Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give thanks...

1 Thessalonians 5:14-23 (King James Version)
"Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Quench not the Spirit.
Despise not prophesyings.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

I realized last night that I have not an appetizer to our name for dinner today. We had plans to have another family join us, but do to illness can't make it. We still have another couple coming and family as what? My husband told me not to worry, the stores are open and he would go pick something up...That's right the stores are open. Ugh, how I hate that the stores are open today at all.
Yes, when we were kids, for the most part, nothing was open on Sundays except the local bakery for a few hours. In our neighborhood the mom and pop supermarket and deli were open until noon or at the latest 2pm. But it was only a generation before that NOTHING was open on Sundays.
Recently I was lamenting to a friend that I would have to wait until noon to get something at the mall because it was Sunday. She asked me if I like living in a cave. The stores open at 10:00 on Sundays now, just like every other day of the week.
I suppose it boils down to money, perfectionism and a lack of belief in Providence doesn't it? The corporate stores can make more money by being open on Sundays, it feeds our belief that we must all be like Martha Stewart. We can have a perfect Thanksgiving (insert Christmas, New Years, 4th of July here) because if we forget our appetizers we can run to the store and the day will be saved. If we burn the turkey we can get another one, the restaurants are all open after all today as well. We can pick up an extra case of soda or beer or napkins if we feel the need to do so.
Of course that would mean that we don't really need to plan ahead do we? That would mean that we don't have to "pray about everything" because our needs or wants are available to purchase at any time on any day.
Legend has it that my mom's best high school friend, Ginger, hosted her first Thanksgiving with her new husband and his family. Her mom was not a cook at all so she asked my grandmother what and how to do everything. When the big day arrived, she knew to wash up the turkey before she cooked it and so she did. She scrubbed that bad boy Tom with soap and Ajax! Needless to say, dinner was not yummy! LOL! But there were plenty of side dishes and it became family legend to be told and retold every year at the table.
The Pilgrims understood what it was to live and die in need of all things. How awful that they came here for religious freedom and suffered that first winter with such lose. Can you imagine how much they must have missed England at that point? And yet, those that survived gave thanks in season and out. They did not give thank just on the first Thanksgiving, they did it everyday.
Today we live in historic times in a nation called no longer Christian by our commander-in-chief. To some degree he is right. He has held up a mirror and simply condemned us by our own actions. We, as a nation, have allowed more atrocities in the name of freedom, then any other nation with the murder of the innocent in the womb. We have allowed gay marriage. We have stood by and tsk-tsked the sexualization of our little girls. We have handed over our religious freedom out of the fear that we might offend someone by saying the name above all names in public unless it is to swear. As a nation, we the people, have allowed these things. Now what? Now what?
I don't know, except to give thanks today and everyday. On this uniquely American and religious holiday we should all give thanks for the "little foxes" that crept in to our garden. It is what has awakened this sleeping dog to say no more. We must give thanks for the president we have, because so many of us are standing up and say "NO!" to liberties being stolen and grabbed away. It did not start with him, it began a long time ago, one little fox at a time. It started with one little store open on a Sunday at a time. Eve could not put the bite back into the fruit. Remember, God did not forget us even in our sinfulness. Today lets be grateful that He has pealed the scales off of our eyes and raised up a nation, yet again, that will not stand for sin. We cannot bring it back to the days of our parents, but we can ask for God to bring us forward and re-found our nation, based again, on our Christian values and principles. Today we can thank God for the storm we find ourselves in and watch Him reveal Himself in this storm.

How about you?
How will you thank Him today? How deeply will that thanks go? How has freedom blessed you in the greatest nation in the world? How has this freedom blessed your family, in the season of caregiver? Are you mourning? How can you thank Him today in your sadness?

Let's pray:
Father in the name of Jesus, we pray. On a day set apart to give You thanks, we are humbled by all that is around us. We have more questions then answers in our nation today. Will we have the freedom to choose the care our parents need, or our children or ourselves? Will we lose that freedom in the name of government? Lord God remind us always to render to Ceaser what is Ceaser's but to render to You, what belongs to You. Let us rest and gain strength to fight for the nation You have blessed with such abundance. Forgive our squandering of it all. Pull us back, protect us from the enemy without and within. Thank You for the time left with our parents or for calling them home to rest in the ultimate healing. You alone are God of all, and we have been endowed by You with certain unalienable rights to life, liberty and property. You alone can place Your hand on our nation and call us forth as a remnant. Thank You for all You have done and what You are about to do. In Your name, Amen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Today we pray...

