Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In Other Words--This is Going to Hurt

“We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us;
we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

~ C.S. Lewis



In my head I realize that many things that are worth achieving involve a level of pain or discomfort.


*That diet plan....requires the discomfort of not eating everything own's heart desires.
*A change of body shape...requires the pain of exercise.
*Even my really lovely auburn hair that I wasn't actually born with....requires the discomfort of sitting in the chair long enough to achieve it and often the pain of chemicals on my sensitive scalp.

You may say, those things are so trivial, so how about these?
* That great new job offer.....requires the pain of saying good bye in one location and the discomfort of making new friends somewhere else.
* Molding children's behavior to enable them to be independent young people...requires the pain of appropriate boundaries, consistently implemented.
* Living within the means of one salary so a parent can stay home...requires the discomfort of giving up "luxuries".

Growth and change involves some level of pain. I accept that in almost every area of my life. But my spiritual life...no so much. Somehow I still get it in my head that God will just "snap his fingers" and I will live the life he has destined for me in total bliss. Where does that thought come from? It certainly does not arrive from Scripture. In fact, Scripture tells me to expect pain and trouble!


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34

A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all
Psalm 34:19

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18



The closer and longer I walk with God, the more I understand the essence of this quote. I have a strong foundation of faith that tells me that God wants the best for me. I believe. I quote it. I attempt to live in the promise.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

But I also have a stronger understanding that those promises are achieved through the painful refinement of my character. He makes me the person I need to be, not with a snap of his fingers but in the deliberate sanding away of rough character edges and the watchful firing of the refiners fire. I know that he will accomplish his best by getting rid of the things that reflect my worst. And that process is frequently painful.

But, so much of what is worth achieving is worth the pain. Refinement by the father is definitely worth the pain or discomfort. The results are for eternity.

Father, help me to see the pain of refinement as part of your best for me. Forgive my impatience when I want it accomplished quickly and painlessly. Allow me to see your hand and your comfort in those moments. Amen.

Join Jennifer at Scraps and Snippets for her take on this awesome quote and links to others who are participating.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Stitchin' Post Saturday--27 June 2009

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Wow! Is it really Saturday again? This has been an awesome week for stitching. Nothing I love more than to sit with sun streaming through the windows (a rarity in England), watching Wimbledon and stitching. Perfect week.

Here is the progress on Stargazer. Have I mentioned how much I love this piece?! I should start beading toward the end of next week.
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So, what are you working on? Add a link in the comments so we can come and oooh and aaah. Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, June 22, 2009

In Other Words--Order in the Chaos

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“There was a time when [you fill in] defined my life and left me physically void, cocooned in a prison of fear. It stole my every hope and dream. But God’s love and His Word set my heart free. I learned that within the confines of God’s story, nothing had been stolen from me, rather everything was given to me. My life, which felt so out of control, was in reality in complete control – God’s control.”


~ Wendy Blight
Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner


Loni at Writing Canvas is our hostess for In Other Words this week. She has asked us to do something slightly different. She has asked us to fill in our own thing that we allowed to define us and leave us void before allowing God's love and Word to set us free. You will have to visit Loni's site to see what defined Ms. Blight's world, but I'll just say thankfully most of us will never have to walk a road as dark or rough as she has. If you have walked that same road, God is willing to bring you to healing of mind and spirit. And, whatever our road, the same God can deliver us!

Honestly I can think of things that people have tried to use to define me, but none that totally work for me in this quote. I could say that my miscarriages could have defined me (I know many people for whom that is a defining moment) but I was never left bereft of God during that time. Maybe it was a constant seeking of achievement, academic or professionally, that could have defined me. But then again, I see the clear thread of God through even the most diligent of pursuits for things that would not ultimately satisfy.

I think maybe it is because I was blessed to have met Jesus as Saviour when I was very young that I don't find the labels as defining me or keeping me from meeting God in the muck that life can be. Instead, I have always had a strong foundation of God's allowing me to be free as I surrender to His control in my life. I can remember a time, more than a dozen years ago now, when I felt life was out of control. A lovely Christian friend asked me where God was in my feelings. I answered "holding the chaos." That is what God does for me when I begin to feel out of control, he holds the chaos until I can see the order in it again.

That is what I need to always remember. Even when I can't see it, he is holding the chaos. Eventually I will see the order in his hands.

What have you allowed to define you? Where do you feel out of control? What do you need to surrender to his control? Let it go and let him make order of the chaos.

