Friday, November 16, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
This is the conclusion of the Bloggy Cliffhanger I left you with last time. I know, you've been checking hourly to see if I'd finished the cabinet cleaning story yet or not. Sorry about the suspense. : )
As I said last time, Saturday when I was scrubbing 40 years worth of nasty grime off my kitchen cabinets, I was pondering the spiritual significance of what I was doing. That is what I do when my hands are working and my brain isn't. (Which, notably, constitutes a large part of my days.) I was cleaning off some gunk that I had thought would never come off... which is why I had never really tried. When we moved into the house there was SO much else to do (like cleaning up after the guy who had been living here before we bought it) (which is why, I now understand, people buy NEW houses!) I scratched a bit at the cabinets and surface cleaned them, but didn't really work hard at the grimy stuff because I thought it wasn't possible to remove it w/o removing the finish coming off in the process.
So anyway, in preparation for our party Sunday, Lowell had asked me to clean the cabinets and like usual, I got carried away and started really working on them and realized it WAS possible to get the stuff off without destroying the finish. I had just never tried hard enough before. So the spiritual significance here??? Well, I was wondering how many things there are in my life that I've never really thought could be changed, so I never bothered trying or letting God work on it.
Unfortunately, I didn't come up with any good answers, but I was getting annoyed at myself for THINKING so much about it!!! When my brain gets going like that, it's hard to stop it and sometimes it seems pointless. I honestly get TIRED of hearing myself think and b/c much of my thinking lately takes the form of how I would write a blog post about it, I start wondering about whether or not anybody else is getting tired of hearing me think as well. (But, thankfully, if you are... you can just stop. Just click the little red X up there in the corner. J)
But here's the thing I ultimately decided/realized as I kept cleaning. GOD MADE ME THIS WAY. "Normal" people don't see spiritual significance in stuff like grimy kitchen cabinets. But I do. In this I AM study I'm doing, she was talking about Moses and how he was put where he was at just the right time and I realized that one of the reasons God had me born in 1972 was so that when I was 35 and thinking thoughts like this, I could have a blog and write about them. And it's not (for me) about how it impacts you. Having a place like this where I can learn to think and formulate my thoughts and not be afraid of what people think and let my family know more of the real me has been a very significant thing for me.
And as a bonus, here are some of the spiritual conclusions I came to yesterday as I was cleaning the refrigerator. J
The fridge and cabinets can't clean themselves! In the same way, I am not capable of cleaning myself. God has to do it. Just like HE saved me by his grace, He is the One who will complete the work HE has started in me. Yes, I have a part to play in cooperating with Him, but I am changed by His grace, not by my effort.
Once one area is cleaned up I notice other areas that need cleaning up. All of a sudden, they look bad next to the clean areas, whereas before I had never even noticed them. When God is at work in me, I start noticing worry and pride (or whatever) in my heart I had never noticed before, even though it's been there a long time. I'm thankful I don't see all the work there is to be done--it would be overwhelming!--and that God is also not content to leave it, but is always working on me.
Just like the fridge gets new smudges on it and the bookshelves gather new dust, my heart's purity needs to be maintained. God's job is to clean me... My job is to cooperate. And there will always be new things to work on as long as I'm alive and God and I will just keep working on them. And I'll probably keep on blogging about them, too. J
Thanks for thinking with me.
Monday, November 12, 2007
BUTLER CHURCH 50th ANNIVERSARY! Yesterday we got to go to our former church's 50th anniversary celebration. It was so very sweet to see so many people who we had worshipped and served with during the many years we were there. Most of the former pastors were there and we got to hear the Spanish choir and see the SE Asian dancers and hear the kids choir sing "Sing alleluia to the Lord" in 3 languages... I miss that so much! But it was also a clear reminder that we are where we are now b/c it is where God wants us to be. As much as I still love Butler, my heart is most definitely at the Grove.
CLEANING/PARTY! Well, in spite of the fact that I was (really, I'm not exagerrating here) mopping my kitchen floor 10 minutes before the first people arrived last night for our Game Night, we had a lot of fun. God brought just the right amount of people and we had a great time and the kids all had a lot of fun. Lowell isn't sure he's going to ever let me do this again (I did leave WAY too much to get done after we got home from the Butler lunch/celebration) but I'm glad we did it and now my house is cleaner than it has been since the social worker came for our home study.