(Psalm 119:105)
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

Father in the name of Jesus, let even my failures serve You. You know the end from the beginning not me. How blessed I am when You reveal Yourself to Me! But more often then not, I can only see one step at time because I only have that much light. Thank You for that gift or I would run ahead, missing the blessings on the way. Like the child who runs before he crawls, he loses cognitive and fine motor skills that he cannot live with out. How frustrated we as parents get when we try to get a child who has decided to walk, to crawl...Thank You for Your patience when I try to skip a step. So today, I commit my life once again, my brokenness, my fullness of joy, my call to serve, my family, my past, my today and my tomorrow to You. They belong to You anyway. With out You, I am nothing. Amen.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The harness to keep us safe...

"With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall." (2Samuel 22:30)

My youngest daughter, Maggie, will turn six in a few weeks. She is no wilting flower. She has a will as strong as her given name of Margaret Colleen. She is not bratty, mostly, just determined. One of the advantages of being the youngest child in a relatively large family is that there is always someone there to help you achieve your goals. It has given her the gift of knowing there is nothing she can't do.

After church one recent Sunday, we all came in to get changed and have brunch. I didn't realize Maggie had stayed outside to play. She was still in her pretty dress and Sunday shoes. A few minutes later my second oldest looked out the window and screamed "Maggie!" Not having any idea what was wrong, I asked her to stop yelling.
"No, Ma! Maggie is in the tree!"
I looked out our large picture window in the dining room and saw Maggie about three quarters of the way up our pine tree. This tree must be thirty years old to give you an idea of the scale of tree we are talking about here. It rises high above our house and sits between the pool and the gravel driveway. If she fell she would land in a drowning situation or one in which we would be picking gravel out of her brain...neither of which seems like a safe idea to me!
I quickly sent the kids out to help her and I followed along. When Maggie saw me coming she scampered back up! LOL!
This is not her first trip up a tree. A few months back her daddy had to get a ladder to get her out of one on the other side of the property. When he and I were laughing together about it, she hollered from on high, "Could you guys talk later and get me down from here?!"
So when Jack and Maggie were invited to a birthday party yesterday that included a rock climbing wall, I knew she would be thrilled. By the end of the day, she could make it to the top of the wall and do that slide thing away from it as she made it to the ground. I would so much rather have her in a harness when she climbs to new heights!
Watching her get the harness on the first time was almost as much fun as watching her scale the wall. It was not a natural thing to do as she secured the straps around her legs and little waist. It could be made looser and tighter depending upon who wore it. Finlay she was hooked to the rope that would keep her from falling and off she went up that wall.
I love that she is so brave and willing to go so high. In many ways that will be her greatest gift and her greatest challenge. My job as a mom will constantly be to teach her she can do all things through Christ, not just that she can do all things. He is the harness that keeps her safe not matter what wall she takes.

In the years I cared for Mom and Dad this played out over and over again. Sure I had the physical ability to care for them, be it as a student nurse or as a mom of five. I am just ADD enough to get all kinds of things done! LOL! But without Christ, I quickly lost my focus. Just because I could get it done, does not mean I did it with all the Grace He had for me.
Some of the walls I scaled in those years were daunting, but doable. When I trusted Him, I did my jobs as a calling not as a chore. Our parents know the difference between our love and our obligation. They know when we have our harness on or not.
Stopping to put on that harness was not my first thought. My first thought was to just jump in and start doing jobs or run and not do them. It took real discipline to harness up first in prayer before I took care of anything in my day.

One of the walls I scaled poorly was bathing Mom. I hated it. I would avoid doing it like the plaque. Since she was in bed all those years, there was no just putting her in the shower and calling it a day. I would have to bed bath her and wash her hair in the bedroom. Sometimes as I washed her down and lotioned her up, I would cry quietly so she wouldn't know I was upset...but she knew. She tried not to ask me to do it. As a result, Mom did not get washed up as often as she should have. That is one of those regrets I know my Abba never wanted me to live with. For my heart, it was simply a wall I was unwilling to trust to Him. I don't think I ever accomplished this task harnessed up.
My days of caregiver are over now. They are part of who I am today as a wife, mom, a nurse and writer. I am still learning that not every wall can be taken by shear act of my strong will. Some I can take just by the way He made me, but all the walls in my life need Him in order to be taken with grace. He is our harness to keep us safe as we take them...and when we blow it, He also is the ladder to help us down.

