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Friday, July 29, 2005

Along for the Ride

TODAY'S QUOTE:

Holy words long preserved / For our walk in this world / They resound with God's own heart / O let the ancient words impart / Words of life / Words of hope / Give us strength / Help us cope / In this world where'er we roam / Ancient words will guide us home // CHORUS / Ancient words ever true / Changing me and changing you / We have come with open hearts / O let the ancient words impart // Holy words of our faith / Handed down to this age / Came to us through sacrifice / O heed the faithful words of Christ / Holy words long preserved / For our walk in this world / They resound with God's own heart / O let the ancient words impart //

~ by Lynn DeShazo (from Worship Again - Track #4, recorded by Michael W. Smith)

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It's amazing to me what a difference it makes when I start my day with worship. Just to sit in the presence of my Father God. To focus my fickle heart on His. It clears away the cobwebs of struggling through a day's activities, and reminds me of my purpose, and the goodness of the One who drew the plans.

Focus. FOCUS. There must be some spiritual sounding acrostic-designation for that awesome word that would explain how it helps me get perspective on my life, and God's plan. But I confess that I don't know it. And for me, for today, I think a cute little acrostic would tarnish the sense of awe I feel.

It's like I've had a slight blurring in my vision corrected. I am reminded that the things that I tend to focus my time and energy on, the worries that plague me, the details that I feel I must control, all serve to blur my vision, and keep me from seeing God's plan for me today.

Today, the stress is melting away. It doesn't really matter if my plans go awry. If my day doesn't go according to my plan and the timing gets all screwed up, or there's an inconvenient interruption -- there's no need to panic. I gave up control today.

God's got the map, and He's driving. For today, I am hanging out with my Father, in the passenger seat...fiddling with the knobs on the radio, setting the climate control, and the adjusting the lumbar support seat. I am along for the ride.

And you know the best part? When I took my eyes off the road, and focused them on the Driver, I remembered what it's like to hear and understand His Words. They call to me. They whisper in my ear. They laugh with joy and cry with love. They speak to the deepest places in me exactly what my inner-woman needs to hear.

He loves me. He loves me. He loves me.

No romance was ever more sacred.

I needed to hear those ancient words today. I am glad I took time to focus and listen.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Coming of Age

TODAY'S QUOTE:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

~ Author Marianne Williamson (From the Movie Coach Carter, 2005)


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My husband really loves this quote. We watched the movie over the weekend, and last night he did a google search to find it. it really spoke to him. I think that's cool!

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Tomorrow, my first child turns eighteen. The very idea, fills me with a sense of profound wonder. Part of my heart is thrilled and excited at Sarah's growth and maturity. She is absolutely amazing! But the other part of my heart wants to scream at time to STOP -- if only for a while. Every day, she is closer to leaving me. Days like yesterday are precious. Why? well, yesterday we were the only two in the house, and we talked for hours, like college room-mates. Our discussion was serious and funny, and even sometimes goofy.

We discussed her upcoming senior year in high-school, class rings, college, dating with a purpose (courtship), faith in God's plan and her future husband. Lately these are the topics of our more serious discussions, as she tries to make sense of the choices ahead of her, and the direction her life is supposed to take. I must confess that when I think about her future, I am not afraid. I know she is smart, determined and level-headed -- a citizen of the world, though it is not her home. She has the brightest of futures, and is more ready every day to face it and succeed. But talking with her yesterday about the future was a little scary. Because every day, she is closer to leaving me.

As excited as I am about what God has planned for her, a part of me cries out against the loss of all the little things I enjoy every day; like the way she laughs, and chatters incessantly about her latest discovery in the world of jazz. Or the way she bounces into the room and calls me "mommy" out of the blue. Or the way she loves to watch America's Funniest Videos and laugh so hard that she's out of control.

I am comforted when I consider the relationship I have now, with my own mom. We are such good friends, and so many of the things we have shared over the years are precious to me: the same sort of little things, just different. I look forward to the relationship Sarah and I will have when she is out on her own, when she is a wife, and later, a mother. I look forward to the late-night phone calls when my grandchildren are preparing to enter the world. I look forward to the questions about things like fevers and rashes, and all those scary, new baby things. We have a lifetime to share our special friendship, and I wouldn't miss a moment of it.

So in truth, I am really not losing her, I know that. And I want nothing less than God's very best plan for her, which I am sure requires that she leave my home eventually and follow Him into her new life. This is just one of the many joys of motherhood, and I want to expereince them all!

But still, that small part of my heart longs to stop time -- if only for a while -- because every day, she really is closer to leaving me. . .for the exciting new life God has planned, and when all is said and done, I will rejoice with her, as she goes. (Then I will retreat to her bedroom and have a good cry.)

Saturday, July 9, 2005

It is Well

Quote for Today:

"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture."

~ Psalm 95:1-7

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I have spent the better part of the afternoon and evening watching the Weather Channel as hurricane Dennis heads inland off the gulf coast of Florida. I would not usually be so interested as to spend the whole evening on the Weather Channel, but my most precious relatives are in Orlando this weekend, and I want to know whether they will face storms and flooding on the return trip home. Don't misunderstand me, I am not really afraid. I just want to know what's coming.

