Saturday, April 25, 2015

What if it’s an answer to prayer? {a repost}


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There are a lot of awfully hard things that happen in life – sickness, death of a loved one, natural disasters – that we won’t ever understand the reasons behind while we’re on earth. 

Then there are the tough circumstances that come because of our own or someone else’s selfishness, rebellion or stupidity.  While they’re not any easier, we can at least find a reason.  Admitting when it’s my own fault is another matter.

But I’ve been thinking about another reason for experiencing difficult stuff.  What if it’s because I asked God to help me get to know Him better?  To be less proud and more humble?  To look a lot more like Christ?  What if God allowed some painful things because He is using them to do exactly what I asked Him to do?

If that idea makes you cringe just a little, it does for me too.  I know that His way of getting something done in me is quite different than what I would choose… give me a minimum of discomfort, only minor pain or inconvenience and don’t touch those tender areas where I may get my feelings hurt or my pride wounded.

If I’m honest, I have been afraid to pray for God to shape me (He might ask me to go to Africa!).  But in the last few years, I’ve started to want some changes in me more than I want to stay comfortably messed up.  And that has only happened because I asked God to please change what I want – to give me His desires for me. 

A while ago I experienced a completely uncomfortable confrontation by someone.  My feelings were hurt.  My pride was wounded.  I wanted to defend myself and had a thought or two about a few things that bothered me about them

The thing is, they were right.  It was done in love.  And suddenly it occurred to me that God was answering a prayer I’d prayed in earnest:  Expose my pride and help me deal with it.  Become greater in me so I will become less.  Help me see my own sin and be quick to admit it.  Rule over my emotions so they don’t rule me.

I am so thankful that God is faithfully answering those prayers.  None of those things will happen without some pretty significant discomfort because my old flesh will fight to the death to be in control.  To the death!  That’s exactly what needs to happen.

It’s causing me to look at hard things a bit differently. 

Sometimes (not always) they are a gift – a loving answer to a hesitant, timid prayer for change. 
.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sigh



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A year ago today we were headed to North Carolina for our 30th anniversary celebration.  I wrote about it here.  Sigh. 

We had my nieces over last week.  It’s so fun to see them growing up (they are 10 and 12) but I miss those little girls. 

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Sigh.  However, some things never change… like baking cookies!

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And making stuff…

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Our oldest just got back from a short vacation in Palm Springs, which is where our girls grew up.  On the way to the airport yesterday she drove past our old house and texted me the photo on the bottom below.

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I couldn’t find a straight shot of the house when we lived there but the top is how it looked for most of our 17 years there.  (I think I was trying to make it look as much like Oregon as I could and pretend I didn't live in the desert.)  I guess this landscaping makes sense with the drought conditions in California.  And solar panels on the roof are a wonderful addition.  But I could never have loved all the rock and lack of green.  Sigh.


Facetime and Skyping with my kids is second-best to in-person but I’m sure thankful for it!!  I miss this little one!

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Just think… next month we will have TWO little girls to kiss!!!!  Sigh.

For the last three years, my friend Patti and I have had the privilege of having a group of 20-something young women come to my house every other Wednesday night to get to know God better through His word. Sometimes we had dinner but always we talked, prayed and shared a lot of life together.  Our group has morphed and changed since that first meeting in January of 2012.  We’ve had mostly Christ-followers but not exclusively.  There were Catholics, New Agers, unchurched, homeschooled, married, single, living with boyfriends and PK’s.  I will confess that it has been the most challenging small group I’ve ever led, mostly because I struggled with their inconsistency (which says more about me than it does about them).  But it has also been the most rewarding as I’ve watched God work in their lives, despite, above and beyond my expectations.  I have learned that I don’t have very much to do with the work God is doing in them but I sure was blessed to a front row seat. 

Last Wednesday marked our last time together as life changes and life’s busy-ness made it obvious that our group was coming to an end.  Sigh.

Which reminds me of something I heard yesterday from Timothy Keller…

sighs to prayers

I loved this for many reasons but the biggest is because I am a sigh-er.  Not always out loud but often in my heart.  When I watch the news, I sigh.  When I’m frustrated, I sigh.  When I can’t figure out a solution to something, I sigh.  When another driver does something dumb, I sigh.  What if I took every one of those sigh-inducing circumstances, as well as things like I wrote about above, straight to my Father in prayer?  Keller warned that if we don’t, the Enemy will use them against us.

I know from experience that this is true… he creates worry, fear, cynicism and hopelessness in me when I don't do anything with them but sigh.  Why would I choose that?

Turn my sighs to prayers.  Help me do this, Lord!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Links I Liked

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Permanent Marker Floor Art
@wherecoolthingshappen.com
I would like to be brave enough to do this.


Words for a Homesick Heart
@jenniferdukeslee.com
In those letters from home, Mom would remind me of who I was and what I was made of…  Well guess what?  That’s what the Holy Scriptures do.  St. Augustine said it like this:  “The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.”


