Saturday, November 13, 2010

James Is Pointing At Me

I used to have a magnet on my refrigerator that read "Do you have any idea what you're doing? - God" It was a big ceramic purple circle with white lettering. Plain but bold and quietly startling. No, I have no idea what I'm doing. Still. Moments when I think I've figured it out or mustered up a plan consistently prove fleeting. Whenever I begin to feel humble and knowledgeable the Lord shows me a mirror. Oh yes, only pride and ignorance here. Still. I had forgotten what I looked like.

Again, James reminds me not to deceive myself by merely listening. Sometimes he shouts.

So . . .what am I doing? 1:30 am is a reflective hour. What am I doing? Am I loving those I love? Those I don't? Am I serving? Seeking? Am I giving til it hurts? Sacrificing? Am I digging deep? Making a difference? Am I reflecting the Son? Inspiring? Am I doing?

Tonight I am praying the Lord would not let me be a hearer only. Do I mean it? I pray I do. I'm afraid of my assignment. I know there will be pain. I will be put in the fire for refinement. It is necessary for useful pots. And I want to be useful. Still, I squirm a bit. The only way to deliver others from pain is to suffer yourself. The giving that counts hurts. The giving that makes a difference costs. I want to be like Able, and the widow who gave her last mite, and David, "I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing." Who am I that I should only receive and not sacrifice? Why should I remain unburdened while others know true heartache? Children orphaned. Christ left his throne for me. He suffered my cross.

Not a hearer only Lord. Make me a mama to a little one who has no one. Give our family to some innocent soul, left. Give my heart over to things that matter. Show me the ". . .ing" in the flame. My present-tense purpose.

I still have no idea what I am doing. Only that I'm going into the kiln. Obeying. Trusting. Adopting.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wafers Made with Honey

I woke up at 4:30am this morning and debated about whether to set my feet to the floor or roll over. Hubby was already long gone and coffee did sound good. Alright, I submit, get up.

I have to say, it was a lovely experience. It was still dark, the house silent, hot coffee and solitude my company. Now if only my flesh would endeavor to seek this morning treasure daily I suspect my days could be more satisfying and meaningful. Filled with calm and order, lists and smooth completion, scripture and the Spirit.

Instead I often run about my home distracted, chasing my tail, lacking purpose and forgetting to enjoy this calling. I walk by my bible lying on the end table at least a dozen times a day. A wealth of fruit bearing guidance at my finger tips. But there's laundry and dishes and English lessons and dinner and sports and a thousand other things pulling at my attention. I'm continually frustrated, impatient, wishing that at the end of the day I could have something concrete, some tangible evidence to show for my day's effort. Glory seeking.

All the while The Word, which was from the beginning, and was with God and is God sits closed up in the living room neglected. I plan and presume and it sits there. I rush and push and fail and it sits there. I murmur and complain and it sits there. Until finally, with an accumulation of sins I wish were not tangible, I break and cry out with Paul, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" At some point, while I was busy serving my family I stumbled and decided I should be noticed. Somehow while I was serving I made an idol of service. Storing treasure at the wrong temple.

But today I had manna for breakfast. A feast of truth from many generations past. In the quiet dawn I read yet another lesson from that ancient story about those Israelites who never fail to relate to me. I almost felt my soul quicken and stir with nourishment. Oh yes, now I remember. It is not about me. There is no glory to be found in this vessel. This vessel is filled with pride and worse, it leaks. Messy. Fallen. Broken. You would expect this reflection to bring burden but it does not. Rather hope. In my own ambition I am a slave but now I'm lead by irresistible grace. Daily sanctified. I've moved from Egypt to Elim where the water is sweet. And if I can remember that it is "in the morning [I]will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard [my] grumbling" maybe I'll make progress. If I can bring my weakness to Him early, perhaps it won't take 40 years to journey through this desert. That's sweet. Glorious even.

John 1:1
Romans 7:24
Exodus 16:7

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

. . .neither height nor depth . . . nor strep

I sat in the chair at the pediatrician's office yesterday, my kids shuffling around me, and fought hard against the urge to weep. I wanted to wail and gnash my teeth and make a scene, but I didn't. I just sat there staring at Dr. G. Just sat there, looking at her in bewilderment and defeat. . . We all, ALL have strep. Again.
How? Why? What am I doing wrong? Has this nasty bacteria organized against my family? My daughter has been to the ER unable to breathe diagnosed with strep, croup and pneumonia. My son followed suit covered with the strep rash. My other son avoided the ER (because I do learn as we go) but ended up in the dr. office with steroid shots and breathing treatments from, you got it. . . strep and croup. My husband visited the ER himself and last night there were more complaints of a headache from the youngest boy again. Paranoid, we visited Dr. G just as soon as possible . . . and . . . we either all STILL have it of have been re-infected. Doesn't matter. I could cry.
I feel the aches and fatigue of it today and so rewarded myself with a complete day on the couch. Surrounded by books I'm studying and surfing the net, I am grieving the health of my people. I'm having a pity party of one alone in the living room. The children have been quarantined to their rooms in an effort to contain the contamination. Tomorrow the disinfecting rampage will resume. There will be no surface untouched by an antibacterial agent and no passing hour unmarked with pleading prayer for the Lord's healing touch.
When this season of strep finally passes, I fear it will be difficult to face the world without at least a faint phobia of germs. Much less without a bubble. But the truth is we are surrounded by dangers at all moments of everyday. Strep in the grand scheme is only a small concern. The truth is our security is in the Lord. The truth is that it is in Christ that we live and move and have our being. So while I disinfect the house with Lysol, I will disinfect my heart with Truth and face the world . . . healthy.

