Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bathing beauties.

Many of you heard the news last night that "Shiny kid" or "Kid # 3" disappeared. I remember when kid # 2 got lost in an airport, he was around 5, and as I described to the security guard what he was wearing, I started crying. The thought of milk cartons and "the last thing he was wearing" popped into my head. We found kid # 2 within 10 minutes, but it was still really scary. But last night, with kid # 3 (just trying to keep their names off of this public place), he was missing for 3.5 hours. Most kids will disappear into a friends house, or you'll see their bike around the neighborhood, but after an hour of searching... nothing. Besides, # 3's not like that, he's an indoor kid. He LOVES to read, he loves video games, he loves mom... he loves home. He's a sweet kid. I always said if there was a masculine name for Joy, I'd go back and rename him that.

So we canvassed the area... all of us. Every street, every path, every cul-de-sac. Neighbors probably thought they were all under suspicion... and some probably were. After two hours... the worry turns to those thoughts... "The Shack" kind of thoughts, if you've read that book. You start to panic... and just like in the movies, you start making deals with God. I of course made mine and by the time my husband hit the fire station over a mile away, he was asking God to take his life and let Sammy live. Quite emotional these things, when you don't know what's going to happen.

Turns out he decided to go exploring, something he'd never done, and got lost. He said these thoughts popped into his head, that if he ran away from home, he wouldn't have to do his homework. This is a kid who LOVES home. Wonder who put those thoughts in his head... Satan is trying to get our kids. If he can't do it outdoors, he'll chase 'em down indoors. Through video games, computers, friends and mind games... fear and the like. A nice lady found Sam, sat beside him in the cold, put a jacket around his shoulders and waited for the police to come. She was the hands and feet of God that day. May I be that too. "My joy" said he thought he would have to spend the night outdoors... thought he might not see us for a few days. He was actually in the next town, although he was only 2 miles or so away.

Two things stuck out to me last night. One was that when I went to bed, I thought how differently that night could have ended. If we hadn't found him, that night wouldn't have ended. It would still be going on now and maybe for years to come. Torture... horror... agony... unending pain. What others have suffered!!! The second thing I noticed was that his smell had changed. He had been sitting on the corner of a busy intersection for hours. People had been cutting their grass all around him. He smelled of fumes and gasoline. Needless to say, I didn't like that smell on him. My older child that got lost 13 years ago... #2... I wonder how, being out in the world, has changed his smell. I wonder how the scent of my daughter in college has changed. Looking back, it seems to take but the time of an inhale/exhale... and they are gone. The world gets on them... literally and figuratively. May I offer some advise? If you are going to bathe them in anything... anything at all... bathe them in prayer. You have everything to lose if you don't, and their souls to gain if you do!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Showers of blessing.

So my friend Juday encouraged me to blog again. (My mom did too, but how often do we do what our moms tell us?)

Wanna hear my latest complaint? You'll love me for this one. My life's too easy right now. And let the name calling begin. No, I deserve it :) Child #4 is in school full time, for the first time this year, so I'm home alone. I do some dishes, some laundry, clean a few bathrooms... stuff that feels like work when the little ones are home, but doesn't seem so bad when you have like 6 hours to fill. I spend way too much time on Facebook, and play way too much Scrabble. All that was fine, when I was so sick, but for two weeks now, I have been feeling pretty good. First time in 2 or 3 years, unless it's a temporary thing. (Please let it last!!!)

So I've been through this before... 2 kids in school and me home alone... and I started praying, "God, you gotta give me a reason to exist for those 6 hours." I would love to get a job. I NEED to get a job, but till we know if my new found health is going to last, I am a little nervous to jump in. The last time I asked God to fill my days, he gave me the greatest joy... child #3. That gift just keeps on giving. Have you ever seen a child that says he's sorry, immediately and sincerely when he is reprimanded? Who takes his little sister aside to say, "Do you understand that the only reason mom yelled at you was so that you wouldn't get burned by the pan?" while his mom kept on working in the kitchen?... Who could read a library full of books in one night cause he just can't stop himself? He is just sweet on top of good... he's kinda shiny. I love this kid.

