Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I finally have a Chia Pet!

Do you remember those funny little Chia Pets? Were they from the sixties, maybe? I can remember they were different than anything I had ever seen. I didn't have one, didn't even want one at the time, but I was intriqued by their uniqueness.

That brings me to the present. My husband and I can laugh at anything, and often do. I wouldn't dare recount all the bizarre things we find funny. Someone would want to commit us! However, I will share a little laugh we had last night because the image just keeps giving me a chuckle. So, humor me, okay?!

Bill has always had nice hair, but lately, his previously dark soft locks have been evolving into something akin to a steel wool pad - increasingly grey and wirey . Gel helps to camaflouge a bit, but when that dries or gets "slept" away, we're looking at a brand new "animal". A porcupine comes to mind.

Last night Bill looked in the mirror, then said to me, "I need a haircut.... whatta ya think?" I glanced over at him and flinched a bit at the sight I beheld. Grinning at my reaction, he said, "My hair doesn't grow long anymore. It just grows out!" Putting his hands out to the sides of his head to emphasize the obvious, I suddenly had a flashback to the sixties. I laughingly exclaimed, "You've become a Chia Pet!"

I guess you had to be there, maybe, but we're quiet easy to entertain. I don't care what you say, but to us, it was funny! I still chuckled throughout the day, today, as I remembered the sight of my husband; my very own Chia Pet. I also started to think about an analogy that could be extracted from my husband becoming a Chia Pet.

Here's my analogy. Bill used to be someone that did not yield any growth. He was like a Chia Pet, still in the box. Without care and cultivation, he was not ready to morph into what he was intended to become. But now he's something quiet different. He was "bought" by a Saviour that transformed him as he showered him with his love, grace and truth. As he continues to grow, I am grateful that I finally have a Chia Pet. I'll say, some things are worth waiting for!

Romans 12:2 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.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Personal Paraphrase of "My Psalm" - Psalm 18

I had been introduced to you, my God, as a young child, but I never really got to know who you were and appreciate how much you love me. In my ignorance, I walked along what first seemed like a beautiful white beach, but became increasingly more like a quicksand that steadily began to engulf me. As I sankfurther and further into its murky depths, I could almost sense the battle for my redemption. Invisible, but strangely present claws were grabbing me by the ankles, trying to pull me completely under and boast about my demise. Yet, every time it seemed like I would disappear into the darkness, strong wonderful arms and wings like soft feathers would lift me up into a soft warm glow to keep my head above the abyss. Each time, my heart, my very soul could not resist the beauty and warmth that drew me into the light of salvation. You were so patient with me, Lord; allowing me to stumble down a dirt-trodden path that waited to cover me with the filth of its unclean, crooked landscape. You knew that I could have well sank to my death and been completely defeated while I was still in my state of oblivion. You continued to whisper softly, yet firmly, to me and I heard your voice and came to recognise it. You kept assigning a mighty army to take down the very real enemy that was snarling at me and had me nearly within grasp. And when I called upon you, you released all the powers of heaven in my defense. I cried to you and you came to my rescue. You gave me strength and life. Suddenly, the darkness turned to light and hope sprung alive as you brightly exposed the truth through your spirit within me. My enemy had no chance of winning this round. My Saviour held me in His arms and I felt that He had moved heaven and earth on my behalf. My shaking knees could no longer withstand the tremble that transcended the physical and spiritual worlds. I willingly bowed to you. You didn't just stop at my rescue though; you continued to teach me and answer my prayers. My life, my husband's life, and our marriage are among your most profound miracles. You have reminded me that the battle is not mine and that you will always be with me. Yet, you still give me armor and remind me that I must put it on daily to be protected from intentional arrows that always seek to steal the victory you've given me. You set my path straight before me and put your Spirit within me. My trust is in you, my God, and I am eternally grateful for your unfailing kindness, grace and mercy.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

You're Welcome!

Several years ago, I finally made Jesus Christ the Lord of my life. Before that, I had known of Him, but I never really bothered to get to know HIM. That left an emptiness in my heart and in my life. Once I finally surrendered my will to Him, He occupied what was once emptiness in my life. My heart became a treasure chest of love. There are now precious gems of truth and nuggets of encouragement that shine from within me. Just as Paul's letter to the Colossians was to impress upon them that there was complete adequacy in Jesus Christ, as compared to the emptiness of mere human philosophy, God's word to me has impressed that same truth, "My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:2-3.

