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Called to Go… or Called to Stay?

I had a discussion with my boyfriend a couple of days ago that made me think of this post and when I went to look it up found it was still a draft. I wrote this Feb 8, 2008 and never published it. I’m not sure why it was left as a draft. I’m going to hit the publish button a full 10yr after it was written. I have not even read this through completely again, so there is little doubt that it needs work, but that’s life.


A dear friend once told me she didn’t understand why God would let her family be ill with a difficult to treat, lengthy, complicated illness. She said she and her husband were willing to go…(you know “Go into all the world and preach the good news, unto all creation” Mark 16:15….). I think she was wondering why God was having them wait and deal with the illness when they were willing to go to the mission field now… She was sharing this with me because I had shared with her that I was struggling with feeling so badly for wanting to go and be a missionary. I was willing, but it seemed odd to me to be feeling so strongly about going when I knew that I could not go right now. *I* was wondering why He would put that burning desire, that urgency to GO and spread the Good News in my heart (for I knew it came from Him) when He also knew that right now circumstances were such that I had to stay. Kinda the same question for us both, huh? =)So why would God let someone who had a desire and a willingness to GO be held back? Indeed, why would He even place the desire and the willingness in their heart to begin with if they were going to only be held back?

The possible answers are infinite, because God is infinite. Obviously not all possibilities could even begin to be understood or discussed. I offer you now, this one possibility…

It may be they are TOO willing and eager. How could that be?Let’s look at: Feeling Ready to GO. NOW. through Love Logic:

Their heart is so full of love (and don’t forget God is love), they are sooo very willing and eager to GO and spread the good news…to GO and spread God’s love. So focused, so intense on that, that they absolutely would go if God didn’t hold them back. Why would he hold someone so willing, so eager, so focused, so intense, absolutely burning to go??

Here’s the reason in one word… LOVE.

Love for them and love for ALL.

Because that is not what He wants them to do right now. He doesn’t want them to GO. He wants them to stay, but they are so intense, so passionate, so eager that they can and will jump before they ought. They’ll get sidetracked by their own impulsive and then (almost obsessive) passions. In this case, I am referring to the passion of spreading God’s love…sharing Him with others. So passionate, so intense, so desirous are they that ALL know of His redeeming love, that they would (if not wrangled in by that very love) zoom off to spread the Word.

Matthew 28:19-20 says “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

GOing is something Jesus wants us to do, but in HIS time and to the place of HIS choosing.

I think these intense souls burn so bright inside they feel like they just might burst. I think they have a predisposition to hyper-focusing, and impulsivity, as well as distractibility. Their very nature is to focus and burn hot and intense…if they are going to do something they are going to do it to the best of their ability. They might be known to say things like: “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” “Always do your best.” Or this verse from the bible, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…” Ecclesiastes 9:10.

They are determined, persistent, and do and feel things in ‘overdrive’. They just might have perfectionistic tendencies as well.

This is exactly the type of person who would be most vulnerable to, hearing only “Go ye therefore…” and take off before they heard the rest.

If they didn’t slow down, practice using patience, and really listen that is exactly what they would do.

Patience or longsuffering, is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) The Spirit being the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit WILL bear fruit in our lives. In John 15: 8 Jesus says “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so then shall ye be called my disciples.”

Webster’s dictionary defines ‘disciple’ as: “1. A learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another; as the disciples of Plato. 2. A follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another. Hence the constant attendants of Christ were called his disciples; and hence all Christians are called his disciples, as they profess to learn and receive his doctrines and precepts.”

The Spirit bears the fruit through us. We have to learn to USE them. How do you learn to use a spoon or a power tool? You practice. Remember that.

God knows that they would take off if they don’t slow down because He is all-knowing. Aside from that….hello! He created them. He knew what He was doing. He knew they would be predisposed to these things. He knew this could and/or would be a very real-case scenario…this taking off before listening completely. I know I’ve seen my own kids do this time and time again… I’ll start to tell them to do something and they take off before I can give them the….COMPLETE… instructions.

God knew these people would be weak in these areas because of their predispositions. God knew, and He planned it. See, it is through the weakest link that God can show the greatest strength. God has a real flare for the dramatic. Extremes. Take the lowliest of the low and you can really SEE! the difference when it is raised up. And vice versa. It’s the contrast that makes the difference. Why do you think books are printed in black on a white background…biggest contrast, easiest to see. If it were typed in yellow…well yellow on white is not much of a contrast, therefore it would be more difficult to see. Maybe not impossible, but more difficult.

Jesus is the light of the world. He came to illuminate. His life makes the biggest contrast. Pure light came into pure darkness. Extreme contrast…God- All knowing, all powerful, purely clean… came to earth and was born as a helpless infant baby in a filthy barn and slept in a feeding trough. (Remember Jesus was and is God in the flesh. Jesus says in John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”)

Extreme contrast…to make it as easy as possible to SEE. Why? Because He wants ALL to SEE! so they will believe… and believing, have everlasting life through Him.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” -John 3:16 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” -John 14:6

He wants ALL to see because he loves ALL. He loves ALL because He is love. What is love? God is love.Love logic.

(Ok, got sidetracked…) Back to our sidetracked intense lights. They SAW, really SAW and now they want ALL to SEE, too. They want that because that is what God wants. They want what God wants because He now lives in them.

Love logic.

Great…let’s GO!


As Davy Crockett once said…”Be always sure you’re right, then go ahead.” THEN go ahead. THEN go ahead. PATIENCE. Extreme contrast of impulsivity…hmmm…God created these people, He knew their strengths and weaknesses before they did. He planned them. In their weaknesses He will shine brightest. In their strengths they will find joy. The joy of the Lord is their strength.

God loves them. God knew that if….here is the Love Logic… if He didn’t put obstacles in their path, a fence if you will, they would GO! too soon. Before they’d received the COMPLETE instructions. Between their intense desires to do God’s will, to learn, to grow, to spread His love, God’s gracious use of obstacles, and through Christ which strengthens them and enables them to listen….they stay put…AND catch the complete instructions.

Let’s look at Matthew 28:19-20 again… “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Look! SEE! The last part of the directions…”teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”. That’s discipleship, folks. And THAT is what these people are best suited to doing because they were weak, and saw how He could be their strength. It’s the learning how to listen to God and His leading, how to put the keys to Christian living into practice in everyday life that these young Christians…these young disciples…need- and God knew it, so He lined up some teachers and taught them…the way they needed to be taught. Why? Because He loves ALL and wants ALL to know it. These teachers that Jesus, the Great Teacher Himself, trained up in the way they should go are now equipped for the path that He chose for them to follow before time began.

They were created for His purpose and His pleasure. They belong to Him and are His tools, His servants. But God is not a cruel Master. He is Love.

He so loves these servants! He is so good to them, so kind, so gracious. He knew they would be predisposed, prone to impulsivity, hyper-focusing, etc. because they are so intense. He also knew that if they did jump and GO! when it’s not His will for them to do in that season, they would be headed for troubles. Troubles because they would be out of God’s will, trouble because they would be doing wrong…even though they would be doing it to do right (spread God’s love, spread the gospel to all nations). He knew that and in His grace He put a bigger fence up. One they couldn’t jump nearly as easily or as quickly. To get over this fence, they would really have to work at it, and that would slow them down. Slowing them down would probably be enough to get them to hear the rest of the instructions.

