Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In Other Words--What Am I Clinging To?


“You can’t cling to a mask and God at the same time.”
~Dr. Juli Slattery~
“Beyond the Masquerade”

I have not read this book, so I am not sure what the "masquerade" Dr. Slattery refers to implies. But I assume that it is a pretense of something that we are not. We have all seen, and been, masquerading Christians. We have all smiled and said all was fine when our world was falling apart. We have all done good things out of duty rather than with pristine motives. We can all be condemned for picking up a mask from time to time.

But, picking up a mask because it is useful in a situation is not the same as clinging to it. Clinging means that we are unable to let go. Unable to accept that the fantasy life we create is not reality. Unable to face the mirror honestly. Clinging onto a created persona is denying who we are created in Christ to be. And that keeps us from trusting him. Trusting ourselves denies trust in Christ.

I think that the differentiation is important, because we sometimes accuse someone of pretense, and therefore not trusting God, when the reality is that they are private and reserved. Just because someone does not share every sordid detail of their life does not mean that they are clinging to a mask. It may mean quite the opposite. They may have learned to cling so fully to Jesus that they do not need to engage the world's pity or acceptance. What we see as a mask may be their retreat into the arms of Jesus.

Sometimes God calls us to full disclosure. Other times he encourages us to privacy. All the time he calls us to trust him. We must cling to him. Clinging onto anything else we only lead to disappointment. Masks, good deeds, right intentions all must be let go of in order to cling to him.

But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."
~Joshua 22:5~

This week's hostess is Karen at In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus. Come and be blessed!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marriage Monday--Why Homeschooling Works for Us

This month Marriage Monday (today on a Tuesday) asks us to consider how kids change the dynamics of marriage. There are four choices of topics to choose from, and I have chosen to discuss:

Public, Private, or Homeschool? Why our Decision Works for Us

We actually made the decision to homeschool long before we had children, and it was largely a reaction to some bad school experiences friends were having with their children.

Then we moved to England, to an area that was overflowing with good schools. Then we had children. And in spite of the abundance of education opportunities around us, we still chose to homeschool. Why? Because it is the only thing that really works for our family and lifestyle.

German works long hours. Often he does not get home until after eight. If the girls were in a school setting, they would never have a meal with him during the week. I would have to feed them and get them to bed so that they could be up and ready for school the next morning. As it is, we can have a late bedtime and sleep late and still get all of school accomplished.

Likewise, German often travels with work. I love being able to say "You're going to London? We'll come to" and throw a few books into a bag and off we go. I do not have to convince a teacher somewhere that they are getting as much out of traveling with their daddy and seeing new things as they would in a classroom. We study a painting that is housed in London, we go see the painting. We talk about how castles are constructed, we go see the castle. Studying Ancient Egypt, let's go to the British Museum. All of these things have been experienced whilst daddy was in meetings at work. The advantages of seeing things first-hand is immense. But more important is the opportunity to share that time with their dad and not have so many gaps of time when he is away from home.

Our most important reason for homeschooling here has been that we know with the nature of German's job he will move fairly frequently. It was totally unusual for us to be in the same place for so long. Home education means that the girls' education will remain consistent no matter where in the world we end up. I cannot promise them consistency in house, friends, church or much of anything else. Consistency of education I can offer.

So I do. And that is why it works for us. Our chosen lifestyle, chosen before we married and graciously given to us by God, does not lend itself to being tied to a brick-and-mortar school schedule. We are thankful that God affords us the opportunity to teach the girls in such a way that we can live our life to the fullest and live it together.

Visit E-Mom at chrysaliscom.blogspot.com for more insights on children and marriage.

In Other Words--Friendship


“One quality of a godly friend is helping others to reach their goals and to get to where they need to be. No we can’t walk on water, calm the storms in our friends lives, or land their boat where they want to go. But we can point them to the Friend who sticks closer than a Brother.”
~Sharon Jaynes~
A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life: Finding God’s Refreshing Priorities for You

When the latest storm hit our lives back in August, I knew immediately one thing I needed to do. I needed to talk to my friend. Not because she had walked this road before, she hadn't. Not because she could come and fix anything, she couldn't. Even if fixing it was possible, she lives on another continent so coming to the rescue was out of the question. I needed to talk to her because she prays.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
~James 5:16~

It just "so happened" that in my time of great need my friend was back in the UK for a few days to attend a wedding. And it just "so happened" that she rang to talk. Yay God! As I told her the situation, she laughed. My life is in a storm and she laughs! And you know what? I laughed along with her. It was exactly the emotional release that I needed. But the laughter said more, it said I can't do anything to help you but I'll meet you in the messiness of life. And then she prayed. She prayed earnestly for what was happening. As we hung up the phone, I knew she would continue to pray.

When German came home that evening he commented that I was noticeably more relaxed. I simply said, "____ is praying." He smiled. Nothing more needed to be said.

The greatest gift we can give to our friends is point them to Jesus and to continue to carry them to Jesus when they are struggling. We don't need to have the answers. We already know the One who does.

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel.
~Proverbs 27:9~

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
~John 15:15~

Father, I thank you for my friends who hold me up in prayer. I thank you that they do not feel like they have to have all the answers, but that they will take me to you knowing that you do have answers. Thank you for the peace that comes in my life when my friends are praying for me. Make me that kind of friend to others. Make me trustworthy to pray. Keep me silent when answers and platitudes are not needed. Help me to point my friends to you. Amen.

Our hostess this week is Patricia at Typing One-Handed. I hope that you will visit and be blessed by reflections on this quote.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

God Tested Roads

Suddenly, God, your light floods my path,
      God drives out the darkness.
   I smash the bands of marauders,
      I vault the high fences.
   What a God! His road
      stretches straight and smooth.
   Every God-direction is road-tested.
      Everyone who runs toward him
   Makes it.
2 Samuel 22:29-31 (The Message)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

In Other Words--Trust not Resist


Stop fighting, stop resisting, stop complaining and start trusting your sovereign Heavenly Father; refuse to worry.

~Chip Ingram~

Circumstances beyond control have played havoc with my quiet life this year. (stop laughing, compared to this year I have had a quiet life) Grief surrounded the early part of the year. Chaos ensued with a move. And since the move? Well, let's just say that chaos has exponentially increased. And then some.

Have I fought against the circumstances? yep
Have I resisted? you bet
Have I complained? German is laughing at this question
Have I refused to worry? no

The only thing, apparently, that I've done right so far is to keep trusting in a Sovereign Heavenly Father.

But, inevitably, that is enough. For in the trust comes the peace. And in the peace comes the ability to stop fighting, stop resisting, stop complaining and stop worrying.

Someday soon I'll write about the chaos. But until then, let me testify that God is Sovereign and he does not let us go. No matter how intense the situation, he is going ahead of us and walking beside us. We can trust that is truth. Then we are able to respond more positively.

But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
~Psalm 73:28a~

Kathryn at Expectant Hearts is our hostess today. She has a beautiful post about the reality of how hard the actions of this quote are and the rewards of following. Please visit and be blessed.