Monday, August 30, 2010


I have some issues and I'm burdened. I'm tired and I'm struggling with the coming many things are changing. I have some life issues, relationship issues, practical issues, ministry issues and so on. I'm "here"...and I'm not particularly looking forward to some of the "there" places I will have to go this next year. Don't get me wrong, in the big picture I KNOW things will be fine BUT the little picture can be overwhelming at times...know what I mean?!

I was really struck by these verses penned by the Prophet Isaiah, thousands of years ago...he is addressing some idolatry issues. I wonder if I have any of those?! (I say knowing the obvious answer!)

Isaiah 46:1b-2 "The things that you carry are burdensome, A load for the weary beast. They stooped over, they have bowed down together; They could not rescue the burden, But have themselves gone into captivity. "

What struck me most is how appropriate the words are to how I feel right now. I feel burdened and weary...stooped over and pulled down by the weight of these issues. The more I try to alleviate the burden, hold it OR rescue it...the more I actually am enslaved by it! The real question is; do I believe the words..."They could not rescue the burden"? As my burdens become my idols, I feel so very responsible for them. I try to rescue them-in my flesh, every time. I justify them. I modify them. I re-model them. I calculate and "work" on them.

I get weighted down by them so easliy or do I simply and repeatedly acknowledge that I can not rescue them and drop them? As Matthew 11:28-30 says;

"Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and 'you will find rest for your souls.' for My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Jesus is our burden bearer...He already bore ALL of the burden. My issues are His issues....He knows that they will weight me down and will only enslave me, thus the reason I need to learn, by faith, to come early and often to this living breathing love and grace-based relationship with my burden-Bearer. I don't want to go into captivity, do you? Praise the Lord we have One with constantly initiates and beckons "Come".

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Ring…

We celebrated our twentieth Anniversary yesterday. Let’s go back; August 25th 1990 I received my wedding ring. It was a simple, etched gold band that my engagement ring rested against- simple, sweet and beautiful. John was new in youth ministry and didn’t have much money, so the rings were also thin. Very thin. Within the first year of marriage, I got the idea of having the two bands soldered together and having 2 small diamonds placed on each side of my engagement ring, making it one ring, and my sweet husband graciously accommodated me. SO, for 20 years…I have lived with a lovely and very delicate ring.

I approached marriage quite the same way. I was simple, delicate and weak yet filled with lots of expectations. Like my idea within the first year about the ring, I had A LOT more ideas of what needed to change and be modified in our marriage and specifically John within that first year as well. You could guess, that took its toll.

Here’s the problem…evidently I am rough on rings. Over the course of the last 20 years I have had to have the ring “fixed” twice….on the underside of the ring-time, wear, pressure and years of just wearing it had worn it down to a bear thread…the metal simply wore away and was ready to break, two separate times. The last time I was at the jewelers he told me, “I’m so sorry ma’am but I won’t be able to do this again. Next time you will have to have the whole ring re-set. This band is simply not strong enough.”

You have no idea how much this parallels parts of our 20 year marriage. There have been several times where we have been worn through to a thread, with the threat of our marriage breaking apart. As with my ring, life happens. Time, circumstances, pressure and sin wear us down and wear a marriage down. There was a time when, like the jeweler, I said to myself, “One more time…and I’m done. I can’t fix this. I’m simply not strong enough.” Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been all bad at all, but we have seen several very ugly times in our 20 years.

Joel is a great little book…this prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel was given a message. Trouble was coming and part of that trouble was going to be locust- locust that stripped EVERYTHING bear. 15 years ago, that was my life and our marriage- stripped bare, useless, held together by a thread. Later on in the book of Joel however, there is a promise given…it won’t be realized until the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of the New Covenant but it is still a promise in the midst of coming devastation; Joel 2:25, “I will restore to you the years that the locust have eaten…”

I have to testify that this is what the Lord IS doing in our marriage. We still fight sometimes, I can be the biggest jerk ever and John can be a real treat himself BUT the Lord has redeemed each of us personally and done major amounts of healing in a marriage I wouldn’t have given you $5 for 15 years ago. He is restoring to us the years that the locust have eaten…what was a barren land is now becoming useful, by His Grace and through His enduring love and patience towards us. Christ became the foundation of our marriage in more than word but in reality. He became the foundation to each of us individually. He is the One who is secure.

John gave me my new re-set ring yesterday. My delicate broken ring was stretched out over a thick gold band…soldered together, the two becoming one. The jeweler told him, “Nothing is going to break them apart. You could throw it against the wall all day and it won’t break. You want to try?!” Ummm….no. That wouldn’t be wise.

The simple truth is; there are times still coming when we might feel like we have been hurled against the wall, again. We don’t want to add to the complication of life but life will continue to happen for the next 20 years…each of us will still be living with a sinner in a fallen world but we have been set together, like a solder, by the One who will never change. As we grow closer to Him and then to each other…He literally restores the years the locust have eaten and makes the years to come fruitful and useful for His Kingdom purposes- solid and secure. Thank you Lord for setting us together 20 years ago, You are the Cord that cannot be broken- may we continue to trust and cling to You!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fall TV (and other stuff) schedule 2010.

I love TV. There, I said it…I’m embarrassed and ashamed but I really do love wasting my time and “vegging” in front of the TV. I feel entitled about this time. Honestly, I have to put a personal boundary on myself because I do think I could become a couch potato! I told my family today, that I think a great vacation would be to just go into a room with a TV, movies, snacks and a comfy couch and veg for a couple of days. I like TV and yes, I feel the judgment of that! I can “hear” some of you….who cannot believe people can waste time like this and then there are the others who know exactly what I mean!

