A Time to…

Ecclesiastes 3_1Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 is a beautiful reminder that there is a time for all things in life.

“There is an appointed time for everything.

And there is a time for every event under heaven

A time to give birth and a time to die;

A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill and a time to heal;

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh;

A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;

A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.

A time to search and a time to give up as lost;

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;

A time to be silent and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate;

A time for war and a time for peace.

What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils?

I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor-it is a gift of God” (NASB)

Understanding there is a time for everything isn’t about better scheduling or mastering multi-tasking, and it isn’t about being all or doing all. It is about living life and rejoicing in doing good in this lifetime we are given. I love a new beginning, birth, planting, building, embracing, laughing, and keeping. I do not like an ending, death, tearing, mourning, weeping, or giving up. Ecclesiastes reminds me to look at the seasons of life in a new light, an eternal one. God sets my mind and my heart toward eternity, and that changes the way I see the beautiful seasons and the dark ones.

God doesn’t promise a life without death or weeping. Life must be filled with both good and bad if I am to grow and learn as God desires. There is no better time than New Year’s Day to change my view of time. Giving up my agendas and plans allows God’s plans to fall into the open space they leave behind. I cannot be well seasoned unless I go through all the seasons of life. I am learning to embrace, but not hold tightly to, the good times and lean upon Him and not stop during the difficult. The journey is meant to prepare me for eternity. That brings a sweet new perspective and changes the way I love and live my life.

 

The Measure of My Treasure

When it comes to love, time is the measure of my treasure. There is nothing sweeter than time with those I love, and nothing more heartbreaking than not having time together. Time is relative and in limited supply, so I turn to gifts to fill the empty space. Those presents are wonderful and easy, but they do not replace a sweet moment of sincere and heartfelt love.

Being present in an honest and loving way is how Christ loves. The Holy Spirit waits patiently for me to take note of His love. God longs for me to embrace His love now and understand that He will always love me. I’ve been in relationships with rooms filled with flowers and chocolates, but my heart was empty. God needs only time and space when it comes to love, and I plan to give Him both during this season of Lent. Isaiah 58 taught me just that last night. What I most need to give up during Lent is space in my heart for God’s love.

Valentine’s Day has always left me feeling alone and unloved. I mostly stayed indoors to avoid all the hype and showy displays. I’ve had more than my share of pity parties on Valentine’s Day and usually cried myself to sleep. I plan to spend this evening in the arms of two adorable little girls who love me very much while mommy and daddy have some time together. I love that I can give the gift of time on a day like today:)

God’s measure of love has to do with treasure and time.  Matthew 6:21 says it simply, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Those words cut straight to the heart of love.

My heart is where my treasure is, and the best way to measure my treasure is to see how my time is spent. Last night, I realized that too much of my time is wasted on what if’s and why not’s and not enough goes into what is:) I miss the love God has in my path when I pine away for what I don’t have. The most beautiful expression of love is time together. It lets me know I’m cherished, and that is how love should feel.

The biggest blessing of my new living arrangement is having lots of quality time with those I love, and that’s what love is all about. I’m learning to embrace the love God puts in my path and thank Him for each moment. When there is no time, there is no treasure. When there is no treasure, there is no love. Simple, but difficult words to hear when it comes to love. I’ve come to know what love is and isn’t, and the lessons in love and the lessons in praying are exactly the same-Take time!! When I take time to pray, I am taking time to love God. When I take time with those I love, it’s clear to see where my heart and treasure are.

May I Have Your Attention Please:)

As I watched Lillyann and Mylah yesterday, I was struck by their need for my attention. That isn’t a problem because I give them my full attention when I’m there. My heart goes out to momma and daddy who have to also juggle school, work, and household chores. The problem is that each wanted my undivided attention:) I was frustrated until I realized God was using those sweet little girls to teach a serious lesson.

With all the preparations for the wedding and the mixed-up schedule, Lillyann was feeling a little left out. I was also more frazzled and got impatient myself. Children are not the only ones with the need for attention, and God showed me that I am very like Lillyann when I don’t get attention from loved ones. Time is relative and so is attention. Like Lillyann, I forget that everyone doesn’t have the time I do, and I’m not the only one vying for their attention. I’m old enough to know better and don’t have the excuse of being three:)

Since I retired completely last year, I find myself feeling more and more like Lilly when folks don’t have time for me. I pout and fret as she does but only when by myself because I’m the only one invited to my pity parties. Lilly is honest and open and invites everyone to hers:) I know it sounds silly, but watching Lilly feeling left out today made me realize that I feel the same way at times. I stay busy and help with the girls, but it isn’t the same as having a full time job, school, and children. I was reminded of that today.

I plan to repent and remember that I have more time than most as well as the freedom to decide what I want to do with it. That’s the beauty of and the problem with retirement. I’m so thankful to have the time to help with those sweet little girls and to volunteer. It is a blessing to have time and freedom, but I have to remember that others do not have the same luxury.

The need for attention is at the heart of most problems when it comes to relationship. I’m not the only one who feels the need for attention, but I felt pretty guilty yesterday as I watched Lillyann acting out and saw myself. I may act out differently, but the results are the same. It’s not easy to see myself as a three-year-old who’s having a bad day; but that’s the image God chose. It was an effective one that embarrassed and humbled, and I plan to take what I learned and apply it to my walk.

When I focus on myself and the attention I need, I will always be disappointed. When I remember that time is relative and some have none to spare, I’ll think before I expect it from others.  I’ll also be mindful that there are those in nursing facilities or home alone who have an abundance of time and would appreciate some attention. They also love lavishing attention on others.

Children want the same thing we all want-time and attention. When I have time, I expect others to have it too. In a perfect world, time would be more evenly divided as would all resources. In heaven, time doesn’t matter because God has everyone’s undivided attention. No one there worries about getting attention because they’re too busy giving it to God. When I’m giving attention, I think much less about getting it. When I give God my undivided attention, my problems concerning time and attention fade away.  That was the beautiful lesson yesterday:)