Sunday, February 28, 2010

Memorable Quotes

“Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” - John Newton in the movie Amazing Grace

The longer I walk with Jesus, the more this is my heart’s cry. What amazing grace we have been shown.

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.” - John Newton

I relate to this, too. I am not yet what I want to be, but I have a great and mighty Savior, a compassionate High Priest who is able to save to the uttermost those who are His by faith, He will be faithful to complete what He started in me.

Do you intend to use your beautiful voice to praise the Lord....or change the world?” - said to William Wilberforce in the movie Amazing Grace.

I believe that with his successful lifelong effort to end the slave trade in England, he chose to do both.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Saying It Is So Doesn't Make It So

My three-year-old is a stubborn little thing. We had an interesting “conversation” this morning in the car on the way to the Y. As we drove along, she asked if we were going to Awana tonight. I told her, that, no, it is Friday. We go to Awana on Wednesday. Upon which she began crying and yelling that it is Wednesday, it is not Friday, and we are going to Awana. And she got progressively more upset about it and more insistent that it was Wednesday. I told her I wasn’t going to continue the conversation. She can yell as loudly as she wants that it’s Wednesday, it won’t make it so, and I had no intention of getting myself all worked up trying to reason with a 3-year-old who was being unreasonable. Which is pretty much what 3-year-olds do, act unreasonably when they do not get their way, that is. They aren’t capable of adult reasoning and it is foolish to try to engage in it when she’s like that.

The thing is, adults can be just as unreasonable. We live in a day and age when tolerance (as defined by our postmodern culture, not in the truest sense of the word), political correctness, pluralism, and niceness (defined as don’t you dare ever talk as if you are sure about anything or as if there are absolute rights and wrongs) are valued much more than truth. There is a bumper sticker I see often that sums it up. I’m sure you have seen it, too. It says, “COEXIST,” and all the letters incorporate symbols of various religions, worldviews, etc. That bumper sticker breaks my heart. Sure, we should be kind to people, no matter how different we are from each other, and yes, I hate that there are people who kill in the name of religion. That is shameful. That is the fruit of ‘religion’ which is devoid of a true knowledge of the One True God.

But the problem with the coexist idea and pluralism and ‘that’s fine for you, but my truth is different’ type of thinking or ‘all religions lead to the same end’ or any of that kind of thinking is that it just isn’t true. You can scream it, yell it, discuss it, have conversations about it, insist that it is so all you want, but it does not change the fact that there is only one way to God, and it is a narrow way. Ultimately to buy into the “all roads lead to god” or “all religions are just as valid and have just as much truth and lead to the same end,” you actually buy into a form of idolatry or atheism. Because to buy into that line of thinking is not to believe in the true God, who has revealed Himself and has said that the way to Him is very narrow. It is not through man-made religion, man-made thoughts about who God is, man-made ideas about how to approach God, it is only through His way, through relationship with Jesus Christ. And not just your or my idea of who Jesus is, but HIM, as He has revealed Himself.

Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him. The fool has said in his heart there is no God. I heard a great sermon on that verse, by the way. The pastor said a clearer translation of that is that the fool says, “No, God.” As in, even if You are there, I don’t want You.

So, for all the voices telling us that all religions are the same, all roads lead to the same end, soft or loud, no matter how they say it, it does not make it true. Just because they want it to be so doesn’t make it so. People want to settle for “god-to-me” rather than submit to the only wise God who is the Lord, and as Christians, we have a calling to speak the truth into that darkness in love. And in doing so, we are called “intolerant, hateful, arrogant, etc.” But it does not make our message any less true or any less necessary. We have the only hope of reconciliation with God. We have the hope our culture desperately needs to hear, no matter how much it keeps telling us that tolerance is the thing and pluralism is more important than discovering the truth. Insisting that we can believe whatever we want as long as we are sincere doesn’t make it true, just as my daughter insisting that today was Wednesday didn’t make it any less Friday. What we believe matters. It matters in that it determines how we live and behave here and now, and it matters for eternity.

“The fool has said in his heart,

‘There is no God,’

They are corrupt,

They have done abominable works,

There is none who does good.”

