Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
I don’t normally think so much about my floors. My dogs have always made them gross, primarily because our backyard isn’t landscaped, so wet weather makes for muddy feet that wander throughout our house. We routinely have hand towels by the back door and we wipe eight little paws as the dogs come in again and again. But it just isn’t enough! I am sweeping and mopping my floors several times per DAY and it is still gross. Proof? My ‘white’ socks after mopping: blech! It’s hopeless!
Monday, February 27, 2012
What a kitschy title! I am almost ashamed.
I have complained about my dogs a lot. We really do love them, but they sure produce a lot of work—you can see my sock below for an example. Their most recent antics include creative escape tricks. It got to where we wouldn’t let them outside unless someone took them out on a leash. that got old pretty quickly and we just can’t trust them out on their own—they dig under and through layers of fencing—so our current attempt to keep our dogs has been to chain them up.
We aren’t thrilled about this plan. I can still see the images of an old public service announcement with some whiney country song playing while a furry dog sat out in the rain. Many have been sure to tell us every abuse and injury story related to chaining dogs, but we don’t have another option short of investing in a rental to further beef up the fencing.
The first time we chained them up, Brian and I did it and we walked inside to watch from the windowed door. Both dogs stared at us as if this were the most perplexing moment of their lives. We are among the crazy pet owners who speak on behalf of our animals and we burst out simultaneously on the dogs’ behalf, ‘what the hell??’ And in keeping with the image of cruel people who chain their dogs outside, … we laughed. Not a little chuckle, either. We cracked up for a good five minutes while our poor defenseless dogs stared at us. If the founder of the ASPCA were dead, he’d be rolling over in his grave.
Poor abused dogs… I think if they were truly abused, they should be better behaved!
Here are some pics of our four legged kids.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Lent is a special time of year for me. I know not every Christian observes this season of 40 days before Easter, and my family hasn’t consistently participated in the observation, either. It certainly isn’t on the list of essentials to salvation, but it does offer an opportunity to enrich and deepen one’s experience and relationship with Christ.
We have taught our children that Lent isn’t just about giving something up. We site the Biblical passage about Jesus’ instruction his people to be aware that simply getting rid of a demon and wiping the place clean isn’t enough. When that demon sees a big beautiful empty space, he’s going to grab a bunch of friends and have a party! So, while giving up something in order to remember the sacrifice Christ made for us that was so much greater is a good thing, it is important to fill that space with something else.
For some, when a craving hits (for whatever sacrifice you have chosen, be it a type of food or drink or an activity), allowing that craving to direct their thoughts to Jesus is enough. For others, the choice to use the craving as a reminder to initiate a more godly activity is the way to go. Some people choose to add journaling, lengthen their daily prayer time, devote themselves to daily reading of the Word, or engage in frequent activities with the whole family. Other choices include donating time, talent or money to a cause, seeking a mentor, or joining a spiritual small group.
I think anything that brings us closer to Christ and His Body or moves us into service is a pretty good thing! Lent is as good an excuse as any to run further, breathe more deeply and connect more fully with the things that matter.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
I posted earlier about my sister, her illness and what she means to me. My younger sister and I would very much like to drive our five kids over to see her. Neither of us is made of money and we have various obligations that fill our respective calendars, so this is an endeavor that will take a while to put together. I think I might be able to go in June. My little sis thinks we may need to be prepared to leave earlier. My Quicken thinks that is not possible. She retorted that money is only money and God will get us where we need to be and when. Sisters have a special way of being snotty and holy at the same time.
I told her I wanted to bring all the kids and she worried about having a crowd in the house, especially if our older sister wasn’t feeling well. It was my turn. God would just have to provide a hotel room for us, too! In spite of my lame attempt at one-up-manship, He is so good and knows our every need; it is a good things just to knowing He is there and cares.
Now it looks as though we don’t have a vehicle that we can trust to make the 60 hour, 3000+ mile trip, so we are trusting Him to help us afford a rental, as well.
