Tag Archives: goals

Erecting Tents

Usually when I am writing these posts, the starting line pops in my head, and the words tumble over themselves trying to push the fingers even faster. Today is not one of those days. Part of it is me…part of it is…me. I just get in the way of my vision. I don’t see the direction. With that said – I am pushing through because that is what we do. When things don’t come easy, we push through. We cut through the brush. We clear a path. And we take another step forward. It is part of that “EVEN NOW” faith step that needs to happen when we: “don’t feel like it”…”are too tired”…”can’t think”…or just “want to veg”.

“Enlarge the place of your tent,” Is 54:2a

The preacher talked about persistence this week. Devotions continue to talk about persistence this week. Needless to say, some of my friends posted about being persistent today. SIGH…I told God that I got the point, but I think (as I am writing these words) that this is still part of that lesson. This is assessment time. How well did I absorb the lesson He has been presenting over the past week? How hard am I willing to work to enlarge my place so I can put up my tent?

This weekend my daughter’s family went camping. They actually put up an honest-to-goodness tent. I think the last time I actually slept in a tent was when I was crazy and in college. I remember trying to “clear” the ground. It seems like there was inevitably one stone I would miss which ended up poking me throughout the night. However, to minimize the pain, the girl scouts and dad taught me to gather cushiony pine needles or leaves to pad the hard ground prior to erecting the tent. (However, when camping in the desert that wasn’t real helpful.) Even so, there was always that sense of accomplishment to see the space emerge prior to putting up the tent. When you persevere and prepare, things generally work out well. The job gets done. The bounty is released to make life easier. The paper gets written. The promotion comes through. The syllabus for the year gets written. The dreams for retirement takes shape.

“…stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back,” Is 54:2b

A tent has its own smell that is different from every other smell in the world. When I was little, dad bought a WWII Marine hammock that hung in our backyard. I loved the smell of that tent and can still smell it as I write this. A mixture of tent, books and early morning/evening whispers of the day. The neat thing about this hammock was that it was screened in. A swinging room with natural light and air conditioning. I had books, pillows, dolls all piled in there with me – and if I remember correctly – a best friend or two. I don’t know how long we had it or how many days and night, I spent cuddled up in it…reading…thinking…praying. And when I opened the curtains wide, the sides were made of mesh. I could even lean up against it at night to see the stars and moon. When those curtains were wide open, they did not hold back my vision…my dreams…my goals. When I opened those curtains. those dreams could be seen more clearly, and the path was lighted to guide my steps

“…tighten your cords, and strengthen your stakes.” Is 54:3c

One of the hardest parts of camping is the unpredictability of weather/animals/buggies and/or the site itself. That is when we need our boldness of EVEN NOW faith. We check our cords. Are they strong enough to withstand a storm that may blow towards us? Are they secured with well-tied knots? As I thought about the cords this week, I began to see that prayers are my cords. They are the my lifeline that secure my tent to the “stakes”. “…strengthen your stakes…” The more I read God’s promises – the stronger my stakes become and the deeper they dig into the grounding of Our Father. Did you know that there are over 3000 promises (a conservative estimate) in the Bible (Mark Batterson, “The Circle Maker” p94) ? Praying on promises always gives me something to talk to God about in our conversations…now I just need to get better at listening.

I think I may be almost crazy enough to attempt a camping trip. I’m sucking in a deep breath of EVEN NOW faith and praying “LORD, do something unpredictable and uncontrollable”. Does this sound as scary to you as it does to me? BTW – any one have a WWII Marine hammock to sleep in so that I don’t have to sleep on the stones? Ok – I’m ready…I think…maybe…I’m such a work in progress…hammockjungle_hammock_600jungle-hammock a

Baby Sparrows Addendum

Shhhh….it’s a secret and you can’t tell the Grands…yet.

I’ve been watching this secret all week. I wish now that I had taken pictures, but true to form, I never think of pictures until it is much later. Until today, that is. Today I managed to think ahead (a little) and snap a picture memory.

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After the week we had with baby birds at the daughter’s house, I was not surprised to see what was happening at my house. God is like that. When He is teaching me a lesson, it usually doesn’t come via one experience. He knows me all too well. Knowledge is one thing – wisdom is a whole ‘nother thing…..and sometmes with me….God knows He has to put it in my face in more than one way. I doubt. I question. I backtrack. I wimp out.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.” Heb 11:1

A few weeks back one of my sons posted about a music study completed by the Berlin Academy of Music that determined it takes tens of thousands of hours to become a world class soloist in any field. Now this doesn’t take into account savants or prodigies, but it does reflect most of us. So today, I wasn’t surprised when my preacher started talking about the same things that Our Father has been impressing in my hard head all week, and it all started with baby birds.

If you read that earlier post, you know it didn’t end well for the baby birds. The Grands were sad, but fascinated as well…(especially with the bright blue eyeball that popped out of one of them after the dog discovered it….sigh). Yet, at the same time that was happening – just a few miles away at my house – another set of bird parents were building a nest. Their vision of the perfect nest is different. They put it in a low tree that is no higher than my chin. Tonight, I took a picture of the four eggs that are resting in it.

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“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Prov 29:18

Now I can see all sorts of potential problems with this nest placement. There are roaming cats in the neighborhood (and this would be a very easy climb); the dogs and I are always around that tree when we are playing ball and could knock the tree; and scarier for everyone – the Grands will be putting their face in it – every minute – of every day – when they find out. However, the mommy and daddy birds have a vision – a goal – a plan…and what they have accomplished in a week is truly a miracle in progress. The parents built their nest in faith and nothing pleases God more than that…especially when humans – the ones He “made in Our own image” – seek their dreams – set their goals – step out in faith.

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Heb 12:1b

It’s not always easy. The first set of birds lost two of their three young ones. Who knows what life will bring to this new set of birds. What I do know is that they act on their faith. They act with perseverance. If something happens to this nest, they will build again. They will put in hours and hours of achieving and mastering their dream.

Today, my preacher said, “The God of the Bible is a dreamer.” Those words have been following me all day. Daily we make choices that either follow the dreams that we are seeking or ignore them. Different times in our lives, we re-evaluate, modify our dreams or re-set them altogether. Think of those times that shook your life – junior high, high school, college, marriage, retirement, a death in the family – these are the times when dreams are shaken, modified or changed.

For me this past year has been one of those time. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no “retirement” in the Bible or in God’s design. Whether we are birds of the air or humans “made in Our own image”, we need to PERSIST in dreaming and seeking the vision of our lives. So here I go. Circling the dream and persisting in that “even though” faith. It is easy to coast through the day, going from one “busyness” to another “busyness”. It is entirely something else to be like Martha who watched her brother die and then waited four days for Jesus to arrive.

“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. EVEN NOW, I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” John 11:21

It’s time to have that “EVEN NOW” faith and get on with the dreaming. BTW – don’t tell the Grands yet. I’m still enjoying this secret between me and Our Father.