Psalm 14:1

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

John 14:6

What's On My Nightstand - February 2010

Here it is the end of February, well past the fourth Tuesday, when my Nightstand post should have been written. I forgot it. So, I'm late to the party, as usual lately, but I wanted to go ahead and participate anyway. Not that the reading stack is all that large this month, but here it is, such as it is:

Currently Reading:

John Adams by David McCullough....very interesting. I am enjoying learning more about this remarkable man and his role in the founding of my country. I'm also enjoying learning what a remarkable woman his wife, Abigail, was. It takes me longer to read nonfiction than fiction, however, which is one reason for my short list this month.

For Bible Study:

Hoping for Something Better by Nancy Guthrie....we have arrived at chapter 6 of our study through the book of Hebrews, and every week just gets better and better. It is extremely encouraging to hear from members of our group how this study is stretching them, challenging them, causing them to rethink things they've been taught all their lives as they examine what the scripture says. I love it!!! On a personal note, this study has really been a blessing to me as I am walking through my recent miscarriage and its physical and emotional aftermath. It is such a glorious blessing to experience how intact, solid theology can help to navigate life. Jesus is the hope that anchors my soul, and I am so grateful for the grace He extends in letting me grow deeper and deeper into the truth as I walk through life and as He teaches me to apply that truth daily.

For Group Study with our Sunday night women's group at church:

Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss...yes, still. We will be continuing through April with this one. Again, what a blessing it has been to examine my thinking in the light of biblical truth.

Next up:

The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics....Includes Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Abolition of Man, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, and A Grief Observed. I'm looking forward to reading this one, which has been sitting on my nightstand for a few months now just waiting for me to get around to it.

Well, that's it for this month. Be sure to check out 5 Minutes for Books to see what the other participants are reading this month.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

T-Shirt Theology

I saw someone wearing a T-shirt at the Y on Monday, and I’ve been puzzling over it ever since.

On the front was the word, “Missing,” and there was a picture that I assume was supposed to represent Jesus. On the back it said, “Last seen on Calvary.”

Um. I have a problem with that. On several levels, I have a problem with that. When I first saw the front of the shirt, my immediate thought was, “No, He’s not missing. I know where He is.” And when I saw the back of the shirt I thought, “Well, that was certainly not the last place He was seen.” Hello? Resurrection! At least 500 people saw Him after the Resurrection and He was seen by His disciples ascending into Heaven. So, to say that He was last seen on Calvary is just wrong. Then you get to the whole graven image thing and start the discussion about how I have a problem with pictures of Jesus and artistic license and representations of Him and all that, and, well, interesting T-shirt, to say the least.

I began puzzling out what the intended point of the shirt was. Benefit of the doubt solution: I think probably it was some kind of statement about how we are taking Jesus out of the culture (think taking prayer out of the schools, Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, that kind of thing), and I get the point, but it is carelessly made. I guess it could also be trying to say He isn’t in the tomb any longer - He is risen, but, if so, it is an extremely clumsy and inaccurate way to do so. I’m just not sure what the point was supposed to be so it is confusing and irritating.

I know it’s just a t-shirt. I’m sure someone is probably reading this and thinking, “Lighten up!” But it seems to me that in an effort to be pithy or whatever, that we get too cute sometimes. Bad theology leads to wrong belief and wrong behavior. Our theology informs our actions. (Which reminds me, I have more on a related subject later as time permits.) If we want to be a light, we need to be clear, not confusing. I have no idea what that t-shirt was supposed to mean. I’m wishing I were better at thinking on my feet and had asked that woman what her shirt meant. You wear a provocative shirt like that, seems to me you’re begging to be asked. I have thought since that I’d really like to say, “Could you explain the meaning of your shirt, because I know how to find Jesus if you’re really looking.” But I didn’t think that quickly. More’s the pity.

Bad theology is irritating. Not only that, it’s dangerous. Even on a t-shirt.

***Totally Unsolicited and Shameless Plug: Carla has some better t-shirts to offer if you're interested. :-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

Veronica at A Quiet Heart has given me a sweet blogging award.




I haven’t felt much like blogging this past week, but I want to thank Veronica for thinking of my blog in this way. I still find that I am a little nervous when I hit the “Publish Post” button, even after 3 years of blogging. Have I really been doing it so long already? It is somewhat easier than it used to be to write those posts, but there are still some times when I feel very weird thinking about the fact that there are actually people who read my blog. And that some of them like it at times. And we all know that a blogger's love language is comments. Thank you to all of you who comment once in a while. It's always so encouraging!