I heard the best story the other day about a little girl who loved this sad little set of plastic pearls. She used 'em up and wore them out! Her daddy came home one day and tried to take them away, but she wouldn't let go. When he finally convinced her, which took some doin'... he replaced them with a shiny new pair of real pearls all her very own. I adore this story, don't you? What a perfect picture of us and the things we hold onto while our Father tries to replace our tattered objects.

The point I got out of the story was that I had this life that many people might really think they want... not too busy, not too hectic, just enough to feel productive... but it doesn't really fulfill. Maybe you're overly busy and you're feeling the same way... "I just need that thing that God is holding for me, if I can just let go of the life I cemented my feet into." I am in that place where, if I continue to be well, I want my arms open for that blessing. I want to see what God will give me this time... another child, like child #3? Not sure I could handle another child #4, I told you, she's sort of an avalanche of blessing :) I don't know what God might have, but I'm gonna ask Him if He thinks I'm ready. As much as I love cleaning toilets and playing Scrabble, I could sure use a new way to fill those 6 hours. I'm ready Lord... don't let it flood, but start the showers... I need to get wet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Silver Foxes

I am a total cliche. Everything those older women, at those women's conferences tell you will happen in your life... is true. I always thought they were speaking from their own circumstance... mine were different and they couldn't possibly think we were all going to have the same experiences. I was wrong, they were right. There is nothing new under the sun. Nothing.

You will be tempted to weaken your stance with that boy if you're alone with him.

The vows you take before God on your wedding day are actual vows and you must not take them lightly... they are forever.

Your children's childhoods will not last long, no matter what it feels like when they're 3.

You really do need to keep busy in the home.

You can't allow your kids to take the place of your friends. It will confuse disciplinary actions, but you will also be incredibly lonely when they begin their own lives.

Your marriage will be threatened by outside forces as long as Satan has his reign.

You really do have to take time for dates, even if it's just going on a walk.

The list goes on and on but, if you've never been to a women's conference... if you don't have an older, wiser woman in your life... don't worry. You can pick up your Bible and go back to the basics. Titus 2. Proverbs 31. These will change your world if you let them.

I have been married 23 years in May. I have raised two kids to adulthood. I have two to go. I am definitely weary in well doing. I have lost my gumption... today. This is a hard day. But I thank God for those lessons I learned. I hear them in my ear even now. Those wise silver haired women, gave me gifts that will not wither. It is on days like these that I know the story ends well. That my husband and I make it to that porch with the rocking chairs I've always dreamed of. Maybe that's why I don't have a front porch now. I think I have a pretty house. I am grateful for it... but when I look at the front I realize it's missing something. Maybe it's just a reminder of everything I've learned... I'm not at that stage yet. That stage where the kids are grown, where my husband and I have learned to accept and forgive. I do pray I can just hold on to those lessons a little longer. Thanks to all those Titus 2 women from the past, maybe I will be a Titus 2 woman in the future. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's a Spirit thing.

Why does God ask us to give things up? It seems like we're just hummin' along, doing alright for ourselves, then all of the sudden, we hear that still small voice. When we ignore it, it gets louder and louder. Ugh. And when it does... we tend to take a persecuted stance. Like, "Wait a minute God! This is all I've got! If You'd have given me something else to work with then fine, but this is all I've got." We get the attitude Adam had in the garden. "It was the woman, Lord." "It's because of You, Lord." Truth is, I'm scared of God. :) I know that sounds right to some and wrong to others. But the Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I have to know that He holds my life in His hands, all while trusting Him to be merciful and good.

Sometimes child # 4 doesn't want to go to school. (She's been getting a lot of air time cause she's little and all the best lessons come when your little.) Sometimes, she really hates school, and guess who makes her go? I do. I clean and dress and feed her and send her on her way... in her estimation, like a lamb to the slaughter. How could a loving mother make her do something she hates? Because I can see over her head. I have been 6 and I have been 40. I know there's no way she could stay afloat in this world and not have the teachings and experiences an education brings.

It's funny how God allows you to struggle with some things for years. Kinda like... "We'll get to that, you're not yet ready." And other things He just snaps up in a day like... "Oh no! Not My child! Open your hand and let that go NOW!" When we're holding on to something we shouldn't... we're never in a place where we're praying and in the Word. But what's so interesting is all that studying we did for years comes into play. Oh you can't turn left without hearing a scripture in your head that pertains to your situation. That's why it's so important to study the Word. Someday... when you're not so strong... when God let's go of that bike seat and follows closely by... when he slips His hand away and you're dog paddling on your own... you're gonna need those words in your heart to steady you and keep your head above water.