Take that streptococcus!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Resist the devil and he will flee from you

School is back in session. I spent the summer planning, researching, saving for and purchasing curriculum and repeatedly promising, out loud, that this year was going to be the one when I managed to do it all. Clean house, good-round-home-cooked dinners at a beautifully set table every evening, morning quiet time with the Lord, laundry under control, family devotionals, stretching academics, and reading every moment that wasn't scheduled. We might as well sell the TV and grow our own food for the plans I've laid. . . . Well, today was day 3 and ... I AM TIRED. Mind numb, sit on the couch and please do not talk to me TIRED. Where is the remote? Can we order pizza? I'd like to turn my brain off and loose myself in the drivel piped into the living room. Everything in me is crying to sit down. I feel so weak. But I've discovered something about my couch. Someone like Screwtape or Wormwood or even Lucifer himself lives in the very frame and fabric. He is unseen like the coins, crumbs, and legos that quietly take up residence under the cushions. Always plotting how to steal hours of my life and joy, little by little, day by day this couch foe slyly disguises itself as a soft place to rest a bit and catch your breath, make a call, type an email or catch that program. Every time, it seems harmless. Just for a moment or two. And before I know it . . . I'm late. For something. For everything. Now its hurry! hurry! hurry! And I am not nice in a hurry. I can be a monster in a rush. Who has time to speak calmly and kindly when no one seems to possess a sense of urgency? I become a drill Sergeant for my elementary personnel and it never ends well for me. Behind in everything, I now get to wrestle with the house chores AND my guilt well into the night. That is where I start the self-condemnation . . . I am unworthy of this beautiful family. I promised today would be different and look - the same. Have I damaged these children for life? When they're older will they still want to spend time with their crazy mother? The one who sat on the couch for a cup of coffee and then suddenly started shouting "HURRY UP!" at everyone. I weep and pray at the sink with the dishes. I weep some more at the dryer as I fold. Its late now and I'll be tired in the morning. The couch will look appealing. . .
But somewhere between all those tears and cries to heaven, it was revealed and I saw it. "Your adversary the enemy roams about like a lion, seeking whom he may devour." And like prey in an open field, I have sat on the couch looking for rest of my own making. An easy lunch.
Then the gentle Spirit floods my memory . . . The Lord is my shepherd. I hear and know His voice. He knows me. He is my rest. Will I cast this burden on Him? Do I dare snub that tempting living room furniture for Psalms of praise while I keep moving? Yes. I can breathe again. He is my strength and through Him I can do all things. Without Him, nothing but keep company with regret. I do not have to "do it all." Only seek my God.
The rest is His good plan.

Thank you Lord that your mercies are new every morning. And thank you for morning.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


My single biggest regret in life was having a tubal after my third child. Why, oh why did I do that? I had always wanted three kids and so when we did, naturally I got fixed. Naturally? How deeply is it ingrained into our society's mentality to do such a thing as cut ourselves off from God's act of creation that so many of us (especially Christians) choose take that route? I didn't even so much as pray about it. That didn't even occur to me. Obviously He doesn't need ME to create anything but he allowed me take part in the process, and I, so grateful for that gift, paid a Dr to go in and cut up my perfectly working parts. Why? Because I knew better than El Elyon? There is nothing natural about this. It is dark and selfish. I am profoundly sorry, aching with regret and strange loss. If this is even a little taste of a life separate from God, may I never take another bite.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Sentimental Value Takes up Closet Space

How pathetic. Its now been two years since my last post. That amazes even me.
Okay, well . . .
Two years of homeschooling later and I still love it! I'm certain its my calling and I'm so grateful for this time in our lives. We have settled nicely into Vegas and have met some wonderful people. The big news is that I am, along with Sabrina and Rachel, starting my own home school support group. This, as fellow homeschoolers will agree, is a big deal. A very big commitment. But for me it is also a great creative release. We have finally FINALLY settled on a name and will be up on the Internet within the month. We are very excited. I'm having a hard time finishing out this year with equal enthusiasm because all this planning is just so much more exciting. But I am doing my best to focus. Although I sense the kids enjoying my newly renewed submission to distraction.
This week I have begun my spring cleaning and it is both overwhelming and refreshing. I have rearranged almost every room now. Vacuumed under furniture, dusted base boards and have collected bags and bags of stuff to take to Goodwill. De cluttering is spiritual. Its hard work, sometimes hurts a little in the parting of "things", but always feels good in the end. The only thing I could not let go of was a box of letters between my husband and I since we were 15. Everything from our school notes to letters overseas while he was in the Marines is in there. How long do I keep these? And for what? Is there something creative I can do with them? I have no idea why I could not bring myself to get rid of them. It's not like we read them, or display them or even have them in order. This is not the first time I've faced off with this box of history. Every move and every spring I advance with my garbage bag prepared to conqure a new foot of territory in the closet. I open the box, leaf through the old envelops from those young and in love kids from our past, sigh deeply, then close up the box and put it back. The same scene every year. Oh well, again they are stored in a box with our Letterman jackets and yearbooks (more items I don't really know why people keep) in a dark forgotten corner of the closet taking up valuable real estate. Maybe they'll be on display someday in Sgt's presidential library. ;) Or maybe our kids will laugh (and gag) before they dispose of them after we're gone. Either way, in the end, I'm just a sentimental sap like everyone else.