Please join Loni for a chance to win a copy of Wendy Blight's book, and to read what others are writing about the quote. Have a blessed day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stitchin' Post Satruday--20 June 2009

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Another Saturday to share what we are working on needle or craft wise.

It's been a good week around here in terms of making some progress. I'm well on my way to prepping some t-shirts for a quilt. I finished binding a quilt and I got plenty of stitching in as well. Yay!

Here is the quilt that has been finished for ages, except for the binding. Now it is totally bound as well.
pinwheel


And, here is Stargazer at 17 hours. I'm totally loving this piece. Enjoying every stitch I make (and even those I have to frog *sigh*).
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So, what are you working on? Please share a direct link in the comments!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

In Other Words---I Call Him Lord

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“We need to get to the point where we are tired of God just being a resident of our life
and make Him President of our life,
the Commander and Chief,
the One in charge.”

~ David Jeremiah


It is so easy for us to verbalize that God is leading our life, but then act as if we are the ones in control. I believe that the essence of this quote is that we need our words and our actions to line up. We need to surrender to God's control of our life. We need to follow him and him alone.

But I am hung up on the titles that Dr. Jeremiah attributes to God. President and Commander-in-Chief are titles that are given to someone elected to lead our country or a business for a specified period of time. In truth, I believe that is how we often treat God--as someone elected to lead for a specified period of time. We, by our actions, say "God why don't you make the decision of where I go to school, but I'll take over after that" or "God I'll let you choose my spouse but I'll choose how I submit" or "Thanks for providing the job, God, now I'll do the day-to-day." God never asked for only a specified part of my life. He asked for it all.

He didn't ask to be my President, he asked to be my Lord. The difference is subtle, but important. A review of definitions of both words show that they are both leaders over others. The difference is in where their authority lies. A president receives his or her authority by election or selection. A Lord receives authority by position, usually by birth. When I say that Jesus is Lord in my life I am acknowledging that he alone holds a place of power and leadership and that no one else can hold that power of position. It is not for a specified time; it is for eternity.

I agree with Dr. Jeremiah that I need to relinquish control of my life to my Saviour. I want to relinquish control as to my Lord forever and not just for a short period of time.

Karen at In Love W.I.T.H Jesus chose this challenging quote. Please visit to see what others are saying.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Flabbergasted!


It is not often that I am left speechless, but someone out there in blogsphere has rendered me just that.

This post of mine has been selected as Blog Post of the Day at The Rising Blogger.

I have no idea who nominated me, but thank you.

I'm honored.

The timing was a God-sent affirmation that I'm pursuing something that matters when I type out my thoughts into these posts.

And, the sweet words spoken in the announcement post must have been meant for someone else. But again, I thank you.

June Goal Post

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June sure snuck up on me! Here is my goal post for June.

May, revisited: huge failure as far as these goals, only accomplised the second and seventh ones! But I had a great month going to London with German, a church retreat and engaging with friends who were moving away. The month was a success, the goals were misguided.

May Goals:
1. Complete 50% Stargazer (a new start! yay)--approx 20% complete
2. Finish Kristin's All About Me RR--done!
3. Work on Bent Creek Season Row--Summer
4. Finish 3 blocks for sampler quilt and pin top
5. Prep T-shirts for T-shirt quilt
6. Quilt Around the World quilt (already pinned)
7. Complete office reorganization--done!
8. Complete closet clean-out (have done mine and girls, need to do German's closet)

So, June goals will look very similar (imagine that!):
1. Complete 50% Stargazer
2. Work on Bent Creek Season Row--Summer
3. Finish 3 blocks for sampler quilt and pin top
4. Prep T-shirts for T-shirt quilt
5. Quilt Around the World quilt (already pinned)
6. Complete closet clean-out (have done mine and girls, need to do German's closet)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

In Other Words--Safe or Wild?

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What I believe is so magnificent, so glorious, that it is beyond finite comprehension. To believe that the universe was created by a purposeful, benign Creator is one thing. To believe that this Creator took on human vesture, accepted death and mortality, was tempted, betrayed, broken, and all for love of us, defies reason. It is so wild that it terrifies some Christians who try to dogmatize their fear by lashing out at other Christians, because tidy Christianity with all answers given is easier than one which reaches out to the wild wonder of God’s love, a love we don’t even have to earn.”


