Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Back to Work

The prospect of returning to work, working the night shift part-time at the retirement home where I previously worked, has me grateful but also anxious. I also regret the lost opportunity of working the evening shift position I was gunning for back in the summer.

I'm grateful to have a job as a nurse and to be well enough to work. I appreciate the slower pace of the night shift and the nightly routine that keeps you busy. I don't get to interact with the residents as much, but there are some I see frequently. 

I feel anxious about adjusting back to working, and learning any things that have changed in the routine. I am concerned about my sleeping schedule with working nights and sleeping days and then then going back to sleeping nights when I am not working. I am also aware to avoid isolation working the night shift I will have to participate in regular social activities or volunteer on the days I am not working. 

My first shift back is Thursday. I'll have to see how I adjust back to the working world and how many things have changed since August. Staying up all night can be difficult and sleeping during the day can be tough.

I recognize I do not return to work on my own. I do have support from my employer, my family and friends. I also have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and the support of my Saviour and Lord.

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Solid Rock

I have some go to devotional materials. I read "Jesus Calling," "Jesus Today", and "Jesus Lives" by Sarah Young. Lately I have been doing a devotional from She Reads Truth which arrives in my Inbox. I often read "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers. Sometimes I read "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie. I often read a bit of "Be the Gift" by Ann Voskamp before I turn out the light. Also every morning I read aloud "Blessing Your Spirit" by Sylvia Gunter and Arthur Burk.

I have come to realize that I can read devotional materials all day, but if I am not putting any of it to practise it is pretty much useless. I might have great knowledge of the Bible, but where is my heart at? Am I like the person who looks in the mirror of God's perfect law and immediately forgets what she looks like?

I tend toward selfishness, and self-centredness. I don't always see others' needs and even when I do I don't always do anything about it. At times I am guilty of saying I will pray for someone, and then failing to do so, at least with much frequency. I am easily distracted from my prayers and prayerfulness is a hard virtue to practise.

Am I looking for an experience or am I looking to develop a relationship? I am grateful that despite my failings, Jesus is faithful and patient with me. He is pleased with the smallest of my baby steps. He speaks to me in a language my heart understands. He rescues me from situations I get myself entangled in and He carries me close to his heart. 

When I am anxious about something, He calms my fears just as He calmed the storm. He tells me to be still and speaks peace into the situation. He loves me as much on my worst day as on my best day, and He tells me I am worth his sacrifice. While I am my own harshest critic, He is my greatest encourager, allowing me to be convicted about my sins, but not condemned. He's my Rock and my Deliverer.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Broken but Beautiful

Every piece of me, shattered and dispersed, fits together in a mosaic of untold beauty. The shards glued back together, reassembled and sorted interlock and form a picture of God's grace. The cracks are where the light gets in, as a Switchfoot lyric goes.

What could have destroyed me, has only made me stronger, stronger in the broken places. I have scar tissue, but that's the body's way of healing itself. My brain is recovering and I have the mind of Christ, a sound mind that is disciplined and recognizes that old patterns will no longer work.

Sometimes the old ways reassert themselves. I begin to catatrophize or I exhibit all or nothing thinking. I consider throwing a pity party or I worry about the future and fail to envision any hope. I view the past with a blue lens, remembering all the horror and pain. I look forward thirty years or just ten and wonder how I can survive this condition.

But I am not meant to live in the past or in the future. The now, the present moment, is all I have to consider. I don't have the grace for tomorrow's problems and stewing about the past is a dead end.

Finding out who I am is an amazing pursuit. Who I am in Christ and who I was created and designed to be. Discovering who God is also a spectacular journey that will never end definitively, because He is so much greater than we could ever imagine and so much beyond what we could ever know.

I'm glad I am on this pathway to life and I know who goes before me and who stands behind. I feel safe and secure in the shelter of His love. I believe He will always go with me and even if I have to go to the other side of the sea, His right hand will hold me fast.

I am looking for my calling, the place where my giftings, and the deepest need in the world intersect. This is my true vocation, and I know I have been blessed in order to be a blessing. It may or may not involve my career, but I know my talents cannot be buried or used selfishly to no one's benefit but my own. I don't know how I will serve others; I don't know how I will share the love of God; I just know I am commanded to love other believers and my neighbour, and to share the good news, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey the Lord's commands. He promises to be with me always to the very end of the age. "Fear not little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Beginning Anew

As the 2018 calender gets put away, I want to begin anew. I want to let go of old ways of coping, old baggage and insecurities, old patterns of behaviour. I want to rid myself of envy, greed, malice, and slander. I desire a new heart, no longer of stone, but one of flesh. I want the weeds in my garden uprooted.

I have gone through a season of pruning, of painful changes, of choices I never wanted to face. I have found throughout my pathway to wellness that God drew near and kept His promises to me. He remained faithful and true to His Word no matter how up and down my emotions were.

God definitely got my attention. CS Lewis once said that pain is God's megaphone to the world. I now have a dialogue with God that I don't want to end. I have a friendship with Jesus; I am sure of the Father's love; I have a newfound reliance on the Holy Spirit.

Life is not a rose-garden, by any means, but neither is it a place devoid of beauty or truth. As I look to the spring I think about rebirth and renewal and about what I will plant in my garden literally and metaphorically.

Things I want to throw away include anxiety, worry, negative attitudes and expectations, insecurity, and the belief that I can't cope with life. Things I want to embrace include confidence in God and myself, love for others and God, peace within and without, joy not based on circumstance, patience when I need to wait, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. I want my life to be enriched by the fruit of the Spirit and my life to be productive in things of eternal value.

I want to be a marathon runner, training my body and mind to compete so as to win the prize. I want to be a farmer patiently waiting for the rains. I want to be a soldier who fights for truth and justice and defends against the onslaught of the Enemy.

"Search me, God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24