Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Whole Point

I am reading the book What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst. It is targeted toward any Christian woman who has a dream. I have had plenty, some of which have even become a reality. There is a line that could keep me grounded, if I remember it:

My friend, I pray that along this journey of walking with God toward your dream, your greatest joy will be seeing and experiencing God, for that is the real joy of this entire adventure.

That is the reality check for me. It isn't about planning something cool and exciting, it is about getting to see God at work in my life, and the lives of those I hope to impact.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Answer the Phone...

God is on Line One. Or at least He should be. Too often I see Him calling when I am already on the phone, busy doing what I want, and I let the call waiting keep flashing. Our speaker at the retreat talked about The 7 Elements of the Faithful Life. This week in Bible study we talked about Moses and the call to lead the Exodus, and I can't help but compare the two.
  1. There is a call: A clear word from God, calling us out of our circle of confidence.
  2. There is an obedience: We can say we love God, but we need to put feet to it.
  3. There is an even though: Despite all the reasons not to, we pursue and obey. Even though.
  4. There is a later: Things don't proceed immediately, but always in God's timing.
  5. There is a looking forward: Just keep going, putting one foot in front of the other.
  6. There is a test: A test is given to see if we have mastered the subject matter and learned to apply it. Can we recognize it when we are in one?
  7. There is a reward: "Well done, good and faithful servant."

If you woke up today, God has a call for your life. It may not be to lead an Exodus, but could you be a voice of hope leading someone out of some sort of bondage? Is there an attitude or mindset you are being called to leave behind? Are you being asked to love someone unlovable? Are you being asked not to fear, but realize that God is with you? Even though...

Whatever it is, it takes a certain amount of faith to get started. By definition, faith holds no guarantees, but being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Answer the phone and see where God is inviting you to go.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pillow Talk

This last week I was privileged to speak to the Mom Time ladies about not getting stressed out in their parenting. I talked about changing your focus, and also about planning ahead for what will stress you out. Tonight at bedtime I got a different view of planning ahead.

We try to do bedtime at 8:00 with the boys. From 7:00-8:00 we usually watch Kipper the Dog on the Preschool on Demand channel, have a snack, a story, teeth brushing, and washing up. By this point I am drooping as well, anxious for them to just get in bed. Please. Our routine is that I sit in the hallway and read while they fall asleep.

After a long day of playing outside, I was really wiped out. The boys were bouncing around on their beds while I sternly begged them to just lay down and go to sleep. Something made me remember the "plan ahead" portion of my talk, but I saw it in a new context. I went and sat on the edge of Connor's bed while he shared what he had learned in Sunday school today and some other highlights of his day. Then I sat with Justin and let him whisper to me what he hoped to do tomorrow. I realized that I wasn't only spending quality time with them, getting to know them better, I was planning ahead for talks that we might have as they get older, laying a foundation of whispered fears, confidences, and dreams. Kind of puts tonight's little chit chatting in perspective.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Love Dare

I do not consider myself a gossip about people I know. I try not to look at the "newspapers" in the checkout aisles. I turn off TMZ if I am still awake after Seinfeld. But, when the news of Jon and Kate marriage trouble was all over, I was very sad. I googled for more info even, but only came up with celebrity news blogs and such. When I heard the "real" story, I was relieved. Not that I know them personally, but I like to watch the show occasionally. I get so excited when the scriptures they have taped all over the cupboards actually get into a shot. I was trying to explain to one of my daughters why I was so upset about the rumors: they're Christians. They go to a church that looks like Fox River. Her answer: So? God can't save a marriage. Whaaattt???

That conversation actually came at a perfect time. I was forced to defend my position, at least to myself. (She was done listening.) Not that mine has been on the edge, but I shudder to think the state we would be in if we hadn't come to Christ and let Him in to our lives. I say this conversation came at a perfect time because I have been a little testy this week. I can't put my finger on why, but I can definitely see the result. I've been a nag. I've been judgmental. I've been impatient with my husband. Despite the last memory verse. So, in an effort to not drive my husband away because I am shrew, I got the Love Dare book out of my bookcase. It has been sitting there since we saw FireProof. I liked me then. I liked him better then. I didn't think we needed it.

