Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion March 21, 2018

By no means is this Midweek Devotion designed to besmirch my sainted husband.  Even though there might be a moment where you may think that is what happening, that is not what is happening - as in a lot of things we need to look at the bigger picture and figure that the details are for the purpose of making a bigger point so the little things may not be what they appear to be on the surface.
After all the sainted husband has made more crosses for me over the years than we can ever conceivably count.  I image that with the coming of each new church season the sainted husband spends a moment sitting in his recliner with the message going through the back of his head - “I wonder what kind of cross I am going to have to put together for this church season…..”.  This is of course after many many years of my coming to the sainted husband saying - “I need a cross that……” and then I follow with either a description of what that cross may have to do or what the cross may have to look like.  Sometimes it is the size of the cross that is an issue or the materials out of which it is made because over the years I have had many crosses that have fulfilled a variety of functions.
So far this Lent the sainted husband has made me three crosses all with different functions.  He made a cross out of pieces of wood we scavenged from the woods behind my house and a cross made of scrap wood for people to pound nails into (this took more engineering than one might think because as the cross lays on the table we needed to be sure people didn’t pound nails through the cross and into the table…. see this cross building can become quite complicated!) And he made me a cross out of pegboard so that people could put little rolled up bible verses in the holes.  Maybe we need to start a new business - Cross-R-Us....
So after this quite intensive season of cross building the last thing I want to do is say anything negative against the sainted husband - mainly because another season of the church year will come along and I will probably need more crosses….
And you know it hasn’t always been crosses.  There have been many times when I have asked him to build stuff where he looks at me with this stare which says volumes about what he is thinking about this new idea that I want him to put together.  One time it was a giant whale that I wanted big enough for for the kids at bible school to go in and eat their snack…. he accomplished that one (I have always wondered what ever happened to that giant whale.  The way I drag things along with me every time I move I’m surprised I don’t still have it somewhere!).  Admittedly sometimes he slows me down and says to me, “That is impossible” and even though I argue with them he is usually right.
So no matter what I say after this -  know that I am not going to bite the hand that feeds me retranslated to ‘insult the person who builds crosses and other things for me’ even though he plays a large part in this narration.
Today was one of those days where I had several things I needed to accomplish and many of those things required tools to put items together.  Some of those were actually crosses but I was making them out of foam board so I could handle those.  There were other items I needed to assemble and so as I began to plan out my day and gather the things I needed I went to the cabinet.
Now - a little background is needed here.  When we first moved into our current house my sainted husband was still living in our previous house in another state and one of the things you learn about living on your own is that there are things you need in order to be able to take care of yourself since there is no sainted husband in the house to take care of some of the chores you will need to do and he would have done them had he been there.
So what I did was assemble for myself a little basket with the few tools to do the things I would need to do on my own and the sainted husband would not be here to do.  My little basket had 2 screw drivers - a regular and a phillips (I impress myself that I even know these names); I had a hammer and a box cutter - because box cutters can be the most handy tool you own in this day of miracle plastic surrounding everything.
This morning as I was figuring out what I was going to need to finish the few projects left for me to finish I knew that I was going to need my box cutter and my hammer.  I went to the cabinet where I had stored this little personal tool kit and there was my basket.  I pulled it out and looked inside and there were a handful of screws, a used tube of super glue, some furniture pads (you know those things you glue on the feet of your furniture so they will scoot easily) which I never even knew we had and a drill bit.  
Now I have no witness to this act, but I am pretty sure the sainted husband has been in my basket because he is the only other one who lives in the house and these random items seem likely to have been abandoned by him. While the evidence is circumstantial, I can pretty well say with confidence that the sainted husband has borrowed the tools from my little tool basket - and who knows why because he has an entire out building full of tools - multiples of every type of tool that you can envision - and the sainted husband who after borrowing the sacred wife tools did not return them but instead returned left overs from various other projects he was doing….. 
Needless to say I was tooless to do my projects.
But you know no matter how many times we go to God for what we need, we will never be left empty.  No matter how many times we go to God we will find the tools we need - now I will admit they may not always be the tools we wanted or the tools we thought we needed - but they will be the tools God knows we need and after all he is a bit smarter than are…..
Never do we have to worry about being empty handed - our God will always fill our basket with what we need right when we need it and sufficient enough to do what he has called us to do!

