Julie

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A Time of Vanity

Reading Ecclesiastes this morning helps me express what is occurring in this middle-aged head of mine.  For some time now, life as I had always planned, dreamed, desired, and hoped for has been swept away.  Why is that?  Why does it all seem to be a futile effort?

Ok, not ALL of it, but a big majority of it anyway.

The American dream, white picket fence, Cleaver family, warm-fuzzy world that I once wanted seems so futile.

Vanity of vanities…..all is vanity.”

What profit do I have from all my labor?  What has been “the point” ? In a worldly perspective, we are born to die.  Others will come after us to repeat the same thing over again.  What is the meaning of this word “life”?

It’s like a vicious cycle…..  “All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full;  To the place from which the rivers come, there they return again.” 1:7

People are born into this world.  They are told the “meaning of life”.  They grow up striving for success and then one day……it all changes.

This is that day for me.  This “season” is like a day….THE day that all my life’s work and efforts begin to change.

Right now I’m standing still.

It’s like the Lord has halted me.    “Julie!  Stop!”

Stop striving!  Stop doing! Shut down your hands, your feet, your mind, and your heart.  Don’t do anything!”

Listen to me!  I have a better plan!  Your plan is all VANITY!  It’s absurd!  It’s futile!  It’s nonsense!”

“You are grasping for the wind, and you will never ever catch it!”

So I wait.

I wait on the Lord to reprogram this mind of mine.

“…I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly.  I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.” 1:17

For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” 1:18

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.  There was no profit under the sun.”  2:11

For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now will be forgotten in the days to come.  And how does a wise man die?  As the fool!” 2:16

Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.”  2:17

Sorrowful and distressing it is.  Wisdom is grievous.  This I have learned.  I can only imagine how much grief Solomon experienced.  How much grief does the Lord experience because of the human race?

So I wait.

I’m serious.  I hardly smile.

I’m standing at a cross roads with no plans, almost afraid to make any decisions and waiting for the Lord to change my path.

It’s hard to describe but this feeling of discontent and worthlessness leaves me joy-less, yet hopeful and excited.  All my dreams and goals early in life just don’t seem to matter anymore.  What I once thought was most important has been shattered.  There is no reciprocation of many of the efforts I have made, yet just gaining that knowledge is leading me to higher thoughts of what is to come.

It can be disheartening to know that what has been happening for 40 years is not what should have been happening.

Or is it?

Is this a road we all must take?  Does the Lord allow us to make our path and then all of the sudden grab us by the throat and show us that it is all vain?

Is this a lesson that we all must learn?  Is it disguised as “middle age crisis” or perhaps the “empty nest syndrome”?  What does the world call it when you stop to ponder what has been and what is to come?  Solomon called it all vain.

It’s kind of a downer, I know.  Just reading through what I’ve written here is depressing, sorry.  Just know that whatever stage of life you are in, there is a season in which you will doubt and wonder.  I’ve known several people who seem to have reached this type of time in their life.  They have been joy-less for a season.  Thankfully, when I start to question my sanity, I remember that others have gone before me and when the season ended, God made a great work from it.

So I continue to wait……regretfully, sorrowfully waiting….almost grieving at times…hoping the Lord will take the “me” from “me” and replace it with Himself.  There’s only joy in the Lord and I trust it will come.

My life and my death belong to Him.   It is not I who should be elevated or remembered.  The failure or success of my life on this earth means nothing if it doesn’t point to Him.

So who did I think I was?!  …Planning and proceeding as though I had some legacy to to leave for others?  I have to insert a “L.augh O.out L.oud” here!  Others will come after me.  Some may remember me.  Most will not.  The only legacy I wish to leave is that of a humble, obedient child of God.

Maybe my grief and sorrow comes from needing to know that all has not been vain. How am I to find happiness in raising children, cleaning house, and making dinner without knowing that it is leading to salvation for those I love?  What is “joy” in our labor when it doesn’t prove eternal?

