Monday, May 31, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

 Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:
  • 415. Husband taking the whole long weekend off!
  • 414. Sunny, breezy late spring days
  • 413. First BBQ in our backyard of the season
  • 412. Friends who are like family
  • 411. Grown up team name bestowed by the kids? The Slow Pokes- LOL :)
  • 410. Kids vs. grown ups wiffle ball game
  • 409. Backyard swimming pool opens
  • 408. A husband who toiled to make the grass grow
  • 407. Marching as a family and school in the memorial day parade
  • 406. Dinner out with family
  • 405. Going on 3rd Grade Field trips
  • 404. Whispers in the dark
  • 403. Going on Kindergarten field trips
  • 402. Days that flow just as He's planned :)
  • 401. Days that flow just as I've planned them in my calendar
  • 400. 400 Gifts!
  • 399. I am reconciled to God
  • 398. I am washed by God
  • 397. Ministering to my 9 year old's hurting heart
  • 396. Praying boldly and in faith with the little ones- showing them to believe that He is able AND He is good even when His answer is no
  • 395. "Mommy, tell me a prayer He said no to" he asks, trying to understand
  • 394. Answers to prayer- yes and no
  • 393. His grace is enough
  • 392. I'm not alone!
  • 391. Affirmation of my new found commitment to self care
  • 390. An hour with no choice but to be still
  • 389. Dentist chair turned prayer closet
  • 388. Novocaine
  • 387. The privilege to disciple him, to turn Him to God, the lifter of his head
  • 386. Whispering encouragement in the dark to my boy who feels discouraged

  • You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in my sidebar and read why I got started here.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Praying the Psalms- Psalm 20

Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

Psalm 20 
"May he give you the desire of your heart
       and make all your plans succeed."  Ps 20:4

I cannot read this psalm, especially this verse, without remembering a time in my life when fervent prayer was my companion.  T. and I had two little boys at the time, one about 4 and one about 1.  I knew we would have one more child eventually to complete our family.  Good friends of ours had just brought home their daughter from China.  Other friends were in the processing of adopting their daughter from Guatemala.  Our friends' experiences with adoption so touched my heart that I could not shake the idea that our family should adopt, too.

I brought the idea of adoption up to my husband and while he thought it was wonderful- he had two much loved nephews that joined the family through adoption- he did not feel called to it like I did.  For the first few weeks, I would mention adoption frequently, hoping that he would change his mind but he hadn't.  Prompted by the Holy Spirit, I decided not to bring it up anymore and just commit it all to prayer.  My prayer at that time was simple but genuine: "Lord, if this desire of my heart is of You then plant the same desire in my husband's heart.  However, if it is not Your will for our family, then remove it from me and do not leave me with yearnings or bitterness."  

Over the next several months, my desire to adopt grew stronger and stronger.  I found myself on adoption agency websites and bulletin boards, learning all I could about agencies and countries open for adoption.  However, as I had decided, I never brought it up to my husband and he never mentioned it to me.  During this time, God granted me great peace as I waited and prayed.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a doer and waiting for things to happen is not usually a peaceful experience for me.  But God was faithful to give me peace as I waited on His answer.      

Many prayer-filled months passed and I received an e-mail about an adoption information seminar in the area by one of the agencies I knew had a good reputation.  I clearly felt I should mention it to my husband.  I was certain he would say "no thanks" but to my great surprise he replied "let's go!"  The meeting was both informative and moving.  T. and I went for dinner afterwards and he shared that he wanted to adopt!  I was over the moon.  We soon heard clearly from the Lord about which country we were to adopt from and we were on our adoption journey.

I will write more about our journey to our daughter here sometime.  (Praying Psalm 34 was crucial near the end of our adoption process so I know I will share more then :)  For now, I want to share that God was so faithful to His Word for me in Psalm 20:4.  He gave me the desire of my heart and made all my plans succeed!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Whispers in the Dark

Oh, tonight was hard.  And tonight was good.

