Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Endangered Anticipation

After dropping off the fellas at school, the girl and I had 30 minutes or more to pass before her drop-off line.  It was cold and I don't like the car to idle for quite that long.  This particular morning the boys were pressed to get to school early and so here we were left with this space in the time continuum...

We ventured into a store near her school to "dream shop" (A.K.A. keep warm while not wasting gas).  She saw M&Ms and she is my daughter, so this was becoming less of a "dream" shopping experience and more of an actual trip to the store.  However, it was 8:00 a.m.  I am not a big fan of the kiddos having food completely void of nutritional value prior to lunch; 10 a.m. is my maximum budge line.  But being an image of my God, I love " to give good gifts to my children".  I told her I would buy them but we had to wait until after school.  She is 2 months shy of 4! There are those who would say that this rarely works with this age group and I concur that it can be challenging if not made to be a way of life.  She was agreeable to the conditions, we made our purchase, and headed to her carline.  All of this got me thinking about waiting...and anticipation... and receiving...and enjoyment of the gifts from our Heavenly Father.  I began to strategize about how to engage her anticipation.

When I picked her up at noon, she greeted me with excitement and as we buckled, she requested her little bits of chocolate goodness.  I asked her if she had thought about how good they were going to taste.  Were they going to be fruity or chocolatey?  Could she guess which color she would get first out of the bag?  She grinned and giggled and we savored the anticipation all the way home where she indulged in her portion ( 2 for every year of her life) with her lunch.  It was a glorious lesson as He reminded me to anticipate!  I am currently in a place where He has not given a clear direction.  Because of that I want to wait on His timing instead of forge ahead.  I want what He is anticipating for me not what I have dreamed up.

  Our culture is stripping so much of the anticipation from life.  Microwaves, internet search engines, apps, and constant entertainment at our fingertips take away from active, engaged waiting.   Our children (and ourselves) rarely ACTIVELY wait in a line; we DISTRACTEDLY wait in line with some device.  They usually don't wait for classmates to finish an assignment. They find something else to DO. So when do we think about what is coming? When do we anticipate?  When do we engage in the act of dreaming about what is to come? Does this detract from the experience once it arrives?  What can we do to build anticipation into our own lives and the lives of those who imitate us?  How can we hinder anticipation from becoming extinct?

"The creation waits in eager expectation..." Romans 8:19a  LORD, please, please help me to wait "in eager expectation..." both for what You have for me this side of heaven and even more so, for the day you fulfill all you have said.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

"Do not give way to fear" and "Stand firm then" on "feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace"

Lately I have been afraid! Very afraid! Up restless at night afraid...

Of everything!

What if ...with the hubs? What if ...with the kiddos?  What if myself?

I chose to saturate myself with 1 Peter 3 the past two weeks and attempt to commit the chapter to memory because of the repetition of verses relating to fear.  I had missed them before because of all the hoopla about submission in my head from humans.

Verse 6 tells me that not giving way to fear is better than eye liner or mascara :)

It actually says that not giving way to fear can increase my beauty.  This may seem egocentric but my beauty is a reflection of His Glory and Beauty; part of me as His Creation.  Hoping in God, having a gentle and quiet spirit, submitting to my husband, and choosing right as much as possible all contribute to my beauty, but I require MUCH help for all of this. Quiet and gentle are not words I would have used to describe myself in recent years. Thank goodness He is faithful to send His Spirit!

All of this saturating led to an astonishing epiphany as I was reading through the Armor of God in Ephesians with the fellas.  For 37 years, the "people pleaser" Farah had read the word "peace" verse 15 as "no arguing, no war, no conflict".  However, last night the saturated Farah read the word "peace" as "not giving way to fear".  This made so much more sense!! Standing firm and not falling over or running away is so much more possible when feet are fitted and grounded in "peace" - the Gospel of Peace.  "Absence of fear peace" is so alike soldier ( I like to imagine knights') armor/ gear, heavy and weighty, sturdy and protective.  Being grounded and secure is something that I have longed for most of my life but has not been my usual state.  And currently (as I type) I am in one of the most fearful moments of my life and yet that peace has eclipsed all other emotion.  And I am thankful!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The "Doxology of Romans 11:33-36 stirs my heart and soul.  I so enjoy receiving input and information; it is one of the ways He wired me.  BUT I CAN'T UNDERSTAND HIM or figure out HIS WAYS or even "trace out" his "paths" completely.

"Oh, the depth of the riches of wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgements and his paths beyond tracing out!  Who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God , that God should repay him?  For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever! Amen." (Romans 11:33-36)

When savoring these words and the fact that they were delivered by Paul, I am astounded.  Paul, both in his legalism and it his redeemed work "gave much" from my perspective.  He knew that he had at this point in his life from his other writings.  And yet it was not a question of repayment...or earning.  His humbleness is enviable.

