Thursday, July 31, 2008

Small Things Make Tall Things

Photobucket


I don't know about you, but I have a thing for quizzes. Call it a strange enjoyment of being asked my opinion or answer, but I love quizzes. I love reading what they have to say about me in the end. So when I see a personality quiz, well, I just have to take it.

The funny thing is, they generally all say the same thing.

I am a dreamer.

That doesn't surprise me. Even when I was home schooled I think I spent more time dreaming about my future than finishing my present homework.

I like to dream big dreams. I like to aim for big things. I want to do something big for God.

But I often forget that most of the time I won't be called to do a few big things, but rather, many "little" things.

Little things that maybe seem as though no one would ever notice them. Like helping with household stuff for Mom, when I'm tired, and don't feel like it. Or taking the time to listen while a friend vents out their frustrations, even though I've got 90 other pressing matters to attend to. Or being cheerful and encouraging, when deep down I just want to cry too. Or just continuing in what I have to do today, even if it's the same thing everyday--be it chores, errands, work, or whatever.

Little things, that so often seem harder than big things--because we have to keep on doing them. I find myself dreaming about the day I can really do something for God.

But in reality, each time I do these "little" things for His glory, I AM already doing "big" things for Him. I love how 1 Corinthians 4:2 puts it: "Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy." (ESV)

God is asking us to be faithful, in the small things He puts in our lives. As we show ourselves trustworthy with little things, He often brings bigger, more difficult things our way.

But it starts with the little things. For these are where we learn, bit by bit, what trusting God really means. What laying down ourselves for His sake entails. And why we need His strength to accomplish even the smallest things.

There's a kid's song I learned years ago which really sums it all up:

Faithful in little things
cuz little things make big things,
Great things are done
by doing little things everyday
Small things make tall things
And tiny things make all things
Faithful in little things everyday.


So the next time you struggle with feeling like the little things you do don't matter, remember--
Small Things Make Tall Things.

And by the way-- feel free to vent to me anytime. My 90 other pressing matters can easily wait.

Read more...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A misspeak

In my church, there are points during the service where the deacon prays for certain petitions and the people respond with "Lord have mercy." One of these petitions is for those who have died. It usually goes, "And for all those who have fallen asleep in the Lord."

But once, during a late-night Christmas service, a deacon was a little tired and instead what came out was, "And for all those who have fallen asleep on the floor."

Read more...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Astilbe

Pronunciation: "U-still-be" just like it looks.

What I think when I see it right outside my front door: "Be still... and know that I am God"

Yes, I need HOURLY reminders to Be Still... so, right outside the front door is a very good place to plant Astilbe.

Read more...

Monday, July 28, 2008

nine o'clock

nine o’clock

It's nine o'clock and all I have
Is time and a cup of tea
But do I even have all that:
Plenty of time and me.

I'm waiting (once again)
For life to jumpstart
But, tonight, at nine o’clock
My engine has stalled

There is much that I want
Yet not too much for the asking
Little things, a few large, but still
Not much for the asking.

Happiness, love, life, joy
A bed warm on both sides
Pleasure, pain, laughter, tears
A hand to hold mine

Not much, but so much.
And I’m asking, wanting, asking.
Yet, all I have is nine o’clock,
A cup of tea…and me.

It's ten past nine at night and I'm making breakfast. I dip a spoon into the sugar bowl and watch the grains trickle into my cup of tea. The toaster pops up with a clunk, my toast a golden brown. Butter, then peanut butter, all melted and sticky on my fingertips.

It’s been a blue day and I’m quiet and angsty this evening. Bad poetry. Tea. Comfort food.

I have good days and I have bad days. Some of you know what I mean – and I’m sure you don’t think me pathetic for my low moments and blue funks. Others might be thinking, “Stop making yourself miserable and just trust God! Quit making your happiness dependent on someone loving you.”

Stop. Please. This isn’t just a superficial pity-party. This is a deeper ache. I am content – I do believe I am – but I have these longings and desires that ache at some of the most unexpected moments.

