Saturday, September 27, 2008

God's love

The subject of God's love is one that could fill pages upon pages and still only scratch the surface of it's reality.

I have struggled to grasp His love for me at times. In fact at one time, the reality of it was totally eclipsed from my perspective. Of course His love never fails, that is why I say "my perspective". I was blind to Love's reality for me. I knew in my head, but my heart doubted. I was looking at me and my unworthiness and failure instead of Him and His truth.

That is a tactic of the enemy. I fell for it through a series of circumstances-hook, line and sinker.

The love of God had carried me through alot since my conversion in 1989...moving, financial hardship, my 6 week old baby having surgery, the separation of my parents for a few months, my husband without work, moving again, being homeless (living in a friend's basement), changing churches, rejection by friends and family at times. After 10 years of living in His love, of reveling in Him, suddenly...

I was tripped by old lies, and a wrong focus. Circumstances mounted around me and within me, and I fell from grace. When I was in the deep-deep dark, I couldn't grasp that God loved me there. I believed I had committed the unpardonable sin. I had death breathing down my neck...except for a thread... the precious promises for me in God's word. Faintly heard, but believed enough by me to keep me afloat in my faith so that it wasn't ultimately shipwrecked.

There was the essence of the love of God. The tangible proof that He had indeed not left or forsaken me. I was tormented by the enemy, but the promises of God sustained me and brought me through. When it was shouted at me, "You have no faith!!!" The word of God stood in my heart saying, "if we are faithless, He will remain faithful for He cannot disown Himself." 2 Tim 2:13

When I was taunted, "Your kids are going to be wounded deeply because you are a failure as a mom!" the word of God ministered to me..."He will restore what the locusts have eaten."
Joel 2:25

Can anyone understand how much I love Him after such merciful deliverance? Has anyone been so humbled by His love as an unbelieving believer-redeemed? How could He forgive me for being faithless? I was (in my mind at least) the greatest disappointment to Him that ever crawled on the face of the earth. And still...His love embraced me.

Agape. know the love that passes knowledge-

  • this love that causes one to throw all else to the wind...
  • this love that compels one to do things that seem foolish to those who don't understand...
  • this love that died on a cross to redeem us from the curse...

this love...

that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:19)

  • this love that enables one to endure torturous things...
  • this love that compels one to suffer anything rather than lose it...
  • this love that arrests one's soul to the point of willingness to die...

Amazing love, how can it be? He died to save a wretch like me...

I am on a quest for more, I want to know the length, the height, the breadth, and the depth. I say, "Show me your glory, Lord! I want to know you more!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Change...Newness of life.

It was the end of 2006 when I closed my one year Bible, and a thought came to me that seemed so simple and yet so profound...Every ending is another new beginning. After having lost so many loved ones in the preceding years, I had experienced many endings.
And they had all experienced new beginnings...eternity.
I am thankful for:
  • the new season we are in...autumn and it's beauty!
  • a new heart...that God is still working on me and changing it to be more like His!
  • my new is a blessing to be able to use it anywhere!
  • God's new mercies every matter what happened yesterday-it is past!
  • the daily "news" fresh laundry, good food, a full gas tank...!
  • my new baby sister is a new mom today!! Congrats, Steph!
  • a new perspective on an old issue...I delight in the Light!
  • a new part for our furnace...let there be heat!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Autumn @ Bittersweet Farm

This country of ours is sooo beautiful. I think (without alot of bias) that we live in an exceptionally beautiful area with trees turning shades of amber, burnt orange, crimson and brown... We have rolling hills, rivers, rocky cliffs, lakes, and streams. Natural wonders all around us. From time to time we spot black bear, deer, turkeys, pheasants, opossums, raccoons (usually you see them along the road if you know what I mean) skunks (I don't like seeing them along the road-if you know what I mean).

Most of the photos I have posted are from my yard (above is our chicken coop), a friend's yard, or vacation (Kayla took the one at the top of my blog while we were pontooning on the Dead River in the U.P.).

