Monday, June 19, 2017

You Can Always Glorify

I came across 2 Corinthians 12 recently. Here Paul talks directly about his thorn in the flesh. 

In light of my body being overcome right now with disease of some kind, this passage came alive. 

Paul tells about how he has things to boast about. 

God had revealed things to him. He had a message worth listening to! 

But then he goes on to say, "Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me." 

I started pondering if maybe the condition of my body was there to keep me from being conceited myself. 

And I had to admit that I had experienced a lot of "grieving" and feeling of loss over this illness. 

Loss of time with my children. 

Loss of opportunities to serve my husband. 

Loss of countless times when I couldn't make it to church to enjoy teaching and fellowship. 

Loss of being apart of social events. 

Loss of pursing interests like gardening and hiking.

Loss of enjoying life without debilitating pain. 

It seemed that a lot of dreams were slipping through my grasp. 

Because I used to dream a lot about what kind of family I would have, and how I wanted to serve my husband and make life sweet for my children. 

No where in those dreams were visions of me curled up under blankets, shivering on the couch and gasping and moaning should a child accidentally bump into my pain racked body. 

I never dreamt of being the kind of a mom whose four-year old knew that when mommy stood up, she needed help. 

Being dependent on family and friends for my own family's survival is not what my pride rejoices in! 

But I'm not writing my own story. 

The thing is, a lot of those dreams were born of good desires. 

Desires to serve and enjoy life, living it well. 

But I had made it my god and determined that living out my desires was the best way to glorify God. 

Whenever life started to not look like the picture I wanted, I grew anxious. 

I've been forced to lie in bed and ask God, "How do I glorify You, lying here? This is where I am stuck and it feels nonsensical."

I used to try to get my heart right and fix my attitude before I prayed. 

Now it's just an open dialogue. 

He knows it all anyway. 

He wants me to come to Him without ceasing; not reserving my prayer life for when my heart is happy and my house is clean. 

He has answered my question. How do I glorify You, right here, right now? 

Enjoying God is glory. Obeying God is glory. Trusting God is glory. Rejoicing is glory. Interceding for others is glory. Thanking God for your sight, and eyes, and teeth and hair is glory. Reverencing your husband and loving him any way you can is glory. Smiling at your children is glory. 

He doesn't command us to keep clean homes, or cook organic food from scratch. He never demands that we have perfect marriages or raise perfectly obedient and well educated, creative children. My laundry pile and unmade bed do not condemn me. 

He commands us to glorify.  

I've found that it can be done under any circumstances that life may offer us. 

I feel internal rest mingled with a resolve to fight and overcome. 

He has broken my mold and shattered my dreams and I have found freedom. Freedom to trust Him and glorify Him and know that that is my purpose for all of my days whatever may come. 

Freedom to rejoice in whatever He has - though it be very different from what I had pictured.

Fear is gone. Trust and obedience have taken its place. 



Monday, January 16, 2017

night of laughter

Snuggled up with my Bible, pen and notebook . . . . my pen was flying with my thoughts. Everyone else was in bed. Or so I thought.


I heard the creaking of the stairs and tried to adjust my eyes away from my light to make out the figure in the kitchen. It was my eldest son, Zeke. "What's wrong bud?" I whispered out. He came moaning to my place in the family room. "I had a bad dream mom and I woke up cold and then Simon started crying." After a brief moment imploring to the nature of this dream the terrible tale came spilling out. The mail man had run over the scissors! A chuckled escaped before I could catch it but I didn't want my cold and half asleep son to think that I was mocking him so I asked simply, "Were you the scissors?" At this, he had to chuckle and admit the whole horror to be a tad bit silly. We prayed for good rest for him and that I would be able to get the baby brother in his room back to sleep peacefully, then we began walking the steps to his room.


A few sparks, coughs and sputters happened as we were mid-stairway and the power went out. "Ewe!" I exclaimed to Zeke. "The power is out bud. Good thing God gave us the moon." We used our natural night light to make our way to his bedroom. Once in his bed he shivered some more. "I'm just scared mom" he continued. "Ah Zeke. Look out at that vast sky," I said, motioning out his window. "God made that moon and sky and all of those trees. His hand is not too short to reach you. There is nothing that our God can't do." He was completely satisfied, so I covered up the sleepy baby in the crib and walked out to hearing Zeke call out, "Love you."