I'm actually quite blessed to know my flesh wont be around for long. I'm a "Big Picture" person... always have been. I'm all about Heaven, yet I still never wanna let go of the thing that is pleasing my flesh (like Paul said why do I do the things I don't want to do?) But ultimately I want to hold on to something more... something that lasts... something eternal. I wanna hold my Daddy's hand. I want what I was created for. So today, child # 4 is being schooled... and so is her Mommy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Stop that rockin' that's MY job.

So I haven't told you much about child #4. If I started I might not stop and what I could share would fill volumes. I have always made the joke that God made her so beautiful so we wouldn't kill her :) To say she is head strong is like saying the sun is warm. The magnetic field around the sun is 15 million degrees.The closer you get to the sun the more you realize... you're dead. You're vaporized. That's kinda how powerful # 4 is. People don't really understand... except people with similar kids. Where I live there is a great amount, comparatively, of adopted little Chinese girls and the majority tell me their daughter is the same. We were told that in order to survive in an orphanage, these babies have to cry the loudest to get held, touched, fed... etc. I don't know if I ever saw anything sadder than when we first got # 4. She would lay on her tummy, and lay her head on her folded hands, and rock herself to sleep. That memory will never not make me cry. Babies shouldn't have to learn to care for themselves. All that to say... this kid has a will of iron!

So because of some hearing and speech problems, all the lessons I taught my other 3 kids at an earlier age, came much later to 4... again, you'd have to be in the same situation to understand. Lily flat out disobeys a lot... then she gets a nervous smile, that took us a long time to realize it was a nervous smile and not her mocking us. One night, she was laying in bed crying. She was absolutely heart broken over her sin... kind of a new thing for 4. She knew she was constantly doing wrong, but said she couldn't stop herself and she didn't understand why. Well, obviously this was an awesome opening to talk about Jesus.

In her language, I told her that we all sinned, she was no different. I told her that that's why Jesus took her punishment and that it was the only way we could be with God forever. She asked Jesus into her heart and asked Him to forgive her of her sins. I have to retell this message a lot... it's not like she just "gets" it all the time. But it was a shining moment.

We are all #4 to a "T". We all want to sin. We are orphans... belonging to our own selfish desires. We need a Father to comfort us, provide for us, hold us, protect us, guide us, love us... our need for Him is endless. But when we're babies, we don't realize how wrong it is that we have been rocking ourselves to sleep. And when we are old enough to finally get a glimpse of a better way, we still don't really sustain the knowledge as we ought... because we are always going to want to sin. When I look at 4, I see someone created to be adored, taught and redeemed. May we all see that when we look in the mirror, every morning: orphans redeemed.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Call me Shrek

So in the New Testament there's this guy named Paul. He's not THE guy... THE guy in the N.T. is Jesus. But Paul's one of the most important people ever cause he's like the spark that ignites the world with the grace of God. We find out that he starts off, not the guy with the halo shimmering over his head and a pencil (or a quill) in his hand, writing books in the Bible. No, we find out that he's a murderer... a bigot... a self made enemy of God... kind of a total loser. And I think that's why we all identify with him. "Been there, done that too Paul." Or for some of us, "Felt that, thought that too Paul." Now I'm only (highlight only) 40, but I have learned one thing in my ripe young age... we are all the same.

I walked into a room at a Pastors conference once and there was this couple working together as unto the Lord. They were ridiculously beautiful. I don't just mean the light of Jesus was shining through there very faces (which it was.) I mean they were like super model gorgeous. I had to cover my eyes. I stumbled backwards mumbling something... I still have no idea what I said... but I was unable to function normally around that much beauty. What do I know for sure? That couple was the same as Paul, the murderous bigot... the same as Beth the ______ _______. (None of your business.)

Rotten to the core... every last one of us. The Bible says that our best is nothing but pathetic and gross compared to God's best. So when Paul, a guy whose garbage is familiar to us, says "All things are permissible, but not profitable." We gotta imagine he's lived it all. He's sinned in darkness and he's sinned in the light. What were the some of the highlights he taught?

