Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gratitude means...

to take nothing for granted!

281. a husband that knows how to fix a hot water heater

282. a son who helps his Dad work on the hot water heater

283. food in the frige

284. able to do six miles on the stationary bike

To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.
~ Albert Schweitzer

7 Days of Nothing

Is this not the fast that I have chosen,
to loosen the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the bands of the yoke,
and to let the oppressed go free,
and break every yoke?
Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into the house;
when you see the naked to cover him;
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Isaiah 58:7

...happy is he who is gracious to the poor.
Proverbs 14:21

Our hot water heater is broken. I griped and complained doing dishes using cold water today. A year ago I griped about doing the dishes in the sink, but I since I haven't had a working dishwasher for over a year now I really have learned to adjust to doing dishes in the sink, actually enjoying the warm, sudsy, therapeutic water .... the way my moma and grandmother did the dishes for years.
But now I griped, "using cold water just doesn't seem to get grimy, greasy dishes as clean as hot water."
I wanted to take a hot bath. I couldn't. It made me downright ill.
Then I remembered the daily cool showers in Trinidad this past summer (they were much briefer than those taken at home).
I recalled when Taylor got sick while we were in Trinidad and it looked as if we may have to take him to the hospital there. A hospital with no running water.
Today I got some pictures from my brother in Africa via email.
I have decided not to complain today.
We as a nation are really out of touch, or at least I am.
Here are some shocking facts ... please take the time to read them.

Today, across the world, 1.3 billion people live on less than one dollar a day; 3 billion live on under two dollars a day; 1.3 billion have no access to clean water; 3 billion have no access to sanitation; 2 billion have no access to electricity.1

30,000 children under the age of 5 die every day from poverty-related issues? That's 210,000 a week or over 10 million a year, if you're counting.2

Americans spend $110 billion a year on fast food, 3

39 billion dollars a year on their pets. 4

We are carrying over 2 trillion dollars in credit card and auto debt.5

OK, facts are great but what am I supposed to do about 'the least of these'? I am praying and considering. Perhaps for one week, I will buy nothing – nothing – but the necessities. Money saved during the week will go to someone less fortunate. I haven’t determined all of my needs and wants, but some sacrifices are already clear: no magazines, no clothes, no diet coke, no dining out, no processed foods. I believe I'll learn a lot about myself during those 7 days ... my materialistic nature and my wastefulness. I doubt that by doing this I will lessen suffering throughout the world, but that is not the goal here. The goal is to change my heart. I'm not sure when I will begin this, but it will happen. What about you? Are you up for 7 Days of Nothing?

1 Globalissues.org "Poverty and Hunger Facts" 2 UNICEF State of the World's Children 2005 3 Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlosser4 CNN.com 5 CNNmoney.com

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Offensive, Attractive Cross

more ugly-beautiful ...

“The curious paradox of the atoning death of a bloody Jesus rising above the plane of human history with a mocking crown of thorns is that he is offensive in an attractive way.
It is the utter horror of the cross that cuts through the chatter, noise, and nonsense of our day to rivet our attention, shut our mouths, and compel us to listen to an impassioned dying man who is crying out for the forgiveness of our sins and to ask why he suffered.
Tragically, if we lose the offense of the cross, we also lose the attraction of the cross so that no one is compelled to look at Jesus. Therefore, Jesus does not need a marketing firm or a makeover as much as a prophet to preach the horror of the cross unashamedly.”

—Mark Driscoll, Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Grateful ...

289. celebrating Taylor's 21st birthday
290. shrimp boil by the pond with family

The happiest moments of my life
have been the few
which I have passed at home
in the bosom of my family.

-Thomas Jefferson
"Sons are a heritage from the Lord; children a gift from Him. Like arrows in the hands of warriors are sons born in one's youth. ~Psalm 127:3-4

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Develop an attitude of gratitude,

... and give thanks for everything
that happens to you,
knowing that every step forward
is a step toward achieving something
bigger and better
than your current situation.
--Brian Tracy

with an attitude of gratitude...

286. washing baby clothes

287. rising early from a sound sleep

288. the smell of supper in the crockpot

Which Road?

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-Robert Frost

At some point in our journey, as travelers passing through, we will come to a crossroad, a fork in the road and be forced to make a choice ... which path to take? How do we make the right decision? How do we prevent aimless wandering? What is the right path?

The right path is one that is lines up with the Word of God.