One precious gem that I've always remembered to put on display in my treasure chest is a special story of God's faithfulness and His love for me. One day our lesson in Sunday School class was to recognize God the following week in all the details in our life, even the small ones. My prayer, upon rising Monday morning, was for God to make himself known to me all throughout the day. I told him I would be watching and waiting and I invited him to bless my socks off with a keene awareness of His presence.

My top spiritual gift is faith, so this wasn't really a stretch for me to believe that God would show up. The funny thing was that, having a strong faith, I never really needed to ask to see things; I just knew He was always there and always working. I was in for a real treat that day. Almost immediately, I started to recognize God in the small details of my day.

On the way to work, I was worshipping God as I listened to K-Love radio. A song had just played that affirmed the truth that God will make a way. I believed that, and I'm so glad God reminded me of how He made a way for me. As I sat at a traffic light, the front plate on the car facing me across the intersection suddenly seemed to jump out at me. The plate simply said "Jesus". On a normal rushed and busy day, I may not have noticed the words of the song or the visual representation of how the way was paved for me for an eternity through Jesus. Sometimes things have to be spelled out for me. I mentally grasped that nugget of encouragement and verbally thanked God for showing himself to me.

Through both music and a great appreciation for God's creation, I find it easy to worship and praise God for everything under the sun. This particular day, God spoke to me in my language. You know in your heart when God is talking to you. I couldn't believe I had never really tried to listen and watch more closely before. I shared with my husband at dinner that night, all the beautiful and meaningful ways God had made his presence known to me that day. It was a sweet time of thankfulness. On the drive home, a steady rain had just let up and the sun came from behind the clouds just before sunset. Once again, just at that moment, a beautiful sunset and colorful rainbow was accompanied by a song of God's faithfulness through the storm. He was showing me His promise. I was watching and listening. I added another precious gem to my treasure chest. I was rich with blessings.

As I dropped my husband off at home, I ran to the store on an errand. My conversation with God was ongoing and I was thanking Him for being visible to me all day. I thanked him for always being with me, even when I couldn't see, hear or feel him. Yet, I also thanked Him for a special glimpse, something tangible to put in my treasure chest. Just as I was saying "amen", I looked up at the white puffy clouds in the late evening sky. All of a sudden, in the midst of the clouds, I saw a very clear and visible smiling face; the face that had become familiar to me as that of Jesus.

I began to think I was getting a little carried away, so I looked away, not once, but twice. Each time I looked back, I saw the beautiful face of Jesus yet again. I started to chide myself for being a bit too imaginative, but then I remembered how my entire day had gone as a result of God answering my prayer and showing himself to me through what, up until this point, had been the small things. But, THIS was no small thing, let me tell you! This was a humdinger of a revelation. All day, God had spelled things out for me, had spoken and sang to me, painted the sky for me, but NOW, He was smiling at me. This was the gem of all gems; this was literally my ROCK that still shines atop my treasure chest. All I could do was praise Him and say, "THANK YOU, LORD!" As I closed my eyes, still seeing His smile, I knew He was saying, "You're welcome!"

I shared this experience with my class the following Sunday. They were a bit in awe, but I know they believed me because they knew me. The following Sunday we had a great laugh about how everyone was going around looking at the clouds all week, trying to get a glimpse of Jesus. They didn't see him there, but I'm sure He made his presence known in other meaningful ways to them.

God doesn't have to be visible anymore for me to know He's there, but it sure was a BLESSING to see and feel my Saviour's love that day. I think, because I have a lot of faith and just believe that God is God and He will do what he says he will do, he gave me precious nuggets to store away that day in my treasure chest. I can just close my eyes and still see his smiling face.

Unfortunately, as we go about our lives, we sometimes forget that God is always with us. We sometimes are too busy to include Him in our daily activities. We forget that He wants to bless us and give us His strength to draw upon; He wants to be our Rock, our Strong Tower. But, He wants us to live that relationship with Him every day; not just when we remember or are reminded that we need Him. We will always need Him and He will always be there. For that, I continue to say, "Thank you, Lord!" I know He smiles and says, "You're welcome!"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Elephant Has Become Pink!

