Sunday, February 17, 2013

Be Discerning

Last night, I decided to begin a conversation with my husband at 11 p.m.,  realizing that the early alarm would ring Sunday morning signaling us to get ourselves and the kids ready for church and out the door.   Usually by 9 p.m. I'm tucked away in the land of ZZZ, but last night my heart was troubled, and I needed to share my burdens with my very patient husband.  

As some who may read this know, my health seems to be in a constant stage of putting out fires while doing all I can to prevent new ones.  I'm awaiting blood work to be done for yet another blood clotting disorder, which would make it my third clotting disorder.  Hyper-coagulant, anyone?   My heart is also being pesky, and my oxygen levels are dipping when I do more than getting out of bed and get dressed.  I may very well live to be 89 and independent, like my maternal grandmother.  I may end up seeing Jesus before my first grandchild arrives on the scene.  I just don't know.  Like you, I don't know the number of days assigned to me.  But, I know the Giver of those days, and live trusting in His sovereignty.  

Perhaps because of the roller coaster ride my health is giving to me, the burdens I have for my friends who are my Christian brothers and sisters grows more intense as moments in this life go by.   A few days ago I shared on Facebook my  plea for people to open their Bibles and compare what Scripture says with what a well-known and much adored current teacher is putting in to print, and vocalizing on her television productions.   My intent was not, and is not, to attack her personally (I think I'd actually enjoy her spunk and humor), but to question the biblical accuracy of her teachings.   Some accepted the what I hoped was lovingly wrapped challenge, and others saw me as being picky, picky, picky.    You know what?  That's OK.  When handling the Word of God, we NEED to be picky, picky, picky.

There is yet another author who has published books that many people (including some of my dear friends) are running to for inspiration and guidance.   And why not?  It's the words of Jesus.  Or are they?   We as Christ followers have His God-breathed, inspired Word in our hands when we open our Bible.   Why, oh why, would Jesus have to speak outside of His Word through the pen of another human?   While the author states that her book is not inspired in the same way the Bible is, I ask then how?  Then why?    There is a blogger I stumbled upon when looking for more information on this book, and I came across the words of a woman who expresses my concerns far better than I am able.  
I hope that if you have a pause in your heart about this book, you will find answers why that pause is there in this blog post:  

Monday, January 28, 2013


Life has been a bit rough and bumpy lately.  I've been trying to navigate my way around potholes of health issues, loneliness, parenting challenges,  uncertain addresses, and other life situations.   There have been moments where I have felt like giving up and not pressing on to what I have been called and equipped to do on my life's journey.   It's been too tempting to stay in my pajamas while teaching math and science to my children, to heat up the umpteenth can of soup and call it a meal.

Yesterday morning was a tough one.  My natural inclination was to stay home from church, cocoon myself away from others, and try to grab some extra hours of sleep that have been in short supply the past few weeks.  I made it through the morning, albeit sans make-up, and almost got through a yummy potluck dinner at church before Micah experienced another of his massive nosebleeds.   After Dave got it somewhat under control, I took Micah home to get him cleaned up.  He was pale and not his usual zippy self, but he was determined to play in his basketball game.  

While Micah was getting his team's tee shirt on, and tying up his basketball shoes,  I gathered wipes and hand towels to bring a long in case another bloody nose came upon Micah.   We got to the gym full of enthusiastic first and second graders, parents, and grandparents.   Thankfully I had remembered to take some pain reliever for my already throbbing head.  An hour, I could make it through.

Finally Micah's game began.  A game that is supposed to be basketball, but in actuality looks like a combination of football, wrestling, soccer, with some a foundation of basketball underneath it all.  It's entertaining.  It's precious.   My son is not the fastest on the court, he has yet to make a basket, and he likes to guard his own teammates who are trying to make baskets.   He does it all with a smile and zeal. It doesn't discourage him when others say, "What ARE you doing?".  He doesn't give up when he is playing at half strength and looking pale as a glass of milk.   The loud buzz of the signal causes him anxiety, so he wears his bright orange earplugs and doesn't care when other children stare at him.  He lives.  He goes on.  He presses forward.  He doesn't let his different style and abilities hinder him.  He finds solutions, gets the assistance he needs, and continues on.   He is my little hero with a big heart and a giant love for life.  He is my teacher.  He is my son.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pass the Gravy, Please

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Thanksgiving always brings to mind one my first attempt at making gravy. I was a young bride bursting with domestic enthusiasm. My husband and I invited another young family from our church over to celebrate the giving of thanks, including sharing what I envisioned to be the Good Housekeeping seal of award Thanksgiving dinner. 

The turkey was roasted to a nice golden brown crispiness on the outside, and tender perfection on the inside. Marshmallow covered sweet potatoes were ready to be popped in the oven for a quick bake. Now it was time to put what I thought would be the easiest of all food preparations together. The gravy. How hard could this be? I had my pan drippings from the turkey. Had some salt nearby. Was it cornstarch or flour? Could not remember, so I got both out from the pantry. Browning liquid? Oops – didn’t have that, so I was set to be creative with just the right mix of food coloring. How hard could light brown be, really? 

