Abide in Love ~ Abound in Thanksgiving ~ Work in Joy...
Live Fully ~ Suffer Rightly ~ Trust Deeply ~ Bless Truly!


"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths,
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
~ Psalms 25:4,5

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

40 Days of Surrender - Day 33

Saturday, November 12, 2011 - Surrender Trying to Make Things Happen

This is a special weekend.  I so want it to go smoothly and as I had envisioned.  But then that puts more pressure on it and sets me up for disappointment.

Surrender: To Me

Surrender: Making Things Happen

Let ME Make Things Happen, according to My Will.

Sunday, November 13, 2011 - It was a lovely weekend for all!:)  Everyone was glad they came.  You are faithful, Father.  Thank you.

For a list of all the daily lesson titles in the 40 Days of Surrender in one place, Click Here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

40 Days of Surrender - Day 31

Thursday, November 10, 2011 - Surrender THE LOAD

I was feeling SO HEAVY this morning.  I was feeling the weight of the news we received last night: My mother in law's lung cancer is back for the 3rd time.  She's almost 72, it's stage three, it's inoperable, she's too weak for chemo, they meet with the doctor today to determine if her body can take any more radiation, the tumor is in her esophagus which inhibits eating.  She's lost 12 pounds in the last week; she is leaning toward not getting a feeding tube.  The number 6 months was husband will most likely be losing his mother in the next year; and if she opts for no feeding tube, it'll be less than a month.  When do we go out (they live 1/2 a country away), how long do we stay, how do we explain this to DS3?  Will there be any reconciliation in DH's heart regarding his relationship with his mom?  HEAVY.

HEAVY: Prior to this news, I invited an 18 gal who on Tuesday just had her second baby in 12 months (they are 50 weeks apart) to stay with us for a week or so to get adjusted to two babies.  I'm waiting to hear back from her, but I'm guessing she's not going to take me up on our offer for help.  WEIGHTY.  Will she be here next week?  How will it affect things?  Will it be what I hope it is?  What if she says, "no" how do I keep reaching out to her.  LORD, how do I love her and minister to her as You would, not with band-aids - meeting physical, emotional, and spiritual needs?  HEAVY.

Surrender THE LOAD.

"Carry each other's burdens and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ."  Galatians 6:2

"Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."  Matt. 11:28

Ah, so am I supposed to help carry other's burdens and then hand them over to You, Christ?  Not carry the weight of the load myself.

Win - Win - Win Situation: The other person is not as burdened, I have fulfilled the law of Christ (and am not burdened b/c I have given it to Christ Himself), and Christ is not burdened for He is fulfilling His purpose in carrying our burdens (the burden of our sin, the burden of the effects of The Fall in our lives)!

Oh, but so hard to Surrender THE LOAD.  Teach me, O LORD to surrender for Your Glory!

For a list of all the daily lesson titles in the 40 Days of Surrender in one place, Click Here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

40 Days of Surrender - Day 30

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - Surrender Perfectionism

Amongst the growing List of "Things to Do," I regularly have in the back of my mind "Post a new lesson."  And with that comes the thought that "I'm behind."  I have missed a day here and a couple of days there and so looking back on my 40 days, I will not have a record for each day.

And then the "still, small Voice:" Surrender Perfectionism.


Yes, having something recorded for EVERY day of my Fast would fall under the Idol of Perfectionism.

And thus the lesson the Holy Spirit brought to mind - God's desire for our striving of "Perfect" is in Character and Command - Faithful Obedience to the Commands of God and striving for the Character of Holiness, that we might be Holy as He is Holy (Lev. 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16).

Having a "perfect" record of this Fast is neither an issue of my holiness, nor a command from the LORD.

Hmmm...this is a helpful distinction for me.  When I feel that itching for something to be "perfect," I can ask: Is this an issue of my Character of Holiness, a Command of God, or just a personal preference that I'm turning into a idol of worship (expending more energy and attention to that what God would have of me)?

