Saturday, April 9, 2011


Always amazes me when God wishes to communicate something to me. It often seems wrapped in mystery, something I could easily overlook if I didn't pause to be still. And yet something so clearly marked with His fingerprints.

Often He speaks through His Word. Like I pointed to the other day, sometimes He takes a verse so dear and sheds new light on it. But sometimes He speaks through others. As I've been wreslting these past few months, this song has crossed my path.

God's blessings and graces are many...sometimes we just can't see them at first. May you see the blessings, my friend.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A choice- two ropes

In life we always have a choice, don't we? It's one of God's great gifts to us. This morning as I awoke and muttered my first prayers, I began to see the choices before me.

I've been in a place the past few days where I've again had to face that my plans and God's plans are not the same. Life's so much easier when those two align. But I also know that I can't force God to make His plans my plans. So I have a choice.

What will I choose? My plans? My plans are are like a rope I could choose to cling to. It's a rope that I've braided since a girl. I would be a wife. I would be a mother. I'd have at least two children. Life would be centered on caring for this family and raising the children up to follow God. I'd always thought my family would live near where I grew up. We'd have time with grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. My mom and I would visit and I'd get advice from her over cups of coffee. Later I added details like the children would be a few years a part. Not so far apart that they didn't share things in common, but not one on top of the other either. 3-4 years would be great. I'd even adjusted that plan to 2-4 years most recently! Of coure this rope already had to be rebraided somewhat over the years, but still a large piece of it was intact. There's nothing really wrong with this rope. Except that it's pretty small isn't it?

The other choice I have is God's plan. Ahh... but that rope I can't quite understand. It's so big I can't see where it leads. I can only see the now- a husband and a son to honor, love, and care for. Other family to keep near despite the challenge of miles between us. A church family to serve. But I don't see much else. I don't know what a little further up the rope holds. I don't know what dreams are up there. I don't know what to set my expectations on.

Or do I know what to set my expectations on? God has said He has plans and they are good (Jer. 29:11). He says he wants me to live an abundant life (John 10:10). He says I am loved (Jer. 31:3). He says life is to bring Him glory and it's to share His love with others(John 15:8). He says this life is only a shadow of what's to come (John 14:3). He says to set my heart on Him and things above(Col. 3:1). He says I can trust Him, even when I can't see (Prov. 3:5-6). He says He's my rock, my foundation, my hope (Ps. 62).

So which rope should I choose to hold on to?

Yes, you got it. I'm going to choose to hold on to God's rope. I'm also aware that I need to cut down the other rope and not try to tie it up again. (The not tying it up again is probably the harder part!) You may want to ask me later which rope I'm holding on to.

What about you though? What are you holding on to? Good question isn't it? There's always a choice- two ropes!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


It's been some time since I last wrote. Life seems to get busy and this little space gets squished out when that happens. That doesn't mean that I'm not pressing on or thinking, it's just there's not time to sit and write.

In the space since I wrote last I've continued to count God's graces. I've had good days and not so good days. Life has been happening. Sometimes I'm amazed at the territory my emotions can cover in a week. Well, let me look at that a day! Sometimes I'm just plain ol' weary from it all.

Last night was one of those weary moments for me. I was feeling a bit defeated. I'd slid a bit into the pit where those nasty thoughts swim in my head and drown out God's truth. I must admit I turned to the computer to see if I could find something to read that would help. I wondered if there was someone out there who had walked a similar road recently and could offer some encouragement. (I know I should be turning to God and His Word first, but that wasn't what I choose.) God was kind and brought me to some words that turned me to His Word. I'm so grateful. The words had to deal with waiting and God's perfect timing. It reminded me of my treasured verse, Isaiah 40:31. I took a moment and thought about that verse and all the miles it's traveled with me. And then I noticed it. The little word renew.

But they that wait upon the Lord, will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings as eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Hold it. If God is promising to renew their strength when they wait on Him, then maybe waiting drains strength? Maybe it's normal for this process to make us feel all twisted and limp. Maybe it's normal to be discouraged when we wrestle to hold on to God when we wait. Maybe I'm not so far off the mark. God is promising renewal. He's promising to give what we replenish it.

It was a small word, but it gave needed strength. Keep holding on. God will renew and enable until there is victory.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'll be happy when...

Ever said that. Yup, me too. Often.

I'll be happy when we have vacation.

I'll be happy when we get back into a routine.

I'll be happy when the the snow melts.

I'll be happy when mud season is over.

I'll be happy when it's cooler.

I'll be happy when we have a child.

I'll be happy when it's quieter.

I'll be happy when we have another child.

Today in my browsings of blogs, I was reminded of the troubles that come when thinking this way. My happiness is so often focused on my surroundings and circumstances. My emotions are directly related to what is happening, and my sense of well being is directly correlated to how much things are going according to my plans. But this is not what God says He wants for us. He wants to give us joy that is based on Him not on our circumstances. He wants us to look beyond the messes in life to see the potential of all things to speak of His grace and glory.

