FROG

My mother-in-law was a beautiful, faith-filled woman who loved and served her family  well.  When my husband and I were getting ready to be married, I proclaimed a caveat: “I can’t be just like her.  She is one of a kind.  I am not that good!” But when her health began to fail, I wondered what it must be like for such a matriarch to lose her abilities.  She rarely complained, smiled as much as she could, and fought a good fight.  Toward the end, the family flooded her hospital room with all kinds of images of frogs; plastic, porcelain, glass, and paper.  The idea that we must in our struggles “Fully Rely On God; FROG”.  If we keep the idea of FROG in our hearts when we have difficulties, we remember that we aren’t supposed to be doing this on our own.  We must remind ourselves it isn’t up to me to do it all, be perfect, make it all happen–God wants me to rely on Him for the strength and grace I need.
When I couldn’t get to my beloved Encounter With Christ this week, I felt a little heavy-hearted because I have been fully relying on those Thursday mornings to get me through the week.  Opening the garage door to run an errand this morning, however, I was met with the unique sound of a frog “singing”, through the misty grass. I was reminded of my sweet Mother-in-law and how she could do nothing but rely on God in her final days, and how she was grateful for each moment, however painful it may have been.  I want to hold that precious image of her in my mind when things don’t go according to my plan, and I feel lacking in my capabilities.
Encountering Christ in the Mess
We have an expression in our prayer group; “we are building this plane as we fly it”.  It isn’t that we aren’t prepared or thoughtful; in fact, most of the members of our group are highly detailed, organized women.  Many of them home school several children, while juggling work and caring for other families, as well as volunteer at church and in their community.  But what we all know to be true, is that God gives us the grace for what we can understand in one moment, and doesn’t give us the whole package at once.  When we rely on Him for the next move, we are keeping in constant contact with Him, praying always, and minding our steps in obedience toward His will, because His ways are above man’s ways.  We think we know best in this world, but the truth is we have very few pieces of the puzzle in our possession at any given time.
FULLY RELY ON GOD
This Sunday in the church, we celebrate John the Baptist and how this amazing precursor to the Christ came to be.  Although his parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah, were faith-filled beautiful people, they didn’t quite get this idea of FROG at first, as we see in the passage just before this Sunday’s gospel.  What? Wait…what? A baby? Now Lord? But we are old! ….and then, zap…Zechariah loses his speech.  Only when Zechariah realized that this journey was going to take him on a road in which he must fully rely on God–not his own smarts or talents–did he follow Elizabeth’s lead, and surrender in loving obedience knowing that only in God can our full potential be realized.
Luke 1:57-66, 80
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?”
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit, 
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.
I am going to make an act of faith out of reverence for this beautiful passage from Luke, and decide that, like Zechariah and Elizabeth, I will  fully rely on God (FROG) for my answers, one moment at a time.  When things work out just fine, as it always does, like Zechariah I pray the first thing out of my mouth each day be praises and thanksgiving for our amazing God, because after all, Father knows best.

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