Friday, January 30, 2009


It's a cold snowy morning here in Ohio. I live on a hill and this time of year I kind of hibernate like some of the critters! (Not the sleeping part!) I can slide down the hill, but the thought of "Can I make it back up to the garage when I come home?" is a little daunting. So, I stay home a lot and my contact with adults feels somewhat limited. Thank you Lord for the phone and also, thank you, all you bloggers! I feel like I get to get out and visit with you all!

This morning I was reminded of this gem that was shared with me after my daughter died, almost 10 years ago. I think it is from one of Mrs. Charles Cowman's books, maybe Streams in the Desert. I'm not sure. It is something I read and reread... May God work His magic through it again!

Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame. Hebrews 12:2

The joy of the spirit is no cheap joy. It has scars on it – radiant scars! It is joy won out of the heart of pain. Those who know it have found one of life’s deepest and most transforming secrets the transmuting of pain into a paean (dictionary def. “a song of praise, joy, thanksgiving or triumph).
Sorrow becomes not something to escape; we can make it sing. We can set our tears to music, and no music is so exquisite, so compelling. The Christians learned immediately and at once the truth which the philosopher Royce puts into these words.
“Such ills we remove only as we assimilate them, take them up into the plan of our lives, give them meaning, set them in their place in the whole.”
When their heart strings were stretched upon some cross of pain and the winds of persecution blew through them, then from this “human” Aeolian harp (a box with an opening across which are stretched a number of strings of equal length that are tuned in unison and sounded by the wind) men heard the very music of God.
The plan of the enemy of our souls is very thwarted when this happens. I love it when that happens! I think this epitomizes the meaning of "We've been made more than conquerors."
I believe submitting our hearts to God to keep, to heal, to do with as He wills, is where the magic happens. Somehow He can use our pain and turn it into something most precious, to us and Him both. A verse that gives me comfort, is Psalm 51:17.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
In complete surrender to God, we give Him the right to rule our minds, our hearts, our bodies, our feelings. We make Him King! Long Live The King! Let's let Him be who He is, our REDEEMER!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

To Train Up A Mother

Recently in browsing blogs, I ran across one with the title "To Train Up A Mother". It caught my attention. I say amen to her blog description!
Quote: "The title "To Train Up a Mother" refers to the profound effects our children have on us, and how as we set out to "Train them up in the way they should go"...we find just how much God wants to teach us through them! I'm being totally transformed along the way."

Also I have noticed such a quantity of people who are concerned about the way their children grow up. Who wouldn't be in this day and age?!

What is the answer? Is there one sure one? Where's the firm foundation we can all build on? Or should I ask, "WHO" is the answer? We all know with our minds, but how does that work out in our daily life? I tell you, it doesn't unless we are willing to die and truly make Him our Lord! Only as much as we give Him our hearts and let Him be who governs our lives, does it work. If it's not working for me, then I take that to indicate there is further territory that needs to be given over to God, in my heart.

I have found this approach to be very simplistic, but also very hard to our flesh. Sometimes the question we need to put to ourselves about our current methods/beliefs is, "How's that working for me?" Someone once said that a definition for insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results.

Have you ever heard the saying "More is caught, than is taught"? Well, that can be totally scary but it can also be very empowering. Most of us don't get very far in life before realizing that you can't make someone else change. When you start to catch on that the only person you have control over is yourself, it begins to dawn on you that if you want to see change, the buck stops here! We get no deeper into Christ than we allow Him to get into us.

I'll never forget the day I was driving along, feeling completely despairing over not being able to effect my husband to choose Christ, when I needed him to, so desperately. All at once I was truly hearing the song playing on a CD by Annie Herring.

"It is the journey that we walk in, that makes us more like us or more like Him. It is the pathway that we follow, that makes our lives like lamp stands or empty wind..."

Suddenly it became very clear to me that I needed to mind my own business, the journey I walk in either makes me more like myself (help!) or more like Christ. I had to choose to let my husband walk and let him go, let God be responsible for him. His journey is his business. God is bigger than him too. I will reap what I sow.

