Saturday, July 31, 2010

Grasping the Wind

The wind blows
wherever it will,
and you hear the sound it makes,
but do not know where it comes from
and where it is going.
John 3:8

God moves in mysterious ways, indeed. I just returned from the most incredible weekend. Although I deal with words in my work, I struggle to find words to describe my experience.

Almost 40 years ago during the Jesus Movement of the 70's, a summer youth director travelled to our south Texas coastal town. We were members of a mainline denomination, better able to spout off church history and liturgy than understand the Bible.

Taking the job for experience - but not much money- the youth director spent his first weekend in town closed up in his apartment. His initial visit revealed what he was up against and he spent the weekend fasting and praying for God to move among the spiritually clueless youth.

God heard those prayers. The wind began blowing until it whipped into a firestorm that lit an entire youth group on fire with spiritual fervor that summer. We understood the gospel for the first time and and became dedicated followers of Christ.

When summer ended and our youth director left, we feared that our spiritual light would go with him. We banded together and met to "share scripture" and pray. However, some young people seemed to slip away from walking in the light.

Fast forward thirty-eight years and arrive at my incredible weekend. Thirty of us gathered at the reunion of our youth group. Less than a week before we gathered, someone located the summer youth director through the blessings of the Internet. No one had been in contact with him in over thirty years.

Mingling among the reunion attendees resembled the fellowship we'll experience in heaven. We shared memories but more excitedly we saw the fruit of that one summer-exponentially multiplied through the years. We all agreed that it had been a summer that defined our lives.

Many of those that seemed to be aloof, long ago, to spiritual truth and those that wandered from the faith were the ones who expressed the greatest appreciation for that summer.

The storms of life hit so many over the thirty-eight years. That was when the Word that was planted that summer bore fruit.

There were stories of loss and disappointment and wandering. Stories of God pursuing and remaining faithful in the midst of our journeys. Many of the youth group members chose to become pastors. Many of the children of the youth group members chose to enter the ministry.

Like a single pebble that is dropped in the water--the ripples spread across the surface and bounce back and forth. You could not more predict the pattern of waves than you could grasp the wind.
For more spiritual refreshment visit Spiritual Sundays.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Trust But Verify

Mom, don’t you trust me?” We’ve all heard that.

With two teenagers in my house there is a whole lot of letting go, praying—and did I mention fear—when it comes to releasing them into the world wide web.


For helpful insights visit Trust But Verify at Heart of the Matter {Online}

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Amazing Love

"How can I be sure if I marry that I'll live happily ever after?" one daughter asked.

After losing her first baby early in pregnancy, another daughter learned that she was pregnant again. She confided, "I'm afraid to let myself be happy. What if I lose this baby, too?"

I had to look my daughters each in the eyes and tell them. "You can't guard your heart from pain. Loving someone always opens your heart to the possibility of pain. There are no assurances."

We know, if we walk with God for very long, that we have the theological and Biblical promise that God never leaves us. We know when the storms of life come - and they will - God will help us stand strong.

But it doesn't change the reality and depth of pain in our lives. Love hurts, sometimes. Actually, the blessings of love are usually intermingled with pain. We can be hurt most by those we love the most.

I am thankful for the ultimate love offered to me by God. He bought us all by offering his son on the cross.

"But God showed his great love for us
by sending Christ to die for us
while we were still sinners."
Romans 5:8

He died for us knowing that we were steeped in sin and that even after turning to Him we would turn away at times. We would choose to be unfaithful or deny Him - even after knowing His love.

When Jesus chose his twelve disciples, he knew one would betray him to death - for money. He even knew his name - Judas.

Marriage and parenthood are not assurances for perfect love that never disappoints. Life happens. But, if we close our hearts to the opportunities to love, we close our hearts to great blessings.

No matter what happens in life or what we fear losing, there is one thing we can never lose.

For I am convinced
that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor heavenly rulers,
nor things that are present, nor things to come,
nor powers,
nor height, nor depth,
nor anything else in creation
will be ale to separate us
from the the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:38,39

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Out the Door

With four children ages 2 to 12, getting out the door on time took planning. I didn't realize just how involved my "get out the door" ritual was until I kept a friend's son for the day.

He was an only child. When I gave the first call of "time to go," he took me seriously. I walked through the kitchen five minutes later and found him with shoes and back-pack on, standing by the back door, ready to exit.

"Oh, no! That was just the thirty minute warning!" My kids knew the first call meant: brush your teeth, comb your hair, find your shoes, file through the bathroom and grab a book. The older siblings helped the two-year-old and five-year- old. It was a half hour process.

I told our young guest to have a seat- we weren't leaving for twenty-five minutes. Herding worms out the door and into the van was a little more involved than loading a single boy.

What is your "get out the door" routine? Have you found something that works for your family to help smooth the way? Be sure and share them in the comment section.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Grandbaby - Not a Fetus

"I saw his heart beating!" My daughter called following her first doctor appointment after learning that she is expecting.

How strange that I feel such excitement as the grandmother. It is different than becoming a mother for the first time but still exhilarating. Each new phone call with an update of her growing child thrills me.

I listen to every detail of my daughter's doctor appointment. Just three months before she miscarried her first baby so our joy is sweet and our relief increases with each milestone in this new pregnancy.

"They had so many questions and expected so many decisions." At this first appointment they asked how long she would breastfeed and whether a boy would be circumcised. She expected, vitamins and maybe a baby rattle with the clinic logo, but not the barrage of questions.

