Monday, November 29, 2010

Catching Up

Where does the time go? The last time I posted was MAY? Really? This is becoming as bad as keeping up with my diary when I was a kid. Trust me, that's pretty bad. I've always had an interest in keeping a journal, a diary or whatever but consistency is a problem with me, I guess. I think a lot and I often think it would be so good to get these thoughts on paper. The sad thing is I'm so terribly distracted and by the time I get a pen and find one of the bazillion journals I've collected over the years and actually sit down to write the profound(?) thoughts I've been thinking...the thought's gone. It's sad, really. I'm sure at some point I've figured out some pretty important stuff but now we'll never know. Oh well.

So let's see. The whole point of this post is to get you all caught up on the mundaneness, adventures of my life since May. Well, a couple of seasons have come and gone so maybe I'll just stick to a highlight or two.

The biggest I guess would be our foray into homeschooling. Yes, I am now a homeschool mom to my daughter. My son is still in the public school but my daughter had a rough time last year adjusting to the new school. Not academically - she did very well in that department. It was more emotionally, I guess. There were a lot of things she was experiencing that took her from being a kid who LOVED school to one who couldn't wait to be done with it. Plus I had more than a few qualms with the way things are handled there myself. So we decided to give homeschooling a try this year with the idea that we'd take it on a year-by-year basis.

It's been a bumpy start but I have hopes it'll get better. I'd like to say when the school year is done that, at the very least, we have no regrets, made some good memories and learned a thing or two in the process. I can definitely say I enjoy having this time with her. I like her. I mean, of course I do - I love her. But even if I wasn't her mom, I'd like her. She's fun and sweet and smart. And she loves Jesus and I just like the way she thinks. She's got a big heart, full of compassion. Anyway, I'm liking spending this time with her. Not that she's not a pain in the butt at times 'cause she IS 12 and I have to constantly keep on her to get her work done and stop goofin' off. But overall so far, so good.

The other big thing in my life is Bible study. A friend of mine had facilitated a couple of our studies but then she had to move. So, because she flat-left (Love you, Rach!), I've been doing it. I think it's going ok so far - at least I certainly pray so. Our very small group just finished up Beth Moore's "Stepping Up" study on the Psalms of Ascent. With the holidays upon us, we decided we still want to meet but we agreed that anything with homework would be a little overwhelming. SOooo, we're going to gather for the next few weeks to view three videos from Beth's "Wising Up" series. We're looking forward to it.

So how about you? What's been happening in your little corner of the world?

Be blessed...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Need My Homework!

My small group and I just finished up Beth Moore's Bible study, "Jesus the One and Only" and this has been my first week without homework to do. I don't like it. Our group decided to break for the summer months and get back into the in-depth study thing in the fall.

Something I've discovered about myself is that I really do better with a schedule. It must be the accountability or something. That or maybe that old saying about idle hands. What IS that saying, anyway? I can't remember but I know it's not good. Bad to be idle. Don't want idle hands.

The fact is, I enjoy being in the Word and when I don't get into it regularly, I feel the difference. I suspect, however, there's also a bit of that "it's all in my head" kinda thing going on here too because, while I'm sitting here lamenting over not having anymore Bible study homework to do, the irony is that for the last...oh, let's say - many - weeks now, I haven't even generally started my homework until Thursdays and sometimes not until the weekend. Ok, Sunday. Mind you our group meets on Monday nights. But just knowing that I don't have any homework to do - absolutely nothing to even get a late start on, is a bummer.

On the plus side, my group HAS decided to do one of Beth's three-week video lectures, "Wising Up" from the book of Proverbs. There's no homework but it'll be good. We start next week. Then we're going to do a once-a-month summer book discussion type of thing. And THEN, my sweet, just-turned-12 daughter asked if she could do a Bible study too. So my friend and I are going to help lead the kids in their very first official Bible study during the summer. I found a great one online called "Jesus in the Spotlight" by Kay Arthur and Cyndy Shearer. There's even homework - fun homework that the kids will hopefully enjoy. And, of course, that means I'll have to do it too if I'm going to help organize it.

So, I guess that means I do still have homework! Cool. So much for idle hands.

Be blessed.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Birthday Prayer

Today is my sweet girl's 12th birthday! I couldn't help but think back to the day she was born.

