Category Archives: Spiritual

Redeeming the Day

Remember what I wrote yesterday? I couldn’t share that without sharing what happened last night.

It was 9:00 and the kids were all snug in their beds when my husband came in to tell us about his “refreshing” night swim. Four little pairs of eyes lit up with excitement…they’d been asking to go night swimming all summer. And, don’t you know, we let them! Not only did we let them, but we got in with them!!

It was stinking freezing! I got right out and bundled up in my huge terry cloth spa robe. Imagine the warmth in that. But this little voice in me kept saying, “Get in. Enjoy this moment. Don’t be a recorder of the moment, but a participant. Sear this memory in your heart, not just  your mind. Love on those children! Restore your broken relationship with them.” I must have thrown off my robe and stood poised at the edge because I began to hear chanting, “Jump! In! Jump! In! Jump! In!” And next thing I knew, I was poking my head out of the frigid water, greeted by 5 very happy people. But I was happiest!

God is so faithful to restore the years the locusts have eaten. He is so wonderful to whisper truth in our spirits when we seek what we think brings us comfort. He knows! He knows what will restore our souls and our relationships. When we listen to His voice, we live from the heart, not from our own minds and plans. Thank You, God, for redeeming my day and giving me an ending that tops all others. You lavishly love me, and for that I am forever grateful!

Sabbath Sweetness: Heron

This sweet guy just swooped down over our house and landed out back.

The Lord God created every creature in the heavens and on the earth.

A New Season

I’m finally settling into this season of life. I think.

My flesh has reared its ugly head these past few months. I have believed lies–that things will settle down if we find a routine. That our house will be full of peace if it is in order. That if I just get things under my thumb, life will have to run smoothly.

There is a tiny bit of truth in each of those beliefs. But mostly lies. Because Jesus is our peace. And He himself said He does not give peace like the world gives. Not like Simple Living magazine or Mom’s Plan-It Calendar. (I’ve tried both.)

What has finally settled is my flesh–my unending desire to put things in order according to my plan, to bring myself some so-called peace. It has finally yieled its controlling, manipulating self to my spirit. Well, God’s Spirit within me. And I pray my flesh stays out of the way.

Of course, that depends on how often I call out to it. How often I revert to trusting it rather than trusting in the Lord. How often I just must have a clean house in order to feel like I have it all together. Or how often I convince myself obedient children make me a good parent. That is my flesh.

So here goes. I’m not perfect (which most of you know, anyhow), but I’m trying to yield my every thought and action to the One who created and sustains every living thing. Including me. And everyone in my household. And Who has a far greater plan than I could ever conceive or imagine.

Book Review: Thin Places by Mary DeMuth

“The Celts define a thin place as a place where heaven and the physical world collide, one of those serendipitous territories where eternity and the mundane meet…where we see a holy glimpse of the eternal…” (p. 11)
 
Thin Places by Mary DeMuth

I’ve loved author Mary DeMuth since I found her book, Building the Christian Family You Never Had tucked away on a bottom shelf of a retreat center. I read it in no time and emailed to let her know how much good she did me, being honest and telling her story. She was gracious and appreciative of my response to her writing. I realized she wasn’t some faceless expert out there, she is a real person!

  I’m afraid folks won’t love me if they see my shortcomings. It’s a strange dichotomy. I fancy myself authentic, unafraid to share my warts; but if I directly disappoint someone, I want to crawl into a hole. (p.76)
She’s gone and done it again–told her story. Only now she’s told so much more it’s a wonder she doesn’t feel stark naked. I worried through the first few chapters, wondering if her story was maybe more than I could bear. But as I moved through and realized her focus was on the places a perfect God met her in this imperfect world, I relaxed. Her intent wasn’t to saddle me with the baggage of her past, but to show me how God gently pries her suitcases from her hands.
 