I'm not telling him I am doing it, but you can feel free to ask me how it's going. I'll probably tell you anyway. The husband doesn't read my blog so I'm not worried about being found out. Tomorrow is Day One of the rest of my life. I will not say anything negative to him. Funny considering Ephesians 4:29 hung over my sink for about a year. Pray for me.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

LPM Verse #6

Here is the verse I have chosen, or did it choose me, for the Beth Moore challenge:

The LORD makes firm the steps of those who delight in Him;
though they stumble, they will not fall,
for the LORD upholds them with His hand.
Psalm 37:23-24
I like it because it acknowledges both my imperfection and the perfect sovereignty of God.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Retreat Prayer

Has anyone ever prayed for God to do something, then when He does, you think "That is totally not what I was expecting"? That describes my last week in a nutshell. My deepest prayer, and desire, is to get real with God. I want to know everyday that He is in charge. I want to quit breaking camp without Him. I want to be led by His cloud during the day and a flame at night. That is my deepest desire. This weekend at the retreat I prayed for complete dependence on Him. I also prayed that He would break my heart for the people around me, that I would sincerely give a rip about other people, and not just for my own convenience or agenda. I asked to feel a burden for others, when they hurt, I hurt. When there is something I can do, I would do it without counting the cost to myself first. God answered that prayer very quickly and directly; He told me that the way to get closer to Him was by serving His people. Then He gave me the chance to do it.

I have spent this week taking care of my oldest daughter, who had her first migraine. And boy, it was a whopper. It took three trips to the doctor to manage it. Jessi is a package deal, so Sophie was here too, with a fever and a sinus infection. Now, under my own power, I could do this. God made sure I knew it was His power and not mine because my back has been "off kilter" all week, since last Saturday. He sent friends with food and ibuprofen. My mom came to fix lunch for all of us, including the babysitting kids, on Monday. A very good friend took my place with my daughter in the ER for 8 hours so I could take care of the homefront. Without the goodness of God leading the way, I would have struggled and fallen on my face. It would have been a long, bitter week. My natural self did rear her ugly head occasionally for a pity party, but I have to give God the glory for this week. No question: He answered my prayer.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Retreat Thoughts

The working definition of retreat: to pull back from the front line of a battle to refortify and strengthen the troops, also to clarify the objective of the mission and make sure you are fighting the right battle; review your objectives and plan of attack.

After a weekend at the Osthoff with the women's retreat, I feel strengthened and refortified. I am clear in the mission and how to accomplish it. I am running a little short in the "rest" department, but it was worth it.

A lot of honest prayer and soul searching kept leading me to one thing: lose the silliness and get real with God. Settle down in dependence on Him and stop trying to impress Him with a can-do attitude. Only through Him can I do anything.

Monday, March 2, 2009

LPM Memory Verse #5

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other,
making allowance for each other's faults
because of your love.
Ephesians 4:2

I suffer from a condition I like to call Oldest Daughter Syndrome, or ODS for short. Because of it, I usually feel I have the right, obligation even, to point out everything that is wrong with every situation, whether or not it concerns me. There is a support group for this, but it is usually full of other oldest daughters, who will cheer me on in my quest for the correction of others. Of course, this is totally not my fault. I did not ask to be born first.
In all seriousness, though, I do tend toward criticalness. But I still need to take responsibility for that, whatever the reason. It is my plan to keep this scripture at the front of my brain, and on the tip of my tongue, to use it as a filter before anything spews out.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Faith vs. Hope

Hope says "I wish he would come to church today."

Faith moves the make-up bag and hair dryer to the other bathroom so he can get in the shower to get ready for church.