Be blessed.

My God, my God
With gratitude I’m compelled
To come into your presence
For this feeling won’t be quelled.

You gave me this gift
I’ve cherished all these years.
My beautiful baby girl
Now, here come the tears.

They’re tears of joy as I recall
The first moment that I held her
That overwhelming love
As I sat there and beheld her

I could never have imagined
A love so big and so pure
Would I raise her well?
Oh, I so wasn’t sure.

I remember thanking You though
As I studied her face
Counting fingers and toes
Ensuring all was in place

Then thanksgiving turned to song
On that very first day
A simple song just for her
In that sweet lullaby way

James 1:5 became my prayer
A promise from You so I’m prepared
To handle all things that might come our way
As You give me wisdom to do and to say

God, she’s grown so big in such a short time
Beautiful and sweet and so very kind
She’s got her faults, I will admit
Though not one’s held against her
Not one little bit.

So I thank You now as I thanked You then
For this gift of a daughter that You did send
And on this, her birthday, I humbly ask
That You continue to keep me up to this task

Help me do all that You desire me to
In raising her well and pointing her to You.
I want nothing more for her than to be happy and strong
Loving You greatly Her entire life long.

Bless her, my Jesus
In every wonderful way
And let this be for her
A fabulous Birthday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Transferring Ownership - Now Let Go!

It's been a very good week of Bible study this week starting with a great video. My small group and I are up to week 5 of Beth Moore's "Jesus the One and Only". Her primary text during the video was Luke 8:22-27. The first portion of that tells of Jesus calling his disciples to join Him in the boat to sail to the other side of the lake across from Galilee. As they're on their way, Jesus falls asleep and the winds and waves kick up so bad that, according to the Word, they were in "great danger". In a panic, they wake Jesus up and He rebukes the storm, challenges the disciples' faith and they're left amazed at His power.

Beth makes the point that when Jesus calls us to go somewhere or through something, He accompanies us and reminds us that He who accompanies us has "dominion" over all things. Waves, winds, storms, troubles of all kinds. She said "We don't have to understand it (a situation) to ask God to take dominion over it." Amen! Absolutely, God, take dominion 'cause only You've got the power to do what truly and rightly needs to be done. Yes! ...I think.

What does that really mean though? Asking God to take "dominion". I kinda thought I understood. "Control", right? I want God to be in control. Of course I do. But...could it mean something more? I decided to look it up. Yep, the word "control" was right there. However, as I scrolled down to look at the synonyms, I saw something interesting. A synonym for "dominion" is "ownership". Well that gives it a bit of a new flavor, doesn't it? It's a little stronger, a little more permanent. "Control" makes me think of driving of a car. We can switch drivers anytime. "Ok, God, you can take the wheel now, this terrain's getting a little too much for me." The "Owner" of the car can kick the "driver" out any time He wants.

I thought immediately of the time my good friend sold her house in NY. She loved that house. That place was in pretty sad shape when they first bought it. In fact, I couldn't see the allure for the life of me, but my friends could see past the hideous, so-shiny-you-can-do-your-makeup-by-it wallpaper and the eensy kitchen with oh-so-little counter space and next-to-no storage to see what they would, over the next many years, turn into a beautiful home anyone would be proud to own. They poured so much of themselves into that home that it tore her up to sell it. But if she had to, she figured she'd pray hard that the people who bought it would love it as much as she did and wouldn't want to change a thing. It killed her to think of what the new owners might want to change. But, once they take ownership, it's theirs. They can do whatever they want or think best, and rightfully so. You accepted their offer, they paid the price so you willingly and naturally give up your rights to it.

But what about when it comes to God? How many times have we asked Him to take control of something? I did when I got saved. I asked Jesus to take control of my life. I ask Him all the time to take control over sickness, my path, my marriage, my kids' lives, all sorts of things. Do I really mean ownership though? That thought gives me pause. That implies that, if He owns it, He can do what He wants with it, regardless of what I think best. And it implies that I've agreed to this. This isn't just some house though; this is my life we're talking about! What's He gonna do? Is He gonna break anything? Probably. Is He gonna toss stuff? Most assuredly. Is He going to change everything? That's the goal. What about bad stuff? How much of that is He gonna let in? As much as He deems appropriate or necessary to complete His plans for the place. It's His now and you gave up any say. Right?

