Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bringing God Joy and A Lesson From My Boy

I have always felt being a parent gives me a considerable advantage to understanding God's heart. My understanding increases as I think on the similarities of my feelings and His. This week of vacation held several parallels, but the one that stands out is our bike trip yesterday...
My husband Dale has been planning for this adventure for several months. If his computer is open, there is a tab that says, "Craig's List". Our baby boy Ethan {I know he loves that title} turned 20 this month. We wanted to give him and his friend a trip to Florida. Dale has been working for nearly four months on having all we needed at a good price. Cheap. :) 

He brought our two bikes down in December anticipating me joining him several times during his time in the South, but he wanted the boys to have bikes, and found a pair on Craig's List. Very basic bikes, not like our mountain bikes. At all. 

After a 40 minute drive to the trail head, we unloaded our bikes and were tooling around the truck before heading onto the trail. In his amuse-me boyish manner, Ethan said, "Look Mom, Dad got me a freestyle bike!" To model this, he jumped up with both wheels airborne, and upon landing, his rear wheel instantly disfigured. 
Similar to this photo... 
My immediate mom-response was, "take my bike, I will go find something to do in town." {Gainesville has a plethora of shops!}. Never in a million years would I have thought to try to straighten the wheel, nor did I think he would be able to do it. But that is what he did. Honestly. He somehow "untwisted" it and we proceeded to navigate our way through the mountain-bike trail. Every time we hit a large root, I anticipated his "weak" wheel collapsing. But it never did. Eight miles of bumps, twists, ruts and roots and the bike made it all the way.

How can I express the "wonder" I held in my heart at how enterprising my boy was? {And all the moms are with me on that, I know!} Seeing both of the boys navigate the single-track trail on inferior bikes made a lasting impression on me. They were NOT mountain bikes. They were like the bikes I learned on 'eons' ago and would never have attempted to ride in the meadow much less the mountain. {Not that there are mountains in Florida, but when you are biking up an incline, it feels like a mountain .} 

On our way back home, I was thanking God for this miracle of being able to participate in this adventure, and that I have a son who is not deterred by a mangled bike tire 

And I got yet another glimpse of His love for our acts prompted by faith. The "press on" attitude and creativity that we use gives Him pleasure. Don't you love that?

Afterward photo...My amusing boy on the left...his amusing friend on the right.  
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
We can know that God takes pleasure in us when we take steps of faith in our adventure with Him, and not let a "twisted wheel" deter or determine the ground we take. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Marcia @ the Guard Shack and They've Got Our Back

It is my third visit to Florida since my husband left Wisconsin December 5th to construct banana rooms for Target. "WHAT is a banana room?" It is a room where the bananas are ripened before they are shipped out to Target stores around the country. Yes, it is simply as the name conveys! They unload the semi's here, ripen or refrigerate the produce, and then ship it out to their stores across the country.

Marcia works at the "guard shack". It's what they call the small building that houses the guards that see to the security of everything entering and leaving the Target warehouse. Target is big on security and very neat and orderly.   

Marcia has to give me "the nod" when I take Farmer Dale (the nickname given him by his co-workers) to work before heading over to Starbucks for the day where I hang with my computer and my cup. There is a shopping mall here, but I try to refrain from spending too much time there for $pecific reason$. 

The warehouse sees a plethora of semi trucks daily. The speed limit all around the warehouse is 15mph. Have you ever gone 15mph? It is HARD to go that slow! But when I realize how easy it is to be in their blind-spot, it isn't as difficult do the hard thing... 
Noticing Marcia with her clipboard and a long line of truck drivers waiting her approval so they could relinquish their loads, once again I found myself contemplating how many different people and positions it takes to make our world go around. Traveling almost always prompts this thinking in me as I send "thank you's" up to God for all builders, mechanics and fliers of planes. I marvel every time{!} at the large hunk of metal that carries me over land, over clouds and safely lands {THANK YOU's again!} within a few short hours verses many long ones on the road.

The Radiation Doctor from Mayo Clinic that I had the joy of chatting with on above mentioned flight asked me why security was so tight at Target. I really wasn't sure how to answer that, but felt thankful that they are. Security precautions are for safety, and I like safe. A lot. Especially when I am flying in a smaller plane and we hit turbulence. I like to know that God watches over me. And I'm thankful He has people like Marcia in place who enjoy their jobs...and airplane mechanics, and pilots and medical Doctors. 

Psalm 121:7-8  
5 The LORD watches over you— 
   the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
   nor the moon by night.
 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
   he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
   both now and forevermore.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why A Snake and Jesus?

Francis Frangipane says this: "Complaining invites the devil" while teaching about the Israelites during their wanderings in the desert. Continually we read about their grumblings against Moses. His response was to hit the dirt face-down and plead with God. (Numbers 20:6) I love his response because I do that sometimes. When I have no answers; when I am desperate, I go to my office (it's the only room with carpet!) and go face-down and cry out to God. He really does come and meet me there, I have almost always come away with peace and an answer from Him. 

In Numbers 21:4-5, the people grumbled and God was fed up with them so He sent venomous snakes among them. The snakes bit the people and many died. They repented and asked Moses to pray to God for them. God told Moses to make a snake and lift it high on a pole, then when one was bitten, if they looked at the snake they would live. (Numbers 21:8-9).

While reading this in years past and again today, I questioned the snake on the pole and the New Testament referral to the incident in John 3:14-16. Why a snake? It has always bothered me for obvious reasons. Satan appeared to Eve as a sssssnake. 

So I asked the Lord about it, and he directed me to someone more learned than I and I share the article with you here: (I love revelation of truth via any vehicle God chooses to use!)  If you have ever questioned this story, then you will enjoy the light Mr Balmer brings to the story. (Not a long read, and easy to comprehend!)
Jesus and the Serpent

Please share any thoughts by commenting below...and enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Moving the Tents

This tent took some effort to put up.
My husband and the father of the groom helped the two men
that brought it out to the farm. Us girls helped too. :)
It probably took two hours and then stringing the lights took
two more. After that, we installed the dance floor, set up tables,
added the chairs, table cloths, decorations, etc.

I thought of this effort this morning while I was reading about
Israel moving their tents every time the cloud moved.
Sometimes they only camped for one day.
Imagine it....all those people, all their belongings,
tents, clumsy cows, sheep, and donkeys.

Sometimes things can feel heavy. We can feel as if our jobs,
our lives, our tasks, our responsibilities are a burden. As I read
through the book of Numbers and consider all the sacrifices
with blood, guts, and fires, along with
the task of uprooting, and re-setting up camp, I realize that
life is simply difficult sometimes. We can feel weary of the daily
"to do" list, the laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning, taking out
the garbage, making beds. 

I mostly enjoy my tasks, but for the times when I start to feel
drained, I will remember Israel's crowds moving across the desert:

Numbers 9:15-23
On the day the tabernacle, the Tent of the Testimony, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the LORD’s command they encamped, and at the LORD’s command they set out. They obeyed the LORD’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.