Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Best of 2012

2012 had been one of the best (though sometimes hardest) years of my life.  So when I saw this list  from  {in}courage, I knew I wanted to celebrate by recording these:

The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?  Dear li'l 3-year-old grandson did not like my homemade venison sausage (It's too 'picy, Gramma!) so I switched out the pepper with minced garlic, which met his approval. 

The best book you couldn’t put down?  Well, I read Knowing God by J.I. Packer at least half a dozen times, and read through the whole Harry Potter series for the first time.  :) 

The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?  10,000 Reasons.  :)

The jeans that fit best?Haha. well.  Jeggings?  Then, after doing the diastasis exercises (see the best link) I fit back into all my regular jeans again.  :)  I don't know the brands.

The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best? (It’s true: One good idea in hand is worth two good friends knowing about it too!)  That would be the Mix and Masher from Pampered Chef:


The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)  Maybe taking a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old camping for the first time?  and the second time?  Pure delight!

The best link of 2102? One my daughter pinned for me on Pinterest: http://inspiredrd.com/2012/06/dear-diastasis-recti-im-so-over-you.html

The best laugh?  The things my grandchildren say. . .and do. . .and pretend!

The best living?  Oh, living the life God has for me. . .being who he wants me to be, doing the next thing, knowing I can be honest with him, not wanting to hide. . .And I had more purposeful fun than I have ever had in any year of my life!  Camping, picnics, trips, weddings, parties, games, movies, books. . .and so much pleasure and joy in doing them with people I love!

The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? (Happiness comes to them who pursue hard things.)  :) Starting my council of friends was so hard. . .but they have been one of the biggest blessings in my life for  a long time!

What was the best habit?  After reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I made a li'l chart to help me remember to send birthday cards and make phone calls to reach out to people. 

The best holiday?  Passover/Resurrection Sunday!

The best gift?  The best ever, and every day, is that God gave us himself!

The best sacrifice? (The best way to have more is to give more…)  Taking care of my mom for a few weeks--difficult but rewarding!  And thankfully she is much better now.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

fighting perfectionism

I was just remembering a conversation with one of my college roommates when we were students.  I was upset because I had made less than a 100% on a test.  Not that this was all that uncommon, but missing anything felt like failure to me.

Linda could not understand my frustration.  I had made an A.

"Did you do your best?" she inquired.

I thought a moment, and then replied truthfully, "Yes."

"Well, that's all God expects from you.  And who are *you* to expect more from someone than God does?"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

the council

Last Monday was our last council of friends for awhile.  The original concept was to gather a group of women that I knew were seekers of truth and also gracious, and to set aside some time to seek God's heart on some subject.  Before this, I had begun to feel that I was withdrawn and reserved, and the Lord seemed to be asking me to change--to be more open to trustworthy people, to make some heart-to-heart friends.  At the first meeting, the consensus was that feelings of guilt were over-whelming and crippling some of us.  So we pursued that subject for 7 weeks, with the desire to overcome the crippling effects of guilt.

We faced wrongs we had done,
and asked for our joy to be renewed.

We acknowledged that sometimes
we feel guilty
when we haven't done anything wrong,
just failed to meet
some arbitrary goal--
we overcame perfectionism.

We cried together. . .
every week. . .

and we counseled
and encouraged one another.

 We upheld each other in prayer
and meditated on a few passages of scripture.

We thought about guilt
and grace
and forgiveness
and healing
and joy.

And the end of seven weeks arrived,
and we were sad
to see the end,
but glad to have walked this path
together.

Maybe we will gather again,
and continue to heal
and feast
and become stronger
in grace.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

mr. and mrs

I love weddings.

I like buying gifts, but if  I don't know a couple well, I'm not always sure what to get for them.  Gift cards or money can be a great option--plus the shipping costs on them are optimal.  ;)

However, I think I have found the perfect, all-around wedding gift:

They can be found at: dayspring.

One of the couples that I sent this to last summer sent the following charming note:
Thank you so much for the Mr. and Mrs. mugs.  They are totally awesome, and one of the best things we got. . .