October 7-16, 2003. We flew into Boston, and toured the city. It is rich with history, and exceptionally beautiful in the fall. Then we drove up and toured the state of New Hampshire . You can do the whole state in a week! We drove along winding streams, hunted for covered bridges, and rode a tram up into the White Mountains. The time we spent there was peak week for leaf peeping (a New England term we learned that fall) with sunnyand 70 degree days for all but one of them. There are more Maples in NH than in WI so the colors were more spectacular than we had ever seen. We all want to go back again.

If you ever get a chance to visit New England-do! If you ever get a chance to visit WI, you won't be disappointed! What are your recommendations?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I just had to share a picture of my boys... we had one heckuva football game on Friday.

I had prayed for two things. My parents were coming for the first time to watch Ethan play. Their team had been defeated badly the previous two games. I prayed that Ethan would be playing (it's been off and on) and that he would do his best.

What God gave was exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ask or imagine...The night was beautiful. We didn't even need the blankets (for the first time this season!) The game was evenly matched. No score the first half...but my dad was sooo getting into the game it tickled me to no end! I have not had so much fun with my parents for a long time. (I was sitting between them) My mom was really into it too, asking "where's the ball?...what happened?"

We ended up winning 17-14. All the way home we enthusiastically talked football. I have not been in such a fervor over anything for a long time (except prayer-have you noticed?) My boy played the whole game (defensive tackle) and he played good. I kept hearing his name from the announcer-that is how I know...jk...I know a little now about football.

What think I never got into football until my kids played (yes, Kayla was quarterback in 7th grade flag-football-and that is another story for another day!)

And Your Joy Will Be Complete

I keep talking about it. I cannot say enough about prayer it seems. Our church is doing 40 days of prayer by Alvin Vandergriend. Our sermons on Sunday cover the week ahead. Our small groups are going through it, and our family is doing the devotional daily. We are learning so much and I am seeing the Lord bring change already. And the answered prayer reported! Amazing! Following are a few of mine...

My sister called me with a request on Saturday morning. She was in tears. Her daughter's friend (17yrs old) was in an induced coma because he had fluid building up in his lungs and they had to test him. They had no idea what was going on. I went right to prayer with her, claiming the promises of God. He is Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals. Yesterday (Monday) she called me in the morning to tell me they were taking him out of the coma, and reduced his diagnosis from critical to stable. Praise the Lord!

My best friend's daughter is in Teen Challenge, and on Sunday she informed her mom that she wanted to come home. Several times during her stay since January, she has talked about leaving the program...then we pray, and our faithful God does something that causes her to change her mind. So once again we went to prayer. This morning she told me that He did it again!!! Praise the Lord!

What a great God we serve. We pray according to His will and it will be done! Ask, recieve, joy!

My girl and her boyfriend decided to start their own small group, so we had five teens in our home on Sunday. My heart was so blessed. I love having the house filled with joy and laughter. This too was an answer to prayer. My kids studying God's word together, and praying together. The next morning, Ethan prayed that God would help him be on fire for the Lord. Did I hear an echo? I have prayed for that very thing.

Amazing, Magnificent, Holy Father...I am in awe. Praise You!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Writers group

I was asked by my She Speaks roommate to join their writer's group since they had a couple of women that needed to step out. I decided to give it a try. I love to journals, as a response to something emotional, or pressing or praising. It is an outlet for me, putting thoughts on paper "orders" them in my mind so I can see clearly my thoughts as a whole.

Thoughts are similar to parts for a building; 2x4's, nails, shingles... getting them on paper is like seeing the building completed.

I am excited about this now that I received my first bit of feedback. I can see how helpful it will be in learning. I also have very much enjoyed reading the two that have been sent to me.

So I am wondering...Lord, where is this going to lead?

Isn't the mystery of God's plan exciting? I mean, He knows from the day He thinks us up what His purpose for each one of us is. We walk along with Him, growing and learning, and surrendering and He uses us for His purpose.

