Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lessons Learned from a Week of Mondays

Last week was, well, pretty crappy.  Errr...pukey.  VERY pukey.  Started on Sunday afternoon with a houseful of kiddos feeling so ill they were completely disinterested in SuperBowl snacks.  (Crazy, right?)  *sigh*  The week just "got better" from there...and even Friday brought little relief. (Though my attitude was much improved just by virtue of Fridayness.)

The good news is that I had the opportunity to prepare for half-times at Saturday's Upward Basketball games.  I got a little tired of listening to myself whine.  (OK, a LOT!)  So I decided to see if I could tie a week of Mondays to Valentine's Day and the Universe's Ultimate Valentine.  Rather, I tuned into some major Divine prodding...and this is the result, which I shared (in random iterations) during half-times on this last Saturday.   I was incredibly blessed by the opportunity to share these thoughts with the Upward families.  After a few requests for the write-up, I thought I'd share here on my blog:
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…anyone know what Tuesday is??  (Valentine’s Day)
Anyone here hoping for one of those BIG mushy, flowery cards cut in the shape of a heart?  Maybe some flowers?  A box of chocolates?  A stuffed animal?  Got big plans for a romantic night out?

No plans?  Going through a dry spell or a loss? 

Well, I’m not trying to be a wet blanket here, but, well, get ready for disappointment.  What if the card isn’t mushy enough? The flowers wilty the chocolates all those weird nutty ones?  What if you are alone? What if the stuffed animal isn’t big & fluffy enough? 

Don’t worry!!  No need to turn into a Valentine's Day Protester…you’ve got a chance to get to know the best Valentine EVER.  You could even say the Universe's Ultimate Valentine!!  In the Psalms, we are told:  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him (Psalm 103:11). 

I don’t know about you, but I have no CLUE exactly how high the heavens are above the earth, so I’m just going with “that’s a really long way.”  And let's assume that I've accepted the reality of God's love for me. But I'm a people.  And people need reassurance sometimes. So, just how do I know?  How does He show it?  (I'm hearing that song from the movie "Enchanted" in my head right now!)  Just ask Him!!!…later in the Psalms, we find out that David did just that!  In Psalm 143:8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Have you ever had one of THOSE weeks?  The kind where you muddle through, praying for Friday?   Well, long about Monday #3, I got pretty sick of wallowing in myself. So, I went looking for encouragement this week and I found it in a rather odd place—the book of Lamentations.  YUP, Lamentations!! (Okay, I'll admit that I usually skip that one--right up there with Leviticus!)

Lam 3:32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.
Lam 3:22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

So there you go… God’s love is there even in a week of Mondays—and sometimes easier to spot because we need to be LOOKING for it actively.  No great big stuffed up bears fell from the sky into my arms, no M & Ms rained down on me, but rather small, unexpected moments brought Him to mind.  A few examples from my week, in retrospect:
  •   a 7 year old beastie who thanked me for cleaning up her puke (no, really!)  
  •   a surprise latte delivered straight to my desk by a thoughtful co-worker
  •  the *right* song playing on the radio at just the right time (Check out "Lift Me Up" by The Afters--GREAT song!!)
  •   a brilliant, clear 4am star filled sky and a lovely bright crescent moon on my way to work
  •   a 16 year old joining in a family Veggie Tales sing-a-long when she thought we weren’t looking
  •   And my favorite…a random conversation with my children about WHY God made a bazillion kinds of flowers instead of just one.  (I LOVE this idea!)  Think about it...He loved us soooo much that he gave us a HUGE variety of flowers, trees, what have you, knowing that, like him, we would enjoy variety.  WOW!
 Here’s what else I’ve learned this week.  God’s greatest gift of love is the Cross, true.   That kind of amazing event doesn’t happen every day…but the demonstrations of His enduring love DO! It’s not just hearts & flowers that romance us to His side.  We have His love letter—the Bible—and we have each other.

So, Upward families…a challenge for you—be on the lookout.   What Valentines did God send YOU this week?