My prayer: "Like Josiah, may I do what is right in Your sight Lord. May I walk in the ways of David and not turn aside to the right or to the left. Give me a tender and responsive heart, so that I will humble myself before you when I hear Your word." (Face to Face Day 6 Renewal, Kenneth Boa from 2 Chronicles  34:1-2,27)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blind Side

It is one of my favorite movies.  Plus I love Sandra Bullock.

We saw part of it replayed on t.v. the other night and David mentioned reading an interview of Sandra where she was asked about Mrs. Tuohy and how Sandra shared her challenge historically with people who had faith "preaching" more than "practicing". David shared how she went on to share that Mrs. Tuohy seemed to "believe more than she speaks".  He wasn't sure if that was exactly how it was worded but it was essentially the meaning.

I tried to search for it and found several such articles, but couldn't read them all.  They did however support her views on Mrs. Tuohy's faith.

That phrase "believe more than I speak" resonated with me! I have "said" so much in this life, especially in my younger years.  With age, He has been faithful to answer my prayers of "please help overcome my unbelief"(Mk 9:24) and this grows my hope and prayer that this will be true of me. I am not abandoning my "acknowledgements" of Christ as my Savior and Lord.  However, I hope for believing and moving in belief!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Beauty from Ashes

In previous years, since the fellowships in which I have encircled myself haven't celebrated any corporate Ash Wednesday ceremony, I have remained aloof to it.  This year however, it has come to my attention.  In researching it and finding the origins to be so closely connected to my Jesus, I have begun to marinate in verses of Scripture to do with ash in the days leading up to it.

Of the almost 45 references I looked through, I found some to be so heart binding as well as various connections between them, which have evaded me previously.

-I have held Genesis 18:27-33 dear to my heart for years because of the intimacy that is evident between God and Abraham as the man tugs at the heart of the Deity he loves and respects much like a child to a parent in attempt to influence His decision.  This time Abraham's acknowledgement of his being "nothing but dust and ashes" influenced me to once again acknowledge my "nothing but dust" condition before my Holy God and His Son.

-On through chapter 19,  I read all the great lengths to which God went to save the few from destruction culminating with these words, "{God} remembered Abraham and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived" in verse 29.

-As I read all of this in one sitting, when I arrived at Jonah 3, I was overcome with just how opposite  the King and the Ninevites reacted in heeding similar warnings given to Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis.

- The account of Mordecai in Esther 4:1-3, the reply of Job in 42:1-6, the proclamations of Isaiah 61, and the words lovingly embedded through Hebrews chapter 9-13 all speak to the heart behind what is commemorated and acknowledged on Ash Wednesday: "though I am nothing but dust" I anticipate Your salvation through Your Son who withstood the 40 days in the desert, completed the work He came to do on my behalf, became the sacrifice that I needed to cleanse my sin, and ultimately arose to prepare a place for me to be in Your Presence.  I look forward to celebrating that in 40 days (minus the Sabbaths) from this Ash Wednesday.

Yes, it can be just another religious ceremony; it can be mere actions with no meaning; it can become an idol if not carefully checked.

I have a dear friend whose house burned years ago and her sister had framed some words including the "beauty for ashes" for her.  That frame usually sat on my friend's mantel and I read them often when at her home.  It's image stuck with me in later years as I experienced heartache, distress, and mourning.  I have usually associated ashes to be those of broken dreams and defeated hopes, but what is pressing me on this Tuesday night, on the Eve of Ash Wednesday is the beauty He can bring forth from the ashy remains of my sin not merely my shattered dreams.

Monday, January 27, 2014


Target: Be good. Do right.

This has been my focus since I can remember focusing.  Don't get in trouble; don't make authority mad; don't reap negative consequences.

Only problem: I am not good.  And as I get older "right" can seem fuzzier and fuzzier at times.  Sometimes it is just plain fuzzy and other times my sinful bent and maturing tendency to justify warp it until it favors my children's pictures when my camera is not on action mode.

That is why Grace is essential for me and astoundingly it is also SUFFICIENT! ( I still can't attempt to wrap my brain around that without becoming dizzy)

 As Grace continually arrives on the scene the overwhelming desire to bask in the Good, move in the Good, follow the Good,  and imitate the Good blots out everything else.  Be good.  Do right.  The same and yet oh so different.

 Once again, as so many times before in the last 36 years, He blinded me with an oxymoron.  He flipped life over.   Up is down; East has become West. But His Love, His Constant, His Truth, His Saving Grace has not changed.  It is still the Core, the Axis, the mental gymnastics bar on which my perspectives flip. I begin to glimpse that in order to bask, to follow, and to imitate, there must be a bit of a rebel inside me.  (Me? A rebel?)