How about you?
What task do you have to accomplish today as a caregiver that seem like a ten foot wall to you? Are there things you avoid doing, just because it makes your heart sick? How do you plow through it? Do you seek your Heavenly Father in advance? Can you sense His harness around your waist? Do you need a ladder to help you down?

Let's pray:
Father in the name of Jesus, we offer all of our ten foot walls to You today. There is nothing we cannot do in Christ! Help us to remember to turn to You before we attempt to take it all on. You created us the way we are. You know what You would have us do and when. We know that You will give us the grace we need to bless our parents, our children our spouses and our co-workers in and out of season. Remind us with Your gently tug to turn to You first, not our own ability. In Your holy name we pray. Amen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Post Intensive Season Syndrome

Psalm 23 "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."

While I know I can't use the acronym for the Post Intensive Season Syndrome, it does fit where I am at the moment. It is not PTSD, it is Post Intensive Season Syndrome. My oldest daughter is feeling it at the moment too. She just finished her school know how intense those last few weeks can be for a school production. It all ends with a flurry of activity, high emotions and can't wait for a break. Then the break comes and you find yourself bored. We humans are never satisfied are we?

I've been going through Post Intensive Season Syndrome myself for the last few months. If you follow "House" on Facebook, you know that I just removed the "good" paneling from the living room wall. Of course there was no way to know what the wall looked like under the 45 year old paneling, but I was going to get it done. Taking it down was a little rough, but not as bad as putting back on the base board radiators! But I had my drill, I wasn't afraid...
My darling husband was not quite as thrilled with my DIY spirit. When he arrived home that afternoon, he discovered the paneling in the driveway...not knowing what he was walking into, he stayed in the driveway and worked on the cars for a while, until I came out to see if he was okay. He was stone silent until he walked into the living room and saw that I had done a pretty good job. Things, however, remained a little tense between us for a few days after that.
We went out on a date and talked it out...we are kinda madly in love, even still, so we don't do well with tension in the air.
DH: "I would have helped you. I just hate to see an unfinished project. We have so many projects to do on this house. Couldn't you have just finished one of the ones we already have going? Did you have to start a new one? Right before Thanksgiving? I'm not mad, well, sort of."
Me: "I am sorry. Will you forgive me?"
DH: "Yeah. I forgive you. Is this you being Post Intensive Seasonal?"
Me: "Yeah, like after Rosemarie..."
DH: "Yeah, I thought so. Go be successful at this. I love you, you know. Even when you are a flake."
Me: "Yeah, I know you do, what's not to love? LOL! And I love you too."
We left our fancy date (a trip to Hobby Lobby and sitting in his pick-up truck in the parking lot of the school near our house) and went home to sleepy children.

Rosemarie is the baby girl we lost, in utero, about 10 years ago. I handled it. I knew where she was. I knew she was in the arms of Jesus and that I would see her again. It would be just fine. But I missed her desperately.
About a week after I lost her, I re-did the kitchen.

The night of Mom's funeral, I cleaned out her room including the vent, her draws (I only say it as "drawer" I can use spell check to make sure it's draw!" and closet. I only allowed myself one box of memories, for fear I would build a shrine.
With in a few months I moved out of my childhood home. I decorated my little heart out! That is, until I crashed with a mighty bang.

After Dad died, we moved five weeks later. Plenty to be busy with, so no one noticed. Even when I re-did our son Jack's room into a fire house headquarters, it seemed normal to decorate in a new home. I was very busy...until I wasn't. CRASH!

When it became clear we couldn't have anymore children after our youngest Maggie was born, I re-did the basement. I kept very busy until, again: CRASH!

Today, no one has died. But it is a season of post stress. A year ago I was working for the first time in years, home schooling five children, and then writing a book as well. It was incredible the amount of stuff on my plate! But our Heavenly Father gave me both the grace and ability to do it all and to do it all well! It never felt like too much. I loved it!

Cue the crickets please.

I lost my job as a nurse, the kids are back in school, the book is done and my world book tour has not begun (note sarcasm here) and I have felt lost.
I felt a lot of things. Failure is the most intense one, although to my knowledge I didn't fail at anything.
After Mom died, I remember not knowing how I could possibly be considered extraordinary any more. I was just extra ordinary. I am not very good at ordinary. If I was, just tackling the thirty loads of laundry I have to do, would have been enough.