I climbed into bed, shivering, telling Luke to cuddle on down because the power was out. We enjoyed a few chuckles, watching our neighbor with his spot light and then I heard the cries. It sounded like it was coming from the girls' room. Once I reached them I heard the complaints of the lacking night lights. I opened their window curtains. "There, God gave us the moon for light in the night." They all sighed in relief and snuggled back down. "I like you, mommy" Eden said.


And so with everyone happy upstairs, I again went down to cozy in for the night.


For about five seconds.


The smoke alarm at the highest point in our home was unhappy about the power outage and letting its voice heard! I jumped up, planning to push the button to silence the thing with a broom handle, until I remembered that the broom handle had snapped in two last week. My husband came to my rescue with a tall bar stool and reaching up, took the thing down and commanded that it be thrown away! :) I took the battery out, placed it on the counter and went back to bed.


For a few seconds.


Then came the annoying, but much less loud, beep of the smoke detector who didn't like being down from his home with his battery out. "How does this thing even beep without power or it's battery??" I exclaimed. "There's a small back up battery" Luke explained. "Try putting it in the fridge where we won't hear it." I opened the fridge, which was of course pitch black, and tried to find a spot. That really shouldn't be hard, except we just got over the stomach flu so all the food had been accumulating from lack of appetites and was full to the brim."


Back in bed the wild spasms of laughter began. The addition of it all was too much for my delirious body. The mail man running over the scissors, the girls and their sweetness, my husband standing on a bar stool at mid night taking down smoke detectors, and now the thing being in the fridge. Luke knows better than to ask me what is funny when this happens. It doesn't happen too often. But sometimes my whole body is just shaking in laughter.


It reminds me a bit of my childhood. Or should I say my teen years. That's when I remember it the best. Things that should have annoyed my mom sometimes just made her die laughing. We did a lot of laughing. And it was sweet.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements - surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb. when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed?

Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this.

Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?

Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the Mazzaaroth in their season, or can you guide the bear with its children? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?

Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the does? Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth, when they crouch, bring forth their offspring, and are delivered of their young?

Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic snorting is terrifying. He paws in the valley and exults in his strength; he goes out to meet the weapons. He laughs at fear and is not dismayed; he does not turn back from the sword.

Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high?

Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it. 

Then Job answered the LORD and said: "Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?" 

Excerpts taken from Job 38,39 and 40.


God never did reveal to Job why he encountered hardship. The enemy took the time of hardship to spew out lies. 

Sometimes this happens in my thoughts . . . though my hardships do not measure up to Job's in the slightest . . . . 

The Lie: This is only going to get worse. 
Truth: Do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. 

The Lie: You could be enjoying your children more if it were not for this. Precious time is slipping away while you waste it, here, hindered by this pain. 
The Truth: This pain is helping me keep my eyes on what lasts for eternity. Eternity will have no end and there, with a perfect body, I will enjoy not only my family but the Lord Jesus. 

The Lie: This is bad timing. Why did God allow this now? With small children? 
The Truth: Without these small children I would never force myself out of bed. I would lie there in pain feeling sorry for myself. Their needs and their faces are God's great mercy.

The Lie: God isn't going to help you get well. It's just part of living in a fallen world, and He allowed it to fall. 
This lie is the one that led my husband to read out of Job to me. 
The Truth: I am of small account. How can I question the Lord? I do not understand how the earth was made and the mysteries of sin, free will, grace, predestination, and forgiveness. If I understood, I would be God. 

I do know that, as I wake each morning, beside me is a man who has loved me like Jesus loves. I wake to the pattering feet of children who love life and have no fear of war, hunger, or cold. I awake in a beautiful home that the Lord granted to us. I awake as one who is redeemed. Not because of my works, or faith, strength, or lack of faltering. But simply because He died for me. And He loves me. 

And I know deeply that I am rich. 