And if they heard the rest of the instructions, their intensity, their focus would be shifted to the complete forest and they wouldn’t miss out on God’s intended path for them. I’m sure you’ve heard…”can’t see the forest for the trees”…that’s focusing in on something so intensely you miss what is going on all around you. That’s what these people would be in danger of doing…focusing in on the GO and the need to spread the good news of salvation (a very good thing and absolutely a huge need, mind you!)…and missing the young Christians (and by young I mean newly saved, therefore young spiritually) all around who also have needs. Their needs are no longer salvation, that is already eternally secure; their needs now include love first of all, assurance, instruction, comfort, and encouragement. Just because they’re saved, their need for the Savior does not stop. Remember, God is love. Jesus is God. Jesus is love. Even after salvation we still need Jesus. We still need love.

This ‘bigger fence’ God puts up might very well be any number of things. It could even be an illness, and maybe not just any illness. God is so good and so gracious that He might choose to use an illness that is little understood…one that is maybe even controversial…one that is difficult to treat…lengthy to treat maybe. He might choose just that kind of illness to use because an illness that is controversial at worst, and difficult to treat because it is not well understood at best, is probably going to be treated well only by a few select doctors. It would be more difficult to find a doctor on the foreign mission field that is familiar with kind of illness.

That would make good love logical sense, wouldn’t it?

Love logic would explain not only why an illness (considered by most to be a BAD thing), but why that kind of illness (which, at first glance would seem to be among the worst kind) was used.

What a blessing! What love!Remember I told you back there to remember how you learn? By practicing? These servants have been practicing using patience. They’ve been learning. They’ve also been obeying with the Spirit’s help, which is the only way we can obey, by the way. Don’t think for a second you can do it on your own.

They’ve been obeying by staying in God’s will…by not jumping over that fence.

Obeying and doing God’s will are commandments. As is loving one another. Jesus says in John 15:12 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

The predispositions of these people help fuel an intense desire to do just that. The love and light that lives within them burns so intensely it can’t be pent up…it has to get out. The characteristics of these people are such that they just won’t be able to NOT love…not without great deliberate effort on their part, anyway. I think at times the desire to help others, to comfort, to encourage, to assure others threatens to burst them at their seams if they did not let it out. They do it almost without thinking or realizing it at times. It just comes naturally to them…or rather, *super*naturally…through Christ Jesus. A kind word here, a helping hand there, sharing how God has helped them whether through salvation or some other facet of His love…those are all ways of loving others. So they’ve been loving others as they’ve been practicing using patience.

What an amazing Lord we serve! Look now, at what He says in John 15:14-16 —

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

Jesus just called them friends! What an honor, to be called a friend of Jesus. He’s a REAL friend, folks. In fact He is THE Real Friend…the BEST because He will never leave you nor forsake you! There’s no one I would rather have call *me* a friend! Amazing love!

He called them friends, then told them He did the choosing…He chose them out of the world (John 15:19) to go bear fruit…He saved them and ordained (or appointed) them to go and bring forth fruit, but He didn’t tell them how or the when yet.

It may be that people with these characteristics feel intensely how they should accomplish that, but it’s not about feeling. It’s about knowing. John 15:15 again…”…for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” Jesus made it known, He didn’t make it felt.

Because the Lord is gracious and loves His friends so very much, He makes a way for them to be able to slow down enough to see the forest and know the ‘how’ and ‘when’.

Could be He uses love logic and chooses to take the unlikeliest thing and turn it into a blessing. =)That’s right, even being ill could be a blessing in disguise, one that forces us to slow down long enough to really catch all God wants us to hear….and pass on.

Because He does want us to pass it on. Show God’s love (the first fruit of the Spirit) and others will too…it will spread.

‘Go’ and ‘now’ aren’t the only words God uses. Listen for the complete instructions. We can spread the Word and bring forth fruit through this word, too…Discipleship.


We’re still learning…

It’s not quite the end of October, so fall has only just begun, so really I shouldn’t feel so defeated when I look back at my last post and realize that since then things have only gone downhill. I know this thing we call life is a marathon and not a sprint, I know that the goodness of the seasons both of the harvest and of life are not determined within the first trembling weeks. Still I can’t help but wonder just how long before the “lookin’ up” mentality takes back over my attitude. Oh sure, I put up a good front for everyone else, telling them that it WILL get better, we just have to trust God and be patient, but the reality is I wonder if all I’m saying is just empty words.

I don’t guess things are really THAT bad, certainly not as bad as they’ve been in the past. Actually things were much, much worse even just this past summer. Maybe I’m just now settling back into ‘normal’ rather than ‘crisis’ mode, and so the adrenaline let-down is clouding my senses.

We did go camping and we had a great time, despite Matthew having a couple of very emotional days. He went through the whole rainbow of emotions within hours (more than once) and that did dampen the fun somewhat, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. The first week we were back home was way worse. The rage came back with a vengeance. There was a lot of destruction of property that week. We followed that with a trip to the ped and an increase in both of his bipolar meds. The next week was better, and the rage has not come back to the extent it had been, but neither is he the ‘sweet, golden, little boy’ he was for those 2-3 wks of May when he was taking the same amt of Seroquel. THAT is the part that’s dragging me down, I really think. I had so hoped we’d see that level of ‘good’ again. =(  I’m trying so hard not to lose hope, though. I know that the mood stabilizer needs a good 8wks at therapuetic level (which he just hit this last week) to reach its full potential, and I know that the last week he hasn’t been feeling all that great physically as his asthma has been acting up. I’m REALLY trying to hang on to the hope that as he gets well physically, the emotional/mental will ‘catch up’ as well.

Meanwhile, our school experience has been VERY relaxed. In years past this would have had me in an absolute frenzy of guilt and even anger at the kids (and myself!) for being so far ‘behind’. The title of this post explains my feelings on this situation now, though. True the kids have not completed vast amounts of written work each day. True if you go by the recommended schedule given for each course, they are quite behind, but no it’s not the end of the world. For one, they ARE still progressing in everything, just not at the ‘recommended’ pace. For another, it’s finally beginning to hit home that neither one of my children are destined for the great academia life that I’d always secretly hoped (and pushed) for them. Oh, they’re both highly intelligent, no doubt, but the academic ‘way-of-life’ is not a strong suit for either one of them… for different reasons.

I’ve always known that academics was a good fit for some people and not others. For instance, a child born with Downs Syndrome absolutely CAN and will learn, but would not be expected to be able to soar through standard schooling and college with As in every subject no matter how difficult those subjects may be. A child born with legs that will never be able to hold their weight wouldn’t be expected to win all the events at a track meet. A child who loses their sight due to illness would never be expected to ‘find Waldo’ or excel at ‘I Spy’, nor would they be thought less of because they were not suited to those kinds of activities. Each person is born with different abilities and God has a different plan and will for everyone. We’re not all supposed to be neuro-surgeons, or chemical engineers. We’re not all meant to be athletes. We’re not all meant to mechanics. Some people have natural affinities for these things… others do not.

