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Monthly Archives: October 2010

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Some Catching Up . . .

My daughter had her tonsils and adenoids removed 12 days ago.  So I’ve been away from my computer and occupied elsewhere.  Following the call to care for my ailing child.  And learning much about this life God has called me to.  The life He came to give me.  No doubt I’ll write more about this for weeks and months to come.  But for now, I’ll just leave it at that.

So I thought I would let you in on some of the things I’ve been learning during my computer hiatus. 

Here goes (in no particular order) . . .

  • When God called me not to be a nurse, He totally knew what He was doing.
  • Even when things go wrong and my prayers don’t get answered the way I think they should, He still holds the pillars of the earth firmly in His strong hands.  (Ps 75:3)
  • Watching Disney Channel sitcoms like Good Luck Charlie and Hannah Montana Forever reminds me of watching tv sitcoms when I was a kid.  And I love it.  (Please don’t judge.  Just love. K? 🙂 )
  • My husband does not enjoy the sitcom reminiscing as much as I do.
  • The help of family is an amazing gift.
  • Friends are a true blessing of the Lord.

How about you?  What have you been learning?  Let’s catch up . . .

Umbrellas and Four Letter Words.

I live under an umbrella.  It has a name : God’s way for my life.  I don’t know exactly what it looks like, but I like to think it’s got a bunch of big pink and yellow and orange polka-dots all over.  It’s really super big, this umbrella so it can keep me from ruining my clothes, the ones I got when I surrendered my life to God and His ways.  But sometimes I forget about it and start to think I don’t really need it anymore.  So I venture outside of its protection.  Where the wind and rain and hail and sleet pelt anyone and anything that dares take it on.

That’s when I come crawling back.  Back under the umbrella of God’s way for my life. 

You might be wondering how I walk with this perpetual umbrella constantly overhead.  The truth is, this kind of walking has pretty much nothing to do with my feet or my legs.  It’s a walk of the spirit.  The kind that can only be done by learning what God says.  By studying His Word and interacting with it.  By talking with Him about how to do it.  Constantly.  It’s called fellowship.  Intimate contact with the Lord of my life.

So when God tells me how to something, if I want to stay under the protection of the umbrella, I need to do it how He says.  Makes sense, right? 

And when it comes to being a wife, as someone who has asked the God of Life to be the Ruler of mine, that umbrella leads me to submit to my husband as the leader of our home.

It’s not an easy word.  The #1 definition at Dictionary.com is “to give over or yield to the power or authority of another (often used reflexively).”  There’s a subtle difference there that, in my opinion, makes all the difference.  Submitting involves a choice that I make.  The choice to yield to my husband the authority that I would otherwise have in my home.  Because that how God designed it.  For the husband to ultimately be in charge.  And, as I practice submission, I am learning to be more like Jesus Christ.  In her book, Finding the Hero in Your Husband, Dr. Julianna Slattery writes, “Submission requires that I become the best that I can be, and use that strength to develop my trust in God rather than trying to get my way.  This is how God can teach me to become more like Christ (p 59).”

What Submission is Not

In all honesty, I am kind of afraid of this topic.  I’ve kind of avoided it as if it were a four-letter word.  That’s why I’ve never really discussed it here for the past 30 or so Mondays.  Because there is a whole lot of misunderstanding about it.  Because there are lots of men (and women), I think, who believe submission is just another word for obedience.  And that gets scary.  Because men are human.  Thus sinful.  And certainly not the end all be all of our existence as wives.  However, under the umbrella of God’s way, I am called to submit, to choose to yield my authority, to my husband. 

That does not mean that if my husband gets me drunk and then tells me to drive my kids to their gandma’s house, I am called to obey.  Certainly not.  Hopefully, that’s obvious.  Because that kind of false submission leads away from the overarching umbrella of God’s way.  About this, Dr. Slattery writes, “It is not a husband’s authority that ultimately rules, but God’s.”  She also says, “Submission is not absolute.” 

