Thursday, February 26, 2009


I was given a camera for my birthday this past weekend. This was something I've been praying for ages for. Needless to say, I was thrilled! So from time to time I intend to share my own photos on this blog. Like the one of this seagull, for instance. This little guy kept watching us this weekend at the beach. I think he was hoping for some potato chips.

Something about how relaxed he looks with the waves in the background pretty much sums up how it felt on Sunday. Peaceful, relaxing, freeing, beautiful. It was a good day.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Paradigm Shift

A line from Andrew Murray's "With Christ in the School of Prayer" has opened up a whole new way of thinking for me -- a major paradigm shift. Actually, the entire book is changing my view of God's love. But this particular section goes like this, "His love lies underneath everything. We must grasp it as the solid foundation of our religious life, not growing up into that love, but growing up out of it."

I started pondering this. I realized that I grew up with this transaction view of love in general and God's love in particular. Like love is a commodity -- you do certain things like treat people with love, be nice and kind, etc., and they pay you with their love. (I know, it sounds terrible. But think about it. Isn't that how things tend to operate much of the time??) And with God, I give Him my love, obedience, trust, surrender (all out of gratitude for salvation) and He gives me love, takes care of my needs, protects me, etc.

Okay, so that's one picture. Here's another way I've viewed God's love for me -- it's like the rain. It comes down -- sometimes frequently, sometimes sparingly -- but it comes to me in pieces. Sometimes it's like a torrent and other times just barely sprinkling. But it comes to me from up there somewhere, outside of me.

Well, Andrew Murray's little line has given me a completely different picture -- one that I believe is more accurate. God's love for me is like the earth, soil, dirt. He has planted me in His love and I am growing up out of it. You know what this means? This means I'm always in it. I'm planted there. I'm not moving. It's not moving. It's just there. And I can sink down deep into it and blossom like a flower.

And to go even further with this (taking from Psalm 1 and John 4) it's like He has planted me in the ground of God's love, watered by the hidden river of His life. That means that even if I'm in a desert relationally with people, even if no one is loving me, I am okay. More than okay. I'm thriving! Blossoming. Growing fruit.

This is such good news I just can't get over it. I can't fully grasp how this is going to change things, but already I am sensing a deep security that I didn't have before. I'm going to have to ponder this some more. . .

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all God's people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19.

Monday, February 16, 2009


The other night I was calmly washing dishes in the kitchen when my daughter shrieks from the other room, "Mom, there's a frog in here!!" "Where??" I holler as I'm eying the nearest chair. "In your bedroom!!" Not again!

If you remember, a few months ago my bedroom was invaded by a little, sinister-looking brown toad. (See Little Toad a.k.a. I need a Hero - 10/08.) Well, now he was back. Or one of his relatives. And just out of curiosity, why is it that they always go to MY bedroom??

Well, this time it was two screaming females standing on the bed while my son peered underneath with a flashlight trying to find the toad amongst all the dust bunnies. "Mom, you really need to sweep under here." "Yes, I know! Keep looking!"

He couldn't find the toad. I told him no one was going to bed until THAT THING was back outside where he belonged. So I volunteered to risk my life and hopped (no pun intended) down from the bed with the flashlight and began looking myself.

"There he is!!" yelled Steven. I screamed and levitated. "Just kidding" he said. I wanted to slap him for scaring me but figured it would backfire since he was being the hero. Instead, I told him to keep looking. My daughter suggested we pray and ask Jesus to help get the toad out from under the bed. So we prayed and Jesus helped.

My son spotted the intruder and after a little chasing, trapped him under a cup. We all traipsed to the door and Steven tossed my little nemesis out into the night. "Mom, you'd better blog about this." he said. I promised I would and thanked him for saving us again.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Redeeming February

For the past 2 years, the month of February has been a sad one for me -- full of loss and trauma. It should be a really great month -- there's Valentine's Day, President's Day, my birthday. But I found myself dreading this month because it brought up such painful memories. I asked the Lord if He would redeem it this year and He encouraged me to trust Him to do it. I'm beginning to see His answers. Once again, beauty for ashes.