Devotion March 14, 2018

I have been doing these Midweek Devotions for the last 12 years.  I have a hard time even realizing it has been that long!  I remember when they first started.  I had just quit my job because God kept telling me I needed to quit my job and I kept arguing that I couldn’t quit my job but I knew in the back of my head I needed to quit my job. 
While I enjoyed what I was doing - I was the director of the Medical Program and teaching classes at a local college but there were situations with that job that had changed and it had become very stressful and it wasn’t until after I had finally quit the job that I came to understand how truly stressed I had become.  
I had for the last several years before this admittedly had become extremely overworked.  Finances being what they were I worked full time for the school and served two churches on Sundays that were 1 hr and a half from where I lived and on the side taught computer classes for a workforce development program where I would go into businesses with a case of laptops and teach employees basic computer use because it was a time when businesses were switching to computers and the staff were generally computer illiterate.  This was pretty stressful too because it generally was a bunch of people who were told they had to switch work they had been doing for years to a computer and they weren’t thrilled about it and I think they thought if they never learned how to use the computer they wouldn’t have to change - so the challenge was real!
So this crazy life went on for several years and I had a family at the same time but in the course of these years children began to drift away to college and life and it was just be and my husband. The computer work had dried up because after several years people had finally adjusted and adapted and were using their computers and then God comes along and tells me to quit my full time job and not to worry and all would be well…….
But I did and so now I went from working all the time and taking care of a family to waking up in the morning and it was just me and the dog.  And the dog loved it.  We got into a routine.  My husband would leave for work, I would get a cup of coffee and the dog and I would go up to my office which was on the 2nd floor.  It was a good office - an old sun porch with windows on three sides.  My husband had built me a big desk and I had a nice desk chair and a great view (which wasn’t always a good thing…).
My dog and I got into such a routine that the dog would actually lead me up to my office each morning and if I actually had something else to do he was really irritated and wasn’t shy about letting me know it!
So what does all this have to do with my Midweek Devotion? 
Well, when one goes from working all the time to just (I don’t mean ‘just’ in a bad way but it was quite the reduction in work load)
serving two churches part time one feels this need to fill the time.  
So I think what can I do to fill the time and one of the things I decided to do was to start writing Midweek Devotions and send it by email to the church members in the two churches I served.  And that is how it came to be.  
12 years ago - quite amazing.  
Now the issue with these Devotions is that each week I go through this panic.  Obviously there needs to be something to include in the devotion - something I can use as an example.  Each week about Tuesday morning I start thinking…. and usually by Tuesday evening I am still thinking and I get worried because I am convinced that nothing is going to pop in my head and there is going to be a void and I will be completely stressed because nothing is there and that is when the panic begins to set in and I have a hard time sleeping Tuesday night because I know that I am going to have to wake up on Wednesday morning and go to my office and try to write something and there is nothing there and what am I going to do…..
And every week as I sit down at my desk and click up my ‘sheet’ of paper and take a deep breath and the idea comes (and you know of course where the idea comes from) and then you get mad at yourself because you know that you go through this same routine every week and you would think that I would learn…..
But like most of us - I am stubborn.  I still work under the wrong assumption that I will need to come up with something on my own and that there will be nothing there and I forget that every week as I go through this ridiculous panic that God always comes through and there is always something there even if it is just writing about writing about the Midweek Devotion that I am writing about.
Here is one of those instances where I will say to you - Do as I say not as I do!  Don’t do what I do but know that no matter what God leads you to do God is very aware of what you need to do and God will always come through.  And I don’t know why I (and I’m sure many of you) cannot learn that!  
I’m getting better.  I know in my heart that God will help me with this because he always does and he always has and I have no reason to believe that he won’t anymore. 
So know, know  that if God calls you to do something, God will guide you through it.  He may not make it easy, but he will always 
come through.
Praise God!  He came through again…….