The last few weeks have been a challenge for me to navigate. But mixed in with the not-so-good stuff have been wonderful times of blessing. Like visiting the Grand Canyon with my hubby, son, and son’s friend two weeks ago, or driving the Apache Trail through the mountains east of Phoenix last week, or making new friends at the church we’re attending while Roger works in the Phoenix area.
But now I’m home for a little over two weeks to take care of some ACFW business relating to upcoming events, like the second annual retreat in April and the national ACFW conference in September. After being gone for five weeks, you can imagine the mountain of mail sitting on my kitchen table in spite of the fact that Randy (son) sorted out the bills and other urgent things that needed to be taken care of each week and sent them to me.
All week, even though I knew better, I got more and more bogged down with all that needs to be done—editing projects, organization for the meetings I’m involved with starting tomorrow and going through next week, doctor’s appointments, etc. Once again I wondered at the “opportunities” (you know, distractions, interruptions, annoying-at-best details that need to be dealt with, unexpected meetings) that have bombarded my time and energy. While trying to be an encouragement to others, I found myself buried under everything.
In order to gain some control, I stayed up all night Wednesday night, working. About 3:00 a.m., my daughter who lives in London IM’d me. “You still up?” Yep. Several times over the last few weeks my hours have resembled hers. For the last several weeks she’s been absolutely snowed under with work on top of learning a new position in her tax accounting world. Part of the conversation I had with her that morning got me to thinking.
And then this morning the Lord spoke to me in my quiet time, clarifying my thoughts, helping me look at life from His perspective. I’m going to make my point here, then let His Word and a couple of readings speak for themselves.
We ACFW members in Colorado have some unique opportunities to serve, to work, and to write in the next few months. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for us to be in the Word and in prayer for all that the Lord has put in our way to accomplish this year. We’re all busy people. It’s easy to say, “I can’t do that. You should see my schedule,” or something similar, when asked to do something that will make a task easier for someone else.
Have you ever stopped to consider that you’re right where God wants you right now? He wants us to depend on Him completely for everything. Yet I know what happens when I feel I’ve got everything under control . . . I forget the depending part. So He allows me to be overwhelmed, to get to the point where I think I can’t handle one more thing and then that one thing appears.
I am so looking forward to the retreat next month. The topic Kim is speaking on is a timely one: Not My Will—But Yours, Lord. I hope you’re all making plans to attend. Remember guests are welcome.
Then there’s the national conference in September that will present us with many opportunities to serve others, to get to know the authors, editors, and agents that will be here, and to broaden our horizons in the purposes and plans God has for each of us.
We need to prepare our hearts now for what the Lord has for each of us, not only in the writing arena but also in every area of our lives. And please prayerfully consider each opportunity that we will be presenting to you for help in the next few months.
Thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint. (2 Samuel 15:15)
I love to think that God appoints
My portion day by day;
Events of life are in His hand,
And I would only say,
Appoint them in Thine own good time,
And in Thine own best way.
—A. L. Waring
If we are really, and always, and equally ready to do whatsoever the King appoints, all the trials and vexations arising from any change in His appointments, great or small, simply do not exist. If He appoints me to work there, shall I lament that I am not to work here? If He appoints me to wait indoors today, am I to be annoyed because I am not to work out-of-doors? If I meant to write His messages this morning, shall I grumble because He sends interrupting visitors, rich or poor, to whom I am to speak, or “show kindness” for His sake, or at least obey His command, “Be courteous”? If all my members are really at His disposal, why should I be put out if today’s appointment is some simple work for my hands or errands for my feet, instead of some seemingly more important doing of head or tongue?
—Frances Ridley Havergal
(this reading is taken from A Gentle Spirit published in 2000 by Barbour Publishing)
The Lord your God . . . went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tens . . . to show you by what way you should go. (Deuteronomy 1:32–33)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
“For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief. (Isaiah 53:10)
Father, these verses put my grumbling this past week, which has been incredibly difficult and long, into Your perspective. Forgive me for my bad attitude. In spite of it You have incredibly blessed me with godly friends and family, with opportunities to speak a word of encouragement and testimony, to pray for others going through difficult times. I am so incredibly blessed!
These verses also remind me that you have a purpose for me, a plan that is good, not harmful. It reminds me that even though I am in the crucible being pummeled and shaken, incredibly heated in the fire, and generally crushed by load of responsibilities You’ve allowed me to have, You have gone before me to prepare the way. You have allowed all of it for my good and Your glory.
If it was Your will to crush Jesus under the load of my sin and guilt, how can I expect to escape these times that are meant to refine me, to make me as gold, to make me a useful vessel for Your service, prepared and equipped to fulfill the purpose You have for me?
If Jesus, while He was here on Earth, did nothing of Himself but constantly waited on You for direction and strength, how much more must I lean on You, listening for Your direction, seeking Your purpose and plan for me?
Help me be refreshed in my weariness today. Show me a glimpse of You. Allow me to be an encouragement to others as You have encouraged me.
Marjorie Vawter wears many hats—wife, mother of two adult children, teacher, writer, freelance editor. A member of ACFW since 2004, she currently serves as the Colorado Area Coordinator. She is passionate about God’s Word and its relevance today. In her “free” time, she enjoys hiking and spending time at the family cabin in the Colorado Rockies.