I’ve always thought it simply cruel for parents to expect their children to excel in athletics simply because they did themselves in school, regardless of whether the children were physically CAPABLE to or not. I’ve certainly seen that exact scenario often enough! “How selfish and simply ridiculus of those parents to just assume that the child would be great at something just because they wished it so. Don’t they realize that some kids just aren’t CAPABLE and if not they should not be punished or denigrated for it? They can’t help the way God made them.”, I would think to myself. Some kids have athletic ability, some do not…and that doesn’t even take into consideration the possible physical limitations the child might have.

It humbles me to say so, but I was guilty of doing just exactly the same thing! =(  Just because I managed to sail through school and always wanted to learn more, wanted to study more advanced subjects, wanted to soak up the academic lifestyle does NOT mean my kids will want or be capable of the same thing. Yes, both kids have high IQs and for a long time it was that and that alone that I looked at as a factor for whether or not they were achieving what they should be academically. The Lord’s been working on me about that, though. Especially the last couple of years. When I’m honest with myself and with God, my first priority as their mother is to teach them to fear and love the Lord. After that it is their physical, mental, and emotional health that I am to attend to. ONLY after those things have been taken care of am I to worry about teaching them the ‘academics’. Yes, learning to read, write, and do basic math is important. Yes, I am to train them and teach them to take care of themselves and live as a member of society, so yes school is important. It’s NOT, however, the be-all, end-all that I used to think it was. So what if they don’t study calculus and make straight As doing it? So what if they don’t graduate from college at the top of their class (or at all, for that matter)? A person is so much more than just their school grades. LIFE is so much more than just the next A or getting better test scores than everyone else.

Yes, it’s a pride thing. I admit it. I never took the SATs because I couldn’t stand the thought of getting a less-than-perfect score like my cousin. It would be open knowledge to the whole extended family that I was not as ‘smart’ as he is, then. (As if they couldn’t tell without that precious test score! HA!) I set out to homeschool the kids so that I could ensure they got the absolute highest level of academics possible. By that I meant that they would be the smartest, the brightest, the most advanced students in the family. Maybe not in the world, I mean I didn’t expect them to be graduating university by 8 or 9, but certainly faster and with better grades than anyone else in the family.

It’s been tough, I admit, but I’m learning that high grades in the most advanced courses at the tenderst ages are NOT what God had/has planned for these two precious children He’s entrusted to my care and rearing. It bruises my pride to think that my kids aren’t ‘the smartest’, honestly. That’s MY problem, though, not theirs. I’ve pushed them too hard for too long in this one area.

So… the schooling has become much more relaxed. Neither kiddo is behind by any means, not even compared to the ‘typical’ student their age. If they were, though, so what? I wouldn’t think ill of another child (or their parents) with mental or even physical (say months of chemo treatments, for example) limitations being ‘behind’ their age-mates. The important thing is not what honors course they take at age 12yo, but how well they are being prepared to be an adult… a Christian… a husband/wife… a father/mother… even an employee and citizen. All kids, the A students and the F students, the ones that skipped a grade or two and the ones held back a year or two, have the same ultimate educational need… to be prepared to live on their own and support and care for themselves and their families.

To that end, regardless of what limitations and difficulties Meagan and Matthew have in any aspect of life, I’ve been far too rigid in the way I’ve approached school with them…certainly with what I’ve expected of them. I’ve told them for years that I only expect them to do their best, but the truth is I’ve been expecting them not to do their best, but to do the best compared to all other kids their age…at least in SOMETHING. I’ve allowed that Meg is weak in spelling, “but she is a math genius”, I’ve thought. And Matthew? Well ok, so he isn’t the top math student, but he is THE best speller and SO intellectually mature. “He’s my language kid”, I’ve always said.

I’m learning that academics are not ALL that’s important in a child’s life. I don’t believe either of my children are destined to excel in academics. They are solid A, B students, yes, and do indeed have ‘genius-level’ IQs, but that does not mean they are meant to (or SHOULD) study college-level courses in their early teens, as I’ve been wanting them to for so many years. Truth be told, they may never study college-level courses, and not because they simply don’t *want* to, but possibly because they won’t be *capable*. How can that be if they have such high-IQs?? I used to hang everything on those high IQs, but the truth is they are so much more than that!!

Meagan has severe social struggles. Right now she needs more practice in learning self-hygiene, and good conversational skills than in sentence diagramming. Matthew has severe emotional struggles. Right now he needs more practice in learning to deal with his extreme emotions properly than in finding the square roots of 4 digit numbers. If I focus on the academics, they are in danger of becoming adults who still don’t understand how to act around other people or how to live peaceably with others. When all is said and done those skills are more important than being able to list all the countries in Africa or describe in detail the structure of a plant cell.

I haven’t completely abandoned academics, though. No! To swing that far from the wrong thinking I had, would *also* be wrong. Instead, I’ve relaxed my expectations, especially in regards to the *timetable* I’ve been expecting them to progress by. Meagan is still taking high school courses, some of which *are* advanced compared to the public school system, and I do still expect her to complete them. I don’t, however, expect her to complete them by a set date. If she needs to move more slowly (and in a lot of areas, she definitely does as her reading comprehension isn’t strong), then so be it. So what if she’s 19 before she graduates high school? Is that really any *worse* than if she graduated at 16? The same is true of Matthew. I haven’t given up academics altogether, I’m just not harping on them so much. His emotional (and lately physical as well) health has really made it difficult for him to focus on and do well with school, so he hasn’t gotten as much done each day as I would’ve demanded a year ago, but he IS still learning. So maybe he’s focusing more on learning how to deal with emotions this month instead of learning algebra, he’s still learning. And the math is still there, waiting for his brain to become more settled and able to focus without the frustration he currently experiences.

So the kids are still learning, and I’m still learning. It’s been a hard lesson for me to learn, I must say. It’s very humbling to accept that my children aren’t ‘cut out for academia’. I don’t really know why academics have been of such huge importance to me, I just know they have been, and they shouldn’t have been. Had the Lord blessed me with a child born with Down’s Syndrome I wouldn’t have expected *that* child to excel academically, and I shouldn’t expect Meagan or Matthew to, either. Both of them have ‘special needs’ and are ‘differently abled’ than they ‘typical, normal’ child, so it’s not fair to them or to me to expect of them more than they are capable. Even if they don’t have the ‘special needs’ or ‘different abilities’ I would have picked to deal with or live with. It’s true I would have always absolutely adopted a child who I knew had Down’s Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis or half a dozen other limitations… in a heartbeat. I’d have PICKED those special needs, but I never would have picked the special needs these kids have. Bipolar? No way. Not touching that with a twenty-foot pole. Socially awkward and immature? Nope. Also not ‘glamorous’ enough for me.

I’m learning that it’s not up to me to pick and choose what kind of kid (or what abilities that kid has) for me to train up for the Lord. It’s the Lord’s choice, not mine. He knows best, even when I think He doesn’t.

Random Theological Musings


If it is possible for some men to fully believe they are saved and then be surprised at the judgement when they learn they are in fact, not….

And it is possible for saved men to doubt their salvation, right up to the time of death and then be surprised when they find themselves ushered into Heaven…

It therefore stands to reason that it is possible for a saved man to know he is saved and yet not know the exact time he was/will be saved, and be unsure of WHEN it has happened/will happen up to the time of death and then be surprised when they, too, are ushered into Heaven.

