A Journey of Faith

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Waiting Patiently

The two littlest ducklings and I went to a work day at 'our' camp yesterday. As I was walking to the porch on the rec hall I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, so I slowed down to investigate. There were four (possibly 5) little baby groundhogs!!! Of course anything baby gets my attention, but I love watching baby animals. They just have so little apprehension when it comes to anything that doesn't threaten them. Before lunch I had a few free minutes, so I just sat down about 6 feet from their 'home' and waited. Before long I was rewarded for my patience with the sight of their cute little noses poking out to smell for danger. I guess I wasn't scary, because they slowly inched their way out, until one was close enough I could have reached out and grabbed it for a quick cuddle (nope, I didn't, wasn't sure where Mama was). As long as I was patient, and still, they were content to come out of hiding and enjoy a meal of grass and whatever that plant is to the right of them in the picture. The minute I tried too hard, or moved too quickly, they would scurry back into the safety of their home. In the twenty minutes that I sat there, I was able to really watch them quite closely. I could see the softness of their fur, and the brightness of their eyes. I got to watch as one stretched his tired little muscles, getting comfy and relaxed after his big meal. And, of course, it got me thinking. Yeah, that happens a lot.
Being still is the biggest challenge for me in my faith. I want everything to happen now!!!! And I often feel like I need to do something to make it happen. I am rarely content to just sit by and wait, even for GOD to show me the way. I hear a sermon, and something in it sticks with me, and I have to read and read and read as much as I can find, until I feel like I have a better handle on it. I guess that is good, but being still and waiting for GOD to teach me is not usually something I think of or practice.
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7a

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10
I guess the trick is finding the balance. Finding the balance between overloading on everything I can get my hands on, and doing nothing. Between searching and listening. And between doing and waiting.  I don't think we are always suppose to sit and wait, we are suppose to learn all we can about HIM and HIS word so that we are  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15. But we aren't suppose to be so busy that we can't hear HIS voice speaking to our hearts.
Today was Pentacost Sunday. It is a remembrance of the day that JESUS sent the Holy Spirit to be with us until HIS return. I sat there thinking about the Holy Spirit. About how it must be different for different people. Pastor was talking to the kids about it, and was explaining how the Holy Spirit nudges us sometimes. I like that word... nudges. I can think of a few times that I did something that I wouldn't have done, tucked my spare van key into my pocket before an outing... only to have the key I was using break while I was trying to get all the kids loaded into the car. Or the time I kept feeling 'nudged' to give a Sister in Christ some coupons I had for free milk and groceries... to have her tear up and thank me because she didn't have the money to buy groceries that week. Or the many times, when my friend was recovering from an injury or illness that I called at supper time and asked if they needed supper, because I had made too much, to have her thank me profusely because she hadn't had the energy to cook something yet. Nudges. Not fanfare, just gentle nudges. I often think 'man, I wish the Holy Spirit would  be more 'vocal' in my life', and then I miss all those little things that are a blessing to me, and that allow me to be a blessing to others. I know people that gush on about how they experience spiritual 'fireworks', how they sometimes feel overcome by the spirit. I think that's great, and if GOD chooses to bless me in that way, that would be awesome. But I haven't had that experience. My moments are quiet, usually nudging me to be more aware, or more generous, or more patient to wait on HIS timing. I occasionally have moments of "oh!!!! I get it!!! it makes sense!!!!".I love those moments, because it's like finding that piece of the puzzle that was missing. But the little, quiet moments add up to a beautiful picture too. An amazing masterpiece by the Master.

Monday, May 21, 2012

100th post!!!!!!!

