Saturday, October 22, 2011

Savor the Season

Fall is my favorite time of year--and nothing brings peace to my soul quite like an Indian Summer.  Technically (and according to Wikipedia), "The modern use of the term is when the weather is sunny and clear, and above 21 °C (70 °F), after there has been a sharp frost; a period normally associated with late-October to mid-November."  Indian Summer is a time of surprise--something pleasantly unexpected reveals itself just when all seemed lost.

When I was younger, fall meant football games, bonfires, and wearing my favorite outfit of all-time: a giant t-shirt, jeans, and Birkenstocks (yes, I am a 90's girl).  My main goals were to keep my friendships intact, get fairly good grades, and stay true to my Christianity without becoming a "Bible Thumper".  Holidays meant either getting in the car or having extended family come over;  my mom & dad told us the plan and the 4 of us kids were along for the ride.  In all honesty, holidays were a fairly stress-free aspect of my life.

Flash forward to adulthood--oftentimes, Indian Summer seems to be the calm before the storm--"What our the plans for Thanksgiving?"  "Did we spend last year with your parents or mine?" "How many people do I have to buy Christmas presents for?"  "Uggh...Christmas is on a Sunday this year??"  I have to check my motives--am I truly appreciating fall, or am I dreading what is to come?

God has given us the seasons not to be a time of worry, but rather as opportunities to remember His awesome, amazing power.  My goal today is to savor these beautiful days from God and be thankful He created fall with me in mind.  My goal tomorrow?  To rest fully in the Lord so I can see Him revealed in pleasant, unexpected ways.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's Time to Acknowledge the Holy Spirit

In August, I stumbled right into a job I never expected---assistant to Christian author & speaker Brenda Garrison.  God has not only let me quickly build a wonderful friendship with Brenda, but has given me the opportunity to write a monthly piece for her newsletter!  I wrote the following article for her September newsletter.  I have to admit--it's hard for the "witty & always-trying-to-be-clever" side of me to post my 'Christian article' onto my blog.  But you know what?  That's the only way to display who I truly am.  And, I'd love for family & friends to read words of encouragement from Brenda each month.  You can sign up for the monthly newsletter via her website,
"I just had to write and tell you thank you for listening to the Spirit. Hayley showed me the note you wrote her.  It was so encouraging to her...and to me.  Our God is so faithful. Today, His Spirit quickened you to write such a thoughtful, life-giving note to her."

Eight months ago, my sister-in-law sent me an email that included the above paragraph.  I will be honest--I didn't deserve the glowing accolades.  I had written my niece because I wanted to write.  Because I couldn't quit thinking about her.  Because my heart and mind were full of tenderness for the "stuck-in-the-middle" child.  Here she was, watching a sister get ready to head off to college, a brother participating in a national singing competition, and nothing in her life was changing.  Why wouldn't I have written?  I had done what I desired--how could my simple note have such a spiritual impact?

I wrestle with the concept--the Biblical truth--that God can and will use ME for His glory.  It is so easy to look around and see women that "deserve" to be used by God.  I think I'm the only one oblivious of the Holy Spirit's promptings.  The friend I need to call.  The daughter I should take out to breakfast.  Could my 'to do' list actually be God's list?
  • What if I tackled each tug at my heart with a weighing of whether or not the Holy Spirit might be trying to get my attention?
  • How much more could God use me for His glory if I worked with the Holy Spirit rather than remain a clueless vessel?
God does everything for good.  Even when I'm not paying attention.

John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."