I try to look at the bright side of things. I love the amazing freedom I have a single woman. I am glad of the time I can spend studying God’s word or learning more about liturgical prayers or other Bible-related things; if I were married, I might not have time to study as much. I am glad of the time and money I can spend on singing and participating in music sessions this summer – time to be brave and sing a solo. I am thankful that I have been able to watch my baby sister grow up and capture little daily moments. I love being able to travel fairly freely and go on trips that might never happen if I were married. Being able to read as many books as I can and having time to read them. Being able to go on impromptu garden tours. Traveling to the UK with my Dad. And my plans to go back to school this year.

But in spite of all these blessings…this desire to love and be loved, to marry and live with a man, who as the song goes would

be more interested in me
Than he's in himself and
more interested in us than in me...


…this desire still remains.

Is it possible to be content and yet long for something more? Someone more? And why is it wrong to have these desires? Why is it wrong to be blue occasionally and have to run to God occasionally, like tonight, tonight over a cup of tea? Is it wrong to be finally honest with myself, with God and with you? That it is hard at times. That I sometimes cry. That it is lonely at times, in spite of living with twelve other people all in one house.

It is hard, at times.

But.

God is faithful. And during the sad times, the blue times, the hard times…

He is there.

My poem isn’t true. It feels true, but it isn’t. It isn’t just nine o’clock, a cup of tea and me.

God is here. He loves me and while I don’t always understand why it feels so lonely even when I know He is with me, even though I don't understand all these unfulfilled desires and longings…He is here. He loves me.

And that is enough for tonight, for now.

Tonight, it’s nine o’clock, a cup of tea…God…and me.

Read more...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"But godliness with contentment is great gain." *





Content



Function: transitive verb



Date: 15th century



1 : to appease the desires of



2 : to limit (oneself) in requirements, desires, or actions






----



Often Contentment seems like it is this grand mystery. Thousands of books are written about it and it is the subject of much study. (82,517 results for "contentment" under books on Amazon.com. A google search brings up 6,330,000 results for the word contentment, and the photo that I choose to acompany the post is the first photo result. [It is a poster of a painting called contentment.]) However, in my reading I stumbled across a passage in the bible that states clearly what the "secret of contentment" is...no fancy books needed! Relying moment by moment on God (contentment) is a beautiful treasure ...

___

Phillipians 4:10- 13 (NIV Emphasis added)

I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

*Note: Title is 1 Timothy 1:6




Read more...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fairy Tales Versus Reality



Once upon a time in a land far, far away lived a girl, a single girl. Hmmm... that's doesn't quite work, does it.  Let's try again.


Once upon a time, far, far away lived an unmarried girl..... and she lived happily, single ever after?



O.k. so, neither one works? Why?  Well, because single and happily every after don't belong in the same sentence.  Why?  Well, because fairy tales always end with THEY lived happily ever after!



I grew up thinking there was nothing wrong with fairy tales.  I mean, a beautiful girl meets a handsome, perfect prince charming, they fall in love, get married and live happily ever after.  *cues music*

So this is love, Mmmmmm

So this is love

So this is what makes life divine

I'm all aglow, Mmmmmm

And now I know

The key to all heaven is mine

My heart has wings, Mmmmmm

And I can fly

I'll touch ev'ry star in the sky

So this is the miracle that I've been dreaming .

*music screeches to a halt*

Dreaming!

You mean it's not real!!!!!!

Nope, fairy tales are not reality, sorry dear.  It took me a long time to realize that life is nothing like a fairy tale.  Not for everyone. You see, I had based my future dreams off of non-reality.  The day I realized it, was the day I realized that I didn't want my life to end up like a fairy tale.  O.k. well... the amazing dress and the beautiful church for the wedding is o.k.  But the perfect man, hmm,... not so much.  I mean, why would you want to marry a perfect man, with no flaws at all.  I have flaws.  I wouldn't want the poor perfect man to end up with flawed me, he deserves better.



What girl doesn't dream of touching every star in the sky!  Sounds divine, no? Absolutely!!! But is it reality?  Hmm... well, maybe that part.



Look at it. Every single fairy tale princess has a prince charming. Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, and what about Belle?  The ugly beast turns into a handsome prince! But it's not real, and sadly I let myself base reality off of an unsecure foundation build upon stories.