The right path will be consistent with who He made you to be.

The right path will usually lead you away from self-service to servant hood.

We can get advice from friends, family, etc. But, for fail-proof directions, seek God. He will be your confident guide.

You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
Psalm 73:24

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Best Of Now And Here...

No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.
-John Greenleaf Whittier

Grateful for ...

282. dinner with Savannah-Jane, Travis, and Guy
283. an email from Tony, a high school friend
284. my family's wonderul sense of humor
285. walking among Fall flowers at a garden center

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Paradox ... ugly-beautiful

a "paradox" ... a true statement that leads to a contradiction, seemingly opposite.

rust gathering on a porch ceiling fan

the peeling bark of an aging riverbirch tree

Thou has given me so much ...

Give me one thing more, a grateful heart.
-George Herbert

278. a beautiful bookmark for me, made by Kameryn

279. roast beef and carrots for Sunday dinner

280. a phone call from Taylor

281. email from dear friend Gina in Iowa

Forgiveness ... it's a tough one!

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving
each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:30-32

I heard not one, but two sermons today on forgiveness. Ok Lord, I hear you! Forgiveness ... it's a tough one!

In one of the sermons, a heart-wrenching story was told about a person that got behind the wheel after drinking heavily. He lost control of his vehicle and hit another car, instantly killing driver. The deeply grieved family insisted, as part of his punishment, that he address and mail an envelope with a dollar bill in it to them each week for five years to serve as a reminder for taking their loved one's life. However, this punishment was ultimately even more painful to the family who received a weekly reminder of the grief and sorrow of the loss of their loved one.

The lesson here is: unforgiveness hurts us more than it hurts the one who offended us. Sadly, when we harbor unforgiveness in our heart we are out of fellowship with our Lord Jesus. We are commanded to take the sins of others and, according to the literal Greek of the word, forgive, which is aphiemi, to send forth, or send away.

Colossians 3:13 says, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

The person who sees the greatness of his own forgiveness by God's love, will himself, in love, be forgiving. He forgives in love because his heavenly Father has forgiven in love and he desires to be an imitator of His Father. -David Curtis

Lord Herbert said, "He who cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass."

A saint of long ago said, "Revenge, indeed, seems often sweet to men; but, oh, it is only sugared poison, only sweetened gall, and its aftertaste is bitter as hell. Forgiving, enduring love alone, is sweet and blissful: it enjoys peace and the consciousness of God's favor."

Colossians 3:13 says bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

"You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well." -Lewis B. Smedes

Saturday, September 20, 2008

a leaf's necessary death

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Ugly-Beautiful

Ann, is the inspiration for my joining of the Gratitude Community (the 1000 Gifts List). Since then I have been adding to the list. (#277 was posted yesterday) For an explanation of reasons for keeping a gift list refer to her writings.

Ann has now challenged me to consider looking closely at the everyday ugly-beautiful things in my life. Thanks, Ann.

Time to be Still

Fall container garden by me and my green thumb

The lyrics from If I Could Save Time In A Bottle
by Jim Croce (1972) came to mind today. Remember?

If I could save Time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day'
til Eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you
If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with
If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

Well, we can't save time in a bottle, but I do agree that there never seems to be enough time to do the things we want to do. Since I left the crazed teaching profession, I admit I have a lot more time. (and a lot less money)

With this time, I have re-discovered hobbies I had forgotten about. I really love to read, write, bake, exercise sometimes, rock a baby (Malli, of course) and I enjoy playing around with photography. I also discovered something else I really enjoy ... I am crazy about container gardening! (see one of my first projects above ... one with a Fall flair, complete with orange mums - yet to bloom, and orange gerbera daisies) It was so much fun!
I guess being officially unemployed, approaching broke, seeking a job, (oh - please send me your suggestions for what I can be when I grow up) yet, delightfully tied down keeping my first grandchild during the day has caused me to look at life a little differently. Today I feel extremely blessed to have this time ... this season. There is always plenty to do around here and I am never bored but I am learning to 'be still,' for a change. I am actually discovering the joy in doing nothing for at least half an hour a day...even is it means getting up earlier than I like. Time to truly 'be still.'
I read somewhere that a pond cannot reflect an image unless it is still. Hmm ...I've been thinking about that a lot lately. Psalms 46:10 says, Be still, and know that I am God." How will I reflect His image if I don't take advantage of the time I have to 'be still?' There's always plenty of possible activity, but what about just getting quiet and reverent before God, my Father? Getting to know Him. I am finding it an absolute essential for my journey that I make time for this silence, this stillness. Not praying, saying, writing, or reading anything. Just still and silent in His presence.