I just want to climb on the roof and desperately call for somebody to please tell me I have pointed them toward a deeper relationship with God!  Even if just in some small way, knowing this would appease my soul.  How many witnessing opportunities have I missed in the first 40 years of my life?  How many of my mistakes have made a detrimental impact on others?

Maybe at this stage, my desire should be that I will be forgotten after all.  Maybe what I’m really trying to say is that I hope the Lord will be remembered even more because of what He has done through me.

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Just “peepin” in

I wonder if Adam and Eve felt like I’m feeling as they tried to hide from God in the garden?  Just “peepin” in here but hoping no one calls me out for being so behind in our goal, lol!

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I confess

I confess. I haven’t read one page since May 20th….until today.

This is what I do. I get all going on something great and then fizzle out. I have just been “fizzled out” for a few months, sorry.

Anyway, just wanted to say “hi” and let whoever might still read this know that all is not lost in this effort.

Only 269 more pages and I’ll be caught up ;p

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Recharged

Ok, I’m recharged and ready to get back on the ball….started reading again today by the pool.  It was hot, but Solomon and all his wisdom was very convincing that I need to keep striving toward this goal.  Hopefully a few more pool-side sessions will catch me back up this week!

How are you doing?  Is there only three of us left? 

 

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Yeah well…

…this goal seemed like a good idea at the time.  Unfortunately I am falling further behind with each passing day.  The worst part is that I just don’t want to read right now.  Everything I should be doing is not something I want to do.  Have you ever had days like that?  Yep, welcome to my big roller coaster life.  Sigh…

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Joyful Monday Morning to Ya

Well, goooooooooood morning to ya!  Yes, I am a little more chipper than usual this morning.  I’ve just finished having my coffee on the back porch.  It was Q.U.I.E.T. out there for at least 15 minutes!  I made it through the whole cup of coffee before anyone but the dogs detected my presence 🙂

Of course, the dogs did their best to entertain and distract me.  They were rolling around play fighting all over the back yard and porch.  It sounded like a bunch of bears trying to tackle one another, lol!  Occasionally, they would come up  and attempt to engage my hand into some petting.  One sniff of their fishy-yucky-dog breath, however, convinced me that doggy affection would have to wait until later in the day.

Yes, it was me on the porch wrapped in the sacred  O.U. blanket, white socks WITH flip flops…..(this is how we wear flip flops when it’s cold in Texas, right?!)…and sipping on a steamy cup of java.  Ahhhhhh!

It was a good day to catch up on reading. 

King David has now died and Solomon is the new king.  Nathan did a good thing when he encouraged Bathsheba to get to the king first before Adonijah wrongfully wormed his way into the position.  I would love to have a Nathan in my life, wouldn’t you?  A physical person on this earth who would watch out for me and let me know when I’m about to mess up, or when someone is about to attempt to harm me.  Yes, a “Nathan” in my life would be a nice thing.

Oh wait!  We DO have “Nathans” in our life, don’t we?! 

It’s me, and you, and our neighbor, and our pastor, and our other spiritual friends.   We all are part of the body of Christ who has the responsibility to encourage and protect and hold accountable.

We have our Sunday School classes, our bible study groups, and the ones in this read thru the bible group as well.  We need the “Nathans” in our life to help keep us on track.  Though not necessarily declared “prophets” as he was, we all help to watch out for each other’s soul, and we can all help pick up the pieces when we’ve messed up.  We keep each other going, and remind each other that our busy lives don’t compare to what’s really in store for us when Jesus returns.

I really enjoy seeing each one of you take time to comment to one another.  Reading this blog may be hard — it may be just another thing to remember to do each day, but I hope we all will make it a priority to keep participating.  

What can you do to be the “Nathan” in someone’s life today?  Start here and take a moment to encourage those in this group.  Call them by name!  This isn’t just a place to lurk or vaguely check in.  

Yes, it’s been a good day so far.  I’ve even had my shower and now ready to Face the Homeschooling Giants in my life!Bird Reproduction, Acute and Obtuse Angles, Spelling Words and Abraham Lincoln…….here I come!

