Friday, February 27, 2009
I don't know her Dad very well but I admire her mom for a similar (but slightly different) reason than I admired her: bc she allowed God to work in & thru what she could do - to care for her daughter - & I can only imagine how incredibly strong she must be given that God promises not to test us beyond what we can bear .... & I've watched her bear SO much! She is one of the very best examples I've ever seen/known of the Christlike sacrifice/compassion I was trying to wrap words around in my Si-Lent post:
faithful. 33 yrs! & was still going - w/ no idea Monday would be her last day w/ her daughter.
quiet. Perhaps in part bc she had so few people to talk to (lonely?) ...& so little time - to talk
uncomfortable. As she rose above her own health issues & other challenges daily to care for her daughter.
unselfish. bc she focused so much of herself (time, energy, etc.) on her daughter.
Together, mother & daughter made quite a (ministry) team!...as one allowed The LORD to work thru' all she couldn't do - & the other allowed Him to work thru' her ... by doing all she could.
P.S. while you're over "there" you might want to poke around a bit on her blog - esp if you could use a good laugh today...there's plenty of material sure to induce at least a chuckle - seasoned w/ some other good stuff too. If you stop in & think of it, tell Bunny I said hello :)
Thursday, February 26, 2009
- is more of a lifestyle/less something we "celebrate"/"observe"
- is more private (si-lent?)/less public
- makes a positive difference in the lives of others
....just seems more in line w/ how God intended for us to share in the sufferings (passion) of Christ. ........ ie. by showing some com-passion.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I'm suffering from writer's block - so figured I'd write about something someone else has written. I liked & recommend this book - a quick "middleschool" read - so I don't want to say too much for fear of giving too much away - but - in a nutshell, it's about a girl who has an autistic brother & how she struggles socially bc she loves him but is also embarrassed by some of his strange behaviors & she isolates herself to some degree bc of him.
Her brother functions best w/ "black & white" rules. She keeps a list of rules she teaches him as they go (ie. if the bathroom door is closed, knock (especially if Catherine has a friend over)! -- She also befriends a boy w/ an altogether different kind of disability & as she helps him they both end up learning from each other.
I wish I could not relate as well as I do to the main character - but I can't help it - I just do (having grown up w/ a brother who had Downs Syndrome).
I'm glad my dd is reading this book too - but I realize some things can't be learned simply by reading a book .... it's likely she'll be inspired by this book to want to be compassionate - but in order to actually be compassionate will require good role models, practice - & therefore opportunities to practice (ie. be learned the hard way) ...& "here" is where I'm feeling a bit convicted this morning ....
Friday, February 20, 2009
Joshua 4: 5b – 7 “ ….Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever."
This compelled me to select 12 "stones" from my own faith/life journey to "set-up"(record) as a memorial (personal testimony) of God's faithfulness & provision:
#1 My family - not perfect - but helped me understand early on that I needed Jesus. At 8 yrs I trusted Him to be my Savior. A decision I’ve never regretted, despite others I have.
#2 My church. I was 11 when my dad was diagnosed w/ cancer & 14 when he died. My mom was emotionally &/or physically ill continually. Don't want to think about where I'd be now if my church family hadn't embraced me as they did.
#3 - Despite many poor choices (mine & other's) growing up God spared me from many of the worst of possible consequences. Realize now, circumstances that "hardened" me, later allowed (caused?) me to be more compassionate to others w/ similar issues I'd been immersed in &/or running away from.
#4 Despite marrying smack out of highschool, (not necessarily for all the right reasons) The LORD blessed me w/ a husband who is still my best friend – a “constant” amidst constant change - love & admire him more each day - going on 23 yrs!
#5 The LORD gave & took away Baby Jeremy & called on us to make incredibly difficult decisions, thereby giving us the oppty to demonstrate indeed our faith was real - which in a strange way, was an answer to prayer.