My nine year old is playing on the "minors" in baseball this year, which basically means kid pitch little league.  Over the past seven weeks, I have had to watch his excitement and love for the game and confidence fade as the games have gone on and he has yet to get a hit.  Tonight, he was up at bat.  There were 2 outs.  The team was losing 3-2 in the bottom of the 6th and last inning.  He struck out.  He was heart broken and so was I.  We love them so much it hurts sometimes, doesn't it?  For me, it is painful when they hurt and I am powerless to change the circumstance.

All the way home, his siblings and I tried to console him and lift him up.  At home, lots of hugs, encouragement, cookies and milk and a warm bath eventually helped.  Tucked into bed and snuggled in my arms, the emotions began to well up again:

T(voice quivering):  Mom, I don't think I will ever get a hit this season.  There are only three games left and chances are I won't get a hit.
Me:  I think you will, Bear.  You're a good hitter.  It's hard for all the kids to hit.  Many of your teammates are in the same boat as you.  The pitchers are kids too and they are just learning to pitch so it is hard to get a good hit.
T(eyes welling up):  Why doesn't God answer my prayer for a hit, Mom?
Me:  I don't know, Bear, but I do know that whatever His reason is, it is for your good.  He would never want to hurt you but sometimes He chooses one good over another.  He might be trying to build perseverance in you, the ability to keep trying to accomplish something even when it is hard and seems hopeless.
T:  Why doesn't He use school to give me perseverance?
Me(suppressing a smile):  I don't know.  I don't even know if that is the reason He has not answered that prayer yet, Bear.  His ways are higher than ours.
T: Mom, tell me a prayer of yours He said "no" to.
Me:  Well, when I was in college, I wanted to be a doctor but try as I might, I was not getting the grades I would need to be accepted into medical school.  Back then, I was disappointed and confused.  But now, I am so grateful He said no to that prayer.  It would have changed my whole life and I might not have gotten the chance to be Daddy's wife and your mother.
T:  Wow.  What else?
Me:  Well, I prayed for a long time for a husband before I met Daddy.
T:  How long?
Me: Probably about 5 years.
T:  Whoa!
Me:  Yup, a long time.  But if he would have answered that prayer any sooner, I would not be married to Daddy and I would not be your Mom.

The conversation lulls as he mulls it all over.

T:  Tell me some prayers He answered yes to.
Me:  There are so many, T!
T:  Tell me the number one prayer He answered yes to.
Me:  I have a three way tie.  I prayed to be a mommy and He gave me you, N and A.

Another pause in the conversation and the Spirit reminds me...

Me:  God wants us to keep praying for the desires of our hearts.  He wants us to pray boldly and in faith that He will do what we ask.  He wants us to tell Him all about our sadness and disappointment.  He wants us to believe that He is able to anything we ask and to remember that He is good even when His answer is "no" or "not yet."

We pray together, boldly and in faith, asking for that hit, in the very next game, in his very next at bat.  We tell Him of our sadness and disappointment.  We thank Him for His power and His goodness and ask for the grace to accept His answer.

Me:  T, you have to remember that verse in Philipians: "Whatever is true..."  God does not want us to walk around feeling discouraged all the time.  After we tell Him how we are feeling, we have to let Him lift us up.  It's like when Jesus was in the desert for 40 days and Satan was tempting Him.  At the end of that time, God sent His angels to care for Jesus and to lift Him up again.  Now, after we pray and tell God how we are feeling, we should let Him care for us and lift our spirits.  We should focus on what is good in our lives.
T:  Like your list?
Me:  Yes, Bear, like my list.

Oh, tonight was hard.  And tonight was good.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

High Calling Blog Community

A few days ago I joined The High Calling Blog Community.  I had seen the badge on a few blogs I love so I decided to check it out myself.  High Calling Blogs is a community of The High Calling of our Daily Work whose mission is to glorify God in everyday life and work.  The network consists of nearly 1000 writers who are interested in conversations about faith and work.  Since my blog fits the "faith conversation" mold and I love finding new blogs to read as well as receiving comments on my own blog, I thought it would be a great match.