I hope you all are having an equally wonderful start to another beautiful spring day 🙂

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Psalm 60

It’s where I am.  You?

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A Holy Day

holy –  given or belonging to God; set apart for God’s service; coming from God; sacred

Yesterday was a holy day.  Determined to get caught up with my reading, I purposefully set aside the day for that priority.  The boys and I were the only ones here.  I got started early, first counting just how many pages I was behind. 

51 pages was the goal.

We had breakfast, and I got the eldest started on his math lessons.  They are computerized and the one subject I have not had to prepare, teach, or grade this year.  The youngest son has already finished his math book for the year (not computerized) so he was happily playing in his room.

This was the perfect day to attempt such a feat.  The one thing I knew was that I did NOT want to spend the next several weeks behind schedule.  The other thing I knew was I didn’t really want to skip anything, so that’s why I decided to make the day a “Read-a-thon”.

It was soooooooooooooo quiet!  Several times I actually stopped reading because my mind didn’t know what to do without balancing 3 kids, 10 subjects, the phone, and other responsibilities! 

The television was off. 

The dogs were asleep.

There were no phone calls.

There were no pressing matters.

I needed to pay bills, but didn’t.

The dishes were dirty, but I looked the other way.

We skipped Science.

I let the boys play and they were content to do it behind a closed bedroom door.

It was perfect!  I was able to comment on things I had previously noted in the readings, write a post or two, and read 31 pages! 

Today, I’m still behind but, it’s only 15 pages now. 

How was your yesterday?  Are you behind?  If so, what is your “catch up” plan?

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Even More Undignified Than This

Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart… Then David returned to bless his household.  And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!”  So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel.  Therefore I will play music before the Lord.  And I will be even more undignified than this…  2 Samuel 6:16-22

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Superstitionously Questionable

Do you remember the days of the “Magic 8 Ball”?!

In 1 Samuel, chapter 23, David uses the ephod to determine whether or not he should do certain things.

Q:  “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”

A:  “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah“.

Q:  “Should I…..seriously?”

A:  “Arise, go down to Keilah.  For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

(And then after he does that, he hears that Saul is coming after him…..)

Q:  “Will the men of Keilah deliver me into the hand of Saul?  Will Saul come down here like I have heard?”

A:  “He will come down.”

Q:  “Will the man of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?”

A:  “They will deliver you.”

So David high-tailed it out of Keilah, escaping capture and death by Saul, being extremely thankful for his Magic 8 Ball Abiathar and his ephod.

What is this “ephod”?  In Exodus, the ephod refers to the linen apron worn by the high priest.  (Ex 39:2-7)  With Abiathar’s ephod David would essentially ask a “yes/no” question and by some means the ephod would reveal God’s answer.

Although it is not known exactly how this worked, it is important to know that David was seeking God with his questions, and then God was answering.

This ephod, in contrast, to modern day devices, was not a ball simply shook and then an answer was revealed on the appearing triangular shape.  God actually used the ephod as a method of communicating to His people .

All the Magic 8 balls, fortune cookies, horoscopes, palm lines, and cards in the world cannot be used to measure the voice of God.  These are superstition — not a real means of determining life actions.  They are questionable because they aren’t real.   God didn’t choose those methods for communication, and we must be diligent in recognizing the potential for straying from God’s will when we “dabble” with them, much like playing with fire.

Some creative person is right now earning a living writing vague, broadly applicable sentences that someone will sadly use to determine serious life issues.

Don’t step outside your house today.  Something bad is going to happen”  and the person lives in fear for hours.

A great fortune is coming your way soon!” and the person rushes to the local convenience store to use their rent money for lottery tickets.

Worse, is the palm readers and so called psychics who lead people into believing their one true love is right around the corner, or perhaps their dear, dead darling is still calling to them from beyond the grave.  They prey on a person’s grief or loneliness and then charge them $29.95.

These things are all “superstitionously questionable”.  The ephod was not.

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