God moves in seasons.
I’m not sure, but I think sometimes that farmers must understand God better than us city kids.
My friend Praveena and I went out for dinner a couple of months ago and she said in her usually brilliant way, “God is teaching me how to hold onto my dream without having any casualties in my relationships along the way.”
Doesn’t that sound like the God we know.
The one who wants us to have our dreams.
The one who loves people.
The one who wants us to learn how to do both.
Have our dreams and love people.
In the waiting, we’re learning how to do just that.
Maybe it goes without saying, but waiting is hard.
Waiting is really really hard.
God’s kingdom is like ten young virgins who took oil lamps and went out to greet the bridegroom. Five were silly and five were smart. The silly virgins took lamps, but no extra oil. The smart virgins took jars of oil to feed their lamps. The bridegroom didn’t show up when they expected him, and they all fell asleep.
In the middle of the night someone yelled out, ‘He’s here! The bride-groom’s here! Go out and greet him!’
The ten virgins got up and got their lamps ready. The silly virgins said to the smart ones, ‘Our lamps are going out; lend us some of your oil.’
They answered, ‘There might not be enough to go around; go buy your own.’
They did, but while they were out buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. When everyone who was there to greet him had gone into the wedding feast, the door was locked.
Much later, the other virgins, the silly ones, showed up and knocked on the door, saying, ‘Master, we’re here. Let us in.’
He answered, ‘Do I know you? I don’t think I know you.’
So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.
We read this verse a lot when we talk about Jesus coming back, but I believe there’s a kingdom principle embedded in this story.
Those who have been wise to hold on to their oil, to not give away their hope and their faith in who God is, get to enter into the party with Jesus.
Because when the time comes, they have hope that gives them light to see and discern the opportunities God brings our way.
These are the ones that held onto believing the promises of God, even when it felt like you were just holding on by a thread.
It still counts.
Remember Jesus said, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed.
And a thread is bigger than a mustard seed.
So hold on to your promises, even if they feel a little tattered and torn at the moment. God is good and he always comes through for us, the ones he loves.
Photo Credit: “Sparkler” by Unsplash, permission through C.C. by 2.0
I gotta admit, I’m writing this to you a few days early.
But I wanted to make sure you knew I was thinking about you and wishing you an amazing Christmas – full of uncomfortable hugs from distant family members whose names you can’t remember, ugly Christmas sweaters, and of course, lots of laughter.
So I raise my glass to you and pray that Christmas leaves you giddy with the discovery that you are more loved than you know.
Ok, I’m a control freak.
I admit it.
But I can change if I have to, I guess.
I’m not a control freak about everything, just the stuff that matters – oh, lets say for example, like if my kids and my niece made a very cool gingerbread train.
Let me back it up – – this very cool gingerbread train I’m talking about.
I – I mean, we, we actually did pretty well during the construction phase.
We even got the dumb thing to stay standing, which is like a first ever in the Ackermann household.
It was like Olympic Gold.
And we managed to decorate our train so that it pretty well resembled the box, yeah, that’s right Wilton, we nailed it!
I even got the quintessential cute picture with the kids standing with the train.
So what’s the problem?
My four year old ate the candies right off the train when no one was looking.
Even the gumdrop buttons.
Not the gumdrop buttons!
Yes, even the gumdrop buttons!
I kept my cool. I didn’t freak out – there was a minimal amount of nail biting and pacing, but all in all I held it together. I made a plan and relocated the gingerbread train to the higher altitude of the kitchen counter.
And it was right about this point when my hubby started raising his eyebrow at me, silently questioning my internal distress about gumdrops and a cookie train. I realized, I was being a teensy weensy bit of a control freak.
She’s four, I tell myself.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Okay, fine – she’s a kid, but if this happens when she comes home from college for visits, there will be words.
The hubby says, the point of making these things is to eat them.
I thought the point was to get it standing.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life
I think that’s God’s way of telling us to chill out.
Enjoy the ride on the train of life – even if someone ate all your gumdrop buttons.
So here’s to you and your brood this holiday season!
May it be restful and fun!
(In full disclosure, I’m not the only one with issues in my house. The hubby hates that our kids catch snow and eat it – he says it’s full of pollutants. But seriously – what kid doesn’t eat snow?! Yeah, that’s right, who’s not the only weirdo in our house now?)
It’s the holidays, which for a lot of people means fighting loneliness. . .alone.
For some it truly is being alone, with no one to commiserate with about the runny mashed potatoes at Christmas dinner with the in-laws or the long lines at the mall.
But for most, it is fighting the onrushing tide of feeling alone in a crowd.
