Sunday, February 26, 2006

11th Anniversary

11 Years.

Celebrated tonight by the sight of my husband standing on stage singing in a bathrobe to a church full of women. Hmmmm. A mental image many want to be rid of. Not what I envisioned for an anniversary dinner. :-)

I laugh, and yet, this is part of why I love him.

His confidence, his laughter, his sensitivity, his honesty... and his love for people and for God.... all intrigued me when we met. However, I wasn't always trusting of him.... and despite his sensitivity he wasn't thrown off by me. I am thankful, now.

God has used him to grow me up so much.

We are both pretty headstrong people. It is amazing we survived our first year of marriage. Many nights were marked by the immature race to slam the door & see who could peel out of the parking lot fastest & loudest, leaving the other one to 'sit at home' and think about what they'd done or said wrong...

Thankfully, God's spirit has had much more reign over the last years than the first.

My biggest desire, in all my hopes and fears of marriage, was that I would find someone who would love God more than he loved me. I knew that if I did, our marriage would have a chance of lasting.

I remember praying to God about that in my heart, and later, having a conversation with Jason ( before we were really dating) when he replied to a 'hypothetical' question with that very response...
And I thought to myself "Him, Lord?!?"

What a sweet yes God gave me just a few years later.

Through Jason, He has humbled me, and showed me how to forgive and ask forgiveness. He has loved the most unloveable parts of me. He has confronted me, challenged me, ignored me, prayed with me and for me. He has lifted me up, served me, protected me and put up with me. How rare it is to find a person who will not only tolerate, but embrace knowing another human so intimately, despite the mess they encounter.

I understand why marriage is such a window into the divine relationship we have with God.

Any imperfections, and even the sum of all of them, don't compare to the joy of pursuing God in the comfort of a relationship with someone who is doing the same. And in fact, that comfort redefines all the imperfections in the first place.

So bathrobe and all...
I'll be beyond blessed to take as many more years as the Lord will give us! :-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I am only 3, but I am woman... hear me roar....

Okay. Obviously the last post gave just a taste of insight into the power struggle going on in our house at this stage in Julia's life.
I admit... it has been rough lately with her.

Have you ever had a thought.. and simultaneously as you speak it, the other person says something else? Those moments can be funny, awkward, or perfectly classic. This morning Julia and I had a moment... that I thought summed up where we are at perfectly.

We were having a 'pouty face stare off'... and I finally shifted to a smile... as did she. I scooped her up into my arms, hugging her, and said "You are such a little independant thing...." while at the same time, hugging me tightly, she said "I think I'm gonna marry myself."

At this point, I think so too. :-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bad Parenting 101

You know those little 'foot powered' toddler cars? Ours is red, with a little yellow roof. We've had it for a while... it gets used well.

Julia, however, decided today that her brother's head looked like a good target for road kill, and 'drove' right over it. That didn't sit well with him.

I, astonished at her brazeness, began to yell quite loudly at her. At one point, I asked the proverbial:

"How would you like that if I did it to you?"

Julia thought seriously, and boldly said :

"You wouldn't fit."

The next few moments were a blur, but at some point I remember looking up, scrunched into this car with one whole leg still hanging out, and seeing my husband, son and daughter stare at me with confused, slightly amused looks on their faces.

I think I forgot the point I was making... and lost a little respect in the process. Hate it when that happens.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Jesus & Unity -

I am challenged again by today's study in John, specifically with the insights Jesus gives us with the parallel of vines and branches. This quote in Beth Moore's study in particular hit me:

"One of the most important elements of the branch is that it remains open to the flow of the vine's life. If the branch were simply wound around the vine tightly, it would still die without producing fruit. The branch must be attached to the vine with an opennes to recieve from it... So often we have our own agendas about how we want to serve God. We spend untold energy and never produce lavish, God-glorifying fruit. We must be open to the power flow and the purposed work the Vine wants to accomplish."

I am convicted that many times I have been tightly wound around Jesus, having in mind what I want to produce for Him, but not being open to Him feeding into me what He desires to produce. Is it big enough? Significant enough? Safe enough? Dangerous enough? Manageable enough? ... All "yes" in Him... but I try and shape it to make sure it fits my desire, rather than waiting for Him to produce the real thing - which will always surprise me.


