Friday, January 18, 2013

Packing Light....Please Do

Trying to navigate the Christan life with a truck load of conditions and expectations in your heart is a bit like trying to take an S curve in the Ozark Mountains with a double semi.  When the curves get so wicked, narrow, and steep, something has to give.  How much easier to navigate those curves in a two door Honda Civic or better yet, on a motorcycle with only necessities in  your pack.  Travel light!

We are not made to travel life's path with stipulations and conditions made for our own comfort, safety and ease. It's too large a load to carry.  How much easier is it to say "yes" to God's will when we are untangled from our own plans and desires, when we haven't made a stipulation on Him that we must at all times be well dressed, well fed, well rested, well respected, received with admiration by our friends, respected by our neighbors, with money in our accounts, well traveled, educated in the best schools, and a brightly laid out plan for our future.  When we demand our life to be exciting, in line with the culture, free, and full of our own pursuits, we are in great danger of forfeiting His plans for us. What a dreadful trade that is!   It reminds me of this:  John 2 :16  All the things the world can offer you-the allure of pleasure, the passion to have things, and the pompous sense of superiority-do not come from the Father.  These are the rotten fruits of the world. This corrupt world is already wasting away, as are it's selfish desires.  But the person really doing God's will-that person will never cease to be. 

My thoughts sweetly shook me today and my prayers are forming anew.  If He asks something hard of us,  it's best to jump right in. In His plans lay hidden our greatest moments and best pleasures, though we may have to endure secret hardship mingled with our reward.  

 So, in my words I lay bare some of my struggles and triumphs!  And if I sound like I jumped right out of the 1800's today, it is because I have been reading Stepping Heavenward, by Elizabeth Prentiss and now my thoughts are all in Elizabethan English today (grinning). But, I'm sure that will straighten out soon as I am almost to the end of the book and because I share a home with teenagers :) 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What I'm Learning in Adoption Classes

Six times I have carried a child.  Twice my baby was swept away in darkness and in mystery, never to be seen or known here.  Four times sons have emerged from my body and were wrapped in our love embrace and we've yet to let them go from it.  Every need we attended to, every whim we have carefully considered since their arrivals.  We are attached to them and them to us.... it's all pretty solid by  now. 

Some days ago we were in a class for prospective adoptive and foster parents and our teacher put it like this took the poetic, wondrous beauty of  this thing and just scribbled it out on a dry erase board.  She wrote:   How Attachment Develops.  And all the lovely, poured out, gushing love was explained like this:   
 She tells us all that from our birth, this cycle begins and continues on throughout childhood.  Baby knows to cry out when it is hungry or uncomfortable, and when things are right, a loving parent responds and this attachment bond grows and grows. But, when these cries go chronically unmet, critical developments are missed, a child spends most of it's time in a state of tension and life can go awry in terrible ways that can follow a child through life.  Imagine all the children in our world that are suffering; untrusting, unloved, unattached because of  parents or caregivers unwilling or unable to meet their needs. They languish in a state of tension our teacher said. 

   I imagine that when we were babies way back when, we got it all right.  We cried and were fedWe cried and were changed, and we bonded to our parents as it should be.  There weren't a myriad of needs surfacing in our lives, and those that arose were quickly met again and again and again.  I can think of only a few:  I'm hungry, I'm in pain, I'm scared, I'm wet, or I'm uncomfortable in some way.  But, imagine the plethora of needs we have as a "re-born" called a Christian-- and God getting rightful place as our Dad...our "main caregiver".

 Now the needs are diverse:  I'm scared, I'm worried about 100 things a day, I'm insecure, I'm penniless, I'm jealous, depressed, downcast, I'm angry, confused, bored, overwhelmed, tempted, tried, unemployed, sick, bogged down, dying, I'm failing, without vision, without hope,  I'm not enough, I'm sidetracked, bitter, I'm lonely, and drowning.  Oh so many opportunities to circle the cycle of attachment and bond with our God if we will only do like we once did........ let our tension drive us to that old familiar cry-- and do it loudly if necessary.   And don't just cry, but be sure and aim your childlike wail straight at your Father...your dear Abba and let Him relieve the tension, meet the need and ease your weary mind into the place of relaxation and peace where you belong. That's where we all belong, you know? 
 I have a lot of bonding to do and loads of opportunity to do it in. And my Dad deserves my trust.

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 What an awesome invitation, right?!...  To be "attached" to God....oh yes....may the cycle continue in all of us.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Open Your Eyes


Keith Green singing "Open Your Eyes"

 I opened my mouth a couple of days ago while cleaning the bathroom, I think,  and out came this song.  I hadn't thought of it, sang it, or heard it in so long that I can't remember when.  I wanted to share it here.  It was the words to the music God's been singing to me quietly, the same pool of words He's been sharing for awhile, that tune that begs surrender.

Years ago, when I was just a young girl I sang this along with the vinyl record ....over and over and I knew every word, pause, and breath of it.  Eventually, He lead me to attend this discipleship school and ministry lead by this artist, Keith Green.  From there I met my husband and so many more steps have brought me to here.  But, back then I was young and my heart was oh so  small.  He said there'd come a day when my heart would grow and I can feel it  s t r e t c h i ng, but it's more like the sprint at the end of a race, or transition at the end of your labor (if you've had a baby..yes, you get that)'s large, intense, and coming at me quickly. But, I admit that I don't always know where to direct the feelings and where besides home to begin putting my hands to work. I'm learning that much of the things we are to do begin in secret and in invested hours of prayer.
I'm finding that around every corner of my  life are people feeling just like me...hearing similar whispers. Are you hearing it?  I'm learning that His love is way bigger than I dared imagine (I knew it was big before) and if I experience more of it, I have more of it to share.  I'm learning that He wants to come so much closer to us than I ever dared dream, He wants us to come way closer to each other than I ever felt comfortable before.  He is a God who will touch and be touched, who will clearly lead us, who turns our pain and sacrifice into treasures, and He is a God who goes out in front of us and also has our back.  He is not the kind  who asks of you what He was not willing to do Himself.  He has already come here and He has already given everything He could give.

