I'm so glad you stopped by! What you will find here are musings from my own personal Bible study, quotes from authors whose work I respect and other random items I come across. I am a Christian woman, the wife of a pastor, and the mother of four teenagers/adults. My deepest desire in life is to live a life that points those around me to the cross of Jesus.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"And life is worth the living, just because He lives." (From the song "Because He Lives" written by Bill and Gloria Gaither).

After singing this song in church this morning, I was motivated to share some thoughts. I feel like I have known the words to "Because He Lives" forever. As a kid, I didn't understand the fascination that some adults seemed to have with that song. I mean, it was a nice song. Made you feel pretty good. Sounded nice from a musical standpoint. There's a verse about a newborn baby which is sweet. But I just didn't get why some adults got all weepy over the darn thing!

But as I've gotten older, I've become one of those teary-eyed adults. I get it. For anyone who has ever hit a rough patch, the words of the chorus can be a lifeline.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

Because He lives, all fear is gone.

Because I know He holds the future

And life is worth the living

Just because He lives.

(Can you tell which phrases hold meaning for me?!) The song that I used to think of as "nice" has become one that I cannot get through without becoming at least a tiny bit emotional. I can't speak for others, but the emotion, for me, comes from two sources. First of all, there is the thought that his existence gives my life meaning and I need nothing other than that - "And life is worth the living just because he lives."

But the "all fear is gone" is another one that brings tears to my eyes. Those tears are a little less happy because I know that I can sometimes hold on to my fear. I surrender to an enemy that should not have any power over me.

That phrase hit me extra hard this morning. When you have kids, you spend their childhood trying to teach them everything they need to know, the tween years discouraging them from trying to grow up too fast, the teen years just trying to find a way to communicate with them and then you watch them step toward adulthood. I'm living in that last phase. My eldest is 19 and number two child graduates this year. I occasionally suffer from a debilitating fear that I've left something out; that somewhere along the line, I forgot a crucial lesson and that my neglect will drive them to make bad choices. In reality, my kids are going to screw up. Every child does. They are going to make some decisions I don't agree with and some that are downright wrong. Part of my brain knows that I cannot do anything to protect my children from ever making a wrong choice. But there is a part of my brain that shouts the sane part down. That part of my brain lives in fear of my children's mistakes and it's a selfish fear. I wish I could say that I fear for my children, that one of their wrong choices will have lasting consequences. The truth is, I fear that people with think that I'm a bad mom, that I failed to give my children the necessary skills and truths to live better lives. Talk about selfish!!

But the fear is unnecessary!! I don't have to fear because Jesus lives and he loves my children more than I ever possibly could. He will work to draw them deeper into relationship with him and all I can do is be faithful to communicate to them what he calls me to communicate to them. Now if I can just remember that truth and live in it!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Reflections and questions

This post won't be particularly uplifting. I'd apologize, except I believe moments of introspection and reflection can be particularly cathartic and can bring healing if we let them. At least that's what I've heard. =)

Remember the childhood saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me"? What a load of crap! Words sometimes make the best missiles and they leave scars that no one else will ever see. The tough part is, you can get to the point where the pain has lessened and you think have moved on. Then something happens - an event occurs, something is said, a disagreement happens - and those words come screaming back at you out of your memory with all their original pain.

How does one really move on? How do we really remove the power of those "labels" so that they fall away ineffective? That's the tough part. Those names only hurt because we let them. The cutting remarks others make, the labels they try to place on us would have no power over us if we simply refused to own those labels or remarks.