The cool thing is that my church heard the need and responded with love. Now we actually have some money on which to build! I am humbled and encouraged to believe we may actually pull this off! The money is a real gift to us, but there was more. I shared our desire at women’s Bible study on a day when men were invited to join us because we had a spaghetti lunch following the meeting. That means a dear man was there who has loved my family in his solid, ‘good-people’ way for over a decade. He came and held me while I cried after the prayer time. What an unspeakable comfort that was.
Friday, February 24, 2012
I get migraines. Thankfully I haven't actually suffered from migraine in years. Why not? Because before the pain takes up residence I lose my vision. If I can load up on a wheelbarrow full of drugs while blind, I never am subject to the pain of a migraine. There is a narrow window of time, but I am highly motivated, so I haven’t missed it in years.
Yesterday I lost vision. I took a little while before seeking medication so I had to ask my husband, who frowns on overdosing on drugs,—crazy!—for help in getting the pills of the package. So I was being all good and sweet, and chose to not ask for more than the recommended dose on the box. Big mistake!
I will never do that again. From now on, I say, “Bring on the wheelbarrow! Back up the dump truck! Unload the cargo right into my waiting mouth, my liver be damned!”
As it was, I felt horrible. I was freezing with fever, nauseated, dizzy, disoriented, light and sound sensitive and breathing takes all the effort I can muster. My world was spinning so fast that I kept gripping the mattress so I wouldn’t fall off. I haven't even begin to describe the HEADACHE! It was as though I had sudden onset flu with a side of death.
Meds are my friend! My best friend. I will never be disloyal again.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
These three words have been repeated countless times in our home throughout the lives of our children, but with special emphasis the last several weeks. The inspiration is the undying issue of chores, the bane of us all. But the opportunities for lessons, growth and discussion have been a good thing.
The kids have actually been grounded the last week and just earned their computer, park and TV privileges back. I told them it was probationary, and even so their first free day they totally skipped the chores and spend hours unchecked on the computer. So, they are grounded again. So sad!
I work really hard to emphasize that the chores themselves don’t matter. When they grow up, they don’t have to make their beds if they don’t want to. And if they decide to mop their floors every day for the rest of their lives, it won’t get them into heaven or make one bit of difference to their intrinsic value. The reason the chores are important have to do with those character traits that really do matter: responsibility, honesty and obedience. These things will make a tremendous difference in their adult and spiritual lives.
(While lamenting this ongoing battle to my older sister one day, she made a terrific suggestion. I want to share it with you in case you happen to have this same struggle in your household. The plan includes the added lesson—or reinforcement of the lesson—that our yes is to mean yes and our no is to mean no [see the Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew]. You can also teach about the legalities of a signature and how our names represent our reputation and identity. The idea my sister shared was to have my children sign their chore charts and initial each individual chore as they are completed. This means a lot more than a simple check mark. So far, it is building honesty, if not obedience.)
They were both very disappointed in themselves over the misstep, which allowed us to revisit the difference between condemnation and conviction. It is odd to think that the voice of the Holy Spirit would ever say the same thing as that of Satan’s, but he is a sneaky one, so it isn’t unusual for him to ride the coattails of a Truth to drag us down. So, while the Holy Spirit may convict us of doing wrong, it is Satan who tell you to just sit down and give up, since you are complete and worthless trash.
So, the kids rallied and took measures to help themselves to not fall down in the future. My son attached a note to his door that just tickled my funny bone. Last month the Scripture he was assigned to memorize was shorter than he liked. He was frankly insulted. He actually asked for something longer, which led to a discussion on the concept of the talents—be faithful in little and you will be trusted with more! Anyhow, his verse was Ecclesiastes 9:10a: Whatever you do, do well.
So the note he attached to his door says this:
Ecclesiastes 9:10a is the lamest memory verse EVER…But it makes a good point!
idn’t he cute?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
If you want an idea of how I feel about my big sister, you can read my post about her on her last birthday almost a year ago. Two days ago she called to let us know that her MRI showed that something is growing in the maw that the cancer left in her brain several years ago. We knew the cancer that she had has a tendency of recurrence. She has been going in for scans roughly every six months as a precaution—knowing it was the only wise procedure for her protection. This call was almost inevitable—and may be a call many times in the future.
