Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Unhappy Zebra

Once upon a time there was a little zebra named William. William was an unhappy zebra.

You see, this little zebra's diet consisted mainly of sugary snacks and he had had none. His mommy and daddy tried to explain that he would soon have all the sweet, sugary goodness he could imagine but he didn't believe them...

...and he laid down in protest thinking he might actually die.

His mean mommy and daddy, however, could not be so easily persuaded and forced him to go out into the cold, dark night and beg for his snacks. Little did he know the joy set before him.

At first, he did not understand what to do but after some coaching and perseverance he began to understand. 

Before he knew it he was back home with a bucket full of the delectable goodness for which his heart sings. This made William very happy.

Little zebra learned an important lesson - good things come to those who listen and obey Mommy and Daddy.

But there is a greater truth to be learned...

Matthew 7:11 If you then, being evil,  know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him.

The Father desires to lead you in paths that lead to peace and joy beyond anything we can fathom. Are you responding like our little zebra? Would you rather lay down and die than follow? Unlike our story, He won't make you go. You must chose to follow. When you do, you will find that trust in Him brings perfect peace, and obedience brings an abundance of joy.

The End.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Who Dat?

My little William is trying to talk. He has a few words he says really well but honestly, most the time I think someone is teaching him Mandarin Chinese while we sleep. One of his many inexplicable phrases sounds like he is saying, "who dat?". Of course, Jeremy and I have picked it up and repeated it back to him a million times so then he really says it a lot. Then we laugh until our face hurts.

That story really has nothing to do with what I wanted to blog about. Just thought I'd share.

Actually, what I wanted to talk to you about is something I talked about on Sunday when I taught in our Bible study class. If you were there and were awake you may remember me mentioning something I had learned in a JKD (Jennifer Kennedy Dean) study: that things have no power over you. Things only have power over us when we give them power. I had used the illustration of chocolate cake. To some people, a rich, thick piece of chocolate cake calls to them and they feel powerless to resist said cake (using myself as an example here). They must eat the cake or suffer the consequences ( i.e., forever regret the lost opportunity of enjoying the cake). At least, that is what your brain is telling you the cake is telling you.

In truth, that cake has no power over you. How do we know? Chocolate cake doesn't call to everyone. That chocolate cake that calls to me doesn't call to my mother. She doesn't like chocolate. She'd just as soon eat a cracker than a piece of chocolate cake. In fact, she'd probably enjoy the cracker more (she's a salty, crunchy snacker).

At this point in the lesson Sunday I missed a HUGE opportunity to point out an extremely important fact: Jesus is all powerful!

Now hang with me and take off your "I've believed in Jesus forever" hat and lets think about this. For most of us, and I'm including myself in this, we say with our mouths we believe in Jesus and believe that He is powerful and yet the reality is that we are pulled and swayed by everyone and everything else. We readily confess we think He is powerful but do we live lives that evidence His power working in us? Do we ever attempt to do anything that seems beyond our own power, our ability, our knowledge, or our skills? 

So, how do we know He has power? How do we really know? Because let me tell you, I WANT TO KNOW. I not only want to know His power is real but I want it realized in my life.

John 12:32 "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

In the context, Jesus is not saying "if" but rather "when" He is lifted up. You can read a few verses before and after to get that in the proper context.

Jesus draws all men unto Himself. All men (mankind). Nothing on, in, or above the earth has that power. Nothing, and no one else, is able to call all men unto itself. Think about that. 

Now, if I listen to the cake and eat it, nothing good happens to me or in me. Not only is my body not nourished the sugar does bad things to my body.

But if I listen to Jesus and "eat" of Him, (i.e. answer His call and follow Him, internalize His truths so that what He says and thinks becomes my governing system) I will be saved, not just from eternal death but from the control of powerless things in this world that I allow to rule over me. (Rom 10:13, 8:37)

Who are you listening to? All the powerless things of this world or the One who is all powerful. Jesus is calling. Are you going to answer?

Monday, October 17, 2011

This is my life now

I started thinking about writing this post a few weeks ago when I heard a friend's tweenage daughter say something like, "Well, when I start living my real life, I'm going to..." I quickly responded, "Sweetheart, you're living your real life now. Your life has already begun." I'm not sure where that response came from but that quick interchange brought up passionate emotions in me. I kept thinking about that little conversation, over and over again.