But laundry piles don't win you accolades like decorating does. Why is it not enough to rest in the fact that I succeeded at obeying God?

Recently, one of my very dearest friend sent me an email that was titled: "When you can't change your life..."
My first thought was "Oh, dear God, she cut her hair! It has to be very bad!" Things are pretty intense right now for her and she has a hair appointment this week. I feel her pain!

Fortunately, I am having an incredible hair season so I have concluded that if you can't change your life, change your decor.

The thing is, that no matter how busy you are, no matter how much work the Lord may call you to do, or to not do, He adores you. Paul reminds us in the Word that all of our gifts are as filthy rags to the Lord. There is nothing I can do to earn my way in to Heaven or to impress our God. He wants our obedience more then anything. Because if we love Him, we do obey Him. We are made righteous not because of how much we get done in a day but because He died on the Cross and rose again. It is by His blood that we are washed clean and made righteous.

Psalm 23 says "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." I think it a Beth Moor-ism that says, "I think we can conclude that if we don't lie down, He will push." So before He does, "Be still and know that He is God." (psalm 46:10) And whatever you do, don't fall into Post Intensive Seasonal Syndrome at least not until after the new year!

How about you?
Are you just out of a season of intensity? How do you address it? Do you get busy or do you hide? Are you missing a season of being "extraordinary" and feeling extra ordinary? How do you handle a post emergency visit to the hospital with your folks? Are you mourning? How do you tackle the day to day quiet after an adrenaline rush?

Let's pray:
Father in the name of Jesus, let us just be Yours. Let us rest in the FACT that You love us no matter what we do or don't do. You call us to curl up in Your lap and just be with You. We have nothing to prove or can prove to You. You are our proud parent when we obey and sometimes that obedience calls us to stillness. Thank You for fabulous decor, great hair cuts and good humor in spite of our sadness, loneliness and feelings of failure. Remind us again and again that all we have to do, to be on that list in Hebrews 11 is to be faithful. Pull us in our stillness back to Your feet. We love You all the more. Amen.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New factors in an old topic...

(Colossians 3:20-21) "Children obey your in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged."

11 Pm? Seriously? 11Pm? That was my die hard curfew throughout high school and the beginning of college. Most of my friends were out and about. Only one was away at college. Living in NY, near the city we were surrounded by some of the best colleges the world has to offer, so there was no real need to go away per say. But I had an 11 PM why?

I broke it, often. Mom would tell me, "It's not you I don't trust, it's the rest of the world." Ugh, I hated to hear those words! Interpretation by me: "You don't trust me to be able to handle the rest of the world. This is a trust issue."

At the time I didn't drive. Didn't need to in Yonkers. If you couldn't catch a bus, a friend would be driving or there was always a cab. I took lots and lots of cabs! Most of the time I was with my best friends and Mom liked them, even loved and trusted them but I still had to be home at 11pm. I learned to sleep over my friends houses most of the time.

When Mom entered the hospital in the summer I was 19, I began to drive to most of the places I wanted to go to. There was no one home to give me a curfew. I was a grown woman at that point~or at least I believed so. When Mom came home after a four month stay in the hospital, she had lost control of the curfew issue. I had a legal NYS drivers license...yes, it was actually mine. Just because I hit the curb a few times during the test does not make it invalid. INDEPENDENCE was mine! Insert: BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!

Okay, but the heart issue was never, ever resolved. Lest you should think I go around contemplating this type of thing all day, I really don't. It's just that suddenly I find myself in the curfew distribution business with a teenager and it got me to thinking about my own way back when.

After being a part of the school play, my oldest daughter, Elizabeth wanted to be a part of the cast parties. I clearly remember all the fun entailed in doing high school theater (I bet you have never seen an all female cast of Godspell have you? If you had gone to an all girl high school you would have! LOL!) and half the fun was the after parties.

I wasn't so much worried about the was well chaperoned and in public places. But the time!

Herself, "Could you pick me up at around 1:30-ish tonight?"

Me, "Um, no. I will give you until around 12 am."

Herself, "Fine."

She is a very respectful teenager, so there was no argument, but perhaps a little 'tude. I did not detect even a little eye roll.

