Tuesday, June 22, 2010


“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ “ James 4:13-15

“There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel - that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

"You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3

As it turns out, the last post was not, in fact, my last post before moving. I started to say this one is, but, well, I don’t think I’ll say that now.

People who know me know that I am much more comfortable with control and order than I am with flying by the seat of my pants and chaos. However, over the years, thanks in part to my much more easy-going husband, I have learned to roll with the punches much easier than I used to.

Good thing.

I think maybe I needed a reminder that my plans are not sovereign. I am thankful for the grace in my life over the past years that has helped me to slowly loosen my grip on control and learn to face each challenge with a good and trusting attitude.

Are you wondering why I’m bringing this up at this particular season in my life?

Enter the adventure of a move to Kentucky for the Sweet Tea With Lemon household. The company which the Army contracted to move us and many others from St. Louis this summer has known for over a month that we were some of the ones to be moved and that they had a large contract with many families to be moved. Last month a representative came and evaluated our stuff and gave us a contact name who would be our agent throughout the process. Drew talked to said agent several times during the past month. On Friday he talked to the company again and was told that we were good to go for the packers to come on Tuesday. That would be today. Since I am sitting here in my dining room at my normal computer desk typing a blog post, it would seem there may have a been some kind of glitch. That would be correct.

On Monday a representative from the Army called and informed us that the company they had contracted for our move had cancelled us over the weekend and did not inform the Army until Monday morning. The day before the packers were to arrive. After Drew had been assured on Friday that all was on schedule. Our lease is up and utilities are scheduled to be shut off on the 30th of this month. The Army scrambled and now there is someone new scheduled to come on the 30th to start packing our stuff and get it on a truck to Kentucky.

Nothing like planning ahead and then having that plan yanked out from under you.

The really cool thing is that I didn’t panic when I got the phone call yesterday. A few years ago, I would have been in a full blown panic. I wasn’t happy about it, we have had to make some major reshuffles in our plans, but I wasn’t panicked. Thanks be to God for the heart work He has done in me over the years in this regard. I keep reminding myself that He is in control and it’s going to be okay. And it is.

I know that I belong to Christ, and He has a plan for my life and all things will work together for good and for His glory. I also am learning that when I keep my mind fixed on Him, He keeps me in perfect peace. So, I’m learning to hold my plans lightly. Make plans, yes, but hold lightly and trust Him to guide us through it. And that’s a good place to be.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Thought From My Bible Reading

As it seems that I am on a rather unplanned blogging break, I think I’ll go ahead and make it an official one for a little longer. The packers come next week so things are getting exciting around here. And busy, did I mention busy? I would appreciate prayers as the next few weeks will be stressful as we pack and relocate and get all the little details of moving finished and then begin to settle into our new home. Because of all that, I do not anticipate having much brain power for thoughtful blog posts until the boxes are unpacked, or at least unloaded, on the other side of this journey. Moving is hard. Exciting, yes, but hard. There’s a reason moving is ranked up there with some of life’s most intense stresses.

Before I go I wanted to share something encouraging I found while reading through 2 Chronicles a few days ago. I need to give a little background first. After the nation of Israel divided, the northern kingdom, Israel, had a series of kings - none of whom did what was right in the sight of the LORD. In fact they led the people in gross idolatry and wickedness. Consequently the northern kingdom was taken captive by Assyria. The southern kingdom, Judah, was some better, though the number of kings who did not do right in the sight of the LORD is distressingly high. But throughout its history there did arise kings who would repent and lead the people to restore true worship of the LORD God. Hezekiah was one such king.

In 2 Chronicles 29-32 we read about Hezekiah’s reign. He followed the wicked king Ahaz who was increasingly unfaithful to the LORD, and when Hezekiah became king, he repaired the doors of the temple and brought in the Levites and priests and called them to sanctify themselves and clean out the temple and restore proper worship. After consecrating the temple, he planned to keep the Passover, which had not been done for years. While the plans were being made, he sent letters to the remnant of those who were left in the northern part of Israel and invited them to the Passover celebration in Jerusalem.

Here is what he said: “Children of Israel, return to the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel; then He will return to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see. Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you. For if you return to the LORD, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.”

Some of the people who received this summons laughed and mocked. However, some from the tribes of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. It also says that the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders at the word of the LORD. In response, a large group of people assembled in Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. They took away the pagan altars and cast them in the Brook Kidron and slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the month.

But there was a problem. Many in the assembly had not sanctified themselves, so the Levites had the charge of slaughtering the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to the LORD. It says that a multitude of the people, many from those northern tribes who came, had not cleansed themselves, but they ate the Passover contrary to what was written in the Law.

Now we come to the part I found so interesting. Hezekiah prayed for those people who were not properly cleansed to eat the Passover. Listen to his prayer: “May the good LORD provide atonement for everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.” And the LORD listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.