A week or so later I was at my doctor's office getting yet another shot of chemo and the RN said something to the effect of "I hope this works so you can get back to your real life." I looked that nurse straight in the eyes and said, "Darlin', I'm living my real life now. This is real life. My life hasn't stopped because of this."

We watch the movie Tangled pretty often around here (almost every day). William loves it. When he is older he will kill me for telling you this but do you know the part where she is leaving the tower with Flynn and she zips down, hair and skirt flapping in the wind? William sucks in his breath a little when he watches that.  I love to watch him watching that scene.  Anyway, in the beginning of the movie, Repunzel sings a song, "When will my life begin?" I want to reach right into my TV, grab her by the shoulders and say, "Your life has already begun! Live!" Then, of course, I remember, its a cartoon.

I desperately want you to know something. You are living your real life now, today. This is your real life. I wonder, how many of you out there are waiting for something or waiting to get through something to start living. The more I thought about this the more I saw this mentality throughout my whole life, "When I get into high school...when I go to college....when I have a job and am living on my own...when I get married...when we have kids....when William goes to school...when William gets out of school...when I have grandkids....then I'll..... I call this the when and then effect. Our feet are in today but our heart is on tomorrow, next year, the next decade, etc...

This can also work in reverse. As I've gotten older, I can see how looking back with nostalgia can also produce this effect. We say things like, "Those were the days!" and "Boy, we were really living then."

The problem with both these kinds of thinking is that it robs of the joy of our lives today. It, if you will, sucks the very life out of today. We keep thinking we'll really live when or we really lived when...(you fill in the blank) and what we're really thinking of is a time when we think, or thought, life was or will be almost perfect. The truth is, life was never perfect and won't be until Christ returns.

Its seems paradoxical but there is only one way to really live. One way to enjoy and thrive in even the worst times of life. We must die.

Colossians 3:3,4  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is ur life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

This verse has come to mean so much to me. My life is hidden in Christ. I am hidden in Christ. I don't really live anymore but He lives in me and gives the life He has to me. He has full authority over my life and I trust Him completely. I'm living for His glory and He therefore, can use anything He wants to glorify Himself.

You may not believe this but I can honestly say that this recent experience with GTD and chemo has been pleasant, invigorating even, because I've spent it with Him. It made me seek Him more, chase after Him harder, and as a result, I feel more alive now than I did before this weird disease. You know what else is weird, I'm less possessive of my life. I'm happy to give it to Him. I'm happy for Him to have His way in my life. I'm still dreaming and hoping but I'm letting Him author my dreams and hopes.  I'm enjoying my today and trusting my tomorrow to Him.

I still think about what tomorrow may bring and what I would like it to bring but I trust whichever way life goes, I'm going to be okay because I'm with Him. I'm being held by the One who holds all things together.  (Col 1:17)

Monday, October 10, 2011

William turns two!

Saturday we celebrated William's second birthday.

He woke up that morning to a room filled with balloons. I gotta be honest. This was my favorite part of the day. William is in love with balloons. He was so excited to see all these in his room. He ran through them, kicked them, threw them in the air. It was a really great memory. In the background you can see the new big boy bed we got him for his birthday. There are little doors on the bottom that open up. Its a great place for William to play and to store toys. He seems to love it and I'm really pleased with it too.

We carried the balloon theme downstairs and decorated the ceiling with them.

I got one of those little helium tanks from Walmart and made balloon bouquet, which he carried around everywhere.

At the party he did a little bouncing and sliding.

Jeremy enjoyed some sliding too. Though there is no photo evidence, I went down the slide a couple times myself. It was pretty fun.

We knocked the stuffing out of a piƱata...

And then William had to make sure we had gotten all the candy out...

Here he is getting his birthday spankings from Papa Robert.

Inspecting his cake. Another favorite right now is M&M's.

 Opening presents

Enjoying his favorite present, a shopping cart. Wally, however, is not so sure about this new gift.

Happy birthday, William! Mommy and Daddy love you and cannot imagine life without you.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dewberry Deux

Ahhh, fall is finally here and, as of right now, it feels like fall. I love this weather. It showed up just in time too. Saturday we took William out to Dewberry Farms with our Bible study class. We went last year and it was HOT! The weather was perfect this year. I thought it would be fun to do a little side by side comparison of William from last year to this. I am woefully inept at getting pictures to do what I want them to so it is a bit discombobulated.

