Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Potter’s Clay

     The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.  Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.*
In the cool of the evening I found myself being drawn away from where I was headed and walking down a lightly worn path, toward a small humble house, almost a tiny cottage. Possibly only a couple rooms in it.  There is a peculiar glow about it that seems to draw one towards it. I surprise myself that I am allowing myself to pursue this, I’ve been so caught up in my life, being so busy, I haven’t taken much time for much else.  As I approach, I see the door is open as if enticing one to see in, just a bit, I can see that it is a very simple place. A workshop of sorts, dirt type of floor, very earthy smells waft out as I stand there. I hear someone inside, I want to enter - but hesitate. I stand at the door and then softly knock.  I am greeted by a calm voice that seems to be laced with love to come in. I step inside to a small room. I looks like there are only 2 or 3 rooms at the most, very simple, only the essential needs if even that. I see a craftsman sitting at a spinning circular wheel. A lump of clay in His hand.
       His strong hand molds the clay a bit in His hand, inspects it a bit then works with what it is.  He firmly tosses it onto the center of the wheel and begins the work of centering the piece, watering the piece and working it back and forth, up and down,  until He can feel that it is perfectly centered into where He can work with it in a balanced manner. As I am drawn into this I’m so very focused on His hands, the small movements that cause so much impact on the shape of the clay.  His hands look scarred… He works silently, ever so gently forming the clay, drawing it into shape, placing pressure at the top to hollow it out, pulling up the sides and pressuring it into shape, he sees a blemish and then begins working and reworking to fix the blemish… all this time watering his hands and keeping the clay moist and pliable.   I release my eyes from Him and look around, broken and misshaped vessels are sitting about, Sacks of moist clay, tools… all with a layer of clay dust and dried clay. I see Him remove the finished vessel from the wheel, only to take a dried broken vessel in hand.
       He places the vessel on his bench and proceeds to work it with a mallet and brings it into small pieces and eventually into powder, adding water to bring it into a clay form once again… setting it aside to rest until He can work it again, and taking up another broken piece to see how He can restore it…. my eyes watch His hands, the scars are seen again… my eyes watch, but my mind wonders - What am I witnessing?  Who is this master craftsman? What are these pieces? Is this me? Is this a message for me, given from the scarred hands that took nails on a cross for me? Is this…. my mind races at this awareness, the clay, the water, the molding.. my busy life, my rushed days, … He looks at me for a brief moment, His eyes seem to plead with me… “do you see?” Oh Lord, like Israel, I need to be remade, like Isaiah I need to be undone!   I need to be worked in your hands, pounded, watered, beaten to a pure clay without air of myself inside. Firmly placed on Your wheel, firmly held and worked with to be centered in YOU. Watered with your grace and mercy so that I am able to be pliable and molded. Pressure me that I can rest in Your hands and trust your fingers and tools, to make me into Your vessel that, would be worthy of a KING’s service. 
      My mind racing within me, the Master dimmed his candles and motioned for the door.  It was growing late and I knew I needed to go, I breathed deeply wanting to remember every aspect of this place, I turned to see HIm again but He was exiting to another room, I feebly uttered a thank you, feeling unworthy to speak even that.  I entered out into the cool and damp night. I had much on my mind, I had so much to ponder… 

                                *Jer 18

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Mothers and Fathers Day

Yesterday holds our memories,
Today is a gift, 
Some say Tomorrow never comes, 
but tomorrow is the start of forever... 
So, I’ll see you tomorrow. 