This issue of unity has been on my heart for a while. The upcoming workshop, the recent Christian Chronicle article.... and most of all Jesus' prayer for us to be one so that the world would know He was from God....

I never realized that Jesus prayed this on His way to Gethsemane. Last words carry great weight. Having recently been with my grandmother before she died has brought that all the more clearly to mind.

I admit, the proposal of this year's Workshop at first announcement surprised me. And much of what is engrained in me struggled with the concept, -a worthy struggle as it helped me identify much dross that needed cleaned out. It has been one of the most worthwhile journeys this year.

It is never a vain journey to take a fresh look at scripture ...
... to discard what you thought may have been
there when you discover it really wasn't... embrace what you never noticed before
because Jesus said it, even if you don't
understand it fully yet...

... to delight in what you have known before but
gained new appreciation and application for...

This pursuit of unity is multi-faceted. Many different convictions, opinions, timetables and struggles exist in the heart of genuine believers. As we embrace unity among believers, we embrace each unique believer, not just the concept of unity.

God calls us to do everything in faith, and to not step on the toes and consciences of those who can't make a move in faith. Yet there are bold words at times in scripture directed to those who make moves not in faith but in falsely placed convictions not rooted in Him.

I have been found standing in the shoes of each of
these categories. I have made mistakes, and been genuine in the making of them. I have been slow to respond to truth. I have stepped on the conscience of others. I have not moved in faith when I should have, and moved when I shouldn't have. ...opened my mouth in conviction when I shouldn't have and kept it shut when I shouldn't have.

So I come back to this struggle again. How do we balance conviction and humility? How do we genuinely honor those at a different place than us, as Paul encouraged sensitivity (1 Corinthians 8) to those who had always been raised to believe something incorrect, and yet move people to truth when we are convicted by it?

Paul did a great job concerning the council at Jerusalem. He was convicted of his message and understanding, but was not threatened by the possibility of more to learn, or teach.

I think humility is at the heart. I can trust that my motives are full of holes if my heart is filled with animosity and condecension towards someone I disagree with.

Are we quick to call one a 'heretic' or a 'Pharisee' simply because they disagree with our own view at the time? I'm reminded that it was a Pharisee who went to collect the body of our Lord after he died. I imagine Jesus shared meals with those who others gossiped about as heretics.

I don't see name calling as prevelant a practice among Jesus and the apostles as it is among us. When the apostles looked down their nose at someone else, our Christ didn't reward them, he rebuked them. We hear name calling all the time. In conversations, blogs, emails, behind closed doors, 'just between you and me'.... Does that reveal something about our own wrongly placed confidence? Our wrongly motivated hearts? Can we be passionate towards some and disgusted with others and still be within the will and high calling of the agape love of the One we desire to serve?

There is a time to turn tables. There is a time to wash feet. There is a time to sacrifice our freedom for the sake of others. There is a time to call others to His truth. Every time is a time to love.

Does that sound like a pansy answer? Try it. Do it well. Then see if it's easy. The biggest battle will always been in the deep testing of our own heart first.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

More.... abundant life

I have to post this quote from C.S. Lewis as I just continue to be challenged by my study this week...

"If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing,I submit this notion has crept in from Kantand the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not to strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far to easily pleased."

I didn't grow up with knowing we serve a God who not only desires for us to believe in Him but desires for us to know His desire to reward us when we seek Him. I knew abundant life only as phrase, not as an intention of relationship. I love growing in the depth of this meaning! I love growing more and more in love with Him!

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I'm catching up on all I missed and going through mail, email, etc tonight. One of Eli's paper's from school happens to catch my eye. He was to formulate sentences with "ot" words. This is what was written:

I just had to laugh and wonder what in the world has happened in my absence?

"I got pot."
"I see dots."
"I got a hot pot."
"I am hot."
"I got a knot."
"I'm seeing spots."

Should I be worried about this already?!?

Back home..

Well - got in late last night from Ohio. Danna - thanks for praying what I couldn't. God blessed us with about 8 hours together before Alice passed away. What a privilege.