"Your silent actions will speak much louder than your words and will move you closer to His heart." -Woodrow Kroll

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Life holds so many simple blessings,

each day bringing its own
individual wonder.

John McLeod

276. homemade soup, cornbread, and egg custard pie

277. a Fallish late Summer evening walk with hubby

Watch, Pause, Gaze, Delight, Wonder

Even there shall Your hand
lead me,
and Your right hand shall
hold me.

Psalm 139:10
As I watch her. . . .
This gift,
this child
who unexpectedly
and wondrously interrupted my life,
I pause
and I gaze at innocence.
I delight in His gift.
Yet, I wonder
about her future.
How uncertain it is.
I will tell her to watch,
to pause,
to gaze,
to delight
and wonder at
the One who has a plan.

Whatever this life holds for her I will tell her who holds it. I will tell her about The One who has her in the palm of His hand. The One who orchestrated her life from the beginning. The One who cares about every detail of her life. The One who will never leave or forsake her. The One who wants to give her abundant life. The One.

And as I tell her this, I hear Him whisper the same to my heart as He holds me. I need this reminding daily. Watch. Pause. Gaze. Delight. Wonder. And soak us His love. His grace. His mercy. His provision. His plan.

This child, teaching me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me;
O Lord, be my help.
You turned my wailing into dancing.
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever.
Psalm 30:10-12

The cross-stitched, framed word "JOY" pictured above was done by my mother-in-law, 'Dawie' in 1986. A few weeks ago, 'Pop' gave it to me. I remember it was often used as a decoration at Christmas time in their home. I have decided to hang it year-round in our home.

Joy. What is joy? A good definition of joy is this: "it's the flag that flies on the castle of the heart when the King is in residence. Only Christians can know true and lasting joy. A Christian's joy is a gift from God to those who believe the gospel, being produced in them by the Holy Spirit as they receive and obey the Word, being mixed with trials with a hope set on future glory." (John MacArthur)
I read a brief biography of the apostle Paul tonight. Paul's life was quite exciting! Originally he was a violent enemy of Christ. Paul later went on to not only put his faith in the risen Lord but to scribe thirteen letters of the New Testament--in the midst of being beaten, shipwrecked, snakebitten, imprisoned, and chased out of town. In all this Paul learned what it meant to be content and he found ultimate joy while he concentrated on getting to know Christ! Paul’s joy was due to the fact that he was rooted and grounded in his relationship with Jesus Christ!

The world feeds us continual lies about the source of happiness. If only we had a new house, a new car, a new wardrobe, perfect health, a perfect spouse, etc. Admittedly, we all want to be happy and comfortable. However, if happiness depends on our current state of affairs, where will we be when those things wear out, our health is threatened, and our spouse dies?

The nineteenth century preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, "Those old gnarlings on the root of the oak tree and those strange twistings of the branches all tell of the many storms that have swept over it, and they are also indicators of the depth to which the roots have forced their way. So the Christian is made strong, and firmly rooted by all the trials and storms of life." (Morning and Evening [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980], July 11, morning reading).

Here's something I wrote in my journal a few years ago. . . .

“In contrast to happiness stands joy! Running deeper and stronger, joy is the quiet, confident assurance of God’s love and work in our lives – that He will be there no matter what! Happiness depends on happenings – but joy depends on Christ!”
(sorry - not sure of the source)

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life . . . .

it turns
what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order,
confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Melody Beattie