No matter how good your intentions and how hard you try, you're flesh is still gonna lead you to sin.
No matter how many times you fail, God will forgive you, based only on His love for you.
No matter what you do, you can't earn God's grace (eternal life and forgiveness of sins.)
You are WANTED. You are CALLED. You are LOVED. You can't CHANGE that.

So following Him, (something I don't have the ability to do without His gift of faith) becomes not just a choice, but a reaction to His gorgeous love. I can't look upon His glory... not here on this earth while I am still an Ork, but I can easily detect His love for me if only I am willing to look upon it. I am SHELTERED. I am CLOTHED. I am FED. I am BREATHING. I can even see a few friends and family members around if I look hard enough. I will always fail, I will always fall... and He will always love me. Not because of my beauty, but because of His!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Let the lion starve!

I hope none of my Scrabble buddies read this one... I'm gonna reveal my top 5 weaknesses.

1) I don't play well if there's pressure. The kind where someone has a deadline and they need me to play fast so they can go.
2) I forget to watch the # on the tile bag and see how close the game is to ending. I have been caught with a Z or a Q in my bag several times.
3) I forget to watch the score. Sometimes I just play my own game and forget the other person might be winning and that I need to take a moment and strategize. (Good word, worth a lot of points.)
4) If I'm having fun with the person (like a good trash talker) I stop trying to make points. And lastly....
5) I get really impatient if someone takes along time to play or doesn't talk much and I've got no other games going on, again I fail to strategize.

So there you go... if that helps. Now my fellow Scrabblers have the inside track... may you all slip in mud and wallow in it. (Trash talk :)

We went to Africa on a short term mission trip 10 years back. At the end of this journey, we got to go on a little safari in these jeep/vans. The one thing I will never forget is when we were driving, we saw these, sort of, antelopes grazing so beautifully in the terrain. They had these amazing antlers, not strait, but twisty. As we kept on driving, we were awe struck to see lions crouching in the field... down so low... so intent... nothing could have taken their attention off of these helpless, clueless animals. The antelopes were dead already, they just didn't know it. A part of you wanted to yell out to warn them... but 1 that's not the way of nature and 2 you didn't want to be their replacement. It might have been another hour before they moved, you wouldn't believe how incredibly slow and methodical these lions were.

I also have a stalker who also knows my weaknesses. He knows how very open to sin I get when I'm in isolation. He knows what easy prey I am when I'm not prayed up. He knows what a good target I am when I'm not in the Word. I'd venture to say that he's a lot like those lions... as a matter of fact, I think I've heard it said that he is like a lion seeking whom he may devour.

Oh Lord, be my legs when I am weak. Be the wind at my back, and the air in my lungs. Make my heart strong so that it pumps fast when the chase is on. Be the reflexes I need and the sense that tells me not to ignore the scent in my nostrils. Be that internal compass that tells me left from right and zig or zag. Let me always be the victor... and let the lion starve.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I want my bike!!!

I think I'm gonna get some more mileage out of my mom today. (You're welcome mom!) So the other day I shared how one of her good traits is that she doesn't really gossip. Now for a quirk... she has a hard time accepting... anything. She's been like this as long as I can remember. For example: She lives in the boonies in AZ. She loves her desert landscape, and the fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk kind of heat, but as with most things, you gotta take the good with the bad. There was a big ol' rattler on her porch the other day. It's illegal to kill them in AZ. (though if I had a gun, you'd be visiting me at the big house) so you have to call the fire dept. These young men came strait from a fire, and hauled off her devilish visitor. She proceeded to go out to lunch later in the day and saw the firemen eating there too. Whatever it is that drives her, caused her to reach in her wallet and try to hand these fellah's some cash. They can't/wont take it, so she thanked them again and went on her way.

I have many of my mom's qualities (and none of her cash) and I see this one most when it comes to Jesus. He tells me over and over that He loves me. He tries to draw me pictures so I can understand... like telling me that if I want to give my kids good gifts, imagine how He wants to bless me. He tells me I can't earn it... no matter how hard I try, it is His free gift to me... this love, this eternal life.

So why can't I just believe that?

