Stir What You Got!

I haven’t blogged a few weeks and that says a lot about the limbo-land where our family has been. In the last month we have welcomed a new granddaughter and we have been with Narcie after another brain surgery. She describes it on her blog at www.narciejeter.wordpress.com. Where I am emotionally and theologically is an interesting place. We physically came back last night from Narcie’s, but our prayers and hearts are still there. We transition today from one night at home to going to the South Carolina Annual Conference Cabinet Banquet and one last prep time before AC starts tomorrow afternoon. As Parliamentarian I am trying to hone my skills so I can be of help, as if he needs it, to Bishop Jonathan Holston. How blessed we are to have him as our Episcopal leader!

Where I am is twixt and ‘tween: not in Florida with Narcie and not quite mentally in South Carolina; not in Columbia and not yet in Florence yet for Annual Conference; not in summertime but almost; not at work but always working. It’s an emotional time clinging to the renewed hope that God and the doctors hold out, the time between MRI’s, chemo and radiation treatments; between Enoch’s birthday celebration yesterday and Evy’s dance recital today. It’s waking up and thinking, “Where am I?” I can’t even tell if I’m spent or rested. It’s almost an out-of-body experience. Too many of you have been exactly where I am and know how weird it is. Right? Is this our new normal, or, come to think of it, hasn’t life always been this way?

This is why I haven’t written anything lately. What can you say or write when you’re at that hinge point between a life that was and a life that will be. Platitudes don’t cut it and I’m not much of a poet, so let’s just see what comes out. Here’s what I know: I should not worry about the unknown. I need to celebrate every day’s joys and accomplishments. I will not mope around. I will make plans to work and/or relax with purposeful intention. Most importantly, I will live each day with faith, hope, and love.

Faith walks a path unseen, yet believed. Faith trusts in Jesus who is the “same yesterday, today, and forever.” Faith believes no matter what, God can work all things together for good. Faith is both a gift and a choice. God gives us the gracious ability to believe and it’s up to us to believe. Therefore, I choose faith!

Hope is a little different. It is an expectancy of good. I’m not talking a weak hope, like hoping it’s going to rain without carrying an umbrella. Hope is a firm belief that God is good and does not and will not abandon us. If faith is my choice then hope is God’s choice. Hope isn’t about me turning on a switch or something. It’s about me accepting a calm but determined assurance that everything is going to be alright! This kind of hope is neither wishy-washy nor maudlin stupidity. It is a sincere trust in God’s best intentions for us. For me, Christian hope is a noun first that I get to turn into a verb through faith.

Faith and hope sustain us. We should avoid the Charlie Brown attitude that says: “I’ve developed a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time.” One way for me to fan faith and hope into positive expectancy is through love. Relishing God’s love through Christ empowers me to love others, even the unlovely. Love allows hope’s noun and faith’s verb to form a complete sentence: “Since God has good intentions for me (hope) and gives me the grace to believe (faith) then I will live like it through love.” Love conquers evil with good. Love is the evidence of faith and hope every time!

This story from Abingdon Press’ The Heart of the City by Howard Edington inspires what’s next for me: “Late one Sunday night, as my uncle, Andrew Edington (college president and Bible teacher) was returning home, he stopped at a roadside diner in a Texas hill country town to snag a quick cup of coffee. As is typical of all the Edington males, he quickly used all the sugar packets the waitress had left on the table for him, but wanted more. As the waitress came near his table again, he called out, ‘I want some more sugar, please.’ The crusty old gal defiantly put her hands on her hips, leaned over toward him and snapped, ‘Stir what you got!’ That lesson has proved invaluable over the years. No church is perfect, and sometimes you encounter circumstances that make it less than what you hoped… What to do? Stir what you got! … What to do? Stir what you got!”

What to do for us, for Narcie, for Josh, for Caleb – for me, Cindy, and maybe you – Stir what you got! Stir faith, hope, and love and see what happens!

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16 thoughts on “Stir What You Got!

  1. You never cease to inspire and lead me in my faith by your words and faith that all will be well with each of us in our journey through this life. Faith in prayers all will be well with Narcie. Hope we get a free moment to speak during AC.

    Beckee

    1. See you there, Beckee! Thanks for the prayers! tim

      Sent from my iPhone

      On Jun 8, 2013, at 10:29 AM, “A Potter’s View”

  2. Thank you Tim…you seem to know what I need to remember. Steve and I still often recall your sermon about climbing the wall between us. Blessings to you and all your beautiful family!

    1. God bless you, Sandra! Thanks for the prayers! tim

      Sent from my iPad

      On Jun 8, 2013, at 12:29 PM, “A Potter’s View”

  3. Keep “stirring what you got”!!! You know better than I, GOd can work all things together for good! You and your family continue in my love and prayers!

    Don Ladd

    1. We continue to pray for you, too, Don. Glad to hear of your progress! tim

      Sent from my iPad

      On Jun 8, 2013, at 1:41 PM, “A Potter’s View”

  4. Tim: You need to be exactly where you are right now! Everything else can wait! Your family should be your first and foremost concern right now! Processing and discernment are sometimes difficult, confusing, and to be honest, confounding! Casey’s latest biopsy came back negative for melanoma! We are thankful! However, often I find myself in exactly the same place you’re in! My advice to you is let everything else wait! Don’t worry about anything but Narcie and that journey! You already know this, im sure……God will be right there with you along with the prayers of many, many people who love and care about the McClendon’s! See you tomorrow!

    1. Thanks, Len, and so glad to hear Casey’s great news! Thanks always for your friendship and encouragement! tim

      Sent from my iPad

      On Jun 8, 2013, at 4:02 PM, “A Potter’s View”

  5. Tim, the Lord used you as a conduit straight to me. I get so side tracked and loose focus of “stirring what I have”. My prayers will be with all of you at Conference. I attended over 20 and know some of the blessing and challenges we face.

    1. God bless you, Paul – thanks for your service and support! tim

      Sent from my iPad

      On Jun 8, 2013, at 8:27 PM, “A Potter’s View”

  6. Dear Tim: I have never “blogged” before, but somehow am on yours. Perhaps God has a purpose. I do not know you or Narcie, but know about you. From afar, you have been an inspiration to many, including me. I found your “Stir What You Got” so inspiring. I am excited about being apart of your site. I also found the Conference wonderfully renewing. I did receive my Associate membershiip on Monday night. That is the best I can do as I will have to retire next year as i turn 72 in 2014. Thank you for your inspiring words and know that you and your family are in my prayers daily! God’s blessings! Myrna

    1. Myrna, I’m sure that your perseverance and call inspire many, too! Thank you for your kind words and congrats on your Associate Membership! God bless you on the journey and let me know if I can ever be of help. Thanks or your prayers for Narcie. It was a great conference indeed. It gives me hope! Bishop Holston is exactly the spiritual leader who can move us forward in alignment with Jesus. I think the Holy Spirit’s presence was very real. Thanks, tim

      Sent from my iPad

      On Jun 12, 2013, at 9:31 PM, “A Potter’s View”

  7. Your words are so encouraging and thought provoking! I’m praying for your whole family! God bless you! Julie Saunders, Chapin UMC

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