We are all sad. We dread with her the treatment that is coming her way. The uncertainty of the future and loss of control that is every person’s condition is made acutely obvious in a situation like that. She really isn’t in circumstances that we don’t all share—we don’t know what tomorrow holds. We don’t know how long we will live. There is a whole lot about life that we cannot change. Something like cancer just brings those facts to the forefront; we can’t ignore them.
Please pray for my sister, Diane. She has a daughter getting married next summer. She has people who love and depend on her. I am not just talking about her immediate family or local church, though they are surely enough to warrant fervent prayer for Diane’s physical healing. She has people who love her all over the States, and strewn throughout the world. She is a precious woman who directs everyone she meets to her Savior. Humor, wisdom, intelligence and—most of all—faith have defined her life and character. Please join me in asking the Lord to allow her to continue to share these with her family and friends for more years to come.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I really like our Tuesdays, but I don’t get up early enough to post at my regular time. This bothers me, but not enough for me to actually get up! Until summer, I will often be getting up on Tuesdays to school, but today was a lazy morning. We have dance, Frontier Girls and errands. My husband is still in physical therapy and today is supposed to be pretty demanding, according to those in the know.
Monday, February 20, 2012
This has been a really cruddy week. I was thinking about it yesterday and realized it is February—a traditionally tough month for most homeschoolers I know, including myself. I told myself that this year I would be prepared and give myself grace as the funk set in. But this year the natural companion of the funk, a drop in school productivity, did not happen. In fact, school is awesome these days! We have another family joining us for the core of our curriculum and my kids now prefer the joined days over the separate ones. So I let my guard down and thought I was home free.
Boy was I wrong! This week has just blasted me out of the water, and I have been reeling from the impact. I have doubted everything, questioning my own identity.
I use the You Version Bible program on my phone and other mobile device, and I have all but climbed into it. I have been reading 5-7 day programs on topics like depression and God’s love in one sitting, needing more and more of His Word to keep going.
But last night the Lord gave my family such a valuable gift through His Own Body. We went to church and had a terrific meeting that was authentic, intimate and Spirit-led. As people shared, I cried out praises to Him from the depths of my soul. We have been craving a meeting like that for a long time and the Lord provided. After that, we went to a friend’s, who fed us and we watched the first episode of The Amazing Race—one of my favorite shows that we gave up with our satellite a while ago. What an unexpected treat!
God is so very good and patient with me. He gives me all I need and more. I am still working through my patterns of thinking that lead to a sense of loss and disappointment. But I have a restored hope in my Lord, my family and my church.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
May the Lord bless us this morning—or whenever! I want to know who I am in Christ so that I may live in peace and confidence, without confusion. May He guide us and protect us throughout the day. I want to be sensitive to His small voice. I want to be His ambassador by submitting to love in all I do. May He kill and banish forever the pride that plagues and ruins me.
Please, Lord, let me see myself only as You see me. I am special and small. Nothing without You. Please renew my mind and pour your Spirit with His gifts all over and through me.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Please continue to pray for my husband. The physical therapist says his symptoms coincide with those of a herniated disk. That just sends chills through me to think of him in that kind of pain and with a problem that haunts patients all their lives. Please just pray for protection and healing for him. Thanks!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Please pray for my dear guy. He is broken. He back is just giving him the worst pain. He is walking like an invalid old man. He refuses to go to the doctor because he thinks it will just cost money for the appointment and meds. He says he’d rather just push through. Please pray he is healed.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I sure love you. I can’t imagine life without you. You are a terrific father—I couldn’t have chosen anyone better than you to be Daddy to my kids. There is no one who I trust more with myself. You are my best champion, my most compassionate supporter. You hold me accountable and encourage me to be the best I can be. I thank you for that.
You are tall and handsome. You work so hard to provide for your family. Your laugh is the best sound in the world. Your passion for Christ is inspiring and I am so proud of your brilliance. I love it when you play with the kids—being silly with Madi and on the computer with Max. I really love to hear you and Max discussion ideas that matter.
I love you, Valentine!