As I watched my third episode of Cake Boss on TLC, I made my self a cup of coffee at around 10pm. I knew it was risky but I could not imagine getting in the car at midnight to go get her with out some java. I chatted with a nurse, Lisa, who also happens to be a very dear friend, I use to work with. She was working the over night so she kept me company on the ride to get Liz. I told her I could not believe I was going out at this hour! I was informed by Lisa (who is way younger and a way better nurse than I will ever be) that little bit of information...she informed me that I was now officially old. Yes, yes I am.

When my cell dropped the call, I was left with just my thoughts to think over and I finally understood my own 11pm curfew! It was as if a spot light went on in my mind and it suddenly made sense!

You see, Mom went to bed at 11:30 pm every and I do mean EVERY night. M*A*S*H repeats were on every night from 11-11:30 pm, and than she went to bed...asleep at 11: 36 pm.

The whole not trusting the rest of the world thing was just crock to get out of telling me that she too was OLD! LOL! She was also already sick, sicker than I knew. Mom was so strong that she never admitted defeat. She was known as "the alligator" and never showed she was weak. I wish she didn't think she had to be so strong all the time. I think I would have been way more compassionate, had I known how bad off she was. Truth is, I should have obeyed her simply because she told me to. There were some definite lack of respect issues between us back then.

If Mom were here today, I would so throw the kitchen towel I drape over my shoulder while I clean at her! I know for almost a fact that she would be shocked and deny, deny, deny. She would deny for about a second until she realized she had been caught and then she would raise her shoulders, roll her eyes and give me her guilty grin. Busted Mom!

At first I couldn't understand why I had to be home so early even when she didn't pick me up...she waited for me. She might have been in bed, but she didn't really sleep. She was waiting on her baby girl. That is what a mom does. Even after I began to work as a nurses aid while I was in nursing school, and she was on the vent, I would creep in, give her a smooch and let her know I was home. Some nights I would go out after work with the other nurses and not get home until way later. I would call and tell Dad to let her know I was okay. She still expected that smooch when I got in. I would park the car in front of her bedroom window so she could see it when she awoke in the morning...just in case she forgot I came in.

All this to say, Mom was right after all. I am not sure my curfew for my kids will be as die-hard as hers was, but it will be based on the needs of our family, not on just one teen or two teens or three...ugh!

How about you?
Have you found yourself in the parenting role and realized you have turned into your own parents? Are you horrified? Does it make you giggle? Can you imagine that they were right after all? If your folks are still alive, can you tell them? If not, can you tell your Abba?

Let's pray:
Father in the name of Jesus, Your word tells us as parents to not push our children towards rebellion. That is not easy! But first You tell us to obey our parents. Again, at times, not easy. Our flesh can be so wrong! Thank You that it is never to late for redemption. Call us deeper into You so that we long to obey Your word. Thank You for that call. It was not just an easy way to set up law and order, but rather another way You say You love us. I pray we love in spirit and truth. Amen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shut up...

A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness. (Proverbs 12:23)

"Your mouth is both your greatest gift and your greatest burden." Ellen Brennan; AKA Mom to me.
Not always so sure how to take this one. My mom was one of those strong, silent, and stoic types. She kept her options open by not showing her hand. I would say it made her appear unfeeling at times. In retrospect it wasn't coldness, just not a willingness to share her heart when it was broken. Not being the silent type, I know I often confused her silence for rejection. I would often fill that silence with aimless chatter.
Most of my life I felt I owed an explanation for my actions to anyone who seemed to want to know. It would be into my thirties before I would understand the gift of silence. I slowly learned that I only play to an audience of One.
But a lesson that came more slowly was the comfort of silence. I tend towards putting people at ease by making conversation with them. It is a gift my husband appreciates when we attend an event where we don't know anyone. He hates making conversation with strangers and tends to be the wall flower. I however can make a new dear friend in the ladies room bonding over toilet paper.
I began to learn this skill of silence when I was still a very young nurse. There would be patients I would chat with, learn their loves and hates. Sometimes they would call me in, just to hang out with them. I completely enjoyed being with them! But there were others that wanted nothing to do with my chattiness. I remember at the time referring to them as the cranky type. I never realized it had nothing to do with crankiness but rather my own selfishness. I am at ease when I can put others at ease with my humor or words. I have come to realize that what can be a gift can also be my greatest burden. While I was still working this past year, there were nights my patient was all about chatting with me, while there were other nights he would be stone silent. I hated those nights! I had to fight my own insecurity to fill the silence. It was not his job to make me feel comfortable while I cared for him. It was my job to be available when he did want someone to talk with.
So how in the world do you know when to do what? When do you chat and when do you remain silent?
Wisdom knows the difference. The answer is in that verse above from Proverbs. If we are prudent and seek after wisdom, God's word tells us He will be generous to give it. Sometimes the person we encounter honestly does not like us and wants no part in our chatter, other times, it is simply a matter of someone who is more than happy with the quiet. While still others are thrilled to share their story or hear ours. Only wisdom will give us the insight to know for sure.
I am sure that sometimes I error on the side of saying too much. Sometimes I error on the side of saying too little. But I can rest in the fact that my God loves me in spite of myself.

