Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Today or When I'm 99!

Lately I've been thinking about how I would look at life differently and live differently if I knew when I was going to die, say from cancer in a few months.
It's not something I normally like to think about but I have laid awake in bed the last two nights thinking about this and even fearing the fact that I am going to die, and worse, I could die a slow death from something like cancer.
People do every day.

This morning I shared my fear with Nash and he prayed with me.
After he prayed and I was alone I started talking with the Lord about it.
As I was praying the Holy Spirit began to talk to me in a gentle, quiet voice.
He seemed to say,"Yes, you could get diagnosed with cancer and die a slow death, but you could just as well die from a car accident today or you could live to be 99."
The truth that I have always heard, but for some reason made more sense than ever this morning, is that Christ will take me home when He chooses- which could be at any any time.

The more important question He has been asking me today is," How will you live?"

It started with reading from Oswald Chambers today.

"Our Lord's cross is the gateway into His life: His resurrection means that He has power now to convey His life to me.  When I am born again from above, I receive from the Risen Lord His very life."

While I read this I heard the Holy Spirit emphasizing, "I receive His very Life".

After reading this, I started watching Pastor Mark Driscoll's 11th video sermon on marriage. In it he and his wife, Grace, have a discussion with two other couples and a widow. The first thing that is discussed is the fact that one of the men was married before and his wife died of cancer. And one of the women was a widow, her husband also died of cancer.
Again, I was faced with the reality that at any time I could get a similar diagnosis. But instead of fear I felt strangely encouraged. I saw their spouses continuing to live life- in Christ. They were carrying on in what God has for them in this life.

Again I heard the message to receive His Life, not life, but His Life.

Then later I was reading and I came across a devotional from Charles Stanley. The devotion is on Matt. 28:1-10. I would spare you guys such a large quote but every word of it is so relevant to what God had been communicating to me today.

In it Charles Stanley says,
"We can be dramatically changed when we consider the ramifications of Christ's resurrection. It should effect how we live from this day onward.
        Jesus' resurrection proves that there is life after death. So many people think that earthly existence
is all there is. But this belief robs life of purpose and meaning.
God created us as eternal souls, and Jesus demonstrated that death is not the end, much more awaits us.
The empty tomb also gives us hope and dispels our fears about death.
We have One who has gone before us and shown us what's ahead.
Those who trust in Him as their Savior will be resurrected to new LIFE just as He was.
None of us know what day the Lord will call our name, signaling the end of our earthly life.
Yet we do know that He has promised to prepare a place in heaven for us(John 14:1-3).
Death is not the end, but the beginning of the greatest adventure of our lives-coming home to Christ."
You would think that God would stop there in His message to me but He pressed further.
After I read the days devotional another devotional booklet fell out of my Bible.
It was opened to an article that caught my attention. Starring at me was an old black and white photo with several men, one man being a young Billy Graham. I really like Billy Graham so I started to read it.
It was about a husband and wife, friends of the Graham's, who brought a young Christian couple under their wings and mentored them- for over 50 years!
The wife of the young couple, Sandy, wrote the article and writes about their very last visit with their mentor before he went to be with the Lord at a ripe old age.
The mentor, Fred, is quoted in his last conversation with sandy's husband, Elliot,
Elliot: "Do you have any fear or doubt about death?"
Fred: "No, I welcome death. It's a promotion. 'Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.'"
(Psalm 116:15)
Elliot: "But the fear is HOW we die."
Fred: "I don"t want to have a horrible death. Neither does anybody else. But it's in the Lord's hand."
Elliot: "But no doubts, no fears?"
Fred: "Oh, zero. Absolutely zero. I can't wait to die."
Elliot: "I just pray I get to that point. I can't say I'm at zero."
Fred: "Why not?"
Elliot: "Because my faith needs to grow."
Fred: "But what is the future in heaven for the believer? No more what? Sorrow."
Elliot: "I know all the points."
Fred: "But you don"t believe it."
Elliot: "I do believe it."
Fred(laughing): "Then there should be no fear."

There was so much more in that article but way too much for me to put in this blog.
I love how simple and true Fred's faith was. He died a month later.
He faced death head on knowing it meant LIFE with Christ, it was only the beginning.
 I was so encouraged by this article and the little I know about Fred.

In that article Fred quotes Psalm 116:15,
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."
I had to go read Psalm 116.
But like my other lessons of the day I read more about Life than death,

"For You have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
and my feet from falling.
I will walk before the Lord
in the land of the living."

I will walk, take action, in the Lord, in His LIFE- while in this earthly life among the living.

After I read Psalm 116 I started reading Phil. 3.
I didn't read it because I thought it had anything to do with my previous thoughts of the day.
But as I was reading I realized indeed they were telling me the same message!

In Phil. 3 Paul says,

vs.10 "...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death."

vs.20-21 "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body,
according to the working by which he is able even to subdue all things to Himself."

So, "How will I live?"
         With peace that I can trust Him to take me home when He chooses.
         With peace that He is preparing a home for me in heaven, where there is no sorrow-only joy.
         Deliberately, making the most of the days I have left on this earth- receiving His Life and allowing Him to live             
         through me.
We are called to live a full Life, afforded to us through His resurrection. Not just a life but His Life. 
And we can eagerly look forward to the day he chooses to bring us home, whether today or when we're 99!       

