Stones. They are everywhere. Stumbling stones, stepping stones, stones for throwing, stones for piling. In the bible, stones are used for remembering. This is a place for me to pile my own rough stones of remembering along the road I am traveling, one post at a time. They are more than mere words thrown out into the wake of my path. They are a concrete testament of God's faithfulness, provision and goodness along the way.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

I've never really identified with Martha in the whole "too busy to sit at the feet of Jesus" role. For the most part I am a Mary through and through...not so caught up in the works of my hands as I am drawn to the "matters of the heart".

That said, life can run away with me, too and I can get lost in the details as easily as the next gal. This week I found myself smack dab in Martha's walking shoes, with her working apron tied in a fierce double knot and my sleeves rolled up for business. I feel a bit like the woman from that wartime poster with the bandana on her head, her sleeves rolled up, flexing her bicep and grunting: "we can do it!" as a result of the vast amount of focus and foresight it takes to organize oneself for an international move and a complete change of lifestyle.

We've got new patterns to learn, old baggage to dispose of, a house to show, things to sell, papers to sign, plans to make, and all that on top of a regular life of classes, work, schedules, groceries, laundry, doctors and dentists, activities and service. Surely it's enough to keep one on one's toes... or as I sometimes feel, like my feet don't quite ever touch the ground.

It does take a degree of administrative, managerial, project focused attention to detail to keep up, never mind stay on top of the craziness that is our existence. And responsibility of course demands an element of focus and commitment to ensure we keep moving forward and don't lose sight of the goal.

BUT.  and that is a BIG but... it can so easily create a whirlwind of activity and fog that results in complete loss of focus on "the better portion". Of being robbed of time with and focus on the person and plans of JESUS, the focus of what this is all about in the first place.

This week I found myself preoccupied like Martha... pressured like Martha.... harried like Martha. Like the white rabbit in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland I was "oh dear"ing myself through my days as I rushed through the corridoors of life feeling them close in on me as the pressures increased in relation to my pace. With all this rushing and planning and constant checking and shaking of my wristwatch I rushed headlong past the room and person that beckoned for my time and attention. Not the Queen of Hearts in this case, but the King of MY heart.

God has the greatest ways of getting our attention. I can't help but chuckle at how He orchestrates things to stop us in our tracks even when we are plowing along, chins tucked to our chests and arms wrapped tightly around our clipboards. He knows how to put a pothole or barricade in the way that sends it all flying and get us to look up even if it means from a flat on our back position.

This week I had a constant still small voice gently reminding me to "slow down and look up" but I kept shrugging it off and barreling full speed ahead. Things were becoming increasingly frustrating for me. I would spend hours marketing quads and vehicles on the buy and sells and nothing was moving. I almost couldn't GIVE away things that should have been easy sells. Hundreds of messages and calls testified to the fact that the price was right and the item desirable but never resulted in a sale. Not even a reasonable offer. Nada..  until, that is, of course, I yielded to that steady patient voice telling me to slow down... well actually it was even more than that, it had escalated to a very clear "STOP!", and look up.

I can be silly with God sometimes. I admit it. In hindsight I have to laugh at myself.  Here God is showing me that I am being a Martha, concerned and distracted by many things, and there I stand with the telltale suds on my arms, pushing my hair back out of my eyes and wiping the sweat off my brow and as good as sighing, "God... you just don't get it...  this is how you sell things, God... somebody's gotta do it."

In that moment I literally had this overpowering magnetic draw that stopped me in my tracks and drew me to my quiet place and had me open The Book of Truth and feed on the Bread of Life and this is what my meal consisted of;

"Anyone who intends to come with Me has to let Me lead.  You are not in the driver's seat.  I am."  Mark 8:35-36 paraphrased

And that was just the intro. Excerpt from my devotional book: "You will not find my peace by engaging in excessive planning, attempting to control what will happen to you in the future. That is a commonly practiced form of unbelief. When your mind spins with multiple plans peace will always elude you. Just when you think you have prepared for all possibilities, something unexpected pops up and throws things into confusion. I did not design the human mind to figure out the future.  That is beyond your capability. I crafted your mind for continual communication with Me. Bring Me all your needs, your hopes and fears. Commit everything into My care. Turn from the path of planning to the path of peace."

You can imagine how that got my attention. And then I yielded like butter. I handed into His care the items on my list that had been frustrating me and literally said; "God. I put you in charge of selling this quad. And my table. And the truck. And I had uploaded pictures of our trailer the night before that I had been planning on marketing that day and I yielded that and said "God, I won't even MARKET the trailer."  I'm letting it go and I'm sitting here at your feet Jesus. I hear you."

Two hours later I had people show up to view the farm. As I was showing them around the yard I pulled up the shop door and there sat the accursed quad that should have been such an easy sale. "Oh look," says the woman. "Wouldn't this be perfect for my son!"  I jokingly replied, "It's for sale... $1,000.00."  "SOLD!" says she. Seriously. Just like that.  Didn't even fire up the engine, just wrote the check.

Then there was the story of my antique marble table, shipped from Italy, that I couldn't sell or give away for a fraction of its cost. As I was praying the other day I got this thought in my head. I willingly paid $600.00 for the table and chairs that was what I wanted for my family. Somebody would pay $600.00 for this table and chairs and it would be exactly what they had been looking for.  You have to understand I had tried to sell it for $150 without success. And I felt absolute peace that I was supposed to put it on kijiji for $600.00 in order to cover the cost of the table and chairs I had purchased. Almost immediately I got a call from a young lady who could not believe the deal on this table. It was what she had been looking for to match some other Italian pieces she had bought at an auction and she was beside herself. SOLD. She actually texted me AFTER delivery to tell me how beside herself she was about this table and how she would cherish it for years and was thanking, thanking, thanking me as though I had given her the table for free. It was surreal.

Driving the table into the city with friends along for the ride we are pulling the trailer that I did not advertise. Our friend says, "Hey bro, are you going to be selling this trailer?" I sat facing straight forward, already anticipating what was coming. A yes from my husband, a price thrown out and one word from the back seat. You guessed it.... SOLD!

I know I still have a lot to learn as we journey this path... but as I fumble along through these tests I am grateful for a Teacher with such a sense of humor, and who knows how to engage me and bring the lessons home for me. I would so much rather sit at his feet and listen to Him than run around like a chicken with my head cut off... God help me take off the apron and pull up my stool.