Ephesians 5:22 tells us to “submit to  your husbands as to the Lord.”  And Colossians 3:18 says, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”  In other words, we are called to submit in a way that fits submitting to God Himself.  In a way that brings glory to God.  And I think we would all agree that “submitting” to physical abuse or breaking the law would not constitute submitting in a way that “is fitting in the Lord.”

Neither does submission entail the husband making every single decision.  Every single time.  I believe God designed marriage for the strengthening of two people, whom He created, in order to bring Himself glory.  Kind of like a team.  Only, as Dr. Slattery says, the husband has a 51% majority vote.  Because if nobody were in charge, there would be chaos.  Somebody’s gotta do it.  And, as God would have, it, that role belongs to the husband.  (Which, if you think about it, is rather brilliant, given the fact that they often don’t have the perpetual multitasking going on inside that we women are so handily skilled at.  They can tune things out like most women cannot.  I realize I am stereotyping a bit, but that definitely rings true in my home.)

I realize this is brief.  And there are many, many more facets involved in the whole topic of submission as it relates to husbands and wives.  That’s why I’d like to open up the discussion here in the comments.  Tell me what you think.  Let’s try to move each othere to a better understanding of the biblical submission that we are called to as wives.  And I will really look forward to it.

**Do you have a post you’d like to share here about being a vigilant wife?  I hope so! Just leave a link in the comments so we can all read and be encouraged by what God’s doing in you as a wife, and consequently in your marriage.

Of Fears and Worries and Trust and Soul-Rest

Realizing that God often uses hard times to draw us near to Him has been a recent distraction for me.  Because I have been anxious about much.  So much worry… like my new fear of bees due to my newfound allergic reaction to their stings.  And the horribly huge biggest black/brown spider that I found lurking in the dark bottom of a bucket in the garage (the squishing of which caused me to walk around with my face all puckered-up, grossed-out-like for probably an hour).

And then there’s the whole my-daughter’s-getting-her-tonsils-removed-this-week fear, which has been known to consume my thoughts and eat up every ounce of peace within me since the day the surgery was scheduled.  Because she has really struggled with illness and difficult (but oh-so-temporary) health issues in the past two years.  Because I do not do well around blood.  Neither do I do well around barf.  (Sorry — just keepin’ it real.)  And those are two very real possible factors when it comes to a six-year-old having surgery.

But God is good.  Always.  And He uses grace and mercy to pull us near.  So we’ll know Him intimately.  Sure, sometimes He uses difficult seasons and hard times as tools to get us to see that grace and mercy more clearly.  (Including, but not limited to, lots of barf .  I’m speaking both literally and figuratively here.)  But not always.  I mean, He loves to give good gifts to His children.

Thus, the culmination of the aforementioned distraction.  Because I have decided to trust Who I AM says He IsGoodCompassionateKindLoving and merciful.  My Refuge and my Rock.  No matter what. 

 You will keep in perfect peace 
  him whose mind is steadfast, 
  because he trusts in you.

  Trust in the LORD forever, 
  for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. 

Isaiah 26:3-4

 So this week I am asking my perfect and good and always Sovereign Heavenly Father to show Himself compassionate and good to my sweet little girl as she first goes through this surgery and then as she heals.  Because He said I could ask boldly.  Because He said He likes to give good gifts.  Because I trust Who He is more than what I think He should do.

Because He promised His peace and soul-rest for the burdened. 

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

 

So that’s where I’ll be while my baby girl gets her tonsils and adenoids removed.  And it’s where I’ll stay all week as she heals.  Clinging to Jesus for soul-rest.  And trusting Him to give it.

Join me?

A Very Non-poetic Update

So this week’s been a rough spot. As we prepare for the adventure of my 6-year-old’s tonsilectomy/adenoidectomy next week, we have gone through some drama. It started in the wee hours of last Friday morning, actually, when I woke up with possibly the worst stomach pain. ever. (excluding, of course, labor, but it was close). When the pain moved to my right side on Saturday, it was suggested I go the e.r., where I spent the entire afternoon peeing in cups, soaking in I.V.’s and taking a ride through my first-ever c.a.t. scan. It was a ruptured ovarian cyst. Turns out, ovarian cysts really hurt.

