Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Such is Life

I am amused at the dichotomy in our marriage right now.

He is on a business trip staying at a hotel where the president of the country is having a meeting.

Me? I am trying to unclog the toilet courtesy of my conveniently-back-to-college son.

Still, I can't complain. We are doing family devotions every Sunday now (well, when he's here) and he is listening and paying attention.

Life is good. Even if the toilet is winning for now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On Patience and Second Chances

I don't know about you but back to school time always gets me reminiscing. And I am reminded again how fast time flies. It seems just like yesterday I was taking my older son to preschool and he was crying. Today he's a college sophomore and I'm crying.

When I look back in my life and think of the things I can do-over especially as a Mom, the ones that I regret the most are the times I have been impatient with my sons. Whether it was when they did not take the trash fast enough, or not picked up the toy that I stepped on (again), or.... well, I can't even remember. (My reasoning was there are a lot of things on my mind and if I can check one off the list, it would certainly keep me, you know, sane.) Of course in the midst of those emotions, whatever trivial matter it was seemed THE most important thing at that time.
What did Chuck Missler say?

"The pressing things are not necessarily the most important and the important things are hardly pressing. "

Or something to that effect.
I can honestly say, joy was definitely not present during those episodes - not with me and certainly not with them.

How much of a better example I would have been had I learned Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; I want my children to remember me as a loving mother, not as an impatient shrew who was always mad about something unimportant. I want them to see that in life, we may not always get what we want but we can wait patiently and such patience coupled with hope produces peace which produces joy.

Call it aging with grace or it could be reading the Word but the last few years I have found myself mellowing a little.
The Lord still has a long way to go with me in the patience arena. But I am thankful that HE is patient. He waited patiently for me to come to my senses and accept Him as my Savior and Lord. He is waiting patiently for me as the sanctification process goes on. I do not want to be like the wicked servant in Matthew 18:26: The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all who then turned around and did not forgive someone who owed him much less. I need to remember to extend the same grace to those around me. As it says in Hebrews 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. I do not want to miss out on anything God has in store for me. I can't wait! (Just kidding, I'm really patiently waiting.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Will He Ever Know?

As I sit here, I wonder if my husband will ever know:
  • That I pray for him everyday?
  • That I fast on his behalf once a week?
  • That I have shed more tears in my life for him?
  • That the answers to his questions are all in the Book?
  • That he is supposed to "leave and cleave"?
  • That he is the spiritual head of our home?
  • That he is loved more than he can even imagine?
If only he will let Him?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

On Walking In Faith

We are all familiar with the story of Joshua and the Walls of Jericho. This happened after their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Finally, the Promised Land is within reach, Israel is ready to begin conquering the land of Canaan. But there's a barrier. A huge one. Fortified, double walls. In my prior readings of this account, my mind's eye only pictured the lower wall - and thought that was hard enough. But seeing the illustration below, well, that just blows me away.

(Photo courtesy of Answers in Genesis)

How do we penetrate these walls?

This is the battle plan God gave to Joshua. Joshua 6:2-5 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

hink how that must have sounded to Joshua - the only other survivor of the Wilderness Wanderings, seasoned and courageous military leader. But he obeyed. They marched once around the city for six days, led by the seven priests who blew the ram's horn or "shofar" (used as a signal in battle). But no one was allowed to talk. On the seventh day, they marched around seven times and the result takes us to Hebrews 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

The walls fell down after Joshua's obedience.

In our lives we encounter the Walls of Jericho as well. They may surround our loved ones. In some instances, they may even surround us. Walls of anger, fortified by resentment and bitterness. Walls of loneliness, coupled with despair and hopelessness. God shows us the answer here. We who are on the outside looking in are told to walk in faith. But then we question: "This is the plan? March in circles and say nothing?" In our impatience, we cannot just wait in silence, we run off and try to chip a brick here and a brick there. We offer sage advice but it falls on deaf ears. The walls remain. Nothing happens.

We would do well to follow the example of Joshua. Walk in faith and realize that we need to blow the ram's horn as well. It is a battle but it is not ours to fight on our own. It is said in Ephesians 6:12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
We are no match for the "principalities" and "powers" that prop up the Walls around us. But God is and He has given us the battle plan. We walk by faith. And we blow the ram's horn of prayer. We let God's word, the Sword of the Spirit, fight our battles. And just like in Jericho, the walls will fall down - from the inside.

Monday, May 10, 2010

On Birthdays and Mother's Day

On Saturday, my younger son "Phineas" celebrated his 10th birthday party at the Ice Arena with 15 friends. It went well considering he has never ice skated before. But all of them had fun even the two friends who suffered minor injuries 10 minutes before the end of the 3-1/2 hour party. We then had family over to our house for an after-party party.

On Mother's Day, Phineas and I went to the first service at church where our Pastor shared all the things that happened during their recent outreach in Iraq. God is working in a mighty way in the Middle East. I left church wondering why we do not see great manifestations of God's work here. But as the day unfolded, I realized God is not just working over there, He is working here, too.

Our family planned to meet at a favorite Chinese restaurant for dim sum. Unfortunately, the rest of our town had the same plan. So instead of waiting 2 hours for 12 of us to be seated, I called my siblings to tell them I am just going to order food to go. Since they were still at my Dad's house (punctuality is not our family's strong suit), I told them to we will just go there with the food.