#6 & 7 W/in weeks of each other, my mom & little brother (w/
My brother's illness & circumstances req'd me to make decisions I felt only God should make & re-affirmed how much I need Him. My faith was tested again & personal weaknesses were painfully exposed. The "aftermath" drove me back to a more right relationship w/ God in a passionate attempt to never not know what His will is in any given situation ever again - & to find the place where I'm not resting so comfortably that I'm taking advantage of His amazing grace nor trying to earn His unconditional love. (I've lived both extremes) I’ll likely never know, this side of heaven, if I should've handled that most difficult decision differently but despite all I feel should've done better/differently, I sense God guided me thru' it.
#8 Looking back, I sense The LORD set me up(!) (specific time/place/circumstances) for "surgery" - removal of so much "YUCK!" - to make me more like Him (still have a long way to go!)...including (emotional) scars!
#9 "Recovery" When I admitted I needed & asked for help (key turning point!) God gave me a new & very dear friend ("A") for just "such a time as this" & bro't an old friend ("D") across the country on various occasions (for reasons totally unrelated to me)! Both ladies were/have been such an encouragement.
#10 When the cry of my heart was "Please! Make Yourself real to me, LORD!" He did! ...in a way so personal & hard to explain yet I've tried at times - & I journaled thru' it.
# 11 yet another big test... Playmaker was preliminarily diagnosed w/ JDMS...after the initial shock, lots of prayer & many doctor visits/tests we were incredibly relieved to have a stockpile of info indicating that's not what she has (praise God!) yet we were given no real answers. "Ironically" "A" used to be a pediatrician! Here I gained a much greater appreciation for how incredibly timely this Christian, professional, personal & trustworthy relationship was (still is!).
#12 The LORD gave & took yet another new friend - this w/ one whose body & mind embodied so much of what I sensed I'd failed miserably dealing w/ in the past. "S" needed a friend & I needed to exercise what I'd learned (compassion). When The LORD took "S", He left me w/ a sense of confidence & yet another confirmation that His strength is made perfect in (my!) weakness - & that He works all things together for good to those who love Him & are called according to His purpose.
I'm struck(!) by how many of my "stones" are relationships (the consistent theme/pattern - design! in both God's Word & His creation). In history this all took place after the Israelites wandered aimlessly in the desert for 40yrs - & in my story I too collected these "stones" as I was pushing 40 (turned 40 in May). At the time, the Israelites were heading/being prepared to enter the promised land - & so I'm encouraged(!) & can't help but wonder what God has prepared for me, at such a time as this, given the striking similarities in MyStory of History.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
funny - how that comment transported me back in time to the evening Playmaker barrreled her way out & into the world! Her Daddy was the chauffer, doctor (until the sweet nurse took over in the hospital parking lot!) ..& janitor! Her birth cert. indicates she was born "in route to" the hospital - yet despite all that we did & that wasn't done in the hospital... do you think we got a discount on our bill?!
...just funny - how - sitting there - learning about Playmaker's course syllabus, her teacher's expectations, etc. the last thing I expected was a brief recount of her "wild ride" into the world...& this morning I'm still recovering from the mental whiplash after the jolt of being "thrown" from a seat in my daughter's high school classroom - to the (memory of the) front seat of a green Ford Aerostar that, nearly 15 yrs ago now, doubled as her mobile/makeshift delivery room. How is it, that yesterday...it seemed like only yesterday?!
Monday, February 16, 2009
We kicked off our Secret Sister (SS) program at church on Fri during a fun time of Valentine's food & fellowship. It's been fun already to see the special SS table full of surprises on Sunday ... & then to see them dwindle as ladies found sweet blessings w/ their name on it!