     I heard a song this morning about mothers, as it is Mother’s Day weekend.  It was by Chonda Pierce A Mother’s Prayer ,  it reminded me of my mom and the journey we had together.  The last line is similar to the line Mom & Dad taught me to pray, only it was from a mom’s heart perspective. “If I die before they wake, they’ll know I lived for Jesus’ sake.”   This song reminded me of the heart journey I took, over my lifetime with my parents, and the example of grace that they were.  
       As with most kids, the parent at home isn’t always the people that others know, sometimes but not always - and to an extent, that is how it should be.  It’s that way in my girl’s lifetime as well; good, bad, ugly, beauty all happen in a family, in our’s laughter and tears filled in the gaps.  For some reason, it seems that I was closer to my mom than my dad, I have a good healthy relationship with them both, but seemed to relate better to my mom...  I have thought for sometime about blogging about her and dad, but there is just so much, where to start, what to talk about... I guess my overlying thought in the end of it all is... I am so thankful that God gave me the time with them that He did, so I had time to come to understand where they came from and how that formed them into who they were.  This will be the first set of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day without them.  11/2017 & 8/2018 Nine months apart until they were back together.  Maybe now is the time to write. 
        For many years as I grew up, I kind of held it against them that they weren’t as I thought they should be.  They were more critical than encouraging, they asked annoying rhetorical questions, or they didn’t notice how hard I was trying or trying something new, sometimes they just didn’t seem to ‘get it’... I was impatient with them.  And yes girls, I do some of these things too...  As an adult I slowly came to understand, I slowly began to appreciate, who they were, what they grew out of and their huge accomplishments they had made -in spite of the losses they experienced early in their lives.   They both had what we would call trauma in their early childhood. Mom’s mother (Gma Lena) died when mom was 8 and Uncle Leland was 10.   My Dad’s parents divorced when he was 8 or 9 yrs old, in 4th grade, and thereafter she had 4 more marriages and 3 more divorces, he had step dads with abuse, alcohol issues  ect.  Both of my grandfathers were the stabilizing people in my parent’s lives.   My grandpa Zim remarried after grandma’s death.  The grandma that I grew up with tried her best to be a mom, but she had no experience at that, being a single gal all her life.  That mother daughter close relationship wasn’t there with my mom, she learned the work that needed done, but not the relationship building.  Dad and his brother kind of raised themselves in southern Illinois, during the depression, doing odd jobs that young boys could do: paper routes, selling ice chunks for freezers, shining shoes in the pool hall and learning to play snooker... while my grandma was often working in a diner or something.  My grandpa Zobrist did all he could to help support the boys by working on farms and later on the railroad, but it was a horrible depression, everyone was poor.  My Grandpa ended up moving to Peoria with his new wife (my Grandma June) and after a few years  Dad and Uncle Don showed up at their doorstep as well, with comic books and a white shirt.  Both had dropped out of school and caught a bus to Peoria.  Worked in gas stations ect until getting on a Caterpillar, both excelling at the GED program, apprentice course, working their way up over the years,  to where they “wore a white shirt and tie to work” and retired at an early age very comfortably.  Mom grew up on the farm until moving into town, after high school she went to Brown’s business school, worked at Cat, met dad on a blind date and they figured out life together from there.  After marrying they found the Lord and that was their Saving Grace literally.  Mom had been raised by Godly parents, but dad had little to no church experiences.  