There is so much to write, so much I probably can't, and more that is still mulling around in my head and heart. I can't even count how many random moments started a blog line in my mind... but I didn't have a laptop, thankfully for all of you. :-)

Still much catching up to do with my family, as well, so it still may be a little while till I post again. The stack of mail and emails is high... though my sweet husband had the house so clean, (even kitchen floors mopped) when I got in last night - no complaining at all here. I missed everyone. Tons.

Thanks for your prayers. And Dusty... don't blow my cover man. Did you ever think that maybe Mike and Wade were just my alias's?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Terry's protege speaks again....

It's 9:00 pm and the kids are supposed to be in bed... but Julia begged for some "dezerk" (dessert) as she calls it.

Eli wanted a Zebra cake... and Jason instead suggested some leftover coffee cake.

The kids reservedly agree, try the cake, and Eli says:

"They shouldn't call this the coffee cake. They should call it the "deliciou-o-nator'!

I think that was a compliment. ;-)

and death will be swallowed up in victory...

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." -Thessalonians 4:13-17

Theresa - thanks for putting this on your blog, even as you struggled. I prayed with you, but didn't realize that even as you wrote that God would use your comfort to bring me some too. - In fact, much comfort, as the words were fresh on my heart. My, how God is bringing home the reality of resurrection power to us this weekend.

I was hoping to go visit my sweet grandmother, in Ohio next weekend, who had been very ill, but was getting better. Then a call this morning said she was not doing well... had taken a turn for the worse and it might be a matter of days. Then even in the midst of a whirlwind of planning, laundry, schedule rearranging, and etc to leave early in the morning, I get another note, now saying that they have taken out all IV's, tubes, etc, and are just keeping her comfortable with oxygen. I had all the energy in the world to rush around and get ready an hour ago. Now I just sit, here, writing. It's a 13 hour drive. Even a plane, had I been able to book one now, wouldn't be enough time, I don't think.

I'm okay with that. There is a part of sweet Alice that it would be just like her to do this. She's independent. My mom, my husband and I, her daughter, her niece,... all have asked her to let us help.... but she just likes to take care of herself. We have been asking for over seven years if she would let us move her down to live with us... she would always kind of lead you on, as if to think maybe she might say yes at some point... though you knew she never had any intention of it, really...

She is one of those people in life who you know you have been blessed to be loved by. I have known her all my life, yet I never knew if I had offended or hurt her, ever. She is just selfless, all the way around. I mean I know I had to have hurt her, at some point, even unintentionally, as that is just how life goes. But I sat here this morning realizing I can't remember her ever sharing anything she was upset with me about. That's just how she lived life. She wasn't petty, in a real sense. Oh- she'd give you a hard time, or talk about this or that.... but to know her upset or offended... I haven't.

Even with those she loved who hurt her deeply... there was always a continuing spirit of love, of hope, and even in sadness, a looking to the future and what God might work in. She didn't need you to love her. She was sufficient in God, which allowed her to love you more wholeheartedly and unconditionally than most of us ever practice loving anyone else.

I think that is why it hurts to lose her. She's rare. I so want to be like her. I so wanted to be with her as she makes this passage back to Him. But I don't want to even pray for that, and hold her back from His glory for one selfish minute, if this is His timing.

Jason and I were speaking of the passage above, and the beauty God gives us in it. We always wonder what death is like... yet the analogy God gave us, we experience almost every night. Once we fall asleep, when Morning comes, we're never really aware of how long we were asleep... we just rise to a New Day. And on her day of Rising, the night or length of night, will hold no memory in comparison to the brightness of the Son she awakes to. And we will all behold that together.

If you think to, I would love an additional prayer on her behalf today.. that she be released to sleep quickly and painlessly, and that she would feel the immense love of so many who cherish her here to make that passage easier on this end of life as we understand it. Thanks.

I'm still leaving in the morning, so prayers to cover my family would be a comfort to me too. Thanks for your faithful friendship.

I think I've got the photo thing down!

Just had to throw these in because they are fun! ( And to see if I could do it.)
I should be in bed by now.