I think they're awesome too--so much that I'm sharing this little story without Dayspring even knowing, or asking, or giving, or such. . .

Have I ever mentioned that I love Dayspring?  I'm so thankful that the artists and manufacturers and business people who are gifted in their various ways make these cool things available for people like me. to give, or to keep.


Monday, November 12, 2012

the forgiveness imperative

[Jesus said] “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.  Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
      
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.  When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.  And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.  So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’  And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’  So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

guilt trips

not the same as true guilt,
which is based on actual wrong-doing
honestly faced and named--

a guilt trip is a feeling
of having done wrong,
of failing,
when you or i haven't
really.

sometimes
we don't realize
that we feel guilty
nor how it can be bondage
to think something is wrong
when it is really necessary,
or right.

my council of friends identified
one of these in my mindset
last week:

it is not pride
to name the gifts
innate to one's person,
created there by God,
nor those that are developed
by the fires of affliction.

so, i am trying
to name those good things
that define me,
to own them
and name them
and not feel guilty in doing so.

Friday, November 2, 2012

beauty for ashes

When the council of friends met on Monday morning, we reflected on our meditation of Isaiah 61 for the week.  I would like to share the gleanings of our discussion, though I seem to have lost the flow of it.

God gives us a crown of beauty for ashes.  The ashes have to come before the beauty, because the fire that leaves the ashes burns out our guilt and *stuff*.  Then there is a place for the beauty with which he wants to crown us.

Ashes are bitter to our taste, and guilt is bitter to our souls.  But God will crown us with beauty--it's a process.

Guilt is like a wound.  There is some immediate relief with confession and turning for the wrong/damaging attitudes and behavior, like when a wound is bandaged there is some immediate relief from the pain.  But the whole healing process takes time, and there is still a wound under the bandage until it's all healed.

When we start to heal from guilt, we are conscious of pain for awhile, then there may be a period of time that the pain doesn't demand attention or distract us, and then suddenly we may realize that we haven't had a problem for awhile. One of the friends shared that this is like her children when they scrape their knees too.  They are conscious of the wound for the first couple days, then start being able to act without continual consciousness of the pain.  They will notice a few days later that the wound has healed.

In the cross of Christ, God has taken our sin and guilt, and given us his purity.  It seems like this means that he is taking the responsibility for the wrong we've done and for making it right, not only for ourselves but also for those we have hurt with our wrong-doing.  If we refuse to let go of our guilt and give it to him, there is nothing we can do to bring healing to those we have hurt.  But if we let him take the guilt, he is able to mend the wounds we have caused in others.  We can ask him to turn the ashes and bitterness we have brought to their lives into a crown of beauty for them, that he will redeem their suffering to be something strong and beautiful.

He is able to mend and beautify the wounds we have received from others by their wrong-doing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

paying forward

Let all bitterness
and wrath
and anger
and clamor
and slander be put away from you,
along with all malice.

Be kind to one another,
tenderhearted,
forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32

 

Monday, October 29, 2012

embracing accusation

i.love.this.
the artistry and the message. :)




Saturday, October 27, 2012

confession and repentance

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
but he who confesses and forsakes them
will obtain mercy.
Proverbs 28:13

facing the truth
about my wrongs,
no longer self-justifying,
turning to a path
of doing right instead,
this requires courage
and strength.

facing and forsaking 
sometimes requires
more strength and courage
than i think i have.

but there are resources 
outside myself
that are available to me--
God
and his redeeming grace.





good news for the truly guilty

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement 
that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.


Friday, October 26, 2012

oops

i just realized that i haven't written anything for two days.

should i feel guilty?