Monday, February 13, 2012
For me, starting something new is almost always a clumsy affair. Just getting started can take weeks or months. The first couple of attempts are awkward and full of hiccups. From experience, I’ve learned to be patient. It seems that the harder it is to begin, the more worthwhile it will eventually be. I don’t know why this is, but it seems an unarguable truth in my life.
So, wait patiently and don’t give up. Don’t write it off because of early cancelations or uncomfortable toe-dipping into the pool of this new experience. If it really isn’t for you, that will be made clear enough in time. But don’t misinterpret difficulty with something that God doesn’t want. Keep on keeping on!
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Success is a funny thing. I can dwell on this concept for hours at a time. When I first began homeschooling, I had every intention of equipping my children for the best colleges from which they would graduate at an age no greater than twenty. With purpose, I have never allowed myself to think too long on careers, so that I would not push my wishes overtly or inadvertently on them. I have always been aware that my children are whole people, with a purpose that reaches far beyond their childhood home. I believe it is my job to train up, equip and encourage them the best I can; after that, they need to choose to follow the Lord on the path He has set before them, wherever that may lead.
Within my small role, my mind has been working around the ideas of success. I think the Christian terms for success is blessing. As I type this, I am listening to Laura Story’s blessings. We ask for blessings that are physical, and in line with signs of success. She sings that maybe it is the hardships that pull us out of that comfort zone that breeds lukewarm hearts that are the true blessings.
I still want to give my kids all I can to open doors for them. I certainly don’t want to be responsible to eliminating possibilities for them. So, still college is there. I will work to make them more than able to achieve whatever level of education is needed. But, my ideas about an education are changing. It actually frightens me a little. I watched both my parents pursue their degrees later in life and the struggle this scenario presents. It seems reasonable that a college education is best achieved before producing children and probably before marriage. Because of this, there is a ‘now or never’ tag attached to college—while not wholly accurate, it is certainly a sober warning.
I certainly don’t have a problem sending my kids to college or with them having degrees. But, the worldly mentality is so very insidious. It is everywhere and the seed is always faithlessness. I hear things like, “sure God is our leader and provider, but it isn’t practical to expect Him to lead and provide all the time.” The idea behind this phrase is in everything! Ironically, I hear it most often when discussing how a church should function, but that is another post for another time. Choosing practicality over faith can be seen in careers, dating, childbearing, childrearing, education, relationships, careers, relationships… It is everywhere. We say we rely on God and trust Him, but with the next breath we explain that there needs to be a backup, something to do while waiting on His answers or guidance.
College is just the beginning. But after that, there is the justification of the time and money invested in the degree. One must get a job to pay back the college loans, and make a living. To make the money, the work must be a priority. hmmm…
I don’t think I am able to put my concerns into words here. I keep trying, but I read them back and they aren’t making the point in my heart. I may have started too early—with childhood and college.
I guess I wonder how we can pursue human definitions of success and be where the Lord wants us to be for ministry and service. We cannot serve two masters. To maintain an American life, there are many trappings that siphon our time, money and talents from godly service. To be living sacrifices and completely sold out for the service of God, I am concerned that the comforts of life are distractions that lull us into complacent disobedience. The western world has a system that includes extended, expensive education; delayed family-forming and detachment from one’s original nuclear family. And the maintenance of western ‘success’ requires continual sacrifice: the proverbial rat race or hamster wheel to keep everything going, but going where? I don’t believe these things fold nicely into a plan by the Lord.
It is scary to abandon that definition of success. To give up retirement, the home, the things. Those things are tangible and comforting. But they are also earthly treasures that are ash. Sometimes we think we are compromising by acknowledging the non-standard methods to success—the artist or performer who drops out of school but attains acclaim and more money than an office job could ever offer. But this still holds to a worldly standard of success. Money and things it can buy.
What about the person who foregoes the whole game? They give up comforts and self-reliant security to serve. They live all their lives not knowing from where tomorrow’s food will come. They live all their lives in communion—in union—with the Holy Spirit. Am I brave enough to send my children in this direction? To live this way myself? Does it even matter?
