Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Whispers Across Time

Sometimes God starts a conversation with you, and it goes really fast. Sometimes it starts with a whisper and you don't hear the echo of it until years later. This is the story of my whisper from God.

I have a picture that hangs on the wall in my living room. It has been there for seven years. This picture is about 48" x 30" and is of a little girl standing in a doorway. I saw it at Menard's one day when I was shopping for paint for my then new house. I was mesmerized, couldn't take my eyes off it. I felt like I totally had to have it, even though it didn't match anything I owned. It also cost a chunk of change. I went back to look at it probably 4 or 5 times; finally I bought it. It has hung in the same spot in my living room since then, and I still love it.

Fast forward about 5 years. I had just become (gulp!) a grandma and was struggling with the demands of having my own one year old and trying to feel "grandmotherly" towards this new baby. I was reading in my Bible and came across Matthew 18:5, which says "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." I was really convicted of needing to be more welcoming to my granddaughter and I wrote her name under the verse in my Bible to remind me of that. Sophie.

Fast forward another year. I was in the Garden of Readin' at Elmbrook. There on the wall, was the picture that hangs in my living room. On a plaque on the front of it was Matthew 18:5. It was my verse for Sophie on the picture I had to have. God really spoke to me that day, telling me that He knew everything. I knew when I saw my picture at Menard's that I was to have it, and now I knew why. It's my Sophie picture.

Fast forward to tonight. I was telling a friend my "Sophie picture" story. On the way home I realized that I didn't know God or have a relationship with Him when I bought the picture. He has been whispering in my ear all my life, and I have finally tuned in to hear it. He has always been a part of me, even when I didn't know it. Always.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Smart Advice

"A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult." Proverbs 12:16
Oh, Lord, which one am I?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Updates About Everything

This blog is kind of an update on my life. In living the bloggy life, I tend to share my heart and excitement about things, then move on. Not that I think anyone is sitting on the edge of their seat wondering if I'm still praying the Prayer of Jabez, or Love Daring, or any number of things I get hyped up about. Here is an effort to remain accountable about things that have impacted me over the last few months.
  • The Prayer of Jabez: Big thing for me. I do pray for God to bless me, to use me, to always lead me in that, and to keep me from evil. The understanding of that prayer has changed. I am not looking necessarily for categories to be answered individually, if that makes sense. If I am blessed with an opportunity, I pray that God lead me through how it should go, that it is through His resources that His will is accomplished, and that the sin nature I could bring to a situation be kept from His mission. If that makes any sense. It does to me. He has blessed me with opportunities to impact others for Him, and with the resources to make that happen. My prayer is that my own pride and control freakishness stay far from this.
  • The Love Dare: Still doing it. It is a 40 day challenge, and I have been doing it on and off for about a month, so I am on Day 16. Some days just don't lend themselves to checking off a dare, but everyday has been eye-opening. One day I was supposed to ask my husband for a list of 5 things that bother him about me. If someone asked me for a list, I would probably be challenged to stop at five. I waited anxiously for his list. He surprised me by starting his list with 5 things he loves about me, then a few things he would like to see different. I was really floored, and chastised, that he would handle the opportunity to complain about me that way. The biggest take-away so far is to view him as holy, that is, set-apart for a higher purpose. Actually, every day has been eye-opening and convicting. You should all get the book, if not to do the dares, at least to read each entry.
  • Chronological Bible: Still reading. It is April 24th and I am on April 14th. Still in the ballpark. Once Bible study is over I can get caught up. I do really like the format though.
  • Beth Moore Challenge: I am right on track. At this rate I will have memorized 26 new verses by the end of the year, and kept them all memorized. I am at eight now, and doing pretty well. I know if I say quiz me when you see me I will get all tongue tied, but I can do them outloud by myself. The biggest challenge is choosing something that I haven't already memorized. On the other hand, it has challenged me to search God's word for new treasures. Every verse I have chosen has chosen me. They have all spoken a truth I needed to hear.

I am an exciteable person who likes a challenge. That being said, I am also a person who gets really hyped up about something, until something else catches my eye. A friend of mine always says, "Look, a butterfly!" whenever I go off on a new tangent. I am trying to finish one thing before moving on to something else. Finish strong, right? Don't get sidetracked in the middle of the race. I kind of feel like these are all things that please and honor God, but that if I am not careful, none of them will be able to complete their full work. It is my prayer, for me and for you, that we stay excited about the things God wants us to be excited about, and that the rest of the things fade away. I am excited about my life, my challenges, the opportunities God has given me, and the place He has taken me to in my journey. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Look, Really Look!

Justin: Mommy, mommy, look, mommy, are you looking? Mommy, mommy, look!"
Me, only one foot away: I am looking. (Not really, though, but I still know what is going on.)
Justin: LOOK! MOMMY! Watch this!
Me: I am looking. I can still see what you are doing.
God: Does this sound familiar? I have promised you that I will always be looking, that I will always be with you, that I will always see you. But you still feel better when I tell you I'm looking. So stop what you are doing and look at your child, just like I do for you.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Self-righteous or In God's Will?