First stop, the pond. This kid loves water. 
2010 2011

Of course we had to check out the tractors...

And the goats. 

We did lots of other fun things too that he was too small to do last year.

The slides...

Playing in the sand...

Crawling through tunnels...

Running on bridges....

And climbing on rocks...

The thing about blogs like these is that you get to pick the pictures you post. You see, if you judged our day by these photos, one would think we have the happiest baby in the world. The truth is, these are the shots we took in between meltdowns. I don't know what was going on with William on this day but he had no less than 10 meltdowns. Seriously. Melt-downs.  Falling to the ground, rolling in the grass, feet-kicking, top-his-lung-crying, meltdowns. Can't ride out to the pumpkin patch right now? Meltdown. Leaving one activity to go to another? Meltdown. Have to wait in line for the slide? Meltdown. Can't ride a ride right this second. Meltdown.

 I'm pretty sure the folks at Dewberry were very happy to see us leave. To be honest, I was pretty happy to leave. 

This post doesn't really have a point. I guess I'm just venting some frustration. I know this is a phase and I know it will pass. Once again, God has reminded me how little control I have over my life. I mean, if I can't get a two-ish year old to behave in public, do I really believe I can control grown-ups? The unexpected? Finances? The economy? My health? The list is endless. 

For just a second, while we were at Dewberry Farms, I wanted to believe the lie that I was a bad mom because my kid was behaving badly. I wanted to judge and condemn myself. I wanted to put thoughts and words in other peoples minds and mouths, just imagining what they must be thinking about me and my kid. But do you know what? I didn't.  I did not feel one ounce of condemnation. Romans 8:1 kept coming to my mind, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus."

I'm not a bad mom because my kid is having a bad day. I'd be a bad mom if I didn't let my kid have a bad day.  Maybe you need to hear that too. You are not a bad mom because your kid is behaving badly. Your kid is human. They will have bad days and you will too.  There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for those who are seeking Him, serving Him, loving Him. Be free, my friend. Be free. 

So...either because I'm a very gracious mom or because I love abuse, we already have another trip to Dewberry Farms scheduled in November. Prayers are greatly appreciated. I'll let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

William Takes the Cake

The title is literal. My last blog post was so depressing I thought I would
throw in a little levity. Keeping up with an almost two year old can be pretty challenging. They're smarter than they let on.

The trouble started when William was able to open the fridge by himself for the first time last week. I was kinda impressed. That door is hard to open but I also knew I was in trouble. William loves to be in the fridge. Literally. He tries to climb in and shut the door. We've been having some A/C problems lately but I didn't think it was that warm in the house.

So the other morning, while attempting to get some house cleaning done, I left William sitting on the couch happily watching cartoons and playing Angry Birds. I vacuumed one room and came back to check on him and this is what I found:

William helping himself to a little liquid refreshment. But wait, what is that on his mouth and forehead?

That would be chocolate.

William pulled down a sealed container of cupcakes and helped himself. Now mind you, we had just finished breakfast about a half-hour earlier. He normally eats 2 scrabbled eggs and a piece of toast with milk. How he could even be hungry I don't know. Then, I found this sitting on the table. Guess he wasn't really hungry, he just needed his chocolate fix.

Luckily, I caught him before he spread the path of destruction too far. Thus, we have affectionately nicknamed him, William the Destroyer.

A word of warning to my friends: If we come over to your house for any reason, hide your chocolate!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What I've Not Been Blogging

I know its been a long time since I've posted. It's not that I haven't had anything to blog about but rather that I just didn't know how to write about what has been going on. Really, I still don't but I can't stop thinking about this post. I have to write it or I don't think I'll have any peace. I look at friends of mine who are so good at sharing their struggles and it inspires me. But when it comes to putting words to my own struggles words fail.

I'll stop beating around the bush and just come out and tell you what I'm not telling you.

In June, we found out that the baby we were expecting in January had died. Two ultrasounds confirmed that the heart wasn't beating. I insisted on the second because I just didn't want to believe the first one. I prayed and hoped that God would restart my baby's heart. He did not.

On June 24th I had a D & C. A couple days later my doctor called (it is never good if your doctor is calling you) and said the pathology report indicated that I had a partial molar pregnancy. A what-what?!?

