Tag Archives: joy

Transformation

Transformation: My Journey through Psalms 104

I haven’t done New Year’s resolutions in a long time, because frankly by Easter everything is pretty much challenged by life and shouldn’t we be constantly on the lookout for reformation? So I choose resolutions when I need reformation, not just on one arbitrary day of the year.

What I do enjoy doing each year is picking a word to focus my year around. This year, after a lot of prayers, I choose transformation. And wow. Let me advise you if you do this and you seriously make it a regular prayer to be ready for whatever word you are praying for to really penetrate your life.

I’m not the easiest going person in the world. I like a set schedule. I like routine. I hate surprises. Can I adapt? Sure, or I wouldn’t be a successful teacher, but it really stresses me out when I have to create and change on the fly.

I’m also not the bubbliest person in the world. Happy is not my default. In fact, I have been compared to that Sadness character in Inside Out by more than one person. That, I think is a little extreme, but I get it. I’m a pragmatic realist so I really don’t bounce around looking for things to jump for joy about.

2017 was a really rough year for me–and ended in a really rough way. So when 2018 rolled around I wanted real change. I wanted transformation. 

Did you know that transformation is radical? And usually requires some kind of alteration or catalyst. Something new must be added in order to alter the composition or original structure. In case you are wondering, chemically speaking, a break down has to happen–at the cellular level–for transformation to occur.

Yikes.

See where I am going with this?

I’m actually kind of impressed with what God is doing with this in my life. I think he led me to this word because I could have chosen one of two things to do with the year 2017. 

I could have wallowed in the sadness, or I could do what Sadness is supposed to do–allow it to move through you so you can actually understand, appreciate and experience real joy. And that is true transformation.

So what does that have to do with Psalm 104?

If You, God, can be dressed up in sunshine… have built your palace on the ocean deeps and made a chariot out of clouds…commandeered winds as messengers and appointed fire and flame as ambassadors…roared and the water ran away…set boundaries between earth and sea…make grass grow…bring grain from the land and wine to make people happy

Then how could we ever doubt his ability to transform us each and every day?

 

Rebuke and Restore: My journey through Psalms (38-39)

For some reason my dog will sometimes growl at my nieces. She’s not being mean or hateful, but a low growl just to let them know she is the boss, and even as she does so her tail just wags and she smiles. My theory is because they are all pretty much the same size, it is the only way Emma knows to express her rights as the ‘dog’ of the house. If you tell her ‘bad dog, no growling’, typically she will stop. Because, no matter what she believes, she is NOT the boss.

Unfortunately, my nieces have let this power go their head a tiny bit. A few days ago, Emma was under the table and listening well. Then one little girl walks in and says ‘bad dog’, waggling her finger at the patient dog who had done nothing wrong.

“Why did you do that?” I asked the blonde ringletted little one. “She wasn’t doing anything wrong. Do you like being yelled at when you are doing the right thing?”

Chastised, the girl responded, “No, but she was growling earlier.”

Ah. A recorder of previous sins.

“Okay,” I said, pulling the child into my lap. “But that was then and this is now. If you tell her she is doing bad when she is not, don’t you think that might get confusing?”

A shrug.

“What if you were being sassy earlier and then later came in the kitchen and asked if you could please have a piece of fruit. Then I told you no because i don’t like your sassy attitude.”

“But if I said please, that’s not sassy.”

Exactly.

“Not sassy then, but you were sassy earlier.”

“But I was doing the right thing.”

“So was Emma.”

The little girl scrunched her nose up, thinking, processing and then nodded.

No one likes getting their noses rubbed in their wrong doings, but when you do slip up–because everyone slips up–there are consequences for those mistakes. My niece got a lecture. Emma got a time out. Sometimes we have to pay fines, or worse, go to prison, or apologize to people we really don’t want to apologize to. No matter who we are, we sin. We mess up. And God’s ‘punishment’ is the conviction and consequences for these actions.

Yet our hope still remains in our God and when we do mess up, he’s the rebuker, but also the restorer. And so we ask “But now, Lord, what do I do?” And if we are wise, we’ll listen before we act.

My niece and Emma may have had a bad day, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be restored, and as Emma nuzzled me later that night, I know what restoration to a rebuker looks like.

Correction is painful, but restoration brings peace, love, and joy.

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