BLOGGING IN MY HEAD. On Saturday I was scrubbing 40 years worth of nasty grime off my kitchen cabinets, pondering the spiritual significance of what I was doing. (Because what else do you expect me to think about when I'm scrubbing cabinets???) I started to write all of my thoughts out here, but it's going to be way too long, so I'm saving it for later. Just in case you have something else to do today. : ) And to leave you in some sort of suspense as to what great spiritual truth I learned. If you'd like to guess or tell me what scrubbing kitchen cabinets might mean to you and your spiritual journey, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
"It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father's house. Acts 7:20 NASB
"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not." Isaiah 53:2-3 NIV
"For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation." Psalm 149:4
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Last week I discovered this online Bible Study written and hosted by Lisa who is a preacher's wife somewhere (I can't remember where at the moment!) and anyway I've decided to join the study. The way it works is you click on the button here and it takes you to the intro, FAQ etc page and you can start it at the beginning whenever you want to and can do it at your own pace. Then you post your answers to the questions on your blog and add your name to the link list at the particular study you were answering. And let's just say she explains it better than I do! In the future, when you see this little picture, you'll know it's about the study. But without further ado, here are my answers to the questions, which unless you've read the study won't mean quite as much as if you have.
1. Are there any circumstances or relationships in your life where you can see God has intentionally placed you? What do you perceive may be at stake if you do or do not speak out for Him? Is it too obvious to mention my family? I know God has put me in this place as my husband’s wife and Mikaela & Toby’s mom and “soon” mom to another one. I also know God has me/us at our young church because He has wanted to use us there. I’m sure there are more situations that I am less aware or unsure about. I know that at the least, people will miss out on blessings or encouragement if I am not obedient in speaking what God wants me to. And it could be much worse… that they miss out on the freedom God has for them through whatever He is wanting to speak to them at that time. 2. Can you honestly describe yourself as a woman with a 'yes' in her spirit? If not, what keeps you from this? I would say yes, but that God is dealing with the worry I can harbor even when I’ve surrendered to Him. It’s been a real revelation lately that I can be completely surrendered and still not completely trusting God. And I’m grateful He’s working on that! 3. Do you recognize any circumstances in your life which could be described as an 'unrecurring event'? Have you ever said 'no' to one and watched God use someone else instead? This was one of the big things I got out of this first part of the study. I’m realizing more and more that every single moment of every day is an unrecurring event and that I should appreciate that. I’ve been prone to worry about what I’m not doing right (for example, not spending enough time playing with my kids) and now I’m more and more just DOING something about it instead of feeling guilty for not having done it before. As for the second question, I’m not very good at remembering details, but think I have almost been more likely to say “yes” when I shouldn’t have and then ended up wishing I had said no. 4. Are you in an emotionally and spiritually healthy place? If yes, how are you using this freedom to minister to others? If no, what do you feel is holding you in your Egypt? I am in a strange place right now spiritually. I was journaling this morning about how God has brought me to a place that on the surface looks less healthy than places I’ve been in the past. I’m studying the Bible less, journaling less, having less consistent, shorter quiet times… and yet I realized this morning that God has brought me to this place very intentionally—to challenge me on where my confidence has been. I think I have been trusting more in my spiritual disciplines to maintain my right relationship with God than I’ve been trusting God. I have always been one to want to know exactly what’s expected and what the rules are so I can do everything right. I am very comfortable with clear boundaries. But God is pushing me past that and to a new place where it’s all about trusting Him and His truth and not what I am doing. And it feels just a little bit crazy! I hope to use this new freedom to minister to others as I continue to serve at church in prayer ministry and just by being real and honest with others. This is quite an adventure and God’s challenging me to not worry about what others will think about where I am and just to keep trusting Him. It was encouraging to me this afternoon when I realized the fruit I am already enjoying in my spirit… the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And that can only come from Him!
Monday, November 05, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Click on the pictures if you don't want to squint to read them.
Even though I have other things I would love to talk about, I don't have time to formulate my thoughts and type them up. But I do have just enough time to attempt to post here my favorite recipe (which I just wrote up for my sister-in-law) for the BEST lemon bars (which I just made to take to my her house.) Now, I know you don't all have lemon trees in your backyards so you're not all looking for something else to do with lemons, but this is still a never-fail really yummy recipe. AND I do it all (except for the baking, of course!) in my food processor, so there's no cutting butter into flour by hand and you don't even need to soften the butter first! And by the way, I always double the recipe and use my glass 9x13.
So anyway, hopefully it will come through and even if you never try them, I can now direct people to my blog if they ever want a copy of the recipe. : ) But maybe you'll feel ambitious someday soon and will try it when you're looking for something new (like to give to neighbors or co-workers for Christmas!)
Or you can just invite yourself over to my house and I'll quite happily make them for you myself. : ) Really!
Happy Saturday everyone!!!