Humanity and the Incessant Quest for Position

Ever since Cain grabbed that rock and crushed the life out of Abel with it…no, I must go further back…Ever since the forbidden fruit was eaten by their mom and pop, we humans have sought after one thing:

Absolute control.

To be the top dog, main man, head of the pack, etcetera, etcetera…

For, what was it really about but that?

What was and is satan’s motivation in the lie that we can become like God?

He certainly wasn’t and never is concerned with actually equipping us with diddly squat.

No…his ambition was and always has been to try to best the Creator of the universe.

And being the author of such grandiose plans and outrageous ruthlessness, he doesn’t care one whit about who he uses to try to further those aims.

Never has.

So, he disingenuously dangled the prospect of power before humanity- but not without polishing it up with enough appeal to dazzle the eye away from the truth just long enough to get us to the point of no return.

And sadly, what was unleashed that day has infected the entire world.

From brother to brother, tribe to tribe, civilization to civilization, leader to leader, the human thirst to be the most important has caused indescribable havoc to this earth.

From the moment our relationship with God and to each other was first skewed, the hounds of hell have been on us.

And we still witness the effects today.

From boardroom dealings to political positioning, from Hollywood posturing to-dare I say it?-church committee bickering, we see it.

Right down to the family dynamic that willfully looks out for self above each other.

We all crave that feeling of being in charge, one way or another.

But, lest we get downhearted, there is yet an answer to it all.

For He is our Creator and our God, and, as such, He knew the chaos to come from the foolish decision in Eden.

So, He provided the way through His son.

His triumph on the cross would be our triumph.

The real kind, that has no truck with the temporal idea of our domination in this world.

But, rather, its chief concern is with our freedom from all the everlasting jockeying for position.

Because, in Jesus, our position is ever secure!

We have only to surrender our dirty, power-hungry hearts over to Him.

And, trust that, though this world grows ever darker and madder in its empty pursuits of subjugation, the Lord has it all in hand.

Has always had it all in hand.

And never lets us go. ☺️

Blessings and prayers to you, friends. May we learn the true strength that comes of relinquishing all to God.

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Quiet Time When There is No Quiet Time

My house is often a…well, shall we say?… clamoring place.

Two kiddos have a six AM wake-up call for play rehearsal.

For the fifth time this week.

The fifteen year old? He is rather serious-minded; his sister of nearly fourteen is lovely, but her autistic tendencies usually mean time is surplanted by stardust. πŸ™‚

Then, there’s the imaginative seven year old boy who needs a gentle reminder floss is not for making a faux Fu Manchu.

For about the hundredth time in the last few weeks. 😏

Add to that my brilliant, autistic seventeen year old boy-forgive me-young man- getting a taste of adult life with an internship that requires a lot of running around, tool-wielding, and remembering.

And helping him remember. Also helping to keep his more anxious tendencies at bay.

Several times a day.

Oh, and the handy husband juggling small business getting bigger, more dilapidated houses calling out to be restored.

Every day, all times of the day.

I play the part of the secretary/ tool hander/cleaner upper. πŸ˜‰

Oh, not to forget, there are also two dogs, one an increasingly stubborn old man, one fairly young but completely blind following sudden onset glaucoma.

Each with their dear little “what about me?” moments. πŸ™‚

And I have referred to the knocking door a few posts ago.

So…all that added together with my own obligations and physical struggles, in addition to making me just a wee bit tired 😴, makes for much scurrying and, at times, more than a little noise.

Hence, quiet time that is literally quiet is a rare commodity.

Sure, I could be a predawn sort, but, at the risk of making excuses I refer you to the above, which often means sleep I can actually get is precious.

So, instead, I find I burrow out what and where I can, hunting up scripture like a squirrel digging up the treasured acorns she’s been storing for winter.

I eagerly gulp down the bits I can afford for that moment before the ones He’s given me have a need of a hand, a reminder, a word of encouragement.

Again. πŸ™‚

I don’t often have the ability to steal away for lengthy prayer sessions, either, obviously, but I do quietly pray throughout my day.

Wash morning dishes, pray He washes away my bad attitudes.

Toss some clothes in the dryer, pray for the owners of said clothes.

Pass a hammer drill up a ladder to my husband, send up a plea for the residents that inhabit or will inhabit the house he’s working on.

Not to mention a thanks for keeping him safe up there! ☺️

But there’s not really a lot of traditional eyes closed and kneeling, frankly, unless I am in a position to (I do like to when I can! It’s a great reminder to remain humble.).

But, for all my hopes in what I have been able to cobble together in my crazy world, this area is something that honestly long had me feeling tremendously guilty as a Christian.

I always wanted to be one of those ladies with a prayer closet I could close and commune with my savior for an uninterrupted hour or so.

But, this is a full house at present- with narrow closets and a fix-it list still a mile long after six years (Handyman’s house is usually last. πŸ˜‰).