A good tree is known by its fruit. Some trees are mature, and its full, ripe fruit falls readily off its overloaded branches by the scores. Other trees are just beginning to bud out, as they are just beginning their first spring season, and as yet their fruit are just tender whispers of what will be. Still others, while they are not a first year sapling, are nonetheless new to bearing fruit. Perhaps because of many years of drought or poor soil, and where other trees of the same age have branches that are overflowing, their branches are very sparsely covered. The fruit is mostly small and only a few ripen and become heavy enough that it falls of its own fullness onto the ground. Most of the fruit must either be delicately handpicked or the tree shaken in some degree in order for the fruit to become seperated from its limb and fall.

While there is only way to the Father…to Heaven… and that way is Jesus Christ, I believe there are as many ways to Christ as there are souls. No two people, or souls, are alike. We are each created by God to be unique, and as such, no two of us will have identical thought processes, life experiences and opportunities, or emotional ‘baggage’ with which we have to deal. While the only way to be saved is to believe on Jesus Christ, there are an infinite number of ways to come to that belief.

John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever shall believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” While it is true that we must each work out our own belief on Jesus… that is, we need to believe on Him in our own right, not just because someone else like a parent or grandparent did/does, each person must believe that “the world” and “whosoever” both include themselves personally… I find no specification as to HOW one must COME to that belief.

For some people the threat of their flesh being perpetually in flames helps them to realize that they truly are deserving of that punishment and that they NEED a Savior, and then are able to shake off the pride and stubborness of wanting to be self-sufficient and in need of no one and nothing, and so then are greatly comforted by the fact that God loved/s THEM enough to sacrifice His son, so that if they choose to believe on Jesus, they can escape that horrific fate.

For others, (and I think especially of young children, here), the thought of burning in hell never enters their thought processes. They hear that God loved/s them and that He sent His son to give them everlasting life in Heaven with Him, and that’s all they need to know. Jesus loves them and will take care of them. I think a lot of these types of people believe on Jesus simply because of His great love for them. I think, perhaps, that many never even give a thought to the ‘afterlife’ when they believe on Him, they just believe because of His love.

Still others, have perhaps resisted accepting and admitting what they know in their heart to be true because of their foolish pride in their thinking skills and remain ‘skeptical’ because…after all…no one who was around when the Bible was written or when Jesus walked the earth is around today, so how can anyone KNOW for sure it’s truth. Then something, or several somethings happen in their lives that show them that if they don’t “quit messin’ around” and just believe, their lives here on earth will only continue to spiral downward… faster and faster, until there is no way to pull their heads back up above the deep, dark abyss.

Then there are those who quietly watch believers from near or far, and notice that there is something different about them. Something different in their lives that enables them to get through even the most difficult of life’s trials with an overall sense of peace. They notice that there are many small differences in their day-to-day lives and that those differences are by and large, BETTER than what they have. Perhaps they watch quietly for years and see blessing after blessing bestowed on the believer and countless times of comfort or intervention when trouble comes their way. Perhaps they have even personally benefited from the prayers or good deeds of the believer. They watch and they eventually come to a decision that whatever it is that makes the believer different, they want the same thing, and then when they hear the gospel, they believe. Not because of fear of burning flesh and eternal suffering, but because they have SEEN with their own eyes the incredible earthly benefits of believing on Jesus.

John 3:16 has often been called the gospel in miniature; I’ve even heard it called the bible in miniature. It is certainly the greatest story ever told. Thousands of souls have been saved and had their names recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life with their only knowledge of God or the bible being what is expressed in this verse. It’s that powerful! It’s that simple!

Let’s break the six simple phrases into three parts. (Three, as opposed to six, because the last 3 phrases are very much dependant on each other…intertwined like a finely made rope.)

For Godevery man is created by God and the knowledge of the existence of God is ‘built in’ at creation. Every soul knows on an instinctual, primal level of the existence of God.

so loved the world- just as every soul knows on an instinctual, primal level of the existence of God, so too does every soul realize on that same deep level that they are a creation of that God…that without that God they would not exist. As they mature, and are able to begin reasoning, they go on to realize that if one creates something, they are bonded to it…they love it. If they did not love it, they would not have created it. Therefore, on the most elemental level, every soul is already aware that God loves not only them, but all souls that He has created. (This would include unborn children.)

that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.- This is the part of the verse that men are NOT born knowing in their own hearts. This phrase, along with the rest of the verse is why it is most necessary for believers to share the gospel with others. The first part of this verse men know instinctually. Unless someone who has already learned it themselves shares this knowledge with them, they will never know the story of God’s son. They will not know that He exists, nor why it was necessary for him to lay down his life for the men of this world. While each soul, will know instinctually that God is better than s/he is, that they are in comparison- bad, the knowledge of what this means has NOT been instilled in them at their creation. Somebody will need to tell them that God has a begotten son. Somebody will need to tell them that WHOSOEVER believeth in this begotten son, will have everlasting life.

While there are many doctrines contained in the bible, and many, many more lessons for a soul to learn about God and His son, Jesus Christ, the small amount of information (which is the greatest truth in all the world) contained in this one verse is all that is necessary for a soul to know in order to receive eternal life.

Big Dreams, Little Dreams

Heard a really great message at church Wed on dreams. (You can download the sermon and listen to it here: Baptist Basics Download Page Look for “Dream A Dream”.) Not dreams like where you find yourself flying the spaceship from Flight of the Navigator around town with all your younger cousins on board in highchairs, but dreams like when you say “One day I’d like to…”.

The speaker brought up a lot of good points about dreams. He talked about how we *should* have them, as they give us a goal to work towards. They motivate us to DO something. They give us a purpose.

If we have a dream to do something, go somewhere, meet someone, be somebody, or accomplish something, we have a much greater chance of actually DOING something, GOING somewhere, MEETING someone, BEING somebody (although, to be sure we are ALL somebody to Jesus whether we ever realize that or not), or actually ACCOMPLISHING something. In other words, if we don’t have something to set our minds and hearts towards in the future, something to work towards, we won’t make any progress towards those things and so we won’t move forward in life.

Life isn’t stagnant. It’s ALIVE! It’s moving. Look at the bodies of water on the earth. All but the Dead Sea have living things swimming happily away in them. What’s so different about the Dead Sea? It doesn’t have an outlet. There is no way for the water in the Dead Sea to get back out. It TAKES, but it never GIVES. Life enters into it, but there it stagnates and dies. The same thing will happen to small ponds or even fish tanks (like the aquarium the kids’ goldfish will be in once we find it!), if there is no circulation of water – life – movement.

I believe I once heard the term ‘living being’ defined as a being that has the capability of growing and moving on its own. But plants can’t move, you say, and they are alive. Yes they do move, I say! They grow don’t they? Then they move. A rock is stagnant. It doesn’t move, it doesn’t grow. Neither does metal.Things like water and air move, but not on their own. They have to have an outside source of energy propel them in some way. A hand has to tilt the pitcher to pour the water into the cup, A sudden bolt of electricity (if you really want me to explain where/how that happens, I will, but it’s rather lengthy) has to warm the air causing it to expand and crash into the cooler air around it with a bang.

