Monday, October 31, 2011

Reflections on Yoga

In the last four months, I have learnd that I love yoga. I love going to the studio when it's dark outside, breathing deeply, listening to the plinky-plunky music as I start the week. Now, I don't really get into all of the third-eye-chakra-light-within-you parts of yoga, but I do appreciate its focus: yoga is all about strength, flexibility and balance. However strange a source yoga practic is, these have been themes in my life this year.

I have felt a desperate weakness more than once since my husband left for the desert. There is no control for military families. I can't call up the Colonels or Generals and let them know how I really feel about them taking my husband for a year, or to enlighten them on the actual benefit of their morale programs. And letting my husband know how awful it is on my side of the ocean is only advisable on occasion, because he can't do anything to change the situation either.

It is in these moments of desperate weakness that I am reminded of my El Shaddai, my All-Sufficient God, who has "said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weakness, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong," (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, New American Standard Version).

It is comforting to me to know that not only does God cover me with His strength when I am weak, but that his grace, the undeserved favor he offers me, is apparently the source of that strength. Sufficiency has as its meaning not only the idea of being enough for something, but also an element of defense, warding off that which would threaten resting in the arms of the Almighty (Strongs, 2001). I am daily being stretched beyond what I thought were my limits, constantly needing to rely on the strength of the Lord for the patience, joy and comfort to not only survive this deployment, but to enjoy the days the Lord has made.

When I was in high school, a new pastor at my church gave a sermon entitled, "Keys to Authentic Christianity". I don't remember anything from that sermon, except that he emphasized the need for believers to have "joyful flexibility" in all things. I fairly certain he was preaching through Philippians at the time, and if I had to pick a passage that represented joyful flexibility, it would be Philippians 4:11-13 (my apologies, Tim, if this is wrong):

       " Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any        and every circumstanc I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (New American Standard Version).  

I know that these circumstances of my life are teaching me the secret of being satisfied in the Lord. Not that have it down, by any stretch (ha) of the imagination, but God is faithful to complete the work He's started in me. I know I can rely on the strength of the Lord on lonely nights and fearful days. I am learning to be joyfully flexible whether my husband is home or away, whether or not my family is two minutes, to hours, or two days from me, whether I have a job or not. I know I don't sit at the controls of life.

At the end of practice, my yoga instructor leads us through easy, slow stretches. As we slowly lower into the position, she says, "Be good with where you're at." In spite of the poor grammar, it struck me as profound. Be good with where you're at - don't push beyond what you're able, but make sure you can feel the stretch.

"Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10, NIV). This is how I will truly find strength, flexibility and balance in my life.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Honey from the Rock

I chose this blog title because of a Psalm referenced in Warren Wiersbe's book, The Bumps are What You Climb On (1980). The Lord is speaking to the nation of Israel, reminding them of  who He is and what He's done for them, imploring them to listen to the Lord and follow His ways, as "with honey from the rock I would satisfy you" (Psalm 81:16b, New International Version).

It doesn't take a great theologian to understand the juxtaposition of the sweetness of honey and the painful hardness of a rock. The idea that because of His love and devotion to His people, however fickle and forgetful they were, the Lord would bring sweet blessing from hard experiences is a profound reminder to me in this season of life. Since my husband deployed eight months ago, I have experienced a pain akin to stubbing my toes on stones as I hike through the woods and twisting my ankles on rocks that litter the path. It's a constant, pulsating pain, and just as soon as one goes away, I encounter another rock. And yet, I'm reminded of the Presence of my Lord, who I truly believe will satisfy me with "honey from the rock".

I'm endeavoring with this blog to share some of those moments with you, in the hope that maybe as God teaches and encourages me, He'll also speak to you.

So here's to the journey! Let's try not to get fixated on the rocks, and instead, hope for the honey.