;)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

i wonder. . .

i wonder why
we associate shame and pain
with guilt?

i wonder why
we don't associate words like
truth,
justice,
court,
righteous,
innocent
and words like these
with guilt?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

what to do with shame and pain

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison 
to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,

and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lordthat he may be glorified.
Isaiah


Monday, October 22, 2012

forgiving oneself

from the lovely priscilla shirer:  delete


Saturday, October 20, 2012

enough

God. . .
*his* forgiveness
is
enough.

yes,
it is.

gleanings

After a full work week, I'm finally catching up on my blog following.  Here are some of the posts that *coincidentally* surfaced about guilt:

The Joy of Being Forgiven: Grace (from Roy Lessin at Meet Me in the Meadow)

The Joy of Being Forgiven  (also from Roy Lessin)

It's OK, Just Turn Back (from Lisa Croker at Christians Under Construction)

Guilt Perfectionism (also from Lisa Croker)

How Do You Know When You've Done Enough?  (from Holley Gerth at {in}courage)


Friday, October 19, 2012

guilt

so before the last council of friends,
i searched the bible program i used:
guilt.

there were 109 results.
102 in the old testament,
all of them referred
to an objective
guilty/innocent
or guilty/not guilty kind of guilt,
or to guilt offerings
to be given as a result
of certain offenses.

in the new testament:
7 occurrences,
6 of which refer to Christ
as not having any guilt.

 so i conclude from that
that the hebrew and greek concept of guilt
is narrower than our english one:
it doesn't seem to be related
to a guilty feeling/emotion.
 it seems more objective:
you either did the bad thing
or you didn't.

so i asked the friends what words they associate with that guilty feeling, and here is our short list:
fear of being found out
shame
condemnation
sorrow
pain
regret
remorse

what kind of words do you associate with that "guilty feeling"?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

guilt transformed

once a person faces
the magnitude of his guilt,
the immensity of the offense against his Creator,
he shatters.

once a person faces
the magnitude of God's love for him,
the immensity of God's forgiveness,
he mends.



How far IS the East from the West, Lord?


Since my blog friend Lisa from Christians under Construction was following along with our quest to overcome feelings of guilt, I invited her to write a guest post of the things God is teaching her about it.  Her message is healing and liberating, and I'm thankful that she was willing to contribute.
     *          *          *          *          *         *
I was so glad Tammie asked me to participate with you all by writing a guest post on what the Lord has shown me in my battle with guilt. This series 31 Days from Guilt to Grace was perfect timing for me personally; Guilt has been a huge area of emotional pain in my life! Although it has significantly changed over this last while I am ready to deal with this issue of lingering guilt once and for all, thank you Tammie.

 I have so much to say on this issue as I tease it out, inspired by my sweet friend, Tammie. So, I am going to be noting some things over on my own blog christiansunderconstruction.info over the next while. Instead of going over Tammie’s foundational work here on guilt and the same scripture and so on, I am sticking to one point that builds on what she has shared and hopefully adds a little too it.


This scripture is the basis for my post today, it is one we have heard so many times and I know myself that it is one of those scriptures I used to rhyme off and hear a lot but never stop and think “what does that actually mean?” 

 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

To be honest until I really thought about this I thought that was just a nice saying “As far as the east is from the west”... it had no relevance for me. Then, after I allowed my mind to see it as a reality to be understood and not just a pretty expressive saying, I first imagined my arms outstretched as a measure of the distance and to be honest (I am small) it’s not that far is it? So, I pooh-poohed that length of my own short arms example and thought a little bigger... Open a map and go Asia to America.... but that still was finite in my mind, I could still go and retrieve my sins that way lol, it might be a trek but it was doable to a human! Do you ever think this way? 

This scripture reference – so often quoted – began to get under my skin, but in a quiet annoyance type of way. I just did not see how amazingly supernatural this was! How could I ever see the end of my guilt when, I truly repent of my sin and then God just throws it over my shoulder to Asia where I could retrieve it should I really want too... or I would at least know it was not GONE even if I didn’t actually go retrieve it-it was just over there, not too far away!! I thought it was finite! It only takes 3 or 4 hours to get from the East (where I live) to West of Ireland!  [Disclaimer: I did not think God was actually sending all my sins to Asia!]

If I am the only one who thinks backwards like this and has had trouble understanding this practically, I am sorry... and I hope you don’t mind amusing me while I continue? ;)

How far IS the East from the West, Lord?