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Our first day back to school after vacation is usually hellish. Yesterday was our first day back and I don’t think it could have gone better! Praise be to Him! We also did something brand new yesterday, that marks a new way of schooling for the rest of this school year. That is such a recipe for meltdowns and misery. Instead, the day was filled with laughter, cooperation and productivity!
His love and mercy amaze me. I know that we aren’t guaranteed good days from here on out—we aren’t even guaranteed days on earth from here on out. I don’t have to worry about it, though. Yesterday day was good. His mercies are new every morning. I renew my mind and set it on Him and His goodness. We keep moving forward with thankful praises!
Friday, February 10, 2012
I am considering a new artistic pursuit. I am thinking about finding a way to express the pain of menstrual cramping. Brian suggested I use the clay from our Cranium game and sculpteraid it. I like his idea of the three dimensional expression. I am also considering a simple pencil on paper representation. I’m visualizing the human form contorted in and around itself, almost snail-shell-like. The other idea I have is a creative movement piece, with occasional sound effects.
Seeing as how my cycle and subsequent pain will never produce a child, I have a hard time being patient with the whole monthly ordeal. But if I were able to travel and profit from artistic displays, perhaps even bring consolation and understanding to others, then it might be worthwhile!
Thursday, February 9, 2012
This word has been tumbling around in my mind and heart for several days. Years ago a man I know described a mutual friend as being sweet. I knew instantly that this same man would never have described me with that word, and I said so. He kind of shrugged his shoulders in acquiescence. Anyone who knows me for any length of time knows I am not sweet. I am stubborn and have fight in me. I can be sarcastic and snarky, though I have improved on that over the years. I do cuss and have a temper. I am not sweet.
But, oh, how I wish to be!! I want to be sweet smelling to my Lord. I want others to meet me and see only His sweetness come out of me. If I had one wish, it would be to be seen as sweet. I have been thinking a lot lately how I fall so short of this standard. I haven’t talked about it because it sounds trite and shallow, but for me it is the opposite. I try to chalk it up to cyclical hormones, because they are so easy to blame.
I went to a women’s prayer meeting yesterday. I have been meaning to go for a year, but always have a good excuse to miss out on the monthly gathering. Yesterday, ten minutes before the meeting I saw a reminder go through. I wasn’t even dressed yet, since it was waffle and bedding day. But I got myself ready, barely believing that I was actually going to go.
I saw some old friends, which was a great treat, and saw ladies I know from church, which helped me feel more at home. I sat with two young ladies who made me feel comfortable. One of them had been homeschooled, so we chatted about that for a while. They led the music time and I was blown away by their gift for leading worship. The speaker (who was also homeschooled) was dynamic and relatable. She had some wonderful words of wisdom that were inspired.
Then the microphone was being handed around. People were to share about how some lie was making them feel too fearful to step out in faith. I felt like I should raise my hand and share. I feel so fearful about going to new events in this town because of all the people who don’t think I am sweet! It sounds silly and ridiculous, but there it is. In my head, I was screaming, “I want to be sweet!” But I never raised my hand. I had good reasons. The meeting had gone way past the two-hour session. Others were raising their hands and sharing. I missed my chance.
But, then the lady sitting next to me at the table suddenly jerked her head to the side and shoved her chair to the side, apologizing for having her back to me the whole time. I laughed and waved her off; we were both facing the center of the group. I hadn’t felt slighted. Then she said, “You have this sweet spirit that has been hitting my back the whole meeting and I want it to hit my face.” … I was speechless and nearly broke into outright sobs. I leaned forward and touched her shoulder. I asked if she really meant that.
I worked to pull myself together. I thanked God for this gift. Then I thought, ‘she thinks I am sweet because she has never heard me open my mouth!’ The Liar can be incorrigible.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Because I have two waffle makers now, things should go quickly. I sure made the preparation as laborious and as lengthy as possible. I don’t know where my head is that adding ingredients to a bowl became such a complicated affair. Hopefully, there was no permanent damage and everything will taste good in the end!