I don't have to wait to be happy. I can choose right now to be joyful. This happens when I take my eyes off of my, my expectations, my schedule, my ways, and turn to look at Him. I can look to His truth. The truth that He is good. He is love. He is steadfast. I can look at the situations and circumstances and see through them to the opportunity to what He can do in them.

I want this deep abiding joy, don't you? So instead of I'll be happy when, I'll choose to count the blessings I see. And I'll turn over that I'll be happy when and ask Him to carry the situation in His hands and give me joy now.

I'll be happy now for...

113. Being warm and dry on a wet slushy day

114. Time to read

115. Crystal branches in sunlight

116. Fresh air and blue sky

117. God's forbearance

118. Cute three year old train conductors punching tickets for stuffed animal passengers

119. Whisper of falling snowflakes

120. Familiar Bible verses and speak like old friends

121. Little Man in high water pants

122. Provisions in the form of cardboard

123. Maple syrup pancakes

124. Breakfast together as a family with sausage and biscuits too boot!

125. Love for Christ's bride

126. Bed time----ahh sweet bed time!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


What is it about a clear blue sky that calls deep to my heart? When I step outside into the sunlight and inhale, it's then that I am drawn upward. My thoughts are pulled from earth's concerns and I begin to contemplate greater things. The burdens, loudness, dullness seem to fade a bit. The air becomes clearer, the peace greater, and I am drawn to Him. Do you feel the same thing?

What is it about the heavens that does this? I turned to the Word for some insight.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.em>

The heavens tell of God's glory. They demonstrate His work. They speak of Him. Surely when we gaze upward we are reminded of who He is.

Psalm 8: 1-4
1 LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

And when I look skyward, I find my place. I am small. He is great. And in His greatness He cares for me. Surely I can breathe easier with this in mind.

Psalm 36:5 Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.

I am loved. The heights of heaven try to measure off the vastness of this love.

Isaiah 40:26
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

I am cared for. The one who created all this and sustains it, knows my needs, can meet my needs, and promises to meet my needs.

1 Chronicles 16:31-33
31Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
32 Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!
33 Let the trees of the forest sing,
let them sing for joy before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.

So, my heart joins the anthem of the skies. My praise rises up to Him. It's good to get outside and think heavenward, isn't it?

Trying to count gifts like the stars in the sky:

99. Little Man saying first memory verse without any prompting- Word being hidden in the heart

100. Bedtime talks and overflowing love

101. Sitting at a supper table at sundown

102. Time with my husband

103. Over hearing Little Man say, "I'm glad you're my Daddy"

104. Pasta

105. Day filled with ordinary things

106. A boy and his trains

107. Love that keeps going beyond differences

108. Supper eaten by a sick boy

109. Tylenol

110. Special delivery from home- along trip

111. Afternoon naps

112. Sharing in communion and remembering the price Jesus paid for his bride

Thursday, March 3, 2011

When the mystery becomes clearer...

Sometimes God's Word is a mystery isn't it? I mean to a degree we understand the words and ideas, but at times there is so much that seems shadowed in those very same words.

For example, read 1 John 3:1.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

Seems pretty understandable at first glance doesn't it? We're loved. We have a relationship with God in which He is our Father. His love is lavished freely on us. We're his children. I understand that.

But then again, do I really? Do I get the truth behind these words?

God doesn't leave His Word a mystery though. He gives us His Spirit. His Living Holy Spirit. The Living Spirit that interprets the Living Word of God to us. It's amazing when the mystery becomes a bit clearer.

The other day I was playing with Little Man. He's really been a lot of fun to be with this past month. We'd had a rough spot of disobedience and difficulty, but things seemed to have ironed out a bit. I've been delighting in his words, his ideas, his creativity, his growing understanding. My heart melts when he gives a spontaneous hug and says, "I love you, Mommy." He enjoys being with me. He wants me to be near him, to watch what he's doing. To talk with him. To listen to him. It really doesn't matter. He just wants us to be together. And what joy does that bring me to know those desires. To know that Mamma has a dear place in his heart right now.

That's when I saw something in my relationship with God and thought of 1 John 3:1. Is this part of what it means to be a child of God? Just as I so delight in Little Man's desire to be with me, his open love for me, and his growth, so too, does God delight in me. He loves me and wants to be with me, His child. He wants me to desire to have time with Him, to give Him a preferred place in my heart, to share with Him all my experiences. Am I to foster the same kind of attitude in my heart that my Little Man has towards me? Do I delight in Him, or is being with Him something that I just do out of duty? And when I live in His love, like my little guy lives in my imperfect love for him, doesn't my heart overflow more towards my Father?

I'm grateful for God's Word. I'm grateful for God's Spirit. I'm grateful when God speaks into my everyday life to make the mystery a little clearer. Live today as you are loved. Spend sometime with your Heavenly Daddy and be sure to wrap your arms around his neck and tell Him you love Him!

Monday, February 28, 2011

God is good....

Forgive me for dwelling on this theme, but the post is just as much for me as for someone who may wander this way.

God is so good.
God is so good.
God is so good.
He's so good to me.