In short, then, we could say that life = movement. Dreams give us something to move towards. Without dreams… be they big dreams like a wedding in your future or one finishing med school and opening your own practice… or little dreams like the Christmas gifts you want to make for your family or the dinner you plan on cooking tonight… we have no reason to move.

God created each of us, for HIS purpose. For HIS glory and HIS pleasure. He saves us by HIS grace and desires a personal relationship -talking, sharing, loving, working- with us. He live in us once we are saved, and desires to live THROUGH us as well. If He comes into our hearts and never comes out, we WILL stagnate spiritually. And of course, if we stagnate spiritually, the rest of our lives WILL suffer.

Jesus is the reason. Jesus is the reaon for the season, yes. But He is also the reason for living. He is the biggest dream to work towards… being like Him. We don’t have to work to get to Heaven to live with Him forever, but we DO need to work towards being like Him… sharing His qualities and character. We take life in when we accept Jesus into our hearts because He IS everlasting life. We need to give Jesus back out to keep from stagnating and scumming over like a pond with no circulating water, air, and life.

Share the gift of eternal Life with someone this Christmas season. Make it a dream of yours to show someone how to accept Jesus into their heart and live eternally. Then MOVE (on your own, without outside energy sources propelling you) towards that dream. Now you’re livin! ;-)

Just like all dreams, if you move towards it at all, you will have gone farther and accomplished more than you would have if you’d never tried. Even if you never achieve your goal, you’ve still succeeded. I believe it was Bob Jones Sr who said “Success is finding God’s will for your life and doing it” (that’s close, if that the exact quote).

That’s one of mybig dreams… to lead someone to Christ… to lead many someones to Christ, actually. Now I’m going to share some of my little dreams with you. It’ll be a kind of progress report, I suppose. LOL Listed below are all the different Christmas gifts I’m making this year as well as other Christmas projects. The ones crossed out are completed. The ones with an * I haven’t even started yet! YIKES!! =)

  • sew Coast Guard patch onto knit hat for Mike
  • make Christmas candies (candy melts/molds… painted details) for Meg to hand out at school
  • display case of Coast Guard memorabilia for Mike
  • stain/seal display shelf for Coast Guard hat
  • sew ‘sleep sack’ out of queen and throw sized blankets
  • sew matching dresses for Meagan* and the 18″ doll she is getting for Christmas (I have the doll’s dress finished)
  • sew blue snowflake dress* for the doll
  • crochet quitar for the doll
  • crochet poncho* to match one I made Meagan a couple of years ago…for the doll
  • crochet Santa hat*, scarf*, and mittens* for the doll
  • dye and embroider 2 sets of 5 tea towels (red w/ whitework snowmen)
  • change name on Mike’s childhood stocking to Matthew*
  • sew jingle bells on the stockings Meme made the kids*
  • make fudge for giving away and taking to get-togethers*
  • coat choc. sandwich cookies in white almond bark and sprinkle red/green berries/leaves on top*
  • crochet backpack for doll*
  • hang garlands*, window clings*, wreaths*, and lights*
  • finish getting ornaments on the tree and setting out decorations
  • wrap a bunch of Christmas gifts*
  • clean house
  • do about 5 billion loads of laundry (ok, not quite that many, but close!)

I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting, too! Can you say BIZ-ZEE?! I’m gonna go work on that blue doll dress now. Oh! And the matching dresses are a metallic burgundy with black trimmings. =) I’ll post pics of all the finished projects when I can. Well, for all except the stuff I made for the girls from camp. I didn’t get pictures of them before I mailed them out. I made a yellow pillow w/ “John Deere” in green, an American flag design scarf, an American flag design doll blanket, a pink/purple scarf, and a hat and scarf for a doll in red/white/blue.

Sick of Failing at, and Being a ‘Single’ Mom

It’s 11pm and guess what. Both kida are still up. I’m so frustrated it’s not even funny. I am SO sick of practically raising these kids by myself. It’d be one thing if I really WAS a single mom… as in I was the only parent responsible for raising them and the only one around to do it.

That’s not the case, though. I have a husband. A good man who works hard to provide financial support for us. Unfortunely that’s just about the only kind of support he gives us. He accepts the fact that I’m sick, have been for a long time, and looks like I will be, and he supports me in that regard in so much as he understands why I can’t keep the house clean and rarely feel like cooking dinner.

So why, WHY???!!!!! can he not see I can’t raise these kids by myself and HELP? The kids are almost 12 and 11 and for 12 years now I’ve been not just the primary caregiver, I’ve been the ONLY caregiver. I can count on 3 fingers the times in the last 12 years that Mike has taken charge of ‘bedtime patrol’ and made sure the kids get ready for bed and get in bed. Even fewer are the times he’s done so and make sure they went to bed with all their chores done and all their medicines taken.

Every single solitary day, if *I* don’t make sure they take all their medicines, Matthew flat-out refises to do as he know he’s supposed and will lie to us that he’s taken his meds.

Now, even WITH his meds, Matthew is an extrememly rebellious, disrespectful, disobedient, rude, mouthy, selfish, proud kid. If he doesn’t take his meds it is easily 100x worse.

So make sure he takes his meds, you say. That’s fine, I do try. However there are times when I just crash. My body is fighting all these infections and even with all the help it gets from multiple high-dose antibiotics, it still wears me out. And of course, extremem fatigue is one of the lovely features of these infections I’m fighting.

So it happens that some days, I’m so exhausted I don’t even hear the TWO alarms I set each night. On the days that Mike is off, or he knows the kids do not have school, he will turn the alarms off and just let me sleep. That’s wonderful and so sweet of him, you say. Sure, but if he’s not going to make sure Matt gets his meds and then go to bed without even saying he’s going to bed, just disappear all of a sudden right when Matthew’s lack of meds REALLY starts kicking in, leaving me to deal with all the hate, filth, disrespect, threats, and disobedience he spews at full force by myself, then I would much, MUCH rather he wake me up!

I’m so sick and tired of being the only one who even attempts to get the kids to take care of their chores, school/homework, medicines, etc. The only one who even attempts to discipline them.

Maybe if he weren’t here effectively being a bump on a log, my attempts at disciplining, instructing, and so forth, would be more successful. Or maybe not. Either way at least then I wouldn’t have the frustration of having to deal with it all myself while their father, just as responsible for them as I am, plays his video games, reads his book, or sleeps through all the nonsense.

At least then I wouldn’t have the frustration and heartbreak of watching my husband, supposedly my best friend, my leader, and my protector stand by and do nothing at all about his son calling me horrible names, threatening to kill me, throwing things at me, hitting, biting, or kicking me.

I’ve alwys had this picture in my mind of the way a husband/father stands up for his wife, and disciplines the disrespectful child for not saying “yes ma’am” or “no ma’am” to her. As much as I know in my head that there are fathers out there who would do that very thing because it’s what it right and how God intended for fathers to be towards their wives and children, I just can’t make my heart really believe it. It’s like make-believe, pure fantasy.

I love my family so much. Even the selfish, proud, rebellious, hateful son I have.Even the thoughtless, selfish, lazy husband I have. Meagan has moments when she doesn’t thrill me as well, but I sto;; love her, too. I love them all. I’m just so very disappointed in the way a couple of them are turning out. It breaks my heart in so many, many ways.

