Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Growing Up

There are some days when they just seem to grow up before my eyes.  And there are days when I all of a sudden notice that I've been growing, too.

Today was one of those days.  The kids all seem taller and older and more mature and smarter than they were not too long ago.  Mikaela seems more and more like a young lady every week.  Toby is getting taller and more and more like a boy instead of a little boy.  Timothy has a vocabulary that surprises people all the time.  And I'm changing, too.

This last weekend we went camping with a church from a town nearby so we could share with them around a campfire and Sunday morning "service" about what we're doing.  It sounded like a lot of fun and an amazing opportunity to really get to know some people over a weekend instead of just during an hour or two during a church visit.  (And it was!)

The weather has been pretty strange lately.  It was much cooler than normal for most of May.  And this last weekend was no exception!  Instead of just sort of chilly at night and sunny t-shirt weather in the afternoons, it was raining and snowing most of Saturday night and much of the day Saturday.  I've never gone camping in the snow before!  I've never spent so many hours straight standing around a campfire before.  And as you can see, we were sleeping in a TENT.  In the mornings there was ice outside.  CRAZY!

But what made me happy was that I didn't get frustrated or irritated when gloves got soaked or pants got muddy (except the last night when I was getting the kids in bed and in the middle of that night when Timothy was kicking me and I was cold and couldn't sleep...)  In short, I was much more patient and content than I would have been in the past in that situation.  I think I handled the stress of packing better than I used to and even came back home and got back into normal with much less disruption than in the past.  And that's even with going as the "speakers" and in the middle of a bunch of other things we are doing!
I share all of this to say PRAISE GOD for helping me to grow and for preparing me for much more stressful situations in the future.  I praise God for teaching me to be thankful when I'm tempted to feel sorry for myself.  I praise God for helping me not to panic even though we have much work yet to do to prepare for a huge fundraising event Friday night.  I praise God for helping me not to get overwhelmed when I KNOW that in the past that is what would have happened.

Growing is good.  : )  For all of us.  But it's interesting how often we want to grow up faster.  Timothy is turning 4 in just over a month (I know!  How'd that happen???) and he wants to know if when he turns 4 he's gonna be a Daddy.  (I remember having the exact same conversation with Toby when he was going to turn 4!)  He's all of a sudden ready to be a dad...  so he thinks.  : )
But I know better.  And God knows better when I think I'm ready to be all grown up...  when I want to just skip on over to having the lessons learned already instead of having to learn them.  When I want to just be wiser and stronger instead of having to do the faith exercises to get there.  When I want to reap with songs of joy without the sowing tears first.  Timothy has some more years of growing up before he gets to be a dad.  I have some more years of growing up before I get to wherever I'm going... and then more growing until I get to eternity.

So like the evergreen trees who drink in the rain and put their roots down deep and grow and grow, Lord,  keep growing me deeper in You and up in faith.
So I can keep looking back and saying PRAISE YOU LORD.  YOU ARE GOOD.

(And just for the fun of it...  Here's a video I posted on my 4th ever blog post from another trip 4 years ago to these mountains that I love so very much.  These kids really have grown up!)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thoughts on Time and The End of the World (Sort of!)

Hey friends!  We've been running around lately visiting churches and working on our internship, so I haven't been blogging much (as you may have noticed).  But for the moment, I'm okay with that.  : )   I wrote this almost 2 years ago, but it's one of the posts I think of often because it was such a significant thing for me to find freedom in.  A few things have changed (I've completely given up scrapbooking and the google stats mentioned below have multiplied dramatically!!!) since I wrote this, but the thoughts seem as "timely" as ever...  I hope it encourages you!


My Times are In Your Hands

Time flies when you’re having fun. 
Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. 
They grow up so fast! 
Sunrise, Sunset… 
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow! 
Time is money. 
Time is tickin’ and time’s a wastin’! 
Carpe diem! 