You know what, if it were anybody else I'd handed ownership of my life over to, I'd be scared. But I know this Owner and I love Him dearly. What Jesus took ownership of nearly 30 years ago was in worse shape than my friend's house. The foundation was cracked and the effects and damage from my life's storms were already beginning to show. And yes, He's changed quite a lot. He set my feet on a firm foundation; He's emptied a lot of trash, brought in a lot of beauty and continually expands my perspective on the world around me. And what's more, He's loved me longer and more than I could have ever hoped to be loved by anybody. He's not going anywhere either because He said "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)

My biggest prayer is that when someone takes a look at my life, they'll see touches of the Owner all over it.

Be blessed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

He Knows Me So Well

Some women may enjoy getting jewelry or flowers for Valentines Day and you know what I say to that? AMEN!!! Other's may enjoy a nice dinner out. Reservations happen to be MY favorite thing to make for dinner.

You know what that man of mine got ME for Valentine's Day? The much anticipated new book by Beth Moore - So Long Insecurity, you've been a bad friend to me. I may have been just as excited over that as I've ever been over any Valentine's Day bauble or red rose! Am I a geek or what! Be that as it may, it's a REALLY good book! Sigh...I love my man...

Be blessed.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Active Compassion

Oh, my blog, how I've neglected you! Is anyone even still checking here? As much as I like to write, lately it seems to take me more time than I care to admit to put a coherent thought together much beyond...well...a Facebook status change. Which is a shame because there's been so much that I wish I'd blogged about. We're in the new house at long last and loving it; God has blessed us with a church home; we're near family and friends that I've not had the enjoyment of living near in way too many years; and God has given these temporarily idle hands a few things to do to keep them out of trouble and hopefully get some Kingdom use out of.

What's compelled me here today, however, is the idea of "active" compassion and the need we all have to feel we matter to know that somebody cares. And more than that, the question of who should or will take on the task of letting them know? Is it a responsibility of the church or the individual Christian or is it something that should be left naturally to chance or circumstance?

Over the last several months, I've found myself in conversations with people with a similar story and genuine hurt. When "stuff" happened to these folks causing them to be MIA from church for a time, very few - if any - from their respective churches called, visited or showed any signs that they were even aware the individual was missing or missed. These MIA's weren't hit-or-miss attendees either. I'm talking about active, serving, there-whenever-the-doors-are-open, members of their churches. This seeming lack of concern left them bewildered and really hurt.

One person shared that they left the church they'd been part of for years over this issue. Another, currently bleeding from this recent wound, is seriously contemplating leaving their church after years of faithful service.

This doesn't just affect the MIA's either. Yet another conversation was with someone who very much wants to have some Christian friends to hang with. This person's been making efforts to build relationships in their new church but to date has no one reciprocating. There's the hope that this will change but if it doesn't, they're outta there and they will look for another church to hopefully meet this very real need.

People are really hurting and though folks seem busier than ever or maybe because of it, lonliness seems prevelent. My heart breaks for their hurt because I've been there. I left a church too because of it and the wound remained unhealed for years until I let the Lord bring me to a place where I could decide to forgive. Thankfully, I've also been on the other side when a simple phone call from a church friend made all the difference in the world to my hurting heart and was enough to bring me back to church the very next Sunday.

This has been increasingly on my heart but I wonder what you think - Is it just petty and those with hurt feelings of neglect need to grow up, suck it up and get over themselves as some, in essence, have been told (though probably not as bluntly)? Or are their feelings valid enough for us as Christians who are told to "weep with those who weep" and to "have compassion one for another" to show a little more active compassion. To look beyond ourselves, stop in our "busy-ness" for a moment and check to see if the person who's usually sitting next to us is actually there or not. And, if not, should we stop resting in the assumption that someone on the church's "Caring & Sharing" committee will reach out to them or instead can we purpose within ourselves to allow God to interrupt our day for a moment to take that call to compassion personally and reach out and let them know they were missed? It's such a simple thing, but that phone call, card or invitation for coffee could make a bigger difference than we realize.

I wonder.

May you be blessed.