Saturday, November 22, 2014

Happy Heritage: Prayer of faith

Sometimes I just want to capture a particular expression on my child's face, but of course it's gone before I could even think of grabbing the camera. I loved the intensity of the surprise on their faces when we first told them that we had decided to move and had even found the house we planned to move into. I loved the way my daughters' eyes widened, their jaws dropped, and their speech failed them (even the incessant talker!) when we dropped on them the news that we planned to buy a house that wasn't actually for sale and might not be for another year or more...yet we were going to act on faith and start packing our boxes as if the house would be ours within a few months.
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My husband and I had no plans for our date night last July, so we ended up driving around a neighborhood we were hoping to move into, scoping out the current for sale signs. We ended up in front of a foreclosure directly across from our daughter's godparents. Now, we had a list of what we were looking for in our new home, both required and hoped-for attributes: location, # of bedrooms, # of bathrooms (more than 1!!), space for a garden, space to play, garage we could park inside, place to hang a basketball hoop. This foreclosure, although in rough shape, had everything and a few surprises: fenced in backyard, full basketball court, screened in back porch, back deck. We announced our find the next morning to our daughters, letting them know that they should pray for all the pieces to fall into place if this was the home God had for us. Reese looked at us wide-eyed, not certain she wanted to move, and asked the only thing that came into her mind. "Is it for sale?" Um...Uh...Well.............. No. That is one of the things you need to pray for, child. Because this house includes so much that we hadn't thought to ask for, which would fit our family vision so well, that we're just acting on faith that maybe the Lord has a plan for us bigger than the one we had in mind. That's when she and Maria gave me their priceless expression of shock. We're buying a house that isn't on the market? Wait...what?? My children, let's just watch to see what the Lord brings about.
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As I write this in July, it seems premature to publicly announce anything. The Lord hasn't promised us this house, and He has a lot of work to complete before we can buy it. But I'm writing it in July as a testament to His ability to move mountains, ready to see what He actually does over the next few months.
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Thankful Thursday: This isn't my blog
Buying a Home the Joshua Way Pt 1
Buying a Home the Joshua Way Pt 2
Buying a Home the Joshua Way Pt 3
The Lord will do amazing things
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Linked with Modest Monday, Works for Me Wednesday

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday: This isn't my blog

It was too cold for 6-month old Ant to be outside, but here
are the rest of us posed in front of the house that wasn't
actually ours quite yet
I used to write a personal prayer journal on paper in an actual diary book. I did so off and on for more than a decade in various types of books using a variety of formats. A couple years ago I began journaling online, here, during my regular prayer time. It has provided accountability, a forum to share what the Lord is doing in my life with people I know, and opened the door for God to use what He is doing in my life as a nudge to inspire others, both individuals I know and some I don't. My desire is to keep this blog submitted to the Lord, as belonging to Him, as a help in my walk with Him and a help for others to also walk with Him.
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Part of the Lord's work in my life has been to entrust two beautiful babies to my husband and I who were born only 11.5 months apart. Added to our other two older-yet-still-young children, our various commitments, and the realities of life, my "personal prayer times" have become something quite different. They're, well, less "personal", for one, as children beg or cry for my attention. Young ones don't understand strict schedules no matter how often you might explain that they are supposed to sleep until 8:15, and not wake up a minute before that time. Speaking of sleeping, my nights are short and interrupted. My prayers have proportionally increased in the "Lord, please give me the grace I need" and "....Bless the Lord...zzz...Thank you...zzz...Amen" type and decreased in the silent, contemplative, profound insight form. That's ok, since that is what God has for me right now, but it does make it harder to write out those (non-existent) insights for others to read. :-) Thus the glaring lack of meditations published in the last month.
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But what are the ways the Lord is working in my life instead of the quiet, prayerful meditations? He is teaching me perseverance, expectant faith, diligence, patience, love. One of the many lessons He is teaching me is to speak up (even to Him!) for myself with confidence that He is ready to provide what I ask for. After living in a too-small space for several months, a space designed for 2 people, a space simply not large enough for the real stuff of 6 people, we have purchased a house large enough and more. Over the next several Saturdays I will share just how miraculous this is for us. We are not simply moving from a smaller home into a larger; the Lord has included many unexpected blessings and the ability to move from this house into the particular house we are moving to is indeed a story of miracle on top of miracle.
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Happy Heritage: Prayer of Faith
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Linked with Modest Monday, Works for Me Wednesday

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Delightful

I looked in the mirror on Monday and discovered someone's snot stuck to my forehead. I'm thankful for four delightful children who find comfort in my love for them even when the price I pay is undelightful body fluids stuck to me after I've comforted them.
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I'm thankful for quick youtube distractions to cheer up crying children.
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I'm thankful for fresh fruit available all year round. I'm thankful for grocery stores to buy food in especially during those years when I don't manage to preserve hardly any of the harvest.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bible Study: Placing our futures in God's hands