Since I'm running the program, I wasn't going to participate in it .. bc I have the master list of SS pairs....but - apparently I've been adopted!.... by a Top Secret Sister! - was surprised(!) to learn of a present - waiting for ME! - w/ MY name on it :) WOW!! I can only hope all the other ladies feel as special as I've been made to feel... but I can't help but wonder if perhaps I get to enjoy feeling special in an EXTRA special way...bc whoever my SS is must know me fairly well - as evidenced by the gift she gave me (pictured above) - yet she still CHOSE me...as opposed to the others who were paired up "randomly" - tho I trust GOD was in it.
And in all of this I've been sweetly reminded:
Isaiah 43:1b (NIV) "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
& it's caused me to consider that tho' we have a SS reunion planned for the "secret" in Secret Sisters to be revealed, perhaps we should've planned it all a bit differently ... in such a way that the secret - remained secret...
1"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
p.s. can hardly wait to try some new recipes...my family is going to be blessed by this gift too - in the form of some new things on the table for a change :)
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Daniel tells us that God sets up kings and deposes them.
Have you ever wondered what God might be preparing you for - now? mb you're interested in - or good at - certain things bc He plans for you to use that later on. Pastor shared re: how God prepared David in his youth – & I'd say he preserved him as well - for things He'd planned way in advance for David to do when he grew up. David learned so much from being a shepherd boy that he was able to apply when he fought Goliath – & later became King of Israel.
Tonight I’ve asked
The incident occurred in an intense military battle during the French & Indian War. 23 yr old Colonel George Washington ("W"), leading 100 Virginia Buck-skins, joined British General Edward Braddock & 2,300 veteran British troops. Together they set out to expel the French from
As the 3rd force marched thru' a wooded ravine, they marched right into an ambush. The French & Indians fired at them from under logs, tree tops & behind rocks. Braddock's troops were slaughtered. Only 30 French & Indians were shot, mostly by
"W" took charge when Gen. Braddock was seriously wounded. When Braddock died,
Later – "W"
Word spread of God's divine protection of
A few weeks later, Reverend Samuel Davies, a leader in the American Revival known as the Great Awakening, referred to the incident in a sermon given to encourage brave volunteers who banded together to defend their homes against the French & Indians after being left vulnerable by the devastating defeat of the British troops.
15yrs later, "
20 yrs after that battle,
Nearly 200 yrs later President Coolidge confirmed that w/o "W" there'd have been no independence, union, constitution, or republic -- & later went on to say, "We can only indicate our reverence for him & thank the Divine Providence which kept him to serve & inspire his fellow man."
"W" himself once stated
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Hi girlfriends….. I know it’s late notice – but if you get a chance, given our book this time, take a minute to look up the meaning of your name. Honestly, I was quite stunned to learn mine! I figured it would mean “Joy” … but nooooo ---- it means Experienced in battle!! …. And …. Looking back, I tend to think it “fits like a glove” , - jI remember thinking...How strange that I wouldn't learn the true meaning of my name ... until it fit like a glove.
You can check yours out here:
From the Narrows tagged me! Wow - this took me back in time (edited to remove some names) ...but this was in our back yard ...Malakai is now aprx 200lbs!
Here are the rules:
Find your 5th photo file folder, then the 5th photo in that file folder.
Post that picture on your blog.
Tag 5 others to do the same.
If you're reading this...& you wanna play too...consider yourself tagged ...& let me know :)
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Part of me wonders how I could possibly be such a slow learner....& part of me wishes I had more to learn.... that he could still teach me.
The first definition of "create" at dictionary.com causes me to consider that the term “creative” only accurately describes God bc only God can make something/anything/everything(!) - out of nothing.
which ... causes me to consider … there must be a better word (hmmm.....) to describe man in this regard - since man is limited in “creative” ability - to combining materials that God already made, in various ways, to make something different – or to changing the form of something that already exists (gas, solid, liquid).
Hmm... I think I've found it. - what I was looking for. - just the right word. - to describe man in this "creative" regard: .... manipulative(!)
in almost every regard.
