Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blogger Appreciation Week

There is a little something fun going on over at Grace Talk with Daveda. She is hosting something called Blogger Appreciation Week. You can read all the details on how to be involved at her blog. One of the questions she asks is to talk about why we write. I don't know the answer to that. Why do I breathe? Why do I think? Why am I pretty sure I am really funny? It is just a part of me.

I actually started blogging after a generic challenge was issued at a meeting I was attending. The thought kept rolling around in my mind and wouldn't leave me alone. I have been scribbling thoughts and cool sayings down in notebooks since I was 12 years old. When I was a kid, I said I either wanted to be a model or an author. I was definitely encouraged to pursue writing. I never saw the slight in that until much later. Writing for me comes as naturally as speaking, and often, it ends up on paper the same way it would come out of my mouth. Sometimes without passing by the brain filter first. I believe it is a talent that comes from God, and since I have started following hard after Him, my writing has taken on a deeper call for me. I feel like I have something worthwhile to say occasionally, and this gives me a forum for it. I pray that others are encouraged as I struggle publicly with the same things that others struggle with privately. I am not afraid to lay it all out there. It is much easier to type if I am not holding a mask firmly in place with one hand.

I find God speaking to me in the everyday. In my garden. Through the words of my kids, and mine back to them. In the struggles of being a wife and mom, He shows me how strong He is.

I have been encouraged by reading other blogs as well. I don't do a lot of blog hopping. I am actually friends with most of the people whose blogs I follow, although with one exception, it didn't start out that way. Luanne, at Less of Me always has some practical observations about real life relating to her walk with Christ. It has been fun to watch my friend Amy over at Insanely Blessed work things out in her life. My friend Heaven and I met through a Mr. Linky set up because I saw we were from the same state. Even though she is 3 hours away, we got to meet in person a month ago. She has been so public with her pain, joy, and struggles. She stands firmly on Scripture and shouts it from the pages. Check her out at God's Girl. I have friends with blogs, like Shelley at Crumbs From a Full Plate and The BlackSheep family who just hit with zingers and thought provoking material.

If you have stuck with me this long through this post, here a few of my personal favorites:
Second Adolescence
Call It What It Is
Hiding In Plain Sight
Whispers Across Time
Workshop 101
And to the beginning of it all, why I called my blog Live...In Ninevah.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Love your Neighbor

Wednesday is my third annual Neighborhood Dessert party. In response to a sermon three years ago about loving your neighbors, I decided it is hard to love them concretely if I don't even know who they are. I started small, inviting about 12 houses worth of people to my backyard for dessert. It was fun. I did it last year, inviting a few more people, and it was fun again. This year, since my family verse says to "break up your unplowed ground" (Hosea 10:12), I invited lots of neighbors that I don't know. And hardly anyone has RSVP'd.

I don't know what Wednesday night will bring, but it is my sincere prayer that someone will be touched for Christ that night. Maybe it won't be someone unfamiliar with the cross. Maybe someone will be reminded of the hope they once had. But maybe, just maybe, someone will get to meet Christ as a result of this gathering, and I will have one more friend in Heaven, and a little more light to shine the way there with me. A little light goes a long way...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In the Gap

Almost exactly 48 hours ago I got some very bad news. Very bad news about someone's very bad choices. And for the next 42 hours I allowed that information to define who I am. I allowed the bigness of this situation to drown out the bigness of God. Until this morning, when two things happened that changed my perspective.

The first was an email from a friend. This is what she said:

There is a mom in your future who needs this story. There is a son in your son's future that needs your son's story. Our everyday situations aren't about us. God doesn't get the glory when we fall apart. God gets the glory when we come through the battle, wounded, but determined to stand and walk to the finish line. There are future ministries for both of you that need the experience of this moment in time. Now, granted, God didn't make this happen. We know the enemy is having a hayday over this, but truth is, that God can and WILL use it for His glory and His purposes.

The second thing that happened was worship time in church this morning. Every song spoke to me. Especially the Chris Tomlin song How Great Is Our God, with the line: Darkness trembles at his voice. That song reminded me to cover my son in prayer. Satan cannot triumph or even exist in the presence of light. Why was I listening to the lies instead of banishing him from my presence? Sometimes it is hard to remember who we are fighting and what the weapons are.

