Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sign Post Ahead

I'd like to find a sign like a "Men Working" one except that it would say "God Working" and hang it on my front door. I've basically been held captive this past week by a sick toddler and I can't believe how much God has been working on my heart during this time. Except for being EXTREMELY sleep deprived, I haven't been this at peace in awhile. Not that everything is rosy and happy, but I don't feel like I'm missing anything by being stuck in the house. I have been praying with and for my kids with surprising results. To give a little background, the night of the last big blizzard, Justin bit a hole in his last pacifier. I went out twice that night, unable to find the Soothie that he likes, but eventually finding a pacifier that would suffice. The other day, we lost the blue Nuk but still had the green one (being exactly the same except for the color.)I looked everywhere and couldn't find the blue one. I got down on my knees in the living room with Connor and Justin and we prayed that God would tell us where the missing pacifier was. I looked under the entertainment center and what do you think I found but the original missing Soothie pacifier. I was so excited as I explained to the boys that God had just answered our prayer right then and there. In victory I handed Justin his all time favorite pacifier, which he threw across the room, and said "Blue one." It made me realize how often God gives us what we ask for and we still aren't happy. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your understanding."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Surrender, Dorothy!

As a control freak, detours do not come easy to me. I like to think of myself as a laid-back, roll with the punches kind of person, but deep down I know better than that. I'm all about a detour if it was my idea in the first place. For some reason, it is the little rocks in my shoe that slow me down more than the boulders in my path. It is in the big things that I have an easier time seeing God at work in my life, like when my grandma was dying in December. I got through it by keeping my eyes locked firmly on God. Maybe that is because I know I can't handle the big things without God's help. Right now, my shoes (or pink fuzzy slippers, as the case may be) are filled with gravel. I think He is trying to show me that I need to stop trying to handle the little things without Him. I had lots of things on my to-do list to show God and everyone else just how far I have come. Instead, I am still sitting at home with a sick toddler. In the last 5 nights I have gotten up 26 times to take care of a wailing child. (He has Hand Foot Mouth disease, basically a mouth and throat full of canker sores.) I am not losing my mind because last night I remembered that if the Lord is my Shepherd, I have to let Him lead. Even if I feel like the flying monkeys are dragging me off the path I'm trying to be on. My job is not to micro-manage the details, but to let Him guide me through the details, even my fifth trip in three hours down the hall to comfort a crying baby. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Not just the big things. All things.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Backseat Drivers

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him." Psalm 37:7. This was the answer God gave to me the other night when I was bugging Him from the backseat, wondering where we are going. I am reading a really good book that I bought at the retreat called "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God." I definitely feel like He's got something big for me. Something exciting to be a part of. And I definitely am not sure if He's told me what that is yet. Did you ever feel like that? I was praying before I did my FRCC journal that God would reveal His plan for me somehow, and that it would be made more clear by other events in my life, whatever those might be. Then I read Psalm 37. Okay, Lord, I will wait til tomorrow then before you tell me. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are busy church-activity related days this week. Maybe You will reveal Yourself then. So, as I type this, I am not at my Thursday meeting waiting for lightening to strike. I am home with three small children, two of whom are sick. While I am not being still (I wish!), I am definitely still waiting. Part of me says, this can't be all You have for me. You want to waste my gifts and talents at home, in my own house?! What about all of our plans, God? Or were those just my plans waiting for Your seal of approval? I heard a quote once that said the most important work you will ever do will be inside your own home. And here I am again, back in Ninevah. Trying to submit.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Filler Up!