I hate that I’ve failed to turn out two good kids. I know one is a good deal, but it’s not enough. I want ALL my kids to turn out good. I hate that I’ve failed, and I hate that their father has failed. I know Jesus can make things like this turn around 180 degrees, but I’ll tell you the truth, it sure doesn’t seem very likely for us. I have prayed for so many years, and while we did see a little progress once we were able to get Matt the medicine he needs, it’s been pretty sparse.

I’ve heard our pastor say many times that all our failures are prayer failures, so I guess that means I’m not doing such a great job at that either.

Oh I’m not going to quit trying, so I won’t say I’m a failure, but I have failed, and I don’t know anything new to try or to change to NOT fail again. Most days my son’s future looks very. very dark . 

I’m just so frustrated and tired of fighting what appears to be a losing battle, and doing so on my own. I am sure lots of truly single moms feel the same way, amd I understand that it is different for them. I understand that I can’t understand completely how difficult it is for them, since they are having to be a single parent AND a single provider at the same time. But I also don’t think it’s a stretch in the least to call myself a ‘single’ mom. I feel a closeness to single moms, I suppose you could say. I feel for them, because I have at least a small idea of what they have to deal with and face as a single parent.

I just wish that American fathers would start acting like true fathers. Get saved if they’re not, make sure they are if they are, and thenpick up a bible and find out how they are supposed to act and then listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and BE the kind of father God wants him to be. Maybe then us single and ‘single’ moms wouldn’t have to carry so much on ourselves.

It’d be really great if they would also learn what God expects of them as husbands, too.

Impeccable Timing

I can’t recall where, but somewhere and sometime in the last 2 days I read a little note that said that while our physical bodies grow slowly and at a relatively steady rate, our spiritual ‘body’ grows in spurts and leaps and bounds.

Oh how true that is! Even my reading that (and then tonight recalling it again) is an illustration of impeccable timing, and the impeccable timing… let’s call it the ‘lesson in impeccable timing’… is a glorious example of my own spiritual self going through another growth spurt.

I wrote the above two paragraphs about an hour ago. More of that timing. =) Matthew woke up needing a neb treatment and wanted me to sit with him while he did it. Despite the fact that just before I got up out of bed to plug the puter back in and get on here and type up these praises to God for His greatness and impeccable timing I had prayed silently in my head something like…

“…and now that I know the devil can’t hear what we are saying to You when we talk to You like this, I know that if I ask You to please prevent the devil from interfering with me doing this, if I ask You to please make it smooth-sailing sotospeak so that I can be sure that yes this is what you would have me do (get up in the middle of the night to go type for awhile even though I do need sleep because I have to get up at 7am with the kids and I’m still needing LOTS of hours of sleep)… now that I know I am truly asking You this such that the devil has no idea… I can know that if I have no interferences, then I can be sure of Your will in this…”

…despite the fact that I had JUST prayed that, I did not immediately go “oh well that’s it, that’s an interference, I should go back to bed and not type my thoughts up tonight. (And, as an aside yes, I am well aware that the above was nowhere NEAR being grammatically correct. Since I am typing how I THINK and I do not necessarily THINK grammatically correct, I think the technical errors are perfectly acceptable in this instance.) (How’s that for parenthetical thoughts imbedded in more parenthetical thoughts!!)

I didn’t immediately write it off as not God’s will after all, I must have been mistaken, because (well partially because I am learning patience and learning to wait on His timing…see even more impeccable timing) I remembered something else about God… and life. There is a reason for EVERYTHING. Everything that happens, everything that doesn’t happen, every situation, every interruption, everything that happens in a different way than you expected, or at a different time than you expected, etc.

So… I thought… “ok, there is a reason for this. It could be the reason is He is telling me ‘no, go back to bed and sleep’… OR the reason could be something else entirely. I’ll go sit with my little boy who is not feeling well and wants his mom and just see how things go.”

Into the living room I went. Matt set up his neb treatment and sat down on the couch and I followed. At first I started to pick up the book I’ve been reading (Rilla of Ingleside), thinking I’d do what I did last night when this happened…I’d get another chapter or two in. Then I had a much better idea… God’s idea. I told Matt I’d be right back and I went back into the bedroom and picked up my bible (well, actually Mike’s bible, but the one I do my daily reading from). See, I still hadn’t done my daily reading.

I normally do my bible reading after I’ve gotten the kids off to school. By then I’ll have eaten and taken my morning meds, and even though I’m generally exhausted and need more sleep, I have to stay upright for at least 30min or else my meds will burn my esophagus. Sooo… I’ll prop the pillows up, climb back in bed (but sitting!), snuggle under the covers, and read until I just cannot stay awake long enough to comprehend a sentence anymore. By then there has been enough time that I can lay down and not get burned. I generally get 2-4 chapters in.

Today, though, the kids were off, I was getting something to eat and the phone rang. I almost didn’t answer it, but something told me to answer this call. I did and it was a very good friend of mine asking if I could come over and play. No, I’m just kidding. =) She wanted some help with a project. It always seems like play when I’m with her though, because she is just so good for me! We talk and I don’t know about her, but I have a wonderful time talking. We laugh, occasionally we’ll cry (or maybe just come near it), we do occasionally get something accomplished, and I always, always find myself coming away stronger, encouraged, and refreshed. I guess she’s kinda my own little F5 button or something. I just seem to have a spiritual growth spurt of some sort nearly every time we have one of our ‘playdates’. I can’t count the number of times that has happened. Sometimes it’s just one little thing I’ve learned, other times (like today) it’s a whole lotta goodies all in a big bundle.

Anyway. There were a couple of reasons I could see that the interruption was so I could get my bible reading done. One is the most obvious… so I could get it done without forgetting it. Then, too, I’d be doing that before doing all this typing. First things first sotospeak. Also, one of the things I had learned (or realized or realized anew or whatever…) today was that the kids need to see (or hear) me doing the godly things that I normally consider to be very private, just me and Jesus kind-of-things, at least every once in awhile. So there was that, too.

So I read. I was in 2 Samuel towards the end of the book, and as I often do when I’m reading, I made a comment out loud. Tonight’s was “Ok, I so do not understand this story. I have no idea what is going on or what this means.” I mean seriously, even the little footnote dealys weren’t helping me out this time! (Definitely not a first-time occurence, mind you.) It occured to me that even though I’ve told Matthew (and Meagan, too) that no one understands all of the bible, and certainly not the first time they read it, and no one is expected to… certainly not the first time they read it… and I’ve told them that there are lots of parts I do not understand when I read it… I’d never given them a specific example of a bit I didn’t understand. That might not seem like such a big deal, but to kids especially, it might be a huge deal. Even though they hear us ‘talking the talk’, they might not truly believe we are ‘walking the walk’ if they don’t see any specific evidence of that.

Well, after Matt’s treatment was over and he went back to bed, I came in and sat back down to the computer only to find that our anti-virus program was doing its nightly scan. ‘Aha!’ I thought! Another reason for the interruption. Better I walk back in on it already running than it take off on its own all of a sudden when I’m right in the middle of writing a tricky grammatically incorrect sentence!

It only took a second or two for me to figure out what I should do while I waited for it to finish. I’d only gotten one chapter read… so I brought the bible back in here and… I kid you not… the anti-virus scan ended within about 5sec of me finishing the book of 2 Samuel! Talk about impeccable timing!!

