Blogging Break

There are a lot of things that can be used for good in this world. One of them is blogging.

But, for reasons best known to Him, God asks us to give up good things. Sometimes forever, sometimes only for a day, sometimes for weeks, months, years.

In the past few years, He has asked me to give Him many, many things: good things and bad ones alike. I’m learning that as I empty myself of–well, myself–He is coming in and filling me up. The odd thing is that I still resist sometimes, even though I’ve seen the blessing of surrender time and time again. (The flesh really hates being killed. Imagine that.)

And, um, it so happens I’ve been resisting this particular thing for a little while now… I sort of “forgot”. You know, the sort of “forgetting” where you don’t want to do something, so you conveniently confuse it with something else and then think, “He didn’t really mean give up that too, cause I already gave up the other thing.”

Well, He did.

(And yes the “thing” is blogging.)

Not forever; at least I don’t think so. But for a season. It may be that I’ll learn quickly and be back in a week… or it may take a month or a year. I don’t really know.

I am sensing that He wants me to stop talking and start listening. I have a tendency to sort-of learn something and then rush off to blog about it or talk about it or whatever–instead of really letting God work it into my character. He wants to empty me of my words and fill me with His. And since He is unfathomably more than I, that is probably a good idea. (probably meaning, “duh”.)

I’ll still be writing, I’m sure, since that is just how I process. But it will be between me and God, for now. Until my heart is ready…

Thank you for understanding. Prayers appreciated. πŸ™‚

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Read S.l.o.w.l.y.

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 1 Peter 1:18-19

Amazed? Thankful? I am…

Announcing…

Tweedia Tuesdays! One of our Bright Lights girls, Nichole, has started a blog!

And I’m very excited about it (obviously) and it would be splendid if you’d go over and comment and follow and all that nice stuff. Right. now. πŸ˜€ (As Esther says, only it’s much cuter when she does it…) Thank you!

Grace, Faith, Surrender, and Me.

It’s funny… well, maybe not funny. More like odd.

I keep telling God how weak I am and how I can’t do anything right and how much sin is still left and all of that.

And He’s like, that’s the point.

Grace isn’t about me. It’s about Him, doing it all. It’s about me, imperfect, weak, stumbling me, being cleansed and used gloriously by Him. It’s about Christ in me, and I in Him. It’s about emptying myself of everything, good and bad, and letting the Holy Spirit take over.

So simple.

Why don’t I just do it? Why don’t I just let Him live through me all the time?

Sometimes I do–I remember one time on the J127 trip when we were going to redo a yard with a bunch of other people. It was a complete mess. And I remember saying to God, okay, if this is what you want Your hands and feet to do, this is what they will do. And I had an amazing time. I worked HARD for 7 plus hours–so much so that at least three people complimented me on being a hard worker. (This may possibly have stemmed from their surprise that a girl wearing a skirt and what looked like dress shoes could carry 40 lb stones and rip out roots and such. Ahem.) But it wasn’t me, not really. I’m really not a hard worker. I’m actually quite lazy, by default. And it was so wonderful to be used by God like that. Sure, I still got really dirty and sore–but it was such a blessing at the same time.

And I wish that was how it always is–but it just isn’t like that. Why not?

Pride. Stupid, ugly, destructive pride. If it’s all Him, then it’s none of me. I don’t get any credit, I don’t get any glory. If it’s all grace and not works that earn salvation–if it’s surrender to God and letting Him fight through and for me and not even having my own sword (David didn’t)–if it’s all Him living through me and not me living for Him–then it’s all Him and I can’t get any praise.

But I don’t even want praise, not really. I know He deserves it all, and I deserve none. Not of myself.

Sure, He made me and He made good things in me–but I use them wrongly, when it’s me in charge. When the gifts aren’t surrendered and I try to wield that too-big sword on my own, I just muddle everything. And I know that. So I surrender, time and time again. Or at least I try. I try really hard.

But it’s still so hard.

Or is it?

Maybe I just make it hard. Maybe it’s not about trying. Maybe it really is just faith–believing that He really means it when He says that He is in us and we are in Him. Maybe it isn’t about trying hard to surrender–maybe it’s about believing that He will take and keep what I have given to Him. Maybe it’s about trusting that I died and now Christ lives in me.