275. lessons learned while helping Missy bake a cake


"... Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? ... And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love ..."
Romans 8:35, 38, NLT
The Heidelberg Catechism begins "My only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own but belong body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ."
For me. it's all about trust these days. The lesson that I must learn and re-learn is to simply trust God. . . . Trusting that He has an infinite plan beyond my finite plan . . . . Trusting that in everything He really will work it out for the good of those who love Him . . . . Trusting that His love is truly sufficient to carry me through good times and bad times.
I stumbled across an article today from a magazine called Modern Reformation. The article was an interview of Lisa Beamer. Lisa's husband Todd was on flight 93 that went down in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. He was the one who said, "Let’s Roll!" He left behind Lisa and three small children.
In the article Lisa says,
"We aren’t privy to the perspective he has and shouldn’t claim to know better than he does what should happen and what shouldn’t. . . . Faith means that, regardless of circumstances, we take him at his word that he loves us and will bring us to a good result if we just trust and obey him . . . . God knew the terrible choices the terrorists would make and that Todd Beamer would die as a result. He knew my children would be left without a father and me without a husband . . . . Yet in his sovereignty and in his perspective on the big picture, he knew it was better to allow the events to unfold as they did rather than redirect Todd’s plans to avoid death. . . . I can’t see all the reasons he might have allowed this when I know he could have stopped it . . . . . I don’t like how his plan looks from my perspective right now, but knowing that he loves me and can see the world from start to finish helps me say, ‘It’s OK.’ . . . . if we believe wholeheartedly, each moment, that our destiny rests in the hands of Jesus Christ - the one with ultimate love and ultimate power - what do we have to be concerned about? Of course, our humanity clouds this truth many times but hanging on to glimpses of it keeps everything in perspective."
It really is all about trust. . . . a firm reliance on the integrity, ability, and character of You, Lord. How I long to trust you completely! I confess my trust in You is not what it needs to be. Help me to lean not on my own understanding. Thank you for your patience with me.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Joy

271. a sweet moment - Malli and her Daddy
272. cooking a midnight breakfast
273. laughter
274. my brother Greg arrived in Africa safely

Let your desire be the vision of God,
your fear the loss of Him,
your sorrow His absence,
and your joy in that which may take you to Him,
and your life shall be in great peace.
— St. Teresa of Avila


In this you rejoice,
though now for a little while,
if necessary,
you have been grieved by various trials.
I Peter 1:6

Tears flowed this morning.
A service of praise even in the midst of the unthinkable.
This page so painful, tear-stained.
I long to turn it.
Move on.
Forget, heal.
Inked on my heart today -
All that matters is Jesus.
The songs lingers in my head
and my heart...
In the morning when I rise, Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus,
When I am alone,
Give me Jesus
When I come to die,
Give me Jesus
You are more than words on a page.
I wrap my arms around you.
You don't turn me away.
Your face is bent down toward mine
and you whisper that you are everything I need.
You give me love, security, and safety.
I rejoice that I have You, my Anchor in the storm.
No matter how much life hurts today,
I will know the joy of losing myself in you.

Just Wondering...

I just finished reading the book, THE SHACK which was highly recommended to me by a fellow Christian. It was a gripping, emotional novel and in my opinion, just that ... another novel. I admit I really enjoyed it, but I also admit that there were definitely some things I did not totally agree with concerning the portrayal of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Admittedly, since I don't look at this book as truth and I firmly believe only the Bible contains absolute truth, I don't think I was threatened in my faith after reading this book. However, I do wonder what other Christians think about it and if there is any danger in reading THE SHACK.
Just wondering.
Let me hear from you concerning THE SHACK.

Here are some quotes from the book that caused me to wonder ...
Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims ... I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters. --The Shack's 'Jesus.' [p.182]
'Who said anything about being a Christian? I'm not a Christian.' The idea struck Mack as odd and unexpected and he couldn’t keep himself from grinning. 'No, I suppose you aren't."[p.182]
Although by nature he is fully God, Jesus is fully human and lives as such. While never losing the innate ability to fly [which he demonstrates in the book], he chooses moment-by-moment to remain grounded. That is why his name is Immanuel, God with us....[p.99-100]
Why would the God of the universe want to be submitted to me?
"Because we want you to join us in our circle of relationships," answers "Jesus." [p.145]
Together the "trinity" explains:"Authority, as you usually think of it, is merely the excuse the strong use to make others conform to what they want.... We carefully respect your choices...." [p.123]
"'Are you saying I don't have to follow the rules?'..."'Yes. In Jesus you are not under any law. All things are lawful.'"'You can't be serious! You're messing with me again,' moaned Mack."'Child,' interrupted papa, 'you ain't heard nuthin' yet.'..."'...enforcing rules [says Sarayu] ...is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. And contrary to what you might think, I have a great fondness for uncertainty. Rules cannot bring freedom; they only have the power to accuse.'"[ p.203]
'God' of The Shack said: "I'm not a bully, not some self-centered demanding little deity insisting on my own way. I am good, and I desire only what is best for you. You cannot find that through guilt or condemnation...."[p.126]"
You don't need me at all to create your list of good and evil. But you do need me if you have any desire to stop such an insane lust for independence.... Mackenzie, evil is a word we use to describe the absence of Good, just as we use the word darkness to describe the absence of Light. ...evil and darkness can only be understood in relation to Light and Good; they do not have any actual existence."[p.136]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Melissa, Sweet Melissa

