Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Quiet Season

It always seems like something huge makes us stop. Surgery, sickness or pain will become an opportunity to stop.
Opportunity? Yes, that is what I believe it is - an opportunity.
When I prepared myself for surgery in late January, I took the time to withdraw from all my commitments. After all, how could I minister to others when I did not know what I would need myself.
At that time, I did not see it as an opportunity - I saw it as a heavy interruption in my life.
It was very difficult. It is always difficult to walk through a season of life you did not want - or plan.
But, why is that?

Why is it so hard to stop and take care of ourselves and so easy to interrupt our lives to take care of others?
I wonder if I value others more than I value myself.

Well, my quiet season changed me. I took time to rest and recuperate - took time to build up my body and make it strong for the future - I took time for myself.
But, when you are quiet, you have to wrestle with thoughts of worth - value.
How can I be of value when I am just being still?

Now, it turned out that, even though the quiet time seemed boring, I learned a valuable lesson - just "being" has value.

My value is not dependent on anything of this earth - it is dependent on communion with Jesus. I am valuable because I was created to "be" - and He is at work continually - I do not have to be. And, when I have a quiet season, I need to embrace it to make myself stronger.

I believe I have been "busy" about My Father's Business - but I was also sidetracked with a lot of thoughts and actions that were not from Him - thoughts of "doing". It reminded me of the Biblical story of Martha and Mary - Martha was so busy and Mary just sat at Jesus' feet. And, He commended her for sitting at His feet.

So, whether you enter into a quiet season - or are in a busy season of your life - enjoy every opportunity to just "be" with Him - and He will take care of the work.

For Jesus' Glory, Mary

Monday, October 21, 2013

Your True Colors

OH - what a beautiful time of year in the Chicago area - all the true colors of the leaves are pushing through their green overcoat.
I think my favorite is the bright red - it looks like it is on fire, yet pure and not burning. I wonder if that is what the burning bush looked like to Moses.
And, I wonder - what is my true color under this green (actually peach) overcoat? Could it be an on-fire red? It seems to me that it could be when I am on the dance floor :)
Maybe I can display my bright color more often than when I let myself loose in dance?

And, I wonder about your true color - and how often you display it.
Well, no matter how often we get to display our true colors - I do know I never tire of seeing them.
And, I think they are even more beautiful when in a bunch of other colors - the variety is such amazing eye candy.
It takes the yellows, oranges, reds, evergreens and browns to truly display the beauty of this season.
God's unique creation of each of us is even more beautifully displayed when next to another unique creation.
Enjoy how God made you and display away!
For Jesus' Glory, Mary

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Warning Lights Part II

Walking up to the door of Tuffy, I prayed for the right words. I had already decided that I did not want the tip back, but did want an apology.
I asked for the mechanic that worked on my car and the manager asked me "Did the warning light go off?"
"I just want to speak to him in private, please." I said - not wanting to get anyone in trouble with their manager.
The manager stood alongside me as the mechanic approached.
"Can I talk to you about my warning light?" I asked.
"Did it go off?" asked the manager.
"Yes, it did," I said as some emotions started to form. I liked these guys - have done business with them for years. "It went off when I lowered the spare and filled it up to 32 - it was at 24."
The mechanic was the first to reply with "It was at 32 when I measured it."
"Well, pebbles and dirt fell when I lowered it - so it was not moved yesterday." I answered.

"We do not have to lower the spare to fill it. We have an air tool that can fill it in its position - here, let me show you."
He walked me over to his tool box - around two other mechanics already busy at work.
He took the tool over to a car over our heads and showed me the reading.
"This is how we can do it underneath - never lowering the car. And, I filled and measured yours yesterday."
"Either your spare has a leak or my tool is broken and not measuring correctly."
He took the tool over the the car above us again and the reading was different the second time.
"If the light does not go on again this week, you do not have a leak - and I need to replace this tool." said the mechanic.

The manager apologized for my trouble - the mechanic apologized, too - and I realized they had not lied.
But, I did not have all the facts - and it seemed to be the only conclusion.

I wonder how many times in life I have jumped to conclusions without all the facts.

On my way in there today, I thought it would be easier to just not go there anymore - but I wanted to confront them because I would want to be confronted - even if it was a lie - I could have forgiven them - and we could have had good business between us again.

"I am a Christian and working on not lying myself," I said. "But, have been known to do it at times. I am grateful you did not lie to me about my car."

They smiled.

It is going to be a good day.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Warning Lights

It starts every fall - for some reason. One or more tires lose pressure and the warning light goes on in my Toyota.
One season, all four tires checked out okay and I was informed that even the spare tire can lose air pressure. So, this year, when the light went on, I checked all four tires and they were okay. But decided to get help checking the spare when I next visited my mechanics - it did not look possible to gain access to the valve easily.
So, today, since it was time for new tires, I asked my friends at my favorite Tuffy - the only men who have worked on this vehicle since I purchased it over four years ago - to fill up the spare tire with air when they replace the other four tires. The visit took over three hours - I was promised it in 1 1/2 hours, but I understand busy and tried to be patient.

Now, I am always interested in tipping for good service. So, I tipped the man who worked on my car and as I drove off, I noticed the warning light was still lit. Doing a u-turn, I returned and as he approached my car, I asked him if he had accomplished filling the spare tire with air. "Yes - all your tires are the right pressure", he assured me.
"Well, the warning light is still on." I answered.
Then he said, "You may need to go to Toyota to ask about something in your electronic system - OH! - Wait - this happens to my father's car sometimes. It takes time to reset itself. Could take a week or two."
"Are you sure the new tires have all been checked?" I asked.
"Yes", he assured me - "pressure is good on all of your tires."
So, I drove off - and looked at that little light again every time I turned on the car - hoping it would reset itself soon.

Then, the thought occurred to me - they were really busy today. Could he have lied to me and not had the time to work on the spare?
Not a nice thought, I agree. But, my car has had very good warning lights in the past.

So, before going to bed tonight, I read the instruction booklet and lowered the spare tire so I could reach the valve to measure the pressure. I learned it was not that difficult to gain access to the valve. And, I took a reading looking for a 31 - but found a disappointing 24 - low enough to set off the warning light.

I have been lied to - and I will return to Tuffy tomorrow - after filling the spare with air - to ask for my tip back.

Blessings on your warning lights :)