Subtitle

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

LISTEN & LEARN:

"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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LESSONS FOR A LEARNER

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Toes or Cotton Balls? A matter of narrating for perspective

DD2 sees cotton balls and proudly says, "Toes" - Yes, sweetie, Mommy uses those cotton balls to take the nail polish off my toes.

I am struck my how her world is growing, her perspective of the world filling in.  She not only sees a bag of roundish, white puffy objects and recognizes them as cotton balls, but she is able to articulate their purpose (or at least a purpose known by her).  I am reminded of a phrase a dear older Titus 2 type woman shared with me at church one time - "Our children are excellent observers, but poor interpretters.  It is part of our responsibility as parents to narrate life for them."  And isn't this what God does for us throughout His Word - His perspective is being narrated so we are able to interpret life as He desires?

And the Spirit Prompts me with a CF thought as I think about this later in the day - As my children's perspective of their/our/God's world is forming and growing, may I be faithful to help narrate it in such a way that they are able to interpret it as God desires them to understand His world.  May they see, experience, and want to live in the Greatness and Goodness of living in God's world in God's way - acknowledging Him reigning on the throne of His kingdom, in their hearts and in this tangible universe they engage each day!  May they see and experience His glory, His goodness, His grace in the big and the small, the sacred and the secular, the ugly and the beautiful, the spectacular and the mundane!  (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28) May I see this so I can help them see this! (Random Thought - 5/27/12 - CF)

Random Thoughts

It dawned on me as I was early in the journey of hearing from God that there are different voices to discern.  Well, actually this isn't new as 1 John 4:1 makes it clear that there are different spirits, some from God, some not and we are to test them.  We are influenced by the quiet and loud, subtle and obvious voices of our past, our present, our enemies (spiritual and fleshly), our friends, our God, the media, the culture, inner, outer.  The main voices I wanted to discern were the deception of the Enemy, the fickleness of myself, and the Truth of God.

And then I realized that there are times which I know it is the voice of God - Him illuminating His Word or a sweet God Whisper (GW) to my soul and other times I don't feel like it's of me (for it seems too spiritual, too selfish, too others focused), but I'm not confident it is the voice of God. Is it just a random "good" thought or is it truly goodbecause it is inspired by God and He wants me to do something with the thought?  I think I've discerned those as Spirit Promptings (SP) in my life - prompting my heart, mind, & soul.  Not quite the directness of the voice of God that I must be obedient to (in thought and action), but His influence I should pay attention to and follow through with...for good and glory.  And then there are those thoughts which I want to grow and dwell on, to fill up my perspective so this is the way I see, so my life is more Christ-centered - shall I call them Christ-Focused (CF), Colossians 3 thoughts? 

So,  check out the "Random Thought" tab on the Home Page for some GWs and SPs and CFs which I may not have wanted to take the time to make a full blog post on, but thought it would be fun to collect them in one spot.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thank You, Mom.


Two words, eight letters…it’s not enough.

Not enough for the nine months of ickies and heavies and umpteen hours of grunting and moaning and breathing and hand hurting from all that fatherly squeezing…the necessary uglies and pain to bring forth she who would bring forth joy, but also bring forth more pain and more uglies of her own with her attitude and disrespect to you.  Oh, what you had to endure. Thank you is not enough.

Not enough for all your sleepless nights à up feeding and rocking and soothing and driving around so the hum of the car would finally calm me down.

Not enough for trading in your beloved classrooms to make our home and our comings and goings a classroom to deeply and fully teach and mold two beings who would go on to use those lessons to influence others.  Being home and being there to all the day long teach those lessons of justice and compassion, those lessons of enthusiasm and commitment (even though we fought piano practice), those lessons of writing and reading (I think of family reads on the ugly 70 sofas in Sparta, not to mention the countless hours of being read to and the countless times “The Little Engine that Could” got up that mountain – maybe that’s part of why I know how to persevere), those lessons of sacrifice and being on time (OK, maybe I haven’t learned that lesson, yet, but I hope to by the time my children would be waiting on me to pick them up – that they’d NEVER have to wonder if Mom forgot – how I took for granted that security; I would think that would cause a child some angst that I never had to experience!), those lessons of kindness and honesty (even though the grocery store didn’t reward me for turning in the $20), those lessons of manners and morality that kept me on the straight and narrow (for all the goody-two-shoe remarks I took from peers and for all the over-protectiveness I felt, I’m thankful I don’t have many regrets from leaving the straight and narrow too often), those lessons of balanced meals and balanced checkbooks – learning to live modestly within our means…and all these lessons of love, not just taught by books but lived out by you.  Thank you is not enough.