The morning after I joined, I received a newsletter via e-mail with some featured articles.  Wouldn't you know that the first article I read, The Rest of Your Life,  resonated with my personal journey of Self Care that has become a theme I write a bit about on my blog.  I thought the writer of this article, Ed Gungor, clearly articulated the biblical arguments for rest and how taking time to rest has become quite counter-cultural.

In my own experience, I have found that the concept of rest and self care seems to run counter culture even in Christian circles.  Most Christian moms I know work, work, work and run, run, run all the time!  There seems to be no time to rest, to be with friends, to have date night with the husband.  Although I have not gotten where I think I need to be in terms of balance in my life, I have definitely made progress in setting boundaries for ministry outside my home as well as taking time to take care of myself and rest.  I have shared this journey with many of my friends but, if I am being honest, I do still feel a little embarrassed that I need these times of rest.  I wonder if others think I am simply lazy or selfish.  I wonder if maybe I am simply lazy and selfish.  So, articles like The Rest of Your Life are a great encouragement to me.  They remind me that I am doing the right thing for my family and in God's eyes by honoring His commandment to rest.

What have your experiences with Rest and Self Care been like?  How do you make time for rest?  What kinds of activities are restorative for you?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


When the dentist told me today I needed a root canal, I was a little unnerved (pun intended :).  I needn't have worried though- there was no pain during the procedure and the pain after was the same as the pain I went in with and that will subside as everything heals.  What I should have worried about was the bill- $927!!!  OUCH, now THAT hurt!

Since I am on this journey though, I did find a few things to thank Him for despite the circumstance:
  • Novocaine
  • Fervent prayer to distract me from pain focus me on Him
  • An hour of sitting still

Monday, May 24, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

 Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:

385. BBQ and fellowship with a few families from church
384. Praying another friend through as she waits on baby #8, who is now 8 days late
383.  Rejoicing with friends who "couldn't have children" as they welcome their baby into the world
382.  Coloring, twirling, singing, chattering- GIRL fun
381.  Rock climbing, tag, baseball, spying- BOY fun
380. Memories caught on "film"
379.  Hosting a playdate with 5 boys and 1 girl
 378. I am forgiven by God
  • 377. Reading again
  • 376. A friend who made our family dinner FOR NO REASON but to bless
  • 375. Friends who help with the little things
  • 374. Baseball games in warm sunshine
  • 373. Weeping with those who weep
  • 372. Finished Bonhoeffer!!!
  • 371. I am redeemed by God

You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in my sidebar and read why I got started here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Praying the Psalms- Psalm 19

Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

Psalm 19 

For me, this psalm seemed neatly divided into three parts- praising God's creative work in nature, praising the perfection of His Word and how His Word applies to us.  

I don't know if my meditation will make sense to anyone else or if you will just think I am weird (which I am- lol) but I will share it here anyway :)  Meditating on the first part of this psalm, I immediately thought about the times I have taught children songs and sign language and how much it enhances the worship experience in many ways because you not only hear the praise but you see it.  Sometimes when I read the psalms, I see the signs in my mind's eye (or imagine what they might be if I don't know them.)  For example, look at the signs for the verbs below.  They make the psalm come alive! 
The heavens declare the glory of God;
       the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

 2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
       night after night they display knowledge. 
 I love this next portion!  Nature cries out in praise of God and those without a physical voice can use their hands as their voices in worship:
 3 There is no speech or language
       where their voice is not heard. 
 4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
       their words to the ends of the world.
 And I can't help but see this beautiful word picture so clearly in my mind's eye:
       In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
 5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
       like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

 6 It rises at one end of the heavens
       and makes its circuit to the other;
       nothing is hidden from its heat.
And now for Part II of the psalm- more signs:
The precepts of the LORD are right,
       giving joy to the heart.
       The commands of the LORD are radiant,
       giving light to the eyes.