For a list of all the daily lesson titles in the 40 Days of Surrender in one place, Click Here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

40 Days of Surrender - Day 29

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - Surrender The Judge (A Lesson in Grace)

Justice.  I value it.  As I should, for God does.  BUT, "...Mercy triumphs over judgment."  (James 2:13)

I want my judgment to be from God's perspective - to determine justice as God determines justice.  HOWEVER, I think that in my striving for God's perspective, I'm trying to align it with what I see as God's "Ideal" portrayed in Scripture.  That is good, EXCEPT, I think I play the Judge in determining the justice of a situation and that's NOT MY role.  And as God is The Judge, HE looks at things through the lens of The Fallen World, whereas I am striving (in my judgement of justice vs. mercy) to make the world look like Eden.

The illustration that came to mind was a pair of glasses:  it's as if one lens is Justice and one lens is Mercy.  God looks through both and judges situations accordingly.

I tend to close one eye on the Mercy lens in order to uphold Justice to make the world look a little more like Eden.

BUT, we now live in the Fallen World and therefore God NEEDS to and does look at it more through the lens of Mercy.  I think if I wanted to see more with God's "Post Fall" perspective, I will need to close the other eye and look through His lens of Mercy more often.

To surrender me being the judge of justice, means I get to be more like Jesus and live as a Giver of Grace.

For a list of all the daily lesson titles in the 40 Days of Surrender in one place, Click Here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

40 Days of Surrender - Day 28

Monday, November 7, 2011 - Mouth

"...I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress." (Psalms 17:3, ESV).

I was reviewing memory verses this morning and this one struck me.  As I am reminded of that which I am convicted to surrender, it often seems to come back to my words - too harsh, too quick, too disrespectful, too impatient.  My need to seek forgiveness is often correlated to the sins of my mouth.  What a claim: to purpose that my mouth will not transgress!

To me, that seems like it would take a lot of focus and energy.

The last verse of this Psalm (v. 15) says: "As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness."

Oh, how the focus and energy to have a mouth that does not transgress is all worth it as it refines us to the likeness of Christ in which our satisfaction lies!

And to think "...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks...I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak..." (Matthew 12:34b, 36)

Oh, LORD, may I allow You to purify my heart, that my words may be righteous.  Teach me to surrender my self-consumedness with my words - striving for my perspective to be shared, my point to be made, my words to be heard...

"in your presence there is fullness of joy"  (Ps. 16:11)

"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart by pleasing in your sight, O LORD..." (Ps. 19:14)

"and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." (Eph. 4:22-24)

"are being transformed into into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Cor. 3:18)

Oh, to be like have a mouth that does not please the LORD and be a blessing those around me with words like honey instead of vinegar!

"Us word girls just wanted to tuck some words into your heart today, because we’re really thinking that The Word in our words might really change our worlds… Isn’t that exciting?"  ~ Ann Voskamp

For a list of all the daily lesson titles in the 40 Days of Surrender in one place, Click Here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

40 Days of Surrender - Day 24

Thursday, November 3, 2011 - Even the Customer Service Lady

I called our insurance company yesterday and customer service representative, Melissa (name changed to protect the "innocent":)) answered in her "end of the day at the end of the week, not liking my job very much" voice.  I do try not be the person to make the customer service person's day unpleasant, so I started the conversation off quite friendly (even though I already feel like I've gotten a bit of a runaround from them):

J: Hi, I'm following up on a claim that was mail at the end of last week.

M: Well, where did it get mailed to?

J: Investigations department in Kentucky.

M:  Well, I don't have record of it in the system yet.  It could take 7 - 10 business days for us to get it in the mail.

J: I don't think it would take that long to get it in the mail.

M: If it was mailed in it went to a central location then got scanned in, then sent to the investigations department [which is interesting b/c I thought that's why I was given the investigations department address specifically to expedite the process, but that's fine], so it may take 7 - 10 business days to process and get into our system.  [It had only been 5 - I wasn't expecting it to be processed yet, but I wanted to follow up and make sure it was received, but I understand they might not be able to track that if it hadn't gotten scanned into the system yet].

J:  OK, I understand it might take 7 - 10 business days to process, I was thinking you were saying it would take that long just for you guys to receive it in the mail.

M: Oh, well it could, I have people send me things and I say, "Oh, I didn't get that" and sometimes it can take a month.

J [In a sarcastically friendly, a.k.a. snotty tone]: Ma'am.  You don't need to go defending your insurance company.  I know that happens under rare circumstances, but usually it takes 2-3 days to receive mail these days.