Of course I had no idea what that was. It is pretty rare. My investigative personality took over and I soon knew everything that could be found out online about partial molar pregnancies. Briefly, this is a condition where a fetus is formed but the placenta tissue continues to develop abnormally and creates a tumor called a "mole". The tissue eventually overtakes the fetus and it dies. With this condition the fetus is also genetically flawed in such a way that it is not compatible with life (it has too many chromosomes.)

Since the D & C my blood has been drawn weekly to make sure the pregnancy hormone (hCG) is decreasing. Unfortunately my numbers have not been dropping quickly or steadily enough. I had another ultrasound that confirmed the molar tissue had returned. I was diagnosed with "Persistent Gestational Trophoblastic Disease." Disease. I. Have. A. Disease. Don't worry. I'm not contagious.

My ob/gyn sent me to consult with a gynecologic oncologist last week. An oncologist. I thought only seriously ill people see an oncologist. What did that mean about me? It means I was being a drama queen.

He said there are three ways to treat this condition: a hysterectomy, another D & C or chemo (or some combination thereof.) Of course I already knew this because I had done a ton of research.

I immediately nixed the hysterectomy. I'd really like to use my uterus again.

He ran some tests, we discussed the options and last Thursday I received my first (and hopefully last) round of chemo. I can hardly believe what I just wrote. I had chemo. Chemo. CHEMO. The mental side effects were much worse than the physical ones. I've felt pretty much the same physically but I won't lie, the mental acceptance that I received chemo was kinda tough.

I allowed myself to wallow in self pity for the rest of Thursday and then Friday I decided to get on with life. Life was getting on with our without me so I put on my "to go" panties, as my cousin Chotze would say, and got going. I mean, this is life. It is completely unrealistic to hope or believe that I will be exempted from trials and tribulations.

Anyway, so now you know what I've not been blogging about. Whew! I'm glad I got that off my chest. Now if I could just get this mole out of my uterus... ;)

I hope to blog again soon regarding some deep spiritual truth God is revealing through all of this (actually, I'm waiting on that memo myself.) If He shares that truth with me, you'll be the first to know. And by all means, if He shares it with you please share with me. I'm in a particularly teachable stage in my life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The "S" Word

It's probably not what your thinking. The "s" word I'm referring to is: submit.

The LORD has been working on my servant's heart for quite a while now.

This Sunday, I was forced, ahem, I mean, had the pleasure to teach on Colossians 3:18ff. The first verse of my assigned passage was "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the LORD."

The next verse gave instruction to husbands to love their wives.

In my initial preparations, I concluded that I was going to skip those verses all together and not even touch them. You can probably guess how that turned out. I taught almost exclusively on the wives verse. The LORD had a lot to say to me on this subject.

And now, I share it with you, in an effort, mainly, to continue to work out what He is working in. The LORD has given me a real "sitting down" as one might say.

You might want to grab a cup of coffee here or put your kid down for a nap. I'm going to try to keep this as succinct as possible without compromising the essentials but this blog might be a bit long.

Why is it that we wives get our spanx all in a wad over His instruction to be subject/submit to our husbands? We hear that word, "submit" and instantly we become defensive and begin rationalizing. We could blame our society and culture or the abuse of some men towards "submissive" wives but the real culprit, I believe, is our own rebellious hearts. As I have come to not just understand the instruction, but to internalize it, I realize how rebellious I have been and not just to my husband, but to God.

Submitting to our husbands should be as natural as submitting to the LORD Himself. Throughout the Bible, Believers are instructed to submit to one another, be devoted to one another, give preference to one another, consider one another as more important than yourself (Romans 12:10, Phil. 2:3,4). In short, to do everything as if unto the LORD (Col 3:17, 23,24). If this is to be our general attitude toward one another, why is it so offensive to our sensibilities to have this attitude toward our spouse?

Probably because we have not resolved within ourselves that we are going to obey the LORD. Many "believers" today have a wait-and-see attitude towards Scripture. They want to wait and see if it makes sense for them, to wait and see if it works for them, to wait and see if it benefits them.

We must, as Joshua instructed the Israelites before crossing the Jordan, decide for ourselves today who we are going to serve. We must decide, not on a case-by-case basis, but once and for all whether we are going to obey Christ or not. Take a moment now, think about it. Are you or are you not going to obey the LORD? Has His Lordship been established and resolved in your heart? It's all or nothing.