 9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
       enduring forever.
       The ordinances of the LORD are sure
       and altogether righteous.

 10 They are more precious than gold,
       than much pure gold;
       they are sweeter than honey,
       than honey from the comb.
Part III is a beautiful prayer for forgiveness and sanctification.  I had to link to a YouTube video of Shane and Shane singing Psalm 19 at the end:
 11 By them is your servant warned;
       in keeping them there is great reward.

 12 Who can discern his errors?
       Forgive my hidden faults.

 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
       may they not rule over me.
       Then will I be blameless,
       innocent of great transgression.

 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,        O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BookSneeze Review of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-
because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-
because I was not a Trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
because I was not a Jew.
And then they came for me-
and there was no one left to speak for me."  

These words were penned by Martin Niemoller after eight years of imprisonment in the concentration camps of Adolf Hitler.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer was among the first Christian pastors in Hitler's germany to speak out for the Jews, for the Truth, for Jesus in the midst of arguably history's most evil times.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas is principally an exhaustive biography of the iconic Christian pastor who dared stand against the Third Reich- even unto death.  But Bonhoeffer is also much more than a biography of a man.  In detailing Bonhoeffer's life, Metaxas gives the reader a window into the events and worldview that led to the rise of Hitler and the willingness of the German people to follow him until it was too late.  The peace terms for Germany after WWI, laid out in the Treaty of Versailles, were harsh and humiliating.  When Hitler rose to power, the German people were ripe for a leader who would be able to restore pride to the Fatherland.  Even when some of Hitler's vile tactics and ideologies were becoming known, many Germans were willing to close their eyes to the truth and laud Hitler as the one who was saving Germany.

We are also allowed glimpses into Bonhoeffer's own heart through journal entries and letters to family, personal friends and his fiance.  To read the doubts and wonderings of a man who ultimately trusted God and acted in accordance with His plan was, for me, inspiring.  For example, as he sailed away from his homeland in May of 1939 to America in order to avoid putting the Confessing Church in the crosshairs of the Nazis by refusing to serve if drafted, he penned these words to his friend and confidant Bethge, clearly wishing He had heard definitively from God about his decision: "If only the doubts about my course had been overcome."  He goes on in the letter, "So too one day we shall see quite clearly into the depths of the divine heart...and see a name: Jesus Christ."  Bonhoeffer was, like I am, a human being whose heart at times was unsure but who was willing to take God at His word.  If he could not see clearly now, he was sure he would see in eternity!  Is this not the Christian walk?  Paul spoke similarly in 1 Corinthians 13:12, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."  Yes, Bonhoeffer was great and he was also just a man in need of God's constant grace and guidance.  

In Bonhoeffer, Metaxas also whets the reader's appetite for further study of Bonhoeffer's teachings and theology. We learn how the ordinands in the Confessing Church were instructed not only in doctrine but discipled into lives of devotion to Christ through the practices of Scripture memorization and meditation, confession one to another, and prayer- all practices that Bonhoeffer instituted at the outlawed seminaries he oversaw.  We hear how he uses orthodox theology to wrestle with (and help others do the same) the monstrous situation in which they found themselves.  Metaxas does a splendid job describing Bonhoeffer's wrestling with the idea of truth, for example, as he retells the process by which Bonhoeffer rejects the "easy religious legalism of never telling a lie" and enters into a deception that "stemmed not from a cavalier attitude toward the truth, but from a respect for the truth that was (so) deep."  I really enjoyed Metaxas' forays into Bonhoeffer's teachings and writings.  I was challenged to think deeper about God and His ways than I have done in the past.  I am eager to read some of Bonhoeffer's original works such as Life Together and Discipleship.  