Why Women Rock
@thehouseofhendrix.com
Women don’t mind each other’s dirt.  We crave the authenticity of it… There is no greater privilege than when a friend welcomes you in just as she is… and just as you are.


Every Platform an Altar
@thehighcalling.org
No one is meant to stand on platforms.  Sure, everyone’s got a platform under them… and the movers and shakers would have us thinking that a platform is what elevates you.  But the only call on a Christian is to build every platform into the shape of an altar, to shape every platform into the form of sacrificial service. 

 
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Cool and Creative Bookmarks for Bookworms
@boredpanda.com
Saw this linked on one of Ann’s Saturday posts.  Love these.


Amazon Will Deliver 25,000 Items to Your Doorstep in 2 Hours
@clarkhoward.com
What’s next?  The only thing I can think of is that we will simply think of something and it will appear on our coffee table, I-Dream-of-Jeannie-style.  But I don’t know how they’ll handle charging our credit cards.  We are a spoiled, impatient bunch aren’t we?


We Were All Born to Ask This Question
@weareTHATfamily.com
I stood in the center of that room and thought, my children haven't complained once.  They haven't asked for anything.  They didn't think of themselves while they worked hour after hour... My family is at its best - our absolute best - when we are doing something for someone else.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Glorious Day

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He's coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day



Glorious Day by Hall, John Mark / Bleecker, Michael

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

To know Him


 I love this verse in the Amplified bible...

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I think this is the answer to everything.

When we know God - His power and goodness and wisdom and creativity and ability and love - all of our worries fall into the right perspective because of Who is in control.

Our fears are calmed because of Who is caring for us.

Our struggles don't overwhelm us because we can say "I know the One who keeps His promise to work this out for some kind of good."

Our questions rest because we know we can trust His wisdom, even if we can't figure out how.

Our problems shrink in light of His incredible power and ability.


Lord, help me know You.  Let that be my determined purpose.




Saturday, March 28, 2015

On my nightstand


inthismountain
In This Mountain by Jan Karon
Jeff and I often read books together at night… like out loud together.  It’s something we started when we were first married, then abandoned for most of the years our kids were growing up because, well, we were exhausted.  But it continues to be a favorite thing we do together and we look forward to that time of day.  Especially if we’re into a really good story like this one.  It’s one of my favorite in the Mitford series.  We have also checked out the book on cd and listen to it in the car on our frequent long drives up and down I-5.


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41 A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush
I enjoyed the love expressed within this big, unusual family and also how down-to-earth and humble 41 is.  It’s certainly refreshing to hear a son extol his father’s character!


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The Ambition by Lee Strobel
I believe this is Strobel’s first work of fiction.  I’ve read and appreciated his apologetics so was eager to read this.  It is about the pastor of a mega-church who gets involved with politics as he loses touch with his God. 


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Counter Culture by David Platt
I am still reading (and loving) this book.  This is from the publisher’s synopsis: 
“…As difficult conversations about homosexuality, abortion, and religious liberty continue to inject themselves into our workplaces, our churches, our schools, and our homes, Christians everywhere are asking the same question: How are we supposed to respond to all this?”

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Phone photos

I would like to be one of those people who take pictures with their phone and have them be so stunningly incredible that others marvel.  Sadly, many of my pics come out blurry.

I need a class.

Thankfully I’m married to a photographer extraordinaire who supplies me with great pictures for our family and for the blog.  Today, however, you get these… 

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My photographer extraordinaire husband is also extremely thoughtful.  Some months ago he suggested we try a new coffee place every Sunday.  I don’t have to tell you how much I loved this idea or how much it meant to me that he initiated it.  LOVED it.  I snapped this pic at a little neighborhood place we found called Maplewood Coffee. 
These are hot lattes served in tall glass cups.  If you’re like me, you’re wondering how we could hold them but the glass was thick enough that it was no prob.  And it made for a beautiful presentation, no?


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My ‘sisters’ and I went to a Living Proof Live event in Seattle last month and had some truly wonderful seats.


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Then we met up with two of our daughters!  We used to spend part of our girl weekends (Jubilees) buying little toys to bring back to our kids.  Now we meet them for coffee and they tell us about things like medical school and boyfriends. 


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Here is someone taking some time in the morning to read her bible storybook.


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I have coffee and a bagel regularly with my mom’s best friend Erna.  She is a delight!  We always talk about my mom – something I love to do but don’t often get to because she is one of a few people who knew her so well. 
Just before I snapped this she asked me "Are we taking a self-ee?"
And as a bonus, she always brings me her amazing fried rice. 


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Sunny flowers given to me by a friend… thank you Janet!  These have lasted for two weeks and remind me why it’s important to keep fresh flowers in the house. 
They make you happy!


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Jeff just had a birthday and we got away to our favorite cabin last weekend.  It rained most of the time but when the sun came out, it was glorious as usual!  Peace.  Quiet.  Books.  Good food.  So wonderful.

Before and after we met friends for coffee but true to my usual self, I didn’t take any pictures.  Sigh.

They would have been blurry anyway.

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