Wednesday, January 16, 2013

An Eagle in the Morning and Stars at Night

I've been trying to pay better attention to the ways the Lord reveals Himself to me in my daily life. This is what happened today.

This morning, I was out walking down the road that runs east/west past our house. I was talking to the Lord about the ongoing struggle of dealing with the same weaknesses over and over. Was I complaining just a little? Well, maybe. I looked up and directly overhead was a lone eagle soaring on the wind, heading north toward the creek. I watched him as he flew effortlessly and wondered what it would be like to be able to join him up there and experience the freedom and distance from all that troubles us who are earthbound here on the ground. Immediately, Isaiah 40:31 came to mind, a very familiar verse to all of us, but a reminder I needed to hear this morning.
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not get weary; they shall walk and not faint.
There was enough help and hope in those words to keep my on course, to silence my complaints, to speed me on in pursuit of walking with God. I am listening, Lord.

Then tonight, I went out to feed the dogs after dark, and as they always do when it is clear, the stars drew my gaze to the heavens. I love to look at the stars. The absolute best place to look at them is from the top of a mountain in the desert where the air is thin and very, very clear. They are overwhelmingly awesome from there. But, I was here at home on flat ground and they were still awesome. I can never look at them without thinking about the words to an old Phil Keaggy song:
Look at the stars, Abraham and believe I AM. Can you count stars, Abraham, or the grains of sand?........
The point of the song is that the number of the stars is like the number of the children of Abraham, and I am one because I am in Christ. He is faithful to His promises, even those given so long ago to Abraham. I am one proof of His promise-keeping faithfulness. God knows my name. He knew I would be His on that night long ago when Abraham stood in the desert night and chose to believe the vastness of God's promise to him.

God's love speaks in so many ways. I want my heart to be open to hear Him more and more clearly as the days go by.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

To My Dear Family

I am a little slow. . . . .

Lane, I'll start with you since you were the first to arrive. Thank you for coming when you did. Mama was so glad when she knew you were coming. She knew how much you loved her, that you would do whatever it took to get here. She told me, "Lane loves me. He really loves me." I understood what she meant because my sons love me like that. She was so proud of you - your integrity and honesty and will to work hard, of the man you have become. Thank you for being with Daddy all week. I could rest, knowing you were there.

Chelley, I am so glad you came when you did. Your gentle strength helped hold us all together. I'm glad you were there with Lani when Mama left. If I remember right, you are the one who suggested we read Scripture to her, and that led to that very special time of singing and praying and Mark's beautiful song. . . . . Thank you!

Robin, My heart tells me that you will miss her most of all. She was your confidant, a voice of love and truth and sanity in this messed up world. Our days will not be the same without her. But you have her strength to make the Lord your dwelling place all your days. I love you.

Mark, you, alone out of all of us, have met death before. Yet your faith shines all the brighter through your pain. The song you sang at the foot of Mama's bed (and again at the funeral) was so beautiful. Thank you. We all wanted to love her with our hands and our voices. You did that extraordinarily well. I will not forget it.

Kathy, it is so hard to believe it is all over and she is really gone. Even though we knew it was coming, the reality of it sinks in slowly. Thank you for putting your creative energy into the slide show. It was so well done and included pictures of Mama I had never seen or did not remember. It was a gift to all of us. I am looking forward to the memory book you are working on.

Lani, I am so glad you were here. Singing and praying and reading Scripture around Mama's bed, knowing her heart was hearing our love even though her body showed no sign. I'm glad you were there when she left. I wonder if we are ever old enough to lose our mothers? Her death leaves a vacuum that no one else can fill. But, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. . . . .

Chip, thank you so much for coming. Your presence was a rock for me, your faith solid and immoveable. You have weathered the storms and you stand strong, providing shelter and safety to those you love. Thanks for letting me lean on you and cry.

And Daddy, dear, dear Daddy, I will never forget the way Mama took your face in her hands and pulled you close to love you on that last day. That is a precious memory I will cherish all my days. You loved her very well. She loved you all her days. I pray that I may love as you have.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Learning from Abraham

I'm a very sporadic blogger! But here goes........

I just started a new Bible study on the life of Abraham. These thoughts came out of the first day's lesson.

When the Lord calls us to follow Him to new places, when He prods us to leave the encumbrances behind, He gives us His promises to nourish our hearts and fuel our obedience. Just like Abraham. God called him to leave everything familiar and move out to a destination yet to be revealed. But in the same breath, He promised to show him where to go, He promised to bless him, to fight his enemies, and to make him a blessing. We are not orphans. We are sons and daughters. He will never leave us or forsake us. He has given us His Spirit in our hearts, guaranteeing our final destination. I, for one, am moving out to follow Him.

I'm excited to see where the Lord will take me through this study in the next few weeks.

Monday, December 6, 2010

My testimony from Haiti

This is an article I wrote for our church newsletter this month which focused on reports from the Haiti trip. I wanted to share it here too.