Ordering dim sum off a list is not as much fun as watching the carts pass by to see what looks good. There was a little confusion - uhm, no I didn't want THAT. They were trying to speak to me in Chinese which I could not understand at all. Granted, I took a year of Mandarin but that was over 20 years ago. The only phrase I remember translates to "Where is the cat?" which is neither helpful nor appropriate in this situation. Eventually, I made it out of there with a decent amount of food for all of us.

I don't know which part of "We'll meet you there" my brother did not understand. In my book, "there" means we will come to wherever location you happen to be. Stay put. Do not move. Certainly, do not drive 30 miles to our house because we're heading in the opposite direction. Since two families are heading to our house, we were outnumbered and had no choice but to turn around. Hosting another family event AFTER the birthday party the day before was not how I wanted to celebrate Mother's Day. So there was some major pouting going on.

But you know what? God has plans that we know nothing about.

When we got home, I noticed that my sister-in-law was limping. She said she woke up with pain in her right foot from skating. (Ok, so make that 3 injuries). Well, the Urgent Care is 5 minutes from my house and they accept my brother's out of town insurance. So, I took my sister-in-law there and she was diagnosed with a torn ligament. They gave her crutches and some meds to help with the pain. That's why God engineered the event to take place at our house. If we had gone to my Dad's as I had planned, she never would have gone to the urgent care facility because of the distance.

My sister-in-law is not a believer and I am thankful that after I had calmed down, I was able to minister to her and help her. I would like to think that maybe like the believers in Iraq, she saw a little bit of the love of Jesus through me. God certainly works in mysterious ways, in big ways and in small. I am just glad and grateful that He gives us the privilege to be a part of it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bulls eye!

Motherhood is hit and miss. Most of the days, I know I miss the mark. But on rare (very rare)occasions, I hit the target.

This is what I found while cleaning up my 9-year old's folder:

("Who do you think is a leader of hope today? How is he/she a leader of hope?
I think my mom is a leader of hope. She takes me to church. She tries to teach my
dad the Bible. She relieves my problems most
of the time and will relieve my problems.
She's always there for me. She is (love the double underlining here) a leader
of hope.")
Now I don't know what kind of grade he received from this hastily scribbled paragraph. But he got an A+++++++ in my book. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Dream

Our pastor always gives us a word for the year. For 2010, that word is HOPE.

It's a good thing, too because 2010 did not start the way I imagined it.

For Christmas, a friend gave me a copy of Hinds' Feet on High Places. As I read it though, I have this weird feeling that I am living the book! Has that ever happened to you? Lately, I have noticed that my journey seems to parallel that of little Much Afraid. I had some inkling into it when the word "wilderness" kept popping up for me the last couple of weeks. I suppose in preparation of what is to come. Sure going to the High Places sounds magnificent and I would like to reach new heights for God but I'm not thrilled that for her guides He chose Sorrow and Suffering. (I'm not big on sorrow nor suffering.)

My husband and I are having trouble communicating with each other - mostly about the "leaving and cleaving" concept. When is he going to realize he is not his family's savior? He cannot keep trying to rescue them from the consequences of their choices.

I spent the first night of the new year - our 24th wedding anniversary, in fact - soaking my pillow with tears and wondering if we will even reach our silver anniversary. Hello, Sorrow and Suffering. Nice to meet you.

I couldn't stand crying in bed anymore because it was getting hard to breathe. I grabbed the book and sought solace in the bathroom. God and I had a throne to Throne conversation. It was mostly me pouring my heart out to God. Calling on Jesus to intervene in our marriage. When I opened the book, where does Much Afraid find herself? There on the Shores of Loneliness where she was accosted by Resentment, Bitterness, Self-Pity and Pride. Funny, they certainly kept me company last night, too.

Yet in the midst of it all were glimmers of hope. Right there on page 83, "Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning." So I went to bed clinging to the book and whispering to myself Acceptance-with-Joy. Acceptance-with-Joy. Sleep finally came.

Well, it is now the next day and I have been cleaning my craft room. DH left to go - to his parents' house? or poker with the guys? - so "joy" isn't here yet. But in my cleaning I found a book by Billy Graham entitled Answers to Life's Problems. Haven't seen this book in awhile. There it was - a chapter on marital problems. I paused to read. Love is not a feeling. It is a commitment. Like Much Afraid, I tuck that pebble in my pocket. Then I came across Charles Stanley's letter from January 2009. I was going to shred it because it's a year old but stopped to read it. It was about a woman who was having marital problems. I felt like it was written for me. No matter what your situation or circumstance, there is hope for you...Your friends or family may walk way, but God never abandons you...The key to triumph in your trials is not your ability to face them - but your total reliance on God's grace. So trust Him, and be assured that 2009 (I crossed it to say 2010) will be one of your best years ever if you simply obey the Father and leave all the consequences to Him." Another pebble to tuck in my pocket.

So for this new year, no matter how it looks around me - or what the next chapter says, I choose to look up. Up to my Heavenly Father who wants the best for me. I also choose to trust. I choose to obey. Most of all, I choose to hope. The hope of the restoration of my marriage to heights it has never seen before. Up in the High Places.

The book has a happy ending, right?