What is wrong with me, that the Creator of the universe tells me He loves me and actually sends His son to take the punishment for MY sins, just so He can be with me forever... ME! Has He really seen my deceitfully wicked heart?! Does He really know the thoughts I went to bed with last night and woke up with this morning? Why would HE want ME?

Or does it matter?

Does it matter why... or should I just run to Him? You know how He says to come to Him like a child? Have you ever seen a kid get a new bike for Christmas? What do they do? They RUN to the gift! All smiles, arms open wide! Can you even imagine a kid saying,
"I really don't deserve this. Can I maybe do some chores to earn it?"
NO!!!! It's Christmas! He RUNS!!! He knows and believes that was given to him in love and that it's his to keep. God, help me be that kid. Help me learn to run to that bike and not look back!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes

#4 child does something with me that I tend to do with God. When she's happy about something I've done, she says I love you.
"Mommy where are we going to eat?" * "How about pizza?" * "Oh Mommy, I love you!"
This cracks my husband up cause she's a beautiful little 6 y/0. I'm thinking it's not as cute when I do it.
"Lord, we don't have money to pay the bills." * "Here, let me provide that for you." * "Oh Lord, I love you!"
Sure it just sounds like I'm grateful, but was I saying or even thinking those words prior to the gift? Probably had my mind set on other things.

It's funny though, how when we pray for something, we are surprised when it shows up. I have been praying for a situation for quite some time now. Something was "off" in my life and I couldn't fix it... believe me I tried. I complained, I cajoled, I stretched it, pushed it, twisted and turned it! So last night, I went to bed praying that kind of prayer that is more sleep than words and this morning... all of the sudden, a noticeable and welcome change. What happened? Why today? Did I change it somehow? No..... hmmmm. Crazy!

Remember that old saying... "forever and a day"? We tend to focus on the forever part.
"I've been praying for this for FOREVER and it's NEVER going to change!"
Let me tell you what I think God's in to... He's in to the day part. He knows what forever is and we haven't even come close. But it's that day part that's so important. It's the day that reveals our patience. It's the day that reveals His answer. It's in that one day that the fruition of our prayer and the revelation of His goodness all come together in one moment of opportunity for celebration. And in that moment... I don't want to be like my sweet 6 y/o and throw out an "I love you God, cause You eased my load and gave me what I wanted." I want to build a sort of altar as they did in the Bible when God moved on their behalf, so that gift wouldn't be forgotten.

So today's question is... Are you willing to trust Him all the way to "that day." And when that day rolls around... what will your response be? To commit to memory what He has done and maybe even tell the grand kids about it... or will you throw out those 3 little words that sometimes don't mean as much as they should?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sleeping with the fishes.

Wanna hear about one of the biggest mistakes I ever made?

God was seriously speaking to Paul and I about going to England to do mission work. We had been talking about the fact that God seemed to be sending us messages one Sunday morning, when out of no where a missionary couple, from England, appeared to speak at church. Of course we couldn't believe it, but when they singled us out and invited us to their hosts home that night invited us to come to England, and that maybe Paul could even take his place as preacher (the missionary didn't feel that was necessarily his calling at the time)... well... the messages were kind of validated.

So I began to plan. I went into anxiety mode. I began by having a tag/garage/yard sale in winter to get rid of some of our stuff... one person came, then it snowed. I tried to wrap and re-wrap my mind around how we would get our "stuff" to England, where and how we would live on no money... how I would get all my meds, how my teenage son would manage leaving his friends and the high school he was loving, how we would see our oldest daughter, how we as a family of 5 (one off to college) could survive with gas at $6 a gallon!!! Kinda forgot the trusting God thing.

So tax time came around. We got a check for $1500, just enough for two tickets to England, and just in time for us to go help this missionary couple during a time when they really needed it (they put on Creationfest.) So what did I do? (swallow hard... clear throat... pull collar away from neck) I bought a sofa/love-seat. Argh! Ack! It is still hard to say after 4 years! My family was all coming to town for my daughters graduation and our sofa was literally falling apart! I was so nervous about having both of our families there... in our little home (and I mean whole families, nieces nephews, the works.) The $1500 was only enough for the plane tickets and not a place to stay (the missionaries had mentioned a barn and though that was good enough for Jesus, I was scared of spiders and bad backs.) So I told myself if God really wanted us to go, He would provide a new "miracle check" with enough for everything. I didn't know who could have watched the kids for us anyway so... this seemed right to me (Paul was out of town. Hmmmm.)