How about you?
Are you a chatter caring for the silent type? Are you the silent type annoyed by the chatter? Are you both quiet, are you both noisy? Do you complement each other? Do you see the gift in each other? How or how not?

Let's pray:
Father in the name of Jesus, I pray we come to You, to hear from Heaven, and be still. Let us rest not in our ability to put others at ease, but rather in knowing that we are subject to your authority over us. When You call the chatterboxes to quiet stillness and the stoic silent types to reach beyond comfort, we know that You will give us both the grace and ability to be who You called us to be. Thank You for creating us the way You have and for showing us how deeply we are loved. We are made in your image and we rest in Your favor. Amen.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Not prospering..

(Psalm 46: 10) "Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted above the earth."

"We are not prospering here." This was the lament of my child to me the other night as we took a cruise together around our neighborhood.

I have to share the back story on cruising here. It is one of my happiest memories of my teenage years and into my mid-twenties. During the years I took care of Mom, there were many nights my friends and I would go for a cruise up and down Central Ave. in Yonkers. It was in essence vehicle therapy, not to be mistaken with cubicle therapy which took place in bathroom stalls or coffee therapy which took place in diners.

I was first introduced to the idea of driving with no particular place to go by Mom. We would drive for the sake of it, chat, listen to great music and talk. As a young teen my dear friend Marli and I would drive for hours on end and do the same thing. In college I drove the neighborhood with my friend Lori. I won't tell you about the drives with Annie, in her Red Rabbit listening to "Just a gigolo" with my feet can-caning out the kids might actually happen onto the blog and well, yeah, you get it. As a young woman falling in love, my meant to be husband and I would drive and drive and drive. We fell in love in that convertible, with the car in drive, not knowing the destination would be the alter.

The music was just as important as the company. The only ticket I have ever gotten was during a particularly great song that got my foot slammed down on the pedal. The trooper did not think I had a good reason. Sigh.

But my all time favorite road trip of all was with Barbara. We got the idea to go to Florida on Saturday afternoon over coffee and left the following Monday. We took the right of passage trip down I95 from NY and arrived the following day. We knew it was time for me to stop driving when I saw a sign for an Irish motel.

"Look Barb! An Irish place to stay...Sean's sun!" or at least that is how I read it.

Barbara asked,"Um, you mean Sea n' sun?"

We parked the car and called it a day!

Back to the comment by my daughter though. What does it mean to prosper in the Lord?

I learned in my mom's Chevy that when the hand clapping, foot stomping, and arm waving stops, there had better be some very deep roots there. The truth is that all of those things will stop at some point. We all have "dry seasons" with the Lord, and yet, I am not sure we are suppose to believe that means we are not prospering with Him. Sometimes, He calls us to know Him in His silence. Sometimes we have to be still and know that He is God based on the facts. Notice He does not call us to believe He is God but to know it. It is a fact, not a feeling and it is based on the Truth.

We can and will prosper in the Lord even when we don't see anything happening. The only thing that has changed in my testimony about the years I cared for Mom is time. The story, in the flesh, could have been told and re-told a million times by now. But He waited until I was properly seasoned with grace until this time.

I don't know why God has us where He does. I don't understand it at all. I would like to replant us somewhere else. That to me sounds like just the thing to do right now. Instead, I will be still and KNOW that He is God and He will prosper us where He chooses. He knows what He is about and I will, therefor, trust Him even when I don't see with my eyes what He is doing.