After several emergency phone calls were placed to my grandma and mother who graciously didn’t laugh at me (at least that I heard), I was ready to proceed. Why wasn’t my gravy thickening? Must need more flour, a little more cornstarch too couldn’t hurt. A few drops of this color, a few drops of that, surely soon this gravy would look somewhat brownish. 

As we gathered around the table I explained that the gelatinous glob of lemon yellow foodstuff in the gravy boat was no, not a custardy dessert, but indeed gravy. My dear husband tried to be a good sport with his affirmation that it was sure to taste good. I did my best to hold back the tears and enjoy the presence of my dear friends and own little family gathered around the table. The truth was, the “gravy” didn’t taste good. It was like trying to swallow wet chalk. Believe me, the last thing I felt like doing was giving thanks. 

As I think back to the circumstances of that long ago Thanksgiving feast failure, I am reminded that all of us as women have seen circumstances of much greater depth, disappointment, and discouragement than a batch of botched gravy. Giving thanks in seasons of grieving the loss of a loved one, the ending of a relationship, the pain of moving, all are difficult if not nearly impossible in our own strength. And yet, as a follower of Christ we know that His will for us is to give thanks in ALL things. 

This Thanksgiving, whether you are in a season of rejoicing, or in one of pain, let’s give thanks together to the One who deserves our gratitude every moment of every day. When we feel like the world is crumbling around us, let us rest in the One who holds every moment of every day together by His will and perfect plan. It is His will that we give thanks in all things. Will you?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Not Home Yet

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands."  2 Corinthians 5:1

I love all things home.  I get a thrill from paint chips, a butterfly in the tummy from funky furniture, a giddy feeling from seeing the perfect placement of cheery pillows on a sofa or bed.  Yes, Pinterest is my friend, and also my enemy.   What often begins as a few minutes of gathering cozy ideas  to apply to my house often ends up being a reminder that what I need to transform my house into the idyllic combined farm/beach house is beyond my budget, time, and talents.   

Nesting is a good thing.  Momma birds lovingly prepare a home for their babies.  We human parents enjoy doing the same for our families.  Homes are at their best when they are a reflection (a small at best is our human hope) of heaven.   But sometimes, I know that I, and maybe you, struggle to remember that while our homes can provide a sanctuary, they are not heaven.  They are not forever.

A few years ago I was talking with a friend about the reality that her family may soon lose their home.  I asked her how she was coping with the uncertainty of  not knowing where her family may have to live if foreclosure proceedings continued.  Her response still rings in my heart, "If we lose everything, we still have a Home in heaven."    Yes,  this friend is amazing.  Her certainty of knowing her eternal address and not forgetting it during times of earthly crisis humbled and encouraged me.  

We currently are living in a rental (small) house (that doesn't quite feel like home).  Praying fervently that our house back "east" sells so we can put a down payment on the dream home we've found.  Every few days I check the listing website to see if "our" house is still available.  My heart rests when I see that no one has purchased it yet.  Through several different devotions I have read, God has been speaking to me about not making the "perfect has everything I've ever imagined" house an idol.  Not putting my "then my family will feel like we're home and everyone will get along better" hopes on an address.   He is reminding me that while we enjoy glimpses of heaven in our homes,  we're not there yet.

I hope if you, like me, enjoy pinning photos of just right rooms and perfect paint palettes, that together we will do so with the perspective of eternity and remember the old song's words, "This world is not my home, I'm just a -passin' through." 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Living Thanks

Welcome to the first day of Broken and Blessed. It is my hope to share a short devotional thought as time, children, and life as a pastor's wife allows me. I hope that as I share how God has blessed, encouraged, forgiven, restored, and in all LOVED me, you will be encouraged as well. Sometimes we think we're all alone on this journey, but we're not. May this humble attempt at a devotional blog remind you of that.

 I John 4:19 "We love because he first loved us."

Many of you. like me, have posted daily reasons for thanks on Facebook or other social media sites. It's been inspiring to read the many unique ways God has blessed so many of my dear friends and family. It is a good thing to pause and remember and celebrate all we've been given in this life.

 I've been challenged this last week to thank God for who He is and how that translates in my life as His follower. Let me preface by saying I have been reading an interesting book that calls its readers to return to a simpler life. A life that puts people on a higher level than possessions. A life that puts the eternal above the temporal. I've gleaned some good insights from this book, but there is one thing that it also has been leaving me with. Guilt. Why? Because the book focuses heavily on the thought that because we have so much and the world has so little, our duty is to to get rid of excess and give to those who are lacking. Yes, that's a good thing. But guilt never serves as a good motivator. Why? Because we never measure up, we can never do enough. It tires us, defeats us, wears us out. So what is the best motivator for us to give thanks? The Love that God poured out to us in His Son. That love and forgiveness was not earned, it was freely given. When we really stop, consider, and live in the receiving of Christ's death for our sins, our natural life's reaction will be that of a living thank you letter. Loving others, thanking others, blessing others, no longer becomes a task, or chore to mark off of our lists, but a natural, vibrant, never-run-dry lifestyle. We can truly love others. Not in ourselves, but because of His love inhabiting in us and overflowing to the world.

Thanking Him together with you for who HE is and all HE has done,