Anyone that knows me well, knows that I like to live by my conservative principles. Yet, I realize that I must pepper them with a balance of grace and patience. One main directive that keeps me balanced is that of not becoming a stumbling block to anyone in their relationship with God, by letting my actions be disprespectful or ugly in any way. I could easily tell those that are off base that they're especially challenged, but I must refrain from that initial reaction. I only say it on the inside! Just kidding, but God is shaping me into someone with more patience for those that are blinded by thier own rhetoric and/or doctrine. I have to pray for discernment that I have the wisdom and understanding I need from God to discern His word and stand firm on that. Albeit, continuing to represent Him in an honoring way.

In all honesty, I'm directed to be salt and light in this world and stand up for what is right in a way that can be respected. It's often that kind of truth that is not tolerated on all sides. It's not politically correct to speak of truth because it is offensive. Salt is a substance that can be abrasive, yet that is often needed in order for it's cleansing attributes to be fully realized. Light represents exposure and truth, yet those that aren't willing to accept it seem to turn away because to them it becomes a glare; something they aren't willing to look at or even consider. They just don their rose-colored glasses and continue along their misdirected way. Does this frustrate me to no end? You bet! But last time I checked, I wasn't responsible for them. My only responsibility is to show them unconditional love and grace and hope that God's truth will one day penetrate their souls and show them truth in all areas. The only way that can truly happen is if one honestly seeks God's direction and asks for wisdom and discernment in the instructions He gives us. The instructions are meant to bring us good and to keep us from harm and evil. It's unfortunate that we often think we have a better plan and go our own way. It hasn't worked yet. I would venture to say, it never will.

That brings me to the point of my latest frustration. As much as I would love to, I'm not sporting my bumper sticker or displaying my yard sign for my presidential candidate of choice. I understand that it could be a deterrent to how God wants to use our influence to bring people that don't know Him into a relationship with Him. I get that. Yet, I must admit that my flesh rises up when anyone presumes to suggest that I shouldn't do so. I have my own discernment, thank you, and I plan to use it! What really burns me though, is the fact that those in christian ministry are not expected to be leaders in politics. I can't sit on the sidelines for that one! If we can't lead in politics, how can we effectively reach the ends of the earth for God's purposes? It's okay to "lead" everywhere but in politics? I'm sorry, but that doesn't make any sense to me. It's just a cop-out for being politically correct. In the meantime, we're in danger of falling in line with the wrong leaders. I can't believe its God's will for us not to stand up for what is right, so He can be well represented, not only in our personal lives and in our homes, but in the way our country is led. I believe He is calling us to do just the opposite, to lead by example and be proud of it, because it's the right thing to do.

I couldn't believe my ears recently when I heard someone say something to the effect that God doesn't tell us who to vote for; He just lets us make our own decision. WHAT?!!! Carnally, we make our own decisions about anything and everything. Choosing our own way has always been our human problem and it will always be our downfall. However, God does have direction for everything in our lives. It's called the Bible. It's meant to be read and taken seriously. Dare I even suggest that doing so could lead to obedience in ways He wants us to follow? Within the pages of the bible, God gives us good indications of what is right and what is wrong. He gives us His wisdom and knowledge in areas we are willing to submit to Him and in areas where we are willing to follow His lead. Does that sound like He's telling us to make our own decision? I guess, ultimately, He gives us free will to make those decisions, but we are not left without direction as to what He has to say about it. No, He's telling us to follow His instructions. Doing so is rewarding. It could result in a leader being elected that is actually the right man for the job. We don't have to settle for what human choice determines. We can pray that God will lead us in our choice and in His ultimate choice of who should lead our land. It's too important a choice for us to leave to chance or political correctness.

So, I guess I'm just talking about my pink elephant in the church. At least its an elephant!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's been a while, but I'm back!

I can't believe it's been nearly 4 months since I've last posted a blog, but time has gotten away from me and here we are. Today finds me basking in one of those rare beautiful weather days in Rockford....something we don't see very often, but an anomily I eagerly anticipate and increasingly appreciate. When days like these burst forth in glory and splendor, I tend to store their beauty and warmth away somewhere in my subconsciousness....to be drawn upon in the depths of the grey winters we experience in the Midwest. It's like a deposit of sunshine into my mental savings account. I thank God for the gift of His beauty and warmth, which leaves me enveloped in the grip of His love. His hand was all over this day; the rays of sunshine were His very fingers stroking my hair and and leaving me Son-kissed. The refreshing breeze was His spirit engulfing me in a glorious whisper heard deeply in my soul. I so often miss His blessings in everyday life, but, today, I was a little more observant and stopped to breathe in Sonshine. I can't adequately describe it, but I think you get my drift. Me and God got a thing goin' on and sometimes He just has to remind me of that in tangible ways. That leaves me reflective and oh so thankful for the wake up call.