Still. Ah. I can visualize it.

Pipe in some worship music, devour books of the Bible at a time, memorize big chunks, pray emphatically for everybody and his brother, map out my spiritual game plan for the next however long I can.

Every morning at the
same time.

I mean, shouldn’t it be that way if I want to be truly growing in my faith?

And yet…

The further I get in this walk the more I see it’s not about a ritual, a time, a place.

Not scoffing at that.

Some of it, when approached with a sincerely seeking heart, is a beautiful thing.

And if you can do it, I say go for it.

Wholeheartedly.

But, for those of us that struggle a bit more to squeeze out that perfect quiet time, not from lack of desire, but due to circumstances, I say don’t give up!

For one thing, I know well the Lord gives us seasons.

Yours won’t necessarily look just like mine, nor mine yours.

Some may change rapidly.

Others seem like they’ll never change. πŸ™„

The key is surrendering to Him your particular season and letting Him do what He will with it.

And then, letting go of what you or everyone else says you should be doing.

Or, that is, how you should be doing it.

Prayers to you, friends. May your quiet times be blessed, whatever season you’re in.

The Ways We Let the World in

Some things seem somewhat obvious in the Christian walk.

Stay away from certain behaviors, exhibit others.

We’re pretty good at ticking off a litany of things we don’t do, as well as a hefty list of things we do do.

We’re pretty good at believing we aren’t letting the world in.

Yet… which of us can turn on our television sets, scroll through our phones, battle traffic, the workplace, the marketplace, or school without anything from the world seeping in?

Maybe it’s a show that’s not exactly rated R, but we know nevertheless isn’t God honoring…yet, it’s sooo funny, we just have to watch.

After all, everybody else is. 😏

Perhaps, it’s a website or a Facebook conversation best stayed away from, yet, we find ourselves unable to resist jumping into the fray, hateful language suddenly at our fingertips.

After all, it’s in the name of defending our territory. πŸ™„

Or, could be that traffic or work or the slow lane at the grocery store puts our burners on boil… and terror in the hearts of those on the receiving end!

It may be as simple as someone we don’t out and out bite the head off of, yet, in our thought life, we struggle to be kind or forgiving to.

After all, the world will tell us holding on to our hurt is understandable. πŸ˜”

Might just be pressing ourselves so hard into ambition we’ve let it consume us.

Everybody wants to be a somebody, naturally. πŸ™‚

Could be countless other “could be’s”.

The point isn’t to lambaste any of us.

That would only add to the burden.

No…rather, it is a reminder, as much to myself as to anyone else, how easy it is to let the world in, in so many ways…

Some we might think of, others that may not occur to us.

Some that convict me to the core.

And, I’ve learned where I tear down the veils and deal in honesty, others might find one to relate to in this old world.

And maybe we can help one another remember we are to be in it, but not of it. πŸ˜‰

Prayers and blessings to you, friends!

Share Your Passion

Deepest gratitude to Robert at Watching Daily at Wisdom’s Gates for the nomination. Awards are not something I pursue, but it is always lovely to be thought of and this is another one I honestly appreciate as worthwhile. ☺️

So…here we go:

Rules of the #ShareYourPassion Tag:

  • Repost the #ShareYourPassion logo (above) on your acceptance post.
  • Tag the blogger’s site that nominated you.
  • Share a bit about your passion(s): Hobbies outside of blogging that keep you busy in your free time. What would you like to accomplish with these things? How could you use your passion(s) to be a blessing to others and show them the love of God?
  • Nominate ten other bloggers and spread the joy!

Well…free time, first of all, varies a great deal day to day.

My first passion, naturally, is Christ, followed by my husband and children. This tends to keep me busy a lot.

And, of course, writing is a given.😊 Try as I might to run from it, it will not let me be!

I have learned over the years the way just sharing sheer testimony and doodles on Christian life can move people in their faith and remind them of the everlasting hope in Jesus.

And, speaking of doodles…I also love to draw and paint.

I have yet to fully pinpoint what God has in mind for my rather unusual style, but I try to remain open to His leading.

And to add to the creativity I tend to thrive in, I am a baker as well.

(Psst. This even somewhat inspired the first part of the really long title of my memoir a few years back:

Broken Cookies Taste Just as Sweet: The Amazing Grace of Motherhood, Marriage, and Miracles on The Spectrum. I think it’s still on Amazon for anyone interested. 😏)

Now, unlike my art, I have gotten to see how making cookies makes a difference for Christ, even if it doesn’t necessarily feel like traditional evangelism at times.

Feeding our youth group has filled both a basic need for food and the deeper need of knowing someone cares. From there, the door opens to share the love of God, which is one of my deepest passions of all.

Ok. Guess that about sums it up.