Not enough for the endless love – extending beyond the 18 years.  Those 18 years of live-in duty of have-to time and have-to provisions, converting into whatever time and resources you wanted to give.  And oh, do you give the time…to every swim meet, to every special occasion…and not just a day on either side of the occasion, total of weeks to look for a wedding dress (and oh, the patience needed for the indecisive daughter shopping for the ideal) and plan the big day – the time, the energy, the creative, the money… given freely, sacrificially.  The weeks you’ve given to ease the transition with baby #1, baby #2, hernia surgery, foot burn recovery.  The time and expense to travel and visit and prepare family vacations and the gifts and the work to update the house and make it more organized and the cleaning and the this or that device to make life at home more convenient.  No, surely, “thank you” is not enough. 

And yet you don’t expect or have ever asked even for those eight letters…because that’s just the kind of sacrificial and loving mom you are.  So I guess, thank you is more than you even expect, so: THANK YOU!

Happy 32nd Mother’s Day, Mom!


This post was inspired by The 1000 Moms Project

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I'm a Tooth


No, this isn't like the "You're a heel," this is in reference to how the theme of the Body of Christ has been coming up a lot in my recent study of Scripture. (Although I wanted to look up exactly what that insult means and according to wiki answers it means "a despicable, contemptible sort...the word illustrates...the lowest part of the body".)

And so what if you are "the heel" of "The Body".  For I am under the impression that it was the heel of our Savior Himself which was foretold to crush the head of the deceptive serpent responsible for inviting sin into this world and thus bring healing and restoration to creation - between God and His people! 

Genesis 3:15 - "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

That long awaited for, messianic, metaphoric heel would be God's instrument of bringing ultimate victory in an age-old battle. 

Colossians 2:13-15 - And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (v.15)

That "lowest part of the body" that wiki describes ... that's the one that will be first in Christ's kingdom!

Exekiel 21:26 - this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low.

So what's so bad about being The Heel of The Body?  I wouldn't want to walk without a heel.  And those who have had to temporarily walk on a the ball of the foot, they sure do have sore calves.  I'm thankful for those in Our Body, in Our Family, in Our Kingdom who exemplify our Savior by overthrowing sin through their humility!  Put that way, it makes me want to be more of a heel! :)

And 1 Corinthians 12:21,22 says it itself - The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable..."

But, that wasn't the point of this post ... I guess now I'm a little sad to say I don't think I'm a heel, but as 1 Corinthians 12 and elsewhere in Scripture we are reminded that all parts of The Body are indispensable ... I will use the space of another post to tell you why I still think I'm a tooth!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I still think I'm a Tooth



...Continued from I'm a Tooth (Click the link for the rabbit trail I got on when I first started this post:))

So, for about the past month I've been looking at what the Scriptures have to say about my identity.  My identity in Christ is something I have learned about over the years, but I haven't dwelt on it in a way to transform how I think about myself.  I started in Ephesians and moved to the Corinthians, looking specifically for terms of identity: "you are, we are, etc."  I still have some more transformational meditating to do, but one thing I was struck by in each book was the theme of The Body of Christ and the unity God calls for among His people.  

The parts of the body and Spiritual Gifts are other themes I've learned about over the years.  There have been "tests" I've taken to "identify spiritual gifts," but I never took much time to ponder what part of the body I might be or what part of the body that spiritual gift correlates to.  Knowing that the parts of the body is an analogy, I haven't felt the need to seriously discern it.  But for whatever reason, one morning this week in my time with the LORD, the idea of a tooth came to mind.  It seems to fit.