The final chapters of Bonhoeffer are fast moving and full of detail and intrigue about the Resistance movement within Germany, of which Bonhoeffer was a major player.  Bonhoeffer's engagement to Maria von Wedemeyer and their relationship is also explored in these chapters.  As I read their love letters to one another, another book went on my list for future reading.  The details around Bonhoeffer's arrest, imprisonment and eventual murder lend the reader more insight into just who this man was.  The final chapter of Bonhoeffer is aptly entitled "On the Road to Freedom."  Metaxas explains, "We know that Bonhoeffer thought of death as the last station on the road to freedom."  As a pastor in London years before his execution by the Nazi's Bonhoeffer had himself preached in a sermon, "No one has yet believed in God and the kingdom of God, no one has yet heard about the realm of the resurrected and not been homesick from that hour, waiting and looking forward joyfully to being released from bodily existence."

As I stated at the beginning, Bonhoeffer is an exhaustive biography and it did take me quite some time to finish it.  It was always interesting and well written.  I am so glad I persevered because it has truly expanded my view of God and enriched my walk with Him.  I highly recommend you take the time to read it.  

***I wrote this review after reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas.  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the BookSneeze program for bloggers.  In return for the free book, I agreed to write a review and post it on my blog as well as a consumer website.  My review is my honest opinion of the book.  ***

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Sean Hannity Led Me to the Lord- Part Three

Read Part One here.
And Part Two here.

We made an appointment with the pastor at the church we had been attending.  We brought him our questions and he asked if we could set another time to meet when he could answer our questions and give us some literature.  So, we made plans to have him over for dinner.  That morning, I cleaned and shopped and cooked and cleaned some more- all the while trying to pacify my high needs baby who hardly napped.  T came home early and we waited and waited and waited some more.  But the doorbell never rang.  He never came and never called!At the time, we were very disappointed that a man of God, a pastor of a church, would take his responsibilities to us so lightly.  Looking back, I can see that God arranged all this.  This man's answer and our respect for his position in the church we grew up in would have, quite probably, been a stumbling block in our quest for the Truth.  We would have been content to accept his answers instead of searching Him out for ourselves.  When we called to inquire about him, we were told that he had been called out of town for a family emergency.  To say we were disappointed that we had not even received a phone call to notify us he would not be coming was an understatement.  And he never did call us when he returned, either.  We had slipped right off his radar and it left a bad taste in our mouths. 

We were ready for something and someplace new.  At the suggestion of my cousin, we found a local non-denominational, bible teaching church.  We made an appointment to meet with the pastor.  He still jokes about how we "interviewed" him before we even went to a Sunday service.  We had lots of big questions for him- like how can we know the Bible is true? how is this biblical Christianity different from the one presented in the denomination we grew up in?  And plenty of silly, little questions- like can Christians dance?  Pastor Charlie was patient and funny and kind.  He was, what I now understand to be, filled with the Holy Spirit and desperate to show God's grace to those who inquired about Him.  He explained that it is the Bible, the Word of God, that is the only infallible source of Truth.  And that the Bible clearly and consistently states that you must be born again through faith in Jesus Christ to be saved.  He pointed us to passages in John 3 as well as John 14: 6 and Ephesians 2:8, for starters.  Pastor Charlie explained that it is not a matter of living as best you can and hoping it is enough in the end but rather the message is that no one could or will ever be good enough to make it into Heaven on their own.  The only way is through Jesus.  T and I had heard all this before from my cousins.  We were still not sure if this was the Truth but after our “interview,” we were open to continuing to seek it out.    

We decided to give Pastor Charlie’s church a try and went to service the next Sunday.  And the next.  And the next.  On that third Sunday, when Pastor Charlie gave the invitation to ask Jesus to forgive your sin and become the Lord of your life, both Tom and I responded in the privacy of our hearts, unbeknownst to one other!  This moment was the culmination of years of wondering and a few months of true, whole hearted seeking.  The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole heart.”  And that promise came to pass in that moment when we decided to believe that sin was serious- it was, in fact, deadly.  We had heard the Truth enough- that was the moment we believed it- that apart from Jesus, we could have no forgiveness for our sins.  He was the One who died in our stead.  He also rose again on the third day giving us the assurance of everlasting life.  The decision to accept the free gift of salvation was ours to make and, by His grace, we made it in the same moment.