I could also get into my love of antiques, classic films and TV, swing and classic rock, but I don’t want to ramble too long.😊

I think I am getting to know a few more people this time, so let’s see about some nominating. Absolutely no pressure. If this is your type of thing and you feel inspired, go for it. If not, no biggie! Just know that each of you have blessed me through your posts and I felt like God was directing me to give you a shout out ☺️:

http://beyondsad.com/

http://setapart.net/

http://seekingdivineperspective.com/

http://bluecollartheologian.blog/

https://alltheshoesiwear.wordpress.com/

http://140characterchristian.com/

https://inhisserviceandlovingit.wordpress.com/

http://mckenziesmusings.blog/

http://2manyfaces.home.blog/

People of His WORD

When Need Comes Knocking on Your Door

Visions of youth ministry have always played large parts in my adult life.

I think it comes of the fact that, despite my introverted ways, I longed to reach out to help those who’d hurt like me.

Now, there were several opportunities in the “traditional” molds over the years. For a while there, it seemed it would be THE mission.

Most chances were dashed to bits, however. Often the catalyst was immaturity– my marriage’s, my first husband’s, and, yes, much to my chagrin, my own. πŸ™„

Following our separation and eventual divorce, I drew big red lines through such dreams like mistaken passages in a manuscript.

Obviously, I was wrong about the call on my life. Apparently, I didn’t do anybody any good, least of all myself.

I adapted my hopes to teaching toddlers, but that was more or less so my children and I could continue to have a roof over our heads.

Ministry was no longer really on my mind then.

Though, looking back seven years after my retirement from the classroom, I see that the way God allowed me to love on those kids was, in fact, ministry…

And that brings me to the point I wish to make now. But, first, a little further background. Bear with me, folks πŸ˜‰:

Nearly eight years ago, I found myself sinking in the mire of online dating and a gripping depression I’d not experienced since the earliest days of single motherhood.

I was near to throwing out my profile and, honestly, my computer altogether when God allowed me to see one more profile-the unique and Godly man who eventually said “I do” to me and the hectic world a single mom of special needs kids naturally inhabits. Not just “I do”, really, but an “I do” replete with generosity and good humor. 😊

He, too, had seen much pain, some of it in ways similar to my own, some in ways I can never fully imagine despite the years of knowing his story ( Would love to tell it here at some point with his permission. πŸ™‚).

Anyway…safe to say the Lord came through as only He can, offering us a second chance at love!

Ah, but not just in marriage. But, also, as it turns out, in co-laborers who have a yearning to minister, especially to the young.

So… suddenly, there was a rebirth of old dreams, a uniting of one another’s.

Oh, it wasn’t necessarily a let’s-drop-everything-and-go-to-seminary stirring.

He was a truck driver in those days; I found myself rather quickly a stay-at-home mom out of necessity.

But, there was that knowing there was something He had for us to do together.

We didn’t know exactly how or when, but we felt sure of a call.

Many events tumbled out over the years. A blending of families, a dilapidated country home, job loss, a business begun, a lot of writing…

And yet, no definitive answer to the question of ministering seemed to show itself.

We had hopes of a property behind us being transformed into a big youth center, but lack of money and an abundance of windstorms begged to differ. πŸ™‚

Oh, we’d volunteer at children’s church, sometimes VBS.

In the last two years, we have even begun pitching in with our small community youth group.

Mostly doing the meals and clean up after, occasionally taking the opportunity to share some testimony, as well as lending our middle son to percussion for our rather modest worship time.

Doesn’t necessarily sound like everything we dreamt of.

And, yet…

What constitutes a ministry, anyway?

Is it a state-of-the-art building?

A worship band complete with strobe lights and smoke machines?

Is it crowds of teens enthralled by your words?

An activity-filled roster or a fancy camp to take them to?

Or…. is it simply meeting the ones He brings to you where they are?

Feeding the bodies of busy latch- key kiddos and listening to the anxieties of the day?

Giving them an encouragement from scripture for the week?

Supplying them a new song to sing to the Lord?

A phone number to call or an open door to knock on when those anxieties crop up beyond their capabilities to deal?

Ah. The seemingly small acts of life. πŸ™‚ But, all necessary components in His kingdom, I am learning.

For, you see, beyond the Wednesday to Wednesday, this dilapidated house of ours has become a lot less than the Green Acres it was ( literally, thanks to my handy husband ☺️) and more the place for drop-ins.

A safe space to have a cookie.

A conversation.

A cry.

Not to mention jam sessions, acting lessons, building projects, and, best of all, deep Biblical discussions. ☺️

Many things I love to be sure, but things that don’t really look like the norm of ministry or what I expected His call on us might mean.

Even a few things, despite the love I just professed, that the introverted me has had to make room for at times, to be honest!

But, suffice to say, I am finding He will direct us to the places He can use us most and equip us for the call, whatever it looks like.

