Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Peace, be Still

One of the many perks of living in Florida is the weather this time of year.  The mild, yet cool temps are so inviting, but I didn't feel like answering the invite this morning.  I have a list of "to dos" that is steadily growing and I made the mistake of watching the news this morning.  Both of these were overwhelming my soul.  Thanksgiving is on the list of to dos and I was becoming weary with all my "stuff" this morning, but the show must go on, right?  The world is crumbling in front of us and I must still plan for sweet potato casserole?
I felt my heart becoming heavy so I  broke for some time in the Word.  This was surely to be salve to my soul today, but just as I sat in my comfy chair she came, the disruption of all things peaceful-Minnie.  The puppy that I just had to have 2 years ago has been both joy and frustration.  As it turns out, God has used her in our lives in many ways, the largest being she alerts us if our son has  a seizure which has been sure to outweigh all the other ways she is used to teach us pesky lessons in patience.  So this morning as she came to me with her barking self to interrupt my time reading the Bible, I thought, "She is bad!".
Her incessant barking would only be relieved if I took her on a walk, so out we went.  We walked down the long gravel drive, and something sweet happened, I became still.  The sun was warming my shoulders and slowly I looked up to finally notice the clear, blue sky.  The breeze whipped around me, grabbed a curl from my hair and placed it in front of my eyes.  "I numbered those".
 I remain still as His still, small voice speaks to my soul.  All the worry that had wanted to seal me up in my house was releasing from my fingertips.  I squinted up at the warm sun and remembered that I serve a God who is so holy that we can't even look at him, but he sent his Son to pay for our sins and make us holy so we can be his children and come into his presence.  I feel that breeze again and remember more words from the Word that tell us we don't see the wind, but feel its effects.  We feel God's presence when we do this one simple thing: Be still and know that He is God.
The being still is a challenge.  We are hurried about with schedules, and burdens so heavy our strongest attempts are broken when we try to carry them.  We need to let our minds be still to have the time to KNOW that he is God.  What does that even mean?  As I stood in the yard between open field and life teeming woods, I watched my two dogs rest in the grass.  My mind needs those kind of" dog in the grass moments."  Just resting in my shepherd who leads me beside still waters, into green, soul feasting pastures in order to restore my soul.
At that point I wanted to stay outside and look at all of creation, soaring above and crawling below, but life does have timelines.  I began to walk towards the house and I'm thankful.  Thankful for the persistence of the little pooch who got me to go on a short walk, for the God who created this beautiful world, yet knows the intricate details of my life-of all of our lives.   My mind will not remain "still" for long today, but I return to those "moving" moments with a revived spirit.  I walked through the door with a mortal mind that can't bring peace on earth, but a heart that can rest in the God who can and who will.
-Melissa Pyle
Looking for an encouraging word? Read the Psalms today.  There are so many great verses that I couldn't decide which one to list.  Just start with the first chapter and work your way through.  You will be changed and strengthened.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Pyle of Perfect Imperfection

I've been brewing up some ideas of organization again! Oh, no, right?  Well, at least that's what my inner voice is telling me.  Well, this time is going to be different.  Wait, I've said that before, but really, it is, not because of who I am, but because of who I am in Christ.  You may be confused with that concept, but hang on, explanation will follow.
In a world where so much can be conjured up to look like perfection and painted to be posted in order to receive the most likes, shares, comments, etc.  We have even more pressure to be perfect and we all know the ugly truth: It's not possible!   So we try.  We work on being the best at everything and the truth is we are fortunate to be the best at just one category in life. When we fail we fall hard on our faces, at least I know from past efforts that when I didn't attain perfection I would beat myself up internally.
Carrying experience as my map, I know that any attempt at something new will be a challenge. So my quest to organize my life a little more and my laundry room (aka the ultimate catch all room) has been on my heart for months.  That voice of projects past keeps haunting me with the, "You've tried this before and it ends up the same, so don't embarrass yourself again!"
Yet, this time I've started by being still...with prayer for wisdom from the God of all things organized.  This time I am taking small steps and not getting burned out.  This time I realize that if I fail (which in this human state is plausible), I'm not a horrible person, but I am a person.  I am just flesh and blood, not a god.God is perfect and is willing to help me.  The Bible clearly states that if we ask God for wisdom He will gladly gift it to us.  If we just humble ourselves and ask.

Humility, a foreign concept. NO PRIDE ALLOWED in that location.

So, my journey to a little more sanity continues.  I have taken a few steps to conquer the pile of papers needed to be filed, the "yard sale" wanna-be pile that will never be, the well, fill in the blank it's probably in that room.   It's safe to assume that my last name, Pyle, was an appropriate choice.
So after praying for organizational wisdom to tame this ADD mind, I find a verse: Proverbs 16:3 that states, "Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established". Some versions say your plans will succeed.
Wow, I can succeed!  Well, I AM not capable of success in an area I struggle with, but if we consecrate even our lowest task to God we will succeed. Not because of ourselves, but because he is working in us. He is perfecting us.   Even in our ADD brain he can bring focus, but leave us just enough "UN-focus" to keep us funny, creative, and humble.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness.   We have to let go of that basic selfish need of perfection, which is really a heart full of pride, wanting to be worshiped and admit we need help.  Let go of pride in every form.  
For when we are humble enough to say, "I AM NOT PERFECT!" we can be free to: forgive because we've been forgiven of our sin filled imperfection, be patient because we know a loving God who is incessantly patient with us, laugh out loud at our silly slip ups and senior moments (which is always awkward when you aren't even 40), be honest with ourselves and others about our imperfections which frees others to be comfortable in their own skin and finally,  most importantly, we can love unconditionally when we let the love of a perfect Christ shine through us!  I'm overwhelmed, not by the task ahead, but by the amazing love of a personal God and Savior who would teach all this just because I took the time to ask and be still. I can do this! You can tackle whatever is ahead of you because He is God of the paper pile and every other piece of crazy in our lives.  Start by being still and knowing Him.

-Melissa Pyle

Sit Still and Be Quiet!

Two things children are known for being unable to do: wait patiently and be silent.   Those two things are nearly impossible for childr...