Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Monday, June 20, 2011

Taking One Step at a Time With the Holy Spirit

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"When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead. No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress. We cannot take more than one step at a time." ~ Orison Swett Marden

Because of the VBS Program last week, BPC celebrated Pentecost yesterday morning.

Yes, we celebrated the birthday of the church one week late, and when I left, the ceiling was still intact!

Having a sense of
self confidence, in the correct
amount is not a bad thing!
As we approached the Prayer of Confession, a part of reformed worship, I said that sometimes we pat ourselves on the back for planning and implementing a great Vacation Bible School, Children's Program, Turkey Dinner, Mission Endeavor...and we forget that it is the Holy Spirit, working within, between, and through us that is actually the reason for an accomplishment.  We forget that it is the Holy Spirit who gives us vision and dreams.  We forget it is the Holy Spirit who walks alongside us.

I was speaking from experience. There have been times in my own life that I felt prideful of the way I organized and created events, managed a large hog operation, raised money for a local charity... Often, I was working on several projects at a time and as soon as one was finished, I was on to something else.  And then....I was brought to my knees following a horrific car accident. In my "littleness", as Macrina writes, I found the true source of my strength.  I found the source of my perseverance that saw me through months of rehab.  I found the source of my inner spirit as I began working to create a new me.

One thing I have begun to appreciate is that the Holy Spirit works through all kind of media! I have discovered the Good News of the Gospel within movies, comics, stories, and videos.  Because, you know what! Not everyone listens to Christian radio, goes to church, or tunes in for a weekly sermon by a TV pastor! Actually, Spirit is pretty sneaky how and where she shows up!

Earlier last week, sitting in a local restaurant, I heard this song coming from a young woman's iPod.  I couldn't make out all the words, but I witnessed her smile. In a daring moment, that is VERY uncharacteristic of me, I asked her about the song and I was introduced to Jordin Sparks. The young woman, Jennifer, explained how she had gone through a difficult time and listening to this song had helped her to focus on one day at a time, and to have faith in a being other than herself.

Isn't it wonderful how the amazing Spirit of God works in this world!

This doesn't really show how big
a mound of 15 yds of mulch is!
I began thinking about this "one step at a time" thing this past weekend.  I decided to post this picture and ask..."Do you know how to move 15 yards of mulch?"

My answer, "One Gator load at a time."

I worked all Saturday afternoon, with a pitch fork moving mulch from the pile, to the Gator, from the Gator to my flower beds, and then smoothing it out around my plants...only to begin again.  I filled that old Gator nine times. Working by myself, with only the sounds of nature to interrupt my thoughts, I thought a lot.  Besides thinking how hot, tired, and sweaty I was, I thought how overwhelming 15 yards of mulch can appear when I focused on the whole pile of mulch.  But, focusing on only one pitch fork swing and one Gator load at a time...little by little I managed to move about 5 yards of mulch!

As I moved that mulch, I thought how it is a lot like life. We don't expect a baby to take off running, knowing and doing all he/she needs to know and do. We nurture that baby. We celebrate each accomplishment, no matter how small.  I wondered when we begin thinking we need to move faster, know more, multi task, .... When do we lose sight of celebrating the little things? When do we lose sight of the  gift of Spirit that is born within us?

I'm glad BPC celebrated Pentecost a week late! Because we were not on the "right" schedule, and Pentecost was on my mind, I was able to reflect, dream, vision...the gift of God's Spirit and to pause and say, "ThankYou!"

Because we were not on the "right" schedule I wondered what it was like to be in that receive the Spirit and to be sent out...I spent time wondering about my own faith journey. The quote by Marden reminds me to stay present, in the NOW. ["When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead. No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress. We cannot take more than one step at a time."] 

While I don't know where this journey of faith may take me, I cannot do more than one pitchfork...or one step at a time.  When I focus on those steps in front of me, the ones I cannot see, will take care of themselves.

We had a guest organist yesterday morning for worship.  A woman, who grew up in the church, but now lives in Tennessee.  As we prepared for worship, Gaye played a wonderful old hymn, To God Be the Glory.  Listening, I thought back to the lessons of the past week and my heart cried out a silent, "AMEN!"

Andrae Crouch does a wonderful job sharing this hymn written by Fanny Crosby.

Spirit, thank you for all you do to encourage me, to empower me, to sustain me! Forgive me when I overlook your presence in my life, when I become so wrapped up in myself and my own agenda.  Spirit, all that I am....I owe to you.  I thank you and I praise you! Spirit, I ask that you help me to focus on my  Help me to celebrate the small moments when I recognize your presence within me and around me.  AMEN.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

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