Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Inundated

I am inundated with so much it seems.
Just a snippet -
My oldest is a college graduate (yeah) but still seeking employment (boo).
I celebrated 24 years of marriage on the 25th with my one true love (yeah!) yet I see so many around me who aren't even married trying to give out marital advice (boo).
I celebrated the little one's tenth birthday on the same date (yeah), yet I was anything but happy when I first found out I was having her (boo, big boo).
I work from home in an esoteric field (yeah) but I struggle with balancing my time and getting stuff done (boo).
I'm becoming accustomed to social media and all it's possibilities (yeah), yet sometimes I wish I could go back to a simpler time (boo).
The second oldest is graduating from college in May (yeah) but she is stressing about future employment (boo).
With all of the above, I feel I should be able to give advice to those that are hurting, searching, seeking, or wanting more but sometimes I feel so inept.

In my life I see how God works and continues to work, but sometimes I just don't know what to say, what to do.

It is my prayer these days that God will minister to me and through me; that I would be a vessel fit for His use and hopefully I can start anew ministering and sharing with others.

When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

I needed to write this to remove some of the inundation. 

Have you ever felt inundated?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Notes From My Daughter - Surgery

Third in an occasional series from my 19 year old daughter. She apologizes for the delay as this semester has been a bit tough. Though she writes these great pieces she still can't keep track of her cell phone. Read on. 
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Throughout the adversity of life we all get wounded. Regardless of the size of the wound, we all need to be healed in order to move on. Often times we try to numb our own pain through various fillers, and procrastinate our own healing. Many times we have numbed ourselves so much that when God tries to bring it to our attention we get mad at him even though his awareness is what’s keeping us alive. 

If I had to imagine this type of healing as a metaphor it would go a little something like this: While wounded on the hospital bed of life, we self-ambitiously think to ourselves of alternatives and say “I can just take some medicine to heal the pain and move on.” So we choose to eject ourselves from the hospital and try to take some control of our own lives. Every now and then we feel a bit of pain, a bit of limitation in movement, but we’re happy for the most part. In our heads the little pain is better than whatever plans the people in the hospital had for us. At least we are able to get back to our own lives. But when the healing process is not completed we wind up being prone to injury every second of our lives, but most importantly -  in our next trial (which we cannot predict). When leaving the hospital bed it does not occur to us that the incident that caused this pain might happen again, or that we may have to face something even bigger than us next time. We were focused on the short sighted view (see last post) without recognizing that full healing was needed in order to live a full life. 

Well here’s the problem: while we tried to cover up our wound with band-aids and medicine, we only resolved the issue temporarily. This is the problem with short sighted vision, we assume we know and end up finding out that we only knew a fraction of the entire answer. And we put these fractions constantly before God, making idols out them when they cannot serve the purpose that God can. We end up taking the stab in the back that life gives us, rather than allowing God to take the knife to our problems which need to be cut out of our lives. We don’t recognize that we NEED surgery; not a band-aid, not painkillers, or any other “fix”. We need His touch, we need to sign the consent forms, submit even though we won’t be able to control God, and trust him as he does what he’s always done: healed us. 

The great thing about God, is that he just doesn't throw you out of the hospital once he’s done healing you, but lets you rest in him so that the healing can be COMPLETE. Then he pushes us to work on our weak areas knowing that “in our weakness He is made strong” and implements the physical therapy we need in order to gain confidence in Him and lose our unrighteous fears. He’s the surgeon, the Comforter, the Healer, and the Medicine. You can’t take pieces of Him or His gifts, or else YOU will never be complete and whole and able to “fight the good fight of faith.”  “We fight not against flesh and blood but against power and principalities;” we need God’s strength in order to make it through. Let him heal every part of you, so you can be able to do everything he has planned for you. The medicine covers the pain for a while, but God takes the pain away and covers you in his love eternally. He wants to heal you because he loves you too much to let you be defeated by life when he already defeated death. Let him in, give God a chance.

Have you given God a chance?


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Notes From My Bible

I wrote this 11 years ago! It was my first real attempt at putting my thoughts to paper for publication. Because the message is timeless, it has been on my mind recently.  Hope you enjoy.

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Many of us take notes in our Bibles as part of our personal time, during a seminar or listening to a pastor or teacher. The idea for this article came to me as I thought about the wealth of information contained in our personal notes and how these notes when re-read at various points of our lives still offer inspiration and insight. 