It's a chorus I've sung many times. Do I believe it? I mean really truly when I'm in the nitty gritty stuff of life?

Yesterday I was thinking more about the goodness of God. You see I had to. Two things this weekend recalled the question of the goodness of God. Two things that if I focused on them, could steal my joy and lead me to believe a lie.

At our church's winter carnival event there was a woman visiting with a beautiful baby belly. You know the perfect bump. I asked when she was due and she replied, "April."

Now that we don't have any bundles to be expecting, April the due date for our first loss, seems like a bigger deal to me than it had been. I could have been sporting a baby belly like that. But I'm not.

I kind of ignored the whisperings that day. The ones that said, "God is good, huh? Then why?"

The whisperings got louder on Sunday as I sat in church I heard little sounds that only a newborn could make. I was able to rejoice with my church family in the safe arrival of a new addition to the family. This little one and his family have had many challenges, and I truly do rejoice with them. But I won't deny there were tears in my eyes during worship when the question returned to my heart. "God is good? Then why are you empty?"

I started to think about this. Is losing a baby good? Not necessarily if you just look at the events. But can good happen from this? Yes, thanks to my one and only God. It's not the event that labels God good. God is good, regardless of the event. I can choose to look at life through events and label God, or I can choose to look at life through God and label events.

So, God is good. I choose to believe that today. What will you choose?

Choosing to see the blessings:

85. Discovering new beautiful places to explore close to home
86. Daddy time for a little boy
87. Being surrounded by good friends
88. Laughter and games with a friend
89. White snow, green pine, and deep blue sky
90. Musical crunch of snow underfoot
91. Group of various ages and experiences gather round table in study of God's Word
92. Jesus being the Prince of Peace when the world is not peaceful
93. Safe travel on snowy roads and in the clouds
94. Little Man sounding out text for the first time B- A- T!
95. Lessons learned and grace in the midst
96. A boy with a heart full of wanting to help
97. Sounds of newborn at church
98. Knowing God is good even when an event is not

Thursday, February 17, 2011

God, Goodness, and Psalm 103 - Part 1

I've been reading Psalm 103 often these days. It's kind of like the path I keep going back to when I feel lost. The path that leads me back to truth and realigns life so I am not so lost.

It's easy to get lost. It's easy to hear the words of the world around us, to feel the barb of circumstances, and then to forget what the truth is. The lostness seems to come when I begin to give in to the questions. Is God really good? I've been reminded in a book I am reading that this is the same question that Satan asked of Eve in the beginning. If he isn't giving you what you desire, is God really good? I don't want to fall to the same sin of my flesh's mother, so when I get lost in the question and it's sister question "Can you really trust God?" I find my way to the path of Psalm 103.

In the beginning of the Psalm there are directions. Directions that if I follow will start to clear away the clouds and point me in the right direction.
I particularly like the wording of the NLT:

"Praise the LORD, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. " Psalm 103:1-2

Sometimes to find the path, I have to tell myself to praise God. I have to praise him with my whole heart. I need to stop and count the good things he does. They are there. Even in the darkest of times, they are there. So, I stop. I notice. I count. The Psalmist started to count:
"who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." Psalm 103:3-5

God forgives my sins. He gives mercy and grace.
He heals my diseases. My soul diseases, like leprosy of the heart, blindness of the soul, and lameness of the body. He heals my sin sick being.
He redeems my life. I was in a pit like the wearer of the multi-colored robe. I was left to die. But He paid for me. He lifted me up.
He crowned me with love and compassion. He saved me for His glory, but I wasn't just a notch on his belt or a conquest; He called me beloved.
He gives generously. He satisfies my desires.

Yes. That's true. Do I desire to be loved? Do I desire to belong? Do I desire to be free? Do I desire to know? Do I desire peace? Do I desire purpose? To all of these He's given abundantly. Like all the trees in the garden, he's produced an abundance for me to taste and enjoy. Who am I to pout and say, "But I want....(the thing He hasn't given)? Who am I to question? Praise and count. It's the first steps on the path back to truth.

"The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:6-12

God reveals himself to His children. What do we find when He shows us who He is through his deeds? When my heart is wounded, I want to point to my bruises and my scratches. I want to focus on how He didn't come through. But then I'd also have to be honest. What do I mean He didn't come through? Isn't it really that He didn't do things the way I thought they should be done? Why does this blind me from all the good He does? Like the children of Isael I need to remember. I need to count the mana, the water from the rock, and sandals that don't wear out. And when I count, what do I find? Yes, the Lord is full of compassion, grace, patience and love. He doesn't treat me as I deserve. He doesn't pay me what I have earned. His love is measureless when we fear Him. We are forgiven by what He does. And when I count, I return to the right path.

What brings you back to the right path today?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

God, Goodness and Psalm 103- Part 2

Last week I shared that Psalm 103 has been my GPS so to speak. It's the Psalm that keeps pointing the way back to peace and joy with Him. Join me as we continue to look at the remaining ten verses of this Psalm.

