Sunday, February 19, 2017

Gaining through losing

Every time I've read Philippians over the last few weeks as we've been studying it at church this passage has stuck out to me. He invites us to count everything as a loss, to let everything else go, to count all I have treasured as trash so that I can know Him more and, in so doing, become more like Him. 

"Surpassing value." I'm not suffering the loss of all things for no reason. I'm invited to do so because gaining Him is worth so much more than anything I could ever give up.

So today, as our pastor read 2:7-14, I raised my hand in surrender with tears running down my cheeks because I do want to know Him. I do want to be dressed in His righteousness that comes through faith, not based on anything I've done. I do want to know the power of His resurrection. I do, though the idea of it sometimes scares me, want to know the fellowship of His suffering because I know He is a faithful Companion in suffering and walking through suffering draws me closer to Him. I do want to forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead. I do want to press on toward the goal for the prize of His upward call. 

"Why would you want to spend your life on anything less?"

Why indeed. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"For His lovingkindness is everlasting."

We are walking through all kinds of emotions lately. Through all that we've been through our Father has been so faithful and we know in our heads that He doesn't change but as we look ahead to what He has next for us sometimes I get overwhelmed with the fear of the unknown and the fear of the known and all that must be accomplished in the next 135 days plus and/or minus 2 months. How grateful I am for whoever it was back at TTU that recommended reading through the book of Psalms backwards for the 150 days leading up to our wedding as we read through them again to the end of residency. The Psalms always help to put things in perspective. 

Yesterday we read Psalm 136. I read it again this morning with Glenn with him reading the first part of each verse and me quoting the constant end of each verse, "For His lovingkindness is everlasting." Oh how I love that Psalm. Whenever I read it I want to add so many more verses. Some that came to mind were:

"He provided a generous scholarship to Glenn to go to TTU, For His lovingkindness is everlasting." 
Then farther back:
"He allowed Sandy to come to know Him at camp when she was in high school and Roger when he was 8, For His lovingkindness is everlasting."
And farther back:
"Edwin and Jean to meet in band playing trombone, For His lovingkindness is everlasting."
And much farther back:
"A baby was born, the Son of Man, whose death paid the price for my sins, For His lovingkindness is everlasting."

Oh, and so many thousands of more verses. 

"For His lovingkindness is everlasting."

He works everything for His glory, His lovingkindness is everlasting, and I am so grateful. 

Friday, January 06, 2017

The Countdown Has Begun...

On a whim last Saturday I decided to check how many days we had left until 6/30/17, Glenn's last day of residency. It just happened to be 181 days and that made me smile because I had an idea.

In the days before our wedding and the days before the match we we did a 150 day countdown reading backwards through the book of Psalms. It was fun to do back in the summer of 1999 and gave us a way to connect knowing that we were both reading the same thing each day that last summer we spent apart. It was comforting to read backwards through the Psalms in the unknown of looking ahead to the match in the winter of 2013 as we needed the reminder to keep trusting Him as we were awaiting the news of where we would spend the next 3-4 years of our lives in training.

This year, starting with 181 days before we finish this season of our lives we have started doing a countdown again. This time we get to read backwards through the book of Proverbs as well. I trust that as we read we will be encouraged and challenged and focused as we look forward to and prepare for what He has next for us.

It's been a while. Words are slow to come from my fingers. I looked back to see what I had said about Psalm countdowns in the past and I was so encouraged to read three blog posts from the months before the match that I needed to read today and they have reminded me that I really need to write more. Maybe I will.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Surrender

START

Humperdinck: Surrender!
Westley: You mean you wish to surrender to me? Very well, I accept.
Humperdinck: I give you full marks for bravery. Don’t make yourself a fool.
Westley: Ah, but how will you capture us? We know the secrets of the fire swamp. We can live there quite happily for some time, so whenever you feel like dying, feel free to visit.
Humperdinck: I tell you once again, surrender!
Westley: It will not happen.
Humperdinck: For the last time, surrender!
Westley: Death first!!
Buttercup: Will you promise not to hurt him?Humperdinck: What was that?
Westley: What was that?
Buttercup: If we surrender and I return with you, will you promise not to hurt this man 
Humperdinck: May I live a thousand years and never hunt again.... I swear it will be done.*

I, too, am asked to surrender.