We are a people obsessed and uncomfortable with TIME. It either goes by too quickly or not fast enough. We either regret or long for the past while we are worried about or impatient for the future. We’re running late and determined to stay awake as long as possible (thank you, Starbucks!) so we can squeeze every second of life out of every day. We sing about it, muse about it, waste it (thank you, Facebook!), talk and whine about it. (When did they get so big??? How is it already the end of July???) 

Maybe it’s not the whole human “race.” Maybe it’s just me. But a Google search for “time management” brings up 223 million results. A search on just the word “time”? 3.5 Billion! So apparently I’m not the only one. I am NOT a good time manager. I’m not good at keeping scrapbooks or remembering things and it makes my heart ache when I think of how fast my kids are growing up and how much I’ve already forgotten about their younger years. I feel like I’ve been going through the last several years with my heels digging into the ground, trying desperately to SLOW THIS WORLD DOWN! Stop the sun! Slow down the clock! Slow down the calendar! Stop already with the growing! I can’t keep up! 

Well… I’m done. I quit. Time, you win. I won’t fight you anymore. I can’t manage you. I can’t slow you down or speed you up. BUT I CAN, with Christ’s strength, learn to live with you as my friend instead of my foe. I will stop wasting my today’s missing the past and worrying about the future. I’m going to learn to live “for such a time as this.” I asked God to show me His truth about time and found many familiar verses. 

“He has made everything beautiful in its time… ” (Ecc. 3:11) 
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” (Isaiah 43:18) 
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:34) 

It’s pretty obvious that mourning over the past and dreading the future are not God’s plan for my day to day life. But the real surprise came when I found myself again in Genesis 1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light… God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” (Gen 1:1, 3, 5) There you have it! The first day. All in just the first 5 verses of the Bible. But He wasn’t done! On days 2 & 3, He created the seas and plants as unmistakable reminders of the passing seconds and seasons, all counting down, as it were, to the end of this world as we know it. But in case we didn’t notice, on the fourth day He also created “lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night” to “serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years.” (Gen 1:14). 

One of the first things God created was time. And He called it good! It isn’t evil or meant to steal my joy. With the Psalmist I will choose to say “But I trust in You, O LORD; I say ‘You are my God.’ MY TIMES ARE IN YOUR HANDS...” (Psalm 31:14-15a) God wants me to trust Him with how time passes and rejoice! It’s all counting down to His triumphant return! When I see my children growing up and I’m shocked that it’s time to turn the calendar again, I want to learn to say, “Hallelujah!” I am that much closer to seeing Him face to Face! “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “Who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8) Whether we like it or not, He is the King of the ages and He is returning soon! (Rev. 22:7) As I learn to see my past and my family and my future in the light of eternity, I find a whole new contentment and purpose and perspective as I agree with what my mom always said: This too shall pass! 

“Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” I trust in You, O Lord. You are my God. My times are in Your hands. And I’m glad.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I know I shared a song with you last time, too...  but I really want to share another one. I heard this for the first time today on the radio and it is so full of scripture - it is so uplifting.  Not only does it encourage me with the truth it holds, but it encourages me in another way.  MUCH of the music I write is almost completely from scripture.  And hearing someone else's songs helps me remember how much power there is in singing (or hearing sung) the very words of God.  What words could be better to sing?

I'm trying to figure out a good way to get more of my songs recorded in a better way so I can share them more easily somehow.  Maybe you can pray that God will show me a way.

: )

Be Blessed,

Monday, May 09, 2011

On God I Rest

Remember the ladders?  If you were reading along with me during Lent, you might remember several posts referring to ladders.  It's been an evolving metaphor of sorts that has evolved once again. It started with thinking of balancing on a teeter-totter with pride on one side and insecurity on the other.  God helped me realize that pride and insecurity aren't opposites with something good and stable in the middle.  There is no safe spot on that teeter-totter.  The real opposite of pride is humility and the true opposite of insecurity is confidence.  And it's all about who I am depending on.  Am I depending on myself or am I depending on God?  Thus, the ladders.  I was thinking about three legged fruit picking ladders, to be exact.  The bad ladder: insecurity and pride in the front leaning on the back leg of self-reliance.  The good ladder: humility and confidence in God leaning on the back leg of dependence on God.

