Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Love My WA Mom

How I thank God for you! Because of you I have great joy as I enter His presence.
1 Thessalonians 3:9

Monday, August 23, 2010

Indie Grace Wanders Tonight

Since I'm stuck behind a desk at the dorm, I thought I'd take a trip around the world in my daydreams. Here is a list of ten places I'd like to visit while I can still see, hear and walk. This is just the beginning...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Joy Comes In The Morning

Psalm 30: 1-5
I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up...
O LORD my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive...
Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger lasts a moment,
His favor lasts for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

I know there are times we must be careful not to base our decisions and actions on how we feel. Feelings can be so transient - they ebb and flow depending on the circumstances. It is a matter of guarding one's heart and thoughts. It requires discipline. I am going through a period of deep feeling and it has been tempting to give in to the emotions even if they go against what my head knows as truth. Today, or at least at this moment, I am choosing to remind myself of that which doesn't change...God's compassion (He lifts me up); His power (He heals me); His grace (He keeps me alive); His love (it lasts for life); the hope I have because He is Who He is.

The hard things of life will be there. They will be used by a jealous enemy to drive me away from my Father. If I give in to my feelings, the roaring lion could very well be successful. God assures me, however, that my sorrow and struggles and heaviness will not last forever. Joy will come. Tonight, when my mind gets lazy and I start to give in to emptiness, I will remind myself of God's promises. They might not feel true but I will choose to trust. I will lean into my Abba rather than away and depend on His strength to support me.

Joy Comes In The Morning
~William J. and Gloria Gaither
If you've knelt beside the rubble of an aching, broken heart,
When the things you gave your life to fell apart;
You're not the first to be acquainted with sorrow, grief or pain,
But the Master promised sunshine after the rain.

Hold on my child, joy comes in the morning,
Weeping only lasts for the night;
Hold on my child, joy comes in the morning,
The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight.

To invest your seed of trust in God in mountains you can't move,
You have risked your life on things you cannot prove;
But to give the things you cannot keep for what you cannot lose,
Is the way to find the joy God has for you.

Hold on my child, joy comes in the morning,
Weeping only lasts for the night;
Hold on my child, joy comes in the morning,
The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight.

The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Simply and Unaffectedly

"Behold the fowls of the air." . . . "Consider the lilies of the field."
Matthew 6:26, 28
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they simply are!

Think of the sea,

the air,

the sun,

the stars,

and the moon.

All these are, and what a ministration they exert. So often we mar God's designed influence through us by our self-conscious effort to be consistent and useful. Jesus says that there is only one way to develop spiritually, and that is by concentration on God. "Do not bother about being of use to others; believe on Me" - pay attention to the Source, and out of you will flow...

...rivers of living water.

We cannot get at the springs of our natural life by common sense, and Jesus is teaching that growth in spiritual life does not depend on our watching it, but on concentration on our Father in heaven. Our heavenly Father knows the circumstances we are in, and if we keep concentrated on Him we will grow spiritually as the lilies.

The people who influence us most are not those who buttonhole us and talk to us, but those who live their lives like the stars in heaven and the lilies in the field...

...perfectly simply and unaffectedly. Those are the lives that mold us.

If you want to be of use to God, get rightly related to Jesus Christ and He will make you of use unconsciously every minute you live.

~Oswald Chambers

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Thoughts Exactly

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try.
~Dr. Seuss

I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is, "Who in the world am I?" Ah, that's the great puzzle.
~Alice, from Alice in Wonderland

If you are a dreamer, come in!
If you are a dreamer, a wish-er, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!
~Shel Silverstein

When you are a Bear, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.
~Winnie the Pooh


There are all types of suffering in life. There is suffering due to real physical pain. There is suffering that can be attributed to spiritual separation from the Father. There is emotional suffering that can cause as much pain as physical aches and agony. For many years, I struggled with anger toward God for allowing so much suffering to touch my life. I remember going to a class on forgiveness and asking, "What if you don't feel like you can forgive God?" Everyone looked appalled. We are in no position to judge the motives of the Lord -- and yet, I couldn't think of any other way to ask it.

It was later, while I was reading Philip Yancey's book, Disappointment With God, that a truth I'd heard my entire life somehow resonated and stuck in my head. I think I had been leaning too heavily toward the Calvinist way of thinking. I totally believed in the sovereignty of God but downplayed His goodness. He was the last person I wanted to go to for comfort because, in my mind, since He was sovereign - He was therefore completely responsible for my suffering. In reality, God respects me as His creation. He loves me. He wants to pursue a real, genuine, affection-filled relationship with me. This is not possible if He forces me into it. He gives me a choice. As a result, there is the possibility I will choose wrongly.

I may choose a path that causes pain. I may choose a road that leads me in the wrong direction. I may journey down a trail that takes me far from Him. Not only do I have this choice, so does every other created being on the planet. Others' choices may cause pain -- to me! There are always consequences to wrong actions and sometimes innocent bystanders share in the devastation and hurt. That's what happens when we are free. We suffer the consequences of our actions and sometimes we suffer the consequences of the actions of others.

Tonight I was reading the bible online because my bible is at work. I typed in suffering to see what might come up and down at the bottom of my screen there were several "related" questions I could click on, like...
"Why do we suffer?"
"Why do innocent people suffer?"
"Why do we have eyebrows?"
"Why does God allow suffering?"

Wait a minute, why do we have eyebrows???? What does that have to do with anything. I'm not kidding, it was a question that was listed with all the others. It brought me up short as I started to think about it. It was a question that didn't fit. It wasn't going to give me the answer I was looking for. Light bulb moment! I have been asking the wrong question.

In recent weeks I have been asking, "Why?" again. I want to know why life seems so hard sometimes. Why does it seem unfair? Why does it appear unjust? But you know what? I think that's like asking, in the middle of a bunch of suffering questions, why we have eyebrows. If I want an explanation, I need to ask the right question...which is "Who?" When I ask "Who?" I am not so much seeking the answers from God as I am seeking God Himself. As I read on a blog recently, when we ask the Who question we seek "to grow in deeper understanding of who God is because when we are suffering, what we need more deeply, passionately, and urgently than answers...is God."

Stand firm in the faith...And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. ~1 Peter 5:9-11

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mom's Northwest Vacation - Part Six/The End

I'm late posting this. I've been busy doing nothing.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Do I Believe This?

"The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and everyday. Either he will shield you from suffering, or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations."
~St. Francis

I would like to present myself as spiritually strong and say I believe this 100%. My faith is secure. I have no doubts. I can't say it and be authentic. I don't doubt that He shields me from suffering. I do doubt that He gives me unfailing strength to bear it. What does that even mean? I know St. Francis is just paraphrasing the verse that says we won't be given more than we can bear -- but really? Okay, so I'm sitting here typing. I'm alive and breathing. Is that proof that I've been given the strength to bear suffering? Because if it is -- I am not satisfied. I am angry. I am supposed to believe in a God who loves me unconditionally - a God who calls me His daughter. I am supposed to love Him even when I don't understand. Well, I DON'T understand. If my earthly Dad allowed as much heartache and overwhelming, unbeatable circumstances into my life - I'd be a lot less fond of him. How much is too much? When do we get to the breaking point - because I think I passed it. I'm tired of crying out, begging, searching and hearing only silence. I don't want to do it anymore.