Thursday, January 15, 2015

Verse Two of Twenty-four

Time for another memory verse as I am seeking to memorize the Word with the Siestas at Living Proof Ministry.  This fortnight I've chosen a verse out of Proverbs.  Maybe our meal times will become less chaotic. ;-)

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
    than a fattened ox and hatred with it.

Proverbs 15:17 (ESV)

Friday, January 09, 2015

Child of a Holy King

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You may or may not have ever noticed my profile tag line, "Child of a Holy King and therefore a Princess."  That is an idea that I have been intrigued by for years.  If I am the daughter of a King, then my actions should not be common.  That is the admonition behind the words.  I can't say I often act very regally, but I should if I am about my Father's business.

Recently, we heard a sermon at church on just this subject.  The pastor reminded us that we were Children of God--Adopted into His Purpose.  He reminded us that if that is true, that thought should not become familiar to us but should continue to strike us with AWE.  That the God of the universe has chosen us to be His People.

He challenged us to think about what it meant to be a son in Biblical times.  He reminded us that the son usually followed his father's footsteps into occupation and lifestyle.  He said that the son was known by who his father was.

Now, I am very grateful that I am not expected to follow my earthly father's occupational footsteps.  I was never a very good farm girl, even telling my Dad when I was four years old that as soon as I was old enough I was leaving the farm.  But occupation or not, I am my father's daughter.  I laugh like him, I sometimes sound like him, I definitely use his phrases.  He molded and shaped much of the character one sees today.  I follow my Dad's footsteps.

I was challenged as I listened to the sermon of how much do I follow my Heavenly Father's footsteps.  Am I known by His character?  As I seek to harmonize my life with His this year, I pray that my character becomes more and more like his and less like the selfish person I so often can be.  It will take time, spending time with him and his people, learning his words, practicing his ways. But the refining should be noticeable.  I pray it is.

photo credit: morguefile free download

Friday, January 02, 2015

First 2015 Goal Post

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I know I haven't posted one of these since October, so this seems a little ambitious.  But I know that I am much more apt to meet goals if I actually put them somewhere that is seen than hold onto them in my head.  So my one true resolution this year is to post goals for each month and track progress.  I do have a master list for the year, but I will keep it flexible based on month-to-month responsibilities.

But, first, to review.  My 2014 master list:
  Cross-stitch:  Finish Autumn at Hawk Run--YES
                        Start and finish Fairy Moon--40% complete
                        Start and Finish Solitude--no
                        Finish old Teacup Round Robin--Yes, including framed
                        Finish old Fish Bowl Round Robin--Yes
                        Xmas ornaments for the kids--Yes
                        Finish one set Bride's Tree Ornaments--Yes & presented as gift
                        Progress NRR to 50%--about 30%
                        Start stockings for kids--No

  Other:            Read 25 books (non-school related)--6 read
                        Post 100 time on blog--24 posts
                        Write 24 real letters--4 letters

In general, I'm okay with this.  Life happened.  A move happened.  School reading took more time than I planned.  I finished 2 UFO stitching projects and started a new project not planned for at beginning of year.  So, not a bad year.

My JANUARY goals are:
1. Complete the 2015 RR I will receive mid-month
2.  Finish stitching on Fairy Moon and possibly start beading
3.  Blog 4 times
4. Write 2 letters
5. Lose 2 pounds
6. Memorize 2 verses with the Siestas at Living Proof
7.  Stitch 2 Bride's Tree ornaments
8.  Finish one book for fun and 4 school-related books

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Verse One of Twenty-four

I am joining in with the Siestas at Living Proof Ministry to memorize 24 verses in 2015.  Each person chooses a verse on the 1st and the 15th of the month that they wish to memorize.  It should be something that speaks to the individual and their needs.

I have chosen Colossians 3:14 for my first verse.  It follows my theme of harmony for the year.  I don't usually memorize in the Message paraphrase, but I love the imagery of this verse as depicted.

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

A Year of WAITING and BELIEVING in review

I knew upfront that choosing a year's word of "WAIT and BELIEVE" that it was very likely that I would come to the end of the year still "waiting and believing" and have not much to show.  And that, pretty much, sums up the year, with a few bright spots of accomplishing something.

We began the year waiting for a ministry opportunity to come to fruition.  In January we met with a group of mostly-like-minded people who wanted a house group in their geographic area.  By February we were leading it, and it has been a highlight in a year of waiting. We meet to study, find application in the Sunday sermons, eat and fellowship, and pray.  And I have made friends that I probably would not have even met otherwise. So it was good waiting and trusting.

I began the year longing for a more intimate ladies Bible Study.  I still wait for that. But in the interim, Tree and I have been attending a Mum and Toddler group that does Bible Study one week of the month and that has been a tremendous blessing.  Being with other Mums of Toddlers reminds me that the challenges of this age are normal.  I still long to lead a more in depth group. I miss my Ladies study to this day, four years after having moved away.  But God in his wisdom is still saying, "WAIT" so I will continue to wait and believe that someday I will have that again.

There has been other waiting. There was the waiting for our landlord to decide if he did indeed want the house we were renting back for a family member. Then there was the waiting to find an appropriate house that would still allow us to lead house group. There was waiting to move, to settle, to find our balance in a new village.  There was the waiting for a new rhythm as German changed accounts and travel schedules yet again.

I continue to wait and believe that the words that I have bouncing in my head will mean something to someone someday.  Children's needs seem to crowd it out. But I still hear God whisper "Wait...and believe." Last Christmas the sermon that inspired me reminded us that Simeon may have waited for DECADES to see the Messiah, yet he waited and believed. I knew that I would wait longer than a year for some of the desires whispered in my heart to fruit and flower. It doesn't make waiting easier, but it makes it bearable to know that God has a time table. I have to trust it. I can't say I always wait expectantly or patiently. But God knows that my heart is to learn in this process.  So when I might have thrown my hands up in surrender, he inspired Lisa Jo Baker to pen "If This Whole Year has Felt Like Wasted Waiting". It is a wonderful read of how waiting is normal in our Bible heroes and inspires us to continue to wait.  Reminded and bolstered, I continue to wait.