Life has become so difficult on every level, since then, I can't even tell you!!! I'm Jonah and we're all living in the belly of the whale. Some days we can see the light, down here with the fishes. Believe me, I did not miss out on the irony of the fact that with my health crises, I was sentenced to that sofa for a year. I think God will give us another chance... He's not in the business of punishment, but in rehabilitation :) He wants something better for us and now that we've seen what the life we always wanted has to hold for us... we know it will be easier to let go of. So say a prayer for us please. Ask God to give us whatever assignment He has for us, and ask Him to help me learn to take that leap when He asks. What kind of Christian are you? When God asks your to jump, do you say "How high" or do you buy a sofa?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Shiny moms and sticky black goo.

The mother daughter relationship is crazy isn't it? I read my moms and my daughters blog and they have been kind enough to read mine as well... so I have to be careful what I say. But anyone who's been a mom or a daughter knows that the majority of m/d relationships can be... filled with ups and downs. I think all women are crazy (of which I am the chief sinner) but we also have incredible moments throughout life where we just shine! My mom had a few.

We are all born blind. Sinners who see through a clouded glass darkly, as the Bible says. We all wear glasses... we just don't know it. We choose the frames (the people we're gonna be) but the lenses are decided by our parents (how we view the world). Most of us know right from wrong. The Bible says God's law was written on our hearts, even though we're all sinners from birth. But there are a whole lot of areas that we call "gray". I like to think that is because of our lenses. When something isn't done the way our parents did it... for good or bad, an alarm goes off. One of the things (out of many) that my mom did right was something I never noticed... but I do now. When I hear someone throw around a name, an implication, a slander, a remark meant to hurt, a memory that should have been forgiven, an alarm goes off in my head. I realize the offender is simply wearing the lenses their parents gave them... gossip must have been the norm in their fam, but because I seldom heard it at home, when I do, it goes off in my ears like a 3 alarm fire.

So to all the mom's out there... just trying to do a few things right (cause we know you're gonna mess those kids up anyway) remember to keep that sticky black goo off your lips. No one's perfect... we all fail sometimes. But gossip is like quicksand that sucks the speaker down to a level lower than the one they're trying to put everyone else on. If you hear it, correct it. If you can't do that... run. You'll be next on their list if you stay.

So thanks mom... just in case you wanted to hear about something you did right!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Hope

Ok so money's tight right? We're in a recession/depression they say. (Not that I've missed a meal.) But my family is in a sticky place and to tell you the truth, I don't see a way out. Remember that freaky song by Reba McEntire "Fancy"? It's this song about a mom with a baby who is so poor that she prostitutes her teenage daughter in order to pay the bills. ICK!!! I HATE this song. HATE, HATE, HATE! I mean, c'mon! She spent her last dime to buy her daughter a red prostitute dress. ICK!!! HATE! Did anyone mention to her that she might buy some seeds for a garden with the money? How about a waitressing dress for herself while Fancy watched the baby? Why am I ranting? I'll tell you why. Because as gross as that song is... it holds a truth. We go a little crazy when we lose hope.

I have learned in the past few years that without hope... all is truly lost. It's throw-in-the-towel-time. What do we do when we have no hope? You can't just conjure something up out of nothing... not without faith anyway. If you have nothing or no one to put your faith in, then you really are at the end of the line. I mean, if you're all you've got and you're not enough anymore... if your spouse, friends, things, career, dreams etc. isn't bringing that peace... isn't feeding your kids... paying the bills or fulfilling you... then you probably forgot something. You forgot no one and nothing in this world can rescue you... can save you from the rains that fall and the waters that rise.

I'm not gonna mention how much money we need right now... "wouldn't be right, wouldn't be prudent." But I'll tell you this... in man's eyes, it seems a bit hopeless and as I look around, I see a lot of folks in similar situations. But I am blessed beyond measure because I have ONE THING I have put my trust in and no matter how many times and ways I have failed, He's never allowed destruction to come upon us. We've endured a bit here and there, no doubt, this is Earth not Heaven, but He has always been our shelter.

