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.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reminder to Myself

I keep forgetting one very important issue - obedience is not about immediate gratification or making life "fun" in the short run.  This is true whether we are discussing a child obeying a parent, an employer obeying company policy, or a Jesus follower obeying the teachings found in Scripture.  But obedience will always lead to greater joy down the road.  We may not always acknowledge it as such but it is true nevertheless.

When a parent tells a child not to touch the pan on the stove, they are not trying to stifle the child's curiosity.  They are trying to keep the child safe from harm.  When my children were young, I was constantly having to tell one of my girls not to pull on the cord to my curling iron.  Did she listen?  Nope.  And, yes, she pulled it off the sink one day.  Thank God it wasn't on and she merely bonked herself in the forehead.  It startled her and it hurt so she cried a bit.  At her young age, she didn't understand how much worse it could have been but I did and I was grateful that it was only a bruise and not a burn!  Interestingly enough, she never pulled on that cord again!  She understood that pulling on that cord meant pain.  Mom wasn't trying to ruin her fun, she was trying to keep her safe!

It's tougher to convince kids of the importance of obedience when dealing with concepts like honesty and self-control.  But when a teacher makes a statement about the fact that he or she is trusting a certain student with a certain responsibility because that student can be trusted, the lesson starts to hit home a bit.

In case you haven't guessed, I'm at a place in my personal walk where I am having to choose whether or not to obey.  What I'm being called to obey doesn't really matter.  The truth is, I don't see "an immediate payoff" for obeying and I'm as prone to seeking instant gratification as the next person!  But I'm certain that obedience will lead to peace in a particular area of my life not so much for me but for others.  In all honesty, it may lead to some inner turmoil for me as I obey and wait to see if it bites me in the rear!  But I'm not called to take the easy way out, seek my own comfort, or do what makes me the happiest.  I'm called to obey.  Just like my children may not like obeying an instruction I give them, I sometimes don't like what I am called to do.  I would ask my children to trust that I have their best interest at heart in my instruction and I am POSITIVE that my Heavenly Father is all about building my intimacy with him.  The wise woman would obey even when it gets tough. The choice is mine - will I obey even when it's hard or will I choose to cut my losses and do what's easy?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Prayer from a Mother's Heart

Father - 

You loved her before I knew she ever existed and you love her more perfectly than I will ever be capable of.  I know she was only meant to live in my home for a time and in my heart forever.  The time has come for her to spread her wings and fly, putting into practice what she has learned during her years in my home.  

I'll miss her.  I mean, I'm not heartless!  But I can honestly say that I trust you completely to go before her and surround her with your love.  I've heard it said that becoming a mother means letting a piece of your heart walk around outside of your body and it's true.  It's not easy to let her go, but it is the right thing to do!

So I'm asking you to get her to San Antonio safely AND get my husband home again safely!  I'm asking for you to be unbelievably real and present in her experiences there.  I'm asking you to stretch her, to grow her, to challenge her, to draw her close to you.  Be her confidante, her strength, her support, her most faithful companion.  

Thank you for what you have already done in and through her and I'm excited to see what you have for her in the South!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Piece of My Heart is Missing

I was raised by parents and grandparents who lived the truth that sometimes family isn't really about biology at all.  At a VERY young age I went from being the only child in the family to the youngest of 11!!  My parents became house parents for Navajo Missions, Inc. and that meant 10 foster siblings, all of them part of Dineh ("the people" - what we white folk refer to as Navajo!).  I didn't look anything like them, but they were suddenly family.  My grandparents were always opening their home for people to stay - travelling missionaries, a single teacher fresh out of college needing room and board, they welcomed anyone and everyone.  

My parents never came right out and said that we should care about everyone and not get hung up on their appearance.  But they lived it so loudly it couldn't be ignored!  As a result, I have several former students who have been unofficially adopted as "my kids" and I have welcomed numerous exchange students into my heart as extended family!  I have a "daughter" now in London and another in Moldova.  I have "niece" from Russia who is travelling the world as a model.  Yes, a model!  I have several "sisters" from Germany, Finland, the Republic of Georgia . . . and more!  And in case you are wondering, the quotation marks I used were for your benefit, not mine.  I consider those young ladies family every bit as much as my biological kin!

That brings me to the newest member of my family.  Arini.  I haven't met her. Haven't even spoken to her.  But she is family nonetheless!  She is the child I am sponsoring through Compassion International.  Her full name is Aprilini but her family - me included! - calls her Arini.  She is going to be five on April 25 and she has completely stolen a piece of my heart.  I may never see her this side of glory.  But I am praying every bit as fervently for the state of her eternal soul as I do for my biological children.

Shameless commercial plug - it takes only $38 dollars a month to become a hero to a needy child.  I know, I know, it would be nice if we could take care of the needy children here in our country too!  But it would definitely take more than $38 a month and I don't think I have those kind of funds available!!  According to the literature from Compassion, I am Arini's only sponsor and it is this sponsorship that will make sure she is able to go to school (once she is old enough!) as well as providing access to medical care, English classes, even sports activities and choir!  

So what's stopping you?!  Go to the Compassion website (I've included a link to help!) and start investigating.  You can find a child that shares a birthday with a family member, ask to sponsor the child who has been waiting the longest for a sponsor, or simply look at the photos of children in need until one of them steals a piece of your heart - like Arini did to me!  You are encouraged to write to them regularly and you will get at least three letters back a year. (And you can write your letters to them electronically via the website - I'm becoming a letter writing fiend!) You can have the sponsorship payment automatically charged to your debit card and you can even send financial gifts that will be turned into a birthday gift from their sponsor.  There is also the option to send a gift to the family that will be used to purchase much needed household items - blankets, cooking pots, etc..  And of course you can send Christmas gifts!  