"As a father has compassion on his children,so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts." Psalm 103:13-18

As I shared earlier I tend to get lost when I listen to the father of lies instead of my Heavenly Father. It's amazing how quickly I can end up in a ditch and think that somehow it's God's fault that I'm here. That He's just not really a good Daddy. The light of truth burns bright in this Psalm. Just like earthly father's have compassion on their children, God has compassion on those who fear him. God feels the hurts of those who honor Him. He knows the weaknesses of those who hold him in awe. He knows we are but dust, that the glory of our lives is fleeting. He knows that what hurts me seems gigantic in the scale of my life. It's me who needs to be reminded. I need the reminder of what comes next- God's love is with me forever. As He is eternal, so is the love He gives me. His being and essence of righteousness remains the same. And with the reminder of His position, I see another step to take me back to the path. I am to obey and Him and walk in His covenant. I am to do what I know He says and leave the questions to Him. If they are to be answered, they will be. I am to trust and obey.

"The LORD has established his throne in heaven,and his kingdom rules over all. Praise the LORD, you his angels,you mighty ones who do his bidding,who obey his word. Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the LORD, my soul." Psalm 103:13-22

This is the one I am called on to trust and obey: The one whose throne is in heaven. The one who rules over all. The one who speaks and angels rush to do his bidding. The one that heavenly hosts serve. The one whose dominion has no boundaries. Yes, if He can rule all of this. If all of these obey and do as He ways without question, shouldn't I? When I am lost in the questions and begin to wonder who is God? Is He good? Can I trust Him? It's then that these words bring me back to the path and keep me walking with Him.

May your walk today be filled with the joy of His presence as you trust and obey.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

On a day when the world around us celebrates love,
should we,
the ones who know Love,
who have experienced the redeeming Love,
who are called to love,
should we not take time to count the ways He loves us.

And oh how He loves us!

Counting God's Love Gifts for Me:

71. An evening to laugh and talk with ladies at church

72. A warm bowl of black eyed peas (a dish my husband greatly enjoys)

73. Snowshoing with family just after a fresh snow

74. A weary body after good day's work

75. Fllicking a switch and having lights go on

76. Son asking, "So what do you love about today?"

77. A friend who knows you

78. Being able to choose even what kind of toilet paper we use

79. Little man sandwiched on couch between two friends of mine who choose to love us with the nearness

80. Hot coffee waiting for me in the morning

81. Being blessed with physical health so that I can clean things

82. My husband's kiss

83. Little Man wrapping his arms around my neck to hug me during worship time at church

Monday, February 7, 2011

By the Numbers

Sometimes counting blessings takes discipline. Sometimes it takes stopping to really look and take things in. Sometimes counting blessings is easy and the blessing come swooshing over you like a wave of love or a blizzard that blankets all in sight.

Whatever the situation, I'm going to count by the numbers and praise my God.

This week's numbers- #57-70

57. Spontaneous hugs and kisses from Little Man

58. Music and books making room time a fun time

59. Three year old ways- Little House on the Prairie being called Little House and the Fairy

60. Candles glowing on dark winter nights

61. Words that strike the heart and bring light like a match struck in the darkness

62. A steamy bowl of oatmeal on a snowy winter morn

63. Snow covering houses like icing and dusting trees like powdered sugar

64. Sun shining through skylights and brightening rooms after a storm

65. Searching God's Word for truth and finding precious pearls

66. The serenity of a boy taking an afternoon nap

67. A boy and a father taking an afternoon nap (on a different day from #66) and the hush of the house at this time

68. A family of "mice" under the blanket in the "mouse house"- and giggles of a three year old delighting in Mom and Dad playing along

69. Young women seeking to follow God in a world that threatens to trip them up, load them down, or hush the desire in their hearts

70. Simple joys in a church nursery as hands explore and play, hugs are given, and stories read

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gleanings from A Graceful Waiting

Jan Frank compares waiting to the process of harvesting wheat. (A farmer's daughter reading a book with a farming image...good combination.) Forgive me as I process and learn by sharing things from this book over several posts. I hope you will also find some kernals of truth in what is shared.

Although I'd never personally threshed wheat, the analogy made a lot of sense to one who was at least familar with rubbing the dried wheat or rye stalks in my hand to get a taste of the kernals as I walked by a field. Harvesting wheat involves several steps in order to get to the clean kernals that can be processed into something more useable like flour. First the stalks must be cut and threshed, then they must be winnowed, and finally the grain is collected.

Threshing isn't a calm process. It involves seperating the grain from the head by basically beating it. It's a rough process. The grain gets knocked around and around so that it loosens from the chaff or junk that surrounds the kernal we want to harvest. It's a great association in my mind, becuase waiting usually makes me feel quite beat up in side, like I'm going to pieces in the process.

When the threshing is complete the kernal of grain is revealed, but it's also mixed in with a lot of debris. That's where winnowing fits in. The pile of good and not so good stuff is tossed into the air where breezes can carry away the lighter garbage and the wholesome kernals fall to the ground. Hasn't waiting also felt like lots of upheaval with emotions going this way and that? When all the chaff is finally blown away, the golden heart of the grain waits to be gathered.