Her voice held a catch as she related that the doctor encouraged her to have blood work done to check for "abnormalities." My son-in-law, a medical student, attended this first appointment and asked the purpose for the test.

"To make a decision to terminate the pregnancy."

My daughter was riding high in her emotions until this suggestion was dropped on her.

My son-in-law said, "No, we do not need that test."

He knew that no abnormality would induce them to abort their child - or - terminate the pregnancy.

I remembered that of my four children, I had been encouraged to consider aborting two of them. The advice rolled so easily off the tongue of the medical providers when questions of my health or my child's "perfection" arose. I didn't have an abortion and I have four children - rather healthy - but not perfect. What blessings I would have missed if I had considered "terminating the pregnancy."

Today my daughter called with the news that today's appointment and sonogram showed her baby's arms and legs. "And now he has graduated to a fetus - as opposed to an embryo." This, of course, was according to the doctor.

No way. He or she is my grandbaby-- not a fetus.


I am reminded that my daughter, as a second grader, made her opinion known when she first learned about abortion. Read about it in From the Mouth of Babes.


Visit Spiritual Sundays for more weekend refreshment.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

No Bargain

Crisscrossing the bargain center with my loaded cart, I looked for one more good buy.

I stopped before the laundry detergent. Hmmm- maybe a good price.

Picking up the container I realized why my subconscious sent off the BEWARE alarm. The bottle was only two thirds of a regular-sized container-- for a small discount.

This may have cost less, but it was no bargain.

I'm reading the book, Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. I picked it up at the Bible bookstore next to the bargain center this afternoon. I'm halfway through the book. I wondered if I would finish it in one sitting but now it will have to be two because I have to share what I read. The book is hard to put down.

I offer God the smaller laundry detergent so often in my spiritual walk with Him. I hope He won't notice when I say I'm giving Him everything but I'm really just a pint-sized phony.

The irony is that while God doesn't need us
but still wants us,
we desperately need God
but don't really want Him
most of the time.
He treasures us and anticipates our departure
from this earth to be with Him--
and we wonder, indifferently,
how much we have to do for Him
to get by.
-Francis Chan in Crazy Love

Take a look at this video.

Pictures are worth thousands of words and but even with that number of words we can't describe the vastness of God and His steadfast love for us.

Choosing to live a lukewarm life of faith is no bargain to me or God! I am the one shortchanging myself.

Praying for a holy discontentment toward lukewarm living!

Visit Spiritual Sundays for more spiritual insight.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Who are Your Children's Heroes?

"Do you want your kids to meet a real live Russian missionary couple?"

When my friend called with this offer I had no idea the impact this relationship would have in my child's life.

We went to the meeting in a friend's living room with twelve other children. The young missionary couple had just returned from their honeymoon. The wife was from a nearby town in East Texas and the husband from Russia. They were on their way back to St. Petersburg where they would serve with Campus Crusade for Christ.

The kids sat starry-eyed listening to the missionary couple's story. They all had their AWANA books signed. One of their requirements of the AWANA Bible memory club is to meet a missionary and have them sign a page in their book. I thought we were just getting a requirement fulfilled.

My daughter was only seven at the time. Over the years we kept in contact with the couple. My daughter always took the pictures sent in their letters and pinned them up in her room. On furlough, the Russian missionaries often visited our home and we hosted gatherings to introduce them to other families.

As my daughter entered high school, she wanted to become a missionary. She visited Brazil several times and chose to attend a Christian college where she is training to enter the mission field.

This picture was just sent to me and it says so much. My daughter is the one on the far left. The family in this photo is the missionary couple with their three children.

They are standing in Jerusalem, Israel. My daughter is now the missionary, interning during her senior year at Moody Bible College. The Russian missionary family is
vacationing in Israel--halfway around the world from that first encounter in the East Texas living room and fifteen years later.

Those seeds planted years ago have come to life. My daughter found heroes that inspired her to serve Christ in missions.

Who are your kids' heroes?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Show and Tell - Take Your Dad to School

The women sat absorbed in an intense discussion during our weekday Bible study when the distant knocking began. It neared until a distinct whirring sound filled the classroom, rattling the walls and our eardrums.

Whirling dust blocked the view from the window. We all realized at once that a helicopter hovered overhead. This was not typical for our rural setting.

"This can't be good!" one mom panicked.

We all jumped up to look out the window. A life flight helicopter touched down in our church parking lot. The ladies moved as one to the door; they had to check on their children in the nursery next door.

I stayed and watched through the window as a lone paramedic climbed down from the helicopter and walk to a group of pre-schoolers gathered near the front door of the church. One of the small kids ran forward as the uniformed man stooped to give her a big hug. It was show and tell at the day care center at our church.

One child would definitely never forget this Take Your Dad to School Day for the rest of her life. Her father arrived from the sky to tell about his career as a life flight paramedic. The little girl had something to boast about.

I was reminded that God, my heavenly Dad, goes to work with me everyday. I thought of the pride in the eyes of the little girl who greeted her Daddy before her classmates. My soul makes its boast in the Lord (Psalm 34:2).

Whatever I do throughout my day and wherever I find myself, I can look to my father who is beside me. His arrival is pretty amazing. He makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind (Psalm 103:4).

The little girl jumped up before her classmates confident of the hug from her father. I know God will acknowledge me and receive me (Matthew 10:32).

Show and Tell is everyday in the life of believers.
Visit Spiritual Sundays for more weekend refreshment.

Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Worship?

Is there a difference?

Visit Chuck Colson at Breakpoint as he explains that there is a big difference. The difference is one that we all need to recognize and defend.