Jesus told his disciples that when we do good to "the least of these", it's as though we are doing it to him.  I know that I'm only helping one girl in one small town on the other side of the world.  But it's a start!

To get more information go to http://www.compassion.com/default.htm

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion


Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:"  In the following verses, the writer goes on to talk about specific seasons or "times" in life - laughing and crying, gathering and scattering, etc.  

Life is full of seasons - childhood, teen years, young adulthood, dating, marriage, parenting small children, parenting teens . . . you get the idea!  My oldest child is moving 17 hours away to seek job opportunities in San Antonio Texas!!  My baby sister lives down there so it's not like I'm sending her into the great unknown with absolutely no one!  My sister already has a lead on at least one job possibility; we'll see where it goes from there!

So here comes a new "season" in my life.  Of my four children only two are left in high school - one is a junior the other is a freshman.  I know it sounds cliche, but it really does seem like they were all too young for schools just a week ago!  

So, on Wednesday, my oldest daughter will be leaving my home and moving on to try her wings in the south. People keep making comments like "That's so sad!" or "How tough for you!" and I'm not really sure how to respond.  Will I miss her?  Duh!!! Of course I will miss her!  Do I think it's tragic that she's leaving?! Nope.  I love all of my kids more than anyone can possibly understand.  But this is a season that's supposed to come!  I will miss her and am VERY grateful for things like Skype and Facebook that will allow us to stay in touch.  But it's time for her to test her wings and see what the world holds for her.  That season has arrived and the best thing I can do is prayerfully step into it, rejoicing in what is to come!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Trust Rewarded

I have been feeling a nudge for some time to state, aloud, to myself and God that I would not teach a face to face class at the college this summer.  That doesn't seem like a big deal, but the class that I taught last summer paid for our family vacation.  But the class also complicated my life when it came to running Take 2 Summer Youth Theater.  I'm convinced and convicted that I am to give the best of my time and effort to Take 2 this summer.

So I did it.  On the way to the college this morning, I stated, out-loud, that I would trust God to provide for our travel funds (we're hoping to go to see my sister and her family in Texas!) in a way other than a face to face class.  When I got to the campus, I checked my e-mail and discovered that my dean had sent me an e-mail about an hour and a half before my verbalized commitment.  In the e-mail, she asked me if I would be interested in teaching 2 FlexNet classes.  These are classes that do not have a set time to meet and exist completely online.  In other words, I can make the class schedule (grading, etc) work around the rest of my life this summer.

I surrendered the option of teaching one face to face class and God handed me the chance at TWICE the number of flexible classes!  Talk about trust rewarded!

Monday, March 05, 2012

What is an Intercessor?

As someone who has grown up in the church, there are certain terms you hear often enough that you assume you understand what they mean.  Or you at least know how to use them in context!  The phrase "intercessory prayer" is a good example.  I've used it and heard it used enough that I've felt that I had a handle on what it meant.  Lately, I've begun to wonder.  There has been an undeniable pull from the Spirit to get critically serious about interceding for a very specific group of young people from our church youth group.  

This conviction has also tugged at an "on-again-off-again" personal study I've been working on regarding prayer.  Rather than simply collecting generic thoughts/concepts/applications of prayer from my search of scripture this recent pull has given me some very specific direction.  

So join me as I journey through scripture and see what I can learn about interceding in prayer for others in a very specific, Spirit-driven way!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Fueled by Passion

In the movie, "Chariots of Fire," Olympic runner Eric Liddell states, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure."  The story, as I understand it, was that Liddell's sister was concerned that running in the Olympic games would distract Eric from his faith.  His statement is meant to reassure her that his running is actually a part of his faith journey.  Strange, right?  Running as an exercise of faith?  Then again, maybe it's not so strange after all.

I firmly believe that I was designed.  I didn't just happen.  My talents and personalities were placed in my being intentionally by a God who takes a personal interest in my growth and development as well as how I use the talents and abilities he's given me.  Psalm 139:13-14 says "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."  

I have been knit together.  I don't knit but I have tried my hand at crochet and I absolutely LOVE to cross-stitch.  I know from personal experience that such handicrafts take a very personal, intimate touch. The use of that mental image - of a hands-on involvement in the design - is powerful for me.  Part of the knitting that put me together included a passion for the performing arts, specifically music and theater.  I began playing piano at 4 1/2 years of age.  It's so much a part of who I am that I cannot imagine ever giving it up.  I began singing at a young age as well.  And I feel completely at home in the theater whether it's on the stage, sitting in the pit, or acting as director.  I especially enjoy having the chance to work with young people from middle school through college.

And I ABSOLUTELY get Liddell's statement.  God didn't make me fast but he did make me musical.  The last few weeks have been crazy busy as I've been playing in the pit for A Chorus Line at the local Community College as well as teaching part-time at the college and working at the High School part time.  That has occasionally meant 15 hour days.  And I've been completely energized by the experience.  I serve as the accompanist for the choral department at the local high school and serve as the Assistant Director for the Spring musical (which starts rehearsal next week!) and as busy as I've been, I would not have it any other way.  As I sat playing in the pit tonight, I was struck with the thought that I was more content than I ever remember being!

If I can be so bold, my version of Liddell's statment would be "God made me a performer and when I'm singing/playing/on-stage I feel his pleasure."  That's the only reason for the overwhelming joy I've been experiencing for the last couple of weeks.  Most of my life revolves around playing the piano - my very first musical love - or working to help get shows on-stage with young people from the area.  And through it all, I definitely feel the pleasure of the one who blessed me with a talent that I certainly don't deserve.  Acting on the passion he instilled in me leaves me content, fulfilled, and looking forward to the next opportunity I will have to do it all again!