Romans 15:28-29
Joshua 2:1-7
Pickersgill Rahab.JPG
image credit
Paul didn't plan, when he was writing his letter to the Romans, to arrive a few years later in chains. What he did plan, though, was to keep his future in God's hands and to arrive in God's timing with Christ's blessing.
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My life today doesn't look much like what I had hoped it would back when I was an ignorant teenage girl. I overhear my daughters scheme about their futures and I laugh at their plans, knowing that most of them will never take place and that they will be the happier for it. Their plans include wealthy husbands, farmer husbands, world travels, wildly successful careers, business opportunities, charitable works, children of their own, and many luxuries they read about in fairy tales. They would be excellent authors for the plots they come up with to pretend they are wealthy widows or destitute widows, successful entrepreneurs, famous artists, or nuns whose holiness rivals that of Mother Teresa. They are too young to move in a definite direction and too inexperienced to realize how impractical their role-playing is. I let them dream, knowing that one or more of their dreams may actually come true, and that if they don't then the action of acting out their fairy tales may lead to another type of opportunity, be it in authoring books or in more easily accepting the failure the precedes success.
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God knows that sometimes what we think we want is not what will truly bring us the most joy. Because of his years in chains, Paul has been a comfort to Christian prisoners throughout the centuries. Would he have chosen the life given to him if offered the opportunity? Perhaps he would have preferred to avoid the beatings and shipwrecks and confinement in prison. Yet perhaps he rejoiced in the suffering, agreeing with his fellow apostle (James 1:2) that it would bring him greater treasures in heaven.
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I'm certain Rahab never expected to become the great-great-(...)grandmother of the Israelite Messiah. She was a prostitute among the Israelites' enemies. Yet she placed her future in God's hands and received blessings for it which extended far beyond her own lifespan.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Abundance

I'm thankful for my husband's job. I'm thankful that he has a job and I'm thankful that his job is one that fits his personality so well.
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I'm thankful for the need to purge. I'm thankful for all the people who show their love for us, especially their love for our children, by sharing with us out of their abundance. I'm thankful that the abundance shared with us extends to the point that we are able to share with others in turn, having received more than we need.
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I'm thankful for indoor plumbing. I'm so glad, especially in the climate we live in where it snows half the year, to stay within the warmth and safety of my home for all our water and plumbing needs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bible Study: Honoring our spiritual parents

Romans 15:27
Deuteronomy 5:16
No child would survive into adulthood without parents to help out. Whether those are natural parents, foster parents, older relatives, or a sad conglomeration of reluctant caretakers, babies are not capable of obtaining their own food and clothing and other basic needs for the first several years. Having received so much, it is both natural and appropriate to give back to those who provide for us when they become needy and we are the capable ones. For us as Christians, it is also a commandment with the promise of a blessing.
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We give back to our spiritual parents for the same reasons. We have been blessed so we acknowledge a certain responsibility to return the blessing. The return might look quite different, as Paul describes a material gift responding to a spiritual inheritance. The return might look more like a passing forward or a sharing in mission. Honoring our parents when we are older might include verbal respect, helping them maintain their independence, physically caring for them, financially providing for them, contributing to organizations or causes they were (/are) passionate about, encouraging their relationships with grandchildren, caring for the needs of other young children. Honoring our spiritual parents can look similar, depending on our relationship with those who have helped us become the Christians we are today. We won't generally care for the physical needs of authors whose books have transformed our worldview. But we might contribute to what they are passionate about and care for other "children" who also need that transformation. We might share that book with others, act on its call to action, or communicate its message to others we encounter. We might pray for them. We also "give back" to those who have blessed us when we "give forward" by praying and caring for people who are in the position we used to be in. If you don't know anyone...well, 1) Make a change so you are meeting people who need the prayers and spiritual or physical care you have to offer and 2) Ask other Christians around you to help connect you to people in need. I know many more people in need than I can provide for, from individuals who just need prayers to persons who need friends to reach out to them to people who could benefit from buckets of love yet will probably never be in a position to return the investment poured into their lives. We might not be able to give back to Paul directly for the spiritual blessings we receive when we read his letters to early Christians, but we honor him in a very real way when we evangelize other "gentiles" to a relationship with Christ Jesus.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Two arms

I thank the Lord for the heritage of faith I have received.
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I am thankful for the support of Christian brothers and sisters to remain strong in the faith and to grow continually stronger.
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I am thankful for two arms to carry my two youngest, who cannot walk completely independently yet.