So, what am I trying to say here?  Well, I just want to encourage you wake up to reality.  Stop, expecting a fairy tale.  Make sure you aren't building dreams upon fiction.  It's not good for you.  Think about it.  How many people get the fairy tale they dream of?  Not many.  Wouldn't you rather be surprised by a fairy tale ending than dissapointed that it didn't happen.  Wouldn't you rather come crashing to earth now. rather than later?  Take it with a grain of salt and think about it, how much are you letting stories dictate reality?

Read more...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Poem In Honor Of Those Waiting

I Would Have Been
by Miss Deb

(Note: this poem is not intended to induce any self-pity, lack of trust in the Lord, discontentment, or doubts of God's faithfulness. It is only meant tongue-in-cheek as a humorous look at our own limited perspectives as we wait. Laughter is often the best medicine for any singleness blues, so with that in mind, I offer some comic relief to my fellow "waiters".)

I would have been a King's Wife,
With servants and jewels to be dealing;
But they didn't warn him the shingles were weak--
He went right through the ceiling.

I would have been a Rancher's Wife
In denim, blue and stiff;
But he couldn't get his horse to stop--
They both fell off the cliff.

I would have been a Musician's Wife,
In the concert hall, hearing him play;
But the piano keys cover slapped down fast and hard--
Trapping his fingers to stay.

I would have been an Explorer's Wife,
Seeing the world as we could;
But he never was one for asking directions--
Now he's lost for good.

I would have been a Builder's Wife
Swinging a hammer with vim;
But he didn't steady the frame of the house--
It all collapsed on him.

I would have been a Detective's Wife
Looking for clues galore;
But he stood in front of the guy with the gun--
His funeral is tomorrow at four.

I would have been so many things,
So many parts to mourn;
But now I know why an Old Maid I am--
My knight was never born!

Read more...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stepping Out

Deb’s post on stepping out of our comfort zone came timely for me. I’ve been pondering the very same thing myself the last few weeks, particularly since I finished Alex and Brett Harris’ book Do Hard Things. While their book was written with a teenage audience in view, it is excellent for pretty much any age. One of the things that struck me the most was the emphasis on doing new things.

Getting out of that comfy spot isn't the easiest thing on earth. I have found it quite simple to slip into a routine and get very comfortable with it. It is easy to do this when you are single. I work all day, come home and putter around the house for a bit and then do whatever I want. This usually translates into the same old thing: blog, write, read and hang out with the family. Day in and day out, the same. Having a daily routine and sticking to it isn’t a bad thing – it just isn’t always the best thing, just like not having any form of a schedule isn’t always a good thing.

Most of us singles have an amazing blessing that we don’t always appreciate: lots of free time. Some of us may have more than others, but it boils down to one thing: we don’t have husbands and children of our own to focus all our attention on. Our attention can be focused elsewhere, our time can be spent elsewhere. We have time to…try new things.

New things don’t have to take up a lot of our time or seem terribly hard. They don’t always have to take us that far out of our comfort zones. It can be a small as taking over the grocery shopping and trying out new recipes. It can be as large as taking up voice lessons again or singing a solo in front of a crowd of strangers. Debate class. College courses. Gardening. Playing the piano. It can be as small as picking up a new book at the library, a new book, something you will find a challenge.

The thing is: do it. Make a list of all the things you’d do if you had the courage and time and money. Pick one and just do it.

In exactly a week, a small church in our area will find me singing a solo and a duet in concert, on stage. My first solo in front of total strangers. I’m pretty sure I will do horribly, that I will die of nerves, but I’m doing it. It’s a small, yet huge step out of my comfort zone. One of the first of many, I hope and pray.

And if you think of me, you can pray that this step won’t be as traumatic as my wild imagination supposes. The duet, as beautiful as it may sound here at home, doesn’t sound quite as good when I’m nervous, and a solo - well, a solo is a solo! Stepping out of my comfort zone doesn’t mean that I’ll automatically sound good. I think this stepping-out bit is going to take work.

