Posts Tagged ‘chaos’

My husband and I moved to seven different cities over a ten-year period as he pursued his career. Unlike the old adage states, I found the third time was not the charm. Neither was the fourth, fifth or sixth I didn’t “do” change very well. I would grumble and complain, and become anxious of the unknown. Then, my pets’ behavior taught me some important lessons to remember whenever I face uncertainty.

Each time we moved, we developed a routine. When we heard the rumbling diesel engine of the moving van and the hiss of its brakes, we’d each grab a cat and lock them into the bathroom, along with their litter pan, food and water. We’d then post a sign on the door — Do Not Enter. Cats inside.

At first we’d hear a questioning, “Mew?” Then would come the scratching on the other side of the door. The meows would become a bit more emphatic. A paw would appear under the threshold. Rattle, rattle. But, as soon as they heard the strange voices, the unfamiliar thud pattern of men’s feet, and the sound of shrink wrap winding around our furniture, they’d honker down and become quiet. They knew we kept them safe from whatever went on beyond that door.

Observing them showed me three things. First and foremost, I am not in control. Someone bigger and wiser than me is. Proverbs 3:5 states *Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…* If God closes me in and blocks my path, it is for a reason. Whatever is going on beyond my limited sight is not something I need to become involved in. There is no sense in me rattling the door if it is not yet time for me to have it opened. I need to calm down, and wait.

Secondly, I am being protected from the chaos outside that door. When I don’t know what is going on in my life, I have learned to cling to John 13:7— *Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”* Whatever is being prepared on the other side of this current chaotic time is not within my realm of control. I don’t want to be underfoot. It is better for me to stay put until the confusion dies down. When the time is right, God will open the door into the new situation He is preparing for me.

Thirdly, God will provide for my needs in the meantime, just as we provided food, water and the litter box for our pets. Paul told Timothy in his first letter to instruct the people *to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.*(I Timothy 6:17) Like my pets, I need to trust my Master has my best interests at heart. I am in this closed of place for a reason. He has not forgotten about me and has provided for my immediate needs. Even though I cannot see Him, I trust He has my best interests in mind.

When we got to the new place, it would be initially unsettling for us as well as our pets, but there would soon be familiarity and routine again as well as the excitement of exploring the new surroundings. Some things might be better than before, or not. But one thing remained certain. We’d be there to care for our cats and help them adapt.

Pets are wise. They adjust. They know being with their master is the most important thing. All else may not be permanent, but their master’s love is.

My mother had a plaque in her home which read, “Faith is not hope without proof but trust without reservations.” My felines are living proof of the truth of that statement. They have learned to trust me. The more I care for them, provide for them, and show them I love them, the deeper that trust grows.

The same is true of my walk with my Lord. No matter how many times He moves me into uncertain circumstances, I know I am being cared for in the meantime and eventually it will all work out.


for other examples of why doors close, consider my Bible study, Between the Window and the Door.

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 For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God. Baruch 5 :7

ID-10082551This passage in my daily reading hit me in the way a punch in the gut snatches your breath. Scripture talks of making paths straight. What does that mean? I am learning.

Earlier this week as I headed for my apartment complex just south of one of the busiest malls, the traffic mimicked rush hour in Los Angeles. Trying to merge into the mess,  after waiting for several minutes my foot slipped off the brakes and my car edged forward to “kiss” the back bumper of the one in front of me. A very belligerent young woman jumped out and began to confront me.

I hate confrontation. Being raised in a family of perfectionist lawyers, I used to be the first to jump to defend myself. Then I’d stew for days over the injustice of being confronted. No, make that months, sometimes years.

But this time I profusely apologized and suggested we move to the parking lot to exchange information. She agreed, but as soon as I put my car in “P” she started in on me again.  The more angry and cutting she became the quieter and more calm I  became. She refused to tell me her name or give me her info, so I quietly took my phone to the back of her car and snapped a few shots of it, showing proof that no damage had occurred. Then I took some of her to record her ranting movements in case she claimed whiplash. The whole time she  scolded me to put it away and challenged why I  wouldn’t obey her.

I quietly and sweetly replied I did it to record everything for my insurance agent. Finally, I guess because I wouldn’t confront her or escalate the nasty mood she tossed in my face, and because I wouldn’t hop on her roller coaster ride of  anger and bullying,  she finally shut her mouth. She glanced at the cross around my neck, scoffed, and peeled out into the parking lot back into the snail-paced traffic. I bowed my head and prayed for her, my heart hurting that such a young person could already be so soured and skeptical, bitter and unforgiving. I asked God to touch her.

A whisper responded, “I just did, through you.”  I realized how the Holy Spirit had guided me into a peaceful state despite her emotional tirade. In the midst of biting verbal abuse, I remained like the old deodorant slogan- calm, cool and collected. No mountainous surges of  hurt and anger at her stabbing words. No blood pressure rises and plummets at her derogatory name calling. Over the past month I had begun to steadily read, study and pray more in the morning before starting my day. I guess it has altered my perspective.

God worked in me to level my emotions.  I walked safely that day, strong and upright, and gave God the glory.

ID-10056738We are entering what many consider one of the most stressful times of the year. Funny, how it began as a way to celebrate” Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Mankind”, isn’t it?  Yet with the holidays come  not only joy and frivolity, but economic worry, the unrealistic expectations of a greeting card time with family, and an onset of blues over the ones who are not here to join us this year.  Couple that with not eating right, over-partying, and dashing around to find the perfect gift for everyone, and it can become a time bomb waiting to explode.

Or not.

I hope you recall my tale when your day threatens to roller coaster. I pray you will take time out to let God level your emotions so you can reflect His loving light this season. Let Him lower your hills and fill your valleys with His mercy and grace so that no matter what, you walk confidently in a quietly in His shadow. May He make your paths straight and envelop you in His peace, despite the chaos swirling around you. And may that leveled attitude draw others to realize you have something they want. That is the perfect gift you can give this year.

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??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Every morning when I drive to work, a flock of swallows huddles together under one of the highway overpasses. You can barely see them as they cling together for safety, companionship and warmth. But when cars whiz by, they immediately scatter willy-nilly, flying in a  chaotic waltz. They swell into swirls going a thousand different directions. Then one by one they return to the underpass. This happens over and over, every morning. Silly birds. After a while, you’d think  they’d be immune to the disruptive engine noise and vibrating whoosh of the wind as tons of metal and rubber zip by underneath them.

Are we immune to disruptions? As Christians we huddle together and cling to our traditions. But when something disruptive happens  often we let it ruffle our feathers. I have seen congregations burst into chaos when someone suggest a new way of doing things. People fly off the handle, as the saying goes. Everyone scrambles to take sides, often bumping into each other’s feelings.  But, eventually, we all remember to whom we should cling and peacefully return one by one to our knees before His throne … until the next disruption whooshes by to unnerve us.

It may be that many church goers cling to the wrong things such as traditions and customs, mistaking them for faith. “But we have always done it this way.”  “We have never allowed children at the early service.” “The minister should always preach for 20 minutes, no more.”  “The women have always held Bible study at 10 am on Thursdays. We can’t possibly move it to the evening just because some women work nowadays.”  The theology behind why we do what we do gets lost in the routine.

Perhaps, God’s spirit shakes us up a bit now and then to see how we will react. Will we cling to our faith, or scatter in a swell of chaotic fluttering like the swallows, seeking security in our steadfast routines and customs?

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