Anyone that has given birth to a child knows that what is growing in the silence of our wombs often will often determine the ability of our born child. When that child arrives to soon, they often have problems physically or sometimes they die. But when our children, whom we get to glimpse shadows of through ultrasound, are allowed to grow in silence, they arrive ready for the first stage of life on the outside! How like our God to allow us only glimpses of the splendor He is creating.

"Not prospering." I beg to differ. He is wild about us and He never fails. Never.

How about you?

Are you at a stand still right now? Are you wondering how you could possibly be growing in the Lord when you walking a tight rope of stress? Are you wondering if God is silent for a reason? Do long to hear His voice? Have you asked Him to check your heart for sin? Are you given the "all clear" in terms of it and yet, still, He is silent? Are you able to get yourself to some vehicle therapy or coffee/cubicle therapy?

Let's pray:

Father in the name of Jesus, we come and we seek you in the silence. Sometimes all we can go on are the facts. There is no greater thrill than to hear from You. I pray we are just as thrilled in our souls when You are silent, knowing You re about Your work. We worship You, even when the music stops, the car pulls over and our coffee cup is empty. Glory to your name on high, for You alone deserve our praise even in the silence. Amen.

Monday, November 2, 2009

119 update and bon-bon Mondays...

Psalm 119:18 "Open thou, mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of they law."

Not as fruitful a day as I had hoped. I don't know why no one will recognize bon-bon Mondays! Hmph. I must send out a stronger memo about this! LOL!
I have a ton more to do on Psalm 119, but this is what I do know thus far:
Yes, it is the longest chapter in bible and yes, it is all about His word. It is an acrostic poem that uses the entire Hebrew alphabet...neat in and of itself. Not too spectacular when you first realize it. But it is in the Word of God and so deserving of a little more digging.
When I was in college, I became an English major because it was my native language and I figured that I was smart enough to handle at least that. It never occurred to me that a deep love of literature and desire to write were gifts.
As I fell more in love with the likes of Tennyson and Yeats, I also fell in love with history. It never occurred to me that the skills I learned in digging into the story behind the poems would become a life long desire to understand the writer, the times he wrote in and the history in which he lived.
As I fell in love more deeply with our God, I also realized I wanted to know and understand the God breathed Word He gave us. How exciting that He would allow the likes of me a glimpse into who He is, by revealing Himself in His Word.

I suppose this missive brings me back to my point: what does the fact that Psalm 119 uses each letter in the Hebrew alphabet prove? Yes. That it celebrates the Word of God? Yes. That God is creative? Yup, that too!
But scratch the surface a little: It shows that every letter, not just the words, but down to the letter, is used to praise the name of God. Think that through, every letter, used to praise the God of the universe. Glory.
If every letter in the alphabet is used to praise Him in His Word, what does that say about us? Should we not also be willing to praise Him down to every cell in the very marrow of our bones?
I guess that says something in terms of learning about Him. Think about it. Not too many years ago, we had no idea that the very bone marrow could be used to treat disease. Not very long ago, like yesterday afternoon, I had no idea that every letter I write could be used to worship Him.
Not just my words, but each letter. Now in no way I am I suggesting that what I write is on par with scripture. I hope you already knew that fact! LOL! But that my Heavenly Father would lend me a gift, to serve Him, to get to know Him deeper, that He would even call the likes of me to seek Him out to open my eyes to behold the wondrous things in the law. Again all a girl can say, is Glory.

How about you?
Can you see how this might affect your walk with the Lord in this season of your life? Can you see that every word, and every action contributes to how you serve your parents today? Does this speak to where you are going today with both the Lord and your folks? Do you trust Him with every letter?

Lets pray:
Father in the name of Jesus, thank You for revealing Yourself in Your Word down to the letter. Fill us with the desire to know You in Your word, deeper than we ever have before. Let this season one of a closer walk with You. Now is not a time to be strong in ourselves, but rather to draw on the strength of You. You the name above all names, Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus, let us rest in that. You alone know our hearts desire. Call us deeper into You. Do, indeed, open our eyes that we may find you deeper in Your Word. Amen.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

While I was still at work...

I began to study psalm 119. I fell in love with the poetry of it all. Today I printed out the KJV of it so I can compare it with the NIV version. I think a study is in order here. I don know that the entire psalm is about His Word. Perhaps that is what God has been preparing my heart for. I will keep you posted on that!
Football is over for the season of Pop Warner. Yay God! A little quiet before the holiday rush begins...a little anyway!