I hope you chose to obey. If you did, then His command to submit/subject ourselves to our husbands is not that different, in fact, it is merely an extension of His Lordship in our lives.

Let's explore the purpose of marriage for just a second. This will not be an exhaustive discussion but rather a look at just one aspect of the purpose of marriage.

Colossians 1:16 says, "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him."

Colossians 1:18 goes on to say that, "He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."

So, every position with authority was created by Christ and for Christ. He is the head of the church which was created for Him. Track with me here.

Eph. 5:22-24, "Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the LORD. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church. He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything."

Marriage is given to be a physical demonstration of a spiritual reality, that being, Christ is LORD and worthy to be obeyed. The relationship between husband and wife is to be a material example of Christ's relationship (seen only with spiritual eyes) with His church (the corporate body of true believers worldwide now and throughout history and until the end of time).

Jennifer Kennedy Dean has said, "The person who cannot discern spiritual truth is not living in harmony with reality and so is limited in his understanding."

Our God is a God of order and has established a hierarchal system throughout His creation. From the food chain to family relations, there is order and hierarchy. To the degree that we do not submit to His order, we are "not living in harmony with reality."

God has designed the husband to be the representative of His authority in the home. Wives, if we do not recognize, acknowledge and submit to this order, we are rebelling not just against our husbands but against God Himself.

What a privilege married women have to exemplify, to flesh out, the church's relationship with Christ.

Let me take this one step further and attack this from a different angle.

The Christian community (by this I mean Bible-believing followers of Christ) is rather firm on their stance on homosexuality. It is wrong. The Bible says it is wrong and there isn't much disagreement on the subject. What is homosexuality? Is it not one's refusal to submit to their God-assigned gender role? One's deferring to their own feelings rather than God's established order with regard to their relationship with the same and the opposite sex?

Wives, to the degree that we do not submit to our God-assigned gender role (being a wife and submitting to our husbands) we are committing the very same offense as non-celibate homosexuals.

Eph. 5:33b (AMP) ...and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].

I Pet. 3:1,2 (AMP) In a like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate ourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them] so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives, when they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him - to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize and, in the human sense, adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].

In the immortal words of Mary, the mother of Jesus, "Behold, the bondslave of the LORD; may it be done to me according to your word."

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Morbidly Obese

Morbidly obese: that is what I want my soul to be.

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing but the soul of the diligent is made fat.

The soul of the diligent is persistent, consistent and relentless in pursuit of what it craves. It looks for what satisfies from the One who satisfies. The diligent is rewarded, as we see, because their soul is fat - they have been richly fed from the Provider's table.

This reminds me of Jesus' interaction with the woman who was pleading to the LORD to have mercy on her daughter who was demon possessed. (Matt. 15: 21-28) This woman was a Canaanite. She cried out loudly (and kept on crying out loudly) for Jesus to have mercy. The disciples wanted to send her away because she was making such a ruckus. Jesus goes to her gently rebuking His disciples.

The woman bows low and makes her petition to Jesus. He says to her, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." (v. 26)

This woman responds with such faith! She replies, "Yes, LORD; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master's table."

Jesus praises her for her faith and grants her request.

The Canaanite woman was only asking for crumbs but received a 5 course meal. How did it come about that she received this? She asked and she kept on asking. People told her to be quiet, be less loud, to give up and to go away and yet she persisted. Jesus instructs us to act just like this woman.

Matthew 7:7,8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Too often we apply this verse as a means of getting the material things we want. But I believe it is spiritual. Jesus longs to give Himself to us. He longs to fill and to fatten our souls with Himself. He promises, if you will but ask Him, if you will seek Him, if you will knock on the door of heaven, it will be opened unto you. You will get what you ask for. You will get what you ask for and what you seek when what you ask for and what you seek is more of Him.

The other morning I had just gotten out of bed. It was early. I had set my alarm to get up for quiet time. As I was stumbling from bed to the coffee pot I said to God, "I really don't want to do this this morning. I really want to sleep."

In a flash Proverbs 13:4 popped into my mind. Then, just as quickly I "heard", 'You reap what you sow.' I began skipping to the coffee pot when another verse came to mind, one we had just studied in Bible study:

Philippians 3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my LORD for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish (read, 'poo') so that I may gain Christ.

That extra hour or two of sleep, poo. When compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus, sleep looks as valuable to me a pile of poo. When I sow into my relationship with my LORD, I reap intimacy with Him. He speaks to me through His word. He comforts, He guides, He makes me laugh. He is my best Companion, Friend, Master.