Lastly, I snagged some quotes from Real Hope for HaitiTheir blog I read most every morning and look at the photos of children they are ministering to.  They are why I usually have had a short cry every day sometimes before 7 a.m. 

 “Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.”
― Mother Teresa

 “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
― Mother Teresa

 “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
― Mother Teresa

 “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”
― Mother Teresa

 “Live simply so others may simply live.”
― Mother Teresa

Monday, January 7, 2013

About Wearing My Mom's Old Clothes

My mom is kind of "different", more than almost anyone I have ever really known. And I don't think she'd mind me saying that.   She wears these clothes that make her sort of stand out.  Don't get me wrong...I'm not embarrassed by it.  I never have been.  In fact, lately I've been sitting around wondering if that old thing that she has slipped around her feminine shoulders all these years might possibly fit me. 

I've contemplated this before, but always thought it was not completely my style, or that girls don't wear that style so well anymore.  I once thought that I'd get swallowed up if I wore the entire outfit....not because it was too big, but because it just had so much identity wrapped into it that I might loose my own. I mean, did I really want to look just like mom?  I sometimes thought that someone would  mistake me for someone else and take advantage of me if they saw me really owning that old thing and really wearin' it like it was mine for real.  

But I have changed  m y   m i n d   and I wonder if my mom  has been praying that I would.  Lately, I have been thinking of that old, worn thing that she wears and I have been actually longing to have it for my own!   I want to see if I can wear it so well as she always has.

This verse reminds me perfectly of her taste in clothes.

7but  (Jesus) made himself nothing,
taking the very natureb of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
Yeah, she wears "s e r v a n t ' s" clothes, but they have a royal sparkle, I must say, and an unforgettable flare.  Those duds are approachable, touchable, scrunch-up-able.  They can do dirty work and they are appropriate for formal events as well.  Seriously.  It doesn't matter if she is exhausted, sick, distracted, or whatever....she has them on, even underneath her PJs. 

  Do you know people who wear this royal garment called servanthood, too? Aren't they the most beautiful of all? And they don't even know it.   If you do, I bet they are very special to you, too. After awhile this robe seems to become seamless on themI've always taken for granted that she would wear them....those huggable, lovable, dependable old clothes.  Yes, she always will. (Now I am making myself cry).  But, I can wear them too, and all of the time, even under my PJs.   
Mom and Jack in 2001


Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Rambling..and notes on what I DON'T need

I've been working on a post that I just can't seem to bring together, but in the mean time I wanted to check in here anyway.  

I've been reading 1 Peter and Undaunted by Christine Caine and gathering a list of new books to check into from a fellow blogger's reviews.  It seems the Lord is always streaming the most poignant works into my hands and I love Him for that. He weaves the needs in my heart, the words from scripture, and the extra books I read into  what is like a most powerful discipleship class. And I've been in His class for some time now!    Before Undaunted, it was Fields of the Fatherless and hundreds more before that.    

This morning I've been accumulating a mental list of things that I do not need to accomplish His will in my life.  A bit of a self-motivation list for 2013. :) 

1.  I don't have to have a study group to study His word or the latest study aids(though they are wonderful to have, if you enjoy them--I sometimes do)
2.  I don't need an expensive weight loss program or $150 running shoes to bring my body back into it's proper boundaries. (mostly I need some motivation and prayer! ....and hiding the chocolate helps too.)
3.  -don't need a large home to offer hospitality will do, and some chairs.....and coffee.  (this one some times gets to a weak spot...I have to remind myself of this many times through out the year!)
4. don't need a rear tine tiller to have a fabulous garden this season...I mostly need a hoe and some good seeds. ( a tiller is great, don't get me wrong, but just's been done without it)
5.  I don't need thousands of square feet, game rooms, or big screen TV to provide a cozy home for kids to grow up in and have their friends over to visit. (though I do love space and ping pong!.....I've rarely had loads of extra space--- or a ping pong table)
 6.  I don't have to have a budget large enough to feed an entire village or orphanage in order to give to the poor....just a heart to give what He asks of me
7.  I don't have to be a super woman to hear God and do what He says
8.  I don't need to have a ministry title, a place on a board of advisors, my name on a desk to serve Him wide awake, deliberately, daily and with passion.  He's so exciting that nothing like that compares to just being in HIS big loop.  
9.  I don't have to reach thousands..... I can reach across the street, I can reach into the next room, I can reach who He sends to me.  Maybe the one you reach or I reach will reach the thousands later on! It doesn't matter as long as HE is in the driver's seat.
10. I don't need a prayer journal to pray, or a book on how to pray (though I am looking for one) He's always heard me without those things.

 You get the idea...I'm encouraging myself  today and wanted to share.  I don't need a lot.....I appreciate the "more" sometimes when I have it, but not having is no reason to feel like my ship is dry docked.......and I don't!  

What I do  need is to be willing, to be motivated, to be one who will "seek Him with all of my heart".  I do need to let my faith exercise know faith without works is a bust.  

I do have what I do need to live this adventure that is streaming out from Him everyday.   :)