Oh, Lord, I believe–please help my unbelief.

I’ve Been Tagged!

My friend Victoria of J127 fame tagged me! (I’ve never been tagged before [in the bloggy world, I’ve been tagged plenty in the non-blog world], so this is a new experience. I’m assuming that either: a. None of my other bloggy friends have been tagged before either or b. They all thought I was too serious to tag. But Victoria was tagged and knows me better than most. :D)

1. Sports Car or Pick-up Truck?
Truck. Much more practical…

2. If your house was on fire and you could only save one thing, what would you save?
Um… either letters or journals. It would be really hard to choose.

3. What is your favorite sport?
Probably basketball. I don’t really know why, but I’m fairly decent at it.

4. How often do you use the word “Like”?
More than I’d like. (See?)

5.Have you even been out of the country?
Unfortunately I have not. At least not yet. I’m planning on getting my passport this year, though, and we’ll see what God does from there.

6. If so, where?
I guess I don’t have to answer this one…

7. Are you on Facebook?
Sort of… at the moment I’m taking a break from it. I put up a good long fight before I actually joined, though… I haven’t even been on a year. Both my grandmothers and one of my grandfathers were on before me, so yeah.

8. Do you have a job?
I work part time for our family’s tile store, part time at home (which is everything from cooking to organizing to first aid to breaking up fights.), and full time for God. (that isn’t to say I always remember that full time…)

9. Pizza or Ice Cream?
Ice cream. Pizza and I don’t get along well.

10. Hunting or Fishing?
Haven’t really done either one… Technically I’ve helped fish, but that included getting a hook stuck in my braid and also going in a muddy canal (that also has been known to have gators) to get a hook unstuck.

11. Β What is the best movie you have seen this year (doesn’t matter if it is new)?
Um… Maybe the Avengers? I don’t really know how to pick “best”. Plus I can’t really think of any other movies right now, so yeah.

Victoria’s Question 12: if you could control any of the elements (fire, water, earth, air) which would it be?Β 

That is a very interesting question. Air, I think. I love wind…

My question: Have you ever gone camping, and if so, what was one memorable occurrence?

I tag… Ada and Victoria (my awesome cousin, not the (also awesome) J127 Victoria.). (I would tag you, Rebeka, except you wouldn’t do it. But if by some strange impulse you want to do it, you can.)

P.S. We are leaving to go camping in minutes, hence my last question. πŸ˜›

Reckon on Surrender

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Begin to believe, and hold on to it steadfastly, that He has taken that which you have surrendered to Him. You positively must not wait to feel either that you have given yourself, or that God has taken you. You must simply believe it, and reckon it to be the case.

–Hannah Whitall Smith, “A Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life”

(quoted in “Grace for the Good Girl”)

Sacrifice

On my J127 trip, I visited a Compassion International booth at a mom’s conference we went to. There were so many beautiful pictures of little faces. I had considered sponsoring a child before, and I finally felt like the time was right.

Why? Because I knew how much money I was making every month. It wasn’t much, but I would share the cost with my sister who also had a reliable monthly income, and it would only be $19 per month for each of us ($38 total). It was brilliant. The only thing now was to choose which child to sponsor.

I had no clue how one does this, so I just looked and looked. And that night, I prayed. One particular girl’s picture kept coming to mind, so I figured I would go with her. Her name was Ruth, she was four, and she had a blue shawl thing wrapped around her and pinned with an enormous safety pin.

So I went home with this nice little packet.

And I found out that I no longer had a reliable monthly income. (Welcome to family business…)

In spite of the fact that I had just trusted God to provide $3,000 (and watched Him come through gloriously), I still sometimes doubted that He could provide that little bit needed monthly. I would get all stressed out--it’s the day before, and no money. And, of course, money would come.

And I laugh to myself, because isn’t that just how God is?

He wants us to learn to rely on Him. Not on money, not on ourselves, not on anything of this world. Just Him.

Here I was, thinking I’m this rich white lady going to help this poor struggling family–and then I come to find out that I, myself, am poor and helpless. I can’t even guarantee that I will have $38 in the bank on time.

I need Him just as badly as they do.

