Monday, March 23, 2009

Random Picture Challenge 9.0

Late, as usual (my blogging may as well reflect my real life!)

This week's challenge: 3rd folder, 1st picture with the color BROWN

So there's not a ton of brown, but there's brown hair, brown glasses, and this picture is just too cute not to use! All the cousins at the time except Zach, who was only 18 months or so at the time and wouldn't have survived this pose! We were in Minneapolis in August, 2007, visiting the zoo during a weekend trip for Steve's cousin's wedding.

These cousins have such a ball together, and we only manage to get everyone together a couple of times a year, so it's really a special treat.

Hoping these will be great memories for the kids, and that there are many more to come!

Monday, March 16, 2009

March Scripture Memory 2

Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
Psalm 86:11

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Whatever Happens

The messages at church have been really powerful lately. Well, I'm sure they're always powerful because they're the Word of God, but my heart has really been connecting with the topics, truths, and challenges being taught the last few weeks.

Today was one of those days when I wouldn't have been surprised if a spotlight from Heaven suddenly had focused right on me, since it felt like perhaps the sermon was written for me alone! Actually, it felt to me as if the Spirit was moving pretty heavily among everyone, so I wonder how many other people sensed God speaking to them directly today?

Some themes from today (I couldn't take notes because I was trying to rock Tori to sleep much of the time, so these are the few and brief thoughts I can pull from my weak memory):

  • Whatever happens...

We are called to stand firm without being frightened

We must choose joy

God loves us

God forgives us

God invites us to Himself

  • Many of us deeply and sincerely long to know Jesus more, but we're limited because we are unwilling to suffer (I'm not sure he said that exactly, but that's where my thoughts took that point....)
  • Fear of what might happen often creates a self-pitying, false sense of "suffering" in our lives
  • Sharing in Jesus' suffering is a blessing because there's a fellowship with Him that comes only by suffering alongside Him
  • We need great courage to join in Jesus' suffering
  • God is with us in our suffering because, through Jesus, He knows every type of suffering we could experience

I went for prayer to ask for courage. I don't want to live hindered by fear, and I know that I often do. One of the prayer ministers shared the picture of taking many pieces of glass or metal and weaving them together to make a strong, beautiful fabric. You may not see the beauty in each individual piece, but the beauty is woven into the very core of the creation.

God continues to pour that theme of developing greater beauty into my soul. The images from today reminded me of the essay I wrote over 2 years ago about weaving wires and beads together to create a unique piece of jewelry (LHM), and it confirmed what God has been impressing on me this past year about pruning for greater beauty. Today I sense Him reminding me of the holy vessel that I am (Daniel study session 5).

The other prayer minister prayed for wisdom and discernment to recognize God's call for me individually--that Jer and Stacey's call to Haiti or what happens in my family, etc. wouldn't hinder me from seeing the plans that God has for me personally.

As he prayed for great courage to step into my own calling, I was reminded of the image I received back in November of Jesus riding up on a white horse and inviting me to jump on behind to ride into battle with Him. At the time, I could see myself jumping on bravely and willingly.

I want to ride into battle with courage every day. Whatever happens.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Discontent seems to invade every area of my thoughts today.

So many things I'd like to have that I don't.
So many ways I'd like to be that I'm not.
So many areas I'd like to change that I haven't.
So many things I'd like to do that I can't.
So many places I could go that I won't.
So many answers I'd like to hear that I might not.
So many mysteries I'd like to have revealed that aren't.
So many things I deem important that aren't.

So many.

I've been leaning on the call and the promise of the scripture I've memorized this month. And trying not to cry as I listen to this song by Nichole Nordeman:

Send some rain, would You send some rain?
'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You

With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If You never send us rain

Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger's view this time
Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You

With gratitude
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead
And if we never taste that bread

Oh, the differences that often are between
Everything we want and what we really need

So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You

With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace

But Jesus, would You please

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wise Words

Holiness means the ability to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. It means being "response-able," able to respond appropriately to the demands of life.... Holiness is sustained attention to the heart, the source of all action. It concerns itself with the core of the personality, the well-spring of behavior, the quintessence of the soul. It focuses upon the formation and transformation of this center.