The recollection can either be a thin place or a shame place. I take a breath. Breathe in and then out. I breathe in God’s grace for me; I exhale the shame. I cling to Jesus and let go of my control. (p. 138)
 
I was amazed at how similar her story was to mine. Eerily amazed. One of those, we-could-be-twins-separated-by-birth stories. At points she sucked words and emotion right from my mind and heart. But reading my own story written by someone else was difficult. At times I wanted to take her into my arms and cry with her; other times I wanted to grab her and shout that there is so much more freedom waiting for her. That’s when I realized why God allowed me to read her story–to find His hope there.  To see how though it is the same Jesus who redeems and remakes us, He speaks to each of our hearts differently. He knows each of our secret languages.
 
“So yeah, I’m a raggedy mess. But God loves the socks off me anyway. I’m a cracked pot, a vessel God shines His loveliness through. Thank goodness for the cracks; otherwise how would God’s glory shine out?” (p.99)
 
If you’re looking for a story that offers humility, raw honesty, and unbridled hope, pick up Mary DeMuth’s new memoir, Thin Places, published by Zondervan. You will laugh and cry, shake your head and nod in agreement; you will see yourself and see someone you’ve never known but want to know. God will speak His truth to you clearly through Thin Places, if you let Him.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan for the purpose of review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

KONOS for the New Year

After 18 years of following Christ and learning to hear His voice, I still get my messages jumbled sometimes. I kept hearing Words from the Lord about waiting and biding my time when I prayed about our upcoming school semester. I imagined explaining to my evaluator that I’d been waiting…and waiting…and waiting…and hadn’t received any direction yet. I didn’t think that would go over too well.

Then it hit me–amongst the half-dozen possible units rolling around in my mind were Time and Patience. I got it! He’s not telling us to wait. He’s telling us to learn about waiting–patiently!

So, finally, we have plans for these coming months. We’ll take a few weeks to dig into Time, take a quick break to research (and watch) the Olympics, and move on to our Patience unit, which includes Grain/Bread/Yeast (yum!), Human and Animal Birth and Growth. Sounds fascinating! After Easter, we’ll segue into Ecology and Conservation, and Gardening. I’m getting excited already!

It’s Funny…

though more is going on with and inside me than ever, I have no words to explain it. I want to tell you all about how we never found our groove in schooling last fall and how frustrating it was. How I learned that being still and knowing that He is God isn’t always peace and platitude. I’d love to fill you in on our activity fast for December, and how it did wonders for our household attitude. I’d even like to tell you all about our Christmas and our New Year–like when we really realized Chuck’s sister’s brain cancer is taking over. But I don’ t have words right now. Which is odd–almost troubling–for a writer. If I didn’t believe God had a purpose in this silence, I’d be worried. I’m not. Perplexed, wondering why I’m not able to share these lessons articulately, but not fretting. For that I’m thankful. The words will come. Eventually. In His timing.

On the Fifth Day of Christmas…

my true love gave to me–

Five loads of pukey laundry

Four children sleeping on the kitchen floor near the throw-up bowl

Three hours of sleep

Two cranky parents

And one husky who was mad he missed his walk and pooped on all the Christmas toys.

Good thing Jesus is our reason for celebration–and He’s eternally good!

In Response to Christ…

Elizabeth, under the power of the Holy Spirit, says:

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

Mary responds:

My soul magnifies the Lord

 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior

For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;

For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,

And holy is His name

And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation

He has shown strength with His arm;

He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 

He has put down the mighty from their thrones,

And exalted the lowly

He has filled the hungry with good things,

And the rich He has sent away empty. 

 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy,

As He spoke to our fathers,

To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

Lord, let my response to Your truth always exalt You and You alone. Like Mary, let me be humble in heart, saying, “May it be done to me as You have said.” No matter how I feel about Your plans, in spite of how life looks, let me submit my person to You. You alone are worthy to be praised. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in His mercy has given us great life!

Merry CHRISTmas!