I have watched God come through so amazingly, in my marriage and with my children, when I have been unsure, uncertain, almost hopeless, you name it... (Love that Michael W. Smith song, Never Been Unloved!)

I'm going to copy here something I wrote, just my scribbles to God as I sorted through how to be the mother God wants my children to have: Written 5/10/07

"Why is there not a child training manual in the Bible?

I believe it is because our children are a training manual from God, for us. Except you become as little children...

As we learn Christ, we are automatically equipped for our tasks, whether it be working with our hands, being a wife, husband, father, mother, brother, sister, friend, etc.

God designed us to live and move and have our being in Him. All is summed up in Him.We neglect and deny Christ when we lean to our own or others knowledge and understanding. As I believe God in more completeness in my own heart and let Him reach far into the deepest recesses of me, I surrender every new ground to Him.

As I consider whining and complaining behavior in my children, I can know that they mirror what they see, except they have no guile and therefore cannot hide or whitewash the outside.

My murmuring or complaining heart that wishes God would work faster or differently in select circumstances, in fact would indicate that I believe myself more efficient and wiser than Him. As I confess and believe in Him and humble myself and my murmuring ceases, then I have true authority to lead my children to not be whiners. If I don't look in my own heart first, I am a Pharisee that requires something of others that I refuse to do myself.


My children are ages 2 to 8, but I expect God to be just as faithful to lead when they are teenagers. Scary as this may sound, coming from a homeschooling mom, I teach them very little. Have you ever heard the saying, "Preach the gospel always, and if you have to, say a little."?

I guess that is my one of my mottos. More is caught than is taught! Sometimes, when I am feeling particularly broken before the Lord, I feel such a sweetness, in the middle of mundane activities, amongst us. It makes me that much more determined to keep saying yes to God, to not depend on myself in any way. I get to where I almost crave that brokeness. (Note the almost.) At the least I feel safer. Brokenness and self-sufficiency don't go together!

Well, I've probably rambled enough... just wanted to encourage anyone who feels the need of it, that "other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus." (1 Cor.3:11)

He really is our only security.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


This is my lament.
O God, that there would be a people for You... that we would truly recognize You as our life... that You would be the Rock we build our lives on, not prop ourselves up with something someone has said about You! ...That we would recognize You as all we need... that we would stand on the firm foundation You have laid in Christ Jesus and refuse all else as sinking sand ...that we would allow Your kingdom to come in our hearts... that we would run to You, not from You... that we would live at Your feet... that we would know You as a jealous God and not give our hearts away to other loves, good or bad...that we would return to You and be at rest, be saved....that we would repent and make straight paths for Your feet, right into those areas in our hearts that we have been avoiding...that we would count You more precious.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to veil His face, I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the vale.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
His oath, His covenant, and blood, support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Clad in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.

Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds.
Lord, You are more costly than gold.
Lord, You are more precious than silver.
Nothing I desire compares with You.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Carolie!

Dear Carolie Joy, January 17, 20o9
Happiest of Birthdays to you!
For nine months you occupied my womb. The miracle of it still amazes me. Then you were here occupying my arms and lap. You felt so good! Your life was a message from God to me, to trust Him always, and no matter what, to hope in Him!
For 17& 1/2 months, I called you mine.
You are still here, just not in my arms anymore. You are where you've always been for 11 years and 9 months, in my heart. You took up permanent residence there, for all eternity.
Have you seen Cal? I asked him, if he saw you, to give you hugs and kisses from me.
I'm so glad Jesus has you in His care. I'm so glad God shared you with me. Holding you and letting you go has effected me. Your leaving was a message too.
As much as I long to feel your heartbeat, that's how much God longs to feel His heartbeat in me, for me to truly live!
I am determined not to waste your life - to get God's message, to fulfill His longing! I know one day He will fulfill mine too.
I miss you so much.
Love forever and always,

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Confessions and Repentings of a Recovering "Virtuous Woman"...