      So, as I look back at what parenting role models they had to work with, the lack of close parental relationships that they had... and I remember the tough times that they went through as life went on.  I see the real reason for the joy they had,  in giving us what they didn’t get as kids: vacations camping all over, time exploring the outdoors, importance of family and friends to do things with, so many healthy relationships that I was given.  Yes, there were negative experiences in life, to me and them, but when they were wrong they apologized, sincerely owned it.  When falsely accused or “done wrong”,  they reacted with grace and mercy and prayed for the person/people.  Early on,  I realized that I never had heard my parents raise their voice at one or the other.  I didn’t realize how uncommon this was... then I married and had conflict...  at first I saw it as a fault with them - it caused me to have the need to learn how to resolve conflict,  after the age that most already know this.  This was not a good time to just now be learning this... but now,  I look at that and I think they were trying to right a wrong from dad’s past.  He heard a lot of things from stepdads that a child doesn’t want to hear... he didn’t want his children to hear conflict.  My mom wasn’t ‘mothered’ much after age 8.  She was loved, but missed out on that mother’s wisdom, care, nurturing... she lacked that role model, she knew the work that needed done, but not the relationship building.  She had a lot of regrets, we talked about it, it makes me sad, I now see that she really did try hard and gave us kids more than what she had, better than what she had.  Isn’t that a parent’s natural wish?   I think by the time her journey ended,  she understood, we understood, God understood,  (you do your best with what you are given) and forgave herself.
     The legacy she and dad left was amazing. Especially considering what they started with.   Even looking at the spiritual end of things. Mom did all she could do to understand the scripture, to learn to meditate on it, study a bit,  her parents weren’t taught these things, they were trying to learn to read, comprehend and preach the Bible in English instead of German and eek out a living in the midst of wars and loss of loved ones the Bible was sustaining them!   She saw me doing Bible Studies and would ask about it, how to do it.  She found what worked for her and how to make the Word apply to her life.   Through her cancer when she couldn’t read, she went to audio bibles, cd’s and books, lots of books!  They sustained her as she tried to keep busy,  working with any handwork she could still do, and figure out who could use it, baby hats and blankets to wash rags. They were not the grand caliber of what she had done over the years, but her heart was in wanting to do something for others,  even when she was sick.   She extended grace and forgiveness in abundance, she was not perfect, but she was repentant and forgiving.  This was so wise,  because this gave her peace of heart and mind in her last years, not more regrets.  Some of the last words she said to me, in asking the whereabouts of  grandchild, “it will all be ok, it will be ok” and her “I love you too”.  I will never forget dad sitting by her bedside that day, giving her a kiss and holding her hand all the way Home.  Dad was the most patient man I ever  knew, a lot like Grandpa Zobrist.  He always spoke well of people, gave them a second chance and the benefit of a doubt. I just saw an old friend of Dad’s and he mentioned missing dad and that he wished he “had his disposition” not much riled up my dad -if he was riled up,  you knew it was a big deal!. :) But he always had a bit of wit for you,  a “geneism” as we now call them.   Dad, with having no upbringing in a church or faith,  went on to self teach himself the Bible.  He knew the succession of all the kings and judges, happenings in the Bible,  battles and wars and how world history fit in with the Bible.  He taught all of us kids in Sunday School.  He could have  ‘ran circles around’  those who had been ‘churched’ all their lives.  When he passed on, many didn’t realize he hadn’t been raised in a churched family.  Another first generation PTL!
    So, after all this rambling I guess my point is this,  what I learned from  Gene and Caroll: Don’t be to quick to criticize, you don’t know what that person’s starting point was.  Generations before you or those from different cultures,  lived in very different times and ways, give them credit for that - not criticism, honor them for the obstacles they have overcome, recognize the confusion today’s day and time must present them.   Simplicity holds wisdom, sometimes I long for it, but He has me Planted in today, in His present day and time  - so that’s where I’ll attempt to Bloom with His Grace. He gives me Enough.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Just Enough is Enough