I have always loved the story of Joseph for this reason. Imagining myself in his shoes, enduring with integrity all of the injustices he suffered. Or I have imagined myself in Jacob's shoes, not knowing all the time that my son was alive and God had this amazing plan...All the anxiety he suffered...the loss he grieved. What was the moment really like when it all came together? We get a glimpse when we read of the deep emotion Joseph experienced in his reunion with his brothers.

Now that I consider this story and all it means to me, I am grateful for the gift of writing that the Lord gave us to use as a reflection of His creativity. He was the first writer!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The Lord is my peace.

For one who is prone to anxiety like myself, peace is a treasure. I think the Lord has accomplished a milestone in my life as I have been experiencing peace- pure, restful peace.

Part of my transformation comes from more revelation of who He is. That gives me peace. Part of it is HIM showing Himself faithful in answering prayers. I have seen His hand at work so magnificently the past several years, I am warmed to the core when I think about His marvelous works! The radical change is in my prayer life. I have been learning-deeply learning- about prayer. I am overcoming prayerlessness in areas where I was "responsible" before.

I recall a few years back when the Lord was getting my attention on this...My husb. and son were having a conflict. My usual response was to get in and try to fix it (I am a woman-fixing relationship problems is my job -right?) This time, I was sitting behind the scene and turned my eyes toward Jesus. I said, "Lord, please help them to sort this out."

Do you know that it only took a matter of seconds and the entire atmosphere of the living room was changed!! I witnessed a miracle right before my eyes (and that right after the one that took place in my heart!) Well, you can bet that experience encouraged my shift of responsibility off of me and onto One who was able.

Since I am still "woman" I am still learnin', but three cheers for the One who is refiner and former of this clay lump called "me".

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I am reminded suddenly of the song I sang way back when with my kids..."He's still workin' on me, making me what He wants me to be...took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, the sun and the earth and jupiter and mars. How loving and faithful He must be...He's still workin' on me."


Monday, September 15, 2008


It was a beautiful sunny day for a drive into the cities. I went the windy way through the countryside, past our old neighborhood. Memories had been triggered on Saturday when a gal came into the shop who used to babysit our friend's children (from our old neighborhood). I had never met her before, but it sure was fun to reminisce.

We had a big old house for those four years. We were very "house poor" due to medical bills from Ethan's birth and surgery. On top of which, my d.h. quit his job to go into business for himself, and business was scarce. So we struggled those years. My friend used to come over on her lawnmower to help me mow the lawn. I usually push-mowed an acre. She had to drive her riding lawn mower at least a mile to help me. I was so humbled and grateful for her act of kindness.

She also would bring me bags of fruit from her grocery shopping trips.

I had another friend who would pass on clothes for Kayla. When I think back to that time, I am so grateful for how the Lord sustained us. And as hard as it was having "more month than money" as my husband used to say...we have such fond memories from that time.

Though we were over an hour from relatives, God graciously gave us a babysitter next door who always insisted on doing it for free. Not that we ever went out alot, but when I went into labor with Ethan, and Dale worked an hour away, she came and her mom took me into the hospital.

My car broke down during that time too. We couldn't afford another. The Lord provided a friend who used to pick me up on Tues. once a month for M.O.P.S. so I could get out with other moms.

How I treasure those memories. I will never forget the strain we felt having so little money, but now the joys outweigh the difficulty of that time.

Today I splurged on myself. I have been saving for 6 months for a laptop. I finally had enough to go out and get one. Oh, how richly the Lord has blessed us! Jehovah Jireh, our provider...Whether it is financially or with provision through His servants, it makes my heart humbly grateful!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I fall down, He lifts me up

Tuesday morning, sunshine, bright blue skies, crisp air and quiet time before I headed out to run some errands.

I had a giddy son who had been working on an S10-pickup for 3 years, who had just gotten it road-ready. He purchased his little truck when he was 13 from ebay. Over the course of said time, he disassembled it-ALL OF IT, like the box, the cab, the dash, the motor- everything was taken apart and put back together. I'm tellin' you, his glee blessed my heart-you know how that is?