~ Madeleine L’Engle (emphasis mine)~



I've been observing a debate over the last few days. The issues are complex. The personalities are strong. And, even when they are debating whether or not they are lashing out, at times that is exactly what they are doing. Honestly, it is tiring to observe and I'm sure it is even more tiring inside the circle. But at the heart of what everyone is discussing is "how do we discuss difficult issues about Christianity and still keep people comfortable?"

I don't believe that you can.

And that is spoken from the heart of a people pleaser.

In order to grapple with the depths of what Christianity is all about, you have to get messy. This quote says that we can keep it tidy or we can experience the wildness of what God did for us. More and more in my life I see where I have tried to keep Christianity tidy. I have tried to tie it up in a pretty box with a pretty bow and make people comfortable. And I have wondered why my relationship with God becomes stale.

It is stale because I let it become stagnant and comfortable.

But the heart of Christianity was never comfortable. The heart of Christianity is that wild expression of love that took place on a cross at Calvary. It was not pretty. It was not cleaned up. And it most certainly was not comfortable. But it was exactly what I, along with every other sinner who has ever walked the face of this earth needed. It was a path to salvation.

Scott Krippayne sings in "Tell it Like it Is,"
If you wanna tell the truth
you gotta find someone who'll listen
then expect some opposition
'cause being honest is a risk
so i guess you'll have to choose
is the trouble you uncover
worth the freedom you discover
when you tell it like it is

Receiving salvation is as easy as believing Jesus is our way to heaven. But after that the Christian life is far from easy. It is a sacrifice to daily follow Jesus.
It takes real time and real devotion on our part to learn more of the way of Jesus. The truth is, real dialogue that grapples with what God did for us often leaves more questions that answers. We will never wake up one morning and realize that God has miraculously given us all the answers. He won't. Instead he wants us to learn his ways by walking with him, reading his word, interacting with other believers and serving others.

But when we have grappled with it, when we have embraced the wildness of God's love for us there is one thing that is certain--it is never stale.

When I was a kid, my mom went almost a year that she made all of our bread. Then one day, she put a plain loaf of white bread on the table. We all asked where the bread was. After eating fresh for so long, store bought tasted stale. That is how I want my walk with God to be. I want to experience the freshness and the depth of the relationship so intensely that the moment a counterfeit or safe Jesus is presented I want to detect it as stale. I don't want to ever embrace a stale faith again.

Are you experiencing the wildness of God's love? Take the risk. The rewards are amazing.

Father, thank you for loving me in such an amazing wild deep way that you were not willing to allow me to stay lost in sin. Thank you for Jesus' sacrifice that opens the way to a relationship with you. Thank you that he did not choose the comfortable over the necessary. Help me to abandon myself to the relationship with you. Alert me when someone is presenting a stale faith to me. Give me the courage to reject the safe and tidy for the wild and messy. And help me to show that depth of relationship to others. Amen.

Patricia is our hostess this week. Please come and be blessed.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Marriage Monday---Right for Each Other?




On paper, German and I are totally wrong for one another. Totally. Incompatible.

He the score-off-the-range extrovert who truly needs people around him all the time in order to regroup and re-energize. Me the score-off-the-range introvert who truly needs in the range 21 hours of alone time daily to re-energize. Incompatible.

He the quick to make a decision, easy to make judgments, thinker and me the let's mull it over a while, intuitive feeler. Incompatible.

He the Army brat who traveled the world and me who lived on the same plot of land (although changed houses at age 4) my whole life. Did I say incompatible?

On paper we are not right for one another.

But God does not deal with "on paper" statistics. And in God's economy, we are totally right for one another.

Because I can push him to learn to be content in the quiet and alone times. He can push me to be much more social. He can actually get us to the decision while I can share my intuition about how things may play out. My feeling tendencies balance his thinking. And he took this small town girl and gave her something she always wanted--the world. At the same time I was able to step to his side and be what he always needed--a wife that could support him no matter where in the world the job took him.

Does it matter that we appear to be complete opposites? No, that is exactly what makes us right for one another. Opposites can bring balance, and that is what we do for one another.

I'm so glad God didn't see the incompatibilities, but instead saw how we would complement one another! German is one of the greatest blessings I have ever received. My life would be incompatible without him.

Success in marriage isn't finding the right person, it's being the right person.


Join us at Christine's site Fruit in Season to hear more discussion on this awesome quote and how we are/are not "right" for one another.