A few mornings ago, I woke up very early with a lot of thoughts and feelings stirring round and round in my heart. I finally decided to get up and start writing. It was 3:45 a.m. and 4 hours later I was done. I decided to go ahead and share here most of what I wrote... it's long and personal. I feel like somehow God helped me to put into words what has been going on inside of me for some years now. It helps me to see it in black and white. I also feel like in the last week God has been moving me to repeatedly refuse my own wisdom and strength, and choose Him! I welcome questions and comments.

Isaiah 30:15
In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.
It’s not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are, God, that You have dealt so bountifully with me.
When you potty train a child, you reward them with a treat when they manage their task. The treat is not because they did it, but to teach them, to confirm - "Yes, this is what I mean, you are catching on, continue in this way."
When God rewards us for diligently seeking Him, He does the same thing. He is not saying, by blessing us, "You are to be congratulated for seeking Me." He is in effect saying, "Yes, seek Me, love Me, this is the way for you to live. Keep coming - keep seeking - keep discovering what My life in you means.
All my life I have wanted to be who God wants me to be. I have practiced godly virtues because that’s what godly women do, right?
Be hospitable... Be submissive... Be frugal... Be industrious... Be patient... Be content... and the list goes on.
I did not realize that these virtues are not a means to an end. They are a fruit. I thought by being each of these things, I would more closely be a godly woman. I practiced these virtues. Honestly, I think I succeeded quite well and enjoyed feeling virtuous. I grew up in such a way that it wasn’t that difficult for me.
But all things that do not have their origin in Christ come to an end. At some point our natural strength and ability (by the grace of God) comes to an end.
Many times as I neared exhaustion, wondering how much more I could take, I would cry out to God for help. I realized I must be doing this in my own strength, because God’s doesn’t come to an end. In His grace and mercy, He would renew me as I looked to Him and I would pick up where I left off.
But somewhere this cycle had to end. God’s mercy has to be severe at times. God allowed circumstances in my life that hedged me in to Him, where there was no way I could rely on myself.
It has been quite a journey, taking one step at a time in obedience, working out my own salvation with fear and trembling. I have had to let go of my desire (shocker!) to be a virtuous woman, and desire only Him!
I have had to realize that part of my desire to be a godly woman was motivated by a desire to be seen and known as a godly woman. Right there pride enters and we know how God feels about the proud!
I have had to learn that the way I led my "godly" life was actually feeding my fleshly self, the old creature in me, on anything but a starvation diet! I was indeed, the very definition of "self-righteous".
All the while, I looked good, lived right, and fit in with other Christians, was even admired to a certain extent. Meanwhile, God was leaving me more and more to my own "godly" devices (vices?). I was dying a slow death on the inside.
One of the thoughts that stands out to me, that God began using to get me to see my need was this.
At the wedding in Cana, Mary instructed the servants, "Whatever He says to you, that do."
An author I read said it this way, and it stuck. "Whatever He says to you, that do. No more, no less. Mine is the doing, when He says the word. His, is the bringing to pass."
By the grace of God I began to live by this simple thought. Jesus said He did nothing of Himself, only what the Father said. (His word is life.)
It led me to having to die to myself, my godly reputation was also not left untouched. In requiring my complete love, submission and obedience to be towards Him, God had to wean me from my other loves/motivations, godly virtues though they may have been. He brought me to smell the stench of my own self-righteousness, to repent of putting my hand to His ark, (Are we not the temple?) even my own self.
God did not send His Son into the world, so that men and women could lead clean, virtuous, holy, pure lives. Jesus came to restore us to the Father. When we live and move and have our being in God, He flows out through us. He is the Author and Originator of virtue.
I had to "diet" from being and feeling virtuous. Believe me, God knows how to slowly and surely reveal to us our need of Him, our desperate need!
It is a long story. A moment by moment, day by day, often agonizing journey that I think is probably something like an alcoholic goes through when he quits drinking.
The prayer of my heart is always, "Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Even this telling, confessing, is a part of the process of refusing any righteousness but Christ’s.