Have you heard the Casting Crowns song East to West? Let me link it here and post a link to the lyrics below, would you listen to the song and ponder the lyrics with me now? And then we will pick up with my concluding points.

 

If you have struggled with guilt, especially false guilt, then you understand “But today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way” 

The song beautifully puts the distance from east to west represented in the incomparable sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for us ... “From one scarred hand to the other”

Jesus paid with His life blood and His broken body for us to be able to hand Him the burden of this worlds system and this original sin carrying flesh we are wearing! When we exchange Our Guilt for His Grace in true repentance, we can be free! We don’t need to carry the guilt of what He has taken from us (in fact taking guilt back and holding it falsely must be like spitting in our Saviours face! If you paid a fine for me and I was set free but stayed in prison despite you that would insult you, wouldn’t it?). He helps us by His Grace, to live each day! Repent and give Him the original burden of sin – take his yolk, then try our best daily with His help and keep a short account! It’s so simple but we complicate it! 

Give it to Him, then.....LET.IT.GO!!!!

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Praise the Lord for this awesome exchange!

So, do you want to know how far, east actually is from the west? I can show you 

I believe the Lord made it very clear for me and I am a visual learner so this exercise will help me to remember in my walk away from carrying unnecessary guilt and into understanding Grace! I pray this visual will help you also and that it blesses you greatly! 

John 8:36 (NIV)

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

guilt redeemed

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 7, ESV



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

guilty of breaking God's law

1. don't have any other gods other than the true and living God.
2. don't make or admire imaginary gods or an imaginary idea of the true God.
3.  don't use God's name(s) lightly or flippantly.
4.  have a day of rest and worship.
5.  honor your parents.
6.  don't murder.
7.  don't commit adultery.
8. don't steal.
9.  don't lie.
10.  don't crave other people's stuff or relationships

and our motive?  loving God with all our being, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

our motives matter.


Love

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked any thing.

"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here."
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I the unkind, ungrateful?  Ah my dear,
I cannot look on Thee."
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord, but I have marred them:  let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat.

George Herbert, 1633



sorrow and guilt

The council of friends met again yesterday morning, bright and early. Over coffee and tea, we discussed our findings of the past week.

First we reviewed Psalm 51, which we had been meditating on.

One friend commented that she had kept her Bible open in her quilting room and read the psalm whenever it caught her eye.  She asked about contrition, which I tried to explain as sincere sorrow over wrong-doing.  In the context, David recorded: a broken and contrite heart [God] will not despise.

Interestingly, I had been also contemplating 2 Corinthians 10:8-10:
For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while.  As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
I read the comment that Lisa made on the post about different sources of guilt (after I gave a bit of her back story for the past couple years to establish her credibility):
I think we should not respond to [sources of guilt] all the same way as every source isn't necessarily truth however, I think the Church at large have removed true guilt as the baby with the bath water type situation - we need to know we are sinners and feel the wrong from right when we actually are guilty so we can be broken before God about it and repent! yet learning we are then forgiven so guilt has been washed from us and we shouldn't carry it away with us...

I think because we don't often know how to deal with our true guilt - we end up with a guilt complex which is then put on situations it shouldn't be - feeling guilty when a situation isn't actually our fault, blaming ourselves cos we feel we have to, or accepting Satans lies in our ear

it's a tough one isn't it xx 

I also shared the quote from the Going Beyond facebook page which is the body of the previous blog post.

 Another friend shared how in her meditation of Psalm 51, God had been showing her that she only had control over herself in her circumstances, and not  over the circumstances or the other people involved.

May God have mercy on us all, and free us to live in joy and freedom.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

discerning the difference

I gleaned this treasure from Going Beyond with Priscilla Shirer on Facebook:

“The Enemy’s voice can cause you to feel guilt with no clear means of relief. Nothing but heaviness and hopelessness, often with no specific connection to a particular sin. Just...there. Take that! But when the Spirit brings conviction - which is many times the purpose of His personal message to you - He will also bring you a road map, a way back, a way out. He has no desire to pummel you and
prevent you from getting up again. Far from wanting to harm you, He is initiating freedom and blessing in your life.