Early Spring 2016
“This is the time of your life when you must learn to let go: of loved ones, of possessions, of control.  In order to let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in My Presence, where you are complete.  Take time to bask in the Light of My Love. As you relax more and more, your grasping hand gradually opens up, releasing your prized possession into My care.
    You can feel secure, even in the midst of cataclysmic changes, through awareness of my continual Presence. The One who never leaves you is the same One wh never changes:  I am the same yesterday, today and forever. As you release more and more things into My care, remember that I never let go of your hand. Herein lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take from you.” Jesus Calling (written first person as Christ speaking)

This was exactly where I was at, God had over time released my fingers from this house we “brought back to life” over the last 25 years.  I was ready to move on, the situation was getting desperate that we move -with the city annexation coming, bringing double or triple taxes on our few acres of land.  We had listed with a realtor who had seen our For Sale by Owner listing. It wasn’t going very well and we were not happy with how she was handling things, but we were under contract with her.  
    I continued to read each day of... of I am with you... do not fear, trust me fully, I will supply ALL your needs according to His riches, be in constant communion with Me, be thankful in ALL things, Trust Me in every detail of your life.  May 9, 2016 “Trust Me and watch and see what I will do.” Micah 7:7 Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. May 21 Watch and see what I will do was there again.  So I trusted and waited as best I could. The realtor had offered to release our contract and we took it.  Put For Sale By Owner back on the front yard and researched another realtor option. In the meantime a Doctor couple was interested.  Moving here from the Carolinas, had lived in older homes there. The wife was coming house hunting ahead of the move. She came and loved it, wanted her husband to see it as well he would come Memorial Day weekend.  He liked it as well, it all looked promising, she really wanted it. But, they decided to not make an offer or anything until they would actually move. They found a place to rent for when they move and would pursue buying a house once they are here permanently.  It did not make sense. It seemed so perfect, they had already sold their home, were in a great place to buy ours….. did not understand… IS 41:10 my all time favorite verse was referenced that day 
Combine verse 10 and 13 and you see, my right hand is in His righteous right hand.  That means we are face to face, He is face to face with me. He is right here with us through this. Trust.  “”Hold My Hand and trust” a week or so went by and another couple called. They had driven past and saw the sign, they were newly married and both grew up in older homes.  They wanted an older home, but were in no rush - were content just waiting for the right one. She loved it and wanted it from the first visit. It was humorous because she did not hide her feelings at all and he was more like “honey, we will think about it and check things over…” not wanting to agree to it before they had done it right with inspector ect.  She was like “nope! This one is it!” So funny. We had explained all the nuances of the house, our water agreement with neighbors and a new roof that was approved by insurance to be done. We agreed on a price and had our lawyer draw up an agreement and we were rolling.
    I was getting my parent’s new retirement condo painted and ready for them to move into when I got a call from Craig that the deal was at a stand still.  Makes. A knot in my stomach to even remember this day... Our lawyer told us that we technically have a house without water. In order to sell out house at all we have to have a water source.  Our agreement that we had was not sufficient. We need to drill a well. So, Craig started calling and found a firm that would drill one in July for us. We informed the new owners of the finding and of course she said “Oh it’s no problem, we will just figure something out, we will get water somehow, it’s fine” and he said “well… honey we have to make sure of a few things here… “.  So, we signed with the contingency of water being located and sufficient clean water and pump system installed in the house. So we pulled money to cover this huge expense and would trust that it would all work and we could pay it back with the sale money. Trusting again.
    In the meantime we needed to get more serious on our house search, we had looked at a few. Craig prefers to be out by ourselves,  I wanted something in a subdivision, by a walking/bike trail, but all that we looked at just weren’t right and had other concerns.  I wanted newer, not too much that we would have to redo… God seemed to keep showing me Just Enough is Enough. I don’t need what I want, I need to be content with what He gives me.  We had looked at a house out in the Challacombe area and really liked the area.  There were neighbors but not close by, everyone is on a few acres, rolling hills, quiet… The house we looked at wasn’t for us, bad foundation ect. It would be a total rebuild and we couldn’t do that.  But Jackie, our realtor told us she had heard another was coming on the market in this area by a different realtor, but had no details until it lists in a few days. We are set to take a 3-4 week vacation end of June. Needing to get something setup though and still praying for water in July.  A new tax assessment came, it had more than doubled already without being annexed… Trusting Trusting…. trusting there’s water. Mid June a house came on market just up the road from the other one. 3 bedroom sitting on a hill. Nothing fancy, it was a grandma grandpa house, didn’t really excite me at first, but I knew God was saying it was Just Enough.  We looked at the possibilities of what we could do with it over time, Jackie’s husband walked through it with us and assured Craig that we could make the changes we were thinking with the structure of the house. So we began the steps to purchase our new home. We did some packing up of the old house, as much as we felt comfortable with doing. Not a done deal really…  We left on our trip and learned how to sign electronic documents on the road. Inspectors came and went, our girls were at home if anything needed into the Alta house. We held our breath as the day of the inspection came and their appraiser. Once again God pulled us through. The inspection didn’t bring up anything major and they got their loan so the appraisal must have come in high enough.  Such a relief, now wait for water… We really were able to rest in Him and enjoy our trip, we just had an assurance - even if this all fell through He had us. No idea what we would do, but He did...
    We returned from our trip with the drilling only a day or two away.  We were having a bored well, which is wider and more of a seepage situation rather than hitting a body of water with a pipe.  Our area was very spotty for water, that’s why we never pursued it. They had walked around the yard and planted a red flag where they felt would be a good spot to try.  It works that they come and drill down, you pay a lot per foot that they go. IF they get to their limit and no water, they fill it in and you pay for a dry hole, then try again.  There are no guarantees. So that morning they pull in and I sat on the porch with my Bible doing my devotions, watching them get started. This is what I read in JC
    Bring me all your feelings, even the ones you wish you didn’t have. Fear and anxiety still plague you… use your shield of faith to extinguish them… Affirm your trust in Me, regardless of how you feel.  If you persist, your feelings will eventually fall in line with your faith. ...concentrate on trusting me, and fearfulness will gradually lose its foothold within you. ISAIAH 12:2  I clung to verse 3.  We would draw water.