I hear and see so much in the Christian scene that tells me I am not the only one. We are even taught to be virtuous. There’s much information on what virtuous looks like, sounds like, and how to’s.
God simply desires us to draw near to Him, to let go of our reputation, desires, identities, everything, and turn to Him. He wants us to be to Him, a people, so that He can be God to us. If we doggedly endeavor in ourselves to serve Him, we miss the point.
My favorite verse since I was a teenager has been, "We love Him because He first loved us." Such a simple verse, but so profound! I now know God is saying to me, everything must originate from Him, or it is of no value, no matter how good or godly it seems. He even keeps astonishing me by showing me more areas. It is such a joy to keep discovering God to be sufficient for all. Like the old hymn says, "Jesus Christ is made to me, all I need."
In my life, that looks like this:
- Choosing dependance on God for training my children in His way. I don’t turn to child- training books. They are His children and it is delightful to experience Him working in them. He turns our hearts towards Himself together. God, by His Holy Spirit teaches us and He has instruction for every type of child, and all the situations the child training book didn’t cover.
Most times it seems like He deals with me first. As I lay down my life to Him, His hands are untied to work mightily, once mine are out of the way.
- Choosing dependance on God in home-schooling my children, for me means trusting God has a plan for each of their lives and will direct and guide me in all aspects.
- In housekeeping, the simplest way to put it is to keep house for God. Sometimes that means leaving the mess and clutter and reading a book, even though that doesn’t feel virtuous. It also means God knows when unexpected company is coming, He can have you all prepared, everything tidy.
Warning: He also knows if you are finding identity in being a good housekeeper, or if you care a lot what others think.
We just have to keep our heart turned to God. He is very efficient and organization is a snap to Him. If you do what He tells you, He’ll tell you what to do.
- Shopping - this is an area God has made Himself known to me in, over and over. The times I’ve bought foods I don’t usually buy (or quantities of it) only to have unexpected guests and the menu was simple easy and yummy because of those very items. (There is so no agonizing over being organized and being prepared in the event of...)
The simple thought and request to God, "Please lead me and be for and in and through me what I need."
- Loving my husband - This one’s a biggie! If your heart is submissive to God, He will not fail you. God knew my heart and our future when He led us in writing our vows for our wedding. I covenanted my life first to my Lord Jesus, and then to my husband.
In being obedient to God, He has asked things of me that went against my husband. In fear and trembling I laid down my life, trusting God to steer me right. We have had hard water go under our bridge, but God has amazed me with how He knows all and works in deeper and more far-reaching ways than I could imagine. In being chaste to God there is power. In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.
God has been working in our lives. If we had to choose a scripture to portray what He’s working on, it would be this one: "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." I labored many years, protecting the relationship we had, when eventually God helped me see I needed to let go, so He could give us more. God is no shoddy builder! Praise You!
- Friendships - That’s a scary one for me! Like Michael Card’s song says, "Only a friend can betray a friend, a stranger has nothing to gain."
Jesus Christ is our Wonderful Counselor. Our government shall be upon His shoulders. I must let Him govern me! To be a true friend one must be true to Christ and love the truth. Only in being nothing, and Him, everything, can I really love anyone truly. He will steer us through the rocks of superficial friendship to the real mcCoy of laying down our lives.
So many subjects, so much need of Him - yet He is sufficient!
He is enough, and I am in Him.
So today, God... as I sit here writing, daylight is dawning. This is Your day. What should I do today? Please lead me. Thanks for sermons in a kernel of corn, for beautiful shiny counter top that inspires me to clear it off... Thanks so much, Daddy God, for knowing me and caring, for bringing me York mint patties like my earth Daddy did, in all aspects of my life. I’m forever grateful.
Today, please show me how to express that gratitude through my actions. Teach my girls, too. They need You like I do. I choose this day, to be Yours. I want to spend the day before Your throne, at Your feet. Let the alabaster box that is my life be broken for You. I have no other gift. May the love that You have given me, rise back to You like incense.