Read more...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dr. Jak's Award Ceremony

I don't know who invented the Lace Trimmed Camisole but whoever they are, they're a genuis!They deserve no less than 7 medals and about an hour long standing ovation.Oh, and I'd like to shake their hand.First off they solve about a gazillion modesty difficulties that we girls face everyday. They add LENGTH to too-short blouses.The length also comes in handy if your skirt or pants rides too low on your waist. So, we'll give them two medals for that.They add a MODESTY PANEL to any top that is cuttoo low for comfort. This is fabulous since it meanswe can buy cute tops even if they are too short or too low.Put a cami underneath. Problem solved.













Medals for CUTE FACTOR. Yep, definitely.Not to mention FEMININITY.They come in a variety of COLORS so they add spice to any outfit.AFFORDABILITY award of the century!I paid about $12 for mine at MauricesI also found some at Target for $9.99 although I haven't bought these specific ones, but they look like a good deal.Since I wear them almost every other day this is definitely a worthwhile investment!

Read more...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Review: Journey of the Heart, by Jeannie Castleberry

While Mr. and Mrs. Castleberry's books for young women have focused on couples and courtship, their daughter Jeannie Castleberry outdoes them in my opinion. While books on courtship can be encouraging in a world that promotes serial-dating, there is a certain lack of fiction that portrays singleness realistically. Jeannie somehow manages to do just that.

Janet McLean is the oldest daughter living at home now that her older sister and brother are married and have their own families. Janet has always expected that by her age - early twenties - she would have followed in their footsteps and married as well.

But another birthday comes and goes, leaving her still single as the day is long. She's still living at home, teaching her siblings and meanwhile, her best friend is being courted. Why can't God just bless her with a husband? Why does contentment have to be so hard and painful to attain?

Journey of the Heart, by Jeannie Castleberry is the story of Janet and her journey as a single girl. While it is a sequel to two of Mr. and Mrs. Castleberry's courtship books – the McLean series – it is different in its focus. While the courtship series gives you a look at a character and how he or she changes during courtship, Janet's story is different. It focuses solely on her journey as a single, twenty-something girl.

It is a refreshingly candid look at singleness. It doesn’t downplay the difficulty of trusting, of giving up your dreams and desires, of waiting – just waiting. I finished this book more encouraged than I have ever been by any of the Castleberrys’ books on courtship.

Read more...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Quote


"The Song of Solomon gives the most beautiful description of marriage I know of. The woman is to be like a walled garden, filled with beautiful flowers, delicious fruits, and sparkling streams, all for one man. Only one man is to own the key to that locked garden. Others may see the beautiful climbing roses trailing over the top of the wall. They might smell the fruit from a distance. They might hear the chattering brook inside. But they do not have the privilege of entering that holy of holies. It is intended for one man alone. And when that godly man takes his garden, he tends it, nourishes it, and honors it in such a way that it becomes even more beautiful and flourishing."



~Mrs. Jennie Chancey (Quest for the High Places)

Read more...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Held In His Arms


May 3, 2008

It’s almost midnight, and I am wide awake. I climbed into bed over an hour ago, to do a little reading and then go to sleep. Tomorrow is Sunday, so it’s up and at-‘em right away so we can be at church on time. But instead I lay in bed staring up at the darkened ceiling with no sign of slumber on the horizon. Why? I don’t know. I know I should be asleep, yet what keeps me awake? I start going through things in my head: am I worried about something? No. Am I unhappy? No. Stressed? Preoccupied? Lonely maybe; like so many nights of recent? No, it’s not even that. Then suddenly, in the stillness there is a knowing. Nothing changed, no voice from above, no crash of lightning, in fact everything is very quiet. But yet I know what. God is just wanting to talk to me. To be with me, commune with me and me with Him. That’s what it is. It’s that thing we call having a relationship with God. It’s like with your friends, you know when they need you, when they just want to talk, or share, or just be with you. It was like that, I knew that God just wanted to talk, to tell me that He loved me and that I am His child. That He is with me. So, I turned over and just said “Yes Lord.” That’s all He needed, an open heart, a willing vessel. I love that feeling, the one you get when you can feel God working inside of you. Cleaning out rooms of your soul that you have allowed to be dirtied by the world, but it doesn’t hurt, in fact, it feels wonderful, like stepping out of the shower after being covered in mud. That wonderful feeling of oneness with God, that compares to nothing else. Everything else dims in comparison. Do I still feel lonely? Sure, part of me does, the part that God created to be and want love. But, I don’t care. At this moment in time I am so full of the love of God for me that I don’t care! God loves me and cares about me and wants only what is perfect for me. He is holding me in his arms with His cheek next to mine saying “My child, I love you, and I am here to hold you, to listen to you, and to perform the very best for you. So be at peace my child, trust me, place your hand in mine and I will lead you and guide you forever.” My eyes are getting heavy so it’s off to bed again. But this time I have a smile on my face and the love of God overflowing in my heart.