What a funny thing this blogging hobby is. I recently was thinking about how hypocritical I feel when I type out a heartfelt post where I’ve really tried to work out some thoughts or flesh out what I believe, and I write what I know is true, but maybe I don’t feel it yet. Something that was in our Tuesday Bible study this week helped me with that. Nancy Guthrie, in chapter 5 of her book Hoping for Something Better, while discussing the need to grow deeper in the faith, mentioned that unless we write out or talk out the truths of scripture and really wrestle with them we won’t truly make them ours and truly understand them to the point where they become a part of who we are and what we live. That was an ‘aha’ moment for me when I read that. This is what blogging has been for me. This is why I blog. Granted a lot of what I blog is fluff, but it has been a necessary place and outlet for me to hash out and wrestle out what I believe and to work out what I’m learning, too. And blogging has connected me with other like-minded bloggers who also love God’s word and enjoy writing about the serious and the not so serious things of life. So, thank you, Veronica, for mentioning my blog. I am enjoying getting to read your blog, too!


The Rules: The recipient of the award chooses 15 bloggers to pass the award on to, and shares seven things about themselves.


Now I get to pass this award along. I’m sorry to say that I have had to seriously pare down my blog reading since I was taking too much time at it, and recently I have not been very good at looking for new blogs to follow now that I waste, ahem, spend too much time on Facebook these days, so I didn’t follow the rules all the way to 15 in my list. I decided not to feel guilty about that and go with what I have here. However, these are bloggers I have enjoyed ‘meeting’ and who I check in with regularly - some since way back when I began blogging, and some more recently. I’m not even sure how I came across some of these blogs, but here is my list to award:

A Complete Thought

Everyday Mommy

Reflections of the Times

Three Times a Mom

Standing Firm in Quicksand


Lisa Writes

The Upward Call


The rules also said to share 7 things about myself. After 3+ years of blogging, I’m not sure I have 7 random things left to share. Let’s see what I can come up with:

  1. . I used to hate coffee. Over the past two years I have come to enjoy it, and even crave it. I do not yet like it black, however. Most days I drink it with hazelnut creamer and Splenda.
  2. I don’t like to exercise, but I miss it when I get out of the habit. My metabolism is so slow at the moment, I can’t seem to lose weight no matter how hard I try, however. But at least regular exercise and healthy eating keep me from gaining more.
  3. The first words out of my daughter’s mouth every morning are, “Where are we going today?” She is not very much like her mother, who would be in danger of becoming a hermit without the go, go, go attitude Boo exhibits.
  4. I am very ready for spring to get here. I miss the sun. I am tired of wearing a coat, and even more tired of keeping up with the kids’ coats. This Florida girl has had to make a big adjustment to the concept of winter now that I live in the midwest. I still like to see snow fall, though. And you can’t beat the beauty of spring and fall here.
  5. I enjoy the TV show LOST. Okay, that’s not exactly news to anyone who has been reading here for long. I’m enjoying this last season, and curious to see how the mysteries will all come together.
  6. I am not at all comfortable with dolls - of any size, on up to store mannequins. They creep me out. I think I’ve watched one too many Twilight Zone episodes. I also do not at all like clowns.
  7. I am seriously thinking about growing my hair out. Again. I wonder how long I will stick with it this time.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Fish Died at Tea Time - Updated

I just noticed that my son's fish is looking really wrong. Upon closer inspection, he seems to have expired. Sid will be experiencing the royal flush later on. Because of the rough week we've had, I am a little emotional and hormonal. I bawled when I saw that little fish nose down at the bottom of his bowl. I am dreading telling Michael that his fish is no longer among the living. Then again, his big brother seems to care more about the fish than he does. Joshua is the one that's always asking, "Did anyone feed Sid?"

We briefly contemplated buying a replacement and not telling Michael, but that would be wrong. Besides, it will be that much easier this summer when we move if we don't have to transport a Betta fish that no one but Boo has paid any attention to lately. Oh, dear. I just realized Boo is going to be crushed. She hugs his bowl every night before bed and says, "Good-night, Sid."

I think we'll wait to tell them until after Joshua's basketball game and dinner, since it's just about time to leave anyhow.

Poor Sid.

**Update: It looks like we will be burying the fish this afternoon. Michael couldn't stand the idea of flushing him. There is something extremely heart wrenching about tears in an 8-year-old boy's eyes when he is valiantly trying not to show them.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I thought I would join Kim with her Thankful Thursday theme this week.