The weekend is over. The retreat was everything I had hoped for and more. Our speaker, Renee Swope from Proverbs 31 Ministries, definitely had inspired words for us. To try to sum up a weekend's worth of messages would not do it justice, but she gave me the motivation to bring God's peace, perspective, and passion into my everyday life. She used different stories from the Bible to remind us that we are chosen, that we are valuable, and that we belong to God, no matter what. No matter what brokenness fills our lives and our hearts, Jesus wants to take that from us and fill us up with Him, the Living Water. She took us through a devotional based on the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). She came to the well in the heat of the day when no one else would be there to cast shame on her for the choices she'd made to try and fill the empty places. Jesus met her there, revealed Himself to her, and offered her the Living Water.
Renee encouraged us to remember our own stories of coming to faith. I remember I was sitting on my bed feeling very alone in a new marriage that wasn't working out how I'd hoped. It was not filling up the emptiness I'd carried for a long time. I cried out, "Oh my God, I can't do this by myself anymore." Very clearly in my heart I heard, "You don't have to." I know the Lord spoke to me that day, started to gather me to Himself, love me, show me that my sins are covered by His grace and lead me in the direction He needs me to go. But where are we going? It doesn't matter. I will follow.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Luau Bound

This weekend is our annual Women's Retreat at the Osthoff Resort. I am so looking forward to connecting with my friends and making new ones, hearing the inspired words of our speaker, and eating dinner without taking anyone to the bathroom. While I know I won't come home well-rested, I will come home rejuvenated. I have to run now and fix tonight's dinner, pack my scrapbook stuff, paint my toenails because no one has seen them in 6 months, run to the bank, read some bedtime stories ahead of time, dish out a weekend's worth of hugs and kisses, and then hit the open road. Two hours in the car of me singing at the top of my lungs (sorry carpoolers!), then into the hot tub!Hawaii here I come! Okay, so we're only pretending Hawaii, but Elkhart Lake is nice too.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Love Day!

Valentine's Day for me is one of those Hallmark Holidays. I think that makes me a Valentine Scrooge. Not that I don't appreciate a little romance. As a matter of fact, I am blessed to be married to a guy who has been known to send flowers to thank me for doing the housework and cards for every holiday known to man. I'm accustomed to being "romanced" by children who want something. This morning I will be the helper in my son's preschool classroom, which means washing 9 pairs of hands after painting, making countless trips to the bathroom, and trying not to see all the microbes floating in the air waiting for me to inhale them. It will also mean watching nine little people learning to show love to their friends, celebrating a holiday because anything with candy and cards is worth a party, and hearing nine little voices yelling "Happy Valentine's Day, Mrs. Giese." So, to my family and friends who I try to show my love to everyday, let me say "Happy Valentine's Day" to you! I really do love you all. I appreciate all the different things you bring to my life. And thanks for the flowers, honey! They're beautiful.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Conviction, or Conviction?

Because I am basically a dork, I think etymology is fun. The study of words, not bugs. That would be entomology, which I'm not a huge fan of. The word conviction can be taken two ways, and sometimes one leads to the other. A conviction is a deeply held belief, but it also means to be found guilty of something. I have been convicted of something that resulted in having a conviction a few times in the last few months. Both were humbling experiences, because it is never fun to be found guilty of something.

My favorite show for the last 3 years has been Grey's Anatomy, which I have watched and recorded faithfully. This fall it didn't feel right, but I kept watching. It was hard to prepare for Friday morning's Bible study when the show ended, so I would watch some Praise The Lord television to wash out my brain. But I kept watching. November 9th, during worship time, Lori quoted Psalm 101:1-3 "When will you come to me? I will walk in my house with a blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing." Beyond a shadow of a doubt I knew that Grey's Anatomy had to go.I cried not because I was going to miss the show, but because I felt scolded and loved by the Most Holy God. I haven't watched it since and I don't miss it at all. God has filled that time for me with better things.

The other is harder because it will be an ongoing battle: Pride. Being asked to facilitate a Bible study was huge for me. I thought I had arrived. What I didn't realize was how God was going to use this to show me how far I have to go. I was so excited to tell everyone in the group the great things I was learning through our studies, but it is a fine line between being enthusiastic about what God is showing me, and treating the group like it is a forum for my own self-discovery. Facilitating requires that I have a genuine interest in what others are learning, or not learning, without expecting them to cheer me on. Yes, I am there to learn. Yes, I am there to share. But first,in that setting, I am there to serve.
I've been convicted, but I know that God will continue His good work in me until the day I meet Him.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Let The Games Begin...