So I sat and watched as they went deeper and deeper. Coming back up and adding on another piece to make it longer to go deeper, trying not to do too much math..$.. I was texting Craig through all this.  At one point the little guy jumped into the hole, then the other guy sent down a hook and pulled him back out… Craig asked if he came out wet! Haha. At one point they took their tractor and started moving the dirt pile, my heart sank, I thought they were going to fill the hole back in, but they didn’t - just moving for more space for more dirt.   Whew! I would go inside and try to work on something, but always came back to look…. finally I just had to know what was up, so it gathered up my courage and went out to ask. “Water?! Oh yeah we hit water a few feet ago, we are just going a bit deeper to get a good supply. Oh yeah we hit water about where we thought we would not too bad at all, looks like a good amount coming in…”.  I don’t think I have ever felt so much thankfulness in my life. There was so much riding on this. And God was just saying “watch and see what I can do…”. So we had the well hooked up and into the house with new pump. Ran chlorine rinses til we could test it and pass inspection. Craig and I had another trip that we needed to do for church, so the girls were on water testing patrol while we were gone. Everything cleared and passed, what a miracle! God truly Amazed us!  These were not things we could have orchestrated, we just had to wait and trust.
    The new property was running into glitches with the city of Peoria, so we closed on the Alta house and rented for a month or so in the new house, until we could close there.  Even that, it made it better for us in the end, protected us from Peoria annexation for 20 years. Thanks to the great lawyers that Tori works for. It “just happened” that they were the firm handling the division of the house from the farmland and sale for the family we were buying the house from.  As we have moved in and remodeled, God keeps providing Just Enough and growing my trust and faith in Him.

Craig and I went to Galena Illinois soon after we had been in the new house for awhile, continuing to see how He was providing again and again just in time, just what we needed.  We found this cute little coffeehouse called Otto’s Place and on the menu this was written -

In a time when the world seems to go faster and faster, when we seem to have more and more to do, when we seem to go after more and more and appreciate what we have less and less, when it seems that too many focus on themselves with little regard for others, when it seems that we are in competition to amass the most in the shortest time, Otto’s Place philosophy is very simple; Enough.

In 2005 my Aunt, Sr. Lois and I heard the story by Bob Perks “I wish you Enough”. It touched our hearts immensely, and it is a philosophy that is both simple and deep and one that has stayed with us ever since. My Aunt is now 98 and she is an inspiration to all who know her. Since we first heard the story we have been ending our phone calls and signing off on emails and letters with the simple phrase, ‘I love you and wish you Enough’.

Part of the story goes as follows: ‘He began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more.”When we said ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.”’

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough Hello’s to get you through the final Goodbye.”

It was more than perfect.  It captured all we were experiencing.  

