Welcome to my new blog! If you've followed my other blog for a while, you know I am prone to pontifications mixed in with my family news and pictures. I've decided to archive all my "thinking out loud" pieces from the past here, and put all my future ones here as well. Looking for family news & photos? Check out Moments at the Manse.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why we're here . . .

This post was inspired something my sister told me about two years ago, "Ministry is meeting the need that is in front of you right now." (Or something like that :>) So this happened over two years ago, but God used it to remind me of the reason we're where we are.


At nearly 10 last night, our neighbor boys came over - pounding ferociously on the door as only they can do. :>) They needed a band-aid - the six year old had scraped his back. So Darrell (he's such a sweetheart) invites them in, goes and gets neosporin and band-aids and gets him all fixed up.

The little guy says, "Do you think you would have time to pray with me to ask Jesus to come into my heart?"

He has two older brothers - one of them was saved at our VBS this summer - he's had a big change in his heart and attitude. His other brother is 12 and headed down the wrong path quickly. He was the one who had brought him over here - I was thrilled for him to get to hear that Jesus can forgive and I pray that he'll make the same choice as his brothers very soon.

I confess, I've had to pray for God to help me to actively love these boys as they stop by sometimes several times a day (and always when I've got my hands full of something . . .) to tell me the trivia of their lives or to ask for a glass of water. ("Even a glass of cold water" - I've actually quoted that out loud trying to keep perspective . . .) And there have been many times when I've had to ask God to forgive my "put out" attitude towards them. But God is helping me to see that this is ministry. All this listening and unexpected supper time visits, and rides to here and there - it's about showing them Jesus.

So whatever you're doing that seems like a chore. . . :>) join me in looking for God's perspective.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Shades of Gray

I’ve been thinking about people in a new way lately . . . there is a couple I’ve come to love who is a picture of this contrast I’m about to discuss. I’ll have to introduce you to them. Come to think of it, you might recognize them!

Sally is a delightful, fun-loving girl. She is involved with the children’s ministry and loved the variety of personalities that she sees In the children. She thrives on doing things in the moment, spontaneity is her game. She’s reluctant to set up strong boundaries because children are all so different that they can’t all have the same rules! She sees most areas of life in shades of gray. There isn’t a right way to do everything. It just depends.

Joe, Sally’s husband, is a calm, processing man. He is the one who takes attendance each Sunday, writing down each person’s name who is there and keeping records of it on the computer. He thrives on a thorough discussion of the details of most anything. He’s very intelligent (as is Sally) and recognizes the value of order – I’ve been told he even folds his laundry on its way to the washer! He sees most areas of life in black or white. There is a right way to do almost everything – large and small - in his eyes.

Observing this couple and their interactions has made me realize that all of us see life as either mostly black and white or mostly shades of gray. I would tend toward more black and white, and Darrell – shades of gray.

The most brilliant observation on this topic came from my husband. We were talking about this and he said, “You make the greatest difference in the areas you see as black and white.” So the BIG point? Make sure you’re viewing the most important thing – serving Jesus – as black and white. And be a fanatic about it.

Freedom in Fences

I was listening to Dave Ramsey's radio program about money management. He has people who call in after working his system and are debt -free. They tell their story and then yell, "WE'RE DEBT-FREE!!!!!!" At the end of their call. Then you hear Dave's laugh and a voice says, "FREEDOM!" How did they find financial freedom? Well, there are these things called financial "rules" that can determine what you do with your money, if you let them. If you follow the "rules" you will find freedom.

I'm reading a couple different books about training children. They all say, "Children need boundaries. They thrive in a structured environment." Direct quote from James Dobson, "They are like the night security guard - they will go around checking door knobs, but they hope they don't work." Where can kids find freedom? When they live within "rules."

So what's the point? Well, I think sometimes we forget what a privilege our "rules" in the Bible are. When we follow God's plan for relationships, marriage, children, reaching out to others, personal godliness - that he has laid out in His word - That's freedom! Being his special people - that's who we're created to be. To be his representatives to this world, which knows very little about the joy of living by "rules," that 's what we're created to do.

Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by the task in front of me. The girls here on my street, on the surface, have very little in common with me. Most of them are raising several children all alone, or with a temporary "husband." Many of them have never had any examples of great relationships. They look at me like I'm a little odd, at times, but they want me to come back and see them. I think they know there's something that they're missing in life. They haven't found real freedom, but they sense that I have. I want to tell them the good news - "there's freedom in fences!" I'll pray that God will tell them through my life.

He Gently Leads

I read this chapter this morning after solving several “calamities” that arose since I overslept and my baby woke up earlier than normal. I had never before really seen what God seems to be saying here. He gives special attention - he gently leads - “those that are with young.”

Have you ever sensed God was especially near as you are just going about your daily activities - diaper changing, feeding, endless laundry and negotiating between siblings? Have you ever had moments of worship as you watched your children playing, singing, praying, or sleeping? Have you ever taken a breath and thanked God for the strength to keep up with your family? I have. It's not because I've been fasting and praying, and having overwhelming, inspirational, hour-long devotions everyday! It just must be because God gently leads those of us who have young children.

At times I have an overwhelming sense that God is helping me here in the daily routine. It’s not to my credit the day is going so well, or that plans are falling in to place! He’s gently leading me!

I’m so thankful for his Divine hand that guides and I’m eternally grateful that he gently leads you and I to know Him better.