Connor and Justin are the children of my mature years. Anyone who knows me is wondering exactly when did those years start. Having two boys together is a whole new adventure for me. Yesterday Justin learned how to open doors with a door knob. Combine that with being able to climb out of his crib and you begin to get the picture. Twice he came strutting into the kitchen with an adorable, look-what-I-can-do grin on his face. The third time he was returned to his crib with a swat on the bottom and stern instructions to stay in his crib. Shortly after that I found him sitting quietly in the time out corner. So, he sort of understands.
Connor is learning the gift of insincere flattery. When he wants something that I've already said no to, he tells me I'm pretty. Or that I have beautiful lips. Or that my eyebrows look nice. That's when I explain what lying means.
Apparently God thought I need something to do to keep me out of trouble. Something about idle hands being the tools of you know who. I read somewhere once that the definition of boy is a noise with some dirt on it. I am really starting to understand that. And it's just beginning.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Evangelism, Pooh Style

Reading Scripture with the drone of the Disney Channel in the background makes for interesting musings. As I was reading about not being afraid to share the gospel while Winnie the Pooh was on, I began to see how each of the characters would have different styles while still staying true to the essentials of the gospel.

Tigger is the epitome of enthusiasm, bouncing on his tail while telling all the wonderful things the Lord has shown him. Sharing the miracle of the Resurrection, I can hear him lisping, “Then they crucified Him, and He died for our sins. But, three days later, HE WAS ALIVE AGAIN! And He lives in me today and wants to live in you, too. Come on, let me tell you all about it. “ I think I tend to be a little bit of a Tigger, but it’s hard not to share something so awesome.
Eyeore would definitely be preaching the gospel of repentance. “Can’t believe He died for my sins. Might as well repent. Don’t want to go to the Lake of Fire. Too hot there,” he would drawl in his weight of the world sort of way.
Piglet, who is just so little, especially to himself, would be celebrating the awesome magnificence of a Great Big God who notices each and every one of us. “Why, H-He even knows m-my name and m-my story. And yours too, even if you are not sure of His. Just ask Him. It’s ok. He loves you, too,” he would sweetly stutter.
Rabbit is the intellectual of the group. He would build up from the Old Testament when God laid the foundation for the ultimate sacrifice of His Son, logically laying stone upon stone until the truth was made clear. “It only makes sense,” he would say, “But then I am highly, highly advanced.”
God knit each one of us together differently for His Pleasure and Glory. We are all called to use those gifts to further His Kingdom and proclaim His Word. Don’t be afraid to share what He has written on your heart, in your own special, God-given way. I like the way Pooh would put it the best: “Salvation is ever so much sweeter when you share it with a friend.”

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Lucky Me

Lucky me because I have a tidy husband who encourages me to be the same. (Refer to the list of 39 things). We are having people over for the Superbowl and instead of doing a mad dash house cleaning I am sitting on the computer. So, thanks honey, for being you.

"Who do you say that I am?"

