Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Building Brothers

Sometimes its hard being brothers...


Having to work together....


And share things...

When you really want it all for yourself...



Sometimes you just want to yell and run away...


or break your plastic rake toy over your brother's head (but that was another day)...


And then sometimes, you realize its tremendous fun being brothers after all...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dreams

When I was in high school, one of my friends brought in this thick book titled something to the effect, "The Dream Dictionary: Unlock All Your Secrets." We flipped through the book, tittering and laughing over some of the more crazy dream symbols. Even then, I did not give much credibility to the new-agey-dream translation/analysis mumbo jumbo.

But know what I do believe?

I do believe that God can, does and will use dreams to teach, communicate and inspire us in ways that glorify Him and further His kingdom.


After all, there are numerous Biblical accounts of God's use of dreams. For example:

Jacob's angel ladder
Joseph and his brothers
Peter getting the OK for Gentiles to be believers

All amazing stories of God working through man's subconscious dreams for His purpose.

In my own experience, I can remember having terribly vivid nightmares while I was pregnant with Caleb. Awful things that would wake me up screaming and tearing at the covers. Soon there after, we began to pray over my dreams. The nightmares continued for a few nights, but I would be in the middle of one starting and someone in the dream would look at me and say "What does God think about that?" or someone in the dream would suddenly open a Bible and hand it to me to begin reading. It was as if the very Spirit of God was entering my dreams to protect me and redirect my attention to Him. After a few nights of this and continued praying, my nightmares ceased entirely.

All this to say, I had a really great dream last night that ministered deeply to my soul and I just had to share it with you....

I was in our Sunday School room at church and it was full of people, mostly kids. I did not recognize many of them, but the place was packed! More and more kept entering until no more could fit and those in the hallway said, "We will just have to wait till the next hour."

One amazing thing was the joy and peace that filled the room. I was not worried about what I was going to do with all these kids. They were not running, yelling or anything like that, but were just there, smiling and enjoying themselves completely. Most of all, they were there to see me. The kids were really glad that I was there and I was equally glad to be with them.

All the while, I could hear the refrain, "...and the sin that so easily entangles us. Fix your eyes on Jesus, so you will not grow weary or lose heart..." It was being said repeatedly by whom I do not know. Soon, I found myself repeating the refrain. I woke up quoting the scripture...which is a GREAT way to start the day.

I looked up the full scripture this morning:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

Can I tell you...

this is one of my favorite verses?

that I have been weary and have lost heart lately?

that I have become entangled in my own selfishness and sin lately?

I believe that those kids in my dream were my cloud of witnesses?

God, Himself, has marked this race He has set before me?

that I am so thankful that Jesus is using this race to perfect my faith?

that YOU (and me) were the joy that was set before Jesus

and

it was for YOU (and me) that He endured the cross,

so

that you (and me) would not grow weary or lose heart?

Can I tell You that He alone can make all your dreams as true as this one was for me?








Monday, September 20, 2010

power

It is kind of amazing how God weaves together the random threads of life to try and teach us something.

For instance...

when you pick up an interesting looking book at Goodwill, thinking, "Stories from missionaries? Cool." Then you start to read stories of bullets being stopped in mid-air, a school of people blind from birth being able to see and snakes biting people who never get sick

or

when you watch an interesting documentary and hear more stories of deathly attacks being thwarted, an entire hospital sick with cholera being healed, and hundreds and hundreds of street orphans finding a home

and after each of these stories, your incredulous response is...

No way that is true. Really? Missionaries don't lie, do they? How in the world is that possible?

and then this week your pastor asks the question,

"Do you have confidence in the Holy Spirit doing His work?"

because then you look back and you see

you really have little to no concept of the true workings of the Holy Spirit

and no real confidence in His workings,

but now you know all along,

His work has been to weave this together to teach you just how

amazing is

His power,

His majesty,

His Spirit's awesome work, no matter how crazy the work may seem.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

From the Miserable to the Magnificent

Recently, I made two comments that bothered me and niggled on the edge of my thoughts long after they were made. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why. I knew the comments didn't offend anyone and really weren't life changing in anyway...still, something wasn't quite right.

Then I read this post by John Acuff (Side note...this is totally one of my new favorite blogs to read. He is a riot and right on...). He wonders toward the end about why we chose to focus on the miserable aspects in life when faced with God's goodness. Instead, why don't we chose to revel in God's unimaginable love, grace and awesomeness?