I'm reminded of a Max Lucado book, You Are Special, in which the Wemick's, a "race" of puppets, go around giving the beautiful, talented members of their society gold stars. The less attractive, clumsy, graceless Wemick's get plain gray dots. One day the main character, a rather unremarkable character named Punchinello, meets a girl Wemick named Lucia who has neither gold stars nor grey dots. Truth be told, she's beautiful and graceful so she should be covered in gold stars but she has nothing! The other Wemick's try to give her gold stars but they fall right off. Punchinello asks Lucia why the stars don't stick and she tells him that he needs to talk to Eli to understand. Eli is the creator of the Wemick's and Punchinello, though a little frightened, goes to chat with him. As Punchinello leaves, Eli says, "You are special because I made you and I don't make mistakes." Punchinello thinks to himself, 'I think he really means it' and the illustration shows one small gray dot dropping to the ground. Is it really that simple? We just choose to believe "other" than the labels that people try to saddle us with? I wish I could figure it out!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Watched the Social Network tonight. Good movie. And I don't mean that in the "I was really entertained and laughed alot" way. The whole movie tests the fields of ethics and choices and it's a very interesting piece to watch.

I don't know how much truth there is to all of the events - after all, movie writers tend to "tweak" certain plot points to make certain people more interesting or create completely fictitious events just because they are good cinema. But at one point tonight I asked myself, if he had it to do all over again, would Mark Zuckerberg change anything about the way he went about creating Facebook?


The whole movie begins with a rather unpleasant break-up between Mark and his girlfriend, Erica. Mark is excessively socially awkward and his behavior borders on heartless and rude. On top of that, he's obsessing over these exclusive clubs that are present on the Harvard campus and it's very obvious that he desperately wants to be invited to join one. As a result of getting dumped, Mark gets drunk and posts some really horrid comments about Erica on his blog. Then he creates a website that, within the course of two hours, alienates most of the female population at Harvard (where Zuckerberg is a student) and crashes the Harvard server. The site allowed people to compare two Harvard co-eds side by side and choose the prettiest one. He got the pictures by hacking into the resident student photo galleries of the dorms on campus. Again, a big no-no.

Most of the story is told in a series of flashbacks. Mark is being sued by his (former)best friend who helped him co-found Facebook (before a series of events and other influences ran said friend out of the company) and is facing a second suit from three members of an exclusive Harvard club who claim that the idea for Facebook was really theirs since they had asked Zuckerberg to create a sort of dating website that would be exclusive to the Harvard student body. As one of the characters calls it "match.com for Harvard students." It's not really much of a surprise when his lawyers advise him to settle. And what is Mark doing when he finds out that settling is in his best interest? He is on Facebook where he proceeds to send a friend request to Erica. Remember her? The ex-girlfriend from the opening scene? As the ends of the various threads of the story are shown on the screen, we find that he did indeed settle in both lawsuits and that he is the youngest billionaire in the world. What is Zuckerberg doing the whole time these details are flashing on the screen? He's refreshing the computer, waiting to see if Erica accepts his friend request.

At the end of the movie, he has lost his best friend and completely alienated his ex-girlfriend and really has no one that he seems particularly close to. He's trying to make amends to Erica although it seems that the attempt will be fruitless. He's worth billions and he doesn't seem to care. And there's a part of me that wonders if Facebook came about simply because one ridiculously gifted, socially awkward college student just wanted a place where he could belong without others deciding whether or not to let him through the door! 500 million Facebook members later, I hope he finally feels like he belongs.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Strong Enough- Matthew West

I've been watching a very interesting chain of events unfold in my home. I'm not sure exactly what it means just yet but I'm having a great time watching it all happen.

It began the week between Christmas 2010 and New Year's 2011. I made the statement that I really felt called to start working on Christmas gifts for the 2011 season. Actually, my statement was something along the lines of, "I feel challenged to see if I can do a 'Mostly Home-made Christmas' in 2011." None of my family reacted which was fine because I felt clearly that I was called to do this and not impose my plans on anyone else. I finished up a cross-stitch project, found a couple that were finished but not yet framed that were perfect for particular people, and then went out to buy supplies for plastic canvas projects. Actually, it was just one project but I was making multiples. My oldest daughter and I were watching a movie together (or it might have been a TV show in DVD) and she asked if I would teach her how to do what I was doing. I showed her and she took off! As a matter of fact, she has completely taken over one particular piece of the project! Since then, my other kids have asked me to teach them how to do it as well. From there, they've all started planning their own "Mostly Homemade" projects for Christmas gifts. And the phrase "Mostly Homemade Christmas" is being used like it's a formal event!