Now I had the motherly privilege of being a part of his little dream, part of which was taking in his tire to get fixed. He loaded it in the back of my Tahoe the night before, and asked me with such a grin, I felt privileged to do the task for him. I also had the title, checkbook, and $10 for the fees of switching the title and getting him his new license plates.

So, I dropped off the tire and proceeded to the police department which has recently moved to a new location. I parked the Tahoe, walked around another vehicle and bee-lined for the door completely blind to the fact there was a curb between me and said door...I clipped it with my toe, and went sailin'. I tried to catch my fall (which I am sure looked amazing!) but landed with a thud on my hip after scraping my palm, knuckles, elbow, and knee.

Guess what the first thing I did was...yep, look to see if anyone saw me. I guess the Lord was keeping me from humiliation, though I took note that He didn't keep me from falling... I was grateful (about the not being humiliated part) and as I went into the police station and bemoaned my trial to the officer, she looked at me with little sympathy and said, "Well, at least you are not hurt."

Huh? I wanted to cry.

And no, I am not mad at God! I know that I fell because I had my sunglasses on and the glare happened to inhibit my peripheral, that is why I missed-well- didn't see the curb.

The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145:14

My scrapes and bruises prevented me from sleeping well. I got to thinking about "falls". How we trip over something unforseen, and it affects our life in the daily ways, and yet, with Jesus, there is always healing. The wonderful redeeming love of our God comes in and works it all out for good.

What good came from my fall? Humility perhaps, percieving my frailty.

I trip often. In a spiritual sense. I trip over my tongue and hurt someone's feelings, or disrespect my husband. Or I forget to fulfill a promise, or I lack trust in an area and step in to fix it myself and make a mess. Everytime I confess (bow down), He picks me up. He upholds me when I fall.

Praise you Lord, for your redeeming love that upholds me and picks me up when I bow down! For little life-lessons learned, for always working on me, making me more like you.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


When I read "Captivating" on vacation a couple of weeks ago, I learned the deep and profound significance of beauty. I have never contemplated it before, but I was delighted to read how valuable beauty is to God. I am a visual learner. If you have ever heard about learning styles...some learn through experience, some hearing, and some-like me, observing.

I love things looking beautiful and orderly. I want my yard and garden to be pretty. Discheveled places cause me to feel depressed.

As I was reading about God's beauty, His creation, and how it allures us to Him. I found myself meditating on how we desire to interact with beauty. When I see the sunlight dancing on the water, I can sit near it and enjoy it, but there is something in me that longs for more. Or when I see the clouds I long to touch them or experience closer contact with them somehow. When I see a beautiful garden, I want to walk through it, inhale the fragrance, take photos. When I see a baby I long to hold them and kiss their cheeks! When my inlaws used to raise sheep and they would have their babies, I would want to hold them. Of course all they wanted to do was play "king of the hill" with each other, but it was beautiful to watch them.

One of the most beautiful things in life, after meeting Jesus and knowing His love, is the family of God loving one another. When I read stories on blogs of the hands and feet of Jesus, I am allured by His beauty in my sisters in Christ. Tonight I read this by Genny about Jesus prompting her to visit a stranger. Beautiful.

Our small group met together tonight. We interacted. We ate (of course:)), we went out on the pontoon, and pulled the boys around (girls get too cold this time of year!). Some of them went jet skiing. The girls later put on a magic show for us. We prayed together. Sharing life and joy and pain all with thanksgiving and hope...Beautiful!!

Just curious...what part of God's beauty allures you? When do you long to interact with God's beauty? Do you have a beautiful story?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gleanings on Prayer

I learned a new word today. Importunity. It means: annoyingly persistent in asking or demanding.

EM Bounds, using the stories and parables from the gospels, points to the Lord responding to our importunity.

There is the parable of the widow who presses her case till the unjust judge yields.