Today I am thankful for the bond we have with Christian brothers and sisters. What a gift we have been given when we trust Christ to forgive our sins and to reconcile us to God, that when He does that, He over and abundantly blesses us by placing us into a family, His family. I am so thankful for the genuine hugs and love and phone calls and cards and blog comments and so many other expressions of love that my Christian family have extended to me over the past week. May I be so willing to pass kindness on when I have opportunity as well.

I am thankful for Christian friends who enjoy sitting over a cup of coffee or lunch at Chick-fil-A and talk about fun things, serious things and pretty much anything while our kids enjoy spending time together, too.

I am very thankful for my Tuesday Bible study group and the wonderful truths we are exploring as we dig into the book of Hebrews together.

I am also thankful for the community of sorts that I have found in blogging. I know that the friendships formed in this format are not the same as real life, sit down for coffee and go through all the stuff of life together types of friends, but there is a camaraderie we share through the shared bond of belonging to Jesus Christ. And I love that even though we may not physically meet each other this side of Heaven, we have a bond of friendship that we will share there as we worship the King together for all eternity. It's nice to know you all are out there.

I'm thankful for my family, my parents, Drew's parents, and our brothers, and my brother's wife.

On a lighter note, I am thankful for Irish Breakfast Tea. I really enjoyed my pot of tea this morning.

And I am thankful for my iPod. It makes chores like cleaning the bathrooms or exercising on the treadmill oh so much more interesting to listen to good music or great preaching while doing them.

Truly I have much to be thankful for.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Job 1:21
“...The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

This has not been my most favorite Valentine’s weekend, and it has nothing to do with my Valentine, Drew. I love my man even more today than the day we married.

Once again, what happened was not in my plan. Sorrow accompanies another miscarriage over the course of this entire weekend. I had just begun to wrap my mind around being pregnant and to embrace the dream of holding our unexpected but welcome new little one come September, and now this. I am still a little numb as I type this, and it bothers me that I seem to be unable to cry, aside from the first tears on Friday afternoon when this all started. Several friends have called to offer sympathy and support, and I have heard the tears in their voices, but I cannot cry and just feel more emotionally numb as the physical pain increases, and all I feel now is that I just want it to be over. I feel sort of broken inside. Thank you to those of you who didn’t know what to say but called anyway. You have ministered to me in a very special way just to know that you care. And I know from experience that once the physical part of this is over, the emotional floodgates will open, and the tears that have sporadically fallen will increase, as I begin to accept that this dream is not to be after all.

I have decided not to dwell on asking, “Why?” I probably will not have an answer to the whys this side of Heaven, and that is okay. But I do know Who I am trusting with my broken heart, and Who I have always trusted. Jesus is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. Surely I can, and must, trust Him to bind up my broken heart and to take care of the “whys” in a way that will bring Him glory. In this I find rest.

Again I will sing, I will praise, and I will say, “Here I am,” even in this, even today.

Lord, here I am, ready to walk this path that You have chosen for me. Though I am broken and hurting I will trust You to bind up my broken heart and heal my physical pain. I will rest in You, the only One who can comfort my heart with the peace which passes all understanding and to grant me the rest for which I long. My great and mighty High Priest who is ever interceding for me, I leave my hurt and whys in Your hands. I will trust You to grant me the strength to glorify You even in this. It is in Christ alone in whom I have placed my trust. To God alone be the glory.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Food Weirdness

I went to the Y today and managed to really push through and did an hour of cardio and some weights. Not a bad morning.

Anyway, after all that exercising, I am hungry now that it is lunch time. Problem is, nothing sounded good to me. Nothing sounded like something I could eat. So, I’m having spinach (cooked with a little margarine and Creole seasoning), two boiled eggs, and two pieces of toast. Weird, but that is all that sounds good about now, and it sounds really good. Some people crave pickles and ice cream, I crave toast and spinach. I guess if I have to crave something, spinach is not a bad thing to crave.

The thing is, I am weird about toast, too. I like it very crunchy. Not burned, however, just very crunchy. I do not like it the way the toaster does it. It is not crunchy enough, even when burned when done in the toaster. I like to butter the bread and then let it dry and toast in the oven, where it gets just the right crunchiness without burning. Reminds me of the toast at Lake Yale when I went to GA camp there as a little girl. That is probably why I like it. Good memories. Everyone used to complain about the hard toast, but I liked it. Is it sad that the thing I’m remembering most right now from my times at Lake Yale is the toast? I know there were lots of other things that changed me there, too, but today it’s the toast that has my attention.