I thought I was going to be doing this thing in my own strength. I didn’t think it would require much sacrifice. And it hasn’t, not really. Not compared with what HE did. Still, though, it required much more than I anticipated. And I’m so glad.

It’s not the money we need so much as it is the faith in God. Here they are trusting God to provide through me–and here I am, having to trust God to provide for them through me. And He is.

I got a rather large sum of money recently (for me…), and I divided it all up into nice little sections and promptly spent it all. Books, savings (Well that wasn’t spent, but anyways.), clothes for me, the money for Ruth, decorations for the store, and so forth. But there was still some extra, in the bank.

I got an email from Voice of the Martyrs. People wanted–needed–Bibles. $30 could buy and send 5 Bibles, they said. They knew the names of these folks who wanted Bibles. And I was ready to just move on…. but then I thought, hey, how much money do I have anyways? So I checked. I had $68.58. Guess what that meant? I had exactly enough (well, I had .58 to spare) to send 5 Bibles and sponsor Ruth that month.

Well.

So I did it. And I got this nice little paper in the mail–with five names. I can’t even pronounce them. But they are real people, who really have a Bible now. Because… I made a sacrifice.

Such a slight one.

It’s almost unbearable, how slight it was. Some of these people might die. Because of that book. And all I did was take out my card, punch in the numbers, and decrease my bank account by a mere $30.

It’s a start. It’s the beginning of something I want to be marked out by. But I don’t want to be alone. This is something we all are called to, dear brothers and sisters.

A life of sacrifice.

Think of the One we follow. Who has sacrificed more than this Jesus Christ? He gave up heaven. He gave up His life. He gave up His reputation. Everything.

But guess what?

He also gained everything. We’ve got to remember that.

It isn’t just sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, forever and ever amen.

It’s sacrifice everything down here, to gain everything up there.

On Broken Hearts

There’s so much I want to say. . .

* sits quietly *

But it’s the sort of thing that is best expressed with tears, intermingled with whispers of, “Oh, God.”

There’s so much hurt. Not just in my heart, but in the church as a whole. And it breaks His heart.

And it’s starting to break mine.

There’s a song that says, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours.”

And I don’t think many people mean it.

I do.

I do, and I’m praying many more people will start meaning it too.

The church has way too many whiners and not near enough weepers.

Think about it–when was the last time you sobbed over the lack of holiness and unity in the church? When was the last time you cried and cried because there are little girls who are being sold and horrifically mistreated? When was the last time that you sat still and tears slid down fast as you realized that there are babies starving to death? When was the last time that you cried in anger at the way the enemy is deceiving our young people and luring them into his traps? When was the last time you let yourself be broken for the pain of others? When was the last time you cried out desperately to God to intervene on behalf of the helpless? When was the last time you stood in the place of intercession–when you not only prayed for others, but felt and carried their pain?

Oh, for a church of broken, interceding hearts!

One Week

Wednesday, April 3rd. Settlers of Catan, plus various home things. (not pictured)

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Thursday, April 4th. Boarded the Nina and Pinta. (Plus Esther and Josiah shared earbuds.)

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Friday, April 5th. Blocks, dominoes, candles, dice, gardening, Red-Winged Black birds, Nostpinning (Emily),

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Saturday, April 6th. Family Conference at HisRanch. Tons of very energetic children to organize.

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Sunday, April 7th. Church, Fellowship meal (no pictures, sorry), Tampa with Cousins!!

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Monday, April 8th. Work, Bright Lights, crazy happy girls.

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Tuesday, April 9th. Sunrises, 360 degree turns on the highway (ask for the story, and sorry no pictures.), Schluter training, hands-on, yummy food.

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Wednesday, April 10th. More sunrise pictures, more yummy food, more Schluter training, no 360 on the highway, take down, rain on the way home.

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And that, folks, was my week. I’d like to say that was unusually busy, and I guess it was. But not by much. πŸ˜› And that may, perhaps, explain my lack of posting this week. There were other things, too. It wasn’t that I wasn’t thinking (because I can never remember a time when I didn’t think.), but more that I’m developing some new-ish thoughts, and old ones are growing deeper. So… more blog posts coming up! πŸ™‚