Not sure how this will play out but it's fun!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just finished an elective Sunday School class taught by none other than my husband (who I have mentioned before is a Pastor). We worked our way through the book entitled S.H.A.P.E. - Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique PURPOSE for LIFE by Erik Rees. (I included the link to the website for the book if you want to check it out for yourself.) This book comes out of the same ministry that birthed titles like "Purpose Driven Life" and "Purpose Driven Church". The book was written to be very interactive and they created an entire Sunday School curriculum to go with it - workbooks, dvd's, discussion guide and all!

The letters in S.H.A.P.E. stand for -

S - Spiritual Gifts

H - Heart

A - Abilities

P - Personality

E - Experiences

It's the writer's belief (and one I happen to share!) that these things meld together to create the unique design that God wants to use in ministry. Now that I have finished the class, God is starting to clarify some new/renewed ministry direction for me. And it's scary!

When you have gotten a better understanding of your shape, you need to answer the question "What now?" Well, you might not feel the need to but I certainly did! The answers I'm getting to that question are a little . . . frightening? . . . unnerving? Not sure what the right word is. I hate disappointing people and the new direction might mean ending some commitments which might disappoint people and . . . you get the idea.

I believe it also means that I am going to be moving into some new ministries or rekindling some passions that I neglected and let fade. And that's terrifying! I sit and think "What if my ministry attempt fails?" And that question shows the flaw in my thinking! If I'm moving in the direction that God is leading, it's not MY ministry - it's his!! If I am prayfully seeking his direction in putting my God-given shape to use, the "success" or "failure" (by whatever standards) matters little. As God and I were discussing this, he actually brought this blog to mind. I keep plugging away at blog posts, clueless as to whether or not anyone is reading. But he hasn't called me to draw in hundreds or thousands of blog readers. He's called me to be faithful and obedient. He's called me to share thoughts and impressions on this forum so I do, clueless as to why.

I've been called to obey. I've not been called to research the likely failure or success of a new direction, I'm not called to do what others think I should or to please them, and I'm not called to focus on what would be easiest or most popular. I'm simply to called to act when he moves me to act. As I grasp this concept more fully and commit wholeheartedly to complete obedience, I'm confident that this new/renewed direction will become crystal clear! Still a little nervous but also kind of excited!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My inconsistency at maintaining this blog is one of the many things I am seeking to change this year. No, it's not a New Year's Resolution. It's something I'm seeking to take "One Day at a Time".

The challenge for me is to find a "theme" or something to focus on so that the blogs don't ramble! Two ideas keep chasing each other in my mind. Can't really decide which one to focus on so I'm going to mention them both here. Again, this blog may not be read by many (or any) but I simply feel like the Holy Spirit is telling me to post it and let him worry about the why! But if any do read it and have an opinion, please share it!!

Idea number one - reasons to celebrate! We live in such a negative society or at least it seems that way. And I can fall into that critical, "everything sucks" way to easily. 2011 is only a few days old but God has consistently brought things to mind that were cause for celebration. True, the celebrations were small and some of them simply happened in a private moment but I've been pointed in the direction of focusing on those things that are "celebration-worthy".

Idea number two - I've been chipping away at a study on the concept of prayer for awhile now. I'm not using anyone else's work - no reading books or persuing commentaries. I'm simply going through scripture and writing down every verse that mentions any version of the word pray. I'm then going to go back over those verses look at the historical content, the original audience, etc. and try to glean applicable truth.

So. If you are reading the post and have a strong opinion, please share. Not able to make up my own mind on this one for some reason!!