So, I just thought I’d let you know why the hiatus. I’ll be back. I promise.

See you then . . .

And So Begins the Hunt

It was a difficult summer. 

Having done battle with the deep and dark of my on-the-brink-emotions, my heart is learning to cling to the Giver of Life.  The Only One Who can truly heal.  I have flung to the balm of His Word through the ugly cries and the streaming tears.  And, I believe, He is pulling me out.  Healing me in His perfect way.  With His perfectly chosen tools.  And teaching me to sing the song He composed just for me.

But as I emerge on the other side, still struggling with the gravity that tries to hold me down, I find another battle lurking just ahead.  It is the battle for truth.  The one that tries to convince me that God only gives good gifts through the means of hard times.  True that He does use suffering to grow us, no doubt.  But that father of lies twists this truth and makes me forget that Love Himself is loving and kind, compassionate and full of grace.

And so, I think it’s time for me to start looking for 1,000 things that Ann Voskamp so beautifully encourages at her blog.  I’ve become bogged down with life and struggles and battles.  And I think I’ve lost the joy.  Lord, help me to see Your gifts.  Help me to be thankful through and through, for each one.  Give me a heart of gratitude and thankfulness.  Help me to know what it means to seek the Kingdom of God first and then to trust You to add all the things.

I’ve been afraid.  And meloncholy about God.  I’ve forgotten His goodness.  And so I will begin the hunt for 1,000 things to be thankful for.  And I will start with these…

  1. the super bright orange tree I can see through my window
  2. finding a picture that fits my blog
  3. no stomach pain
  4. shorts weather in the middle of October
  5. a husband who is learning to dream
  6. laughing with tears
  7. teachers who love my kids
  8. music that makes me want to write
  9. clean sheets
  10. the way leaves twirl as they fall 
  11. cold nights that need a warm blanket
  12. healing
  13. holy exhttp://www.aholyexperience.com/2003/06/gratitude-community.htmlperience

Unexpected Expectations

I was never one of those girls who dreamed of her wedding day all of her life.  I mean, I dreamed of being married, but the wedding day in my mind didn’t really make the radar screen.  I don’t think I was like a lot of little girls who dream of big fantasy, fairytale weddings where millions of dollars are spent on ensuring her perfect day.  The kind of dreams on which bridezillas are built.

But . . .

Those dreams of being married translated into some pretty fierce expectations for the life after the wedding.  I’m thinking wifezilla pretty much sums it up.

Thing is, I didn’t expect to have so many expectations.

Like passion every night.  And doing the dishes together, every night, while chatting about our days.  Like never letting our children get the best of us, but working through everything. together. every time. always.  Like never, ever keeping secrets.  Only ever complete transparency, which meant telling each other every detail of every part of every day.

Needless to say, it didn’t take long for my wifezilla expectations to come face-to-face with the big huge pill called reality.

Thankfully, my husband has always been an amazingly understanding, Spirit-controlled man who does not get easily angered.  But there was one evening when he’d had enough.  He looked at me in my hope-dashed state as I dealt with the reality that he was going to watch football instead of joining me in the other room while I rocked the baby (or something like that), and he just simply said, “Don’t you ever just let anything go?”

That night was a turning point in our marriage, I believe.  It cut me to the core in an Extreme Makeover kind of way.  Extreme Makeover : Wifezilla Edition.  And it forced me to think through all of the expectations I had for our marriage.  Actually, for my husband.  All that I expected from him.

And I realized that the list was long.  R-e-a-l-l-y, s-u-p-e-r  l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g.

We were just talking about that recently.  Strangely, I had never realized the makeover that God started that night almost nine years ago.  Amazingly, He’s still rebuilding.  (Yes, it’s that extreme!)  My husband brought it up, actually, and told me how thankful he was for the different woman I’d become.  The kind of woman that can let go of some of her expectations and filter them first through the Word of God and His expectations and then through the marriage that is ours.  Not mine.  But mine and my husband’s marriage.

