Sunday, July 24, 2011

You were made to fly...

In these hot, lazy days of summer (which are not so 'lazy' since I'm taking Philosophy and Counseling classes) I wanted to share a recent favorite from Oz Hilman paired nicely with (if I do say so myself, hey I was a DJ for 20 years ;) a video of Avalon's very cool and funky version of "I'll Fly Away". I know that I have gone through many "Job moments" that have now stretched into the better part of five years. Can I get an Amen? ;) This devotion helps me keep it all in perspective. I pray it will do the same for you.

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised" (Job 1:21)

Can a caterpillar fly? If you said, "No," you would be partially correct. Actually, a caterpillar can fly, but it must have a transformation first.

The butterfly begins life as a caterpillar, a wormlike larva that spins a cocoon for itself. For weeks, the larva remains hidden within the cocoon as it undergoes metamorphosis. When it's time for the butterfly to emerge, it must struggle and fight its way out of the cocoon. We might be tempted to help this process by tearing open the cocoon - but that's the worst thing we could do. The struggle makes it strong and enables it to fly. Butterflies need adversity to become what God intended them to be. So do we.

The Book of Job is the story of a wealthy and successful community leader named Job. He was a successful and righteous businessman with huge holdings of livestock and real estate. One day Satan came before God and asked him, "Where have you come from?" Satan replied, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."

God said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? He is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." Notice that God pointed Job out to Satan! God gave Satan permission to put Job through a trial of adversity. Job's herds were stolen, his servants were murdered, and all of Job's children were killed by a sudden tornado.

Through his trial of adversity, he grows in strength, wisdom and faith. His entire perspective on God is transformed by his suffering. He was even accused of sin by his closest friends.

We must get beyond the immature notion that God is interested only in making us healthy, wealthy and happy. More than anything, He wants us to be like Christ. And the road to becoming like Christ often leads through the wilderness of adversity.

In order for the butterfly to fly, there must be a transformation process that is often developed through adversity. 

Check out Avalon's "I'll Fly Away" here:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Adversity to Destiny

I found this today and it sums up the last four years of my life so beautifully.  I wanted to share it with you...

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked God for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among men, most richly blessed.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vomit and Snow

A reprise of my New Year's blog from 2008.

So it was snowing...which is pretty typical for January in Morgantown, WV. I'm not a huge fan of snow unless I'm skiing on it, however I have to admit the little flurries were kinda pretty dancing in my headlights as I drove home from my friends house that night. Talia said "Momma, I'm going to pray that we have a snow day tomorrow so we can have another day off from school!". I gently told her that while God was a big God, that it wasn't going to snow that much and that she had penty of time off from school for Christmas break and that she should get ready for bed. At 2:00am she woke me. Feverish and vomiting. She hadn't been able to make it to the bathroom, so there was quite a mess. I remember feeling worried, frustrated and ALONE. "Why God? Why am I alone to face these sorts of things? It's 2:00 in the morning, Talia is so sick and I don't have anyone who can help."

I went back to my room and sent a short text to my boss and assistant to let them know what was going on and that I wouldn't be able to be at work the next morning. I figured they would get the messages in a few hours when they woke, but within a few seconds Corey, my assistant, texted me back saying he would open the Spa for me. I thought "Whew! Well at least I don't have to worry about THAT!" I rolled over, without thanking God for taking care of my work situation, and went to sleep.

Talia slept through the night. I got up that next morning to check on her and glanced out the window. Much to my shock there was at least 8 inches of snow on the ground. I thought "Oh great...this is the last thing I need. What if I have to drive her to the doctor?"

After checking on Talia (who was feeling less feverish) I came into the computer room to check my e-mails and begin my day. As I sat here I started to hear someone shoveling snow. The sound grew closer until I realized it was right below my window. Just at that moment, it hit me. I am not alone...ever. God is right there ALWAYS. He's not just there when I am praying or when I am thinking about Him...but He is there on His hands and knees with me cleaning up vomit. He is shoveling the snow. 

I went downstairs and opened the door to thank this elderly man who was cleaning snow off of my sidewalk and car. He said, "My son lives here and says you're a single mom. I just wanted to help." I talked with him a bit, thanked him again and wished him a Happy New Year. The tears started rolling down my cheeks before I got the door closed. Because of my nature to scream "What about ME!" when things are rough, I nearly missed the presence of God.

May you see Him...His presence, His leading, His love in those "small" moments. God doesn't always show us His love and awesome power in parting a sea or flooding the earth. Sometimes He just uses some vomit and snow.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, there was no school in Monogalia County that next day.

Here is a wonderful blog post written by my brother in Christ of 20 years, Robert Mauti. We are also both figure skaters and have coached...