He is so righteous and loving in spite of all our failures.  I am trying to just remain content with what we have, with what He sees as our need, keep life simple.   There are things that we want in life, but what we need He generously supplies, and therewith we should be content, I try to remember,  it’s Just Enough - and He is Enough.
Watercolor of when we bought the Alta House.
Moving day
On to the next chapter of our journey. Our Challacombe house when we purchased it.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A bit about knitting

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

A bit about knitting

Before we get into the analogy we need to know a bit about knitting if you aren't familiar with terms.  Knitting, in a general sense,  is a piece worked with one piece of yarn stitched ( hooked) over itself over and over in a variety of ways. Most common stitches are: knit (new stitch added from the back of the loop) and purl (new stitch added from the front of the loop).  You can knit or purl stitches together (k2t, p2t) for design or strength to the piece.  You can also Slip a stitch over another loop and only that loop stays on the needle, leaving it as one stitch. We typically know how many stitches we are to have in a section of our needles, as you knit there are stitches that fall off your needle, from time to time and we say that we, "dropped a stitch somewhere" and go searching for it when our count is off.  If stitches are decreased through knitting or purling together or slipping a stitch, new stitches have to be added back in to keep the number of stitches right.  For the purposes of this blog piece that's all the further we are going, this isn't a knitting lesson. 

The Word in Colossians 2:2 tells us that our hearts are to be comforted, being knit together in love.  I guess I see our church body (local or globally) as that piece that is being worked.  God is knitting with His infinite yarn of love, perhaps we are the stitches, not just a stitch once but multiple times being knit in as HE uses us. 

At some point in the piece we were knit in or purled in, really doesn't matter - both are essential to the beauty of the piece.  There are times when we are knit together 2-6 of us experience something together that binds our hearts and we are all put into one stitch. A triumph or a tragedy,  both add a detail to His piece He is working.  These k2t or p2t then decrease the overall number of stitches in the piece, but God blesses that experience or grants mercy and grace and with that HE adds new stitches behind us to balance the piece again.  Perhaps others are used in His work or souls turn to Him, all these are new stitches. 

There are other times, for many reasons where a stitch comes off the needle.  Perhaps out of our rebellion or spiritual carelessness, could be many things, we don't end up on the needle. That particular stitch that was ours is dropped.  What happens to the piece? Does it go on into more beautiful rows?  no sign of the dropped stitch? no, there is a whole where that stitch is to be.
I placed a stitch holder on the dropped stitch. 
That stitch will continue to drop, down to the stitch that it was stitched upon.  The one pictured went about 3 rows. In our analogy, perhaps that stitch (person it came to) will catch it and hold it, or will not notice it and pretty soon that stitch is undone too (that use God intended is lost also), so it goes down the column of stitches row by row. Til either a stitch catches it, maybe where it was knit together with other stitches, and holds it, or it unravels to the bottom of the piece. All the stitches next to these dropped stitches are still there, they are held to the next stitch by God's yarn of love, but there is a gap, there is just an empty column going down the piece of work.  Is it forever lost? no, it is at the bottom of the piece, on the bottom row, waiting, it can be stitched back up with a crochet hook, worked back in, all the way back up.  The Master can use His love (the yarn) and loop those stitches back in around the dropped yarn that is still on each row. He uses us again, to bring the beauty back to His piece of work. If we cooperate it can be beautiful again, restored for His purpose. 

When we are knit together in love we are comforted, aren't we?  We feel the love, and care of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  All of us together make a beautiful tapestry that The Father takes pleasure in every time He look at that piece of work.  He will continue to show grace and mercy, we continue to be pliable and usable, that He can twist us, knit us, purl us, knit 2 or a handful of us together, decrease the stitch number and add...