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Hi, all! My darling husband has been off of work this whole week (remember, Tuesdays are our Saturdays). He came home from being with his brother for a week last Monday. He’d just gotten home and we were decompressing when I remembered the kids had music class and we had young marrieds meeting like, right now! So we rushed off and enjoyed our time with friends—and a free dinner!
Tuesday I got to sleep in while Brian took Madi to dance and then I got to teach a blast of a class on Storytelling. Max was The Man because he videotaped and narrated two movies that the girlies made. I do love to teach. This little Frontier Group is my only current outlet for sharing with a brood of kids and I really soak it up.
Wednesday was my best friend’s birthday! Last year Brian turned 40 and we had a wonderful time making a big deal of it with family and friends. This time we kept things a little lower key. We hung around the house most of the day. That evening was our regularly scheduled day to cook for the youth, so we did that (they sang to Brian) and then had game night with a pair of our most cherished friends.
Thursday we ran to Reno for some money-hemorrhaging fun. We let the kids spend Christmas gift cards, went to a thrift store to beef up Brian’s and the kids’ wardrobes and had a special linner (like brunch) at Red Lobster. Then we went to Winco.
Oh. My. Goodness! Brian has always called Winco hell on earth, so we haven’t gone in over a decade. But the prices are so-so-so good and we are on a breathlessly tight budget until overtime checks start coming in. I went to Winco with a girlfriend a few months ago and was floored by the prices. But even better was that there wasn’t that oppressive atmosphere that makes even the best bargains not worth it. People were friendly and smiling. The place wasn’t packed. It was a very pleasant experience. So I thought the place had changed in the last decade and was excited to show Brian.
Well. It seems there is a real difference between the 11th of the month at 10 am and the 2nd of the month at 5 pm. Enter hell. Screaming children, packed aisles, everyone wishing they were someplace else and expressing it in any number of ways. And the real killer was that the receipt didn’t show the savings I’d experienced before. I guess the store really makes its money off of everyone else’s payday. Honestly, my son was the most self-controlled and gracious person I saw in the whole store! He was so sweet. Anyhow, we survived and got out with only about 3/4 of the list finished.
FRIDAY! This was a great day. I started with my normal Bible reading and then hit the ground running. I don’t think I had a real sit down until about 9pm, when my darling husband gave me a wonderfully therapeutic foot rub. What was I doing all day? Well, the normal stuff: laundry, dishes and floor duties never end. But we also made a bunch of finger foods and decorated for our first ever dance! That’s right! We cleared the family room of just about everything, strung streamers and hung balloons. Some terrific friends joined us to make a truly unique evening of dancing and games so much fun. We played Mafia for the first time in years, along with some other party games and had a dance competition. I was so grateful that even the guys came all dressed up and showed us their moves. Men who are willing to be uncool for their families are really the coolest men in the world, Amen?
Saturday I was sick. It was really very nice! I lay on the blow up mattress making friends with Nyquil. I only did laundry and dishes, and ate leftovers from the dance. I mean, if you have to be sick, that is the way to do it.
Sunday poor Brian took his turn feeling under the weather, which wasn’t the best, since it was Super Bowl Sunday and we had plans to hang out with friends. We got him home right after the game, poured Nyquil down his gullet and locked him in the library. The kids and I shoved the love seat into the family room and watched a few episodes of Voyager. Oh, the other big event of Sunday was that those stinking dogs tore down the chicken wire and removed a slat from the neighbors fence and ran away! How did they do that? They are total poop-heads.
—TMI warning: so, I have met only three neighbors since moving to our new home. All men, and all while I was breathless and bra-less. Nice, huh?
Monday we took it pretty easy to be sure Brian’s healing stuck. I got lots done on the computer, including badges ordered for our Frontier Girls, classes planned for more badge-earning fun and our taxes done. Virtual high-five for me!! Stupid dogs got out again, so Brian bought slats and a staple gun and declared he was going to laminate the entire fence. Hopefully it will stay in place now. If we ever get a dog again, it will be a dumb, smell-less (what is the equivalent word to blind?), timid, tiny thing that doesn’t leave my side.
We still have a couple of days left before Brian returns to work, but these are more-or-less normal days off. Dance and Bible study are coming up around the corner. School starts Friday!