So I come toward 2015 wondering what word to choose. I considered "persevere" or "pursue" or "patient" but too many of those words seemed like me doing the work, not God.  Then, Christmas morning the sermon was about Mary's song and how she sang with confidence in the past tense because she trusted that God would fulfill what He promised.  The pastor referenced Psalm 96:1-2 that each of us must sing a new song.  That is one of my all-time favourite verses (along with Psalm 98!).  The reminder that we each are constantly singing new songs to the Lord for the good things he has done.  My heart was resonating with the message when he said this,
"We can only find rest when we sing in
with the great composer."
I knew that I had found my word.  I know that this year will be more waiting and believing for the things that I know are promised, but may not be imminent. But I don't want that waiting to be fretful or anxiety-filled.  I want it to be trusting-waiting.  I want to find rest in the wait.  Thus I need to keep harmony with God as I wait.

Will you continue to wait with me?  In the interim, may we seek to live our lives in Harmony with God so that we do not become anxious as we seek his timing.  Whether it is days, or decades, I hope to wait and believe until God brings to fruition all his plans for me.  I pray you are able to do the same.

 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:14-15

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Praying you have time to stop and enjoy the awe of the moment!

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Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

October Goal Post

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In September my goals were:

1. Complete AAHRH--YES
2. Complete Bride's Tree set--YES
3. Blog at least 4 times--finish Parts 4 of "How to Lose Your Voice"--nope
4. Start DT Summer Garden--Yes
5. 100 stitches in Fairy Moon --closer to 300

1. Move and unpack
2. Finish 25% of DT Summer Garden
3. Another 100 stitches in Fairy Moon
4. Blog something ;-)

Friday, October 03, 2014

Regaining Your Voice

Where the slide to losing one's voice often seems gradual, the act of regaining it is very intentional. Each and every time I have allowed circumstances, or other people to silence me, it has not ended until I reached a point of saying "enough is enough." I must decide to step beyond what is happening and re-gain my voice.

There is a natural need in us to express ourselves. Some use words to do that. Others use actions or talents. But we all express ourselves in some fashion. I was recently reminded that we need to speak because we are created in the image of God, and he was not silent. He spoke worlds into being. He spoke to his prophets. He called people out and expected responses. We, too, are called to express our innermost beings. It is built into us to communicate. So we shouldn't allow others to take that away.

When I've given up something I love because others have inadvertently hurt me, I need to forgive and let it go. Especially since it was inadvertent. Only by forgiving them (in my heart and head) do I have the freedom to move on. In the past year I have re-started an activity that I had stopped because the joy had gone out of it based on some comments. It was not a huge deal in my life, but I was finding that I missed it. Despite missing the activity, it took a concentrated decision on my part that the comments were not going to play in my head and take away my enjoyment while I engaged in the activity. It was freeing to say that the comments did not define me (which they never did) and that I could have fun at something without it mattering to those speakers. It was a little thing, but it was a step in the right direction.

What about those times when it has been more intentional to silence you....forgive then as well. Remember that those people are not who validate you. Jesus is. And he has found you worthy, so don't hold onto their words or their judgments or your need for their approval. Give it to the one who says, "You are worthy and you are heard." I know that it is easier said than done. But I also know that forgiveness is more for our benefit than theirs, and there is a freedom in allowing God to heal those wounds.

In the matters where circumstances have chiseled away at time and voice, it is more difficult. The circumstances may not change despite the decision to re-gain one's voice. It may be necessary to redefine one's voice to the circumstances. Remember when I said I was weary of moving? And remember back at the first of the year when I felt that God was having me wait for something? Well, God has a way of moving circumstances. This is the first year in five years that German is not changing job roles in October necessitating a major if not international move! We were looking forward to a quiet autumn with no change. And then...our landlord notified us that he *might* need the house back for a family member. And we waited and prayed since we have grown roots and ministries. And then the *might* became *definitely* and we continued to wait and pray. And just when I was ready to despair, we found a house. A few miles move will allow us to continue with routines and ministries. But it is a still a move. And I am still weary. (And I had just started writing this, so I asked God what on earth he was trying to teach). And you know what, I don't have the answers. But I know that this time around, I don't intend to let the circumstances take away the thing I love that I was just regaining. It is a choice. And I am trusting that God has something waiting for us there that we could not have here. Something that will further my roots and my ministries.

As I make the intentional decision to regain my voice, I have found that goals help, but can also be demoralising. Set realistic goals. Then be gentle if you need to adjust them. I intended to start writing at least once a week, thinking that was reasonable. But it wasn't. My family's needs in this new place were greater than my need to write. And so I haven't met my goal. And I could be frustrated, or I can be gentle. I'm choosing gentle. I will continue to plan and set goals, but realise that family is first. (And as they get more accustomed to me disappearing to write, maybe I can write more). May I encourage you that you won't write an epic novel the first time out, you won't speak to an arena of people, you won't sing an aria until you've sang those first notes, but that is okay. We are intending to communicate for a long time. And you (and I) will build our skills as we engage in our skills. Don't give up--even when it is tough and circumstances get in the way. I won't give up either.

So that's where I'm at. Finding ways to forgive and regain some voice. Finding ways around the circumstances. Choosing that I will find my voice and my talents. And trusting that God is leading because he is a God who communicates and doesn't leave us on our own.

Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.
Psalm 62:11-12