100 things...
This post will be a list of 100 things, things I love, things I have learned, maybe some other stuff too. I don't know!! I just know that this is my 100th post (wooooohoooooo!!!!!) and I wanted to do something different and neat and fun. They are in no particular order, random is easier :)

Things I love...
100. the way the air smells after it rains
99. fresh fruit right off the tree/plant
98. the way a baby smells after they fall asleep on Mama
97. lilacs
96. tulips
95. plaid
94. blogging :)
93. playing the piano
92. singing
91. swimming
90. my family
89. gardens
88. helping others
87. hugs
86. snuggling under a homemade quilt
85. learning about my Creator
84. having friends visit
83. reading
82. music
81. the way clothes smell when dried outside
80. camp
79. the ocean
78. walking thru an orchard
77. babies
76. making people happy
75. fresh air on my face when I'm sleeping
74. my friends
73. my amazing kids
72. my  awesome husband
71. GOD!!!
70. riding a bike
69. spring
68. coming home
67. my church
66. surprises

Things I have learned...

65. that some people will never be happy no matter what you do
64. that those people need our prayers. And we need prayers not to punch them *not that I ever would of course ;)
63. that GOD likes to kick people out of their boxes.
62. that HE uses nice people to do this, making it harder to refuse to try new things.
61. that I don't regret saying yes to HIM :)
60. that GOD has a sense of humor
59. that I like serving in church
58. that I love love love practicing the piano. A LOT!!
57. that nobody in my house appreciates my dedication to my music. especially before 7 am.
56. that we are teeny tiny itty bitty little specks in an enormously huge universe. and GOD loves us with a love bigger than the whole thing
55. that babies grow up way way way too fast.
54. that sometimes friends don't get to grow old
53. that prayer works. just not always the way we expected.
52. that saying goodbye hurts terribly. but that for those in CHRIST we will never really say goodbye... just 'see you later'.
51. that grief doesn't last forever, it gets smaller and smaller until you can tuck it away and not be ruled by it.
50. that hugs really do make things better
49. that being prayed over is an amazing thing
48. that plants like water. and sun. and not being run over by tractors or small children.
47. that there is great satisfaction in filling shelves with food you grew and prepared and processed yourself. 
46. that you really don't ever forget how to ride a bike.
45. to trust that GOD has things under control (still working on applying this though)
44. that I can do things that I didn't think I could
43. that I have something to say... and people want to hear it (well, a few people anyway:) )
42. that a house with children in it will never stay picked up longer than it takes for the kids to realize there is empty space to play in. *sigh*
41. that JESUS takes away not only our sins, but our burdens as well.

Things I want to do someday...

40. walk where JESUS walked
39. go on a mission trip
38. go on a zip line again
37. go to college
36. rock my grandbabies
35. be baptized (my choice this time... not my parents')
34. be brave enough to do a sermon in church  (ok, this one I know is going to happen... July 1st!)

Moments I will never forget...

33. the moment I got my first kiss :)
32. the moment my sweetie proposed to me!
31. the moment I married my sweet hubby
30. the moment the test(s) were positive!!
29. the moment I heard that my stepson had died
28. the moment I first gave a children's sermon
27. the moment(s) my babies were born
26. the moment the marble stuck in my son's throat flew across the room
25. the moment the midwife said my youngest duckling was ok
24. the moment I found The Lump
23. the moment I found out The Lump wasn't cancer
22. the moment my younger son told his first joke (knock knock. who's there? snow. snow who? snow body but me!)
21. the moment I heard my friend had lost her battle with cancer
20. the moment my older daughter saved her little brother's (older son) life
19. the moment I woke up from The Dream (I'll save that story for another post)
18. the moment my maternal grandfather died
17. the moment my friend's son was stillborn
16. the moment I first held my niece
15. the moment I first held my nephew
14. the moment I first heard "I love you GuGu" (GuGu is Chinese for Aunti)
13. the moment I completed the first 15 hour trip to visit my brother and his family
12. the moment I leaned off the platform on the zip line at camp
11. the moment my paternal grandfather held my youngest child, and I knew he wouldn't live to see her again

Just random stuff cause I am running out of things to list :)

