Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Deo Volente

Funny how you plan your day to go one way and God has a way of changing that plan, midstream.  "The best laid scheme's of mice and men gang aft agley" as the Scottish Poet says.

My best laid schemes were as follows: Up at 7, breakfast, change, drive to the Bull City, tutor my darling students, home, call my JDear (most beloved husband) as he drives to work, eat a sandwich, dishes, clean the whole house, print directions, run errands, deposit checks, eat dinner, make bread, pack for our little vacation, and then bed at 10.  And all that was pretty much shot to pieces once I came home and found JDear still home!  Rapture! Lunch was wonderful and spent with him and then I was able to kiss him off to work and of course trip merrily on to the rest of my day.  EEEEeyyyyyyeeeaaahhhhhhhhnnnnnoooooooooo.

The house was not cleaned, bread was not baked, errands were not run, etc. partly because I was lazy and spent entirely too much time on the Book of Face and partly because other things happened.  Namely, I went to Mum's to help her sew, thinking that it would only be an hour or two out of my day and she needed help making half a dozen white opera ties for my sister's play and I had an hour or two to spare.  Only, we ended up at the stage (where said play was to be performed) and opera ties morphed into pinning and sewing and tacking and pressing and organizing and talking and trying desperately NOT to watch the play rehearsals (especially when I'm going to see it in full (hopefully twice) on Saturday) (wow double parenthetical statements!).  And one hour morphed into five.  And I could have easily stayed there LONGER if I hadn't forced myself to go home and try to salvage some of my plans.

Home I went to pack and print and clean dishes and wipe down the kitchen and then realize that there was NO breakfast food to be had in the house and then make some oatmeal and now blog while I wait for it to be done.

The best laid schemes, the poet says, gang aft agley, an'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, for promis'd joy!  Its funny, for in searching for this little quote (to get the spelling right), I read the entire poem (which you can find here: To A Mouse) and was struck by the last stanza.  

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e.
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

Robert Burns had hit a mouse's nest and wrote a long lament about destroying her home and then ended with a little sigh about his own life.  The mouse had lost in an instant everything she held dear, but, Burns thinks, is better off because she has no sense of time.  She will not remember this with sorrow nor will she worry about her future.  Burns, on the other hand, does both.  

I think on how many laments I have uttered over wasted time, wasted days, wasted words, and then how many worries I have over future circumstances and things I cannot control.  My best laid schemes often go off the beaten path, but that is because a Merciful and Sovereign God directs it so.  Today, my own desires to clean and pack and so on were subverted because my Mum needed more help.  God knew.  And He knew that I would have enough time to get the essential things done as well.  So even though I did not do everything I planned, I did get everything done that I needed, which is better.  

In the end, I do not have to worry the way that Burns does.  I can make my plans, and submit them to God, and trust that what needs to be done will be done and what doesn't need to won't.  James 4 says: 13Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"— 14yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." 16As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

Oh Lord, keep me from such arrogant boasting that would seek to place my will above yours.  Let me begin each day with the humility to say "Deo Volente!" with all my heart.  And let me be joyfully subject to your Will.  Thank you for today!  

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oh Lord, Use This Little Blog...

I've done journaling before; for years, in fact.  There is nothing like a blank piece of paper to pour out and organize my thoughts before God.  I have countless spiral bound journals sitting on my shelf that chronicle the many sins and the Mighty Savior I have experienced since 5th grade, when Mom gave me an "Anne of Green Gables" journal.  (Confession: I REALLY don't like that book, but I did love that journal.) I learned that sometimes it is easier to cry out to God on paper (rather than in my jumbled up head) and there is wisdom to be gained in retaining those heart-cries to review later.  How many times have I gone through yet another bout with despair, only to pull open one of those spiral bound journals and see the Faithful Hand of Jesus leading me through?  Journaling is useful.

Then one would wonder, why switch to a blog if paper works so well?  And I believe I would answer: Novelty. Blogging isn't exactly "new" to me.  I had a blog on Xanga (does anybody remember Xanga?) back when everybody and their grandmother had a blog, a Myspace account, a thick-chunky-1-gig iPod, and only college students could get on Facebook.  But, I have not blogged in a long time and there is something novel about typing out my journals rather than writing them.  I think that novelty can be used for good.  It is a jump-start, a fresh perspective, and believe me, I need one.  I am hoping (and greatly praying) that God will use this little blog to help me get back to a place of worshipful daily dependence on Him, and that, if any one reads this, they would gain from my experience.

I end this first entry with "Jesus, My Glory" from The Valley of Vision, that wonderful journal of Puritan saints.
Oh Lord God
Thou hast commanded me to believe in Jesus and I would fly to no other refuge,
Wash in no other fountain, build on no other foundation, receive from no other fullness, rest in no other relief.
His water and blood were not severed in their flow at the cross, may they never be separated in my creed and experience.
May I be equally convinced of the guilt and pollution of my sin, feel my need of a prince and a savior, implore of Him repentance as well as forgiveness, love His holiness, be pure in heart, have the mind of Jesus and tread in His steps.
Let me not be at my own disposal, but rejoice that I am under the care of One who is too wise to err, to kind to injure, to tender to crush.
May I scandalize none by my temper and my conduct but recommend and endear Christ to all around, bestow good on every one as circumstances permit, and decline no opportunity of usefulness.
Grant that I may value my substance, not as the medium of pride and luxury, but as the means of my support and stewardship.
Help me to guide my affections with discretion, to owe no man anything, to be able to give to him that needeth, to feel it my duty and pleasure to be merciful and to show the world the likeness of Jesus.