Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dad loves me best

Finally figured out how to use the slick little FM tuner thingie for my Ipod. Pretty cool. I can see how this will lend itself to a cleaner car; less clutter-y than CDs and cases and containers. Nice.

Listening to Casting Crowns is a favorite way to pass my drive time each morning. I love the "Voice of Truth" lyrics, but especially the way the song swells at this point...


I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop
and listen to
the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

But this is how it sounds to me...

Singing. Over. Me.

Nope, not quite right.
Singing. Over. ME.
Closerrrrr.

Ummm....this?
Singing. Over. ME!!!

Yep. That's it. :~)


I believe that the reason this resonates so loudly is because it *is* The Voice of Truth.

I really believe. I believe Jesus sings over me. Is that hard for you to believe?

It's sort of hard to process, if you think of earthly relationships and all the minefields therein.

It's hard to process if you think of dry legalism or hellfire and damnation theology.

It's hard to process if your relationship with your earthly father sucked(s).

But, it is as a parent that I can best get my head around this ... to think of how I (puny, imperfect being that I am) love, cherish, rejoice over, sing over, swell with pride, when I notice the tiniest, possibly insignificant thing about my children; like the space between my daughter's nose and eyes---the place they meet?

When she was little, I used to love, love, love to kiss that particular spot. It is so insignificant, it doesn't even have a name, as far as I know. I've never once heard of a billboard glorifying this body part. Men are not attracted to it, as far as I know. There are no surgeries or procedures to make it more prominent. No need. No-one notices it.

Except me. On my daughter.


How much more then is God able to, happy to sing over me, His creation? Makes more sense that way.

See? The Voice of Truth.

I love You, Papa. Thanks for loving me first and best.

(am i right? is that not the most kissable little spot on her face?)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

::ahem::

The discerning reader will note that while I was banging my head against the proverbial brick wall, fake sobbing, whining, tantruming and questioning the heavenlies, I did not, in fact, address the One who could and would answer.

Thus, the stuck-ed-ness continues for another day.

Two things I know:

1). I will get tired of this eventually.

2). God will be waiting and will not, even once, say, "I told you so."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bang head here------->

**You are not going to feel whole
unless you use the gifts
that have been bestowed on you.
You need to focus on the "whole"
not the "hole."**
(from this post)

(fake frustrated sobbing into hands)

"What does it mean?

Use *what* gifts; how, when and where?

And with whom?

'Whole' versus 'hole'?

C'mon...really? A word puzzle? Semantics?

Arrrrghhh!!!"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Heaven

"...She felt completely encompassed by peace and a great inner quietness and contentment drowned every feeling of curiosity, loneliness and anticipation. She did not think about the future at all. It was enough to be there in the quiet canyon, hidden away high up in the mountains with the river of life flowing beside her and to rest and recover herself after the long journey.

After a little while, she lay down on the mossy bank and slept, and when she woke she again bathed herself in the river. So the long quiet day passed like a sweet dream while she rested and bathed and refreshed herself at intervals with berries and then slept again.

When at last the shadows lengthened and the sun sank in the west and the snow peaks glowed glorious in rose and flame color she went back into the cave, laid herself down among the spice-perfumed coverings and slept as deeply and dreamlessly as she had the first night when the priest laid her there to rest."

pages 221-2 "Hinds Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard

Farewell

(Pastor Ron helping out in Mississippi, post Hurricane Katrina--2007)

One perk of coming to Christ later in life (I was 30) is the fact that you have no previous religious affiliation or loyalties. No baggage. You just find a place to "fit".


One perk of belonging to a non-denominational church for the last 13 or so years, is that you know you can be comfortable anywhere the Gospel is being preached and Jesus is proclaimed as Lord.

So it is with some sadness that Mark and I are saying goodbye to a Pastor we love. He is not one of the pastors at our home church, but he is 'family' to us.


Ron is a Brethren Pastor that has loved Mark's family for many, many years; first, through his father, Ron Sr. and now, through his own careful, kind, Christ-centered ministry.

We know it is time for him to go. We just wish it wasn't. We know God will lead him to his next holy assignment. We will trust that it is all part of His plan. Staying in touch through
cyber-space will have to do for now.