This was the question that Jesus posed to Peter. And the question that He gives to each of us. While we each need to arrive at that answer for ourselves, it helps to know who we are dealing with. I have been blessed to know some very faith-filled women who, when troubles come, they just "give it to God." For about 5 years I have been questioning just exactly how do you do that. What I have realized is that I didn't know Him, only of Him. I couldn't trust Him with anything going on in my life because I didn't know who He is. Is, present tense. I am in a great Bible study called "Lord, Teach Me to Pray", by Kay Arthur. She spends a portion of it teaching the names of God as the people in the Bible knew Him. Some of the names that have meant alot to me are Jehovah-jireh: The Lord Will Provide, Jehovah-shalom: The Lord Is Peace, Jehovah-rapha: The Lord Who Heals, and El-Shaddai: The All-Sufficient One. When I started to learn these names and characteristics of Him, I began to realize what God could be in my daily life. Having said all of that idealistic stuff, life will put me to the test. And when I choose to put Him first instead of my own agenda, things fall into place. Maybe not instantly, but faith says that they will. And here's a really cool for example that I almost missed: I had one block of time this week that could be used to either put money in my pocket (have a stamping party) or prepare for my Bible study. I chose the Bible study. The morning after I cancelled my party the phone rang. A diaper study had a last minute cancellation and could I be there in 45 minutes. The diaper study will pay twice as much as the stamping party would have. What a coincidence, I thought. Then I remembered one of God's names, Jehovah-jireh, The Lord Will Provide. So who do I say that God is? Exactly. God Is. (Hebrews 11:6, check it out.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

39 Things About Me

I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior.
I am a wife. Rob and I met on a blind date.
I am a mother of five.
I am a grandmother, something I am still trying to adjust to. We need a hipper title.
I am a sister and a daughter.
I enjoy creating things.
I actually like working out.
Although I like to cook, I hate figuring out what’s for dinner every night.
I am a slob with an organized person trying to get out. Or vice versa.
I went to Germany for three weeks in high school.
I lived there from 1987-1990.
I was born in Connecticut and moved to Wisconsin when I was 7.
I have also lived in Georgia, Washington State, and Kansas. Loved Kansas.
My favorite color is pink. Or light yellow.
Although I mostly listen to Christian music, I also like the blues and country.
I like wine, especially a good Merlot.
I drink 2 cups of coffee every morning.
Someday I want to learn to play the flute.
I think it would be fun to own a Bed and Breakfast.
I never graduated from college. Still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.
I have been a waitress and general manager. Prefer waitressing.
I wish I knew my dad better.
Christmas is my favorite time of year. O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas song.
I am funny. Really
I used to wish I had smaller feet, but now I don’t really care.
I hate to admit it, but I am a bit of a control freak.
Of all my kids, Jessi seems to get me the best.
I understand Connor the least.
I love decorating rooms. Maybe I should be an interior decorator.
I love to lie in the sun and read a good book. Or a bad book. As long as I am in the sun.
I helped put a pedophile in jail for 40 years. I am a survivor.
I am striving to understand those closest to me better.
I once laughed so hard I really did wet my pants.
I am trying to let God lead my life.
I would like to have the kind of home where everyone feels welcome.
I look forward to all of my kids bringing their families over to Gramma’s house someday.
I would like to learn to quilt.
I am learning to see God’s glory in the everyday, like snow covered trees or the quiet when the kids are sleeping.
While I’ve made my share of mistakes in the first 40 years, I wouldn’t trade the wisdom I’ve gained from making them.

Friday, February 1, 2008

What's It Mean, Anyway?

Coming up with a name for my blog was like naming a baby. You are judged by your name. People wonder if maybe your parents didn't like you. Or you could have a name with a lot to live up to, like naming your baby Winston Churchill. Here is your 'in a nutshell' meaning behind Live...from Ninevah:
Our pastor at Fox River Christian Church told the story of Jonah, who besides being swallowed by a whale as most of us have heard, was given a second chance by God to do what he was called to do. When God told Jonah to go to Ninevah, Jonah really didn't want to go. He got on a ship headed the complete other direction, a storm came up, and he was tossed overboard only to be swallowed by a whale. After being left to stew, literally, for a few days, he prayed to God for forgiveness and said let's go ahead and do things Your way. That whale spit him out guess where...on the beach outside Ninevah.
How does that relate to me, you're wondering? Let me confirm that I have never been swallowed by a whale. But I have spent a good portion of my life running from a God who only wants what's best for me. Twenty years ago I was a stay-at-home mom with little kids. And here I am again, 40 years old, a stay-at-home mom with little kids. Right back in Ninevah. And I'm ready to see what God has in mind for me.