I signed up to go to Haiti, mostly because all the other members of my family were going and I did not want to be left out. However, I think deep in my heart was a core desire to see God do something powerful and real.

Many of you know my testimony. I grew up knowing about God and salvation and worship and loving Jesus from my earliest memories. I consciously gave my heart to Jesus as a young girl in Sunday School class. I knew what it meant to have an intimate relationship with Jesus and walk in the joy of my salvation. When Scott and I married, we had it as our goal to someday serve overseas as full-time missionaries. So in 1989, we took our family to Senegal, West Africa for one school year as associate missionaries. It was a difficult, wonderful, stretching year for us. We sensed the Lord leading us to complete the New Tribes training and go back full time. But it was not as easy as we had hoped. We struggled through the first part of the training and the leadership graciously passed us. But when we got to the second and final phase, I just could not go on. And so we left and came back to Nebraska. I remember thinking (with all the attending feelings of failure and guilt) on the drive back that I had totally blown it, both with my husband and with the Lord.

I did not realize it then, but something changed in my relationship with the Lord at that point. It was not the same. During all the years between then and now, I have struggled in my walk with the Lord. I knew He loved me. I knew He forgave me. But I felt unworthy and I often wondered if He had any further purpose for my life. Several times in the last few months I have said to the Lord, “Lord, I feel like I’m drowning, like I’m just barely keeping my head above water. I need You to do something.” And that’s where I was when I went to Haiti.

Each day we were in Haiti, we had team meetings both in the morning and each evening -- a time of prayer and praise and worship, for sharing events from the day and thoughts from Scripture or anything the Lord was saying to us. While we were worshiping and quiet before the Lord, He began to show me that I was believing a lie. I was believing that I had forfeited my rights as a true child of God by my sin and failure. I believed that I had forfeited my freedom in Christ by my behavior. But in all the years of bondage I didn’t know what was wrong with me until the Holy Spirit revealed it in my heart and mind on a rooftop in Haiti. I didn’t say anything to anyone that night, but I spent a lot of time through the night thinking and praying about what the Lord had revealed. I realized it was true and that many areas of my life had been affected by the lie I had believed. I repented and asked the Lord to do His work of making me new.

I felt like a door slammed shut behind me. All of the stuff behind that door no longer has any power over me. Jesus set me free. I knew I had to tell the whole team, both to seal it by saying it out loud and because I wanted the accountability of others knowing what God had done for me. A couple of nights later I shared very briefly what the Lord had shown me and that He had set me free. The whole team gathered round and prayed for me and praised the Lord with me. God sealed His work in my heart that night.
I am still discovering all the changes this has made in my life. The first and most precious to me though, is that I can worship the Lord freely – without past failures rearing up and telling me I am unfit to be in His presence. With all my heart, I want to follow Jesus wherever He leads me.

We saw God do many powerful and real things while we were in Haiti. One of them He did for me.
I would like to express deep gratitude to all of you who prayed for us while we were in Haiti. God used you to work His work in us.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Book Review

As part of the BethanyHouse Book Review program, I read a new book called Flight to Heaven by Capt. Dale Black. I like books that tell true stories, especially when they are written by the person who had the experiences (autobiography). It is similar to 90 Minutes in Heaven in that Capt. Black had a near-death or death experience. The thing I liked best about this book was the change that took place in his heart and life attitudes as a result of his glimpse of heaven. I would expect such an experience to radically alter a person's life and it did. His story reminds me that the Bible is absolutely true - even the parts that promise things we cannot see or have no way to experience while we are living here. It encourages me to live life with more in view than what I can see with my eyes everyday. I heartily recommend this book to any one who is interested.

Monday, July 19, 2010

30th Anniversary

Today (Monday) is our 30th Anniversary! Scott surprised me by making reservations for a cabin at Niobrara State Park. We've been wanting to go check it out since it is relatively close and we're considering options for our family gathering in September. We had a really wonderful time. It is a beautiful park on the border of Nebraska and South Dakota where the Niobrara River empties into the Missouri River. Because of all the rain we have had this summer, it was lush and green all the way up there. It's not a very big park and we walked some of its roads to reach special attractions like a fishing bridge and the higher lookout points. Thanks to Zeke and Psalm 29, we woke up to a thunderstorm this morning! Which was perfect, I thought. It just added to my enjoyment of the trip. Thank you, Honey, for thinking of it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Has anyone else had this experience? I quit drinking coffee every morning sometime before Christmas. Instead, I started drinking tea from the The Republic of Tea and also a Chai Tea Latte from Sam's Club. I was very surprised to discover that I started feeling better -- a lot better. I don't wake up with that groggy feeling you have until you drink your coffee. And I have more energy evenly throughout the day. It's great! I don't know whether to attribute it to the lack of coffee or the addition of the tea. But whichever it is, I am thankful! Maybe it's a combination of both. . . .