There is the story of the Syrophoenician woman who came to Jesus on her daughter's behalf with the "persuasive characteristics of humility, sincerity and fervency". Her longing and perseverance disregarded the disciples' attempt to stop her, and pressed into Jesus, who seemed to ignore her pleas until she fell at His feet and He answered her prayer there. (In fact their attempt to turn her away only made her press harder; become more zealous to come before Him!) What mother's heart cannot relate to that?

Then the story of the man who went to his friend and asked for bread, his friend said no, as he was already in bed. But the man pressed his plea. He persisted until he got what he wanted.

I never noticed this pattern of Jesus before, but he seemed to "ignore" initial pleas from persons seeking things at first, and as they pressed in, or their voice got louder He responded to their faith and determination. Almost as if He is testing, asking, "how bad do you want it? Do you really KNOW ME and BELIEVE ME?"

In these few pages, the adjectives used in describing powerful, answered prayer were:
*Restless desire, restful patience. (meditate on that!!)
*Quiet, tenacious, urgent, yearning, solicitous.
*Outspoken, fervent, effectual.
*Fire- shining with a vigorous steady glow.
*Insistent, persevering, intense and prevailing.

Here are a few quotes:
"A persistent spirit brings a man to the place where faith takes hold, claims and appropriates the blessing."

"Fire is the life of prayer, and heaven is reached by flaming importunity rising in an ascending scale."

"Hopeful, urgent, and unwearied, she stays near the master, insisting and praying until the answer is given."

My thoughts ran to times when my daughter was wanting, and perhaps complaining, and I encouraged her, "ask!-ask your dad." She has become very good at it now!

Then to all the times that both my children have asked me for something. The "no's" become harder as they persist in their asking. But my parent's heart was somehow satisfied in the pleasure of the giving (in) because they showed me trust in their persistence.

Think of the times in church on Sunday when the kids come asking to go to their friend's house...sometimes begging. We ended up making a blanket rule for that one; unless they made their plans the night before, the answer was "no", because we CAVED to the on-the-spot asking with such fervency...

Oh wise and loving God, thank you for such treasures in your word. That it blesses your heart when we prove our faith and trust in you by pressing in for the blessing we desire. You are good, and your resources are unlimited. Help us to become fervent and to be importunate in our prayers. To ask, to seek and to knock-as you promise we will receive, find, and the door will be opened. All in the Name of our Savior Jesus! Amen.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

God's favor

As I attended a meeting Monday night with Pastor, Mrs Pastor and a few others to plan our fall focus on prayer, I was so aware of the Lord's favor on our pursuit. He wants His house to be a house of prayer!

How I am coming to realize the greatest hindrance to faithful worship, or growth, or victory is prayerlessness. We are so stunted in our understanding of prayer it seems. There is so much to learn at the feet of Jesus. There is so much fulfullment, so much nourishment, such abundance untapped when we fail to come to Him.

I started a book by EM Bounds. The intro states that he rose @ 4am and prayed daily until 7am. Three hours with the Lord every day!! As I read his meditations, I am awed at the depth of his thoughts. His understanding of the grace of prayer is profound. He speaks of the relationship between faith and prayer; trust and prayer; longing, and desire and attentiveness to prayer.

When I think about the victories and the failures in my life and the lives of my loved ones, I can see the result of prayer or prayerlessness. Whenever I hear of or observe a victory, I know, I KNOW that prayer is behind it! Whenever I see a mess, I understand the need to pray.

A story a young woman told at a confrence I attended was of her growing up as a good PK (pastor's kid) and then going off to a Christian college, but becoming entangled with the world. She ended up pregnant and ashamed to tell her parents, so she was going to get an abortion. She was on her way, when she described the Holy Spirit spoke to her and she turned around. Out of desperation then, she went to her parents who, of course embraced her. When she told her story, I looked at my mom who was with me, and declared, "She had a praying mom!" My spirit confirmed it. I knew it to be true! She is now working with crisis pregnancy center. God...mmmm...working all for good! Redeemer, Restorer, Rescuer...chooses to work through or prayers.

His favor is on His children when we pray.

Even them I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of house shall be called a house of prayer. Isaiah 56:7