Bill and I just got back from Ft. Meyers, FL, where we enjoyed a fun-filled family week with our daughter and her boyfriend. We spent our days on Sanibel Island in the Gulf waters. It was beautiful and a welcome reprieve from the daily routine. Now Bill is in NYC for a few days for some fun with his family and friends. In the meantime, I've become totally enthralled with the summer Olympics. They're fantastic to watch and I find myself routing for the wonderful athletes as I hear their stories and anticipate a dream of theirs being realized as they compete. I just watched the American Men's Swim Relay team beat the French by a fingernail. The French had been talking trash and being arrogant...as usual...so it was especially sweet to watch Michael Phelps and team celebrate with unabashed enthusiasm as they literally snatched the gold. How exciting! And how about that opening ceremony - WOW! Was that ever a great show?! I cannot even describe how incredible it was. I hear you can watch it on YouTube, so pull it up if you didn't see it. It's worth your time.

Well, this has really been a catch up for the last 4 months, so I apologize for my hybernation. Hopefully, I'll be back to post soon. In the meantime, take care and join me in looking for God's everyday blessings. They're abundant and ever-present. I pray for comfort and joy for my mom and I would love for you to join me in that prayer. God watches over her and is her blessing day in and out. I am ever grateful! Blessings to each of you.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The World according to Elvis!

Our 110 lb. Weimareiner gives new meaning to "My Space"! We got "Elvis Marvin Gaye Ledbetter", by default, when he was two. He's been both a joy and a royal pain to me in the seven years since then! Heaven knows, he is typical of his breed, but I dare say he's in the high precentile of those that are their own breed. Yes he is a dominant alpha dog which makes him socially unacceptable to most other dogs...until he shows his prowess and is comfortable with them. After initial contact with another dog, he either becomes boss or the other dog has to leave - by force or by wise choice of its owner. Let's just say animals that aren't dogs cannot cohabitate in his space. It would be detrimental to their health and wellbeing! Despite his social ineptness, he is still a sweetheart of a big boy. He's lovable to us, albeit a bit challenging for the rest of the general population. They just don't understand his passion! Like the original Elvis, he loves to shake his booty and eat good food. Inadvertently, its cause for bouts of tunnel vision more often than not. Get out of his way when he's excited or has a meal in his reach. Anything between him and his target is going down!
Bill and I had to laugh the other night at his behavior....for the umpteenth time! He has to have his own space and sometimes invading that chosen space makes him pace around until it is freed, fluffed and fixed for his sole occupancy. We have moved our liesure time into a family room where we have a new tv setup and it has messed up his routine hangout space which is normally on a couch or bed, but always by our sides. He, like many of his breed, has separation anxiety that makes him want to be close to us at all times when we are home.....close, but not always touching - that would invade his space! Yet, the other night, he had enough of just a rug separating him from a hardwood floor. The comfort zone had been minimized, so he paced for a while and eventually jumped up between us on the one couch in the room. Surprisingly, he didn't care that his behind was touching me and his head was in Bill's lap. Normally that would just not have cut the mustard, but now it was the better choice for his comfort. If he couldn't have his own cushy space, he would encrouch upon ours. After all, its all about him!
Being the softie that I am, I went out yesterday and got him a new dog bed for the room, so his comfort would not be compromised! Yes, I helped create this monster, or at least enable him to get his way. He loves his comfy new bed and as I'm writing this, he is snoring at our feet as we watch Tiger try to come back from behind to win the Master's. He could care less. Once again, he's in his own space, his own world, according to Elvis! What could be any better?!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My baby is 21 today! Happy Birthday Kristen!!! To say I am proud and honored to be her mother is an understatement. Thanks, Kristen, for being you (even when it's not cool!). The little premie that came into the world a month early on April Fool's Day, 1987, is nobody's fool. Did I tell you she made Dean's List at the University of KY last semester? SHE DID!
She's a pretty cool CAT!
Happy Birthday Baby. WE LOVE YOU!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Who will roll the stone away?