When I read this, my mind immediately flashed back to my comments and I realized why they bothered me so much. Recently, when asked about certain situations my comments back were:

"It could be worse."
and
"Well, I have really low expectations, so it can't be that disappointing."

You see, in these situations and in those comments, I focused on the negative and the miserable even in the midst of God's immeasurable goodness. I have deeply felt His loving arms around me, but have complained nonetheless. I have belittled and limited His grace by ignoring its lavishness and fullness.

God's deep desire for each of us is to find joy and peace in all circumstances...yes, times may be difficult, but God's unfathomable love for us is so much bigger than all our circumstances. I am thankful that I have been aptly reminded of this and with His power can turn my eyes from the miserable back to the magnificent.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
Hebrews 12:2-3


Monday, September 13, 2010

Kitchen Gymanstics

No, this is not another post about my kitchen and its wonderful attributes...

Nor is it a post on the newest fad of crazy cooking...

Instead this is a post to let you know about my mom's newest hobby. This past week, she took up (and quickly dropped) the not.so.fun sport of kitchen gymnastics.

Her first (and only) feat was the not so famous slip-on-a-plate-with-a-full-turn-split-with-a-twist. (She received at least an 8.4 for her efforts.)

Two visits to two different ER's later (that is a story in itself), she is now staying with me for the time being. She is bruised, battered and in quite a bit of pain. We have a couple of doctor appointments this week to figure out if there are any torn ligaments, etc. or if it is just the severe stretching of her sciatica that is causing the pain.

Please be in prayer for us if you feel called- for her pain and for me as I add nurse to the kitchen gymnast to my already numerous hats.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Not so Lazy Sunday Afternoon

We didn't have any real plans to celebrate this Labor Day weekend, but we couldn't resist the call of the beautiful blue sky and the gorgeous weather on the way home from church Sunday.


David said he wanted to go burn some hot dogs somewhere, I said I wanted to get out and hike...

...so by the time we got home, our plans were set for an impromptu road trip/picnic/hike...


...and off we were to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Rocky Knob, Virginia.


Not being an outside girl growing up (I was a book reading, couch potato kind of girl.), the peace that I feel whenever we reach the Parkway never ceases to amaze me.


I simply love this part of the country and could happily spend most of my days there in God's creation.


We hiked a bit of the Appalachian trail and and it was only a little odd walking through someone else's cow field. The homeschool mom in me started daydreaming...wouldn't it be cool if Caleb or Nathan decided to hike the AT as part of their senior year in high school? Now, that would be an adventure!


Both boys (and Sky) had a blast climbing, running, and doing various boy things....

All in all, our impromptu trip was the perfect way to spend our not so lazy Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Kitchen, My BFF?

My kitchen and I have never been BFF. I think it might have been our first introduction that set us off on the wrong foot. (They say a first impression is everything.)

Maybe it was the butterflies and birds cut out from magazines and pasted to the walls or the green ivy wallpaper appliques that were all over the cupboards or maybe it was the beige walls, beige counters, beige floors, beige appliances and beige cupboards or maybe it was the dark forest green trim work and random shelves inserted on the walls and maybe it was ALL of the above.

Regardless, it was not love at first sight between my kitchen and me.

Still, we have worked hard over the last 6 years to develop a friendship and working relationship. She relinquished her ivy, birds and butterflies, I accepted her beigeness. What mattered most anyway is that she works- she is a fully functional (albeit, less than beautiful) kitchen.

Then this summer...my heart began to drift away from her again. I realized I was with her less and less often. Maybe it was the trips to the pool or not wanting to cook in the heat of summer or an entirely new way of eating for our family...or maybe it was the seeds of discontentment taking root and poking up their ugly little heads.

As I was cleaning my kitchen late last week, I realized that my neglect of the kitchen is rooted in my discontentment with my kitchen. I am sure you guys never do this...try to ignore a something you don't really like and then it grows and grows until you can't walk across your kitchen floor for your feet sticking to the linoleum? You see, my discontentment with my kitchen flourished so that I did not clean it in longer than is health department sanitary.

So as I renewed my friendship with my kitchen last week, I tried to remind myself again why I am thankful for her instead of what I would like to change in her. I moved some stuff around, trying to better use the space, decluttered a bit and even cleaned down in the deep crevices of the stove (which is a bigger deal than you think). We talked a bit about sprucing her up with some new paint in the next few months (I just have to talk to my painter husband about this first).

While my kitchen and I may never be BFF, my heart toward her can be thankful as long as I continue to clean the discontentment out of my heart's deep crevices .
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