It’s the ugly side of the hustle and bustle during the holidays.
So what’s the cure for the loneliness that hits at the “happiest” time of the year?
Ugly Sweater Parties?
(Uhhhh, lets hope not!)
Taking cheesy holiday pictures?
I think it’s simpler than breathing in the moment of the holiday cheer and hoping that some of it will infect you.
I think the answer lies in pressing the pause button on life.
Taking a deep breath.
Knowing you’re not alone, even if you feel like it tonight.
I’ve got nothing to say, no verses to type, no advice.
Just a hug from me to you.
And a thought.
Maybe Jesus came for nights like this.
Nights when we need a friend.
Nights when we feel alone.
Wherever you are, you’re in my thoughts and prayers tonight.
Huge thank you to the Anoka County Library for putting on the 1st (and hopefully, annual) Author Fair!!! And thank you to everyone who came out to see me. Gawsh, do I feel loved!
My son wants to drive so badly he can taste exhaust fumes.
This past summer, he asked me nearly every time we got into the van when it would be his turn to drive. Most parents probably dread the day their children start driving and their insurance premiums go through the roof, but I am so excited for the day when I can hand him the keys and see that look of joy in his eyes. In my heart, I look forward to him driving probably more than he does. So why haven’t I let him get his permit and take the family mini-van for a spin?
Because he’s 3 years old.
I will safe guard the dream of his driving until he is ready, not to mention old enough to see over the steering wheel, but if I gave him his “dream” today it would cause him and who knows who else harm. He’s not ready yet.
I’ve explained to him a million and one different ways, why he can’t drive right now and he responds with a quivering lower lip, “okay, someday”. He has resigned himself to comply despite not fully understanding my reasons.
It’s the same with us. We don’t always understand when God says, “not now” and our 3 year old hearts distort his words into “no” as we perceive our dreams crumbling into dust.
Dreams are precious things, fragile in the making. Our dreams are things meant to be placed into the hands of God. He knows this and he’s not willing that we would gain the thing we want most at the risk of losing ourselves. And so, he has a way of causing us to lay down the thing we want, the way Abraham laid down Issac, so that he can give it back to us at the moment of our maturity.
We all have that something lingering just out of reach.
Maybe you’ve been praying for Mr. Right (or dear God, please fix my Mr. Right).
Maybe your dream is that elusive career opportunity.
Maybe you’ve been patiently waiting for that restored relationship with your parents.
Maybe you’ve been quietly hoping for a child.
Or maybe your dream is simply driving the family mini-van.
The temptation is one of two things: 1. to either try to do everything to make it happen or 2. to do nothing. If you’re a bold person, you more than likely gravitate towards the first, if you’re fearful you’ll tend to gravitate towards the second and if you’re like me, a cyclone of both – it might just depend on the day.
How do we trust God and act in faith when it comes to something like a dream?
When God told Abraham to go to the promise land, Abraham went. . . and kept going until God told him to stop. When Joseph dreamed of greatness, he served faithfully . . . and God made him the second most powerful man in Egypt. When Ruth secretly hoped for her Mr. Right, she continued to care for her mother-in-law . . . and Boaz came along.
Ask God what your first step is and be faithful to do that thing until he either tells you something new or until that day when your dream becomes reality. Too simple? Perhaps, but I think I remember that he likes to use the simple things to confound the wise.
*I originally posted this when my oldest really was only 3 years old. He still wants to drive just as bad now that he’s 7.
Pray for us.
– -No seriously.
One day we’ll have to let our kids drive.*
Photo Credit: “Key” by Unsplash permissions through C.C. by 2.0
The Rum River Library branch of Anoka County Library will host a local author fair Saturday, November 5, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Rum River Library is located at 4201 6th Ave, Anoka, MN 55303.
The author fair connects the community’s passion for good books and reading to those who provide the passion and talent – right here in Anoka County. “We are incredibly fortunate to have many gifted writers in Anoka County,” said Mike Gamache, Anoka County Commissioner and Library Board Liaison. “We are grateful they’re willing to share their experience and inspiration with our library patrons.”
Following Kramer’s speech, the author fair’s doors will open and visitors will have the opportunity to connect with more than 20 Minnesota authors who were selected to showcase their talents. Books will be available for purchase and signing. “These authors write from a variety of subjects and genres so every reader will find home-grown talent to enjoy,” said Library Board president Dan Greensweig.
Originally posted on: October 19, 2016 at http://www.anokacounty.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=622
Photo Credit:”Books” by Hermann permissions granted through C.C. by 2.0