-from Streams of Living Water by Richard Foster

When God puts a call on your life to do something that will impact the kingdom for Him, the timing is almost always poor and the expectations are almost always overwhelming.

-from Esther by Beth Moore

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dear Blog,

I miss you. There is no time for you right now, but I will be back one day soon.

It is sad, because there is so much going on, and so many thoughts swirling in my mind about life in this busy season. There are things that are important and deeply meaningful that I know I will forget as life marches on. So many things I'm learning that I really want to mark somehow to remember them well.

But for now, in this time of putting first things first, my thoughts will just have to float in my head until they disappear into the abyss that once was my short-term memory. (Or is it my long-term memory? I don't know; I don't remember.)

I'm choosing to live and spend these days rather than just write about them in an effort to save them. I've never been much of a saver, I'm afraid. And I really want to become more and more a
live-r (no, of course not the gross meat--someone who really lives their life and spends their days on the truly valuable things!)

I know you'll always be there for me, dear blog. Thank you for waiting for me.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Random Picture Challenge 8.0

The challenge this week: February 2009, FIRST picture of something other than your kids!

So funny... evidence of what a child will do left unattended with a digital camera. I'm not even sure which child was playing photographer, but when I transferred pictures to the computer, there were half a dozen pictures of random things sitting on our kitchen counter (yes, our counter is cluttered.)

This is a sweet reminder to me to enjoy these busy, messy days--to enjoy life through the eyes of a child. Kids don't see clutter; they see a picture waiting to be taken.

Hmmm.. Maybe that's why they never feel the need to clean up after themselves.

Monday, March 2, 2009

March Scripture Memory 1

I love how the 2 scriptures I've already memorized come to mind so often, and especially how they've been so pertinent to the current state of my spiritual journey. Out of the entire Bible, the two verses to which He led me speak so powerfully, right here, right now, over and over again.... Only God.

This month I'm claiming the same passage that Beth Moore posted (along with dozens to hundreds of other women.) Seems to be just what the Lord had for me right now, too. Here it is:

So do not throw away your confidence;
it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere
so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised.
Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV)

New Morning, New Mercies

Dear Lord,

I praise You for Your great love, and for the wonderful things You have done for me. I praise You that You are the only One who is able to satisfy my thirsty soul today and the only One who promises to fill me with good things.

Open my heart to receive Your love, and open my eyes to see the wonder of what You are doing in my life and in the world around me. Satisfy my thirst, yet give me a greater thirst for You. Make my soul long for You like the deer that pants for water. Fill the deep hunger within me with You--the only thing that ever truly can fill me. You already have met all my needs in Christ Jesus; open my heart to receive all that You offer. Overwhelm me. Forgive me for the ways I daily lose sight of You.

Thank You for the sounds of a sweet baby cooing in her crib, waiting to be scooped up and start her day with a hug and a smile that reaches from ear to ear. Thank You for the sight of 3 sweet little people, people who are growing up so fast, sauntering down the gravel drive to meet the bus that will take them into the day they each face. Thank You for the crunching of pickup wheels rolling over that same gravel as a faithful husband and father heads into a day full of deadlines and stresses and people to bless, all done with a commitment to give the best to his family.

Walk closely with each of them today, Jesus. Surprise them with the sound of Your sweet voice when they least expect it. Surround them with Your love and peace. Bless them through me, despite my own selfish heart and repeated mistakes. Help them to know the love I have for them, and make me into the mother and wife I long to be as You change me day by day.

May who I intend to be become more and more who I truly am. Give me the courage to trust You as the potter, allowing myself to become the clay. Make me a vessel deep enough and strong enough to hold all of You that You want to give. Mold me into something beautiful.

I love You. Help me to know--to really, really KNOW--how much You love me.

Thank You for a new day and new mercies.