Read more...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Moments

This summer I've made some resolutions.

Yes, I know, it's not New Years. But nevertheless, I am making the effort.

Simply because for me, I tend to be a Oneofthese.

One of these days I'll fulfill some of my dreams .One of these days I'll travel. One of these days I'll start taking voice again. One of these days I'll get into school.

My problem is, it tends to stop there. One of these days will never come. Because this day is what I have. This day is where I am.

I am so timid about stepping out and trying the new. But that is how we grow. That is how we learn, we change, we blossom.
A wise person once said "God cannot drive a parked car." He is in control of my life, yes. But I must willing to take that first step into the unknown.

So I for one will be stepping out this summer. I am saving to go to Korea (to visit my sister) next year. I am pursuing the possibility of voice lessons again. I am looking more diligently into school.

When it comes down to it, all I have is the moment I'm in. So I'm going to start making the most of that moment,as best I can.

And by the way, here is a fabulous brownie recipe to enjoy while you make those special moments. It's rich, but it's worth it (just be forewarned: it's REALLY rich)

Heaven on Earth Brownies
Take 2 boxes Hershey's Chocolate Chunk Brownie Mix.
Make each box in a separate bowl.
Chop up 1-2 Symphony Chocolate bars with toffee.
Pour one box brownie mix into a 9x13 inch pan.
Sprinkle Symphony bar(s) over mix.
Pour 2nd box brownie mix on top.
Bake according to box directions.

Enjoy :)

Read more...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A poem

God's Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil,
It gathers to a greatness like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck His rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And bears man’s smudge, and shares man’s smell; the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights from the black west went,
Oh, morning at the brown brink eastwards springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast, and with, ah, bright wings.

Gerard Manley Hopkins



[Incidentally, this is a lovely example of a Petrarchan sonnet.]

Read more...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

To Know We're Not Alone

I'll let you in on a little secret.

It's a difficult thing to try to write something encouraging for single girls when the single girl doing the writing is a little discouraged about being single herself.


In the movie Shadowlands one character observes that

"We read to know we're not alone."  

How very true.

I hope you read this blog to know you're not alone.


Similarly, I write to know I'm not alone.  

I write to say

"Here I am, this is how I feel, this is who I am."


So, today I'm lonely.  

But, I'm not alone.  


You're here.

Read more...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Books, books, books...

There is one thing about that I know will never change as long as I can breathe or think, and that is my love of books. I doubt that even marriage will change that. If I marry, I want to bring books into our home, whether we have children or not. And if we have children, all the better, for I want to pass my love of reading to anyone and everyone who will listen.

Summer has always meant books to me. Stacks and stacks of books to read, read, read as long as the day is warm. Growing up, my mother, siblings and I would walk down to the local library once a week and choose books to bring home. It always felt like heaven and we looked forward to our trips, in spite of the uphill walk home.

Today, I still think summer is about books. While friends go away to camp or go to parties, I prefer to stay at home and read. Perhaps that is why I am a spinster today (at the grand old age of twenty-three)! My summer appears to be uneventful: work, work, work, read, read, read, with a few summer movie flicks thrown in. And yet, it is exciting…it is exciting to escape into a book after a long, hot day at work. It is exciting to both discover new places, new friends and renew old friendships in old familiar places.