Here are a few special things about February, 2009:
My son's very first science fair project which he turned in the beginning of this month has not only received a good grade, it's also been selected by his teacher to enter the science fair in April. We both worked on it together and I am so proud of his accomplishment.

Although this has been a very difficult time financially for me, I am seeing the Lord meet my needs in unexpected ways. I remember driving to Florida last February with my kids under very stressful circumstances. I was terrified about what would become of us. As I drove along I-10, I remember the Lord's encouragement that He was making it His responsibility to take care of us. I have seen His faithfulness to us in countless ways this whole year. He continues to take responsibility for me and my kids in supplying all that we need.

There have been some key areas of personal growth in the past two weeks. Some major paradigm shifts. I don't know how it's all going to affect me, but I'm seeing some very positive changes in my thinking as a result. It feels like where there were high walls before, now it's wide open spaces.

Valentine's Day is a tough one for people who have lost relationships or aren't in one. I had asked the Lord for something special this Valentine's Day. Well, I actually spent the day completely enjoying myself beginning with a friend's yard sale, then lunch at The Olive Garden with my kids and my father-in-law who was in town, and finally, dinner at my sister's and her family. On top of that, my brother-in-law changed the oil in my car (a HUGE blessing!).

Next weekend is my birthday and I'm looking forward to one of my best friends coming for a visit. She and my kids are planning something special. My extended family is also planning a celebration. For so many years I haven't been close to family around my birthday and it caught me by surprise to find out they're planning a party. :)

I can't express how wonderful it feels to have fun things to look forward to in February. The Lord is truly redeeming this month for me, giving me special memories to make up for those other painful ones.

"I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." Jeremiah 31:13

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

At first glance

Yesterday, I was reading some things another woman had written about how her parents had prayed for her future spouse even when she was a little girl. She is so thankful for how God answered those prayers and for the man God brought into her life.

But it made me think. See, my parents started praying for my future husband when I was a little girl too. And the man God gave me doesn't want to be with me anymore. So I found myself angry with God and feeling really hurt by Him. Was this His answer to my parents' prayers? Did He think that I deserved a man who would reject me? And not only that, but I prayed for my future husband. And even when we were dating, I kept asking the Lord, "Is this the man You have for me? If not, please make it very clear."

So we got married and now all these years later, look where we are. Of course, the mind jumps right in coming to God's defense -- "Well, God is not responsible for how you treated each other. We all have choices, etc., etc." But I set aside the attempts of the mind to find some logic or rationale in all this, and instead, went right to the heart of God with my honest questions. He's a big God, He can handle it.

Lord, is this the best You have for me? Is this Your "wonderful plan" for my life? Did I miss Your way? I was trying so hard to follow Your will. Did I totally miss it? Couldn't You have stopped us from getting married? Was this all a tragic mistake? Or did You just want to create our two beautiful children and so that's why You brought us together -- for the kids' sake? But this is hurting them. My son told me after hearing his dad wants a divorce, "Mom, I just want to die!." That's how sad they feel about all this. Did You intend for us to have something beautiful and we just ruined it all, and now we are reaping the consequences? What kind of father would bring his daughter a man who would abandon her? No loving earthly father would do such a thing! Why would You, with Your infinite love for me? Is this how You love?

God does not answer these questions. There is no answer to them. But instead, what He does is show me Himself. He shows me who He is and that His heart is good towards me. And He shows me who I am. That's really all I need. Because underneath all those questions are the true ones my heart is asking: Lord, is Your heart good? Do You really care about me? You are letting me hurt for a very long time. Does my pain matter to you? Do I matter to You?

At the beginning of this post is a small picture. At first glance, it may look like a waterfall coming out of the rock. But here is the real picture, what it really is.

What seems to be a waterfall is really a path. I think many times that's how it is with our lives. The things that at first glance seem so painful and hard, like the end of all our hopes, are really a path through to something amazing and new. The dreams I had as a young bride were so small. And God has brought them to ashes. But through all this, He opens a way to His dreams for me.

I don't know what those are. I catch glimpses here and there. But I see His heart and it's so full of love for me. So whatever comes, I know it will be beautiful. I can wait for that.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting for the LORD for the display of his splendor." Isaiah 61: 1,3