As I sit and knit a blanket for my granddaughter, these are the thoughts that came... ramblings in my brain.... I'm sure there are theological holes, a theologian i am not... just knittin' and thinkin' ...maybe they blessed you too. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Your Room

I am still taking in the same book, I found another gem today.  This isn't word for word so
I  didn't " "  it...  I think new rooms are build for each grandchild too... we have big hearts :)

Your Room

When a new baby is born, a new room is built onto the Mother`s heart – and no one else occupies that room.  It doesn’t have to be bigger or better than any other rooms,  it’s just their’s.  "In My Father’s house are many rooms", Jesus said, and one of those was added on the day you became His Child.  That one is your’s! … He has it for you.. it is furnished by every moment you spend with Him... just the two of you, you and Your Father… your very own SistineChapel, where you meet Him in your divine journey together.  Your journey, nobody can walk your journey, it too is yours.  In the Cosmic Choir no one can sing your song… it’s your song with/for Him.

From God is Closer Than You Think.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Foundational Truths - New Year New Slate


God is always present and active in my life whether or not I see Him.

Coming to recognize & experience God’s presence is a learned behavior. I can cultivate it.  My task is to meet God in THIS moment.  I am always tempted to live outside this moment.  When I do this, I lose my sense of God’s presence.

Sometimes God feels far away for reasons I don't understand, those moments are opportunities for me to learn.

Whenever I fail, I can start again, right away.

No one knows the full extent to which a human being can experience God’s presence. 

My desire for God ebbs and flows. God’s desire for me is always constant. ( He always wants to be in my present and presence.)

Each thought carries with it a spiritual charge that moves me closer, or a little further away, from God.

Every aspect of my life is of genuine interest to God.

My path to experiencing God will not look quite like anyone else's. 
                                              -God is Closer Than You Think
                                                         John Ortberg

 My assignment is to read this daily for 2 weeks.   What precious truths to tuck into my mind.  Gives a sense of love, hope, healing and consistency.    

After a time of relaxing over Christmas and New Years, I always have a sense of wanting to do better at so many things.  New year, New slate.  As this book stated "God has my picture on his refrigerator".  I've only started the book, but I love that concept.. It could be my photo or a project I made, He values me and my meager efforts.  Like a parent thinks their child is "the Best"! When I don't do well or could do better, He encourages me to get up and try again.  I guess that is my January feeling usually, try again, try to improve, try to be more like Christ and serve (as a Child of His, as a; wife, mom, Mimi, friends, church family...) like Christ would like me to.  That is a high calling, a huge task, it could be overwhelming.  But, He is walking with me, He understands me better than I understand myself (yikes/yeah).   Is 41:10-14 (one of my life verses) speaks of God holding my right hand with His righteous right hand, I'm not to fear.  That leads me to think that the bodily position for that to happen, is if we are not standing side by side, but face to face.  Christ/God is standing face to face with me (with each of us) as I walk this path of life, encouraging me as I am striving to be a glory to Him.  Not to bringing attention to myself, or serve self, but that people will see Christ through me.  
Sometimes I give myself a to-do-better-at-list that is too large, but God knows what I am capable of, and so it's a day at a time and we will see where He leads, " My task is to meet God in THIS moment. "

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Home is Where my Loved Ones Are

I turned up that familiar road that fall afternoon, drove up that hill I so often walked.  The street that held the houses of neighbors that were like aunts and uncles of sorts.  Especially the Hawthorns across the street.  Don and Irma Dell I was his Jacqueline Reneeeee! They left a box of graham crackers inside their side door incase they weren't home when I stopped over.  If you know the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show, and the little girl next door that was the chatterbox, I think I was that little girl to them sometimes.  That street was just a beautiful place, kids grew up together, parents grew older together too and one by one each has moved on...

As I sat in my car and watched, a young dad and son came up the sidewalk hand in hand.  The little boy took off and ran ahead, through the grass, that I had played in and up onto the porch and threw open that old storm door.  As he took ahold of that brass door knob of the black wooden door, struggling to open it, I could feel that cold metal in my hand too.  It made me amazed at how powerful memories are.