As we enter into this new Fall TV season I was looking over the new show listing…some “old” shows have been cancelled, others are coming back...and yet others, are brand new or a re-modeled new. Some sound interesting and others not so much…As I perused what was coming for this fall, I was struck by how much personal opinion matters. I know that I very obvious. Have you ever had someone say they just LOVE a show and then you give it a try and uggg, you hate it! You cannot understand how anyone can like it, but many do. Personal opinion. I do have a point here…really.

I wonder if we ever approach the Church and its “programs” with the same ideas of personal opinion. If we peruse the upcoming events of our Church and give a knee jerk reaction like we do with TV shows. Or maybe we are like the executives who “view the ratings” and cancel…programs or unfortunately even people. We try to re-make old ideas into new or try for brand spanking new ideas across the board- just to increase the ratings.

Hmmmm… makes me think and it also causes me to be aware that I need to guard my heart and my attitude about my personal opinion and preferences, making sure they don’t get in the way of what the Lord wants to accomplish the Fall.

What is your Fall lining up to look like? What do you have scheduled? Are you making sure to "slot" in time with your Church and other believers? Make time, schedule the time…don’t let your personal opinion of the options keep you from trying something new or old. Your opinion matters don’t get me wrong BUT His opinion keeps the ratings right where they need to be. Get involved in your Church this Fall…the couch will still be there when you get home!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Musings Prompted by Oswald...

August 17th My Upmost for His Highest- Oswald Chambers…”Our Lord knows perfectly that when once His word is heard, it will bear fruit sooner or later. The terrible thing is that some of us prevent it bearing fruit in actual life.” Ouch.

In today’s devotional Oswald leads us to the rich young ruler who leaves sorrowful after being told a hard word- sell all you have and follow Me. The young man left sad and Jesus didn’t follow…He didn’t argue, plead or threaten…He simply let Him go. Christ trusted His Word to do its work in him.

The above quote struck me, ok, it stomped me on the toes. It reminded me of Isaiah 55:10-11 “For as the rain and the snow come down from the heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

God has a lot of faith in His Word. Do I? Do I believe that His Word is working in me and in the people I love? Am I cooperating with His Word or working against it…in me and in others? Am I getting in the way!? OUCH!

How do we “prevent it bearing fruit in actual life”? Well, like the rich young ruler, I wonder if MY plans don’t get in the way. I wonder if the box that I have constructed which I think the God of the Universe should fit in, in how and why He does what He does gets in the way. Faith in ME gets in the way…as if I have something to offer.

Hummm….Oswald’s simple statement makes me pause and think and then pause again and ask…”Lord, what do YOU see that hinders or prevents Your Word from working in me and in me to others?” I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to stand in the way, sit in the way, do in the way, or any other “in the way” you can think of…of what He is desiring to do in me and in others. He will do what He is going to do and His Word will accomplish what He has set forth for it to do. I need to continually get on His page and ask, submit, agree and respond in faith to Him, trusting Him that He is enough.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The days ordained....

I celebrated my 41st birthday this week, and I’ve been pondering the aging process. I know, fun thoughts! Yes, 41 is half of 82, as John so lovingly reminds me. I woke up on my birthday thinking about;

Psalm139:13-16, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me together in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

I also woke up thanking my mom for her fortitude...I was a late in life baby, my mom was 40 when she had me and my dad 48. Do the math, she's 81 and he's 88. In addition to celebrating my birthday this week, I also went to the doctor with my dad, where his rights to drive were permanently revoked. As I sat, listened and watched my dad be stripped of his “privilege”- the aging process took on a whole new look. My dad is a dying old man….and I am a dying middle-aged woman. Again, with the the fun thoughts, I know! All those days, even the day where my dad sat bewildered, yet with grace, hearing of another change of life phase…that day was written down in God’s book. I was struck by the fact that one day that will come for me too.

How will I handle that day and phase? Will God’s grace seem to be enough then and will I remember that even that day was ordained and known by Him? Will I still know and believe that I am fearfully and wonderfully made…even in that stage of life? I had the joy of learning this lesson from my dad. My dad’s outer man is decaying (as is mine!) but his inner man is being renewed day by day-2 Corinthians 4:16. Even in these decaying years my father is STILL fearfully and wonderfully made…made with a purpose and with days still ordained for him. God’s word says; our soul knows that very well. My dad’s soul knows that even in this time, God’s works for him and in him are wonderful. This aging process, this dying process is ugly, hard and sometimes unwanted BUT He is still in the midst of it. He still has His purposes in and through us in it. Praise His Name!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It has been a long time.... has been a really long time since I posted- 5 going on 6 months. Where does the time go?! I don't know about you but it goes awfully fast! Summer is almost over and the school year is starting...again. I don't feel particularly ready. Although who says "ready" is a requirement? Time simply keeps marching on.

As I think about the last few months they have been filled with a lot of good things, busy things, and some hard things. John and I have grown a lot these last months, as we have been faced with some difficult circumstances and relationships. Its amazing how connected our growth and trials are!? Take a few minutes and read 1 Peter chapter 1. That seems to be the plan and I've been learning a whole new level of this and honestly, been asking if this REALLY has to be the plan?

What I've seen in me is; I like comfort. I like peaceful times. I like status quo...evidently the Lord likes conformity to His Image. I? I want to say "yes, of course" but looking over some very strategic things in our lives these last few month and what has surfaced in ME, things that are not too pleasing to the Lord...this shows me how much I really like to cling to ME, instead of embracing and leaning into His conformity and His plan to conform.

I don’t know about you but are you learning to lean into His conformity through people and circumstances…through trials? I slowly learning by His grace and I'm also learning to know HIM. Let us learn to lean into Him in all things and let time march on until we see Him face to face and our faith is made sight and our conformity in practicality is perfected-when we see Him!