I am feeling frustrated today. I feel like every time I open my mouth at home, someone is getting upset with me. It isn't always the same someone; sometimes it's the husband, sometimes it's the little kids, sometimes it's the big ones. The weird part is, I am not trying to be difficult. I am trying to be nice. I am trying to be generous with what I have. I am trying to share what I have learned. On every level, though, and in almost every action, I am met with resistance. Or I am told why my way is wrong. Here's the rub, though: I have lined up my thoughts and actions with God's word. I am trying to honor God with my choices. I am not trying to be self-righteous, but according to a few opinions it seems to come naturally. In every instance, I am wanting to set a better example than one I have set in the past. To paraphrase 1 Peter 4:19, am I suffering for doing God's will?Or, is all the opposition and hostility a sign that I am in the wrong? How do I know? I feel like I am standing in a very gray place today.
Afterthoughts: Thanks, Luanne, for your wise counsel. That, combined with the Voice of Hope class that I attended last night, gave me a lot of room to think. I probably do come across like a ton of bricks, instead of gently and with love. A quote by St. Francis of Assisi seems appropriate here: Preach the gospel to everyone, using words rarely. Or something like that. Stop talking, in a nutshell. Pray more. Stop acting like it all depends on me to hold everything together. Be quiet and give God room to work. Not easy for a self-confessed control freak.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

LPM Verse #8

Keep on doing the things that you have
learned and received and heard and seen in me,
and the God of Peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:9
Sometimes I need encouragement to keep on keeping on, and this scripture brings a promise of peace with it if I do those things. It's easy to get convicted of something, or read a good book and want to change, but it is harder to not forget after a couple weeks. There is peace and freedom in following the narrow way, but it is not always the easy way.
Rationalizing sets in. "How can I be expected to do such and such if no one is cooperating with me?" "It's not really that big of a deal, anyway."
Selfishness sets in. "Let someone else take a turn. I always do it." "You want me to give away what!?"
Pride sets in. "I am tired of being the one to give in." "I really think I am right this time."
God's Word teaches us that when we are willing to yield our desires to accomodate someone else's, we are honoring Him. He accepts these things as a sacrifice, holy and acceptable, to Him. He has given us the way to not only talk the talk, but how to walk the walk. And when we do, the God of Peace promises to be with us.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jail Break Needed

Today is our official first day of spring break. I may not make it. Here is a glimpse into the last twelve, yes only twelve, hours:
12:40 am: Technicolor jelly bean puke all over MY bed.
3:00 am: More puke.
7:30 am: Connor is eating saltines and feeling better.
9:30 am: Connor has Justin in a head lock. When I tell him to apologize, he says "I'm sorry Justin...that you smell like a monkey."
Noon: Connor again, "Can I color on Justin with a marker? It's peach, so it won't really show up." While I appreciate the considerate thought, the answer is still no.

Anyway, I sent my husband an email asking him if he could take a day off this week to set me free. Still awaiting news from the outside.If anyone wants to bake me a cake with a file in it, or share some good ideas so I don't lose my mind, let me know. I'll be the one in the orange jumpsuit.

Update, 12:23, same day: My husband's new boss said yes, as one mom to another, she understands my pain. Thankful for the new boss and my husband for asking in the first place. I'll still take a cake though if anyone has started baking...

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Today is the day in between Good Friday and Easter. It is a time of reflection for me, even though I know how the story ends. Attending the Good Friday service at FRCC last night was very moving. It put me face to face with the cross and what Jesus did for me, personally. To nail my name to the cross before leaving reminded me that I am just as guilty as the people who actually crucified Him. As I sat listening to the song Facedown by Matt Redman, tears of intense sadness rolled down my cheeks. All I could pray, over and over, was "Lord, let me be enough for you." Not in a religious, ritualistic way, but to live my life in a way that makes His sacrifice worth it. That I might glorify Him through my every thought, word, and action. I am thankful for the time I had to reflect last night, and this weekend, to make this Easter a truly joyous celebration. My prayer for myself, and each of you, is that His sacrifice not be in vain.
Here is the song, but at the service it was set to the Crucifixion scene from the Passion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Afraid of the TRUTH?...

God speaks to us through the experiences and reference points in our lives, and true to form, I am hearing Him through the Disney Channel. Or more accurately, I am not hearing from Him through the Disney Channel. Have you noticed that at Christmas time, every show on TV puts out a warm and fuzzy show, somehow relating itself to the birth of our Savior, but at Easter time everyone is strangely silent? A cute little baby in swaddling clothes is safe. A grown man killed and raised from the dead is definitely not safe. It is way too easy to look away from the cross. Not even the Disney Channel wants to go there.

I would challenge you not to look away. Stop living in the land of Baby Jesus and accept Him for Who He is, the Risen Son of our Almighty God. Accept the power of the cross in your life. Accept Him for Who He truly was, is, and is to come.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

LPM Verse #7, Refocused

"For God did not give us a
spirit of timidity,
but a spirit of power, love, and
2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

The verse I chose for this just really calls to me. I can't explain it. It just speaks to me. It speaks to the wanna-be risk-taker inside me. It challenges me to live within the power, love, and self-discipline that the very Spirit of God fills me with.

I am grateful to this Beth Moore challenge for encouraging me to memorize more scripture consistently, and to let those words of truth be in my heart at all times.