So, like threshing and winnowing, waiting has a purpse in our lives. And God's threshing floor is filled with purpose. It's funny though how my heart is always filled with questions when I'm lying on the threshing floor and waiting. How silent God seems to those questions.

"What is God trying to teach me?"

"What does He want me to do?"

"Why is this happening to me?"

"How can I do this?"

"I know what God's said, I know who He is, but can I really trust Him?"

"Will this hurt? Will I be okay in the end?"

"What am I going to look like on the other side of this?"

That's how I respond to waiting. I start asking questions. And I was sure this asking of questions was not a part of godly waiting. I mean if I was waiting with faith, I wouldn't have doubt or fear or questions, would I? But is that really true? Often heros of the Bible asked questions when God was silent. It's what they did after they asked the's the surrendering to God and trusting Him that made them heros. Somehow, that's comforting. I can wait and ask questions. I just can't stop there though.

"Questioning is commincation and demonstrates a pursuit of knowledge and understanding. When we take our questions to God we are asking to know Him better."
Jan Frank

So, one thing I've gleaned from this book so far, is that the process of waiting can be filled with questions, as LONG as the questions draw us to know Him better. My prayer is that our waiting periods will bring a rich harvest of knowing our God for who He is and not who we think He is.

Monday, January 31, 2011

A choice

Daily I have a choice. (Actually it's more of a moment by moment thing...)

I can look at what I don't have or at what I have.

I can look at what is lost or what is found.

I can look at what's missing or what is present.

I can lament what is lost or give thanks for what is given.

I'm going to to choose to give thanks. Now don't think that this is an easy thing. At the current moment I'm not feeling very thankful. I know in my head that I have ever so much to be thankful for. I know that without all God does I would have and be nothing. But the ache in my heart seems to cloud and muffle the truth in my head. So I choose to do what doesn't feel natural right now. I wouldn't even say that my thankful list is all that creative, all that deep, or all that wonderful. But I am going to choose to give thanks for these things and for this day.

Maybe that's part of what faith is all about. Knowing that what is seen is not really what is. Hmm... sounds like a verse doesn't it? Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

Today may you give thanks. Maybe it's thanks that is easy to give because the visual evidence is great. Maybe it's thanks by faith. Regardless, I hope you will give thanks.

Thankful this past week for:

43. A bath time in which Little Man's hair was washed and their were no tears

44. Hearing my boys playing in the basement

45. Having enough and more than enough and making decisions on how to share it

46. A like minded husband (in some areas)

47. Extra clothes to share

48. Reading MANY books to Little Man

49. A request for "mommy time"

50. A book that seems to express what I've felt and words of wisdom

51. A 20% off entire purchase including sales item coupon

52. Pajamas

53. Compliments from my husband (honey to the heart)

54. Colored noodles waiting to be turned into a project

55. God listening even when He feels far away

56. Homemade pizza

Friday, January 28, 2011


A page from my journal....

Why is waiting so difficult? Why is it that my heart rebels and races? Why do I feel so desperate to move on, to adjust, to reach the of this?

Look at the world you created, God. It's full of examples of the need to wait. A seed tucked in the dark earth. It's not what it will one day be. I wonder does it desire to know the future? Does it think it should be a strong seed, invincible to crack open? Does it think it should produce seeds just like it- one or two, and then go on to live a long happy life? What happens when dark circumstances close in? Or when the shell is cracked open and tender roots push out? And then what does it think when the seed is drawn on for nourishment and diminishes to the plant with leaves reaching sun and roots deep in earth? Or does it rest in knowing this is its purpose- the whole journey- and not think to question what God has ordained?

There is waiting in so many things. Time that ticks by so slowly is used by your mighty hand for what will day be visible. Help me to trust in the waiting. Help me to rest in you as I wait for what you will do. Help me to work and live in the waiting.

Do I need to have a vision of the future? Is it important? If it is important, I want the vision you give. Help me to yield my dreams to what you have planned. Because I know what you have planned is beyond what I can think or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

Since I wrote this in my journal, I've received a book I ordered on waiting. A Graceful Waiting by Jan Frank has thus far been an incredible read. Sometimes she shares from her own journal, and I feel like she's speaking thoughts I've also had. I know God's Word is our first place to look in all things, but I'm grateful that He also uses others in the body to share their experiences to cut into His Word and help us digest it all. I'll be sharing more about my reading!

Monday, January 24, 2011

1,000 Gifts begats 30 more

If you're familiar with "bloggerland", then I'm sure you've met Ann at A Holy Experience. If you haven't traveled to her site, please do so. You won't regret your journey.

For about a year now this woman's words have gripped and stirred me. A person that I've never met face to face or spoken with on the phone. I quietly read post after post and don't leave any comments, but yet feel that I feel a sisterhood with her through faith and loves of the heart. I'd never joined in her counting of 1,000 gifts, even though I'd heard the call. With the publication of her book the call grew louder, but still I resisted. I didn't that is until this new year, when I received an agenda notebook as a Christmas gift. A daily organizer with places to record my to-do list, my ideas for Little Man's schooling times, our meals for the week, and a space to list the gifts. I dedicated a block for counting the gifts. Even if they were never shared, I'd count.