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4

She was a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a wife, and mother of two precious girls...and she was my first cousin. Melissa, sweet Melissa. Tragically, her life was taken on Monday and now there are so many aching hearts and unanswered questions. I don't know why this had to happen to Melissa. Today I thought about all the good times we had at Daytona when we were younger and I am certain that she is enjoying one of Heaven's beaches right now... soaking up the Son's rays.
I know it is more than a consequence that when I heard of Melissa's death, I was in the middle of a book called THE SHACK.
THE SHACK is about a guy named Mack whose little daughter, Melissa is abducted and murdered. Several despairing years later, Mack encounters God in the very shack where his daughter's life was taken. The majority of the novel spans three days of conversations between Mack, and God "the Father," the "Son" and the "Holy Spirit." Most of the dialogue in the book is about the problem of evil, but the novel covers the Trinity, Incarnation and the nature of free will to the nature of relationships, and forgiveness. I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil it for you if you decide to read it.
I have posted some quotes below from the book that definitely struck a chord with me as I try to make some sense of this senseless tragedy. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

God: “Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies.” Pg 185

God: “I did not purpose Missy’s death, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use it for good.”
Pg 222

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Relax In His Love

What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not to be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself. Luke 12:29-32

Whatever you are facing today, whatever unexpected intrusion, stress, hurt, or insecurity, the Father wants you to know that He loves you. Really loves you. Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
John 13:34-35

Is it really possible that LOVE is the answer? Could LOVE alone make a difference in this sin-sick world? Could we truly find freedom from our personal chains if we could only grasp the tender love of our Father?
One of my favorite new-found authors Wayne Jacobsen writes,
"The reason we don’t experience his fullness in our unfolding lives is because we live as if we are not loved. Fearful he won’t take care of us, we believe the lie that says God only helps those who help themselves. The most important thing we can discover is that the God of the Ages wants nothing more than for you to know him as the Abba—the tender Father who wants to sweep you up in his arms and transform you by winning you to the simple reality that no one loves you more than he does. This is not just an intellectual conclusion; it is a revelation at the core of our being. Ask him to give you that. Pray that he will show you with ever-increasing clarity how much affection he has for you. Only then can life truly unfold!"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

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.
1 Peter 5:10-11
After reading Come Be My Light, a collection of the private writings of Mother Teresa, some people have been devastated by the revelation of Mother Teresa's doubts that God even existed, while others are breathing a sigh of relief that someone like Mother Teresa struggled with faith as well. She was human after all, and if we are honest, haven't we all had doubts...especially when we are walking in the midst of pain?
Pain. It visits everyone. No respecter of persons. It comes to us when we weep over prodigal children, strained relationships, financial stress, serious illness, death.
Recently I spoke to a lady with a different kind of pain. She tearfully shared that she had been a Christian for years, but was having doubts, and even in 'a dry place.' She went on to say she felt unfulfilled, even though she was very involved and serving in her church. I know where she is. I have been there ... recently.
I believe people are beginning to look beyond religion to embrace the reality of life in Christ. Life in Christ is just that. In Christ and Christ in me. The emptiness that we feel as Christians at times comes from a mistaken identity. Our identity should be in Christ alone. Not in our prestige, power, position, prosperity, poverty, or pain. Our situations and our circumstances, good or bad are temporal.
Charles Stanley says, "Your identity is secure because of who lives inside you, not because of what you do."
Anyone God uses significantly is always deeply wounded...We are, each and every one of us, insignificant people who God has called and graced to use in a significant way...On the last day, Jesus will look us over not for medals,diplomas, or honors, but for scars. Brennan Manning in Ruthless Trust

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

With Joy and Gladness...

That I may go to that altar of God,
to the God of my joy and gladness,
and on the harp I will give thanks to you,
O God, my God.

Psalm 43:3-4

265. a blessing & prayer on my behalf by my husband
266. celebrating Griff's 19th birthday
267. spending a day with some bright 3rd graders
268. tuna and crackers for lunch
269. a diet coke on crushed ice
270. surviving Mary's Kick-Boxing class

Build Me a Son, O Lord...

