Archive for April, 2012

Joyful Monday Morning to Ya

Well, goooooooooood morning to ya!  Yes, I am a little more chipper than usual this morning.  I’ve just finished having my coffee on the back porch.  It was Q.U.I.E.T. out there for at least 15 minutes!  I made it through the whole cup of coffee before anyone but the dogs detected my presence 🙂

Of course, the dogs did their best to entertain and distract me.  They were rolling around play fighting all over the back yard and porch.  It sounded like a bunch of bears trying to tackle one another, lol!  Occasionally, they would come up  and attempt to engage my hand into some petting.  One sniff of their fishy-yucky-dog breath, however, convinced me that doggy affection would have to wait until later in the day.

Yes, it was me on the porch wrapped in the sacred  O.U. blanket, white socks WITH flip flops…..(this is how we wear flip flops when it’s cold in Texas, right?!)…and sipping on a steamy cup of java.  Ahhhhhh!

It was a good day to catch up on reading. 

King David has now died and Solomon is the new king.  Nathan did a good thing when he encouraged Bathsheba to get to the king first before Adonijah wrongfully wormed his way into the position.  I would love to have a Nathan in my life, wouldn’t you?  A physical person on this earth who would watch out for me and let me know when I’m about to mess up, or when someone is about to attempt to harm me.  Yes, a “Nathan” in my life would be a nice thing.

Oh wait!  We DO have “Nathans” in our life, don’t we?! 

It’s me, and you, and our neighbor, and our pastor, and our other spiritual friends.   We all are part of the body of Christ who has the responsibility to encourage and protect and hold accountable.

We have our Sunday School classes, our bible study groups, and the ones in this read thru the bible group as well.  We need the “Nathans” in our life to help keep us on track.  Though not necessarily declared “prophets” as he was, we all help to watch out for each other’s soul, and we can all help pick up the pieces when we’ve messed up.  We keep each other going, and remind each other that our busy lives don’t compare to what’s really in store for us when Jesus returns.

I really enjoy seeing each one of you take time to comment to one another.  Reading this blog may be hard — it may be just another thing to remember to do each day, but I hope we all will make it a priority to keep participating.  

What can you do to be the “Nathan” in someone’s life today?  Start here and take a moment to encourage those in this group.  Call them by name!  This isn’t just a place to lurk or vaguely check in.  

Yes, it’s been a good day so far.  I’ve even had my shower and now ready to Face the Homeschooling Giants in my life!Bird Reproduction, Acute and Obtuse Angles, Spelling Words and Abraham Lincoln…….here I come!

I hope you all are having an equally wonderful start to another beautiful spring day 🙂

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Psalm 60

It’s where I am.  You?

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A Holy Day

holy –  given or belonging to God; set apart for God’s service; coming from God; sacred

Yesterday was a holy day.  Determined to get caught up with my reading, I purposefully set aside the day for that priority.  The boys and I were the only ones here.  I got started early, first counting just how many pages I was behind. 

51 pages was the goal.

We had breakfast, and I got the eldest started on his math lessons.  They are computerized and the one subject I have not had to prepare, teach, or grade this year.  The youngest son has already finished his math book for the year (not computerized) so he was happily playing in his room.

This was the perfect day to attempt such a feat.  The one thing I knew was that I did NOT want to spend the next several weeks behind schedule.  The other thing I knew was I didn’t really want to skip anything, so that’s why I decided to make the day a “Read-a-thon”.

It was soooooooooooooo quiet!  Several times I actually stopped reading because my mind didn’t know what to do without balancing 3 kids, 10 subjects, the phone, and other responsibilities! 

The television was off. 

The dogs were asleep.

There were no phone calls.

There were no pressing matters.

I needed to pay bills, but didn’t.

The dishes were dirty, but I looked the other way.

We skipped Science.

I let the boys play and they were content to do it behind a closed bedroom door.

It was perfect!  I was able to comment on things I had previously noted in the readings, write a post or two, and read 31 pages! 

Today, I’m still behind but, it’s only 15 pages now. 

How was your yesterday?  Are you behind?  If so, what is your “catch up” plan?

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Even More Undignified Than This

Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart… Then David returned to bless his household.  And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!”  So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel.  Therefore I will play music before the Lord.  And I will be even more undignified than this…  2 Samuel 6:16-22

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Superstitionously Questionable

Do you remember the days of the “Magic 8 Ball”?!

In 1 Samuel, chapter 23, David uses the ephod to determine whether or not he should do certain things.

Q:  “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”

A:  “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah“.

Q:  “Should I…..seriously?”

A:  “Arise, go down to Keilah.  For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

(And then after he does that, he hears that Saul is coming after him…..)

Q:  “Will the men of Keilah deliver me into the hand of Saul?  Will Saul come down here like I have heard?”

A:  “He will come down.”

Q:  “Will the man of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?”

A:  “They will deliver you.”

So David high-tailed it out of Keilah, escaping capture and death by Saul, being extremely thankful for his Magic 8 Ball Abiathar and his ephod.

What is this “ephod”?  In Exodus, the ephod refers to the linen apron worn by the high priest.  (Ex 39:2-7)  With Abiathar’s ephod David would essentially ask a “yes/no” question and by some means the ephod would reveal God’s answer.

Although it is not known exactly how this worked, it is important to know that David was seeking God with his questions, and then God was answering.

This ephod, in contrast, to modern day devices, was not a ball simply shook and then an answer was revealed on the appearing triangular shape.  God actually used the ephod as a method of communicating to His people .

All the Magic 8 balls, fortune cookies, horoscopes, palm lines, and cards in the world cannot be used to measure the voice of God.  These are superstition — not a real means of determining life actions.  They are questionable because they aren’t real.   God didn’t choose those methods for communication, and we must be diligent in recognizing the potential for straying from God’s will when we “dabble” with them, much like playing with fire.