And so I began when we returned from Christmas travels. The first full week was January 3rd. I began:

1. Good travels on our 9 hour trip

2. An ill husband who made the trip without really getting sick

And then January 4th came- A day that challenged this feeble attempt. With the show of blood and the questions of our baby's future, would I keep counting?

I did:

3. Little Man's sweet caring ways

4. God's truth that doesn't change despite our circumstances

and I counted some more:

5. We weren't away like we'd planned to be when we had to deal with this

6. The support of family and friends

7. Husband being off during this time and his sweet love

8. Our Little Dream slipping away while Little Man slept

9. Songs on a new CD to minister God's presence in a perfect way

10. Time out with a dear friend

I share this to say how great I am or how strong I am. I haven't even read Ann's book yet. It's still traveling the miles to my home and my hands. But I recognize the truth that praising God at all times is an act of obedience to a God who deserves that praise even when we question it, and that by counting the gifts we are changed. I want to encourage you to count your gifts. Mine don't sound like poetry as some people's lists do. Yes, they are simple. This past week they contained the gifts of chocolate pound cake and a friendly snowman in a neighbor's yard. But it's really not the gift we're pursuing is it, it's the Giver of the gifts.

I'm counting and have pursued Him by listing a paltry 30 gifts thus far. Will you pursue the Giver of all good things with me and start your own list?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Four Ways to Attend the Bride

Martha Lawley, author of Attending the Bride of Christ, suggests there are four primary things we should be about in preparing the church for her marriage to Christ.

1. Worship

2. Instruction

3. Fellowship

4. Evangelism

There’s really nothing earth shattering about these areas. We are to worship God. That can look like a bunch of different things, but at the heart it’s our response to God’s truth. Are you meeting regularly with other Christians, focusing your attention on God’s truth, and responding in your heart and in your day to day life to Him?

We are to be instructed. We’re to commit ourselves to meeting with our church family for instruction- from the pulpit, in the classroom, from each other. Yes, the Bible is our primary text, the Holy Spirit, our primary interpreter, but we need each other to learn. We should be studying throughout the week and meeting regularly to share and encourage. Are you part of a group in your local church that is committed to studying and learning God’s truth?

We are to fellowship in our local body. Now, that doesn’t mean we’re to have pot lucks ever week, but rather we are to share in life and walk together. It doesn’t mean attending formal gatherings, but investing in time with each other. We are to be real. We are to be trustworthy with other’s hearts. We are to share burdens and celebrate over victories and praises. This doesn’t just happen by gathering together once a week. We need to work together, play together, pray together, and walk together. Do people really know you and have fellowship with you? Are you investing in relationships in your church body?

We are to evangelize. Yes, that means everybody in our church body! Some of us are gifted with evangelism, but the command is given by God for all of us to share the Good News. Do you realize the Good News is what it’s all about? God has done something wonderful in your life. Share it! You may not think it’s all that exciting, but to many it’s the balm for their wounded hearts. Testify to what God has done. Give Him the glory. Speak of His works. You will be a light. As a body work to unified. Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and the Father are one. Our relationship with each other in the body speaks tremendously to the world. Are you sharing or saving things up for a later time? Share now! You never know when the groom may return.

It’s my hope that this series on the church has made you think and encouraged you in some way. Until He comes back for us, may we all be about serving the Bride!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Attending the Bride

In Jewish tradition the betrothal or time of was a very busy time for the bride. It was a time for following after holiness and for preparing for her future life with her husband. Besides spiritual preparation there were also physical garments to get ready and other things that would be needed in her household. This preparation was not a solitary one though. The entire community would join the bride in her preparations.

As believers we are also bridal attendants. We have a job to help the bride prepare for her wedding day. We see this in the parable Jesus gives in Matthew 25:1-13. We have work to do. But what is this work? Is it attending worship services when I feel like it or it’s convenient? Is it being involved in every single aspect of church life so that the church couldn’t really function without my being present (or so I believe)? What is the motivation for one attending the bride of Christ? What is the mission?

The work of the bridal attendants is to serve and care for the church so that she can complete her special call. She is called to be holy, set apart like her betrothed. She is called to hold forth the truth, the Word, to be a witness of who God is to a world that does not know Him. . She is called to love the lost world and share with them the message that Jesus has made a way for them to be in right relationship with God. She is called to train up believers so that they bear the image of Christ. She is called to love her beloved steadfastly and above all others and to remain pure for Him, not bowing her heart in idolatry.

Those are some pretty lofty endeavors. The exciting thing is that God has called you to have a role in completing this mission. What’s even better is that the mission’s success really doesn’t depend on my efforts. John 15 shows us that God wants to supply all we need to fulfill this mission. He wants to be the power source for all that we do. We are to live connected to Him, in awareness of Him, and in dependence on Him.

Take a few moments to think about these things and talk to God about them.