Proverbs 6:10, 11 A little sleeping, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will overtake you like a thief in the night.

When I value sleep over knowing Christ my spirit suffers. It starves. When I sow, spiritually, into Christ the harvest is abundant. I eat and eat and eat and my soul grows fatter and fatter and fatter. My goal is that my soul will be so fat that there is no room left for the flesh, that my soul would be morbidly obese in regard to the flesh. (I'm speaking in spiritual terms). My aim is to be so consumed with "eating" from my LORD's table, filling my soul with His rich fare, that I give no regard at all for the cravings of the flesh (again, spiritually. Flesh here refers to my sin nature; my desire to do my own thing and have my own way apart from Him.)

Let me ask you, reader, are you hungry? Is your soul starving? Diligently seek the LORD. Ask of Him to feed you. I promise He will not let you go hungry. You will reap what you sow.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blogging on blogging

Long time no blog.

I've mentioned before that I have mixed feelings about blogs. Everyone seems to have them. The reasons folks have them is probably as varied as the individual themselves. I have been truly blessed by the blogs my friends keep. I love hearing about the maturation of their babies. I love seeing and enjoying my friends' senses of humor and I especially love to see the power and love of God flowing in and through them.

I have struggled internally for awhile about what I should do with my blog. I have as much mama pride as the next mom but felt like the mama bragging I want to do is, well, bragging. After all, my child is truly exceptional and overwhelmingly adorable ;) (Please read with humorous, sarcastic tone.)

But recently I've really been seeking the LORD's will in my life. Specifically, I prayed this prayer, "LORD, what should I do with my time, my energy, and all my resources (mental, emotional, and physical)? He hasn't given me His answer in entirety but He has told me where to start.

I am to pour out what He has poured in. It might be helpful if you read 2 Kings 4:1-6.

A poor widow was instructed by Elisha to collect as many empty vessels from her neighbors as possible and pour her oil into them. Her little bit of oil flowed and flowed until all the vessels she had collected were full. (Empty jars represent people, oil represents the Holy Spirit.) The fullness of God comes into our lives not by hoarding what He has given us (spiritually and materially) but rather by pouring it out. I can have all the quite times in the world and have the most wonderful times of filling from Him but Scripture, over and over is clear, we have been filled so that we may be poured out. As my pastor would say, "Blessed to be a blessing."

So, long story short, be on the lookout for more posts soon. I have a list of topics running right now. With God's power and help, through blogging, I hope to pour out into the emptiness what He has poured in and in so doing, greatly glorify Him.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Little Mister

Things are slowing returning to normal around our house. Jeremy went back to work today. It was kinda strange this morning with just me and William. We've been enjoying some good quality time with Jeremy.

Friday evening we took William to his first movie in a theatre. He loves to watch movies at home. I figured it would go really well or be a somewhat expensive experiment. On a side note, when did movie tickets go up to $9.75? Sheesh! We really splurged and got popcorn and a diet coke. William sat in his seat like a big boy and ate his popcorn. He was so funny to watch watching the movie. He got a little squirmy at the end but did really well.

I realized the other day that I haven't taken many pictures of him lately so I busted out the ole' Canon Rebel and shot a few pics:

Don't ask me why but William loves to squat down like this. This is a pretty classic William pose.

William loves this little bridge in front of the house. He also really loves sticks...and rocks. All boy.

Another thing William is really into right now is pillows. I have to confess he must have gotten this from me. I too love pillows! The more the better! This is actually from this morning. I had washed the sheets and was re-making the bed. William thought this was a fantastic opportunity to enjoy himself some pillows.

He's a silly boy but I love him.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Smack Down

Job 39
"Can you bind the wild ox in a furrow with ropes, Or will he harrow the valleys after you?
11 "Will you trust him because his strength is great and leave your labor to him? 12 "Will you have faith in him that he will return your grain and gather it from your threshing floor ?"

Can you imagine catching a wild ox, hooking it up to a yoke, telling it where to plow and then setting him loose to do what you told him to do? Or perhaps consulting with the ox as to which fields to plow and when? Or heck, just letting the ox make that decision for himself?