But you know what? There is something significantly wrong with that comparison.  Depending on God doesn't look ANYTHING like depending on myself.  A better picture of depending on myself is (use your imagination with me here) me climbing a ladder that I'm also holding up.  So in place of that post in the back, imagine me--  holding up the ladder.  : )  Dumb, huh?  Not to mention impossible.  I can't climb something and hold it up at the same time any more than I can depend on myself to get through this life.  And anyway, WHY WOULD I LEAN ON MYSELF WHEN I CAN LEAN ON THE ROCK OF GOD?????  Forget standing on pride and insecurity and leaning on myself.  I am standing and leaning on the Rock Eternal (Isaiah 26:4).

This song has been running through my mind as I've thought of leaning my ladder of humility and confidence in God on "the wall of God" instead of leaning on myself.  So I thought I would share it with you all.  : )  I'm so glad God is teaching me more and more and more to trust Him and how to lean on Him.

PSALM 62 by Shane & Shane
He’s the only one
Strong enough to lean
My heaviness against
The weight of all my sin
Falling on a rock
Leaning on a fortress
Oh the wall of God, Jesus
He won’t move

On God I rest
My salvation
My fortress
Shall not be shaken
My mighty rock
And my glorious
I lay my head upon His chest
On God I rest

Oh I am calling out
Oh my soul
Oh my stubborn soul
Won’t you wait on Him
Wait in the quiet
Even in your fear
Oh your God is here, to lean on!
He won’t move

He has spoken
Hear his voice
I have come for the broken
So all ye weary come and rest

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A Higher Perspective

This week I wanted to go back over what I had written during Lent and see if there was a theme that I hadn't noticed or some other lesson that I would recognize in hindsight.  But, alas, while I sort of got started at one point, I never made it through it all.  Maybe I never will.  Maybe I'm not far enough away to recognize the significance of that season yet.  God's ways are not my ways...  and from His perspective things always look so much different than they do from mine.  

He says in Isaiah 55:8-9 "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD.  'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"  God always has a higher perspective than I do.

It reminds me of a phenomena in Peru called the Nazca Lines.  They are huge...  Hmm.  I'm not sure if they're considered sculptures or drawings or what.  Maybe I'll go look.  Oh.  Of course.  They're GEOGLYPHS.  (I can't even pretend that I knew that.)  They were created sometime between 400 & 650 AD by the Nazca people of Peru and nobody knows how they were made or exactly why they were made.  

They are quite amazing. There are over 100 different drawings.  They were made by people without the aid of airplanes or computers (obviously) and from the ground they are too big to see.  .  Just like how from the ground a field looks like a bunch of plants or trees instead of a square in an agricultural patchwork quilt.  Just like how from my perspective, I can't see all of the significance of this season.  I can see some of it, but not all of it.   I can't see all of the significance of what I did during Lent this year, but I'm sure it's there.

One of the most popular theories about why the Nazca lines were created is that they were made as an offering for their gods.  So they had to be big enough to be seen from far away.  Oh, how I love my God.  : )  I love that He is not so far away that we have to draw enormous pictures for Him to see from way up in the sky.  My God is so huge that He can see everything on earth, AND THROUGHOUT ETERNITY all at once.  Isn't that amazing?  Not only that, but God is SO CLOSE to me that He knows the hairs on my head.  He knows the nerves and cells and molecules and atoms that make up my heart.  He knows my thoughts and dreams and my past and future and the plans He has for me.  That's my God.  : )  I'm so thankful I know Him and can trust Him because He knows and sees it all even though I don't.

And that makes me smile.  : )  I hope it makes you smile too.