Digging Out

As much as I complain about winter and snow, there is something cathartic about digging out a pathway through the snow. I usually start out alone, clearing the dusty snow as it falls, hoping to stay ahead of the storm. I will go back at it over and over. My daughter shakes her head at me wondering why I don’t just wait until the snow stops. I tell her it is because it will be too much to do all at once and it is better to clear away a little at a time. Eventually she will join me outside and together we clear the snow away in half the time it took me. And usually there are snowballs involved and much more laughter than when I am alone with my deep thoughts.

Sometimes I think my walk with Jesus is like that. I am digging out and trying to make the right choices on my own. I keep going back at my problem area and trying to figure out how to get out of the latest mess, only to find the path covered up again and myself set on repeat. As I have said, I tend to be a slow learner which is Maggiespeak for “stubborn” or “self-willed.” If I say that I trust in the Lord then why do I not trust in the way that he shows me? Why do I insist on doing it my way? Why am I so afraid of accepting guidance or assistance?

My personal focus these days is on my financial situation. Because I made decisions about the path I would take—one that made it look like I was affording to live the upper middleclass life in DC—I am now drowning in debt. Over the years I made some bad choices about where to live and how much I could afford to spend. I put myself in situations that were too costly, hoping that if I had enough stuff surrounding me I could avoid the pain inside and appear to be successful just like everyone else. And it was working—for everyone but me.

Today I am digging out again but this time I am doing it with guidance from God through others. And it is HARD!! I am getting better at giving back to God what is his. I am better at giving of my time to help others. I am better at reading the Bible and learning more about these principles I hold so dear. I am sitting in a small condo/apartment having given most of my old stuff away to people who actually needed it. I am living on cash only and saying “no,” even when my mind says: “buy it, it will be ok.” His path; not my path. His guidance; not my desires. Slowly I am seeing the light. Slowly the snow is not covering up my mistakes and I am resting for longer periods. Slowly God is turning my life around once again. Little by little the path is clearing. I’ll let you know how it goes but I am thinking this time the path may just stay clear ahead.

Show me the path where I should walk, O, Lord; point out the right road for me to follow.

Psalm 25:4 New Living Testament

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Back to Basics

I grew up in Germany and lived in an apartment complex with hundreds of other military and government families.There was nothing fancy about it. Most of the furniture was government issued. We had a small storage unit for Christmas decorations and our bikes. Everyone knew everyone in their building and most of the complex. There were few secrets kept and we learned to share the bitter and glorious moments of life together. We were neighbors and friends for as long as we lived there.

Over the years I have had much and lost much. I left home right after high school and soon found myself living on the street. I lived with family for many years, nestled safely under their protective umbrellas. I married more than once in hopes of finding contentment and security. And recently, I gave it all away and came to settle back to the way I grew up. Living the simple life, in a small apartment with a balcony where God feeds my soul everyday that I am willing to meet with him. I have little and yet oh so much!

In Galatians 4: 1-7 Paul talks about us being slaves and the things to which we can become a slave. For many years, I was a slave to proving I was something worthy of notice. I was the invisible kid who never seemed to get it right. I thought that the more I had the more I proved my worth and value to my family, and to people I didn’t even know. I made some serious mistakes. I hurt some people in the process. And once I let go of the chains that captured me, I lost it all. And then I found it all!

I have found freedom in  the words of the Bible. I have found freedom in the stories others have shared about their journeys. I have found a new simple and happy life following the principles Jesus and his disciples shared with mankind. I am far from done with this new place God has set me, but sitting on my balcony this morning, watching the clouds move through, I have hope that I am finally back to basics and free of my old way of thinking.

“Because we are his children god has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out ‘Abba, Father.’ Now we are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, god has made you his heir.” Galatians 4: 6-7