I'm re-reading Winnie-the-Pooh, but also discovering the little joys of Betsy-Tacy and Noel Streatfeild's "Shoe" books. I'm digesting books on writing, slowly chewing and savoring them. I'm reading adventure stories with brave heroes and battles against evil. Real stories about real men and women - including one about young rebelutionary men and women.

I may not be able to go away to exotic places or even to the wilds of Maine, but I can escape here at home.

So, if your summer is lacking a little excitement - or nourishment! - pick up a book. Go to the library. Get a book. Dive in.

Read more...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Everything

This is a video of a pantomime skit often used for evangelism. Below are the lyrics to the song being sung in the background. It expresses much better than I could the point I was trying to bring out in my last post, about Jesus being our focus.

May we all remember that Jesus truly IS our everything!



Find Me Here
Speak To Me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
You are the light
That's leading me
To the place where I find peace again.

You are the strength, that keeps me walking.
You are the hope, that keeps me trusting.
You are the light to my soul.
You are my purpose...you're everything.

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

You calm the storms, and you give me rest.
You hold me in your hands, you won't let me fall.
You steal my heart, and you take my breath away.
Would you take me in? Take me deeper now?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Cause you're all I want, You're all I need
You're everything,everything
You're all I want You're all I need
You're everything, everything.
You're all I want You're all I need.
You're everything, everything
You're all I want You're all I need, you're everything, everything.

And How can I stand here with You and not be moved by you?
Would You tell me how could it be any better than this?
How can I stand here with You and not be moved by you?
Would You tell me how could it be any better than this?

How can I stand here with You and not be moved by you?
Would You tell me how could it be any better than this?

Would You tell me how could it be any better than this?

Read more...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Quote from Elizabeth Gaskell

"When God will not use thee in one kind, yet He will in another. A soul that desires to serve and honour Him shall never want opportunity to do it; nor must thou so limit the Holy One of Israel, as to think He hath but one way in which He can glorify Himself by thee. He can do it by thy silence as well by thy preaching; thy laying aside as well as thy continuance in thy work."

~North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Read more...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Perspective



Driving skills teach you many valuable lessons.

Such as "How NOT to hit the person in front of you, because the car owner AND your insurance company prefer you don't do that", or "When in doubt , do not pass--especially if it's a no passing zone."

However there is one lesson I've learned that is my personal favorite--"Do not use strong facial lotion on your face before driving. Because it might severely irritate your eyes. It might make it impossible for you to keep them open, due to burning & watering like crazy. And you sorta need both eyes open to drive without breaking the first two lessons mentioned."

Many was the time I'd end up pulling over on the road because my vision was so impaired, so limited, so blocked by the fumes of the lotion, that I literally could not keep my eyes open. I'd sit there, rubbing, dabbing with my shirt, trying everything to get them to stop burning so my focus would return.

It was not until I stopped using the lotion, and switched to one that didn't dominate, that my problem with driving vision and perspective was solved.
The lotion wasn't a bad thing. It was a good thing. It worked wonders for my skin. It was even helpful for my acne. But none of these mattered, if my driving perspective was destroyed by using it.

You know, sometimes as a single woman, my perspective gets distorted. Not by lotion. By the simple, everyday desires I have.

I want to get married. I want to have that special relationship. I long for kids of my own. And sometimes, my perspective on why I'm actually on this earth gets muddled in the dreams and desires of my heart. It can blind me, making me take my eyes off Christ and His kingdom, and put them on me, and my hurts and pains in waiting for the gift of marriage.

It's so easy for me to pray more for a husband than for opportunities to reach out to others with the Gospel. It's so easy for me to be more concerned about my state of singleness than about the people God has put around me, who don't know Him. It's so easy for me to feel more compassion for a girl wanting a boyfriend, than the homeless person in the missionary's slide show, who needs Jesus.

It's even easier to bemoan my lack of a guy, than to willingly give of my time and energy to encourage and uplift the battle-worn, weary Christians God puts in my path who need a word of cheering on.

I realize not everyone is called to China or India, or even to overseas missions. But we are called to witness where we are. We are called to edify and encourage one another where we are. And I will freely admit this is an area I struggle with. I am striving, through God's grace, to improve.