Who knows? Maybe our mansions will be next door to each other in Heaven (this is not necessarily a Biblically-sound statement, but it doesn't stop me from wishing it. And anyway, I think God finds me amusing).

What can I say? I could never leave Him

I spent a looong time in this place...

"Surrender" by Barlow Girl

My hands hold safely to my dreams (more children/adoption)
Clutching tightly, not one has fallen

So many years I've shaped each one
Reflecting my heart, showing who I am

Now you're asking me to show
What I'm holding, oh so tightly

Can't open my hands, can't let go (too scared; please don't make me)

Does it matter?
Should I show you?

Can't you let me go? (man, I really wish You would sometimes--not really)

Surrender, surrender
You whisper gently

You say I will be free
I know but can't you see?

My dreams are me.
My dreams are me

You say You have a plan for me
And that You want the best for my life

Told me the world had yet to see
What You can do with one
That's committed to Your calling

I know of course what I should do
That I can't hold these dreams forever

If I give them now to You
Will You take them away forever?

Or can I dream again? (ugh. Agony)

Now, tentatively, I am back in this place...

"A Heart That Knows You" by Twila Paris

Thought I knew so much
But, I've got so much to learn
Got so far to go
So much left to burn

Thought I knew You well
But I struggle in Your hands
Here again You bring the truth before me--

Freedom only comes when I let go (this is sooo true, but sooo hard to do)
This I know

And a heart that knows You
Is a heart that can wait
Die to the dearest desire

And a heart that knows You
Is a heart that can still celebrate
Following love through the fire

You would never lead
Where You had not been

Every road I face
You go down again

Time has come and gone
Since you walked into the flame

But still there is the pain before the glory
Handed is Your will I must embrace--
Oh, for grace (man, am I ever dependent upon that)

Beginning to worship. Beginning to pray. Beginning to care. Beginning to seek. Beginning to trust. Beginning to believe.

Beginning.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Deadpan

Recent exchange with Caleb, the fabulous four-year old grandblessing...

C: "Hey, Crumpa? How come that is in there?" (pointing to a small toy meerkat that M. received for Father's Day, which was precariouslyperched in the palms of the sculpture below).


Me: "Just to be funny. Sometimes, the fact that something doesn't belong, is what makes it funny."

C: (without missing a beat and with an slightly annoyed look on his face) "Well, dat not make *me* laugh".

Be that as it may, it was quite awhile before that three adults in the room stopped loudly guffawing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pierced

(Carl Bloch's famous painting of Christ healing a man by the pool of Bethesda)

Come free me Oh Lord

Come save me Oh God
For I have known the hand of the Lord
I have felt the eyes of the Lord on me

Come meet me Oh Lord
Befriend me Oh God
For I have seen the extent of your fame
I have found the maker of heaven and earth

Heaven knows, I'm coming back this time
I 'm guilty of this crime
Cos I've been walking out on you
I've run across the world
And walked in barren lands
You've knocked this fool right to the floor
I'm coming back again

Well all my roads
Lead to the cross
Where you have shown the way to turn
I thought I heard rejoicing in heav'n over me

Well I threw it all away
And I died to myself
But I'll never understand
How I rose again
You have shown your hands full of grace
Why you chose such a life of disgrace
I can never repay such a man
But I'm coming back again

lyrics for "Coming Back" by Delirious?--the "Cutting Edge" CD

So it was, as she sangeth in the stylin' mini van, thus the voice of the Lord did speaketh to her heart. And the voice of the Lord came quietly and saith: "Do you want to be healed?"

And she was immediately reminded of the Holy Scriptures; of the healing of the paralytic man at the pool (John 5:22-25?). And she felt shame and conviction and pissed-off-ed-ness in her heart and thus, their was a great battle raging.

For the woman realized that the Lord was revealing the state of her heart, not to Him- who-already-knew, but to she-who-was-clueless.

And the woman squirmeth under the direct gaze of the Lord, for she, for the first time, found it more than a little possible that she was actively (though not knowingly) participating in the perpetuation of her stuck-ed-ness and misery.