Thank you to a friend who let me fall apart on her porch briefly, then prayed all the things I couldn't remember to pray. Thank you to a long distance friend who spoke truth to me. Thank you for a sister who checked in several times over the weekend. Thank you, LORD, for sending me all these people to stand in the gap, to remind me that I am not alone.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

LPM Memory Verses 9 & 10

I can't believe we are up to memory verse #10! I didn't post about #9, mostly due to a busy schedule, but it was Acts 1:8: You will have power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses throughout all Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. I am feeling called to proclaim what God has done in my life lately. There is a scripture in John, the last verse actually, that says if everything Jesus Christ did was to be written down, the earth could not hold all the volumes of books. I used to think that referred only to His earthly ministry and miracles, and it well could have, but now I see it as every person's testimony of how He changed their lives.

For #10 I chose Galatians 5:1: For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. I have been set free in Christ, but I can see the snares of Satan at every turn. How he would love for me to trade one sin for another, instead of pursuing holiness through Christ. I have been guilty of some attitudes this week that don't line up with being a member of the body of Christ, and not only does it make me sad, it makes me aware of how the enemy will use even good things to trip us up. This verse will remind me that those things are nothing less than slavery to a lesser god.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Attention Deficit Disorder of Faith

So, I'm sitting at my computer looking for a Bible verse in my NLT Bible. I wanted to look it up in my trusty NRSV, which for some reason is not featured on Blue Letter Bible, so I head upstairs to get my book bag. On the way up the stairs I forget what I'm looking for and start looking for my purse, which I remember is in the computer room. Back down I go, only to see the other Bible on the computer desk, which reminds me that I wasn't looking for my purse in the first place. As I head back up the stairs, now knowing what I am looking for and where it is, I hear God speak:

"If you forget what you are looking for how are you going to know when you find it?
How will you know Me when you find Me if you forget what I look like?"
This invites a careful inventory of my own attitudes and activities. Do they measure up? Are they not only the right activities but done with the right attitude? Does my life reflect the Christ I say I believe in or my own priorities? Am I focused on the eternal finish line or am I looking at how everyone else is running the race? Stop looking, judging, comparing. Just look at Me. Do it for Me. Live in Me. Love for Me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Judge Not...

In this weekend church service Pastor Guy said something that has stuck with me all week:

You cannot love someone that you are busy judging.

For me in my life, that means my husband. When I am feeling the most critical, I am acting the least loving. When that negative chatter starts to take over my brain, I need to silence it. This is one of those things that I "remember" all of the time like it's the first time. Silence the chatter by embracing Philippians 4:8. It is also my prayer for each of you as you become the wives God intended you to be.

And now, dear sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on
what is true, and honorable,
and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
ADDED THIS MORNING: Last night and this morning during my quiet time, God reminded me that I am not helping the situations that irritate me about my husband. When he comes home from work crabby, have I prayed for him at all, even once, during the day? Have I considered that as he makes strides towards God, as he has, that he is a bigger target for the enemy? Have I prayed for his protection and recognition of these attacks, or just sulked because he is wrecking my rosy plans? Oh Lord, you know my motives. Make my life easy and peaceful for me. Selfish, I know. I love and worship You that You love me enough to snatch those rose colored glasses right off my face and lead me to the mirror. Thank you for pointing out my failures, and at the same time reminding me of Your great power to redeem us all, through You alone.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Justin, being pushed on the swings: HIGHER!
Me: I will push you higher, but I need to make sure you are going straight first.
God: Same goes for you, girlie!

How many times have I asked God for more than He knows I can handle? How often to I want to get to the destination without going on the journey to get there?

"Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won't be faithful in large ones." Luke 16:10 NLT

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Breakfast in Bed!

I was sitting in bed listening to Rob help Connor fix breakfast for me and I had to grab a pen and write it all down. I could hear Connor cracking eggs and stirring them up, then Rob scrambling the eggs in the pan. Is that a fork I hear in my teflon pan...? Since I am blessed with a husband who likes to clean the kitchen, I will probably never know if a spatula was used. Better that way, right? I can always get a new pan. This is not a morning for nitpicking.

I hear Rob teaching Connor the fine art of making toast and English muffins. Okay, I hear him say, that's enough butter. Connor knows his mom's weakness for butter... I hear them searching the cupboards for a tray to put my breakfast on, complete with flowers and key lime pie yogurt for an appetizer. Connor was so serious as he carried my breakfast in to me, smiling bashfully. This is new ground for him.

Justin woke up while I was eating breakfast, and snuggled in with me to share the best strawberry jelly toast ever. I asked him if he wanted to share some of my scrambled eggs, and he leaned over, took a whiff, and said,"Your eggs smell like my toots." OK, he has a point there. I was cracking up. Can't yell at the kid for telling the truth.