P.S. (sarcastic) Question: from my husband: Man...why are you picking on the men...what about the women
My (sarcastic) Answer: The word is "man"ipulative .... not "wo-man"ipulative! :) Kidding! - Bad joke?!
Monday, February 9, 2009
Understanding that two rules encompass all the good rules (even the Ten Commandments!) I'm considering "KISSing" (Keep It Simple Stupid!) most rules goodbye by attempting to follow just the two (commandments) that Jesus said were the greatest. When I'm conflicted I know enough to check my motive (the why behind what I'm doing or not doing) & attempt do what Jesus would do. If I'm successful, then no one will be able to fault me - unless the rules I break in that process are bad rules to begin with.
Matthew 22: 34 - 40 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[b] This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[c] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Think about it. If everyone followed these two rules there would be no need for any others (freedom!).
Given that Adam & Eve had only one rule to follow - & the rest is History (His Story!) causes me to consider that "KISS"ing most rules good-bye might not be as easy at it seems it should be - given my tendency to "push the envelope" I'd like to "seal w/ a 'KISS' ".
Saturday, February 7, 2009
It.....- is the way I like things! - is one of my all time favorite books - kinda defines my heart for womens' ministry. - was inspired by Psalm 16:5-6 - is about a group of women who travel across the Oregon Trail & whose faith seems to grow in proportion to the adversity they experience. What they originally tho't "essential" for the journey is slowly discarded, displaced & dwindled. Each woman eventually needs or has what the other women need & therein lies the glue (relationship) that eventually bonds them tightly together & motivates them to persevere - & is where what they think is "essential" ...changes .
One would know me much better if they only read what I underlined b/c I could relate to it to some degree. There was SO much! Here's some (some paraphrased) :
Afterwards, that's when you worry. Folks get thru' their pickles & then die of surviving.
Just bc you can't make a decision until it's been wrestled to death, doesn't mean others can't & shouldn't.
She wrote in the mornings, organized the feelings that didn't make sense in any other way. Sometimes she wrote about what she'd seen or heard, a phrase or two; sometimes of her feelings, the emptiness & longing; she wrote of how Scripture nurtured in a distinctive way. Whatever it was, the very writing of a thing calmed her, gave her direction.
Why did she always doubt herself halfway through a thing? It was her curse - one among many.
Being needed is a good thing, he'll come to find.
Doubt's a poison taken from a snake.
To be without a place of belonging is to starve the soul.
God is seen in the everyday, by those who seek him, child.
Needing is a part of being, just like loving is.
Some folks get mad, or go mad; others go so deep inside we never see 'em again. Don't go to those places....
We don't need many rules either...but some.
She'd been given a lovely moment in life, and she had robbed herself of it by doing something stupid. It was the story of her life.
She wished she knew for certain, when bad things happened, whether it was part of God's guidance or just a consequence of one's own will.
Bryce used to say that was what all humans long for, to be known, truly known & just accepted by another.
We needed this time of rest... This pushing, pushing, pushing doesn't make the gains that stillness does.
This journey ... had given her a gift that staying in one place, at home, would have deprived her of.
Will I ever be sure of anything?
to abandon it - or to transform it."
Gordon Pennington, The Truth Project
Got to thinking re: my last post ... I realize as time goes on, opportunity for ministry (worship?) to be what I believe it was intended to be (enjoyable!) will become less & less & less.
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
In much of the world people have already long suffered & are forced to sacrifice even their lives to fulfill Romans 12:1. But - that's not the case here...yet! What others are forced to do at great risk, we still have the freedom to do - & I can't help but wonder how different things would be if we/I/the church in general had seized more opportunities for ministry in much the same creative way & with the same pleasure I sense God enjoyed when He revealed Himself to us in His Creation & His Word. Something tells me ministry would be much more enjoyable and the church would be much more attractive! Unfortunately I believe we are where we are, in large part because the church has abandoned the culture. I'm not sure why that is, except perhaps because of the selfish (twisted!) emphasis on the arts to creatively express who we are - rather than who God is- & who we are/others can be because of Christ. But - I think we should exercise the freedom (of expression!) we have in Christ & still have in our country - creatively & with great pleasure (as I get the impression God originally did) when opportunities present themselves.