And as she pondereth this great mystery with great consternation, she found that she was not quiiiite willing to answer the Lord's question, just yet.

So, for the first time, the woman actively (and knowingly), with a bit of sorrow, refused to answer the Lord; instead, she waited for another day, for another angel to stir the pool.

That, for today, that she might continue to maketh excuses for the lameness in her soul and to blame her condition on others than herself.


(Book of Teri 7:23)

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Word

This speaks for itself.

"As you well know, I am not really in a place in my life to offer advise to anyone. I don't want to offer any thoughts, impressions, or messages from God, because I'm concerned my own "yuck" might mix up the message. Anyway, I've argued with God on this and He doesn't seemed to be giving up. Here goes:

**You are not going to feel whole
unless you use the gifts
that have been bestowed on you.
You need to focus on the "whole"
not the "hole."**


If this speaks to you, great. If not, pass it off as a mixed signal. ;) There. I did it. Now maybe it won't wake me up in the night. A girl without her beauty rest is not a pretty site!"

I am blessed to have such godly friends.

I sincerely thank you, T. You are brave to deliver the message. (smile)

I *will* meditate on this...

Grammatically Challenged


(art found here...)

page 106 "The Shack"


{the character of the Holy Spirit is speaking to the main character, Mackenzie}...


"Remember that choosing to stay on the ground is a choice to facilitate a relationship; to honor it. Mackenzie, you do this yourself. You don't play a game or color a picture with a child to show your superiority. Rather, you *choose* to limit yourself so as to facilitate and honor a relationship. You will even lose a competition to accomplish love. It is not about winning an losing, but about love and respect."



Notes in the margin? Not grammatically correct. Wasn't thinking about grammar. Was thinking about the truth of this statement. My comments?

"My mind just blew."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Urban Flight


OK.

I believe I have established that I am the epitome of the
item #26 on the "Stuff Christians Like" blog.

Personally, I find quite a bit of this blog HI-larious, in that way that truth can often be funny, even/especially if it is about me.


So, here are the lyrics that I was mentally converting during today's 30 minute commute...don't laugh now.


Oh never mind. Laugh, if you want.


Time stands still for no one
I know this is true
I've been stuck here waiting

Then along came you

And you gave me back

The love I had

The faith I'd lost

The life I knew


(Chorus):

I wanna thank you for
the love that you give me

And the sun that
you put in my sky

You don't know how much
you've lifted me up

But I feel so alive
That I could fly
I could fly, oh
There's no way
I could've made it this far

Without you

You came to me
just when I needed someone
to believe

That I could make it through

And you gave me back

The love I had

The faith I'd lost

The life I knew


(Chorus):

Above the clouds

Fly so high,
never come down

Just you and I,
I'm so in love

With you, with you

And you gave me back
The love I had
The faith I'd lost

The life I knew
I wanna thank you for
the love that you give me

And the sun that you put in my sky

You don't know how much
you've lifted me up

But I feel so alive

(lyrics Keith Urban, "I Could Fly")

Shack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack


Moving on...

page 101

"Never mind that, what's important is this: If I were simply One God and only One Person, then you would find yourself in this Creation, without something wonderful, without something essential even. And I would be utterly other than I am."

"...and we would be without...?"

"Love and relationship. All love and relationship is possible for you *only* because it already exists in Me, within God myself. Love is *not* the limitation, love is the flying. I *am* love."

Oooops. Last night I sort of said that my BIG aha! moment post would happen tonight, but I forgot about this little gem (which comes first in the book). So, a sliiiight detour is in order.

So, love and relationship, arguably the best, most sought-after and satisfying thing on earth only existed/s because it existed in God first (that whole Trinity thing again)?

I don't know about you, but that really makes sense to me.
(isn't that a lovely Celtic trinity knot is at the top of the post?)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"The Shack" Attack

page 99 "The Shack"

"Although, by nature He is fully God, Jesus is fully human and lives as such. While never losing the innate ability to fly, He chooses moment-by- moment to remain grounded. That is why His name is Immanuel, God with us or God with *you* to be more precise".

