Sunday, March 1, 2015

Challenge Completed

If the dear reader will remember, for the month of February I had challenged myself to look daily for God in the details of my life. I believe that, for the most part, I was able to successfully meet the obligations of that challenge. The result is that I have developed deeper feelings of gratitude and appreciation of  my Heavenly Father. I truly believe that He is with me at all times and will work to direct my path for good.

Now, there were times during this challenge where it was easy to see God in the details. At other times, it was only after further reflection did I notice that God had had His hand in that situation. I am grateful for the growth that occurred in me as I learned to pause, notice, and reflect on Heavenly Father's omnipresence in my life.

At the beginning of the month there were two very obvious examples of God blessing me. And they just happened to coincide with each other. The first Wednesday in February I felt myself getting sick. I was afraid that it was going to be the flu that was going around through my work place. I stayed home Wednesday to rest. When I woke up Thursday I felt a little better so I went to work. I wasn't at work for long when I noticed that I was feeling a little warm. I took my temperature and lo and behold a fever. I sent myself home.

I was beginning to panic a bit because my niece was being baptized on that Saturday. I was supposed to leave on Friday to ride down to Utah with my parents. Here is where God stepped in. My fever broke. I still had an ugly sounding cough but the other symptoms had cleared. I was able to attend Maddie's baptism. Being with family always helps me see God in the details.

In February I was also blessed to see God in the details in a couple of different work situations. In both cases, it was only after reflection that I realized how God had blessed me. The first occurrence was when I had the opportunity to travel over to our state capital to participate in a press conference with our governor. The travel required a flight. I was preparing some remarks during the flight. The guy sitting next to me noticed what I was doing and asked about it. I explained that I was on my way to our capital to advocate on behalf of school-aged children. The governor was seeking to restrict access to e-cigarettes and other vaping devices to minors. The governor wanted a school nurse on the panel and I was the one who, from our statewide association, was selected to go. As we were deplaning the guy said to me, "You are the coolest school nurse I've met. I can't picture any school nurses from where I grew up doing something like you are going to do today." I didn't think much of that comment then, other than that was an awesome thing to say. But as I have reflected more on that comment, particularly the last line about other not stepping up, I can see how that comment has been a blessing to me.

The second work instance happened during a conversation with a teacher. I was wearing my "union" hat at that time. The teacher had some contract concerns and was feeling unsupported by the administration. As we were conversing and troubleshooting, she stopped me in the middle of my conversation to say, "You know, for someone who has never taught in a classroom, you really get it. I so appreciate your insights." Again, initially I did not think much of the comment. And again, after thinking on it more, I was able to see God's presence in that comment. It was a special moment as I realized that those "insights" are manifestations of the gift of discernment and a blessing from my Heavenly Father.

February was a special month. I'm grateful that I decided to challenge myself to look for God in the details of my life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Blogging the Details

A few months ago a friend asked me why I was blogging. She is a fellow blogger, has lost a little motivation for blogging, and was probably seeking an inspiring response. What she got was a stammering, "Um, well, um. I don't know. I guess to keep family members caught up with what is going on with us." I'm pretty sure that was not the motivating answer she was looking for.

I've reflected many times over the past months about that question. I think this month has really put this thought in my head as I have been looking for God in the details of my life. Certainly having that as my focus has made me more aware of all the many ways God is with me throughout the day. I have seen His hand in every aspect of my life. And the results have definitely been a more grateful attitude on my part. So one of the reasons I am blogging (at least for this month) is to publically acknowledge how I am seeing God in the details.

But I also realized that I am blogging for the simple reason that I want to remember the details. Now that my children are grown and mostly not living at home, I find myself reflecting back on their growing up time. During those times of reflection, I feel like I am missing details. How could I not remember? Was I so caught up in the day to day that I forgot to lock in the memories? Was I always looking forward and forgetting to stay in the present?

I don't want to look back in another 18 years and feel like I was again missing details. Remembering the details through blogging, that's my biggest motivation these days for blogging.

I want to remember conversations such as the one we had the other night when Carson was home for the weekend. It went like this:

Me to Carson as we are eating dinner before taking him back to school: "I really like it when you are home."

Carson: "I like it too. Sometimes I just can't stand being around those people any longer."

Dave immediately points to me, doesn't say a thing, but I know exactly what he is thinking. I sheepishly own that Carson's need for intermittent social isolation is a learned behavior that I am responsible for.

Or this conversation I had last night with my Grandpa Wight. He was calling to find out how long my parents are visiting the sites in Egypt.

-Grandpa: "So how are the kids?"
I tell him how Katelyn's mission is going and where Carson is attending school.
-Grandpa: "Sounds like they are doing well. So now it's just you and Dave chasing each other around the house."
-Me, giggling: "Well on occasion."
-Grandpa: "That's good. You two take care of each other."