I pray, with all my heart, that if you're reading this, you are not without hope! I pray you will put your faith in the One Who made you. Don't put Him to the test... He has nothing to prove. Just let Him love you. You will fall in love, in return... you will have new hope :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Are you a cracked pot too?

So, like I said, I got sick. Blah, blah, blog... who doesn't have problems?! I have one friend who's husband left her and her three kids after 13 years of marriage for a woman he cared nothing about. Not only did he and the other woman break up immediately, but somehow my amazing friend, witnessed to the other woman's husband and he, the other woman, and their two daughters got saved! They're going to Heaven! SAY WHAT!? Thas what I said! Talk about being a vessel!

I have another friend who was totally lacking faith every time God didn't answer her prayers the way she thought He should. God was gonna change that though. Although He cares about our circumstances, He cares most about the condition of our hearts. So her husband was laid-off right before Christmas. At first she was a bit freaked (as we all would be) but then this peace came over her. Why? Cause what could she do? She had no control over anything, and she finally got it. God is in control. Now, during one of the possibly hardest times in her life, she runs around praying for all her friends who have it worse than her. Friends that are sick, hurting, dying... that's all she talks about... others.

So back when I got really sick... the kind where you stop moving completely... I started getting a wee bit better. For the first time in a year I was on the computer instead of on the couch. Most would be depressed by this. I mean it's a total lack of community. Zero opportunity to be God's hands and feet... something that had always seemed most important to me. Did God leave me there... useless? No, I discovered Facebook. I know what you're thinking... "How is that even remotely an outlet for anything positive?" Well, of course there's the reconnection of old friends and family... people you thought you'd NEVER see again. But I also started getting to know people at my church. We'd see each other and hug or laugh over something... point is, I was in community again. But useful? Yes. I started playing on-line Scrabble. Oddly enough, I got kinda good at it. My friends wouldn't play as much as I wanted them too, so I started playing strangers. Tons of Canadians (shout out! :) I was making new friends, and even getting to share the gospel to those who were open. I pray for them and care about them and meet dozens of new people every week. Many who need to know God loves them. He can even use a sick girl playing on-line Scrabble! The following story speaks our worth in His eyes best.

Did you hear about the man from India who carried two pots down to the river to fill them and return to his village? One had a crack, the other didn't. At the end of the man's life, the pots were sad that he was dying. The cracked pot apologized to the man for never being good enough... for failing him. The man laughed at the cracked pots perspective. "Cracked pot, do you not know?" The pot was silent. "Look at the path lined with beautiful flowers. Everyone in the village loves this path because of them. Their loads seem lighter as they gaze at the beauty. YOU did that! You watered the path for years. Your imperfections were used to make something beautiful. You were perfect for the job you were chosen for!"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What's your ONE THING?

So, I used to love winter... LOVE it!!! Love Christmas, love snow, love the decorations, love the seasons on either side of it... LOVE it! But something weird happened this winter. I couldn't get warm. Yeah, I'd pile on the blankets, actually turned the thermostat up to 72 and I still couldn't get warm. So for the first time in my life... I'm wondering how much longer winter will last. That kind of makes me sad. I don't want to want winter to go.

Same with breakfast foods. Used to be my favorite meal of the day. Now, I would actually rather just skip it. I got lucky this morning... we had vegetable soup left over from last night and that hit the spot :) As a matter of fact, I love vegetables now. Where'd that come from?! I would rather have stir fried veggies than anything I can think of.

Used to love TV. Never really think about it now... now I have facebook and on-line Scrabble. I wonder what will eventually replace those.

The fact is, EVERYTHING ALWAYS CHANGES. I am always changing and not always for the good. I have grown a bit cynical as of late. Something about seeing my husband becoming immersed in his career and my kids grow up and leave like they were just here to use the facilities... it's all so strange. Is this all there is to my job?

I am glad ONE THING never changes. He has sustained me through more than I can say. No wonder they call Him a rock, a refuge, a strong tower, an ever present help in time of need!

He has not and will not change. We need that! We need ONE THING that will not change on us. What a miracle that the ONE THING that isn't changing... is for us. He's on our side... He actually loves us to lengths we cannot fathom! (And I'm a mom, I can fathom some deep love.)

So my questions today is: What's your ONE THING?