With Him, there is “no condemnation” (Romans 8:1). No ridicule.

Total love. Love for you.

You’ll know the Spirit is speaking to you personally about your sin when the feeling you get is not despair but a fresh desire for holiness and purity. You’ll know it’s God when He’s calling you back to His side, not tossing you out like yesterday’s garbage.”

- Discerning the Voice of God, p. 100

grace

guilt was the grace
that taught my heart to fear.
symptom of a deeper problem,
guilt made me examine
the crimes that i had committed
against the Ruler of the universe.

love was the grace
that relieved my fears.
the sacrificing mercy
and embracing affection
brought reconciliation
with my Father in heaven.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

pure

Create in me a clean heart, 
O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
and sinners will be converted to You.


Friday, October 12, 2012

sources of guilt

The first week, as I meditated and prayed about understanding the source of guilt, I came up with the following:
*breaking God's law (principally thinking of the 10 commandments)
*breaking government laws, school rules, employment policies
*failing to meet people's expectations or ideals and facing their criticism or disappointment
*failing to meet my own ideals, self-made rules, perfectionism.

Later I remembered another:  the accusation of Satan in our spirits.

Should we respond to all these sources of evil in the same way?

Should we be motivated by guilt?


Thursday, October 11, 2012

restoration

Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part 
You will make me know wisdom.
Purify me with hyssop,
and I shall be clean;
Wash me,
and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have  broken
rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.

David, Psalm 51, ESV

the council of friends

I asked a group of my friends together for a council on what is the mental burden that most weighs us down, crippling our ability to think and act productively.

I had two-fold motivation in gathering this council.  First, I was growing increasingly aware through a series of articles on the {in}courage that I was in need of integrating in a community.  Second, the thought-provoking Bloom book club selection currently is a book by Jen Hatfield titled 7.  The book is about reducing the excess in our lives to make more room for God and others.  The impetus to blog about this topic came from The Nester's 31 day challenge for October.  As you can see, I'm a little late, but I'm hoping to complete 31 blog posts even if I don't make the 31 days.  :)

I invited friends whom I trusted to be honest and kindly and whom I perceive as seekers of Truth.  When I began the discussion with my council of friends, I assumed maybe anxiety or fear would be our topic, since it can be a big one for me.  However the overwhelming response was that preoccupation with guilt burdens our thoughts and emotions.

So I began my inquiries.  My goal is to understand God's mind and heart about our guilt.  The resources are prayer, scripture, meditation, and the wisdom that can be gleaned from those who are further along this path than I am.

So.  I'm looking forward to growing through both the highs and lows of this adventure from guilt to grace.




guilty



Be gracious to me, O God,
according to your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of your compassion
blot out my transgression.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when you judge.

~David, Psalm 51

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

cards

cards.
remembering special days has always been
hard for me.

one year
when i went through my accumulation of unsent cards,
and found 3 father's day cards for my dad,
and a couple birthday cards for him too.  
while i was thinking about it, 
i finished addressing and stamping them
and sent them all to him the same day.

he understood and was amused.
after all, 
where did i inherit this weakness from?

recently i read a book titled
the happiness project 
by gretchen rubin.
after extensive research
she spent a year 
focusing on increasing her happiness.

it sounded like a lot of work.
but i took away a key thought:
there are some {small} things i could be doing 
every day
to increase my happiness.

so i made a little checklist for every week day
for the rest of the year.
one of the resolutions on that list
 is to send 
an encouraging card each day.

(confession: 
i give myself a li'l star 
for every card i send.)

 at about the same time, 
i received a free packet of cards from dayspring,
part of their "really woolly" line.

