Redeeming the Time

Once again, friends, my analog life is taking precedence over my digital one. I have so many things swirling around in my mind but little time to put them down in virtual ink. So for this week, I thought I’d repost an oldie (without rereading it) based on the verse I’ve been meditating on the last day or two.

Hope to see ya soon!

Running the Race

Then watch how carefully you walk, not as unwise, but as wise ones, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16, LITV

After writing what ended up being closer to something like three separate posts concerning my thoughts about the fact, often mentioned in my circles, that Christians are viewed by many people as intolerant, bigoted, self-righteous, and other less-than-flattering labels, I have decided not to publish it… at least not right now.

Instead, as I have studied through the book of Ephesians, it struck me that there are several highly-relevant passages in the little letter that are probably worthy of greater consideration at present than my inane puzzlings over other folks’ perceptions.

For example, the focus for today in Ephesians 5:15-16 is a pretty little jewel that those of us who are in Christ ought to polish and wear prominently as this ugly little election season grinds to…

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Gone Fishin’

Well, I finished the Tuesday prayer a day late (actually a week and a day late, but who’s counting?) along with a little note that I’ll be taking July off from blogging. But lo and behold, the thing’s vanished. Every word of it.

So instead of starting from scratch and rewriting the thing, I’m just going to settle for the “taking July off” bit. I’m praying for the Church and for the lost. Always. But I’ll not be jotting them down on this virtual space for a little bit.

Too much to juggle and my kids are growing up way too quickly. See you in August!

Daddy Can

I just got back from an eventful few days in New Orleans, LA working with a mission group on a seminary campus. My church family and I packed in a lot to our little trip and it may take me a day or so to regain my bearings. On the trip, I was able to spend some time with the same little cuties from this post 2 years ago, it felt appropriate to reblog. Some of my questions from 2016 have been answered and others have not. But what I have gained since then is a certainty that God is good no matter what…

Running the Race

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:31

Yesterday, I had the privilege of spending a few hours with two sweet young ladies, ages one and three. It has been a while since my kids were that age, and I found it delightful to go through the nap time, the fascination with all the big, wide world, and even the inevitable but short-lived teary sessions when big sister got a little too intense for little sister.

During our time together, the oldest one frequently told me such things as, “My daddy can build anything!

When the littlest was carrying around a piece broken off from a yard toy, big sister had no doubts. “My daddy will fix it.”

When we found two sky-blue bird eggs in the grass, she said, “My daddy…

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On Bridles and Leashes

Some old thoughts while I’m out of the “office…”

Running the Race

Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
Psalms 32:9

I have very little experience with horses, but this verse rings true to me nonetheless. What I do have is a dog that I absolutely adore. Actually, I have two dogs but one if them is squarely my dog.

When she was a puppy,  she would only sleep in the crate if it was positioned where she could see me in the bed. If I leave through the downstairs door, she is often found waiting for me on the top stair when I return.

YumiWaiting004

Her crate days are long over, and while she has branched out a little and often ventures into rooms I am not present in, she does still, for the most part, follow me like… well, like a puppy dog.  She…

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Beauty?

Once again, I am underwater with intractable migraine, teens, a novel, and some article deadlines. Speaking of teens, today I wanted to share this post by a certain teen I am very proud of. I’ve been forbidden to say the name, but suffice to say I love this kid tons of tons!

Enjoy!

Christianity Doesn’t Bring Shame. It Removes It.

“If being hurt by the church causes you to lose faith in God, than your faith was in people – not God.” Some excellent thoughts here from Brandon Adams about why there are messes in church… and how it supports the tenents of Christianity rather than denying them.

Brandon J. Adams

“Although I left Christianity over 20 years ago, it took a long while for me to erase the doctrines that had been embedded within my consciousness for 15+ years. Learning how and why certain doctrines of the Christian faith (e.g., final judgment, burning fires of hell, Satan and his demons, the end-times) were introduced into the faith was extremely liberating … and removed a ton of guilt and fear.”

This individual* could be speaking for much of society.

14517262115_0b7dc7b411_oOur entertainment culture is embroiled in a race to paint Christianity as evil. And it’s got ammunition.

From Carrie to The Shape of Water, from Handmaid’s Tale to Family Guy, Christian faith is portrayed in modern media as a heartless and oppressive force in people’s lives, gone wild to the point of ostracizing, dehumanizing, handcuffing, and even killing in the name of God. Such excesses are so normative in TV and…

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Great Things

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.”
(1 Samuel 7:12)

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While my small group was studying the book of Nehemiah a few weeks ago, a question was asked in the course of study: “What acts or events in your life would you point to as powerful testimonies of God’s greatness?”

Wow. What a great question.

To be honest, this is a question I am finding it necessary to continually revisit and review, especially now. This last year has been particularly trying for reasons I can only guess at.

For starters, we there have been many significant changes to our lifestyle, particularly since the oldest two children are now attending private school for the first time and I am only homeschooling our 7th grader. Other changes are merely the usual ones associated with changing seasons of life and of parenting, while still other potential changes loom on the horizon and can only be imagined for now.

Then, too, there are some pretty wacky physiological changes going in my body on that seem to be linked to chronic migraine and very likely to pre-menopausal hormonal shifts as well. And of course, let us not forget the various stages of adolescence my husband and I are navigating, calling on the Captain of this ship for emergency course corrections as we venture through stormy, unpredictable seas.

Suffice to say that it has been a difficult year. But last night, I had a time where I was able to tearfully confess my own sinful responses to these changes to a dear friend and prayer partner who was faithful to lift me up in the midst of my struggle. Then this morning, for the first time in far too long, I was able to take a walk with my God and talk things over with Him.

And He reminded me of the question, and more importantly, of the answers to it.

Where have I seen evidence of His greatness in my life? So many places…

  • The fact that my husband and I are still married despite a less-than-ideal beginning.
  • God’s provision that has allowed me to stay home with the kids for almost 16 years  – so far.
  • Homeschool. Anything that was done correctly there was all God. I have never been trained as a teacher, did not even finish college, and never even had an inclination or aptitude to teach. But somehow, my kids have learned and learned well. No, not ‘somehow’- by the grace of God.
  • My 8th and 10th graders made an effortless transition to private school, even calling it easier than homeschool and maintaining straight A’s (so far).
  • Having a handful of articles published here and there – again, with no training or degree.
  • Did I mention financial provision? Not only homeschooling on a single income, but His provision for private school and recently for a third vehicle. To God be the glory!
  • That I have managed to complete a novel – the idea and the time to put it in print is all straight from the hand of God. If anything comes of it, that will be Him, too.
  • The ability to praise Him in the midst of pain (OK, I confess – not always, but overall).
  • A small group consisting of people with great diversity in backgrounds, ages, and careers. To hear of God’s work in many different seasons of life and perspectives is an incredible gift!
  • My own unlikely salvation from a highly immoral and highly destructive lifestyle and from the depression which undergirded all.

Those are just a few of my “Ebenezers” – my touchstones to remember that thus far, God has helped me. Of course, there are so many more daily blessings like being able to see, walk, talk, and hear; having fresh water and plentiful food; the table I sit at and the computer on which I type; daffodils; birds; the air I breathe…

I could literally go on forever. And to be honest, I really should.

In the interest of not writing another novel today, I will end by saying that today I am particularly thankful for my the prayers of my friend and for my God who reminded me to look not at what He is not doing now, but at the many wonderful things He has already done. Truly, He has done great things for us!

The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
(Psalms 126:3-5)