And I don't want to forget Dave's blushing as I told him that Grandpa asked if we were chasing each other around the house and my reply.

Those are the kind of details that I want to remember through blogging because I am afraid I will forget them if I don't write them down.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

God Can be With Us in Our Dreams

Throughout the bible there are examples of God teaching through dreams.
Joseph and Daniel in the Old Testament are well-known for their dreams.
But I'm not an Old Testament prophet
and God does not typically instruct me through my dreams.
However, for the past two nights I believe He has spoken to me through my dreams.
The instruction wasn't anything new or revolutionary.
It was simply about taking care of my friendships.
Actually one friendship in particular.
The dreams instructed me to be more present for that friend.
Even if it means putting some other friendships on the back burner for a short while.
That's always a tricky balance...
Spending more time with one friend over another.
I wish there had been some instruction on how to do that
And on how to explain the situation to the friends who may seem to be getting shorted.
But I guess if I was instructed in all things...
There would be no growing on my part.
I'm grateful that in this instance God was able to reach me through my dreams.
I'm sure He had tried other avenues, but I was too busy to notice those details.
God can be with us in all of the details of our lives.
Including our dreams.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

God Strengthens and Uplifts

My good friend's father is fighting cancer.
I don't think the battle is going too well.
The days are rough.
He is tired.
His wife keeps everyone up-dated through Facebook.
From what I read, they remain faithful that God is with them.
They recognize His hand in all of the details.
Today He was with them in guiding their devotional reading.
He was with the pre-op nurse who heard the phrase:
"If I don't make it, I'll see you in heaven"
and she offered to pray with them before his surgery.
He was with the surgeon who took out the tangled, messed up feeding tube
and replaced it with a new one.
The faith of my friend, her father, and her mother strengthens my faith.
They walk daily by faith.
And through their faith, see God in all of the details.
They have confidence that the outcome, whatever it may be, will be well with God
because He has guided them through this journey.

Monday, February 2, 2015

He is with Me in Every-day Tasks

I was wondering where I would find God today in the details of my life. I woke up this morning thinking about it. I know that He is with me always, but some days my life and the tasks of daily living are just mundane. How would I find Him in those mundane tasks?

Today was full of mundane tasks, lots of paperwork in particular. I think filling out paperwork and immunization requirement notifications are some of my least favorite, but necessary duties of my job. So there I was at my desk, listening to Pandora, and filling out immunization notices when I realized that I wasn't hating the task as much as I usually do.

And BAM! There it was. I found God in those mundane details. He had changed my attitude about the paperwork. Not only that, I was able to complete the task all the while I was managing a very busy health room.

That, my friends, was a true blessing.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Today He Was With Me in...

The hymns that we sang during sacrament meeting.
The little voices of five 3 year olds as they sang "I Am a Child of God".
"This Land is Your Land" that was played as a backdrop for a Super Bowl commercial
that displayed the beauty of the earth created for us.
Each song bore witness to me of God's love and presence in my life.
Yes, even the Super Bowl commercial.
How grateful I am that music can speak to my soul.
When I am feeling stressed or down I often turn to music for relief and renewal.
God is with me in the details of the notes, melodies, and words.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

He Was in the Wind, the Clouds, and in Me

This is a picture of me finishing the Wenatchee Marathon this past spring. It was my first (and so far, only) marathon. I had spent months carefully training for the race. I practiced tempo runs, speed work, long runs. I worked hard to find a nutrition regimen that would carry me through those 26.2 miles. The weeks of training went well and I felt prepared and ready when race day came.

The race started pretty well, but at mile 10 things started to go poorly. I got sick at mile 10. My nutrition regimen that had worked so well on all of my long training runs was no upsetting my stomach. I began to panic about how in the world I was going to finish the race without gels, sports drink and water. When we passed the finish line at the 13.1 mile marker I considered stopping. I was feeling that bad. But as I was running I was praying that I might find it within me to finish this race and meet my goal of finishing.

Slowly I began to realize how God was with me that day. He was in the clouds that covered the sun just as I was beginning to feel like I was overheating. He was in the wind that seemed to be to my advantage every time I needed an extra push. He was in David as he cheered me on and helped me believe that I could finish the race.

And God was in me. He was with me as I passed the 13.1 mile marker and propelled me just one step passed it. With that one step I said to myself, "Well, you're in it now. You've passed the finish line and so now you must continue on until you come to it again."*

People often say that running is a spiritual experience. I think it is usually said when things are going well and they reach that runner's high. I discovered that even when things are falling apart and the run is absolutely miserable, God can still be found. I just had to look and acknowledge His hand in guiding me. The signs may not always be obvious, but they are there. He will never leave us alone.

Remember that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phillipians 4:13)

*The marathon course was a double loop, requiring us to pass the finish line at the 6.1 and 13.1 mile markers.