We are all showered and dressed for church, some of us grudingly wearing shirts with collars instead of Spider Man clothes. This has been a morning to remember. Thanks, honey.

By the way, I read something funny in a book called Kisses of Sunshine for Moms. Mothers of boys will relate to it:

A boy saw a sign in the window of a local business that said "Boy Wanted." The boy grabbed the sign and went in to ask the owner what kind of boy he was looking for. The man told him a clean-cut, well-spoken boy who is obedient and can follow directions the first time. The boy scoffed in disgust and said, "You don't want a boy. You want a girl."

Happy Mother's Day to all my friends!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mirror, Mirror

I just spent the last week studying 1 John 4:7-10 for our Bible study. I have spent the week pondering how to love everyone unconditionally, even the unlovely, as one girl in my group put it. But, she didn't stop there. She questions herself to see who she is unlovely to. I never thought of that. I have been so busy taking the high road (read: self-righteous road) that I never stopped to consider that someone might have trouble loving me. And yes, I know how that sounds. Another girl commented that she wonders why anyone would want to love her. She feels unlovely all the time. Neither of our attitudes is better than the other. Both point to a warped sense of self, but both can be rectified in God's word. Both of us need to remember that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God, knit together by His Hand. And, both of us need to remember that we all fall short of the glory of God and are in equal need of a Savior. Isn't it cool how the answer to both problems can be found in the same scriptures? Living and active, baby, living and active.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Road Trip Weekend

This past weekend I got to go to LaCrosse with Connor and Justin and stay in Alex's apartment. She is a student at UW-LaCrosse. It was fun to go on a road trip with the boys. We had no major incidents, except when I misplaced my keys at a rest stop. Alex and I took the boys to three parks, to Shopko (my favorite place!), to Fridays, and back to her place for movies. She even fixed us breakfast. Pancakes. Also my favorite. It is weird to imagine that my daughter will never live with me for real on purpose again. My home will forever be an in-between place for her, as she waits for her "real life" to start. It was fun to step into her world for a little while.

Sunday, before we hit the open road to come home I had a chance to meet Heaven, from God's Girl. It was so great to give her a big hug in person. While I wish for an opportunity to actually visit with her in person again instead of squeezing in a few sentences in between yelling at my kids to not get hurt, it was fun. She brought her son and his friend and they all played at the park. My kids were missing daddy and a little high strung by that point of the weekend, but we still had fun. It's kind of crazy when the cyberworld meets the real world. It's good to know that people you like in this bloggy place are people you could see yourself hanging out with for real.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Open Letter to my Friends from the Old Days

This post is an open letter to people who used to know me before my Fox River days. The world of Facebook has made my "new" world and my "old" world collide. If you knew me before, you are probably wondering who this Bible thumpin' Jesus Freak is. Where did your party-loving, heavy drinking, man-chasing friend go? Without going into too much detail, you know who I was. You knew my reputation.

After I left the Hilton, I got remarried, had a baby, and got out of the race. I had a lot of time on my hands and thought I would be so happy in my new life. What I realized is that there was a giant empty spot in my heart. I had been so busy filling it with things that didn't belong there, that once all that was taken away, I had nothing. No friends, no social life, nothing to dull the loneliness. Everything I had leaned on to make me feel good was gone.

A neighbor invited me to her Bible study. I declined, not into that, I told her. The truth was, I knew what a mess I had been so I "knew" that I didn't belong in a Bible study. That is for people who are better than me, people without a past. It turned out her Bible study was more of a book club. They were reading a book called Next Door Savior by Max Lucado. It painted a picture of Jesus as Someone who was looking for someone like me. Someone broken, who had made mistakes, who didn't feel good enough to come to Him. As I read this book, I began to feel hope. He didn't want me to look for Him once I cleaned up my act. He wanted me right then, warts and all as the saying goes. He loved me anyway, in spite of myself. There was nothing so big that I could have done that He couldn't forgive. It was there for the asking. So I asked.

It has been a journey from the girl who found comfort in places she didn't belong, to a woman who knows her Savior. Not just in an off-hand, yeah, I know...He died for me sort of way, but to my very core. That empty place is full. If my life turned upside down tomorrow, that empty place would still be full.

So, to my old friends who see me on Facebook and wonder if that is the same Debbie Giese, the answer is yes. And no. Same face. Different heart. I have been absolutely set free. Jesus saves. He really does.