Plea for Grace

Preparing Our Hearts for the Holidays — an Update

Posted on: November 4, 2019

Starting this blog/website several years ago was not so much that I have a love of writing and I am convinced everyone wants to read what I write (no, that is NOT in my mindset); it was actually at the urging of a friend, who said that since I am so sporadic at journaling, just maybe this would be a way for me to record what I am learning in my Christian walk — and if others could benefit, so much the better!

So, much of this site is “living my faith and sharing my life.” For example, I knew that I must prepare my mind for action (1 Peter 1:13) and be proactive about having a grateful, thankful, joyful heart through the holidays. Just “letting go” and “hoping it happens” was a fool’s errand (as in, been there, done that, failed miserably, etc).

This is the beginning of the fourth week of setting my mind on things above, not on things of the earth (Colossians 3). Yes, I am studying the Word every day; yes, I am memorizing. But I knew that I would need these additional reminders that God is Sovereign; He is just; He is I AM . . .and my Precious Father gave me an example of how He is truly renewing my mind . . .

Because my house is in a state of “un-order,” and has been for about three months (painting and updating kitchen cabinets, installing floors in nearly every room of the house), it has been hard to find time and space to just “be still. . .” Add to that, big cardiology appointment that drastically changed my treatment plan; cardiac rehab that stopped almost before it began because my system reacted so negatively; my buddy kitty Max got sick and died; and the assaults on my endocrine and cardiovascular system from all the changes caused a huge autoimmune flare that just “laid me out.” Tired does not begin to describe . . .

My husband and I decided that I would just do a 2-day “retreat” to be able to sleep, to write, to think, to just “be” where there is no banging/drilling/hammering/dust everywhere/trying to find anything in which box in which room and in which pile . . .so I chose a hotel near his work, and arrived around suppertime. Nice. Quiet. No real schedule. I did a little writing, and then just went to bed. Sweet sleep.

At 6 a.m. I woke, and set the coffee maker in my room to “brew.” It fluttered, and then all the lights went out. I could not have seriously blown a fuse! Because there is no power, I can’t call the front desk. I got dressed, and figured I would get coffee and breakfast downstairs and find out about the power situation. When I got downstairs, I found that there had been an accident, and the entire neighborhood was out of power, and there was not an estimation of when it would be restored. “But if you want breakfast, you should eat now, because the food we made already won’t be hot for long.”

And here is where the “renewing my mind” and “setting my mind on things above, not on things of the earth” kicked in 🙂

*I came downstairs with a smile and a “you are having a real Monday, aren’t you?” to the front desk. It certainly wasn’t his doing that my plans were interrupted. .

*Because I was awake and dressed at 6 a.m., I was able to enjoy a hot breakfast. Had I “slept in” . . .well, cold oatmeal is just not my thing . . .

*Though I didn’t “have to,” I was prompted to write today’s post last night. The principles of Proverbs 3 of not withholding good from someone when you have it, and then James 4 that admonishes not to just make all these plans of “today or tomorrow I will go and spend a year and do this and that, ” and presuming that I will even have a tomorrow or next year — were instrumental in reducing the attractiveness of procrastination. Elisabeth Elliot said, “do the next thing.” Because I didn’t procrastinate on today’s post, and assume that I could “do it later,” it was done and posted despite the no power situation.

*With no power, I was able to take a morning nap, and not worry about when or how long. If the power was not restored by noon, I would make a decision. Until then — though there was no heat, the comforter was warm. Though there were no lights, the sun was shining and there was plenty of natural light. The coffee in the thermal pots downstairs was hot.

*Power was restored, and internet was restored before 10:30 a.m.

Yes, I am getting to the, “why are you bothering to tell this story?” — because there was NO anxiety. NO “oh no my retreat is ruined and how are they going to fix this” inner or outer tantrum. And it wasn’t a “grin and bear it and do the right thing though I am raging on the inside.” I didn’t conjure this up. God is renewing my mind. He calmed and quieted my soul (Psalm 131). I settled on a time frame to put an alternate plan in place; I was grateful for how God supplied a hot breakfast and the morning’s responsibility in His way, on His timing. I could be truly thankful, and not worried or anxious or resentful or whatever.

Romans 12:1-3 ESV – 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

God is renewing my mind; replacing my anxious/bitter/entitled thoughts with His thoughts. Storing up His Word in my heart (Psalm 119:10-11) is accomplishing His purpose for me (Psalm 57). Thinking with sober judgment, not thinking more (or less) of myself allows me to see what kind of encouragement others may need. It allows me to be grateful for what is given, rather than resentful for what is withheld (thank you, again, Elisabeth Elliot). God is good, and He does good; and He is teaching me His statutes; and His statutes are for my good! (Psalm 119:63)

I praise Him for His faithfulness! And now, I think maybe another short nap is in order . . .

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