At times I too want to make deals, like Buttercup, with the One asking me to surrender, "If I do surrender, will you promise that no harm will come to us? Will I always have my husband? Will my children always walk with You?" and so on...

The One asking me to surrender makes no such promise not to allow harm to come to us but instead He gives better promises like "In this world you will have trouble but be of good cheer because I have overcome the world" and "when you pass through the waters, I will be with you" and "I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

And so I surrender. Not because I have confidence in myself, that I "know the secrets of the fire swamp," though I have been in the school of learning to be "content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want," but because I know the One who asks me to surrender. He is nothing like Prince Humperdink who has no intentions of keeping his promises. The One who asks me to surrender keeps His promises. I know that when I surrender all to Him whatever He allows to happen to us He will use for our good and His glory because He knows best.

He does not promise safety or ease but He does promise His presence, which is better by far. I know I can trust Him.

And so... I surrender.

* Quote from The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

5 Minutes in October: Paint

We don't paint much around here. Occasionally the girls will ask to paint and collect a bunch of old grocery flyers and head out to the back yard to paint a picture on a piece of paper but it doesn't happen often.

Confession: we've never painted a wall in any house we've ever lived in. I've often heard friends talk about needing to paint before moving into a place or seen the before and after pictures of the walls in their homes. I've helped others paint but I've never painted any of the 20-ish places we've lived. Most of our landlords would have been fine with it but I have always figured our time here is temporary and I can live with the white or ecru or random color from a previous tenant walls for the time we are here.

Whoever painted our house before we moved in did a poor job and even painted all of the windows closed (we figure it's a security feature along the busy sidewalk on the bedroom side of our house so we haven't pried them open.) There is definitely touch up work that needs done around here. I'm not sure if we'll get to it or just let the landlord repaint after we move out.

5 Minutes in October 2016: Walk

I've decided to try 31 days of 5 Minute free writes again this year. So, with my last few minutes of the 1st, here goes...

WALK

Sometime earlier in residency Glenn got a Fitbit through work. The band broke so he stopped wearing it for a while.

When we found bands at Goodwill we bought a couple but he still didn't start wearing it so he said I could and I did.

It was a good motivator for a while. For a few days I'd take a walk before bed to get my steps up but then the charger stopped working.

After buying a new charger my cousin invited me on some challenges. They have been a good motivation for me. I've never won but it's encouraged me to increase my steps. Most evenings you'll find me wandering my house reading Perspectives on my nook, getting more steps in, trying not to trip over the dog or the kids.

Today, ironically, is the first day I haven't gotten 10,000 steps. Yesterday was day 25 of my streak.

STOP

Friday, September 30, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Collect

START

When I saw the word "collect" earlier today I thought of all of the things that we collect around here: books, papers, legos, games, legos, nerf guns, socks, legos, pens, cameras, flip flops, legos, bikes, light sabers, legos... you get the idea. We have a lot of collections. In the upcoming months we need to purge a lot of collections.

As I wrote the subject for this blog though the first thing I thought of was collect calls. Kids don't know what those are any more. A few weeks ago I tried to explain to them what a collect call was but they didn't really get it. There was a day when everyone didn't have a cell phone and when you needed to call home you hit "0" and asked the operator if you could make a collect call.

I haven't made a collect call in years. When I made them they were always to home. That 315 number forever ingrained in my mind that connected me to my mom and dad no matter where I was. I don't know who has that dear old number now. If I tried to call that 315 number collect today they would not accept the charges from "Sonja." Oh, how I miss calling that 315 number. I didn't do it nearly often enough.

STOP