1. What is your attitude toward serving the church?

2. Why are you a part of a church? What is your mission?

3. What is your power source for fulfilling that mission?

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Church and Happily Ever After

Last month I did a great study that really got me thinking about the church. Since writing is a great way to process what you learn, I'd like to invite you to share in my learning.

When we hear the word "church" we think many things. For me I at first picture the little white country church I grew up next to. Then the image shifts to the faces I see ever Sunday. Another shake of the word, and I think bigger and picture believers in all their array of cultures bowing before the king. So why a study on the church? Why is the church important? How is the church a body? Why am I talking about brides and weddings?

The church is called to be God’s witness to the world and to bring God glory here on earth. There is the global church made of all who believe that Jesus- died for their sins, -is alive, and -is coming for them one day! But the global church is made up of smaller groups of believers who gather locally to meet and carry out God’s mission in their neighboring areas.

Romans 12:5 reminds us that the church is made of many members, but is united as one. It’s truly an amazing plan. You and I are each gifted in individual and specific ways. None of has all we need to walk through this life on earth. It’s a given that we need God for every aspect of life, but God also created us to need the gifts other have, much like your body needs your legs, and your heart needs your lungs. You have a role in His church. God doesn’t need you, but instead has graciously included you in His work and wants to take you on a wild adventure with Him as He works in and through you.

The church is also compared to a bride several places in the Bible. In II Corinthians 11:2 Paul desires to present believers as a pure bride to her husband. He also uses the idea of a bride when he uses the relationship of Jesus and the church to teach husbands and wives how to treat each other in Ephesians 5. The imagery culminates in John’s vision in Revelation 19:6-9 when the wedding of the Lamb is joyfully celebrated. The Lamb, Jesus, is completing His marriage to His beloved, the church.

Talk about a love story! He’s betrothed to the church, specially picked for Him by his father. He offers her the bride cup at his last supper. He prays for her. He pays the bride price for her with is own blood. He leaves her a written agreement, His very living Word. And he goes to prepare a place for her in His father’s house. He promises that He will come again for her when the Father tells him it is time. And until then, during the waiting time she is to commit herself to holiness and prepare herself for her groom. One day the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace will ride to her again on a white horse, sweep her off her feet and carry her home to heaven. There the kingdom will be fulfilled and all will be well forever and ever. Now that may sound like a fairy tale, but it’s in God’s Word and so we know it’s not a made up fantasy.

So does that mean believer should just sit back and wait for her hero to return? Not really. Stick with me and we’ll see why our involvement in the church is such a big deal!

When God speaks...

This morning I came across these words in Psalm 103:1-5.

1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

I think I should camp out and study this Psalm. I'll probably post more about it after I work through the writings I've started on the church.

Don't worry, I'm not claiming it as a promise that God will give us everything we desire. But there's a LOT of encouragement in these words. There is much to praise God for. Much to turn my attention from myself. God gives such good things and wants to satisfy our desires with good things. He wants our best. He knows that when we're satisfied with his best we are strong. That's especially encouraging as I've been pretty weary the past few days.

Imagine how my heart danced later today when Ethan grudgingly went for a walk with me and we spotted two eagles soaring above us. Yes, I think I have some encouragement today from my Father.

Will you praise Him with me?

How beautiful….

During these past few weeks our local body of Christ has ministered to us in tremendous ways. They have recalled God’s works, pointed to His Word, and continued to walk beside us letting their love and presence be known. We are humbled and grateful.

Before Christmas God prompted me to pick up a study I had on my “one day I’d like to” list. “Attending the Bride of Christ” was a study I needed to get me back on track, to love the body and to lovingly serve her in preparation for our marriage to Christ. I didn’t realize that shortly after finishing the study, God would show me just how crucial being involved in a local church was or how beautiful His plan for the church is.

If you are not connected to a local church, I strongly urge you to pray for God’s guidance and to get connected and be committed. If you are attending a local body but you aren’t really involved, I encourage you to pray also for God’s leading and to investigate ways you can be committed. If you are questioning what difference it makes if you’re involved and feeling like you’re just there to be obedient, I pray that God will speak to you in the days ahead and help you search out the purpose of his church and your role in it.

Please join me in the next few days as I “digest” some of my learning and share with you what I’ve been learning about the church and my part in serving her.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sharing a Song or Two

It's always been music that has been able to slip deep into my soul and allow God to help heal the broken places. It's always been music that has created a special avenue for God's words and truth to abide in my mind. Have you found that to be at least somewhat true in your own life? Aren't there songs that just seem to bring God's throne a little closer to earth for you?

Well, as I faced the challenges in the last few days, it's been no surprise that music has been a key part in God's touching my heart. I'd like to share both some songs and some words in hope that they may encourage you or spur you on to find your own "theme music".

For those of you know me for a long time, you know my ongoing connection with Isaiah 40:31. This has been an important verse to my life since high school days. Not being a waiter by nature, God continually speaks to me on this subject. There have been many songs that have also spoken to me on the subject. A few months ago this song caught my attention and I began to hang on to it as I continued to wait for what I hoped would be a yes to my desire.