M: I'm just saying it could take 7 - 10 business days to process.

J: Alright then, I'll check back in 7 - 10 business days.  Thank you.

GUILTY CONSCIENCE...Can't keep sweeping the wood floor without being pierced with guilt.  Even though I didn't yell at the customer service lady, my sarcastic snotty tone was just as disrespectful.  It was rude, unnecessary, and unbeneficial to argue with her about the postal service delivery timing.  It was unbeneficial arguing...I need to not justify my sin...and I need to confess...and ask forgiveness...All these lessons of surrender rolled together with the Customer Service Lady!!!  (whom I will most likely never speak to again, but whom I still sinned against:( )

Stop what you're doing, Jill, and reconcile.

But, God, can I just finish sweeping this area?

That's saying what you want to do is more important that making things right with Melissa, who bears my image (James 3:9, 10 ) and you wronged with your words.

Sigh...stop in the middle of something (which is hard for me!)...dial, ring, push prompts, and I get disconnected! [Do they have caller ID!?!]...sweep a little again...

J: May I please be connected to Melissa.
S: Sure, If she isn't available would you like her voicemail or be directed back to me?
J: Voicemail, please.
M's voicemail...
J: Melissa, this is Jill.  We just spoke about the claim I mailed in and I wanted to call back and apologize.  I really do try not to be the one to add to the misery of a customer service person's day and I realize that even though I didn't yell at you my sarcastic tone was just as disrespectful.  It was rude, unnecessary, and unbeneficial for me to argue with you about the postal system's delivery time.  I just wanted to call back and apologize and hope you have more of a blessing sort of day.  Thanks.

Phew...that was humbling.  But I hope that the humility itself demonstrated Christ and His power in His people's lives to confess sin and seek reconciliation!  Our God is a God of reconciliation!  On the one hand I'm glad I got Melissa's voicemail because it was easier to just rattle off my apology.  On the other hand I'm very curious what her response is.  Maybe God will show me in Heaven one day...for now I get to walk in the blessing of obedience - no matter how awkward or how much or little I "feel" the blessing!

For a list of all the daily lesson titles in the 40 Days of Surrender in one place, Click Here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Otherwise our Hearts are all Other Colors

DH was singing  "Before There Was Time" to DS3 tonight.  He was talking through with him the words of the song.  When they got to the line that said, "You purchased me back from the dead, "  DH was explaining what it meant to purchase something.

Daddy: So, it was very expensive for God to purchase us back.  It cost Jesus' blood.
Son: Jesus' blood makes our hearts clean.
Daddy: Yes, it does.
Son: It makes them white.
Daddy: You're right.
Son: Otherwise, our hearts are all other colors.

Thank you, Sunday School and Children's Church!  He's learning something somewhere!!! (for these were not things we had specifically talked about at home yet).

If only he knew how right he was - my heart is usually swimming with some shade of ugly brown.  Ah, but God looks at me and sees me through His Son's blood scarred body and He sees WHITE, pure beautiful WHITE.  How unworthy we are - Come, LORD Jesus! - so we can live fully in the beauty of WHITE!

For other Little Learner Lessons, Click Here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

40 Days of Surrender - Day 22

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - To be Angry is to Murder

I was at the Teen Parents meeting tonight and I left feeling -

I don't know how I was feeling...all I know is that the questions were about: have you ever done anything you're ashamed of or regret, have you ever done anything that could make another person stop caring for you, have you ever turned your back on someone who loved you, has someone else ever done something bad that hurt you deeply, what is unconditional love - has anyone ever shown this kind of love to you, do you know how to love another person unconditionally?  Deep questions based on the intense movie "Blood Diamond" (for Plugged In Online's review click here).

And I had something to say for most of the questions...but I didn't.

To me, my answers seemed so weak compared to what these girls have experienced.  But my shame and pain are still very real to me.  And I came home thinking - not judgmentally about their sins, nor less guilty about my own - how their sin is as ugly as mine and mine is as offensive to our holy God as theirs.  Thank you, God, for another opportunity to level the playing field of sin in my perspective.  "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it." (James 2:10)

More practice in surrendering my justification for sin...

For a list of all the daily lesson titles in the 40 Days of Surrender, in one place, Click Here.