No margin notes next to this passage. Nosireee.

Only thing happening was the explosion in my head, as I fought to contain, understand, *process* this thought.

Still working on it, as a matter of fact.


Is this new theology for me? No. I know the Trinity. I know the names of Jesus. I know God-with-us is Jesus, is Immanuel.

Is Jesus' humanity and divinity explained in a new way, a way that I can sort of get my head around? Yes.

The really crystal clear explanation of this mystery comes a bit later in the book. We'll discuss that tomorrow.

Wowza.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Shack

The next quote I wish to discuss from the book "The Shack" is found on page 96. Here it is...

"Will you at least consider this? When all you can see is your pain, perhaps then you lose sight of Me?"

My insightful comments are as follows:

"Huh."

I'm sure God is very impressed with my stellar intellect. :snort:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rarity



A couple of photos with me in them. How'd that happen?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Getaway

We are blessed with the reality of a quick getaway, just Mark and I.

Looking forward to car time, shop time, connecting time, making memories time, relaxing time.

Ahhhhh....

Friday, July 11, 2008

Margins

(insert self-conscious laugh/sigh here)

I've recently finished the book "The Shack".

I've not even known where to begin to write out my thoughts about it. I think I will simply use the notes I have made in the margins of the book, coupled with the book's quote that inspired it.


Be prepared. My notes are simple.

The book quotes are profound.

But, first a confession.


I had never heard of the book until I read of it on Erinlo's blog. I sort of 'know' Erin through cyberspace. I respect (and share) Erin's Christian faith-based world view, so I was a bit intrigued.

After that, I began to see other references to the book, so I logged the thought in the back of my head that I would read the book at some point, just to see what all the hype was about. A real trailblazer I am!


As I began to read, I posted my preliminary
thoughts here.

(insert second self-conscious laugh/sigh here) Ahhhh....It's a good thing God is "awfully fond of" me.

page 94, second paragraph


"Well, there are many reasons for that and some of them go very deep. Let me say for now that we knew that once the Creation was broken, true fathering would much more lacking than mothering. Don't misunderstand me, both are needed---but an emphasis on fathering is necessary because of the enormity of its absence."

My note in the margin related to that paragraph is...."Wow".


Now, who is "immature"?

So, without too many more words, I will just say that I've still not visited the website devoted to "The Shack", but, after reading the book, I can see why there is one.

I can also say that this book has challenged my view of God (in a positive way). And that I was surprised by that (ahhh...pride is so attractive, eh?)
Additionally, I will say that this work is *not* Scripture; it is a book. I have several "Shack" paragraphs that I must study out alongside Scripture, to "test" them, as we are advised by Scripture to do, but hey, I'm studying the Bible again and that is a good thing.

So, my advice? Shack up on the beach, in the car (as a passenger), with a loved one, at the pool, etc. with a copy of "The Shack". And don't feel you have to visit that website.


Just come on back here and we'll have a little book club discussion of our own. Just us girlfriends.

(little country girl from this cute site)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lifetime Achievement, but no award

The children still need me. They just need me in different ways.

They need my ear--to listen and not advise, unless asked.

They need my approval, because everyone needs to know their Mama loves them, no matter what.


They need my guidance on adult issues, but sometimes resent that.


They need me to take care of MYSELF (now, *there's* a concept), so that I will be around to babysit their children.


They need my moola.
Lots and lots of it.

Yup, they still need me. It's just all very different.

And it's gonna be OK. Because I live for and perform for an audience of One.

This clip is worth the five minutes it plays...


"Hellooo?"

she said to no-one in particular and everyone, in general.

"Sometimes, I need a two-way conversation.

Don't you?", she asked.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sign(s) of the Times

One of those pop culture Oprah-isms that we can all quote is, "If you know better, you do better."

I sort of get that. It sounds right. I suppose it applies here and there.

But then there's this...


"For what I am doing,
I do not understand.

For what I will to do,
that I do not practice;

but what I hate,
that I do.....

For the good that I will to do,

that I do not do,


but the evil I will not to do,

that I practice....

Oh wretched (wo)man that I am!