The art is....not to compromise.
Friday, February 6, 2009
As a child I enjoyed art class. Never gave much tho't to art being anything more than fun. Now - my practical side views much of what we refer to as art as a waste -- of time, supplies, money, etc. But - understanding that art is a form of communication/creative expression -- & my firm belief that God revealed Himself to us in both His Word & in creation - beautiful/interesting (!) illustrations (artwork) of His Word - & that man was created in the image of God - has me considering that perhaps God gave us limited (we certainly can't make something/anything out of nothing as He can) creative abilities - so that we could enjoy creatively expressing Him (ministry!) too.
I gather that the purpose God created us for (to give Him glory/reflect Him/ministry), He intended to give us great joy(!) - as I sense He took great pleasure in revealing Himself to us.
1 Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
So - I wonder... if it saddens God that SO many think ministry is a heavy burden & church is boring. Is this a result of the selfish emphasis placed on "the arts" to creatively express who we are - rather than who HE is (or at the very least who we are in (because of) Him?!
Don't get me wrong - I don't think ministry always has to/should be fun/enjoyable ... but I do think that's how it was originally intended to be (before sin) & so I don't think there's anything wrong w/ it being fun either. In fact, when there's an opportunity to make ministry fun/enjoyable, I think we should view it more as a privilege/less as a burden....& seize it!
How does this apply to me...as a wife, mother, homeschooler, sister, friend, etc.? - Let's just say there's MUCH room for improvement. If creatively expressing who God is - & who I am & who others can be b/c of Him (ministry) was really my continual focus, I'd be having a lot more fun & I'd be a much more enjoyable person to be around.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
At one point our conversation turned to art. We agree that art reflects/communicates so much about the artist - which causes me to consider God - as the Artist of creation.
Creation seems to illustrate God's Word much like pictures illustrate text in a book - & help us understand so much more than we would w/o them - & so I find myself looking at things God created & asking myself what it was He wanted us to better understand when He made certain things. Thru'out God's Word aspects of His creation are used to help us better understand certain concepts - (ie. trees, water - Ps. 1) - so I see creation as God's magnificent work of art - compiled of countless individual works of art - that each in & of themselves help us better understand (communicate!) "the big picture" (who God is & His will for us).
From beginning to end God's word communicates relationship - & all of creation - from microscopic to telescopic - whispers & shouts relationship too. Think about it... every living thing inherently has both needs & something others need ... & in the case of people....we all have a strong desire (need?) to be needed (loved?!)
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
I'll likely be trying to wrap words around my thoughts on more of this for quite some time - but - given that it took just six days for God to complete creation (& then He rested) -- yet after 40 years he's STILL working on me -- makes me wonder if I'm one of His "more challenging projects" :) .... & why He's SO patient... (& if/how much He'll want to rest when He's finally done! :)
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I wonder if making something/everything(!) out of nothing was actually easier for God to do than for Him to work all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (see Romans 8:28)
Along that line... one of my favorite things to ask God is to make Himself real to me... & then to look for how He's going to do just that becomes a treasure hunt of sorts. Proverbs 2:3-5 ...and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. His answers are often so personal & creative. I gather God delights in answering this request - when it's prayed in such a way that the one asking is expecting an answer tho' they're not quite sure what to expect - b/c it leaves Him plenty of room to be creative. And I wonder... when we pray it differently by asking God to do something specific - if our selfishness robs God of some of the joy He takes in answering, by limiting/eliminating the part that perhaps He delights in most - where He gets to be creative/display His splendor- by answering in ways we'd least expect ... ie. the WOW! factor :)
See Isaiah 61