When we were driving home, I sheepishly admitted to praying the prayer to receive Jesus and was overjoyed to hear Tom had done so, too.  A few months later, we were baptized on the same day, one after the other, with friends and family looking on.

Eight years later, I can hardly imagine life without Him.  I am so thankful that He chose to call both Tom and I to Him at the same time as I have watched many friends walk a hard road with unbelieving spouses.  He has changed my life in so many ways, in every area possible.  I now know my purpose on this earth- to know and worship my God.  He’s given me a passion for Him- I want to please God and, in His power, to turn away from sin.  I have a new way of looking at the world- everything I see and hear and experience is filtered through the Truth of God’s Word and His promises.  I still have weakness and human emotions.  I still struggle and wrestle with many things, including suffering and poverty and evil.  But I also have peace- I understand and believe that God is working all things together for our good and His glory.  I know Who to go to when I am afraid, depressed, angry.  I know I am not alone.  I have a personal relationship with the one, true and living God!  No longer do I worry about traditions and what man says I must do or not do.  I have freedom to follow Him as He leads me through His Word and through prayer.  As far as relationships go, my husband tells me that I am a more patient person who responds less out of anger.  I’m a better listener and we have a more peaceful home.         

He still is changing me- transforming me into the image of His Son.  But in my first steps from darkness to light, from blindness to sight, I had an unlikely guide whose worldview, so opposite of my own, caused my first questioning of my own values and how I developed them.  Eventually, all I once held dear, now I count as loss.  Oh, but what I have gained! 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

"One is grateful for little things and this is surely a gain." 
Written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a letter to his parents from his prison cell # 92 in Tegel.
 Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:
    370. A pastor and wife who love at all times

    • 369. Offering the sacrifice of praise
    • 368. Remembering who He is
    • 367. A tragedy in our midst serving as a reminder to believing that God WILL work ALL things together for good
    • 366. A husband who takes the kids to Awana so I could go pray with my sisters 
    • 365. Saved from the penalty of sin, the power of sin and, one day soon, the presence of sin
    • 364. I am saved by God
    • 363. Seeing my big guy receive a reward for his achievement
    • 362. Watching my little firefly perform in his Kindergarten play
    • 361. Playing checkers with my little guy
    • 360. I am born anew by God
    • 359. Taking care of myself
    • 358. Remembering from whence I came
    • 357. I am chosen in Him
    • 356. I am hidden with Christ in God
    • 355. I am baptized with Christ
    • 354. He calls me by name
    • 353. I am accepted by Him
    • 352. I am precious to Him
    • 351. Extravagant grace

You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in my sidebar and read why I got started here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Praying the Psalms- Psalm 18

Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

Psalm 18
For who is God besides the LORD ?
And who is the Rock except our God? Ps 18:31
Our small church was rocked to the core by an unexpected tragedy on Thursday.  We are battling in prayer against our Enemy who would use this crisis to take our eyes off the only One who can comfort us at this time.  We are pressing in on the Truth and offering the sacrifice of praise to the only One who work ALL THINGS together for good for those who love Him.

So when my eyes fell on Psalm 18 today, the two things I was drawn to were the many titles given to God in the psalm and the vivid descriptions of his powerful protection over His Servant.  Two things I certainly needed to hear today.  I am remembering today who He is and praying He show Himself in these ways to His children who are hurting and weak and confused:     

My strength
My rock
My fortress
My deliverer
My God
My refuge 
My shield
The horn of my salvation
My stronghold
The Most High
My support
My Savior

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How Sean Hannity Led me to the Lord- Part Two

Read Part One here.

...  And God used him to slowly transform me by the renewing of my mind.  I began to wonder if maybe there really were some moral absolutes in this life.  I realized that a conservative world view could be formed logically and intelligently.  All this truly paved the way for me to eventually see the truth and accept a biblical world view.
I began to question my beliefs- both religious and secular/political- and why I held them.  When I looked at many of my beliefs logically and analytically, they just weren't holding water anymore.  Of course, my boyfriend (who would later become my husband) and I would discuss all my musings.  While he was always more politically moderate to conservative than I, we both were unsure of our "religious" beliefs.  