That’s about all I have for blogging thoughts at the moment. Except that I’m a little on pins and needles to find out what my doctor will say about some lab work we had done on Monday. Apparently my thyroid seems to be underactive and he needed to run some more tests to determine what to do about it. I hope we get answers soon. Underactive thyroid is not a good thing to have going on during pregnancy. Praying for peace and wisdom. You know, I kind of see all that as a blessing, because underactive thyroid would explain A LOT of things about me that I have struggled with for years but have not felt were serious enough to get checked out - feeling tired, thinking I must just be a ‘low-energy’ kind of person wondering how in the world some people do everything they do, not being able to lose that last 25 pounds no matter how hard I exercise and eat healthy, some of the emotional lows I go through periodically, all of it could be explained by this if they find that this is truly what is going on. I just hope they find out what to do and that it will be soon enough to hopefully help this baby to develop and grow as he or she should.

Also, I have some thoughts about LOST, which we watched last night. Maybe I’ll blog about that later, if anyone is interested. Maybe I won’t. We’ll see how the day goes today. :-)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Life is Precious

If you want to see something encouraging, check out the Focus on the Family website and watch the Tebow Story video. Beautiful.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

As if Moving This Summer With Three Kids, a Dog and a Fish is Not Stressful Enough:

You are not as surprised as I was, trust me.

And it was confirmed by the doctor yesterday afternoon that we are expecting a new little family member somewhere around September 21. This was not in the plan. I am ashamed to admit that my first reaction upon seeing that result a couple of weeks ago wasn’t immediate joy. It was to alternate between crying, feeling overwhelmed, feeling some fear, and also feeling a budding excitement, with crying happening a lot for the first three days or so. Life is precious, children are a gift from the Lord. I believe this with all my heart. I also believe that a Christian marriage should have an attitude of welcoming children. And we do. I know it is God who opens and closes the womb. But my first reaction was that the timing right now is....interesting, not what we had planned or expected. And I feel so guilty about that.

A few reasons for my fearful reaction is that we will be moving before this baby is due. I will have to change doctors in the middle of it all. Scary thought. Another reason is that I have actually been pregnant six times. Well, seven now. Three of those pregnancies resulted in Joshua, Michael, and Rachel, for which Drew and I are very thankful. However, the other three resulted in painful miscarriages at 10-11 weeks. So, it’s a little hard to get excited this early on, and again I feel guilty. Also, since this wasn’t planned, I had been drinking coffee and sodas, so this poor little one is probably swimming in caffeine....something I wouldn’t have done had I been planning for this. The rest of my reasons are selfish, and again I feel guilty about that. We gave away all my maternity clothes and all our baby stuff before we moved here. We will have to start all over again, and that’s hard. My running goal, to which I had come so close (I was up to 25 minutes jogging, something I have never in my life been able to do before) is now being put on hold for a while. As well as my weight loss goal, though I am committing to eating healthier and snacking less than I did with previous pregnancies. And I really thought I was done with diapers. Sigh.

But, with some time and God’s grace, I am becoming excited about the little life that is growing in me, and praying for peace not to worry about miscarriage again or about the quantum leap my life seems to be taking at the moment. I have so many fears that I am not living up to being the kind of mom I am called to be, and adding one more child to our family only increases that daily dependence on God for His grace and wisdom. And I know that God is good all the time, and I can trust Him. Jesus is my great High Priest who is at the right hand of God and is ever interceding for me, His child.

About a year ago, I blogged about hineni, the Hebrew word that so often characterized the response of the Patriarchs and Prophets when God called. Hineni, roughly translated means, “Here I am,” with the intent of being ready and willing to obey, which is how Abraham, for example, answered when God called him. I said when I wrote that post that I want that to characterize my response to God’s calling, too. And I still do. Here I am, Lord, and I will joyfully embrace this gift, because it is a gift, and I will lay my fears in Your very capable hands. Jesus Christ is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, surely He can sustain me as I seek to mother and love the children He has given me.

So, while this was not in our master plan, it is obviously in our Master’s plan for us, and we know that His plans for us are for our good and for His glory and He causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. I ask for prayer that I will continue to submit to God’s will for me joyfully rather than fearfully, because there is no question but that I am submitting.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


The beginning of the end of LOST starts tonight!! Finally some answers! I promised Drew I would try to contain my excitement and wait to watch it on DVR with him when he gets home later tonight. I think I can manage that, at least.....