10. I lived in the same town from the time I was born until after I graduated high school
9. I took Latin in school and loved it
8. I can speak a little Chinese
7. I use to play the clarinet... and was terrible at it
6. I met my husband square dancing
5. He is the only guy I ever dated
4. I use to do drama in school and loved it
3. I was a nanny before I had kids
2. I don't know how to play chess
1. I am really shy

so there it is! My 100 things!
if you had the patience to read them all... wow!
love you all, and have a great week
In JESUS' name

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I read something today that really touched my heart. It was a story on yahoo about a women who had been bullied as a child. She came from a bad home situation, and to make her life even worse, she was bullied by her classmates. That was years ago, she is a grown woman now, and she wrote a poem and posted it on the reunion page for her class. Apparently not only did many of her former classmates apologize, they raised the money to fly her to the reunion. As someone who was bullied mercilessly as a child and teen, I know her pain. It doesn't end when you graduate. It lingers. Maybe not in the everyday things, but it's always there, in the background. It affects how you interact with people, sometimes in ways that interfere with life, and sometimes in very subtle ways. It's there when you say or do something wrong, then wait for the teasing that is sure to come. It's there when you have to do something you feel unequipped for, then wait for the criticism that you are sure you deserve. It's there when you aren't sure what to say in conversation, then wait for people to drift away. It's always there, pulling you back from life. Bullying doesn't stop when the bully walks away, it can be a lifelong hurt.
Luckily, we have Someone bigger and stronger than any bully. We have Someone who can take all that hurt, and all that pain, and never let it touch you again. I read somewhere that if you start to listen too much to the enemy's lies (and that is really what bullying is, isn't it, satan using people to hurt each other?) you should do this exercise: take what you are hearing, and follow it by "in JESUS' name" if it makes no sense (eg: You are ugly...in JESUS' name. Makes no sense right???) you can freely discard it, because it's not from GOD, and we don't have to believe anything that is not from our GOD. HE only wants to build us up and encourage us, HE will never tell us anything that would hurt us. HE might tell us stuff that is hard to hear because it is convicting, but never something that is meant to hurt us.
So if you were bullied, or bullied someone else, or if you know someone that is or has been bullied, remember, that is not GOD's plan for any of HIS children. If you were bullied, ask HIM for healing. If you bullied someone, ask for forgiveness, and pray for those you bullied. If you know someone who has suffered from bullying, tell them about the hope that GOD offers, the healing that can come from a relationship with HIM. And say a prayer for everyone who's life is affected by bullying.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Christ's creation

This is another picture I took last night. I was trying to get a picture that showed a symbol of CHRIST in HIS creation.  I think it is neat that the cross is kind of hidden in the leaves (it's a lilac bush... my favorite). Isn't it neat that we can see HIM in HIS creation? How HE doesn't hide from us the way the cross was hiding? 

The Wonder of the Cross

 I was at church early last night and borrowed the cross that we use for the 'alter' for the mid week service to take some pictures. I took a bunch outside, some with various plants around the church grounds, and a few with our church in the background. I like this one, with the steeple and the sky in the background. It just seems like it somehow captures the connection between Heaven and The Church and our Savior.
Then we recently got a new praise and worship cd with a song that I really love. It's called The Wonder of the Cross (video on youtube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpmknKz7um4 )

Here are the words:

The Wonder of the Cross by Vicky Beeching

O precious sight, my Savior stands.
                 Dying for me with outstretched hands
          O precious sight, I love to gaze
       Remembering salvation's day
        Remembering salvation's day
                 Though my eyes linger on this scene
                 May passing time and years not steal
               The power with which it impacts me
                the freshness of it's mystery
                the freshness of it's mystery

           May I never lose the wonder, 
          the wonder of the cross
          May I see it like the first time
standing as a sinner lost
                  Undone by mercy and left speechless
                Watching wide eyed at the cost
                May I never lose the wonder
               the wonder of the cross

               Behold the God-man crucified
               The perfect sinless sacrifice
                     As blood ran down those nails and wood
                 History was split in two
                   yes history was split in two
                   Behold the empty wooden tree 
                    His body gone, alive and free
                      We sing with everlasting joy
                     for sin and death have been destroyed
                     yes sin and death have been destroyed