As I watch this storm coming in off of the ocean, I am amazed at the power of the wind and the sea. This earth amazes me, and literally shouts the truth of a powerful and creative Maker of the universe. It is so good to know that He holds all these things in His hands. His plan for those who love and obey Him is for good; and His plan will not fail.

Sometimes it seems like a hurricane of circumstance blows in along the coast of our lives and threatens to blow down our hopes and plans and leave us without cover. Isn't it good to know that when things go awry that God alread knew the plan. It's frustrating sometimes that we don't know what's ahead. We make arrangements, and plan our days based on what we think we know. Then, suddenly, new information appears, and we must adjust.

To be perfectly honest, I tend to panic, when my plans have been made and life suddenly switches direction on me. I really hate it when things don't go the way I planned. I am an organizer at heart, and that's a good thing. But often, God switches things around on me, and waits to see how I will react.

Will I trust Him, and stay calm? Usually not -- I am sorry to say. I am learning, ever so slowly, but I am not there yet. The good thing is that He knows. Did you ever notice that God doesn't get impatient with us when we don't respond immediately in faith. He knows me so well! He waits me out, and then reminds me that He has everything in His hands. His mercy floods the situation, and I realize that I lost sight of His hold on me and my life. I come to Him and apologize, and there it is -- more than enough mercy to cover me.

I used to wonder why His mercy was "new every morning". Now, I know. I need new mercy every day. I used yesterday's up -- yesterday. And God, in His love and wisdom planned ahead. He knew what I would need, and provided it -- new mercy...every morning...isn't His love amazing?

So as I watch the Weather Channel, I wonder what's ahead for all those people on the gulf coast, and for the missions team we have in Orlando this weekend. But somehow, I am firmly grounded in the faith that God holds the oceans in His hand, and His plan for me and those dear to me is for good. And that good plan extends to all those who love and obey Him. I know, if things go awry, I am apt to panic, and be upset by circumstance. But whatever emotional hurricane buffets my heart, I am safe in the shelter of His new mercy, even now. And as for tomorrow, His mercy is already there, waiting for me.

That's a profound revelation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

A Heritage

TODAY'S QUOTE;

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

~ Psalm 127:3-5

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Wow,

The last couple of weeks have been so “twilight zone”, I don’t even know where to begin; except to say that I have three of the most amazing children in the world, and a husband that is beyond comparison.

Funny how I always knew, and repeated it often, my kids are so awesome; intelligent, beautiful, compassionate, loving, godly, wise, mature, etc. But seeing these qualities through the eyes of another, I am even more amazed and thankful.

Sarah, almost 18, recently made contact with her biological father and his family. It has been fifteen years. Though we knew she was ready, and that this was a necessary and even good thing, we did not know what emotional turmoil and stress this reunion would cause for our family.

Outside of the Jerry Springer show, who gives instructions on how these events should proceed, and what should be expected.We have been so overwhelmed, it’s like we’re coming out of a daze. Emotions have been running high with anticipation, worry; even a little anxiety. Tempers have been shorter, tears have been more frequent, and a sense of “clingy-ness” and a desire to hug hard and often has pervaded all five of us.

The good thing is everyone involved in this reunion process is amicable, and even generous. No blame casting, no bad attitude, no resentment or anger has been exhibited. We are all desiring the time for Sarah, Jotham and Jericho to get to know the people from the past who have been absent for so long. Everyone is responding with a great deal of love and excitement.

And then there’s Dad. Larry is the amazing husband and father who for fifteen years, has daily made these children his own. Who has labored and loved, laughed and cried, disciplined and educated and alongside myself, has helped shape these three incredible children into the near-adult, wonderful people that they are today.

Imagine, now, after all this time being the father who is willing to share them. Larry is truly a man with a generous heart and spirit. This whole process has not been easy for him, or for me, for that matter. But he has been generous, patient, and open. When it would have been easier to close off his heart, and withdraw, wounded; he stayed and experienced this whole process with heart-breaking unselfishness, because these are, after all, his children.

Well, after a hundred or so emails, a handful of IM sessions and phone calls, the big reunion happened, this weekend. Biological father, his wife, half brother, grandmother and a host of cousins met with our family on two different days at McDonalds and at the zoo. Larry was there, through it all, at the kids’ request. Everyone got a chance to get to know everyone a little bit better, and have some fun.

And so, a new chapter in our lives has begun, one that includes a whole host of people who want to get to know our kids, and share their love with them. And though we do not know everything that will come in this chapter, we know the chapters that have been written up to now have been obviously orchestrated by God’s loving and generous hand. He will write this chapter for their and our ultimate good. He is that way with us.His love is indescribable.
So we attempt to move on with our days, in as normal a manner as possible, leaning heavily on each other and on God for wisdom and peace. He has seen the unknown, and will not release us out of His hand as he guides us through it. We are, after all, His beloved children; and His plan is beyond our comprehension, but promised for our good. We trust Him. His mercy is PROFOUND
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