I still dream of an awesome marriage.  I still have super high hopes.  But they look different now.  They’re more our expectations.  Less mine. 

And I am so much happier for it.

How about you?  How have you dealt with unrealistic expectations in your own marriage?  Are you letting God and your husband help define those expectations? 

**It’s Vigilant Wives Club Monday!  And I’m starting something new . . . going through the book by Dr. Julianna Slattery called Finding the Hero in Your Husband.  You can find the schedule here if  you’d like to read along.  OR you can link up through the comments here and join in the discussion.  OR maybe you’d like to write about something you’re learning in your own marriage and link up right here in the comments.  You can do so by leaving your link in the comments.  (No linkytool today — let’s see how that works.)  Either way, I hope and pray that you are encouraged today in your marriage.

**By the way — did you hear the news?!?!  I’m moving.  To here.  See you there!!

Untamed Mercy

It’s been three weeks since the mercy storm blew through. I still cry when I see its destruction everytime I drive through the treeless void it left behind.
Yesterday as I drove through, the song “Mercy Seat” played loudly in my car, bellowing God’s mercy to the innermost parts of my soul. I was already crying for the truth of the song . . .

I know where there’s a place
Of mercy for you
He said that you could come into his
Presence without fear
Into this holy place
Where his presence hovers near.

And it hit me like the metal that wrapped around the trees on that fateful tornado-storm day. The very God, Who’s hand is stronger than the biggest funnel-cloud, tore open a path for me. For mercy. His very Word destroyed death and darkness. And now I can hover fearlessly close to Almighty Creator God.

The storm blew through and did as it pleased with whatever it pleased. A funnel shaped cloud that reached down to the ground, the trees and buildings and road signs giving way. Like the darkness that must give way to Light.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

A costly storm, no doubt. It cost Him everything. And now, His ilimitable fingers move funnel-shaped clouds through my soul. Where He wills. Were it not for mercy.

Try as I might, I cannot ignore the storm’s catastrophic effects. Hundred-year-old treetops twisted right off their trunks. Roofs gone. Buildings demolished. I know that someday most things will be repaired and it will be the new normal. But the three-week span has not stopped the tears I still cry when I see the devastation. Because the picture of untamed mercy sears deep in my soul. Power married mercy in the shape of a funnel.

I asked my husband if it did the same to him. No. I mean, nobody got hurt. No lives were lost.

True. And yet the effects of the unbridled power of the tornado storm point me to an even more mind-blowing miracle. This miracle called mercy.

The raging might of God’s untamed mercy blazed a path all its own. A path that tore apart the evil one’s plans for sin and death and darkness.

This mercy storm has far-reaching fingers that graze my inner soul, destroying my false beliefs and wavering institutions. They bring up an unsettled part of me the likes of which I have never before dealt. The part where I am forced to face the truth of the worth of God’s mercy. The cost that He paid to ensure my safety. And the truth of my own worth. How much He says I’m worth.

So this mercy storm knocks me down to my knees. Speechless. Powerless.

But for His mercy.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his pathes beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36)

Untamed Mercy

It’s been three weeks since the mercy storm blew through.  I still cry when I see its destruction everytime I drive through the treeless void it left behind. 

Yesterday as I drove through, the song “Mercy Seat” played loudly in my car, bellowing God’s mercy to the innermost parts of my soul.  I was already crying for the truth of the song . . .

I know where there’s a place
Of mercy for you
He said that you could come into his
Presence without fear
Into this holy place
Where his presence hovers near.

And it hit me like the metal that wrapped around the trees on that fateful tornado-storm day.  The very God, Who’s hand is stronger than the biggest funnel-cloud, tore open a path for me.  For mercy.  His very Word destroyed death and darkness.  And now I can hover fearlessly close to Almighty Creator God.