Monday, February 6, 2012
Here is another note I made while struggling with the losses that infused 2011 with such loss (and growth).
It is four am and I cannot sleep. I cannot stop thinking about a particular heartache. After wallowing for too long, I went to my Lord for solace and read today's passages in my plan.
Three chapters of battle. Three chapters of 'be strong and courageous.' Three chapters of the Lord leading utter destruction: nothing left alive.
What am I to take from this? How can I find true healing and lasting peace? I know it is not from imagining those who've hurt me as utterly destroyed before the Lord. They love Him, too. More importantly, He loves them.
But my God is just and no unrighteousness can stand before Him. I imagine it just withers into ash in the presence of His overwhelming glory in a way that blows the best special effects out of the water.
I must remember that my enemies are never people. Those who wish me harm are of the spirit world and the harm they seek is eternal. I cannot fight that on my own. I must be strong and courageous AND call on God to surround me with His heavenly host. Only He can save me now. And now three chapters of victory are beginning to sound pretty good.
Numbers don't matter! Bring on your five kings! Bring on more soldiers than there is sand on earth! This isn't my battle. It is His and He will win! He will destroy Jealousy, Hatred, Unforgiveness, Pride, Divisiveness, Heartache, Gossip, Coldness and other spirits of death.
This is a victory for which I long with the very core of my being. Lord, come and conquer all that strives to steal, kill and destroy! Open my eyes to the Truth of the battle and the reality of my enemy. Lift me up to salvation, clothed in white and wholly forgiven. Save me from subtle and distracting attacks. Let me stand blameless in your sight. In your only begotten Son's name. Amen.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
The other day I was having some Mommy, Max and Madi time. I thought we were going to hang out together on the blowup mattress in the library and chat. My daughter had something else in mind. She lay herself across the mattress, claiming it all (loudly) for herself. I just grabbed a pillow, threw it on her belly, and lay down on it. She struggled, trying to shove me not just off of her, but off the whole mattress.
I was a little incredulous. I stared at her as she pushed and kicked and grunted. Finally, I scooped her up and set her down on the floor. I mean, really…had she simply forgotten she can’t beat me?? She wasn’t done. She clamored across my body, clawing to get back on the mattress.
I asked her, a little exasperated, ‘why do you think you are going to win this?’ She gleefully announced through her struggling, “Because. I. Am. Awesome!”
How do you argue with that?
Saturday, February 4, 2012
I have been going over my various devotional notes this week. In anticipation of my husband’s vacation, I wanted to get a lead on my blog posts so that I could sleep in with him! Here is a note I made last September, while going through some very painful trials.
John 21:22 NASB verses 18-23
Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, "Follow Me!"
Peter, turning around, *saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?" So Peter seeing him *said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?" Jesus *said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!" Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?"
Oh, wow! This verse came to me while singing at church in answer to a struggle I have had all this year.
How are we to cope with fighting Christians? It burdens me that there are Christians with whom I simply cannot get along. I hate this. We are supposed to be united, peace loving, without contention. And yet, I can't change this and God hasn't yet changed it. This is.
I can almost fool myself into believing that I can just move on as a recovered or surviving 'victim.' But that belief never lasts more than a moment because I know these former friends love the Lord. More importantly, God loves THEM! How can I shake the dust from my feet with self righteousness in the face of that knowledge?
So I battle within myself, consumed with sorrow and fretfulness, less than I ought to be each day from this trial.
Then this verse came to me. Wow! What amazing peace has washed over me. It is not for me to struggle to make peace anymore. It is also not my job to reject them. It is only my job to follow my Lord! With my eyes on Him, I can 'hand over' this relationship and this person to Him.
I know all this, of course. But the idea of quarreling believers has really burdened me. I thought it was my responsibility to sort things out so that there was unity and peace. Now I think God has truly released me. God loves and plans for each of us. For reasons that certainly include sin, we have had a split. But the Lord works all things for good for those who love Him. His plan is complete and good. I just need to rest in His sufficient grace for today and do what He asks of me. The rest is honestly none of my business. Bliss!