Lots more life happened.  T and I got engaged.  We began attending church together in the denomination we had grown up in.  We got married, had a baby and bought a house in a new area.  We church hopped in our area within the same denomination but could not find a church we called home.  We watched as our nation was brought to its knees on 9/11/01.  Time marched on but the nagging questions remained.

At some point, we had heard enough about the Bible from my cousin and her husband that we were both questioning where we stood with God and what exactly was "the truth."  I remember vividly T and I sitting in the parking lot of our local movie theater, killing time and chatting before going in to see a film, and deciding that we would try to get some of our questions answered.  We decided that we would seek after the truth, if it could be known, no matter where it led us.

We made an appointment with the pastor at the local church we had been attending.  We brought him our questions and he asked if we could set another time to meet when he could answer our questions and give us some literature.  So, we made plans to have him over for dinner.  That morning, I cleaned and shopped and cooked and cleaned some more- all while trying to pacify my high needs baby who hardly napped.  T came home early and we waited and waited and waited some more.  But the doorbell never rang.  He never came and never called.  When we called to inquire about him...

Part III

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How Sean Hannity Led Me to the Lord- Part One

Yep, you read that right.  I realize that Sean Hannity is an unlikely evangelist, but when I think back on my conversion experience, I must say that it definitely got traction in my car, on my daily commute, during a 90 minute portion of a talk radio show.

To start, I should back up a little, I think.  As I have mentioned before, I grew up in a mainline Christian denomination.  I went to Christian schools from Kindergarten through college.  I participated in all the rites of passage of my church.  I knew who God was and I believed in Him.  My faith was on my terms, though, and I rejected most of the teachings of my church.  I believed He was not really concerned with sin; that as long as you were a basically good person, He was happy.  I thought His Word was for readings at church but did not apply to how I lived my life.  In the arena of politics, I was ultra liberal.  "Live and let live!" (as long as no one was getting hurt- unborn babies very much excluded) was my motto.

Then one of my cousins became a Christian.  And she told everyone.  And I rolled my eyes and sucked my teeth, offended that she considered herself a Christian and, in doing so, insinuated that maybe the rest of us weren't!  Sheesh, I was born a Christian... wasn't I?  All the same, I loved my cousin and her sweet, funny husband.  And I could not deny that there was something sweet and joyful and special about them- something intangible- something I quietly envied.

Then lots of life happened.  I lived the single life, met my future husband and worked hard at my career.  Eventually, I landed a new and better job.  It was a 90 minute commute each way.  FM radio quickly got boring and I turned to the AM dial for entertainment.  I stumbled upon the Sean Hannity show at some point and while I disagreed with him on almost all points, I appreciated his intellectual honesty, his consistency and the respectful attitude he had when debating a caller, guest or issue.

And God used him to slowly transform me by the renewing of my mind.  I began to wonder if maybe there really were some moral absolutes in this life.  I realized that a conservative world view could be formed logically and intelligently.  All this truly paved the way for me...

Part II
Part III

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

As promised...

I love how it turned out, don't you?  It came within a few days of this post but I forgot I had promised to post it.  We had a very positive family meeting at dinner one night to explain that this is one of our family's guiding verses.  We had an impromptu game of deciphering "harmful words" from "words that will help others become stronger."  We decided that when one of us uses harmful words, we would gently remind the person and suggest they pray and ask God help them to use words that make others stronger.  It's been a useful tool.  We are still working on accepting when we are reminded to do this.  The kids often don't want to receive the correction.  It can be frustrating but I have to remind myself that this "training them up" is a marathon not a sprint, right?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:

  • 350. Seeing his joy when his teammates greet him in the dugout with hugs and cheers
  • 349. Watching my 9 year old do some exciting base running
  • 348. A sweet Mother's Day breakfast in my son's Kindergarten class
  • 347. Learning to See Myself Through God's Eyes
  • 346. The opportunity to isten to a friend's pain and offer encouragement
  • 345. A delicious dinner out with two good friends
  • 344. Beautiful roses greeting me on Mother's Day morning
  • 343. Celebrating mother's day with lots of family
  • 342. Homemade mother's day masterpieces
  • 341. Watching old videos of my little ones
  • 340. A friend who listens- who calls to hear my story
  • 339. Deciding to slow down on a regular basis
  • 338. Slowing down to take care of my sick little man
  • 337. Mom's Night with moms from school
  • 336. A friend popping into the exam room at the peds office to deliver silly bands and cheer up a sick little man
  • 335. Doctors and antibiotics
  • 334. Watching my oldest boy's face change as he grows
  • 333. Doing the hard things
  • 332. Summertime planning
  • 331. I have inherited not only His kingdom but His nature and His spirit
  • 330. I am His daughter
  • 329. I am adopted by God
  • 328. Making it in time for coffee with friends
  • 327. Garage fixes the car in 10 minutes for $25
  • 326. Speed bump pulled undercarriage off car

You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in my sidebar and read why I got started here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Praying the Psalms- Psalm 17

Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

Psalm 17

I am involved in a small group of women from my children's school who meet every other week to discuss issues of faith.  The purpose of the group is to provide a safe forum for discussions about God and Christianity.  From what I have gathered from these discussions, there is a mix of women who are believers, non believers and women who are seeking God in this group.  It has been a wonderful experience for me as I have gotten to share my faith with mothers from our school whom I have known for years now but with whom I had not yet had opportunity to discuss the things of God.  Right now, we are going through Phillip Yancy's DVD series on Prayer.  In yesterday's session, Philip spoke of a friend who was an alcoholic that had been sober for some time.  However, every morning when he woke, his first experience was a desire for  Jack Daniels.  This man had been praying fervently for God to remove this desire from him for some time.  In frustration, He cried out to the Lord and asked Him why He had not done so.  This man then heard God clearly tell him that He had not removed the desire because it was precisely that struggle that caused the man to stay in constant communion with Him!  

I was blown away.  I have been thinking much lately about why God has not given me complete victory in some areas- areas that I have been praying fervently about for some time.  I will be posting more about these things soon so I won't get into detail here but the idea that God leaves us with some of our faults and temptations so that we will continue to depend on Him and seek Him out spoke volumes to me.  

It was in this frame of mind that I came to read Psalm 17 this morning.  I love the fervency and desperation of David's prayer.  
Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea;
       listen to my cry.
       Give ear to my prayer—
       it does not rise from deceitful lips.
May my vindication come from you;
       may your eyes see what is right.
I love his raw honesty, how he reminds God of His promises, 
I call on you, O God, for you will answer me;
       give ear to me and hear my prayer.

Show the wonder of your great love,
       you who save by your right hand
       those who take refuge in you from their foes.

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
       hide me in the shadow of your wings
how He reminds God how he has been faithful in following His ways, 
As for the deeds of men—
       by the word of your lips
       I have kept myself
       from the ways of the violent.

My steps have held to your paths;
       my feet have not slipped.
how he points out the evil of his enemies. 
from the wicked who assail me,
       from my mortal enemies who surround me.
They close up their callous hearts,
       and their mouths speak with arrogance.
They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
       with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.
 They are like a lion hungry for prey,
       like a great lion crouching in cover.
I believe God loves David's prayer, too.  He loves when we come to him honestly- pouring out our hearts to Him without trying to hide or gloss things over.  He loves to commune with us.  He knows that often we will only come to Him faithfully and fervently in prayer when we are in desperate situations and so He will leave us there for a season.  Not to harm us but to prosper us, to give us a hope and a future.  

Lord, help me to come to You in prayer in honesty and fervency and faith.  Help me to accept the season You have placed me in, knowing that You are doing a good work.  In Jesus' Name.  Amen.


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