Now… all that (or nearly all anyway) was/were (whatever!) thoughts that came to me after I decided to get up and come and type some thoughts out. Now I can get to the thoughts that were begging to be put down on paper (figuratively since my handwriting is horrible, but my typing is pretty good) and that were the intended subject of this very long post.

I’ve actually touched a bit upon it above. It’s the awesome way God times literally everything and in particular the many, many illustrations or instances if you will, of Him doing so in my life in the last week. I don’t think it would be possible for me to write them all out and I’m not even going to try. There are some that deal with private family matters that really don’t need to be made public. I am going to give some specific examples, and then others I’ll talk about a little, but only in vague terms, no specifics. Really though, the specific details aren’t the point anyway, it’s the fact that the Lord has been timing everything just so.

The Lord has really been working through impeccable timing this last week. Little things, big things, and everything in between. For a start I’ve had a lot of instant prayers answered instantly. Things like “Lord please help me find the ____” and within seconds, sometimes even before I complete the sentence, there it is. Shoes, CDs, remotes, and lots of other stuff that I’m not even remembering. These are some of the little things.

One of the bigger things needs a teensy expansion thought. The expansion/background/whatever is this: very often these ‘playdates’ with my friend have been immediately followed (when I get home, of course) with a really good talk with Mike about something spiritual. Something that probably I had been wanting to talk to him about for a long time, but just somehow hadn’t worked up the courage to do so. This friend of mine, I don’t have a clue how she does it, but she somehow inspires and encourages me, and I can’t say enables because that part comes from Christ (although… I suppose it could be that He is doing so through her… there’s a thought), so maybe not enables, but maybe something close to it… strengthens me or gives me more confidence or something! What it boils down to is when I get home, I’m just suddenly courageous (or whatever) enough to start the conversation. And the times (more than once or twice) this has happened… the talk has gone far better than I ever anticipated, and ever-so-much easier.

One thing I want to make perfectly clear, these talks are not confrontations in any form. Sometimes it’s something as silly-simple as asking him a spiritual question, like “Can I tithe off the grocery money each week?”. I won’t say I never confront Mike in a manner that I should not, because chances are I probably have at some point and will probably do so again at some point. I’m far from perfect. I just want to be clear that these talks that she has helped me (somehow) to be able to have with Mike are just that… talks. Often they are attempts to encourage him, to show him I intend to be (and am) submissive to the decisions he makes for the family, to share with him or to point out to him different things God has done or is doing, etc.

So basically… no foul play involved. =) At least, not that I know of!

The tithing on the grocery money thing is one of the bigger ones I want to share, but the question itself was actually asked last week. Here’s where the timing comes in…

For whatever reason, Mike just does not have the trust or belief that God really, truly will take care of us financially if we tithe that I do. I certainly do not mean that to say I am better than him or anything of the like… do not think that. I just mean that it’s become evident to me that while I have no doubt that God can and will take care of our needs…including those financial ones… he does have doubts. Or at least hesitations. Or something.

To me the single most important thing we can/should do to help/improve our financial situation is to tithe. I know that beyond any shadow of a doubt. Even if it seems like there is no way we can afford to lose that 10%, the truth is we can’t afford to keep it! Mike, though, he just can’t see that.

So, as I talked about before (which ‘coincidentally’ also contained references to God’s impeccable timing), he told me to quite putting the tithe check in at church because the bills were getting such that he felt we couldn’t afford to tithe anymore. I knew that while not tithing is not the right thing to do, tithing against his say-so was not the right thing either. However, I still wanted to help our financial picture somehow. Right now there are only a few ways I can do that. The biggest impact/influence I have on the finances is through the grocery shopping. I cut my ‘budget’ back from “whatever it ends up being” to $80/wk when I do the grocery shopping. I’ve been clipping coupons and matching them with sales. I’ve been planning menus and trying to cut back on food wastes, etc.

Then I had another thought… I know that God can make the 90% you keep go far further the the 100% you keep. That’s true on the big scale… like with paychecks… and on the small scale too. Even though Mike didn’t think we could afford to tithe off his income maybe he would be agreeable to me tithing off the grocery money. After all, that would only be $8 a week. Maybe a smaller amount wouldn’t be so scary to him. Also, that would fit in perfectly with another thing I’ve been trying to do for a long time now… that is finding (and then executing) ways to help Mike see that the Lord really does care and really will provide… that He can do anything, even miracles… even for us. If he would agree to letting me tithe off the grocery money, not only would it make the grocery money go further (thus improving the finances), I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would have the opportunity to point out just how God was doing so!

Love never fails! God is love! God never fails!

I asked Mike that question last week. He said yes. (excited squeal!) Today, after our ‘playdate’ I took the kids grocery shopping. They helped me comparison shop and keep track of what we were spending and when we got to the checkout our total was well under the $72. Score 1! Then when we got home, I initiated a conversation with Mike about finances and the subject of tithing did, of course, come up.

As most conversations do, this one rambled around and we talked about a lot of different things. At one point he brought up the fact that his schedule change meant he would be traveling a little further to work each day, and then mentioned something like “well at least I’ll be getting partial shift differential for the 2 afternoon shifts”. His schedule was changed last week. He told me his new hours last week. I did not know until today (right then) that there was going to be a change in pay. It turns out that the new schedule change is going to mean about $12 more a week.

I grinned and said, “See! Last week you told me I could tithe on the groceries and already (before I’d even had a chance to give the tithe and go shopping for the first time after getting permission) He’s given it back… PLUS! You can’t outgive God. You just can’t!” Score 2!

So that’s an example of the little and the big. Now for one of the in-betweens… just one, though there have been many… because this is already very long, and it is getting very late, and also I do believe these few are all that’s really necessary to make my point and that is that God’s timing is impeccable!

Matthew has been leaving the house without permission this last week. He’s done it 3 or 4 times and each time I’ve left the discipline up to Mike, and I have just kinda ‘given him a talkin’ to’. Besides the standard you have got to obey for your own safety and simply because God says to… I also explained to him that the kids he has been playing with this past week (when he’s left without permission) are watching him and his sister and really our whole family very closely right now and he needs to set a good example. Of course, as an ambassador of Christ we/he should do that all the time anyway… set a good example to the world in general… but right now with these kids it’s even more personal.

Two sisters and a brother, they are. The younger girl and the boy both attended church with us one Wed night about 3wks ago. Before we left they both spoke with the husband of my ‘playdate’ friend, my Sunday School teacher, and the children’s church preacher. (Same guy, not 3 different ones, I mean.) They both accepted Christ as their Saviour and got saved that night. Last weekend (so a week ago), Meagan had a slumber party (which I have intended to post about but have not yet…I’ll get to that sometime…). Both of these sisters were invited and since they live in the neighborhood were the last to leave. Before they left, I was able to talk with the older girl about Jesus and showed her how she could be saved. I led her to the Lord and the smile on that girl’s face when I told her all of Heaven was singing and shouting and just so happy that she had gotten saved! =)

Meagan and the girl’s sister were both in the room and the sister would sometimes say something or ask a question that would lead to more discussion. One of the things she asked about was ‘what if you were trying to be good and change and not sin anymore’. This, along with Meagan’s retelling of an incident just a few days after she (the younger sister) had been saved where the older girl had told the younger to go in our house and take some gum and the younger told her ‘no, that’s stealing and that’s a sin’ because Meagan had told her the 10 commandments a day or so before, was plenty of evidence to me that she was absolutely watching our family (in particular the kids) to see how she should act now that she was a Christian.