"How?!?!?!?!" you ask. "How can targeting good (under Grace) and a rebelliousness coincide within one person?!?!?!"

In our culture (as I mature I now see in any culture), to follow Truth most often means moving against the norm.  To swim upstream.  To counter.  Rebel. To feel the mass with whom I love to hang go about things differently, head in a different direction, grow increasingly distant.  I am not for knocking anyone over in the process just inching another way.  I have initially planted and am forging ahead opposing their inertia while attempting to gain my own.  Once in a while faltering and quaking are apparent; it is exhausting.  I have sensed myself spinning as they brush by.

Eventually the dust settles.  Familiar words echo in my heart,  "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:39)  The words, although comforting, have new meaning.  However exhaustion is still winning in the flesh; the journey is acknowledged as unfinished. There will be more losing (frighteningly and hopefully) for His sake and their will be more finding (anticipating the Day).

Quote:  "The world certainly was designed with a sense of humor, wasn't it?  Inside every truth and every appearance, there's a bit of opposite tucked inside."  -The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann

That word: "NEVER"

I thought I was careful with it.  I tried not to say it much, ...and then I got married, ...and then I became a parent and realized even though it may not have exited my lips, it had left a definitive path out of my brain.  (somewhat of a slimy one similar to a slug or snail)

I have since found that the lips were too often involved as well.

I am currently chewing on my latest serving.  At least I saw it approaching (served by my precious kiddos) and so I just began to gather the seasonings necessary to get it down: zesty self-humor, splash of hopefulness, and pinch of nuttiness.  So far it hasn't been as difficult to digest as some past "nevers."

It has even had a bit of appeal as though maybe I daresay I am developing a taste for it.

I can say that my lists  of "nevers" are changing. I sense that my "never wills" list is growing shorter (I am learning not to add things) as is my "never haves" ( I am being afforded opportunities to mark things off). These are added bonuses of growing older and hopefully wiser.

(currently on menu: homeschooling)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mission: Overcome

It is another one of those where the brokenness of the world is SO evident around me.  I know the brokenness is always present but it isn't consistently apparent especially with those I love so deeply. I am not sure if in TRUE reality it comes in waves or if I just am more aware of it at some times more than others.  Kind of gives a glimpse into what God endures continually for those He loves SO DEEPLY.

I am currently watching marriages struggle and limp along, doors to dreams and hopes for life direction be slammed shut for precious young families, the health of one of the BEST people I have ever met continue to fail, medical procedure after medical procedure being performed, and loss of loved ones to envelope others in debilitating grief.  I hurt and yet I am numb.

And yet I also see newlyweds experiencing the joyous awkwardness of being unified in life together, babies being announced, expected and born, marriage proposals inciting anticipation, accomplishments being achieved, adoptions being completed, and children laughing all around me. I am joyful and full of hope.

I miss the naive girl that postulated at one point in her life that "everyone experiences pain and if you get it all over with early you can enjoy the rest of life". While I miss her, I like the more seasoned lady in the mirror who is anticipating the quoted "Peace on Earth" of the Christmas season to not mean an absence of fighting or chaos but  to triumphantly mean His Peace and Quiet Settling in the spirit despite the chaos and suffering.

I hear my peers contemplating life purpose. I watch people pursue the "American dream". I observe my own children's diligence in school, golf, Scout rank, being the "buzzer beater" at PE, completing that awesome Beyblade attack, and creating this spectacular __(so many things can go here ) today.  I complete continuing education credits, pack lunches, fold laundry, etc.  I live and love in the monotonous and the awesome.  Life marches across my face with more laugh lines than tears.

And Solomon's words echo loudly in my ears reverberating louder than the blood pumping through my veins: "all of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind." (throughout Ecc. 1  & 2)

 I wonder at purpose, I wonder more at HIS Purpose.  I have begun to question if purpose can Truely be revealed this side of Heaven.

And then He encourages me with Revelation 2 & 3! (I have to admit this is the first time I have ever been encouraged by something out of Revelation; I usually get utterly confused at what minutia I do comprehend. It has only seemed to say,"it is going to get REALLY BAD before it gets better!" Also I usually bog down as I realize I have done most everything done by the churches plus some and I am only one person!!)  But this phrase, "to him who overcomes", oh what balm, what sweet soothing ointment to the soul, repeated over and over near the end of each specific church description.  Not "to him who is flawless," or "to him who is disciplined" or "to him who makes fantastic decisions"or "to him who succeeds in this life".  "TO HIM WHO OVERCOMES!!!"  It doesn't really even matter to me what the listed consequence is, just to have the hope of overcoming--as a promise that overcoming is possible.  Target: take heart, be of good cheer, overcome!

 John 16:33 " I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world." (and ALL of  John 17-oh my!)