am just starting that as well! I will be opening it for the first time tomorrow... I can't wait!
Love you,

Carol said...

Not every piece of music is in a major key! The minor chords need to be heard to make the piece colourful! These are your minor chords! I understand how you are feeling and you know I am praying for you! Do not beat yourself up! Be encouraged! The song of your life will be very colourful!


Catherine said...

These are challenging days dear friend as you seek to meet the needs of your parents and at the same time be there for your husband and son. Busy times and stressful times as together you as a family make decisions and work together as a team to do the very best for your parents.

((hugs)) and prayers friend. Love you xoxo

Joyful said...

Thanks for sharing words of encouragement friends. You are all so precious to me.

Carol, you spoke my language. Such truth. I forgot about modulations and how major and minor keys work
together to create beauty. It
just makes so much sense to me now. Not only that....but it
gives me hope, because God can, at any moment, begin to write
a transition to a new key across my life and the music could
change suddenly again...but this time to something 'major'.
Enjoying the depth and richness of His composition while still listening for His key change ;o)

PS. If you get a moment, check out my other blog - I'll be adding a further word there later today!

Lynn Cowell said...

Thank you so much for your candid heart. I can totally relate to your comparison of the enduring or the embracing. My family needs to do the same in the season we are in.
May we somehow through His grace, as James encourages us - count it all joy. My prayer yesterday was that my ultimate desire would be to be like Him; no matter what it takes. Often a painful road seems to be the way.
Be encouraged today. His plan is not smooth but it is perfect.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I am reminded today that there was someone else who understood about times and the embrace therein.

Luke 2:6 "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born."

John 12:23 "Jesus replied, 'The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. ... Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!'"

Jesus' life was segmented with purpose, even as ours is. We've only been promised this one moment. Tomorrow, indeed, has enough worry and ill of its own. Let today be the "time" when we finally come to some understanding in the matter about our frailty and our flesh, and let's live life with the appreciation for the gift that it is.

You know my thoughts and prayers are with you, friend. I'm so glad that you took some "time" today to share your heart for our betterment. Kingdom business, Joy. Always kingdom business.

love and peace~elaine

Sita said...

Understanding...and joining with you...

Yolanda said...

My heart beats with yours, for in December it will be 6 years since Jesus came for my Mom. She was only 57 soon to be 58.

And that time of embracing instead of enduring are some of the sweetest 18 days I've had, and definately the hardest.

I'm praying!


Lynn Cowell said...

I had a wonderful time sitting outside in my backyard with my husband tonight just talking about life. I shared with him what you are going through now and how I appreciate your heart and honesty.

So glad that you are my far-away friend!


Cheri Bunch said...

Dear Sweet Joy~

Grace, Grace, Grace!

There are seasons that can stretch us into a new dimension of believing, trusting, and hearing. When we are in them we cannot always recognize the great amount of progress that is taking place. Hind sight will prove great truths that are presently veiled.

This to shall pass.

Thank you for sharing!

I love you so!

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

We have been blessed by your authenticity.

jillian4 said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog. I appreciate it......I read your post and it is beautiful yet so very true, I needed to hear that. Sometimes we feel so alone, yet we are not in our struggles. Although we might have different struggles God has a way of pulling us together when He knows we need it most. Thank you......

Cindy said...

Though these are difficult and frustrating days, please treasure them. Soon the music of your parents lives will begin to fade and subside. Take these moments to breathe deeply their songs so you and your children can continue the music left behind.
I will be praying for you.
Blessings, Cindy

Runner Mom said...

Oh, sweet little friend! I've read your awesome post and these comments and now I need to find the box of Kleenex! Oh, my! We have such a great big God who loves each and every one of us more than we can fathom. Rest in HIM...and may His grace and peace fall upon you like gentle drops of rain. I continue to pray for your parents and you!
Love you,

Lelia Chealey said...

Taking care of loved ones can be very frustrating & tiring. I did home health/hospice for 16+ years. I love that you allowed God to minister to your heart and speak to you. How awesome!!
I pray you feel strength and how priceless to be the one to help them out.
Love ya,

Leah said...

What a precious picture of your parents and what a testimony to love and endurance. I know that dealing with aging parents is difficult, however I believe that the Lord expects us to care for them in the same way they cared for us when we were helpless.

It is so hard in this "ME" centered world to change our focus and think about someone else but I applaud you for doing so.

Tracy said...

Dear Joy,
I've had a small taste of what you're experiencing, and I sympathize, my friend. Caring for aging parents can be an especially challenging task. Couldn't agree more with your thoughts truly is so often a matter of choosing to endure or embrace. I appreciate your willingness to be real and transparent. Praying for you, that God will strengthen you, encourage you and ready you for this particular season. I'm also praying for your precious parents.


Lynn Cowell said...

Stopped by to check on how everything is going with your parents. Hope you are being encouraged by His strength today!

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

Unbelievable..."Yesterday the Lord showed me that I have been enduring instead of embracing these days". This too is the message I have been receiving. "The time came" are right, the time is now to live in the day, nothing else, embracing Him in the moment. Beautifuly written friend.

I received my She Speaks CD's a couple of days ago. They had some technical problems. Even one of the CD's I received is defective. I hate sending it back and burdening them with this. I am sure your CD's will be arriving soon.


In His Graces~Pamela

Lynn Cowell said...

Good Morning, Joy,
Thank you for linking me back to your post about your dad. My father passed away 9 years ago of Lymphoma. He, too, was a wonderful father. It is so difficult to switch roles when our dads have always been the strong, dependable ones. I pray that the Lord will give you the grace you need each and every day to be your parent's servants!
Have a beautiful day, friend~