                        May I never lose the wonder, 
                        the wonder of the cross
                       May I see it like the first time
                    standing as a sinner lost
                       Undone by mercy and left speechless
                     Watching wide eyed at the cost
                     May I never lose the wonder
                         the wonder of the cross

Over the course of my life, I have doubted many things. I have doubted my intelligence, I have doubted my abilities. I have doubted my sanity, and my desire to fight. I have doubted that I could ever make a difference, for those around me, and for my God. But there are a few things I have never doubted, no matter how bad I feel, or how hopeless things seemed. One is my love for my husband and children, and my husband's love for me... I am so blessed that GOD put them in my life. The other is my GOD and Savior. I still think of that day two thousand years ago, when my sins nailed HIS hands to a tree, and my heart skips a beat. I think of the love that put HIM there, the love that made the ultimate sacrifice so that this life will someday be a faded memory as I bask in HIS glory. I pray that I never ever lose the wonder and awe of that amazing love and grace. I pray that I will always be left speechless at the thought that HE loves me so deeply that HE gave Himself for me, to spend eternity with me. 

This is another picture I took last night. I like it because it shows some of the things that mean a lot to me at my church. I love the cross. I love the organ because I love hymns. And I love communion. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

And the Sea Obeyed...

And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! Matthew 8:23-27

This was the scripture for the mid week service tonight. The message was that we can trust that JESUS is trustworthy, that HE has authority to not only calm the stormy seas, but to calm the storms that can threaten to drown us. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Matthew 28:18

The seas obeyed HIM. They calmed immediately... no debating whether it was the right thing to do, no seeking outside counsel and second opinions. No studying the situation to chart a doable course of action. They just stopped. I often tell my kids... just obey. Don't argue, debate, negotiate, or attempt to convince me your plan is better than mine. Just obey. But do I just obey CHRIST? Or do I argue (well, JESUS, I hear you, but I don't like that plan, speaking in church is taking me too far out of my box), debate (Ok, GOD, but do I really have to  get up in front of everyone again, I mean I just did it and...), negotiate (sure, I'll do it, if you make it really clear that I should, and make it happen the way I want it to) and convince (you know GOD, I did do that service back in January, and I could do so many other things and...). I like to think I have a bit more intelligence than a body of water... I like to think that the fact that my GOD has 'blessed my socks off' has given me the motivation and the courage to trust HIM and do as HE says. I expect my kids to know that I have their best interest at heart, that they can trust that I would never do anything to harm them, or ask them to do anything that was wrong or hurtful. Can't I trust the same from the GOD who created the world with HIS voice? The Father who sent HIS son to save us from ourselves.If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Luke 11:11 If I love my kids enough to never steer them wrong, there is no chance of GOD ever steering one of HIS children wrong.

Lord, thank you for being One we can trust. When everything else fails, You are still there, still the same, still loving and caring for us. When the storm is raging, You are there to calm it with the sweet sound of Your voice. In JESUS' name. Amen.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I have now celebrated 15 Mother's Days. There have been some that were better than others, some that I remember more fondly than others. But none compare to that very first one. I was fairly young, 24 years old and we'd been married for almost 5 years. I remember staring at my sweet little baby daughter and marveling at the fact that she came from me. Could there be anything on this planet any more amazing than that? Nope. Not a thing. Now, a decade and a half later, I look at her and her siblings, and I marvel all over again that GOD has seen fit to bless me more than I could ever deserve. My heart aches for women who have never known the sweetness of looking into the face of their child. Never inhaled the intoxicating smell of a sleeping baby snuggled up close. Never gazed in wonder as their child takes those first, perfect wobbly steps, or writes their name for the first time, or learns to ride a bike or read a book. I can't imagine a life not filled with all the little moments of mama life; late night wakings, early morning snuggles, walks down the driveway to get the mail, car rides filled with silly songs. And those moments when they say something that makes your heart soar, realizing that they were listening to you all along. Watching as they become beautiful, unique, amazing people. And the whole time just marveling that they came from me. Ok, that they came from GOD- thru and to me. Is there anything on this big beautiful earth more amazing than that? Nope. Not a thing.