Job 38 through 40 are some of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible. God reveals the wisdom of man for what it really is: foolishness and His wisdom for what it is: perfect and complete. Chapter 38 begins with God booming out of a whirlwind: "Who is this who darkens counsel with words without knowledge?" I get giddy just reading that verse. I love a good smack down! Unless, of course, I'm the one being smacked down.

Upon reflection of those passages I was convicted and have to say, "Me LORD. I confess. It was me." How many times have I presumed to know or understand the ways of the LORD. How many times have I been as foolish as Bildad, Eliphaz and Zophar offering foolish advice to myself and others? Or claiming some promise found in the Bible out of context? Or just making decisions on my own based on my own understanding.

While sitting in the waiting room on Thursday, waiting one hour, two hours, three hours and then four hours for the surgeon to come out and give his report on Jeremy, a lot of Scriptures came to my mind. One in particular was Jeremiah 29:11. That verse is a favorite of so many, myself included, but often it is misunderstood because it is not read in context.

"'For I know the plans I have for you', declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you,not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'"

As I was sitting and waiting, God began to clarifying some things for me. God knows His plans. I do not know His plans. His biggest plan for our hope and future, of course, is Jesus Christ and the eternal salvation that is found only in Him. And truly, that is enough but we always want more, don't we? I do. We want to be comfortable. We want to be healthy. We want to feel secure. I want to know what is going to happen tomorrow and I worry and fret because I don't. We think we know what it means for us to prosper, to not be harmed. Sometimes, nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes the very thing we think will destroy us is the best thing that could ever happen to us.

Here's a little conversation I had in my head with Him in the waiting room, "Now LORD, if you will just kindly tell me what the plan is I would appreciate it. If you would just tell me how this is all going to turn out I wouldn't be so worried right now. I could really trust in You if I knew Your plan." As my mother said in a book she wrote commenting on a similar situation in her own life, "LORD, if you would just tell me the plan then I could plan for Your plan."

And that, my friends, is exactly why I think He doesn't always reveal the details of the immediate future to us. He doesn't want us planning for the plan. (His big plan has been revealed and is available for your perusal. See Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. Spoiler alert: It ends really well for those who love Him and really bad for those who don't. But what I'm talking about here is the details of our day-to-day lives, i.e. "Is my husband going to make it out of surgery alive?") He wants us obedient in the moment. He wants us to depend on Him, to seek Him and to trust in Him moment-by-moment.

The verses that follows Jeremiah 29:11 are rarely quoted with it but they say, "Then you will call upon me and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by You, declares the LORD..."

God wants relationship with me, even me. He has all the heavenly realm bowing before Him, singing praises to Him, worshipping Him in truth for they see and know Him as he really is and yet, He wants me to know Him personally. He wants to reveal, not His plan, but Himself to me. God did not say through Jeremiah the prophet that when I sought God He would reveal His plan to me. He said He would reveal Himself to me. "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you." That is awesome in the true sense of the word.

The appropriate response then is to seek Him for Him and not for the revelation of His plan. In my wisdom, I think knowing the plan would bring me comfort, peace, strength, etc. But that is wrong. Comfort, peace and strength come from knowing Him. Does an ox demand the Master to tell him which row He's going to plow next? No, he does not. Nor shall I. I shall continue putting one foot in front of the other until He tells me differently. He knows His plans and it is enough for me to continue to progressively come to know Him as I seek Him with my whole heart.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bridal Plasty

Long time no blog. My apologies to the two people who follow this blog. In all honesty I've really struggled as to what to blog about. I have mixed feelings about blogs in general and so I've not posted anything. "What pushed you off the fence?", you may ask. Spirit Hunger. I'm attending a Bible study on Tuesday mornings at SBC (Second Baptist Church) with some great girlfriends. Gari Meachum is the author/speaker. I highly recommend it. If you have time on Tuesday mornings around 9:30 you should seriously stop by.

So, anywho, we have 5 days of homework per week ("home pleasure" as Gari would say). I was working on day 1 for week 2 yesterday and just thought I would share some thoughts on what God is teaching me (mainly for my own clarification.)

We were to reflect on Colossians 3:1-17. The topic of the week is "numbing", i.e. desensitizing areas of spiritual/emotional hunger. Using food, alcohol, men, shopping, control, etc. to cope with a deeper hunger that is not being fulfilled.

As I was reading the Scripture I was gripped by verses 2 through 4:

"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."