Ironically the song that I have really desired to hear more of took a while to come to my hands. I'd heard John Waller's "While I'm Waiting" and immediately was taken with the message found in the lyrics. Waiting is not about doing nothing. It's about worshipping and obeying as you wait for what God will show you next. I received the CD for Christmas, and it was this CD that I chose to listen to the night we miscarried.

As we know so often God does have not only just what we need, but more than what we need if we wait for him. There are several songs on the "While I'm Waiting" CD that have gripped me. One of them though seems like just the perfect song for this next bend in the road - a bend that requires faith.

So what songs are speaking to you right now? How grateful I am to God for the gift He's given us in music. God is good. Let's keeping walking by faith, shall we?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Greater Silence

I know it's been ages since I've posted here. Looking back at what I posted last, you can hear in the silence the waiting and maybe some of the fear. I've been fearful to share too much during those months, fearful that I'd already shown too much of my heart and not sure if I wanted that.

But as the journey has progressed, with new bends in the road, I've been challenged. How does God receive the glory He is due if we don't share our lives- the good, the bad, the hopes, the disappointments? If our story is really His story, then don't we need to let others read it and hear it? Being transparent like that is scary to me. I'm not sure why, but it is? Am I fearful of judgment or fearful that I'll fail some standard set by myself or others? But again, if it's all really about God, why should I fear? If I truly believe He's the one responsible for shaping me and molding me, isn't my job to respond to Him and be a part of His body.

So here I am to break the silence. My heart's prayer is that in breaking the silence, God does receive the glory due to Him.

The story begins with a desire. A desire that isn't bad, but one that if unchecked and not brought before him continually could take the wrong place in my life. Although we are blessed with one wonderful little boy, my husband and I both have dreams of another child being added to the family. After having a child fairly easily the first time around we were unprepared for the journey God has had us on. After months of trying and riding quite the emotional rollar coaster, we finally had wonderful news in August 2010. A little one would be joining us! We told a few dear ones, but even as the news was reaching those people, that little life would slip away. It was hard to understand at this point. There were wrestlings in my heart. Why the waiting? Was the desire wrong? What did it mean to have the desire met and then to have the baby taken away? I felt like I was revisting some of the same issues I faced when my Mom passed away? Could I trust God's plan for my life? Would it be painful? Was it really the best thing?

God is faithful. I know that. During an incredible women's retreat in October he reminded me of truths I knew, but had allowed to slip away a bit. I was challenged to look at things with nevertheless faith. Faith that looks at the circumstances and then looks at God's truth and says even though this is the circumbstance, nevertheless, this is what I know to be true about God. It was amazing how that whole retreat seemed to speak to my heart. What a joy to receive God's love and encouragment.

And what a greater joy when the following month we learned we were pregnant again. I had feared this one might slip away also, but as morning sickness took hold and we saw our first ultrasound immage, confidence built. Joy abounded. At last our desire was happening. I began to dream even more about July and the following months.

Christmas came and we neared the end of the first trimester. We shared our joyful news and savored the blessing with family and friends. The new year began and I began to wonder about what 2011 would bring? How would I deal with being a new mother again? What would ministry look like this year? What would God teach us? I'll admit there's always I small part of me wondering when the tough times will come, so I also pondered what trials might come. I'm always one for a theme, so I wondered about the word that might summarize the year and the verse I might hold on to.

I didn't have an answer to those questions on January 1st, but I know God would work and I'd just have to wait to find out. Well, I'm not here to announce I have a theme for the year or a verse, but I can definately say God is at work and giving me an opportunity to grow in His image and know Him more fullly.

On January 4th I started bleeding and the tears and fears came. I was still hopeful, but my heart also knew I God could be inviting me to follow Him down a path I wasn't sure I wanted to go on. The following day an ultrasound confirmed our fears. Our baby had died, there was no heartbeat. There was only a greater silence.

January 7th we miscarried. It's a process I don't really want to experience again. In the midst of our sorrow we do see God's hand of blessing. We had planned to be out of state this week, but not only didn't that happen, but that meant my husband had extended vacation time. Our son slept peacefully in the early part of the night while we dealt with the miscarriage at home. We have family away and a church family close by that love us, pray for us, and support us. Yes, God has provided greatly for this challenge.

And the days ahead will be challenging I know this. I fear I will later allow the questions and feelings to overtake the faith that I turn to so easily at this point in time. I fear what the year will hold, as I turn the pages on a calendar that was to hold special events. I fear what will happen if there is a next time. Yes, I am very human and very real. But I am grateful, so grateful that as much as I want to hold on to God at this time, He wants to hold on to me. So for tonight, I rest in that. I know He can be trusted above my own understanding. And so for now, my silence is broken by these words,

"Trust the Lord at all times, O people. Pour out your hearts to Him for God is our refuge." Psalm 62:8

My prayer tonight is that as I break my silence, you will be encouraged. That you will hold on to God's truth despite your circumstances. That you will share your story so that He is glorified. To God be all glory and honor.