Easter is fast approaching. It's funny what comes to mind when we think of Easter. There's nothing wrong with bunnies, baby chicks, eggs and (especially) chocolate. I'm all for having a fun time with the kids at Easter. Some of my favorite memories from childhood are of hunting easter eggs with my cousins in my grandmother's yard. But my childhood idea of Easter can't compare to the joy I have now in knowing that my eternity is secure because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. I love Easter now because I love my Lord. I know the extravagant kind of love it took for Jesus to willingly surrender to death on a cross in order to pay for my sins. He did that for me! WOW!

The gospel of Mark, chapter 16 verse 3, recounts how two women were going to the tomb where their beloved Jesus had been buried after his crucifixion. Their love and devotion for Jesus motivated them to take spices and perfumes to annoint his body. Verse 3 captures their dialogue:

Mark 16:3 - and they asked each other, Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"

That leaves a mark in my spirit. A mark that looks like a word picture of faith and intense love. My bible footnotes tell me that rolling the stone into place was not that difficult, but that taking it away from the grooved bedrock into which it had become lodged was no small feat; especially for two women (physically) alone in their endeavor to take away the barrier that separated them from their Saviour. Think about that for a second. What faith it must have taken to set out on such a mission, knowing that the tomb was sealed; not letting it deter their determination to honor their Lord. They may have appeared to be alone, but God was with them. Just as He is always with us who have put our trust in Jesus as our Saviour.

Mark 16:4 goes on to say, But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.

I want to have that kind of faith. To love Jesus with such intensity that I don't let anything come between Him and me, to know that He can roll the stones away and to know that no stone can ever separate me from His love. I'm all for that!

Happy Easter!

Oh - note this interesting bit I just discovered about why Easter is so early this year. Call me a nerd, but I just like information. I may not remember it all, but I get a kick out of "stuff" that enlightens me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

SPRING is in sight!

I finally got a job this week. God is good! He has been trying to teach me patience these past four months, as I have had many doors shut to finding employment here in Rockford. The job is only part-time, but I am thankful for the opportunity and I have great peace that God has put me in a great new place to work. I didn't think I would lose my salary and great benefits when we moved here, so the adjustment has been a bit painful for me at times. But I know my Father's pension plan is much greater than the earthly one I have been so concerned about. Even though I am confident that where God guides He provides, my human nature kept getting in the way of my peace with that. Did I tell you that my spiritual gift is faith?! I'm ashamed to admit it, but I'm afraid I let my fruit be exposed to the cold snowy winter and I've had a severe case of spiritual frostbite. I'm ready for the thaw-out and it seems like SPRING may finally be right around the corner. The temperature is in the 40's here today; it feels like the tropics.

This is the day that the Lord has made. Today, especially, I will be glad and rejoice in it!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Red light - Green light!

What are your favorite colors? Mine are reds and greens. It's funny how those colors are so symbolic of things like "stop" and "go". As a matter of fact, sometimes I can lose myself in thought and begin to feel like life is one big traffic light. Sometimes I stop; sometimes I go. But I don't like slowing down for yellow! You want to go, but you're not sure where. You try to stop, but it feels like you're in a rut, so you want to go again. Yellow is sort of an in-between place to be. It feels like limbo. But just like limbo, if you're not careful, you can bend over backwards and land flat on your behind (and go pretty low getting there!). Like I said before....symbolic!

Do you remember that old game many of us played as kids, red light - green light? Since I was raised in Kentucky, I realize this could have been a regional thing and not entirely universal, so I will explain. One person was the leader; in "control". He was on one side of the yard and all the other players were on the other side of the yard. The goal was to see who could advance to reach the postion of control first. The leader would yell "green light" and everyone would rush forward. He would yell "red light" and everyone would stop in their tracks.