(confession:
i love sheep.)

so, i have been sending more cards,
which really does make me happy.
and even though i don't actually send a card every day,
the number of adhesive stars in my calendar
show progress,
and that makes me happy.
and i've been receiving free cards to give,
which also makes me happy.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

my man

to love him,
and to encourage my friends
each to love her own. . .

a joyful sacrifice, it is.
i love him and he loves me,
he is wonderful
and kind
and succeeds in almost everything he does.
but each has the ability,
because of our deep intimacy
of heart and soul and spirit and body,
to wound deeply the other.

but still, the guiding rule is love--
to be kind to him to his face
and behind his back,
to be patient with his quirks
as well as his failures,
not to be demanding my own way
(which is the hardest),
not to be peeved all the time
or bear a grudge
about those quirks and failures,
to encourage him always to be
what he was created to be
which is strong and true and honorable,
to bear and believe and hope and endure
everything that happens
because it will all work out for good.

and love never fails.
sometimes true loving is hard,
but it doesn't quit.

there are days when my failures
in living this kind of love
pierce my heart with guilt. . .
but this is my goal.

and the fact that i don't hit the bulls eye every time
with 100% accuracy
doesn't mean i should give up,
or that i am not succeeding,
doing better than i would
if i weren't even trying.

prayer

though my heart may swell and ache
with unshed tears,
and grief presses in
so that breathing is labor
and my heart struggles to beat,

He is here,
and He hears my wordless grief,
caring beyond measure
with compassion
and victorious power.

and nothing,
nothing separates me
from His love.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

borrowed from a friend

We always talk about the Israelites
when they were in that desert
as being
such
fools
that all they did in there
was walk around in circles!

No wonder we beat fellow Christians up
when they find themselves in a desert
 – we have a shocking opinion
on deserts
and the people walking through them

BUT
God Almighty tabernacles with them there.

He set them as His people
and he their God
in that place,
that wilderness
where He supernaturally fed and sustained them
 – yes they delayed the entry to the promised land
but it was more than that.

God took them from being slaves
and he began to change them
as He was going to give them a land of their own
and make them a nation…

lets be real!

can you in your life today
just go from slavery
to leadership
overnight
without restoration and training?

--Lisa Croker on Christians Under Construction
(reformatted by me. . . hope that's ok, lisa.)

<3

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

peace

we are told
that the quality
of a gentle and quiet spirit
is imperishable,

and also that this was
the defining quality
of the women of old who trusted God.

we are told
that we are their daughters
if we do what is right
without being alarmed
by the frightening.

free from anxiety and obsession?
free from terror and over-reaction?

oh, Lord,
grant such gentleness and quietness of spirit,
for i will never obtain it by myself.

Monday, June 18, 2012

vapor

there are times
when the joys of caring
for the young
with their eager exploration
and fierce energy
turns

to caring for the elderly
with their despair
and weakness.

and then
the realization pierces:
yesterday
i was young.
tomorrow i will be old.

Monday, April 30, 2012

small errors

some days
the small errors
pile up.

and seemingly
everything
would be done better
if
weren't
the one
doing it.

and on those days,
all the things done right
don't seem to count.

but i am loved.

that makes a difference.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

rhubarb

lightly brushing aside
crackling brown leaves
from last fall,
we saw a ruby bubble
close to the spring warmed ground.

a few days later
a large, crumpled dark green leaf
unfurled
at the top
of  a pale pink stem.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

a forever kind of love

in a little blank book
that i received
as part of a christmas gift
--oh, a lot of years ago--
i copy little things
that catch my fancy.

here's one
from awhile ago:

We gave. . .
when we wanted to receive.
We served. . .
when we wanted to feast.
We shared. . .
when we wanted to keep.
We listened. . .
when we wanted to talk.
We submitted. . .
when we wanted to reign.
We forgave. . .
when we wanted to remember.
We stayed. . .
when we wanted to leave.

it was written 
by dillon and patti bayes
for a valentine's contest 
for good housekeeping.
they won,
i think,
a mediterranean cruise
in 1994.  

i think it's classic. 

what do you think?

Friday, April 13, 2012

from mark talbot


"I have known afflictions
far worse than my paralysis.
  