It’s this younger girl (more so than the older who is closer to Meagan’s age) who Matthew has been playing with mostly this week, and so that’s what I would explain to him each time- that he was setting a bad example for this girl.

Well, tonight he left the house again without permission (it’s been a case of I turn my back and he’s gone each time! so frustrating!!) and when he came back (he hadn’t been gone long enough that Mike had left to go hunt him down like he’s done a couple of times), I went through the whole rigamarole again with the setting a good example for the younger (spiritually anyway) kids. We told the kids it was time to stay in and their friends needed to go home for the day, so they said bye and the friends left.

Not ten minutes later there was a knock on the door. The older girl and the brother had come looking for the younger girl. “She left without permission and we don’t know where she went”, the older sister said. They started to leave to go look elsewhere, we shut the door and I seized the opportunity to show Matt (thanks to God’s impeccable timing!!!) that what I had been saying about her watching him was true. Both my kids wanted to go help look, but Daddy had already said it was time to stay home, so they asked if they could at least give the kids ideas of where to look.

I agreed and they went out, called the kids back to the property and the four of them stood there discussing and eliminating places where she might have gone. By this point the concern was beginning to really set in, I think. They came up with a couple of places to look, the siblings set out, and my two headed back in. Before he’d gone very far, Matt turned back and hollered, “Call us if you find her!”

When he came in I pointed out to him that the concern and/or fear that they all were beginning to feel was only a little taste of what it does to us old parents. Not to mention the fact that there always is the real possibility that the wayward kiddo is hurt or in danger somewhere… and you have no idea where or even that they need help and so besides you being scared there’s the threat of the kiddo not getting help at all and so maybe things could get worse.

Timing. It’s all about the timing.

Oh, I did want to share (vaguely because there’s too many specifics) some other ‘in-between’ examples real quick.

During the course of our ‘playdate’ today, there were numerous occasions that the conversation stumbled upon a very specific thing or thought that I had just in the last 24hr been praying about. Coincidence? Certainly! As long as you use the true meaning of the word (a meeting of events in time). If, however, you are using the currently accepted meaning… no way! God’s impeccable timing.

Even the fact that she called today of all days, today right on the heels of all these other things that were being timed out so perfectly and on the very heels of my meditating on different things and praying about all these things, was evidence of the Lord’s meticulously timed plan.

So it seems that once again a ‘playdate’ has ended with a spiritual growth spurt. I can’t even really put my finger on just exactly how or what has grown in what way, but I can tell I have… somehow. And I am so very thankful for all these wonderful timing lessons this last week. I love watching it all come to fruition like it seemed to tonight when I laid down and started to pray. It just seemed like looking back over the last week there were so many, many beautifully timed events that were opportunities for someone, whether it was me (as in the case of the little instant prayers), my loved ones (as in the case of the tithing and the behavior modeling), or someone else – a virtual stranger – (as in the case of the two sisters whom I really only met at the slumber party) to learn more about Jesus and His love for us.

That’s really what this post was about. I wanted to write about this growth spurt and share it with whomever is interested in reading it… whenever. ;-)

He will make all things beautiful in His time. Even dumpy old mommies like me. (Says the 30yo who is finally getting interested in caring for her skin and in dressing/looking nice and feminine and is on the verge of purchasing products to attend to this…but that’s another post entirely!)

And now, about 3.5hr and a little over 4,ooo words (so WordPress is telling me!) later I will go snuggle up to my hubby and nap till time to get up with the kids.

I think I have about an hour before time to wake the kids. But that’s ok, the Lord’s got the timing all planned out already so I don’t have to worry. I may be tired, but I know he’ll help me do the many things I need to do tomorrow (err… today…) regardless of tired and weak I am. I am weak, but HE is strong.

Do You Have a Parachute?

In Sunday School this morning, the teacher shared a story/illustration that he’d heard another preacher use comparing Jesus to a parachute.

The way he told it was like this:

There are two men going on an airplane and you offer one of them a parachute telling him that if he takes it, it will make the ride easier. He might take it so as to be sure of a smoother ride, and be glad to have it and be comforted some by the parachute. You then offer the other man a parachute, telling him the same thing, but he politely declines. You then share with him that the plane might crash. This man will likely take it and be all the more grateful for it. He’ll probably be hanging onto that parachute pretty tight, making sure it stays right with him. And boy oh boy won’t he be glad to have it if the plane DOES crash!

He likened this to Jesus and the gospel message today. A lot of people try to share the gospel with others by telling people that if they accept Jesus into their lives, their lives will be smoother.  More comfortable. Good things will happen for you. That’s fine to say, because a lot of people can and will be won to Christ this way. The lure of a better life is a good one. And their lives WILL be better for having Jesus in it, but God doesn’t guarantee us a smooth ride with no bumpy patches. He does promise to never leave us nor forsake us, though. Accepting Jesus as your saviour is the most important decision, the BEST decision, you can make in your life.

Sometimes, though, people just aren’t persuaded by the lure of a better life. Maybe they just can’t believe it could possibly be. Or maybe they are perfectly content where they are. Those people are like the second man who was told the plane might crash. Until they are shown that there is a NEED for Jesus -the parachute-, they’re just not interested.

This is where I think the story or illustration could go a little deeper. In the plane story, the second man was offered a parachute because the plane MIGHT crash, and then he eagerly took it. In the story the man took the parachute based on a potential need, because of a possible bad outcome in the future.

I think we could take it further and say that the plane WILL crash. If the parachute represents Jesus and the plane life… then it’s a guaranteed crash! Why? Because we will all die someday. The plane WILL crash. The question is do you want to survive the crash or not.

Without Jesus each and every one of us is guaranteed not only to crash, but to burn in hell forever more. We are all sinners, each and every one of us, and the wages of sin is death. Blood has to be shed to pay for our sins. Sin can’t go to Heaven and so each of us is doomed to go to hell when we die (crash). EXCEPT!! =) God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son. Our parachute! Jesus died on the cross to pay for OUR sins. He died and then rose again so that we wouldn’t have to go to hell.

I think it would be just as accurate if in the story the second man was told, “The plane will crash at some point. It might fly steady on for another 12 hours, 2 weeks, or even 50 or 6o years, but at some point IT. WILL. CRASH. If you take the parachute, when the plane crashes you be spared. Be sure- there WILL be patches of turbulence, some more severe than others, but as long as you have your parachute YOU. WILL. SURVIVE. The parachute will guide you so you don’t get lost in the wrong jet streams. It will protect you from the weather extremes. It will shield you from the penetrating rays of the sun. It will hold you close and comfort you when you are weary or scared, which you will be at some points in the flight.”

Please, do consider taking hold of your own parachute. Accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour today. None of us know when the plane is going to crash, but crash it will and when it does the only thing that’s going to save you from the inferno is your parachute- Jesus.

Ya know, I’m thinkin the first man might enjoy his parachute, but chances are the second man enjoys it even more. Just a guess. ;-)

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