Friday, February 3, 2012
1 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!
2 May He send you help from the sanctuary
And support you from Zion!
3 May He remember all your meal offerings
And find your burnt offering acceptable! Selah.
4 May He grant you your heart's desire
And fulfill all your counsel!
5 We will sing for joy over your victory,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.
6 Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.
7 Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.
8 They have bowed down and fallen,
But we have risen and stood upright.
9 Save, O LORD;
May the King answer us in the day we call.
These verses caught me off guard this morning. What exorbitance! How bold! My prayers aren't so grand. I find myself carefully praying words like, Your will, or Whatever You think is best.
I don't think there is anything wrong with praying such prayers of trust and submission, but the problem is that I know in my heart why I do it, and the heart is what matters. It is my own faithlessness that keeps me from asking for the desires of my heart. In swinging away from the 'name it and claim it' and 'prosperity Gospel,' I have become fearful of my own desires and God's willingness to answer them.
A while ago I realized that I prayed in a way to essentially 'protect' God as though I were akin to his PR rep to myself. So that He wouldn't disappoint me, I kept my prayer requests light and vague. I never doubt His ability to go big, but doubted His willingness to go big FOR ME.
These verses are going big. There are no Sunday School messages attached to the blessings, striving to remind us of all the caveats that come with having the desire of our hearts fulfilled. No reminder to line up that desire with His will. No caution to be mindful that 'these things take time.' No wise teaching about how God answers all prayers, be it with a yes, wait or no.
It is just an extravagant blessing. No holds barred. The Psalmist spoke with confidence and wide open hands. It is amazing!
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Last Wednesday my darling husband was out of town visiting his brother. Knowing he’d be out of town, I planned on schooling the whole day. Wednesdays for us are equivalent to normal-people-Sundays, and we tend to take it easy and just hang out without having too heavy an agenda for the day. It is our regular day of rest.
But I knew Brian would be off all this week, which means no school, so I wanted to get lots of school done while he was gone for a week, even if that meant schooling on a regular day off.
It didn’t quite happen that way. The day prior, we had gone sledding with friends, then had this electrical freak-out of the house’s circuit breakers. A friend came over to save us and we hung out a while (such a blessed time!). That put us to bed later than usual after a day on the mountain, so we slept in a little late. No problem, I thought, since we weren’t up against any time constraints. We would just school late, end late and still have plenty of free time in the evening.
But then the dogs came in from the backyard covered in mud, which required emergency baths. Then Madi had a cry over owning only three pairs of pants and a couple of sweaters. Then I needed to run to the old house to see if a package was there… All of that pretty much blew our morning.
Instead of forcing a school day, we ran with what we had. Madi got in some sewing (patches on tired jeans to stretch her and her brother’s wardrobes a bit). Max got to do some creating with his Legos. We ran to the store to get stamps for some letter writing. And we bought peanut M&Ms as a total splurge for a Mommy-Max-and-Madi movie night.
So, no learning about knights or daimyos, but that is ok. It’ll come.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Today is my hero’s birthday! Oh, how blessed I am to even know such a wonderful man. But I don’t just know him; I get to call him friend, partner, husband, hero. When I met Brian, he was so cute! His laugh was to die for. And his relaxed, go-for-anything attitude was just what my tense-fearful attitude needed.
I was smitten immediately, even in my distracted state. But friends had told him I was damaged and to stay away. I couldn’t blame him for listening, so I worked to keep my feelings in check.
Over on my side of things, my older sister insisted that Brian had been nothing less than prayed into my life by her, thank her very much! I didn’t dare hope.
But we did come together and have grown together and enjoyed adventures together so completely that I have a hard time remembering he hasn’t always been alongside me in life. I have infused him into my memories of events that happened before we met and am shocked when he can’t remember them. Seriously, how blessed am I to be with someone who tolerates such insanity with a loving smile and kiss on my forehead?
Brian is 41 today. I love him with all my heart. Today our love is deeper and richer than when we first met. More trials will come. More fights will happen. But I pray that they bring us ever closer so that our love today pales in comparison to our future.
I love you, Old Man!