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.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

On Strong Willed Little People

You might have guessed why this really encouraged me today . . . especially if you were in church with me last evening.
On Doable Family Devotions

Can't help it - this was good!
On "Easy" Kids

Very true.

By the way, many thanks to Making Home, on of my very favorite bloggers, for these links.
On Christian Hospitality

I posted this on Moments at the Manse as well, but it was particularly inspirational to me as a pastor's wife.

More post vacation thoughts coming . . . :>)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pre-vacation thoughts

We're going away for vacation tomorrow and I've been exited all week long. But today . . . after I've looked into all our precious people's faces, something tells me, "You can't leave!" "What if . . ." "They need you!" Somehow a huge long list of to-do's and to-call's starts forming in my mind. I have decided to ignore it.

So I was thinking about our what we'll do on vacation - we hardly have anything planned - we're just stopping. But there are some things I want to accomplish:
  1. Relax - which involves aborting my urge to have everything planned to the hour and instead just going with the flow - more interesting with small children..
  2. Re-connect with Darrell - Aunt Shar may even watch the sweet ones while we go on a date!
  3. Re-evaluate each child's goals for the next year. I'm not really an overacheiver (Andy) - but I feel really lost in the dirty diapers if I can't envision where I'm going with these little people. A bit of measurable progress is wonderful - goes a long way in making me feel as if I just might be doing something of value. ;>)
  4. Re-define my personal purpose. So many needs I see, so many plans I'd like to accomplish, but what must I do right now, if I want to accomplish my ultimate goals.
So off we go! It promises to be a wonderful week - the weather in Branson is supposed to be perfect! Although we can relax in the rain as well. :>)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Finding Rom. 12:3

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:1-3

In high school and college I made the commitment of my life for full time Christian service. It was a thought-through, eager, deliberate decision that my life would not be my own. I anticipated the lives I could influence – the difference I could make (with God’s help, of course).

Somehow I didn’t really think that much about the other side of the coin - the problems that are a part of leadership. The weight of responsibility sometimes feels like a burden. I didn’t know the other side of the coin, because I hadn’t been there.

But - I’m confessing here - I’ve been on the other side of that coin in the last six years. Not the whole time, nor even most of the time, but some of the time. Every so often, the great times are overshadowed by the weary, worn times. Occasionally, it seems no one is in your corner. Now and then, it appears you’re spinning your wheels. From time to time, my weaknesses are glaring.

And I have to think that some of the struggles I’ve faced have to do with a line I missed in verse three: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.”

When I presume that I deserve a peaceful existence or a comfortable way of life or the ability to see what God is doing or instantaneous maturity in my walk with God, I will always get into spiritual trouble.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

I’m a little embarrassed because I’m sitting in Starbucks crying while I type . . . so I’ll hurry to my conclusion.

As I continue to give my life as a living sacrifice, it is a more ardent act of worship than ever before. Just as it means more, in a way, when you tell your spouse “I love you” after you’ve been married for many years and have weathered many storms together, than it possibly could have on your wedding day. Your capacity to love and fully embrace the one God gave you has expanded.

And so it is with my relationship with God - all the other-side-of-the-coin experiences, and the unveiling of more and more of my weak self, though they are eclipsed by His goodness and faithfulness to me - they have expanded my capacity to love and worship Him – the only Perfect One. I recognize more and more all the time that I can’t even walk without Him holding my hand.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The other evening we arrived home after dark and there was our friend "John" lying on our porch swing having a smoke. We said hi and the kids and I went inside. Darrell stayed outside and talked with him on the porch swing. He was very drunk and vomited on himself and the porch. And Darrell shared the gospel . . . again. He talked straight to him about how Satan has come to steal, kill and destroy and he's doing a pretty good job in his life, and John cried. Darrell opened the trailer for him to sleep in there again (he's homeless), but then he was gone again in the night.

My friend, "Carrie," came to church with a black eye. I didn't want to ask about her eye, because I don't want her to lie to try to explain it away. She's had a problem with drinking, and it has made her life miserable - none of her six kids are able to live with her - she may or may not know where they are. Satan has certainly stolen from her.

And today, I'm very conscious of my human limitations. I simply can't make a life-changing decision for John or Carrie. There is, on the surface, little I can do. Another conversation will not rescue them. God helped me to remember this just in time as I was near despair last night. So after I'd turned on my bed for a while, I turned them over to the only One who can transform lives.

God, please help me to do my part for those that I know need You, but to recognize that I'm not the author or the finisher - that's Your job and you've got it under control. Thank you for doing the work that I can't see and I certainly can't do. I'm leaving our church family in Your merciful hands again today.