Of course I still pray for a husband. I still look forward to and hope for marriage. There's nothing wrong with that.

It's all in the perspective--ensuring that there's not something impairing my focusing on Christ, and doing MY part, whatever it is, to reach the world for Him.

Driving is much smoother, much more peaceful, when nothing is clouding your vision.

~Miss Deb

Read more...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mercy and Love

“However many and however great and burdensome your sins may be, with God there is greater mercy.”
St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Journey to Heaven

I admit it, I am a perfectionist.

In general, this isn’t too much of an issue. It means that I might take longer with a project to make sure that it gets done thoroughly. It means that I might agonize over a paper for school more than is probably necessary. But it’s just one of those character traits like loving nature or being musical. Except when it comes to my spiritual life.

You see, I love God and so I want to show my love by being perfect. I don’t want to sin. I want to live in God’s grace, to live as close to Him as possible. My perfectionism makes me want to be perfect.

Unfortunately, I’m not. I fall every day and because I am a perfectionist, because I see the prototype and the image of perfection and I also see how far I fall short of it, I plunge into Deep Dark Despair. As in, “Oh woe is me, no one likes me, and no one will ever love me, and how could God even love me? WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH.”

Well. That’s hardly a helpful attitude. And it’s not the truth either. When I’m in that moment, I’m doing my best to ignore what St. Tikhon said, what Psalm 103 says: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.” God has mercy. He forgives us. And, no matter what, He loves us.

That kind of blows my mind. See, sometimes we’ll say, “I love you no matter what.” But it isn’t often true. If the person we said that to does something that we see as bad enough, we give up on them. But God doesn’t. He doesn’t give up on them, and he doesn’t give up on us.

I think we should challenge ourselves to show a bit of that unconditional love, that love no matter what. Some of you may have heard of the concept of “paying it forward.” I think we should take that idea and apply it to the forgiveness and love we receive from God. Let’s see how we can touch those in our lives, quietly and without a lot of fanfare, but with strength and courage.

Read more...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My God is Faithful...


Deuteronomy 31:7-87
Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, "Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
______
Follow God where ever He leads; with boldness walk through the doors He opens, for He is your God and He is with you. Do not be afraid to follow him, be not discouraged even when life looks impossible, for your God will go before you and will never leave you stranded. If God is for you WHO can be against you?

Read more...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Blessings


I rather had an epiphany the other day. I know this and I know I know this, but sometimes I forget. Or rather, disbelieve it.

Just because I'm not blessed with a particular something - or someone - that doesn't mean that I'm less worthy, that doesn't mean I'm a greater sinner or less of a person than my friends who have blessings that I have always desired - namely a husband.

The lack of a man in my life isn't an indication of how good a person I am. I don't have to earn brownie points with God in order to get a husband. God isn't looking down at me and saying, "Well, when Krista finally gets her ducks in a row and FINALLY trusts me with her life, well, then I can spring her special someone upon the scene."

God isn't like that. God doesn't award based on merits. God hasn't looked at my friend Stephanie and deemed her more worthy of a husband than I, based on her behavior and track record. He has given her a man right now and not me, for a reason. I don't know what that reason is, but I know without a doubt that it isn't because she is more godly than I. I know that it isn't because He loves her more than me.

It's hard for me to remember this sometimes. If He loves me the same as so many of my friends, why does He bless them with things I've desired all my life, why does He bless friends with husbands when He has given me these desires - for I belive He has - for a reason? He loves me just as much as He loves them, but His love means that He knows everything and all the whys and wherefores.

I don't know the whys and wherefores, but I do know what thing: my lack of a husband isn't because I've screwed up in the past. My lack of a husband isn't because God doesn't love me as much as my friends.

And that is that, and that is all.

Read more...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Saturday quote



"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them."

Mark Twain

Read more...

Friday, July 4, 2008

God Bless the U.S.A.


A couple of times a week we drive 22 miles to the nearest town, to attend church.  About halfway there the highway cuts straight through a hill.  And on top of that hill, right where everyone can see it flies an American flag, Old Glory, the symbol of our nation's freedom.