As I read through this account, I was struck with the mercy and grace that was shown to those northern tribes, first in being included in the call to the celebration of the Passover and then in the LORD’s willingness to accept their worship. This people who through their entire history had been characterized by apostasy and idolatry were offered grace and mercy. This remnant of all that was left of the kingdom of Israel was given opportunity to join in the worship of the God they had for so long rejected. Hezekiah could have just ignored them and focused on Judah, but he included his brothers in the north, not because of anything they had done but because of God’s covenant with His people, and they were given opportunity to be restored to their God as they prepared their hearts to seek Him.

What a picture this is which points to the grace we have been shown by God in Christ! I, who was a sinner lost in my sin with no thought for God, was given the grace to believe and repent and have been accepted and forgiven because of Christ. The atonement Hezekiah requested is ultimately accomplished through the blood Jesus shed on the cross. His resurrection is the proof of our hope. Not because of anything I had done, but because of His grace can I repent of my sin and rest all of my hope in Christ and be reconciled to God. He has cleansed me, who had no way to cleanse myself, and He has made me clean and holy to stand in His presence, clothed in His righteousness. What riches His grace bestows on this forgiven sinner!

No matter how many times I read through the Old Testament, I am continually amazed at the revelation of Himself that God gives us through the accounts of His interactions with His people. You so often hear people say that the God of the Old Testament is all wrath and judgement but the God of the New Testament is all love. This is a mischaracterization of God and a misreading of His word. There is not one God in the Old Testament and another in the New. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is eternal, the Alpha and Omega, without beginning or end, forever the same, forever worthy of worship and praise. Yes He is a God of justice and His wrath is real and awesome, but His mercy and grace and love and patient lovingkindness are also so evident the more I read and study His word. To miss those attributes in the Old Testament is to not read it with understanding. The more I read, the more I see that Jesus is the full revelation of God in all His attributes. Amazing grace!

And with that thought, I leave the blog until I get set up again in our new home. See you on the other side of our move!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Status Report - June 2010

Joining Lisa in sharing a status report this month:

Sitting.....in my dining room at my messy computer desk.

Drinking....Irish Breakfast Tea. Yes, I am living on the edge this afternoon.

Thinking.....that I should probably clean up the computer desk, but energy is at a severe low at the moment. Hence the Irish Breakfast Tea.

Saying.... “No” to the little voice in my head that keeps telling me to bake some chocolate chip cookies this afternoon. Do you have an insistent little voice like that too?

Enjoying...the new Wii Fit Plus my husband bought for my birthday. I’m exercising more with it than I do when I manage to get myself to the Y, and that’s good. This is why I’m not making cookies this afternoon. I really want to see some progress on the weight loss goal finally.

Doing....a little better about moderating my time on Facebook and computer in general. It does reduce certain agitation when I’m on the computer less.

Reading.....Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur.

Deciding....whether to go ahead and read a popular series of older children’s books that I really had little desire to read and which everyone but my children and I seem to have read. The boys want to read them, but I said I’ll have to read them first and decide if they can and what I’d want to talk to them about. The boys have been really good about not whining or pulling the, “But Mom, all my friends have read them,” card. They just asked is all.

Disturbed....by how dark many of the selections in the young adult fiction genre seem to be. Doesn’t anyone write about anything besides vampires anymore?

Wishing....my boys liked The Hardy Boys as much as I did when I was their age. Sigh.

Thinking...we could have gone ahead and visited the pool earlier today. That storm I thought was coming amounted to little. Now I don’t really feel like swimming.

Trying...not to panic as I realize how soon the moving date will be here and feeling a little overwhelmed with hoping I’m not forgetting anything important that needs doing before then.

Pleased....with how very well-behaved the kids have been so far during this first full week of summer break. We had several not very fun errands yesterday, and not one kid complained. We did have lunch at Chick-fil-A to break the yuck of the rest of the errands. I’m not heartless.

Needing.... to take my oldest boy clothes shopping. These kids are growing too fast. I realized he really needs Sunday shirts, shorts and short-sleeved shirts. Pretty much a new wardrobe. None of us like shopping, but it must be done and soon. When he came down wearing the same shirt on Sunday that he's worn for the last few weeks I realized we might be having a need.

Sad....that we will have to leave before our Sunday School class finishes the book of Revelation. So far we’ve just finished chapter 4. We have a very gifted teacher who LOVES God’s word and I really am sad to miss the rest of this study.

Irritated...that I got a summons to appear in court soon in the case of my broken car window and stolen purse. Just one more inconvenience this person is causing by her crime. I’m glad they caught someone, though. I’m just hoping when I call the day before my scheduled date they’ll tell me I don’t have to appear. That would be nice. I get so intimidated in those kinds of settings.

Tired....of feeling tired a lot of the time. I’m really hoping that consistent exercise will boost my metabolism and help that a little.

Thankful....that I can rest in knowing that God will lead us to the right church once we do move in a few weeks. I’m so thankful for the Body of Christ.

Wondering...how such a hermit like me ended up with a daughter who’s first words every single morning are, “Where we go today?” She’s crying right now because I do not have anywhere planned to go at the moment.

Happy....to see the sun coming out this afternoon. I think it’s time to take the kids out to play.