After writing this, I went to read in a devotional, "Springs in the Valley" by Mrs. Charles Cowman and was amazed at what I read. If you have the book, it was Jan.7. If not, and you want to hear it, let me know and I'll copy it in another post. Needless to say, it directly addressed what was happening in my heart! I love it when God does that!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Have you ever watched the movie that came out the summer of 2007 called "Ratatouille"?
If you have, did it do anything to you besides make you laugh and feel hungry? I've just been thinking about it again and want to ruminate on it a bit.
Actually, rather then me saying too much... think of us as being the young boy who doesn't know how to "cook" and the Holy Spirit of God being like Remy. I so long for God to "cook" through me, to delight folks with Himself! As in the movie, there is much temptation to take the credit for the good things that come from our lives when Christ is in us. But... there is huge freedom that Satan doesn't want us finding out about, in being content to be a vessel, to in fact be nothing, but available.
As at the wedding in Cana, let's hear the words of Mary to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, that do." No more, no less.
I want to confess that in my life God has convicted me over and over of doing more than He says. Therein lies the potential for self righteousness!!!
Major W. Ian Thomas says that "responsibility does not rest heavily on a dead persons shoulders". Our "government" (what governs me) needs to rest on whose shoulders?
In all the issues that I face, here at home with my children, cooking meals, keeping everyone dressed and combed, cleaning house, homeschool, training children, relationships, being the wife and mother that God wants me to be, God wants me to let it all rest on His shoulders. In seeking Him, being dead, yet nevertheless living and moving and having my being in Him, I will find all I need to fulfill each task/position.
I want to state, here before all of you as witnesses, that I choose God. I will not depend on my own strength. I will not find my identity in whether my house is clean or cluttered, whether I am hospitable, efficient or not, organized or disorganized. I will not care what people think, only about who I am in Your eyes, Father. I will submit to You, as You continue to reveal to me all that needs to be surrendered to You. You will be my "unit study", not only in homeschooling my children, but in all of my life. I will trust You to be able and willing to to live through me, to be the wife my husband needs me to be, to love and raise my girls at Your moment by moment leading. I place my fears, my hopes, my needs, my lacks, my knowledge, in Your hands, to sift and do with as You will. You are my God. I want to be to You, a people. I want to be the chick that will come under Your wings and abide there. You have already proved Yourself to me more than I could ever deserve! I choose to depend on You! I owe my life to You, quite literally. All I am, or ever hope to be must come from You. I do not seek to be virtuous, except with the virtue that flows out from You. Let me lose my life and find it, Lord, in You, in continually deeper measure. I choose to walk humbly with You, no matter what! I believe in you, help Thou mine unbelief! I am amazed by Your mercy, astonished by Your patience, overwhelmed by Your lovingkindness. I am grateful for Your forgiveness, strengthened by Your joy, in awe of the grace You extend to me. I am forever indebted to Your faithfulness. OH GOD! Why me!?! Why are You so lavish with me? Your goodness is too much for me to comprehend!
May Your kingdom be forever established in my heart, yours to rule! I give You my allegiance, now and always. I covenant my self to You. Please never let me be the boss.

I never knew this post would end up being what it is... but God! There are no more words, only tears...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happiest of New Years to You!

On New Year's Day I always think of a poem I memorized in grade school... it is amazing what lodges in our hearts at young ages and effects us for life!
Here it is as close as I can remember it, I can't recall the author.
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year.
"Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown."
He said to me, "Put your hand into the hand of God.
That will be to you better than light
And safer than a known way."
"Happy New Year" is actually quite a light wish, most often casually spoken. True fulfillment is sometimes quite elusive.
Ephesians 2:4-7 says:
"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (By grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."
Look at what God has accomplished for us to walk in if we choose to... what richness comes to us in Christ! Notice how the word "together" is used over and over and consider what is in God's heart.
This is our "Happy New Year!" from God. Let's accept it - take it!