It wasn't until a couple weeks ago, when the flag was suddenly gone, I realized that I loved the flag, more specifically that particular flag, flying majestically on top of that particular hill, where it reminds thousands of people every day of their freedom and the great country we live in.  I still involuntarily glance up expecting the flag to still be there.  It's not.  Instead I remind myself that I live in a great country and that the flag still waves from my heart.  I thank God for the country I live in, the foundation on which it was laid and the men and women who work and fight to keep America free.  Keep the flag flying! And may God Bless the U.S.A.

Read more...

Letters From War

Read more...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Endurance


Can't.......go on........pain.........

Gasping for air, I doubled over in the hopes of stilling the pain running rampant down my side. I flopped to the asphalt, wondering who's bright idea it was that I attempt this fiendish plan for self-castigation. I look up at the sky, wondering what heaven must be like, quite sure that if I continued in this, I would find out sooner than I thought.

I am, of course, referring to the act of running.

Running, to me, is rather like watching a lion tamer: I have the utmost respect and admiration for those participating, but would sooner eat sand than do it myself.

I am not an athlete. I will walk miles and miles and enjoy it, but don't ask me to run. I will use an exercise machine daily, and almost any toning program out there--except running.

As a teen, I once thought I'd change that. I got up every morning, and started out. I'd stop to catch my breath--and look down the rest of the driveway, out to the road. Only so much more to go. I kept moving on. Soon I learned to pace myself. To push myself past where I thought I'd die. Eventually I did gain some endurance.

I've long since left the physical running to those more adept athletically than I.

But everyday, I still run.

Not physically--not in the slightest.

My running is spiritual running.

Nearly everyday,I struggle with the same feelings I once had while running on the road. I can't do this anymore. I can't keep waiting on the Lord's timing for my life. I can't keep pouring myself out in service to others. I can't keep being contented where He has me, when I know there are other things I could be doing for the kingdom.

This pain hurts. I can't breathe, it hurts so much. I have no more strength. My endurance is gone.

I just want to collapse and die.

Dramatic, but often that's exactly how I feel.

I

Just.

Can't.

Do.

This.

Anymore.

It's in these moments that Philippians 4:13 becomes the most real to me.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

When I start "collapsing", God reminds me of my brief encounter with physical running. I remember that there is an end to the road. That endurance takes time and effort to build up. That pain is a necessary part of endurance. And that this time, I have more than my own fallible strength to lean on, while I run.

I have His.

So even when the small things get to me--like being in the same place in life for years and years,and wondering when my life will move on, I remember that endurance takes time to build. That God is gearing me up for something later on. He knows how much endurance I'll need.

The best part of running, for me, was seeing how close my driveway was. I only had a few more feet to go. Just a few more.....

But when I run spiritually, I have heaven in sight. I can't see how long it'll be till I'm there. But I know it's coming. And that's worth all the pains of running--even gasping for air--I must face.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2

~Miss Deb

Read more...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Signs

There's a church near our house that has a handpainted sign by the side of the highway that says in big letters THE WAGES OF SIN ARE DEATH and underneath, in much smaller letters it says But Christ died to save sinners.

They've got it backwards.

I mean, sure, the wages of sin are death. But that's not important. The important part is the love of God which led Christ to die to save sinners. That's what we should be proclaiming--the Love of God, not the fallen-ness of man.

We cannot find salvation, we cannot achieve perfection by fear of hell. We can only find it through love of God and by His grace.

Read more...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dr. Jak's Halter Top Solutions

Modesty can be difficult in today's trends.

We want to look cute and feminine and sometimes it is tricky to shop when it seems as if every option being offered to us, is asking us to compromise our convictions.

So, modesty can be difficult, but not impossible!
And, we're up to the challenge aren't we? Of course we are!

Here's a simple solution for a halter top dress I bought on a clearance rack for $15. I paired it with a brown top, with puffy sleeves. Since the layering look is "in" the outfit succeeds in being comfortable, feminine, and modest, while still being trendy!

Read more...

Blog Archive

 

The IDD Blog | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates