Archive for May 6th, 2009

Impeccable Timing

I can’t recall where, but somewhere and sometime in the last 2 days I read a little note that said that while our physical bodies grow slowly and at a relatively steady rate, our spiritual ‘body’ grows in spurts and leaps and bounds.

Oh how true that is! Even my reading that (and then tonight recalling it again) is an illustration of impeccable timing, and the impeccable timing… let’s call it the ‘lesson in impeccable timing’… is a glorious example of my own spiritual self going through another growth spurt.

I wrote the above two paragraphs about an hour ago. More of that timing. =) Matthew woke up needing a neb treatment and wanted me to sit with him while he did it. Despite the fact that just before I got up out of bed to plug the puter back in and get on here and type up these praises to God for His greatness and impeccable timing I had prayed silently in my head something like…

“…and now that I know the devil can’t hear what we are saying to You when we talk to You like this, I know that if I ask You to please prevent the devil from interfering with me doing this, if I ask You to please make it smooth-sailing sotospeak so that I can be sure that yes this is what you would have me do (get up in the middle of the night to go type for awhile even though I do need sleep because I have to get up at 7am with the kids and I’m still needing LOTS of hours of sleep)… now that I know I am truly asking You this such that the devil has no idea… I can know that if I have no interferences, then I can be sure of Your will in this…”

…despite the fact that I had JUST prayed that, I did not immediately go “oh well that’s it, that’s an interference, I should go back to bed and not type my thoughts up tonight. (And, as an aside yes, I am well aware that the above was nowhere NEAR being grammatically correct. Since I am typing how I THINK and I do not necessarily THINK grammatically correct, I think the technical errors are perfectly acceptable in this instance.) (How’s that for parenthetical thoughts imbedded in more parenthetical thoughts!!)

I didn’t immediately write it off as not God’s will after all, I must have been mistaken, because (well partially because I am learning patience and learning to wait on His timing…see even more impeccable timing) I remembered something else about God… and life. There is a reason for EVERYTHING. Everything that happens, everything that doesn’t happen, every situation, every interruption, everything that happens in a different way than you expected, or at a different time than you expected, etc.

So… I thought… “ok, there is a reason for this. It could be the reason is He is telling me ‘no, go back to bed and sleep’… OR the reason could be something else entirely. I’ll go sit with my little boy who is not feeling well and wants his mom and just see how things go.”

Into the living room I went. Matt set up his neb treatment and sat down on the couch and I followed. At first I started to pick up the book I’ve been reading (Rilla of Ingleside), thinking I’d do what I did last night when this happened…I’d get another chapter or two in. Then I had a much better idea… God’s idea. I told Matt I’d be right back and I went back into the bedroom and picked up my bible (well, actually Mike’s bible, but the one I do my daily reading from). See, I still hadn’t done my daily reading.

I normally do my bible reading after I’ve gotten the kids off to school. By then I’ll have eaten and taken my morning meds, and even though I’m generally exhausted and need more sleep, I have to stay upright for at least 30min or else my meds will burn my esophagus. Sooo… I’ll prop the pillows up, climb back in bed (but sitting!), snuggle under the covers, and read until I just cannot stay awake long enough to comprehend a sentence anymore. By then there has been enough time that I can lay down and not get burned. I generally get 2-4 chapters in.

Today, though, the kids were off, I was getting something to eat and the phone rang. I almost didn’t answer it, but something told me to answer this call. I did and it was a very good friend of mine asking if I could come over and play. No, I’m just kidding. =) She wanted some help with a project. It always seems like play when I’m with her though, because she is just so good for me! We talk and I don’t know about her, but I have a wonderful time talking. We laugh, occasionally we’ll cry (or maybe just come near it), we do occasionally get something accomplished, and I always, always find myself coming away stronger, encouraged, and refreshed. I guess she’s kinda my own little F5 button or something. I just seem to have a spiritual growth spurt of some sort nearly every time we have one of our ‘playdates’. I can’t count the number of times that has happened. Sometimes it’s just one little thing I’ve learned, other times (like today) it’s a whole lotta goodies all in a big bundle.

Anyway. There were a couple of reasons I could see that the interruption was so I could get my bible reading done. One is the most obvious… so I could get it done without forgetting it. Then, too, I’d be doing that before doing all this typing. First things first sotospeak. Also, one of the things I had learned (or realized or realized anew or whatever…) today was that the kids need to see (or hear) me doing the godly things that I normally consider to be very private, just me and Jesus kind-of-things, at least every once in awhile. So there was that, too.

So I read. I was in 2 Samuel towards the end of the book, and as I often do when I’m reading, I made a comment out loud. Tonight’s was “Ok, I so do not understand this story. I have no idea what is going on or what this means.” I mean seriously, even the little footnote dealys weren’t helping me out this time! (Definitely not a first-time occurence, mind you.) It occured to me that even though I’ve told Matthew (and Meagan, too) that no one understands all of the bible, and certainly not the first time they read it, and no one is expected to… certainly not the first time they read it… and I’ve told them that there are lots of parts I do not understand when I read it… I’d never given them a specific example of a bit I didn’t understand. That might not seem like such a big deal, but to kids especially, it might be a huge deal. Even though they hear us ‘talking the talk’, they might not truly believe we are ‘walking the walk’ if they don’t see any specific evidence of that.

Well, after Matt’s treatment was over and he went back to bed, I came in and sat back down to the computer only to find that our anti-virus program was doing its nightly scan. ‘Aha!’ I thought! Another reason for the interruption. Better I walk back in on it already running than it take off on its own all of a sudden when I’m right in the middle of writing a tricky grammatically incorrect sentence!

It only took a second or two for me to figure out what I should do while I waited for it to finish. I’d only gotten one chapter read… so I brought the bible back in here and… I kid you not… the anti-virus scan ended within about 5sec of me finishing the book of 2 Samuel! Talk about impeccable timing!!

Now… all that (or nearly all anyway) was/were (whatever!) thoughts that came to me after I decided to get up and come and type some thoughts out. Now I can get to the thoughts that were begging to be put down on paper (figuratively since my handwriting is horrible, but my typing is pretty good) and that were the intended subject of this very long post.

I’ve actually touched a bit upon it above. It’s the awesome way God times literally everything and in particular the many, many illustrations or instances if you will, of Him doing so in my life in the last week. I don’t think it would be possible for me to write them all out and I’m not even going to try. There are some that deal with private family matters that really don’t need to be made public. I am going to give some specific examples, and then others I’ll talk about a little, but only in vague terms, no specifics. Really though, the specific details aren’t the point anyway, it’s the fact that the Lord has been timing everything just so.

The Lord has really been working through impeccable timing this last week. Little things, big things, and everything in between. For a start I’ve had a lot of instant prayers answered instantly. Things like “Lord please help me find the ____” and within seconds, sometimes even before I complete the sentence, there it is. Shoes, CDs, remotes, and lots of other stuff that I’m not even remembering. These are some of the little things.

One of the bigger things needs a teensy expansion thought. The expansion/background/whatever is this: very often these ‘playdates’ with my friend have been immediately followed (when I get home, of course) with a really good talk with Mike about something spiritual. Something that probably I had been wanting to talk to him about for a long time, but just somehow hadn’t worked up the courage to do so. This friend of mine, I don’t have a clue how she does it, but she somehow inspires and encourages me, and I can’t say enables because that part comes from Christ (although… I suppose it could be that He is doing so through her… there’s a thought), so maybe not enables, but maybe something close to it… strengthens me or gives me more confidence or something! What it boils down to is when I get home, I’m just suddenly courageous (or whatever) enough to start the conversation. And the times (more than once or twice) this has happened… the talk has gone far better than I ever anticipated, and ever-so-much easier.

One thing I want to make perfectly clear, these talks are not confrontations in any form. Sometimes it’s something as silly-simple as asking him a spiritual question, like “Can I tithe off the grocery money each week?”. I won’t say I never confront Mike in a manner that I should not, because chances are I probably have at some point and will probably do so again at some point. I’m far from perfect. I just want to be clear that these talks that she has helped me (somehow) to be able to have with Mike are just that… talks. Often they are attempts to encourage him, to show him I intend to be (and am) submissive to the decisions he makes for the family, to share with him or to point out to him different things God has done or is doing, etc.

So basically… no foul play involved. =) At least, not that I know of!

The tithing on the grocery money thing is one of the bigger ones I want to share, but the question itself was actually asked last week. Here’s where the timing comes in…

For whatever reason, Mike just does not have the trust or belief that God really, truly will take care of us financially if we tithe that I do. I certainly do not mean that to say I am better than him or anything of the like… do not think that. I just mean that it’s become evident to me that while I have no doubt that God can and will take care of our needs…including those financial ones… he does have doubts. Or at least hesitations. Or something.

To me the single most important thing we can/should do to help/improve our financial situation is to tithe. I know that beyond any shadow of a doubt. Even if it seems like there is no way we can afford to lose that 10%, the truth is we can’t afford to keep it! Mike, though, he just can’t see that.

So, as I talked about before (which ‘coincidentally’ also contained references to God’s impeccable timing), he told me to quite putting the tithe check in at church because the bills were getting such that he felt we couldn’t afford to tithe anymore. I knew that while not tithing is not the right thing to do, tithing against his say-so was not the right thing either. However, I still wanted to help our financial picture somehow. Right now there are only a few ways I can do that. The biggest impact/influence I have on the finances is through the grocery shopping. I cut my ‘budget’ back from “whatever it ends up being” to $80/wk when I do the grocery shopping. I’ve been clipping coupons and matching them with sales. I’ve been planning menus and trying to cut back on food wastes, etc.

Then I had another thought… I know that God can make the 90% you keep go far further the the 100% you keep. That’s true on the big scale… like with paychecks… and on the small scale too. Even though Mike didn’t think we could afford to tithe off his income maybe he would be agreeable to me tithing off the grocery money. After all, that would only be $8 a week. Maybe a smaller amount wouldn’t be so scary to him. Also, that would fit in perfectly with another thing I’ve been trying to do for a long time now… that is finding (and then executing) ways to help Mike see that the Lord really does care and really will provide… that He can do anything, even miracles… even for us. If he would agree to letting me tithe off the grocery money, not only would it make the grocery money go further (thus improving the finances), I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would have the opportunity to point out just how God was doing so!

Love never fails! God is love! God never fails!

I asked Mike that question last week. He said yes. (excited squeal!) Today, after our ‘playdate’ I took the kids grocery shopping. They helped me comparison shop and keep track of what we were spending and when we got to the checkout our total was well under the $72. Score 1! Then when we got home, I initiated a conversation with Mike about finances and the subject of tithing did, of course, come up.

As most conversations do, this one rambled around and we talked about a lot of different things. At one point he brought up the fact that his schedule change meant he would be traveling a little further to work each day, and then mentioned something like “well at least I’ll be getting partial shift differential for the 2 afternoon shifts”. His schedule was changed last week. He told me his new hours last week. I did not know until today (right then) that there was going to be a change in pay. It turns out that the new schedule change is going to mean about $12 more a week.

I grinned and said, “See! Last week you told me I could tithe on the groceries and already (before I’d even had a chance to give the tithe and go shopping for the first time after getting permission) He’s given it back… PLUS! You can’t outgive God. You just can’t!” Score 2!

So that’s an example of the little and the big. Now for one of the in-betweens… just one, though there have been many… because this is already very long, and it is getting very late, and also I do believe these few are all that’s really necessary to make my point and that is that God’s timing is impeccable!

Matthew has been leaving the house without permission this last week. He’s done it 3 or 4 times and each time I’ve left the discipline up to Mike, and I have just kinda ‘given him a talkin’ to’. Besides the standard you have got to obey for your own safety and simply because God says to… I also explained to him that the kids he has been playing with this past week (when he’s left without permission) are watching him and his sister and really our whole family very closely right now and he needs to set a good example. Of course, as an ambassador of Christ we/he should do that all the time anyway… set a good example to the world in general… but right now with these kids it’s even more personal.

Two sisters and a brother, they are. The younger girl and the boy both attended church with us one Wed night about 3wks ago. Before we left they both spoke with the husband of my ‘playdate’ friend, my Sunday School teacher, and the children’s church preacher. (Same guy, not 3 different ones, I mean.) They both accepted Christ as their Saviour and got saved that night. Last weekend (so a week ago), Meagan had a slumber party (which I have intended to post about but have not yet…I’ll get to that sometime…). Both of these sisters were invited and since they live in the neighborhood were the last to leave. Before they left, I was able to talk with the older girl about Jesus and showed her how she could be saved. I led her to the Lord and the smile on that girl’s face when I told her all of Heaven was singing and shouting and just so happy that she had gotten saved! =)

Meagan and the girl’s sister were both in the room and the sister would sometimes say something or ask a question that would lead to more discussion. One of the things she asked about was ‘what if you were trying to be good and change and not sin anymore’. This, along with Meagan’s retelling of an incident just a few days after she (the younger sister) had been saved where the older girl had told the younger to go in our house and take some gum and the younger told her ‘no, that’s stealing and that’s a sin’ because Meagan had told her the 10 commandments a day or so before, was plenty of evidence to me that she was absolutely watching our family (in particular the kids) to see how she should act now that she was a Christian.

It’s this younger girl (more so than the older who is closer to Meagan’s age) who Matthew has been playing with mostly this week, and so that’s what I would explain to him each time- that he was setting a bad example for this girl.

Well, tonight he left the house again without permission (it’s been a case of I turn my back and he’s gone each time! so frustrating!!) and when he came back (he hadn’t been gone long enough that Mike had left to go hunt him down like he’s done a couple of times), I went through the whole rigamarole again with the setting a good example for the younger (spiritually anyway) kids. We told the kids it was time to stay in and their friends needed to go home for the day, so they said bye and the friends left.

Not ten minutes later there was a knock on the door. The older girl and the brother had come looking for the younger girl. “She left without permission and we don’t know where she went”, the older sister said. They started to leave to go look elsewhere, we shut the door and I seized the opportunity to show Matt (thanks to God’s impeccable timing!!!) that what I had been saying about her watching him was true. Both my kids wanted to go help look, but Daddy had already said it was time to stay home, so they asked if they could at least give the kids ideas of where to look.

I agreed and they went out, called the kids back to the property and the four of them stood there discussing and eliminating places where she might have gone. By this point the concern was beginning to really set in, I think. They came up with a couple of places to look, the siblings set out, and my two headed back in. Before he’d gone very far, Matt turned back and hollered, “Call us if you find her!”

When he came in I pointed out to him that the concern and/or fear that they all were beginning to feel was only a little taste of what it does to us old parents. Not to mention the fact that there always is the real possibility that the wayward kiddo is hurt or in danger somewhere… and you have no idea where or even that they need help and so besides you being scared there’s the threat of the kiddo not getting help at all and so maybe things could get worse.

Timing. It’s all about the timing.

Oh, I did want to share (vaguely because there’s too many specifics) some other ‘in-between’ examples real quick.

During the course of our ‘playdate’ today, there were numerous occasions that the conversation stumbled upon a very specific thing or thought that I had just in the last 24hr been praying about. Coincidence? Certainly! As long as you use the true meaning of the word (a meeting of events in time). If, however, you are using the currently accepted meaning… no way! God’s impeccable timing.

Even the fact that she called today of all days, today right on the heels of all these other things that were being timed out so perfectly and on the very heels of my meditating on different things and praying about all these things, was evidence of the Lord’s meticulously timed plan.

So it seems that once again a ‘playdate’ has ended with a spiritual growth spurt. I can’t even really put my finger on just exactly how or what has grown in what way, but I can tell I have… somehow. And I am so very thankful for all these wonderful timing lessons this last week. I love watching it all come to fruition like it seemed to tonight when I laid down and started to pray. It just seemed like looking back over the last week there were so many, many beautifully timed events that were opportunities for someone, whether it was me (as in the case of the little instant prayers), my loved ones (as in the case of the tithing and the behavior modeling), or someone else – a virtual stranger – (as in the case of the two sisters whom I really only met at the slumber party) to learn more about Jesus and His love for us.

That’s really what this post was about. I wanted to write about this growth spurt and share it with whomever is interested in reading it… whenever. ;-)

He will make all things beautiful in His time. Even dumpy old mommies like me. (Says the 30yo who is finally getting interested in caring for her skin and in dressing/looking nice and feminine and is on the verge of purchasing products to attend to this…but that’s another post entirely!)

And now, about 3.5hr and a little over 4,ooo words (so WordPress is telling me!) later I will go snuggle up to my hubby and nap till time to get up with the kids.

I think I have about an hour before time to wake the kids. But that’s ok, the Lord’s got the timing all planned out already so I don’t have to worry. I may be tired, but I know he’ll help me do the many things I need to do tomorrow (err… today…) regardless of tired and weak I am. I am weak, but HE is strong.


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