               Happy Mothers Day!!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The law is love...

The end of last week the ducklings and I drove home from my brother's house. The second day of the trip we drove into and through New York state on a major highway. As we entered the state I began to see signs every couple hundred feet, informing drivers of the various laws that needed to be obeyed now that they had entered the state. 'Use of handheld devices prohibited by drivers' 'Headlights required when windshield wipers are in use' 'move over and slow down for stopped vehicles' 'slow traffic keep to the right' 'seat belt use required' Then we went through the territory of the Sequoia Nation, which apparently has it's own rules and laws, which anyone traveling through must obey as well. It struck me that life is full of rules. We pay hundreds of men and women outrageous salaries to make and manage the laws that we are all compelled to follow. Some of those laws are silly, some necessary. But what laws do we have to obey as children of GOD? There are certainly plenty of things GOD commands us to do, with the intention of making us a people set apart as HIS, and of helping us live a good and fruitful life, but what is the most important law HE has given us?
The sermon today was about love. Unconditional love that GOD has given us, and that we are commanded to give to others. When asked what the greatest commandment was, JESUS said that it was to love..
."37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:37-40

He didn't say a word about where you could park your donkey, or whether it was legal to mix religion and politics, or how parents were to educate their children. HE didn't go into how fast people could go on the highways, or whether it was ok to own a weapon and when and where and how it was ok to use it. HE didn't say a word about commerce or transportation or real estate or insurance or medicine or any of the many issues that our government thinks it needs to control. HE said that the most important thing that we are to do, the only 'law' HE spoke about was love. Love GOD. Love your neighbor. Period. Love. That doesn't mean that we have to agree with each other all the time. It doesn't mean that we have to compromise our beliefs. It doesn't mean that we need to reject the Word of GOD to make the world happy. It means that we are to show all His children the love that HE has shown us. It means that we are to treat all of HIS children with respect and compassion and dignity. Even if (when) we disagree with them. Not to celebrate sin, but to celebrate life. How else can we share HIS truth? How can we help the world see who HE is, if we don't show them HIS love?If HE is love, then when we show HIS children love, we are showing them HIM. Seems pretty simple.

LORD, please forgive me for those times that I don't show Your love to all of Your children. Please help me to look past differences and see to the heart of those who need You. . In JESUS' name. Amen

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chester Indy

This is Chester Indy. (long story, the name). Anyway, let me tell you a story about Chester Indy. You see, Chester (we'll call him Chester for short) is a turtle. Turtles aren't fast, they aren't strong. They don't have camouflage to hide them when something frightens them. They don't 'make a stink' to scare away danger. The way they protect themselves is to hide. They tuck themselves into their handy dandy little shell, and wait for the scary stuff to pass by. It's a neat thing, Chester's shell. GOD knew that Chester would need a way to protect himself in this world that we live in.
Sometimes we are a little bit like Chester, we tuck ourselves into our shells, and wait for whatever is scaring us to pass us by. But GOD didn't make us with a shell like Chester. HE doesn't want us to hide away from whatever is frightening us. HE wants us to do other things, like talk to HIM, learn about what HE has promised us (that will make things much less scary), talk to HIS other children. If we act like Chester and hide away in a shell, we might miss out on learning the lessons that HE wants us to learn.

Oh, the name, right. See, before I had kids I always wanted a little boy named Chester. I pictured a little blondie boy with no front teeth, baseball cap on sideways, saying "Hi, my name is Chester" only say it with a lisp :). But hubby duck vetoed that name, so now I name random stuff Chester. Even if it's not a blondie boy with no front teeth. And Indy is because we are visiting Indiana and that is where little Chester Indy was born, and where he came to be part of the family.