Who will deliver me from this body of death?


I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!"


Romans 7:15-16, 19, 24-25

That's *my personal* billboard, bumper sticker culture-current slogan.

If all it took to produce 'doing' was 'knowing', we'd all be skinny, free from bad habits, happy, fulfilled and free.

Not this side of heaven is that gonna happen, apart from Jesus Christ.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Shadowlands

Loved the book. Loved the Anthony Hopkins version of the movie. Cried *buckets*.

Remember this post?

As I was traveling home from our girl's trip to Nashville, the Lord spoke to my heart, about something that I know is important to His. I know this lesson was important, because He used that quiet, still, steady voice that a parent uses with a child, when there is wisdom being imparted. Eyes locked. My chin in His hands. He really, really wants the child to not just listen, but *hear* Him.

As the plane neared its landing, I was watching the descent from my window. The plane was casting a perfect plane-shaped shadow, that got bigger and bigger as we neared the ground. It was some cool phenomena that I am certain Mark could explain to me, in scientific terms. To me, it was cool, without even understanding.

As I watched, the Lord caused me to understand the following...

"All things, both living and dead, cast a shadow. It is evidence of their presence on the earth, as the sun shines upon them. Things that move and breathe and live cast a shadow, just as surely as those things that are not living, such as rocks, trees and planes.

You can continue to live the way you are living right now; dead, stuck and passionless, just going through the motions. You will still have influence. You will still cast a shadow, as you exist on the earth, because I am still shining.

Or you can live again, happy and confident in Me; in my love for you. You can rest in knowing that I will always work things for good, for those who love Me. You can move and breathe and dance and sing, as you used to. And the shadow of influence that you cast around you will be bigger and longer and full of life and motion. Remember what that was like?"

(loooong silence) Boy. No-one can nail me to the wall like the Lord.

So what were my choices? Was I to be the plane, the inanimate object that merely carries travelers to and fro, but does not experience the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and emotions that come with adventurous
journeys? Or was I willing to *live* again, to be a traveler, seizing adventure, seeking experiences and relationships?

I was reminded of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem just days before His death; the passage where it is spoken that if the crowds did not cry, "Hosanna!! Hosanna!!" with His entry, the rocks themselves would cry out .

Do I want to be outdone by a *rock*? Ummmm no.

But, the shadowlands is the place I have lived, since coming to terms with the fact that we are not going to add any more children to our family. We are not going to adopt. How could I have this desire (this SCREAMING!! desire) to love a parent-less child(ren) (clearly a Biblical mandate), yet God was not going to fulfill this desire? [grooooan]

The death of this dream has felt like this C.S. Lewis quote...


"Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief. "

Sigh.

I don't want to live in sadness. I don't want to look upon my Lord with mistrust and suspicion. I don't want the shadow that I cast in this lifetime to originate from a dead object. I want to live with purity! I want to cast a loooong and joyful shadow from my adventurous, bold life experience.

Now, that I have *finally* written this out, perhaps, I will feel the weight of accountability on my shoulders; perhaps, I will be able to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus. Perhaps, I can move on.

Perhaps.

(art is from
this gallery site)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Time Travel

How is it that a person (well me, anyway) can hear a song from their younger years and be instantly transported back to that age and time and place, sometimes complete with emotions? Music is powerful that way.

And in a related thought, when the above music-related timetravel is occurring for me, is it possible to really *feel* 17, 21, 25 again? Sometimes, I even become that person for the duration of the song/drive. Weird, huh?

Does this happen to anyone else? Can I really believe I am 17, 21, 25 in this twice-that body?

And do you suppose that this phenomena will continue indefinitely? When I am 90, will I be able to listen to ::ahem:: Loverboy and be 20 all over again?

I'll have the answer in 44 short years; I'll let y'all know.


Photo Postscript

Ummm...it's sure as shootin' ain't working for them *outwardly*. lol

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Now *that's* a Message T



Rachel is training for the Chicago Marathon. This past weekend, she and Brian ran the local half marathon. She found a cool running shirt and made it even cooler with the message.

Heres the website for Bound 4 Life. Check it out...