Some creative person is right now earning a living writing vague, broadly applicable sentences that someone will sadly use to determine serious life issues.

Don’t step outside your house today.  Something bad is going to happen”  and the person lives in fear for hours.

A great fortune is coming your way soon!” and the person rushes to the local convenience store to use their rent money for lottery tickets.

Worse, is the palm readers and so called psychics who lead people into believing their one true love is right around the corner, or perhaps their dear, dead darling is still calling to them from beyond the grave.  They prey on a person’s grief or loneliness and then charge them $29.95.

These things are all “superstitionously questionable”.  The ephod was not.

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A Distressing Spirit

1 Samuel 16:14 says “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.”  v 23 also speaks of this distressing spirit and says, again, that it was “from the Lord”.  Several times in 1 Samuel we see that this spirit was distressing and also “from the Lord”.

It makes me wonder more about depression.  Obviously Saul had issues that led to his falling out of the Lord’s favor.  It’s interesting to me, however, to think about depression coming to someone specifically from the Lord.

How can we understand why the Lord would purposefully make someone depressed?

Depression is a horrible way of living.  I can only say this because I recognize that in recent years, there have been times in my own life where depression was obviously present.

Not wanting to get out of bed, the inability to make a decision, and just the mere thought of never finding happiness and joy again was enough to change my life in ways I never thought possible.  I never got to the point of giving up completely, however, I will say that I was in a very unhealthy place and it was affecting me greatly.

Day after day, I poured my heart to the Lord asking for His help.  I hated the sureness of waking up everyday to yet more life drama, and yet more depression.  Life was spiraling out of control and I had no way of stopping it.  I was absolutely helpless, and therefore, absolutely unproductive.

Depression costs.  Relationships suffered.  Day to day activities fell by the wayside.  I didn’t care anymore.  I didn’t feel anything but sadness and grief.  I even had to give up homeschooling for a while because I knew I couldn’t deal with normal day-to-day stresses and it was affecting my kids.

Several times I considered seeking medical help hoping that maybe a pill or two a day would lift this burden for me, if even for only a few hours.  It did seriously feel like that commercial where the cartoonish depressed character walks about with a huge cloud lingering over her head!  However I knew, that for me, a chemically masked joy would not solve the problem.

It wasn’t until I began to forcefully, physically and painfully give up myself to the Lord that I began to feel better.  I realized that nothing in this world is within my control anyway.  Even at the deepest, darkest depths of worry and anxiety, the Lord carries us all within His grasp.  This thing called “depression” is only there when we allow it to be…

…or perhaps when the Lord needs it to be.

Like Saul, I too, was fallen.  I had created my little world of picket fences and a Cleaver family.  Despite what heartaches I had felt growing up, I had not yet really understood the bigger picture.

Life is not what I make it.  It belongs to the Lord.  Everything belongs to Him (and I mean everything AND everybody!).

I cannot dictate someone’s response to the Lord.  I cannot control today, the next five minutes, or even the next week.  My husband and children do not belong to me.  Their lives and their will cannot be fully lived out in the order and ways I have dreamed of.

I don’t even fully know myself!  Just when I think I’m understanding the woman I am supposed to be, the Lord shows me there is always a need for change and I will never be perfected until I physically sit in His presence away from this flawed world.

The Lord used the depression to break me.  My life, my spirit, my plans, my understanding all crashed to a halt when He used the “distressing spirit” to bring me back to Him in ways I never thought possible.  I was completely humbled.  I couldn’t even speak.

In that instant, there was a flicker of joy again.  Not a big explosion, but just a flicker….a reminder that He still loves me and really, really cares.

Over time, the flicker is returning to a flame.  I know my will has been broken.  It was done for a good reason, as Romans 8:28 says, and though I am not fully complete in it, I am finding more reasons to smile these days.

Depression is a silent threat.  Unless they are walking in our shoes, people don’t necessarily relate with a depressed person.  We don’t talk about it……or sometimes we CAN’T talk about it because we just don’t know what to say.

Sometimes we SCREAM of our misery and frantically look for a way to live again, but our inability to rationalize the thoughts of what we’re feeling is does not make a connection with the “happy-go-luckys” in our life.

Before you really start getting concerned about me, I want to interject here that I am better, lol.  Yes, there were times that I wondered who would be the first to cinch up my straight jacket, but I am “happy” 😉 to say that it can stay on the hanger for a while longer!

I wanted to share my story now only because I never could have done it before.

Depression hurts, and I understand now.

These days, I smile a bit more.  Recently, a friend and I laughed until I cried.  With another friend, I have even cried until I laughed!

I’m learning to recognize the symptoms of approaching depression and quickly run back to the Lord for help before it returns.

Sometimes I have to just. not. think. — turning my back to concerning situations in order to remember that it’s not my war to wage.

If you are suffering from depression, please know that it can actually be something useful…..a process, perhaps, of cleansing and reconnection.  It may be a long time coming, but if you will call on the Lord and release the hold of your own life, He can and will heal you, as He is doing for me.

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Argh! I’m behind!

I feel it….

That sinking feeling that tells me I’m getting further and further behind!

It all started a week ago.  I got a few days behind but convinced myself I could catch up.  Then a few more days “happened”, and yet I still thought I could catch up.

Now, I’m pretty much a week behind on the reading schedule and wondering if this is the point that I slowly sink under water never to return again?!

I don’t want it to happen, but I know it does.  Somebody do something!  Stop the madness of our schedule for me, please!!

{raising 3 fingers slowly as I go down….}

1,……..

2,…….

………….

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