It's funny how we all still race for control isn't it? Sometimes it feels like we're all in the yard again and we're in one big game of red light - green light. As much as I'd like to be in control, I'm afraid it would be a short stint and I might just fall on my behind. Oh yeah, already been there and done that! I'm not anxious to go again. I think I'll just enjoy being in the game and let the Leader stay in control. It seems to work better that way.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

God's faithfulness

My daughter will not like one bit that she is my subject in this blog, but I will beg for forgiveness later. By all reasonable accounts she should have major issues. Yet, by the grace of God, she is pretty normal (except for a warped sense of humor and an uncanny gift of sarcasm!). Let me rephrase that. She is very pretty and she is anything but normal. She's extraordinarily awesome!
We butted heads often in her teenage years. It could be that we're both rather stubborn and we both have a tendancy to think we're right about most things. Yet the similarities end there. Thinking of myself at her age, I will readily admit that I could not hold a candle to the character and wit she displays. I'm very proud of who she has become, but I can't pat myself on the back or take any credit for that. It would be more appropriate to give God the glory for who she is. She will turn 21 in about a month. While the world considers that an adult, she will always be my baby!
I am blessed to have read Stormie Omartian's "Power of a Praying Parent" when Kristen was young and actually listened to the audio of the book repeatedly in my car. It helped me begin praying proactively for God's protection and blessings for her life; that at every important juncture in her life God will give her wisdom and discernment to make the right decisions or place the right people in her path to help her. One of my prayers for her is that God will always teach her gently. I know there will be times when she will have to grow through adversity, as we all do, but I am ever grateful for her love for the Lord and her bent towards obedience. My hope is that those two admirable qualities are always prominent in her heart and mind. When she finds herself in a desert, my prayer is that the Living Water will spring forth from her heart to sustain her. Yes Lord, please teach her gently and shape her into your image. But if she ever has to endure a desert, let it be like Desert Mountain; where beauty and blessings abound and you find yourself thanking God for it.
Is my daughter perfect? Of course not. But is she a wonderful blessing and a reminder to me of God's faithfulness? Absolutely! I thank God for you Kristen and I love you to infinity!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

If it walks like a duck....

I have a new theory. Too much snow and subsequent shoveling can speed up the aging process. Bill's back and muscles are protesting the amount of snow we've had here in Rockford this winter. Shoveling our driveway has given him workouts that could rival that of olympic athletes in training. As a matter of fact, look for "shoveling" to be a potential olympic sport next time around.....hey, if curling can make it, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.
I'm so grateful that our neighborhood gets ploughed quickly and effectively when it snows here. What drives me crazy is the two foot pile of snow that is deposited at the end of our driveway as the street is cleared. I know it has to go somewhere so we can drive on the streets, but shoveling out of the "fort" is a chore. Just ask Bill! I have helped a handful of times, but I wouldn't want to get in the way of olympic training.
Bill's recent "gait" has developed into something I can only describe as that of a waddling duck. Somehow, walking like that seems to alleviate some of the strain on his back; or so he says. Today we saw one of those commercials about the electronic wheelchairs as he was trying to stand up from the couch. He commented jokingly that he needed a scooter. I chuckled, but quickly said, "Don't even joke about that"! Then I watched him waddle through the house.
I suppose we just have to be careful not to go out during duck hunting season. Walking like that, he's fair game!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Can you hear me now?

I still have my Colorado cell phone number. I don't know what that says about me after being in Illinois for nearly 4 months now, but suffice it to say that I don't want to miss any calls. Someone may need to talk to me! I'm sure I'll stay with Verizon though. I like their coverage.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if God subscribed to Verizon? Imagine getting clear reception when He says, "Can you hear me now?"! Seriously though, how's your network working for you? Are you getting dropped calls? Wouldn't it be great to have a connection so solid that we are able to hear from God when He calls our name? And how about that coverage?!

The truth is, His network is failproof. If we call on Him in prayer, He hears us. If we seek Him through His word, we find Him. If we look for Him in creation, He will be seen. Yes, reception on His end seems to be ours for the asking. We can always reach God by just calling His name. Yet, many times, when He tries to reach us, we miss His call. Could be we're out of our network or we've turned off communication. I don't know about you, but it sure is time for me to download His ringtone so I can recognize Him when He calls.