I decided to write "Notes From My Bible" for two reasons:
  1. To encourage others to continue to do this (or to start) and to show how much knowledge is gained from snippets. 
  2. The article is written in a light-hearted tone and is intended to whet the appetite.
Recently, I've been searching the scriptures more and in doing this I realize how important my Bible is to me. As a matter of fact, though I am married and my husband and I share many things, I must admit I get touchy when he uses my Bible. You see, besides the 66 books in the Bible, I have verses that are precious to me underlined, I've color coded passages that moved me at various points of my life and I've taken notes from thousands of pastors and seminars. And so my Bible has become a wellspring of information (as it should be) not only for the inspired words but also as a source of reflection, as a source of answered prayer, and as a source of constant realization that I always need God. I never get too old to learn his lesson. Here are excerpts from some of the various notes in my Bible and what they've meant to me:

  • If the _ _ _ _ _ fits, you're the wrong size! (world goes in to the blank) I was in my late teens when I heard this, and I remember thinking I don't ever want the world to fit. But this one line had more impact on me than a sermon. It's powerful. 
  • I will counsel you with mine eye! Psalm 32:8 …I was attending a women's bible study and the speaker said that she uses this verse with her children to reinforce the fact that she can look at them a certain way and they will know that they're in trouble. Of course she said this with a twinkle in her eye!
  • Children need pray and love. One of the best gift parents give their children is the gift of prayer. 
  • If there is no mess, then there is no message! If there is no test, then there is no testimony! 
  • 8/1/88 Prayer List – every time I see this, it reminds me that certain things are timeless. I still pray the same things today! 
Career direction – I need to feel that I'm doing something important and fulfilling
Families – improved relationships
A place to live (I was about to get married!)
Yearning to know the Word better
  • 5/7/89 – The more I suffer the stronger I become….we faint not. 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. Ultimately we are victorious. Everything that happens is for our good. 
  • The Lord builds self-esteem! Self-esteem is an on/off thing for me. I've reached the stage of my life where I know and am assured that He finds me worthy and that shoots any low self-esteem issues through the roof. 
  • Impossible verses – Luke 1:37, Luke 18:27, Jeremiah 32:17,27 – Verses that strengthen our faith. 
  • The number of times the word, WORD appears in Psalm 119. I then go on to list a page full of examples like "thy WORD is a lamp unto my feet or a light unto my path (v105)," and "If the WORD is hidden in our hearts it becomes harder to sin (v11)". You'd be amazed at how powerful and far-reaching God's Word is once you go through this exercise. 
  • An acronym for studying God's Word based on 2 Timothy 2:15 
Systematically
Tenaciously – persistently
Unfeignedly – genuine and sincere
Diligently – steady, earnest and energetic
Yield – If we study the Word of God, we yield to the Spirit naturally.
  • Finding your personal gifts. Yet another acronym which offers guidance on determining your gifts, for we've all been given a gift. 
C – competence; what are you good at? Have others encouraged you in this area?
L – Love; what do I love doing? Discover the issues that concern you.
U – understanding yourself and what God is doing in your life.
E – experience; what has life prepared you for?
S – situation; where am I situated? Where do I spend my time?

These are only some of the snippets found on any white space in my Bible. I've run out of pages, and now use a separate binder to take notes as the Holy Spirit moves me.

Do you take notes in your Bible? What's the best note you've ever written? How do you remember a great sermon? Please share in the comments.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Update

I haven't written for a while because I've been quite busy with work. I work from home in an esoteric little field known as E-Rate management; this is the busy time of the year.

I was feeling a bit melancholy a couple of weeks ago and it may have been a combination of work and the sadness that invariably envelopes me this time of year. Even if I'm not thinking about it - it sinks in to my psyche. During the month of February, my brother was dying. He had a terminal illness and while those alive were willing him to live, it seems he was ready to go. It was a turbulent time.

March 5th is when I received the call that my brother had left this earth and moved on. You hear it so often, but until you experience losing someone close to you, there are no words. To me it felt like a thud in the chest. After that thud, I remembered that 20 years ago, I gave birth to my first child.

So March 5th is always a little weird for me while at the same time very emotional. My son is 23 years old today; I don't know what it means to become a man, but to watch him, it seems to be a struggle. He has caused my prayer time to increase tenfold and I guess that in and of itself is a blessing.

Regardless of what happens in life, all we have is time. We don't know how much we have so I hope we all learn to use our time wisely.

So, Dalton I know that you are resting and hanging out with the saints and worshipping Jesus. I know that you are in no more pain and for that I'm grateful. Your family is doing well and figuring out your absence daily. Son, I hope you find your way soon.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4;4 (NIV)
Thanks for reading.