 The storm blew through and did as it pleased with whatever it pleased.  A funnel shaped cloud that reached down to the ground, the trees and buildings and road signs giving way.  Like the darkness that must give way to Light.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

A costly storm, no doubt.  It cost Him everything.   And now, His ilimitable fingers move funnel-shaped clouds through my soul.  Where He wills.  Were it not for mercy.

Try as I might, I cannot ignore the storm’s catastrophic effects.  Hundred-year-old treetops twisted right off their trunks.  Roofs gone.  Buildings demolished.  I know that someday most things will be repaired and it will be the new normal.  But the three-week span has not stopped the tears I still cry when I see the devastation.  Because the picture of untamed mercy sears deep in my soul.  Power married mercy in the shape of a funnel.

I asked my husband if it did the same to him.  No.  I mean, nobody got hurt.  No lives were lost. 

True.  And yet the effects of the unbridled power of the tornado storm point me to an even more mind-blowing miracle.  This miracle called mercy.

The raging might of God’s untamed mercy blazed a path all its own.  A path that tore apart the evil one’s plans for sin and death and darkness. 

This mercy storm has far-reaching fingers that graze my inner soul, destroying my false beliefs and wavering institutions.  They bring up an unsettled part of me the likes of which I have never before dealt.  The part where I am forced to face the truth of the worth of God’s mercy.  The cost that He paid to ensure my safety.  And the truth of my own worth.  How much He says I’m worth.

So this mercy storm knocks me down to my knees.  Speechless.  Powerless.

But for His mercy.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his pathes beyond tracing out!  Who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counselor?  Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?  For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever!  Amen.”  (Romans 11:33-36)

Wisdom Building

It happens more than I’d like to admit.  Everything will be going along just fine.  And then it hits.  It’s usually something relatively inconsequential like choosing the wrong color socks.  This morning, it was about the clean pants she put in with the dirty laundry.  She’d only worn them for about an hour, and I was trying to make a point.  But Monday morning before school is not the time for point-making.  So in the midst of trying to make a point, we lost the peace of the pre-leaving-for-school hour.  And I lost an opportunity to fortify the home that I am so diligently working to build.

EVERY WISE woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands.
 
Proverbs 14:1 (Amplified Bible)
Funny thing about wisdom is that it’s not really wisdom if it’s not used.  I can know what I need to do, but if I don’t do it, I am unwise.  Like the little nudge inside that I ignored.  The one that reminded me of what’s really important this morning.
That truth sobers me in light of the idea of building my house.

If I want my house to be strong, I will build it with wisdom.  Not brute strength.  But God-strength.  The kind of strength that is founded on the fear of the LORD.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)
I can know how to serve my husband and love my children and nurture their souls, but if I don’t do it, I am just like the foolish woman who tears down her home with her very own hands.
And wisdom is kind of tricky.  I mean, I do need to teach my daughter to put only what is dirty into the dirty laundry pile.  But, in all honesty, we’ve never even discussed that.  So why would I choose Monday morning before school to introduce it?  Wisdom knows the truth and seeks the right time to make it known.
Not just with my children, but my relationship with my husband desperately needs this kind of wisdom too.  The kind that builds instead of tearing down.  Not just with words, but with appropriate silence.  With prayer.  This kind of wisdom knows that the wise woman who builds her house has tremendous power to influence her home.  The wise woman realizes that she sets the climate for her home, whether she likes it or not.  And not only that, but she proactively sets the climate for warmth.  By fearing the LORD above all else.  By asking for wisdom from her very generous God.
So today I am asking Him for wisdom.  The kind of wisdom that only He can give.  The kind of wisdom that will build my home.
So — I have a question for you — what does wisdom look like in your home?  Leave a comment…I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

***It’s another week of Vigilant Wives Club. Here’s what’s going on if you’d like to keep up.  If you’d like to link up, please do so by adding your permalink to the linky tools thing here at the bottom of this post.  Or feel free to just paste your link in the comments section.