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Monthly Archives: January 2011

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For Right Now

I sit in the big comfy overstuffed chair with my feet propped up on the ottoman. It’s 6:42 a.m., and I’ve been up since 4. So I am ready for a nap. But sleep doesn’t come. I watch her sleep away the nausea. Wondering what the day will bring. Strangely, I’m not afraid. God’s peace prevails even as I think through her last four bouts with throwing up. Each one starting with “my tummy hurts” and me breaking into an instant cold sweat. Each one ending with a trip to the hospital that lasted anywhere from two hours to three days.

Then came the questions.

“Why, God? Why won’t you protect her from this stuff? Why does she have to throw up so much? She loves you so much, God, in her sweet little 6-year-old way. So why?”

And each time, He’s shown me something new about Himself and His plan. But, each time, I have begged Him to spare her the I.V. needle that she so horridly dreads. And, in all honesty, I wonder why He must use such suffering to teach such things. I think I will never know this side of eternity. So the questions remain.

But, somehow, right now there is peace. And I am learning that right-now-peace is enough peace.

Snow Thoughts

January always provokes deep thoughts for me. Perhaps it’s the slow-down after the holidays. Or maybe it’s the always-inside-looking-out-the-window-wondering-when-it’ll-warm-up-enough-to-venture-back-outside-again. Whatever the reason, the truth remains: there is something about the frozen ground and the snow-covered-everything that inspires a sort of awe inside of me. Strangely, I’ve never noticed it before.

I was thinking this morning about this snow-covered, frozen kind of beauty. And it occurred to me that winter is so much about hope. And renewal. It’s about preparing for re-made earth and all the fresh in-the-raw that approaches underneath all of that frozen.

I was also reminded of the picture of God’s snow-blanketing grace and the beauty that it is.

 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
   says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
   they shall be as white as snow . . . ”   Isaiah 1:18, NIV

I thought of dark red crimson and how many snowflakes it would take to cover it completely and make it only snow white.  How extreme that cleansing would have to be. How extreme that cleansing is — the kind He gave me. It’s the clean that God sees when He looks at my heart through the lens of the Jesus-blood He used to clean me. White as snow. 

And I decided that God must have a pretty good sense of humor. Because I have never liked the cold of winter and the forever-long month of February with the salt-dirty cars driven by winter-weary people. But somehow, in all of these winterly thoughts, I am realizing that I have somehow come to love it.

I wonder if that makes God laugh.

What He Wants From Me

I am realizing that what God has given me to use for His glory is more about Him, less about me.

Duh.

All this time, I’ve been trying so hard to find the way He has for me. As if it were about me. I’ve been trying to learn the song He wrote for me to perform. As if it were for my fame. But the singer just sings. The Writer’s heart is the one that speaks.

I want to do beautiful things. To write beautiful words in creatively-crafted ways so that His very Who-He-Is glares from the page. But He wants something very, very different.

He wants to be the beautiful thing I do.

Highlights of a Different Kind

It was the beginning of prayer time in our Sunday school class. It being the first one of the new year, he asked a question. One I’d never been asked:

What was the spiritual highlight of 2010 for you?

It caught me off guard, really. For, although I’d often reflected on years past and all that I might have learned, I’d never really thought about summing up a year’s highlights from the perspective of my walk with God.

I quickly remembered the day that God used His Word to infuse courage and hope and wisdom into the my-youngest-child-starts-kindergarten-tomorrow-and-I’m-a-complete-mess-about-it state of mind. He showed me Psalm 40 that day and assured me that although mom-life as I know it drastically changed, He is guiding and teaching and molding me to sing the song He wrote just for me.

But the question stuck with me for the rest of the day. What were my spiritual highlights of 2010? And, all through the day, I recalled the life-sticky lessons He started working in my heart throughout what I consider to be one of the more difficult years of my adult life.

Like the one about choosing to obey what He asks, even when it’s not exciting or fun and doesn’t end in admiration from others. He started that spark of a lesson in my heart while I trained to walk my second half-marathon even though I had wanted to run it. But it was not about me. It was about those orphans who hurt and are hurting, often at the hands of their parents. The ones He holds so dearly and asked me to help take care of. He started giving me His heart. And teaching me that loving Him means obeying.

Then I remembered the evenings of that dreaded week in October after I’d begged His mercy for no sickness or difficulty in my daughter’s tonsilectomy/andenoidectomy. I struggled those first few nights wondering why He wouldn’t just answer this one time and let her not have to suffer even just this once. But, as I drove her to the hospital for what we have learned is her propensity to get dehydrated upon throwing up just a few times, He washed my soul with the assurance that He is indeed the One to trust through all the crap of this life. Because He walks with me always, even when I don’t want to walk through it at all. Even when it means He has to help me hold the barf bowl.

  When the earth and all its people quake,
   it is I who hold its pillars firm.  Psalm 75:3

And somehow in those early morning hours, knowing He was with me and still holding it all together was enough.

I remembered a few more spiritual highlights :

Like realizing I had not screwed up His plan 20 years ago when I made all those really stupid, unwise, foolish choices in high school. When I got to my 20-year high school reunion, He let me see that He worked in spite of me, and somehow He was able to work even in the midst of my foolishness. That night, He freed me up from all that guilt I carried for all those years. And His grace led me to deep-hearted gratitude for my amazing God! Thank You, Jesus! Yep, that was a definite highlight.

He’s still working me through another one. It has to do with His mercy and His care and intimacy with Him. He’s walking me through it. And I have a feeling it’s gonna’ end up being a highlight from the decade. Although I’m not quite there yet.

So, how about you? What were some of the spiritual highlights of 2010 for you?

p.s. Happy New Year!