toy drawer

As his dad helped him with the door and in he ran, I knew the brick floor of the foyer that he was running across.  Was he running down the hall past the stack of drawers? Was the middle drawer their toy drawer too? Is the top drawer the tool drawer?  Maybe he was heading through the kitchen and up the steps.  Had he figured out that spot at the top, where you can hide behind that short wall and scare your sibling as they come down the hall?  Which room is his? My room that used to face the old oak tree where the owl lived? Or Dawn's room at the top of the steps?  It would be most appropriate for him to be in the boy's room, there are still bee-bees rolling around in there from their Daisy bee-bee gun days.

hiding corner
My parents moved in there before I was born, they lived there 50 some years.  That is almost unheard of today. I lived there until I married. That home is the place where most of my childhood memories took place. From sitting around the kitchen table eating our chocolate ice cream before bed (which we had stirred into a shake in a bowl) Or popcorn, while dad read us a story from our Bible story book.  A bedtime snack Always happened, dad was faithful at getting us our bedtime treat.  We had our playroom in the basement with the alphabet scattered about the painted gray floor.  If they take out that carpet will they see it? Will the kids use that little closet in the playroom as their library too?   We added on the garage and patio. What a treat that was... I loved laying out there in the summer with my  baby oil, foil mattress, and Seventeen magazine.   The willow tree came and went in my time there, loved that tree. Pepper and Scamper were our cats that are laid to rest on the hill in the back corner of the yard.

living room - wooden cradle my grt grandpa made
There are so many sibling memories, many flicker in my mind just quickly, for an instant, then another. Doug and his tape recorder... It was such an amazing thing to be able to record your voice and play it back, that seems so funny now that we can do video and all... But we had more fun with a tape recorder and microphone. Doug did great sound effects . And he sang in the shower. Dave and I spent so much time in front of the fireplace listening to old radio shows with dad.  Fibber McGee and Molly, The Shadow Knows, Amos and Andy...  They were on cassettes, I'm not that old. But we listened to them over and over. We listened to so many stories on records, we didn't have a tv, so it was all imagination... Mary Poppins, Snow White and the Dwarfs in the diamond mine, Uncle Remus
was a favorite, as well as Peter Pan.  Dawn was
8 yrs older than me, so my memories of her
where Mom and Dad were usually found reading.
are not so much at the house, but of her going other places, friends, dating ect.  Our friendship flourished more after I was married with kids.  One by one my siblings married and I was there alone with mom and dad, coming home to them sitting in the back room reading or mom knitting something.  I would come in and they would put their books down and pick up magazines, they knew I would sit and yack about whatever before bed.

This address also holds the memory of us three kids meeting there to tell mom and dad of Doug's accident and death.  Telling them there in the front yard, as they knew something was wrong when we all showed up at once, will forever b ingrained in my memory. We grieved there together in the living room as family and friends came and went.   It just felt good to be at home together. The house brought comfort I thought.  It was there that Mom waged her battle with cancer.  Us kids were sleeping there once again, in a very different role.  There was nowhere else we would rather be though. It was a very hard time, but a time that we pulled together and felt the prayers and witnessed the grace and strength that God gives, sometimes an hour at a time.  As the days went on and a few years, it came time to start packing things up. Time for a new place for mom and dad. What to sell, what to give away, what to keep?

Things that belonged to ancestors that us kids had never met, but feel like we know.  Who's was this? Who made this?  Things that mean nothing to others but have sentimental value to us.  As we moved mom and dad into their new duplex it was heart wrenching at times, but I began to realize that the duplex was feeling like their home now, not home in the sense of "my home" maybe, but home is where they are. The items they chose to take with them add to it being "their place".  While in my mind 110 S Hamilton will always be as it was last spring, before it all started.  Home is where your loved ones are and as more of them pass into eternity, that will be the home that we will reunite in.  This journey made me think about my home here for my family, the memories they have and are making... I don't think I have been very purposeful in making memories, but that's the good/bad thing about memories, they happen no matter if we try or not... The good and the bad... That makes up life... That molds us into who we are... then God uses those experiences for us to relate to others going through similar circumstances. 

This was a long one, a bit rambling, but thoughts that I have had rolling around in my head... Wanted to get them down. Judy, thanks for the push, two years and I got a new post done.