When we are obedient to answer the need knocking on our door, that is. πŸ˜‰

What needs are knocking at your door, friends? I pray we can all discover what they are and seek His strength to answer. God bless!

What Do You Identify As?

When someone asks you what you are, what is your ready answer?

If your career features prominently, you might say,

“Well, I’m a _( fill in the blank with the appropriate work description).

If you are a spouse and/or a parent, it will surely be one of the first things that springs to mind.

If you have a hobby you are particularly passionate about, you could expound on yourself in that area.

Or, in that vein, if you have an accomplishment you are especially proud of, that may top your list.

And if you don’t have any of those things, or even if you do but struggle with the spector of bygone times, you might just label yourself by your failures!

I have some experience there, to say the least. πŸ™‚

But, all that to say, which of us identify ourselves first as His?

Oh, many of us indeed identify ourselves as Christians!

But, is it something deeper than a mere word, something stronger than the rest of those worldly trappings?

Something we go to first?

I can only speak to my own tendencies here, but, when asked, I admit, unless it’s a spiritual conversation to begin with, I don’t always think to identify myself in terms of Christ first.

I can get caught up quite easily in the monikers of this temporal existence with the best of them:

Wife. Mom. Author. Baker. Youth leader.

Not bad things, mind you. Just…things.

But, if we want to go negative with it…

On a particularly tough day, it might be:

Abused. Abandoned. Unable. Screw-up. Filthy Loser.

Allowing the shadows of life- past and present, positive and shameful-to engulf me over the shadow of the cross.

Forgetting the forgiveness therein, the redemption that wipes out what I was, and the truth that dispels every lie the enemy has fed me.

I have said this in previous works in the blogging world, and the echo calls to me still. So… I’ll say it again for friends new and old:

That truth I refer to?

It’s that, in Him, I’m not that girl anymore!

Instead, He has called me chosen.

A royal priesthood.

God’s own possession! (1 Peter 2:9)

When I don’t let that be what I identify as, it leaves me vulnerable to the pointing fingers of the past.

As well as to the world’s generic labels of the present that while a part of me do not encompass the core or begin to describe what’s to be most important.

And, oh, what I miss out on when I neglect my true identity!

It’s like living as a pauper when I am the King’s daughter!

Lord, help me remember my identity in you. Help us all!

Blessings, friends!

Counting it All Joy When Troubles Are Numerous

Ok. So this one somehow needed a photo. Nothing represents joy like a child’s art. (Plus, I am experimenting, frankly. I can’t help noticing some friends are missing lately. Even if I’m not supposed to care or really talk about it if I want to be a “cool” blogger projecting self-confidence, I find I just have this overflow of honesty that spills out.☺️ So, I figured maybe a picture will get someone to stop long enough to read. πŸ˜‰ ) Ok, so that little spiel out of the way…

The following is brought to you by my long ago days of daycare teaching πŸ™‚:

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy

Down in my heart.

Where?

Down in my heart!

Where?

Down in my heart!

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy

Down in my heart.

Down in my heart to stay!

Cute little song for cute little voices. πŸ™‚

On my best days, I could abandon the cares of my busy single mom world and frolic through it with a class of toddlers. You might have trouble picking the teacher out of the crowd then. πŸ˜‰

And on the worst days?

Well, you’d be hard-pressed to detect it, as I was a firm believer in the fake-it-for-the-young-ones, but, on those days, the words honestly tasted like the sand of hypocrisy in my mouth and weighed like the lead of disbelief on my soul.

The “where?” was less a perky prelude to sharing the location of said feeling than it was a desperate inner cry to find it.

Because, on those days, there’s nothing more to say than I was tapped out.

And feeling guilty for it all the while!

Not a fun place to hang your hat on to say the least.

So…how did I go from there to genuine, lasting joy?πŸ€”

Well, I can’t say I always immediately remember this key all the time even now.

Because, well, being human means being prone to forget. πŸ™„

But, essentially, it comes down to a total surrender to and reliance on Jesus at all times.

And that doesn’t mean a Jesus-life-stinks-please-fix-this-now mentality.

He isn’t a genie in a bottle, after all.

Nor is it a happy only-when-life-is-good fickleness.

No…rather, it is a Jesus-this-does-hurt-but-I-know-You’re-there feeling.

It’s a gratitude that pushes beyond this present life and rejoices in the knowledge of life everlasting through trust in Christ.

It’s not living in denial, pretending all is great all the time.

Because, we all know that, sometimes, it’s just not.

But, it is a recognition that there is a help and a hope that carries us through all that not so great stuff.

When we abide in Him.

Can’t say as I can always sing that song with abandon even now, but, the more I know the Lord, the deeper goes that quiet assurance allowing the words to resonate in my heart, no matter the outward circumstances.

May we approach each day with His joy down in our hearts. Blessings, friends.