A gift the LORD's entrusted to me, a role God's grown me into and opened doors for is one of "teacher."  So, my role in the body?  A messenger of the Word...and what part of the body relates to words, messages?  The mouth.  But, no, I'm not that significant.  The tongue.  But, no, I have not been refined enough to be a teacher with a fresh water tongue (James 3).  Teeth.  Yes.  Not the important biters, nor the necessary molars, but maybe an incisor?  A tooth - a piece of the mouth.  A mouthpiece of God.  Helping others hear the Word of God.  Helping other bite into and chew on the sweetness of the Word of God. 

Psalms 119:103 - "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

And teeth also play a protection role - keeping out that which should not coming in and even keeping in what you don't want to come out (impure/untrue words!?!)  And without some teeth, one may speak with a lisp.  May God's Word not be misheard.  

I was reminded of the image of teeth in Song of Songs:

"Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone." (4:2)

The image of clean - white sheep after washing...may my mouthpiece be clean and pure (fresh water - James 3:10-12).

The image of fullness - each tooth with a twin, none missing, none alone...God delights in the beauty of the fullness, the way He designed that part of the body.

So, if each tooth is delighted in by God, I am significant as the incisor I am.  Surely, the body can do without a tooth, but God doesn't want The Body to be without even a tooth.  He wants the beauty of the fullness, not one without another.  

And if even an "unnecessary" tooth is wanted, what an good reminder of The Gospel - that each part may be worthless on its own, but when part of The Body it is desired, delighted in, important, significant; our identity in The Body of Christ grants us to be desired, delighted in, important, significant to the Creator who made us and loves us through the Savior who suffered and died for us!

Ephesians 4:16 -"from whom [the head, Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."

May my role as a tooth, a mouthpiece, a teacher work properly so The Body is built up in love! 

Blessed

I just feel blessed.  I look out and see the pretty burgandy-copper minivan sitting in my driveway and I just feel blessed.  So, our friend works for a car dealership and about a year and a half ago she came to us with an old, low mileage, inexpensive well-kept minivan.  We took it for a test drive, prayed, assessed our finances, sought counsel and decided against it.

In considering that minivan, I learned what I was hoping was becoming true about me seemed to be - I would be content.  There was nothing fancy about this minivan and I would be content.  You see, even before I knew about the book, I was seeking to be reformed from the inside out and to live "Radical - Taking my Faith back from the American Dream."  Not that I'm against America or its mission, I'm just wanting to be primarily about Christ's Kingdom, Christ's Dream over the American kingdom, the American Dream.

And this was a little test, I think.  Part of why we decided against the minivan back then was financial and part because we didn't really need to upgrade to a bigger vehicle.  Now, we do - before 12/12/12!

So, we were officially in the market and our friend had been telling about her parents low mileage minivan for about that same length of time, but not sure when they would want to sell it.  Last week we found out that wanted to sell it NOW.  The problem was they were 200 miles away and we couldn't test drive their actual vehicle.  So, we found the same model with roughly the same mileage, it was just 2 years older.  And it was fine. I would be content.  It wasn't as zippy as my Grand Am, but it was twice the size, I would get used to it and be thankful for the extra space.

We decided to pursue our friend's parents' minivan, so they drove it into town today.  We took it for a test drive and ... it drove WAY better than the two we had previously test driven and had more perks than I was even aware of!  A year and a half ago, when I started thinking about minivans and having to articulate "what I would want" I remember thinking that I really would be content with basic power locks and windows for the sake of putting forth the least amount of financial resources as possible (being a wise steward of the resources God's entrusted us with)...BUT if the LORD wanted to throw in the perk of automatic sliding doors in a vehicle that would be the same financial cost, that sure would be a blessing:)

Because we had a connection to the owners we got the minivan for $1000 less than private party sale and it not only had the automatic sliding doors but an automatic trunk hatch, power driver's seat, and tells me what direction I'm heading, the outside temperature, & the average miles per gallon!  There's other little fun perks with the extra space, but those are some that make me feel the blessing of luxury without the cost of luxury - being a good steward of God's resources, being content with little and God choosing to bless with more than we would have asked or imagined!  (Ephesians 3:20)  That's the kind of God we serve - and not just because of what He gives us either!  I don't just want to be pleased with a piece of the American Dream, I want to praise God for His gracious, abundant provision; I'm learning that living life in God's world in God's way is all a matter of perspective.  May God be glorified and my heart transformed that He receives more of the Glory due His name!