God spoke straight into my heart, "You have died. Your life is hidden with Christ in God."
I pictured myself being buried (hidden) and then being resurrected. Not resurrected in my body but resurrected through the body of Christ. I am not raised up as myself, I am raised up in Christ! I live through Him. He is my identity and I am hidden in Him. All I do, all I say is through Him, for Him, by Him. I have no identity of my own. I am Christ's and wholly His.

Now I know, this culture rebels against the idea of belonging to anyone else, obeying anyone besides self or gaining our identity by or through anything other than our own achievement. But let me ask you, how's that working out for you?

We want to be recognized. We want to be affirmed. We want to be acknowledged for our work. We want someone to tell us they know all that we're doing and appreciate it. Who do you think put that desire in your heart? I'll tell you who. The same One who is the only One who can fully satisfy those desires. And recognition will come... at the right time.

"When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."
We will be revealed with Christ! Can you even imagine? When Christ comes in all His glory the entire world will see we are with Him and we will have glory that He gives us. Glory from Jesus! Tell me, is there a higher place of praise? Is there anyone who could give you glory that even comes close to the glory of Jesus. No, my friend. There is not. His glory is worth waiting for!

Verse 5 says, "Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to impurity, passion, evil desire and greed."
Our earthly bodies have died and are buried. And yet, how many times are we trying to resurrect the dead? It reminds me of the movie Weekend at Bernie's. Those two guys are lugging poor, dead Bernie around all weekend because they want the benefits the privilege of being his guest provides (use of home, pool, beach-front property, status, etc.) They are pretending what is dead is alive because they think the dead has benefits. When these desires sprout up in us: impurity, passion, evil desire and greed, we have to remind ourselves that the part of us that took part in those things is dead and buried. We need to leave them in the grave.

v. 7 says, "in them you once walked..." We walked "in" those things - like stepping into full length gown or an overcoat, we were all up in those things! However, the part of us that participated in them, once we profess Jesus as our LORD and Savior, is dead and buried.

v. 8 "But now you also put them all aside..." We take these things off and lay them aside like last year's fashions - they are not worth being seen in.

v. 9 "Do not lie to each other since you laid aside the old self..." You know a friend is a true friend when they tell you an outfit just isn't working or that your new haircut isn't all that cute. True friends don't let friends walk around carrying the dead. Here's a conversation from my head: "Girl, that bitterness is so last year! You know Beth Moore wouldn't be caught dead wearing that. Why don't we try on some forgiveness? Wow! That is really flattering on you!"

v. 10 "...and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him (her)."

OK, stick with me here. Are you familiar with the cable show, Bridal Plasty? It's a profane show where all these brides compete to win plastic surgery so they will be "perfect" on their wedding day. This show is wrong on so many levels but ironically, it is a really crude example of sanctification. We are the Bride of Christ. Each day we breathe is a preparation day for THE wedding day. We are readying ourselves for Him, on the inside. The difference between TV and reality is that He has already done all the work and paid all the cost - we just have to allow the scalpel of the Holy Spirit to cut away all that has already died (bitterness, envy, immorality, impurity, evil desire, etc). In Him, we are all winners! He is perfecting us from the inside out but we have to cooperate with His work. Unfortunately, we more often resemble the bride of Frankenstein than the Bride of Christ. We carry around deadness we just can't seem to let go of. Though the old is gone and the new is come we cling to the old, we tie it around our neck like a scarf, we carry it on our arm like a Coach bag (we accessorize with it, right Gari? ;-) because it is what we know. We cling to it because it is what we have used to get by for so long; the bitterness, the sarcasm (ouch!), the anger, the controlling, the numbing - they've been what we've used to get through some pretty tough stuff. Granted, we never made it through unscathed. We've got some pretty ugly scars. These "accessories" often brought more pain than they prevented but they are what we know.

That's why I love verse 10! "We are being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created her."

We are being renewed to a true knowledge! The old adage: "What she doesn't know won't kill her" couldn't be more wrong. Girlfriend, what you don't know is killing you! But Christ is renewing us to a true knowledge. Back to verse 2, "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." There is a way of living that is truly living! (see vv 12-17) Life is hard. Our tendency is to run and hide. God knew this about us and created the safest, holiest place ever for us to run into: Himself!

v. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
If you're going to hide (and we all do), hide in Him! And when you do you will find that you are truly living!

John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth and the life" (the true and living way!)"no one comes to the Father but through Me."