"I have had seasons of perplexity 
about God’s providence 
that have been so deep 
that night after night 
sleep has fled from me.

"Yet these griefs have been God’s gifts. 

"For only by such severe suffering 
has my loving Father broken me free 
of some of my deeper idolatries.  

"In the nights’ watches, 
while others sleep, 
my wakeful heart 
must find its rest in him 

or it will find no rest at all."
Mark Talbot in his chapter, “All the Good That Is Ours in Christ”: Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us,” from Suffering and the Sovereignty of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor, pp. 75-76.

line breaks reformatted by me, copied from John Knight at Works of God

Sunday, April 8, 2012

three gifts arising

greeting: halleluia! he is risen!

response:  he is risen indeed!

and love wells up
like a spring of pure water
to satisfy the thirsty soul.

and hope springs new
like a waterfall cascading
down the rock face
from the thawing glacier
in the sun kissed heart.

and joy bursts forth
like a geyser
sparkling in the light,
misting the face.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

three gifts anticipated

the birth of a child.
the coming of dawn.
the resurrection of life in spring.

Friday, April 6, 2012

three gifts nailed

from grandsons






from husband




from father




and one more pictured at Meet Me in the Meadow.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

gifts throughout the day

i had a friend who told me:

"i met a guy this week
who asked me
if i had bad days.
and i said,
i did.
everybody did.
and he replied
that he never had bad days.
maybe bad moments
or bad hours,
but the days were mostly good."

gifts throughout today:
 time with heart friends,
 packages waiting at the door,
 money in the mailbox,
 bringing rest to a young mother,
and the relief
when disappointing news
turns out to be
a blessing in disguise.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

three gifts in his word

his heart.
his thoughts.
his voice.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

three gifts that surprise

joy in the midst of grief.
peace in the midst of turmoil.
loving compassion for one's enemies.

Monday, April 2, 2012

three gifts white

snowflake.
summer clouds.
bridal rose.

three gifts round

eyes.
apples.
full moon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

disciple

There is a big difference
between being close to people who love Jesus
and being close to Jesus Himself.
  
I can certainly learn from people.
 “He who walks with the wise, grows wise.”
(Proverbs 13:20)

But if I want closeness with Jesus,
I won’t find that
in following anyone
but Jesus Himself.
He is the One who must be pursued.

~ Lysa TerKeurst

Monday, February 20, 2012

Philip

Children,

a gift from God,

a blessing,

a promise of a future.




God of mercy, grant us wisdom to guide their footsteps toward You.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

prn

Pro re nata
From Wikipedia, 
the free encyclopedia:
Pro re nata is a Latin phrase
meaning "in the circumstances"
or "as the circumstance arises"

that's my job title.
no kidding.
i finally looked it up
to find out what i do.
;)

i fill in
as needed
in patient registration
at the local hospital.

prn.
as the circumstance arises.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

really? do i never check my draft folder?


checking my draft folder, i found this unposted post from. . .mm. some years ago.

this is the precious son-of-my-heart.


timely

"there is an appointed time for everything.

and there is a time for every event
under heaven--

a time to give birth
and a time to die;

a time to plant
and a time to uproot what is planted;

a time to kill
and a time to heal;

a time to tear down
and a time to build up;

a time to weep
and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn
and a time to dance;

a time to throw stones
and a time to gather stones;

a time to embrace
and a time to shun embracing;

a time to search
and a time to give up as lost;

a time to keep
and a time to throw away;

a time to tear apart
and a time to sew together;

a time to be silent
and a time to speak;

a time to love
and a time to hate;

a time for war
and a time for peace. . .

He has made everything
beautiful
in its time."
--solomon (ecclesiastes 3, nas)

tears or laughter,
each beautiful
in
its
appropriate
time.

i desire
fervently
to face head on
each circumstance
which time brings--
to fully feel,
to fully think.

oh, heart,
do not evade
or escape
or numb
or distract yourself
when faced with pain or pleasure,
but experience the full beauty
of each
and every
exquisite
moment.