Figuratively speaking, I'm quite happy with Verizon because of "IN" calling. Since I'm in God's family that's a FREE call. Of course, if I used T-Mobile, I could have a Fave 5! My Fave 5 would have to be Father, Son, Holy Spirit.....and, OH, Bill and Kristen!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

In the midst of the storm

Last year, when we were living in Colorado, it was one of the worst winters the Denver/Boulder area had experienced in many years. When we arrived in the summer of 2006, we were told that, contrary to popular belief, the winters in the foothills were quiet pleasant. I was looking forward to 300 days of sunshine (something I took for granted and greatly long for here in Northern Illinois!) I thought it would be great to have snowfall one day and 60 degrees to melt it the next. Imagine my surprise when mid December brought a massive snowstorm of epic proportions that proved to be only the beginning. I think it was around mid-March by the time the snow was finally gone. Until then, we began to see it as a constant. People would often say to us, "It's not normally like this around here." Lucky us, to be there for a phenomenon! While I deeply love Colorado, I felt less than blessed to be in the midst of these storms.

Fast forward to Northern Illinois. Winter, 2007/2008. We knew it would be cold. Those dastardly lake effects can cut right through you. I've got a new appreciation for COLD and a renewed distaste for it! I think the first snow came around Thanksgiving. It seems to have snowed pretty consistently ever since. And I'm beginning to wonder how the below zero temperatures and windchills are actually measured. There's a reason below zero is termed "negative". It definitely is! Once again, people say, "It's not normally like this around here." It seems this winter is an especially harsh one. Imagine that!

I'm not egocentric enough to think that physical storms just follow me. However, I am ever consious that spiritual storms are either in the midst of raging or are collecting all the necessary characteristics to start a brewing process. It's not a matter of "if", but "when" they will hit! That sounds rather ominous, but its a reality we have to come to terms with. How else can we weather the storm, if we're not wearing the right gear? Again, I give kudos to my current Beth Moore study for reminding me how important it is to weatherize. God's word is so gracious to map out an effective emergency plan. It doesn't say we will always escape unscathed, but it does say we can have peace in the midst of the storm. That peace comes from prepartion, if you will. Batten down the hatches, store up God's accurate forecast in your heart and have an ongoing communication plan with the only one who can ultimately help us survive the storms of life.

Newsflash: There may not be 300 days of sunshine in Northern Illinois, maybe not even half that, but that's okay. I've seen the forecast and there are better days ahead!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sometimes there are just no parking spaces!

I pray for everything! Sometimes, even trivial things like parking spaces. I figure if God doesn't grant it to me, I'm no worse for the asking. But, if He does, its certainly a blessing to me. Being a pastor's wife has landed me and my husband in a few places. Right now, we're parked in Rockford, IL. It's a spot we prayed for and God opened it up for us.

I'm still trying to find a job here and it doesn't seem as if employers are standing in line to hire me. It's a humbling experience. I did start a new job last week, but it wasn't quiet what I expected. I was supposed to go into Chicago the first three days for orientation. My first day was a 14 hour day, with a six hour commute! Yikes! That, along with the news that I would not be receiving equipment for my home office, was a bit discouraging, but I was determined to follow through with my commitment. I asked God to shut the door if this wasn't the right job for me, but, even though I felt no real peace about the job, I still didn't see the door being shut. I prayed all the way to the train station the next morning for God to show me what I should do. After 45 minutes of trying to find a parking spot, I called to let them know I would be late. It occurs to me now that, not once, did I pray for a spot to open up! All of a sudden I could see that I needed to swallow my pride and let my new employer know that this job just wasn't going to work out for me. Thank God for the Beth Moore bible study I'm doing at church right now. I'm learning about all kinds of strongholds in my life like pride. There would have been a day, not even long ago, when I would have just sucked it up and gone back into that office because I was worried about what they would say or think of me if I didn't return. However, on this day, there just weren't any parking spaces and I decided life was too short to drive around any longer looking for one! That was the shortest job I've ever had, but it taught me that my Provider will open up my spot in His timing.

On the way home, I felt liberated for having made the decision not to return to that job. I had to chuckle because I was reminded of the cartoon where the person is waiting on the rooftop with floods rising around him and two or three different people come by in boats, planes and such to ask it he needs help. Each time he declines the help and says, "No, God will rescue me!" I was that person, not recognizing that God was trying to get my attention regarding this job in a variety of ways, but I just didn't see the help He was offering me. I mean the weather this particular week was not just your typical Mid-West bitter, but ridiculously hazardous. Thus, part of the reason my commute was so long that first day. The second day's weather was equally treachorous. A smarter, less prideful person might have figured this out a lot quicker than I did.

I really needed a Starbucks when I got back to Rockford, but comfort food seemed much more appropriate that day. I went to Cracker Barrel instead. There was a parking spot right up front!