Griff- 19 years old

Build Me a Son Build me a son,
O Lord,
who will be strong enough
to know when he is weak,
and brave enough
to face himself when he is afraid;
One who will be proud
and unbending in honest defeat,
and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishbone
will not be where his backbone should be;
A son who will know Thee
and to know himself
is the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him, I pray, not in the path
of ease and comfort,
but under the stress and spur
of difficulties and challenge.
Here let him learn to stand up in the storm,
here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear,
whose goal will be high ;
A son who will master himself before
he seeks to master other men;
one who will learn to laugh,
yet never forget to weep;
One who will reach into the future ,
yet never forget the past.

And after all these are his,
add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor
so that he may always be serious
yet never take himself too seriously.
Give him humility,
so that he may always remember
the simplicity of true greatness,
the open mind of true wisdom,
the meekness of true strength.
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper
"I have not lived in vain."
author unknown

A Miracle Baby!

No, this is not Malli dressed in blue, it's Griff at 4 months old!
Nineteen years ago today I gave birth to this cute little baby boy ---
William Griffis Morgan, our "Griff."
A premature birth due to a viral infection nearly cost him his life. His liver shut down, his bone marrow stopped producing platelets, and he had to undergo a blood transfusion. Hospitalized in NICU, doctors gave us little hope of taking home a healthy baby. It looked hopeless.
One night I fell to my knees and cried out to God,
He belongs to You. Do what You will with this child. I give him to You. I surrender. He doesn't belong to me. I am only his mother, You are His God.
The very next morning doctors and nurses were sure that the results from the 7 am blood work was a mistake when tests revealed Griff's platelet count had tripled overnight! They were so sure it was wrong that they re-tested him.
No mistake! God had healed him.
The doctors and nurses were speechless. Griff was released that afternoon from NICU and on his way home. Further tests showed a completely healthy liver and perfectly functioning bone marrow.
What a blessing Griff is to our family. Through him God has taught me much....and is still teaching me. I wish I could say that the prayer of surrender in 1989 was the one and only time I had to fall on my knees on behalf of Griff. However, I am thick-headed and very stubborn! So instead I often choose to fret and worry when all I need to do is release him to the One who loves Him more than I do. Sounds simple, but it is difficult this trusting...this walking by faith, not by sight...this surrender.
Surrender means to yield ownership, to relinquish control over what we consider ours: our property, our time, our rights, even a child. When we surrender to God, we are simply acknowledging that what we "own" actually belongs to Him. He is the giver of all good things. We are stewards of His property, but by surrendering to God, we admit that He is ultimately in control of everything, including our present circumstances.


Everything else is worthless
when compared with . . .
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord...
Philippians 3:8
I am no different than most people. I am too busy and too stressed too often! When I consider how many things I have to do, I can get stressed even more. I really need to sit at the feet of Jesus and take the time to know Him. Compared to Him all else is truly worthless!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Thankful for a Day of Labor...

263. cleaning the boys' room like only a mom can
264. making a chocolate cake for Griff's birthday

Making Plans

You can make many plans,
but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.
Proverbs 19:21

Life is all about change and transition. Here's a few I have had to make in the past year...

Financial woes,

Serious accident of nephew,

Diminishing health of uncle who has cancer,

Daughter dates and drives now,

Becoming a grandmother,

Burying my sweet mother-in-law,

Helping my oldest move to Atlanta to attend college,

Just today, I cleaned up and put away things in the boys' room that they no longer need. Let’s face it; nothing remains the same. God is always changing us, transforming us, and molding us to be something different and better than we are. Although change is never comfortable for me ... it is the will of God. In the Word, we read that God is the potter and we are His clay. That is a perfectly clear image for me because I have been feeling a lot like wet dirt lately ... extremely lumpy!But you know what? I am realizing that in my lumpiness, I am being shaped into a vessel, refined in the fire until I am am worthy to be used for His glory!Times of transiton are inevitable and can be so difficult and trying! I actually uttered to my husband recently during a pitiful pity-party, "This is not how I planned my life to be!" We all make plans but almost certainly our plans will be divinely disrupted. That's a guarantee! In these times of change and transition I must cling even more to my Savior, humble myself and look at things through His eyes of love.

Philippians 2 says,

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose. Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had.