Far Better to Finish

It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be gentle and patient than to be proud and impatient.  – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, ERV)

Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, NLT)

 

The much anticipated finish to the school days of 2015 has at long last arrived. Between our return from Thanksgiving and today, it can tend to feel like one of the longest stretches of the school year. Perhaps it is the changing seasons, where our world dips into darkness for so much more of our waking hours, or the gloom of so many rainy days.  Whatever the reason, it is a very long season in the world of academia. This final two weeks prior to Christmas break, tend to be the longest of all. For some, it is the eager anticipation of all of the great things that lie ahead, that keep their young minds wandering. However, for others, there is a fear and trepidation of losing two meals each day, and a safe space that is certain and routine. For these kiddos in particular, I have learned the value of being gentle and patient. Just when I feel completely exasperated with the behaviors of some of my students who act out the most, I find that if I continue to respond gently and patiently (despite how I feel), I am often pleasantly surprised by a decision to delve into the work for the day. It does not happen every day, but small steps in the right direction, keep moving all of us closer to finishing well – which is far greater than having to begin again. May we all keep pressing forward, with the finish line in mind, remembering that gentleness and patience carry us far better than our pride.

 

Keep running the race,Far Better to Finish

with patience, be kind;

far better, finish,

than keep running blind.

With great gentleness,

may we move ahead;

with the end in mind,

as we choose be led.

Far better the end,

than where we began;

for when we finish,

we’ve walked out His plan.

Likewise is patience,

far better than pride;

for in our waiting,

we learn to abide.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the benefits of finishing our race, and the grace that comes through gentleness and patience. Thank You that You do not just tell us that this way is best, but You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a life of gentleness and patience; who finished all that He began. Forgive us for our lack of perseverance when things become difficult, or our lack of gentleness and patience when people and circumstances overwhelm us. Teach us to trust in You, so that we would rely on You for all that we need to be gentle and patient, having the strength and endurance necessary to finish all things to which we are called. Show us how to love others well for our entire existence, so that many may see You through the way that we show love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we are gentle and patient; persevering to finish all that to which we are called. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Make More Room

Make more room.  On Sunday, we had a guest speaker at church who spoke about how God can take our Plan A, with all of its fears, failures, and foolishness, and turn it into His perfect Plan B; but only when we willingly give both our permission and our participation.  God is gentle and kind, and does not force His will upon us.  Rather, He stands at the door and knocks. (Revelation 3:20)   We either open our hearts and our lives completely unto Him, or we miss out on the very best that He has for us.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That being said, surrender is not a simple thing.  Surrender involves sacrifice.  We must give up our perception of how things ought to be, and allow God to shape and show us what we are to do, and where we are to go.  Often, His directions make little sense, and lead us into the middle of a mess.  What may appear to be a mistake, may very well be the exact place that He has called us, in order to give others glimpses of His grace and point people to His majesty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As I stand at the end of 2013, awaiting the arrival of 2014, am I willing to allow God to inconvenience me?  Will I be able to recognize that I perhaps am meant to be in the midst of the messes I find myself in, to shine the light of His glory?  Will I get out of the way, and make room for the miraculous?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             God is not looking for our ability, He is looking for our availability. I do not have to have certain qualifications to serve and honor Him, for He has called me from the moment that I invited Him into my life.  We are chosen to communicate His hope, when we give Him full access, and are willing to participate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Let this be the year,
where room shall be made;Make More Room
space to help others,
salvation prayers prayed.
May we be ready,
to lend hand and voice;
to do what You ask,
make You our first choice.
Let us freely move,
wherever You ask;
even in the mess,
accomplish Your task.
For sharing Your light,
You ask for more room;
so hope may shine forth,
dispelling the gloom.
May we surrender,
our whole lives to You;
may mountains be moved,
as we walk in truth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our Plan A in all of its messiness, and turn it into Your perfect Plan B, when we willingly surrender all that we are unto You, and are choose to step out in faith, participating in the plan that You have prepared for us.  Thank You that You have a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11), and that when we trust You, and move forward faithfully in You, You meet us where we are and guide us where we are meant to go.  Forgive us for attempting to hold fast to our own plans, or for submitting ourselves without movement.  Teach us to trust You fully, so that we shall surrender, sacrifice, and MOVE.  Give us faith to trust You, even if the place You call us to is in the middle of a mess.  Be our strength and our song.  May we love others as You love us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You in the coming year.  May we make room for all that You have planned for us in 2014.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.