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

God Has Heard


The argument I heard the other morning between two children. 
Child #1: "I just love my baby."
Child #2: "He's not your baby! He's my baby."
Child #1: "No, I'm the one who prayed for him. He's my baby. If you want your own baby you can start praying and have the next one, but Simon is my baby." 

*Mother's thoughts . . . Oh please, Lord, let child#2 forget to pray for that for just a little while. I still remember pregnancy and birth a little too freshly just now." :-) 

There are the realities of pain and of bodies being just a little more than marred and of course, the good old fashion tired. But then there is life. A soul. One created for the glory of a loving God. Somehow the marred body, the pain, the tired . . . it's just a symbol of what is necessary to give life. And now, if I can only master the fine art of leaving the house and seeing the sky more than once a week I don't think that I will feel so very unsettled in this new season of having an infant again.



My sweet and nurturing Eden. The novelty of a new baby does not ware off for her. She still asks to hold Simon multiple times a day. 


Charis was feeling so helpful this morning. She was allowed to hold Simon while standing up because I needed a hand while putting out some fires with a 2 year old and making breakfast. She was beaming from ear to ear. Oh the love of growing up and being needed! :-) 


This is child#1. I think we need to review the fact that what God gives us is not to be horded. ;-) But yes, my Zeke did pray earnestly for a brother and the Lord said "yes" to him. 


The biggest blessing this side of heaven is to be blessed in marriage to a man who wants to please Jesus. It just doesn't get better than being this man's wife. 


Holding sleeping babies is grand, though I think that Simon prefers his bed over my arms. That's a blessing too because my arms are usually busy while he sleeps. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Good Things

Just remembering these good things. I can't keep every precious thing these little ones make me . . . but I take pictures. :-)



When Today Becomes Eternity

Today dawns
Just the same

Same children
Same house
Mostly the same good
Mingled with the same bad

One tomorrow will be the last today
One day death will call
Or my Lord will return in glory

Eternity will stretch on and on
Forever in finality
Never to be changed

The yesterdays then will look so small
The pain will be forgotten
The regret, I fear, will gash at my soul
As I gaze into the eyes of Him who is love

Today is the day of salvation

The day to smile into my children's eyes
The day to look well to how I might serve another
The day to love until I forget myself
The day to trust that He can truly do all things

As time rushes by as water flowing over
It cannot be grasped
The good times will end and others begin anew

Yet He is the same and His years will never fail
I cling to Him as I step through the narrow, unknown way
He is right there
I stay close that I might know the way in which I should walk

The good and hard rush over me
Yet He is there still
Never changing
Always sufficient
Never leaving me alone or without the joy of His presence

Until this path doth end
And then I say goodbye for a time
To the good and to the hard
But it is really just a continuing of my journey

Now I see Him quite well
I weep over how I failed
I am amazed at how weak I was
How earthly minded
How easily shaken
How quickly distracted
How weak in faith

I learn in amazement once again
That He did not want me to be great
But only to trust in His greatness
Only reflect His goodwill and love
Only be so in love with Him that I cannot but speak of Him

Now I rest
And worship
And serve

I enjoy for all eternity
Fellowship unhindered
So sweet
And so greatly undeserved

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

When Heavenly Joy First Comes


When I feel so chained to this life
This world fallen
The physical realities before me
The body that is tired, imbalanced, unwell

My feet begin to slip
Into the mire of clay that enfolds me
I fight for a little health
A little sleep
A little selfish clean space

I am in the pit of loving self
And I struggle to free myself
I look around to the mess I created
And it is engulfing

But now I look up and I see a hand of strength
I know all to well
I can not free myself
And so I reach out in faith

I feel shame for being in that pit
Yes, again
I do not want to look my Savior in His loving eyes
They pierce my soul. They break my heart.

But He asks me to stay with Him
To talk to Him
To believe that though I cannot, He can
To desire no other thing more fiercely than the smile of His pleasure

To know that His pleasure means
Doing life together
Me obeying
Him leading me on

Sometimes I reach points of beauty
Sometimes the path is even
Other times I'm not sure where the trail is
Or how much longer this hill goes upward

Joy is always married to obedience
And so I must be listening and asking
Then obeying
Moment by moment