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I highly recommend this blog to anyone out there who loves God's creation!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Faithfulness in the Mundane ( Inspired by Oswald Chambers):
One of my favorite preachers of the past is Oswald Chambers.
A constant theme in his sermons is the idea of thriving in the mundane.
What’s revealed in my character when I’m left alone with my mundane duties?
Do I meet my duties with dread and a lack of motivation or with joy?
When I think about my usual response to the mundane I’m deeply convicted. But I’m thankful for the reminder when I read Chamber’s devotions, to approach the mundane with joy.
I want more than anything to be faithful in these simple tasks.
I’ve been asking the Lord, “How is joy and faithfulness in the mundane accomplished?”
In answer to my question, God has been reminding me lately about the simple, obedient act of being thankful to Him; thankfulness with my words and my thoughts.
I’ve been thanking God for hot water, for family, for time on this Earth to know Him more. I’ve been trying to deliberately notice His blessings, whether wonderful or difficult, in my life and be thankful for them.
It’s amazing what a flood gate of joy this has unleashed!
Essentially, thankfulness focuses us on Jesus and His face and leads us to joy!
When we speak words of thanksgiving, the words penetrate our minds.
It's simply wonderful to see what joy the Lord can give us through this obedience!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Fear, Bellie's Fear
I've never thought of myself as being concerned about what other people think.
But I have had to admit to myself lately that my lack of risk taking is rooted in a fear of being rejected.
Maybe even more than my fear of rejection, I have a fear of someone valuing me enough 
to take me seriously and challenge me to go farther.
Lately, God has been helping me to understand this fear
by revealing desires in me to be creative.
When creative desires arise I'm frustrated by my paralyses to move forward.
Like God does so many times, He recently used Bellie to illustrate a simple lesson on overcoming fear.
As many of you know, Bellie loves to perform.
And waiting for the street car is the perfect time to have a performance.
As we stood in the cold the other day waiting, Bellie emptied her backpack.
First she took out her hat, which she placed on the ground and in it she placed a few coins
(so people would know what the hat was for).
Then she took out her music maker and played her song of choice.
She was all ready with a big grin on her face except one thing, FEAR.
She told me that she was afraid of what people would think, that they would reject her.
This broke my heart. Especially because I can empathise.
We talked for a few minutes about using our gifts to make God happy, not man.
And that we can't let fear stop us. It's not about whether you fail, it's about trying, for His glory.
After our talk Bellie stood with renewed confidence and courage.
She not only performed on that street, but later that day she performed outside the cafe'
window as I ate lunch with a friend.
She danced her heart out and made 50 cents!
Bellie heard the truth, do everything for the glory of God and don't allow fear to overcome you.
Then she moved forward in those truths.
She made it look so simple!
God still has a lot do do in me regarding fear but I'm tired of living in paralyses and I'm ready to get up 
and walk, like Bellie did!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Post 1: God in Home Schooling

Does God have anything to do with home schooling?
For me it absolutely does!
I have had the desire to home school since before I knew if we would even have children.
Side note:
You see, we were married 8 years before we had Bellie. We never prevented it, we just left it in God's hands.
(Hence having only one child, God has not chosen to bless us with more children, yet at least.)
My best home school friend, my sister in WA (mother of 5), has teased that I'll probably be about 45 and will discover I'm pregnant while Bellie's in College. That is a funny picture!
So back to God in Homeschooling (HS)...
When it got closer to that time, I began to panic about my lack of ability to HS Bellie.
But I had such a strong calling to do this, as if there were no other choice.
I prayed to God about all my fears and inadequacies.
He flooded me with such a confidence in His ability to guide and teach me how to teach her that I have never looked back.
Not that I don't have fears that creep up, I do.
But I don't let them stay. God has made it clear, this is His desire for our family.

Also, my eyes have been opened to our calling as her parents to disciple her, to teach her and guide her.
To us, they're all one in the same.
Math and Bible verses: they have everything to do with each other.
Wasn't it God who created math in the first place?

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Here We Go...

So I have wanted to start this blog for a while. The truth is, words scare me.
Another truth is, I love to write.
I have a hard enough time filtering my words while talking to someone, so the idea of writing my thoughts, ideas and doubts is frightening.
It also leaves me in a vulnerable position. I don't like to share everything that's going on in me or in my life.
But the more God teaches me about community, the more I'm learning that I need to put myself out there in order to encourage and love other woman.
So here I am, sharing my life with whomever is interested.
I have also had a hard time getting plugged into a home school community.
And home schooling one child can be a lonely endeavor.
So I started thinking, "Maybe there are other home schoolers out there who need encouragement.
Maybe there are other home schoolers out there who don't have seven children, they have one."
So, here I am starting this blog journey.
I hope this can be an encouraging and thought provoking blog for those who are looking for encouragement or a place to express their thoughts and fears about being a wife, a mom, a Jesus follower, or even a single person looking forward to having a family or wherever God has you in this life.
(I know that was a long sentence but I'm not going to worry about things like that. )
So, here we go....