Tired of Waiting for Answers?

>> Friday, October 29, 2010

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said,"Wait."

"Wait? You say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I relate,
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to Wait?"
I'm needing a 'yes,' a go-ahead sign.
Or even a 'no,' to which I'll resign.

You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting . . . for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me,
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

You'd never experience the fullness of love,
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask,
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you.

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see,
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still "WAIT".

~ The Wait Poem, Russell Kelfer


Practicing Gratitude: The Bushman Edition

>> Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hosted in October by Lynn @ Spiritually Unequal MarriageSo guess what yesterday was?

The Bushman's birthday!!! At some point yesterday, he will have been on this earth for exactly 36 years, the last 14+ of which he's spent with me. And of course, those have been his best years by far! ;)

I'm so thankful I have a wonderful husband. He's gone lots, being a truck-driver and all, but the days he's home, he's completely engaged as a husband and dad.  And I'm thankful he hasn't had to go away for longer than 10 days the last two winters.  Those two winters of ice road trucking are NOT something I want to repeat!!

I'm so thankful his desire is to work hard so that I can continue to be a stay-at-home mom, even though our girls are both in school full-time now. We have never been wealthy ~ in fact, most years our income tax reports us hovering around the poverty line ~ but we have always had enough. We feel we're prioritizing family the way God wants us to, and we've been blessed by His provision as a result. Not maybe the lavish financial blessing we sometimes wish for, but the fact that we're paying our bills, eating good meals, and staying warm during our long, desperately cold Canadian prairie winters are HUGE blessings!!

I'm thankful my husband is struggling to better understand what being a spiritual leader in the home looks like. Because if he wasn't struggling, that would mean he was content with mediocrity. He's not! And though at times he finds himself extremely frustrated with the hard work of spiritual growth, I'm excited about the truths he's grappling with and the relationship with God he's pursuing.

I'm thankful I've gotten the best years of his life, because as a result, they've been the best years of mine. They've been hard at times, but they've been sweet, too. They've been full of challenges and full of joy. We've had some sadness and some anger, but mostly laughter and solidarity.

Happy birthday, Bushman!
I love you and I'm so thankful you're my husband. ♥

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Ever considered a modelling career?

>> Monday, October 25, 2010

If you have children, you HAVE one ~ a modelling career, that is. They study how you walk, how you talk, how you treat your parents, how you treat your spouse, and how you wear your hair. The peskyest paparazzi doesn't compare to the scrutiny with which our children watch us! Every laughing smile to every frustrated sigh and eyeroll, they. see. it. all.

It's a little intimidating to know they see the world through our eyes. What frustrates us, they will find frustrating. What we consider unimportant, they will consider unimportant. What we truly value ~ not the things we SAY we value ~ will become valuable to them.

Parenting is a real test of what is truly important to us.

Courtney from Women Living Well tells us how we can SHOW our children ~ girls AND boys ~ that homemaking has value:

They won't believe it if they don't see it.

They won't see it if we don't model it.


Actually PRACTICING Gratitude

>> Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hosted in October by Lynn @ Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Gratitude and INgratitude are both contagious.  Which "disease" are YOU spreading?

I am so thankful for the Revive Our Hearts daily radio broadcast, even though I have to listen online or download to my mp3 player since none of our local stations air it.  I am so thankful the Internet makes this possible!  Some of you might think I'm sounding a little like a broken record, but I URGE you to check it out!!  And don't just read the transcripts; LISTEN to the podcasts.  Host Nancy Leigh DeMoss aims true, hits hard, but has this gracious way about teaching the Word that makes the conviction inspiring rather than discouraging.  (and trust me, if you're really listening, there WILL be conviction!)  If you've been missing some spiritual nourishment or feel like you could use some encouragement and inspiration in your spiritual life, please check it out.

Anyway, last week I was listening to an old series called, "The Attitude of Gratitude," a 6-part series beginning here, in keeping with the season. (For those who don't know, Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving the weekend before last. I was actually going to post this LAST Thursday, but my computer was at the "spa"....) and I just want to share some of the quotes that have really stood out for me:

Jesus expressed amazement that only this one [of the 10 healed lepers] had returned to give God glory. I wonder if from His place in Heaven today He might not be expressing amazement still that there are so few who come back and say, “Thank You.”

We’re so quick to enjoy the gift and so quick to forget the Giver.

Why are we sometimes unthankful? I think one of the reasons is that we have expectations. We compare with what others have that we think we’d like to have. We’re greedy.

We’re ungrateful because we forget that we’re debtors.

Have you ever been in one of those praise times in your church or in a small group where the leader said, “We’re going to take some time to just thank the Lord”? Share a testimony or say a word of praise or thanksgiving or lift up prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord.  And then you hear this big, long silence. Then maybe one courageous person sneaks in and says something that they're thankful for. And then another big, long silence.

Now there’s nothing wrong with silence, unless it’s time to be thankful.

There are probably at least a hundred other sentences and paragraphs worth passing along, but suffice it to say, I was deeply impacted by the series.  So much so, that in addition to the notebook page for each day in my prayer journal, there is now an accompanying thanksgiving page where, throughout the day, I list things I'm thankful for. I make sure to say at least a quick prayer of thanks for each one.  Some days it feels forced and disingenuous, and some days I seem to have trouble thinking of things to be thankful for, but if Hosted by Lynn @ Spiritually Unequal MarriageI want to develop a HABIT of gratitude, I need to start somewhere!

I don't want Thanksgiving Day to be any different from the preceding 364 days.

Except for the turkey dinner, of course!  ;)

* Click either the "ThanksLIVING" or the Thankful Thursday buttons above to visit our host and many more thankful bloggers!


HostilePITABLE Hermit

>> Tuesday, October 19, 2010

There was a storm a-brewin' this past Sunday afternoon.  Not the kind that produces spectacular lightning and window-rattling thunder, but the kind that leaves a thunderous countenance on the face, fire in the eyes, and frosty silences.

You see, my husband, The Bushman, had just suggested we invite some good friends over for lunch after church.

Now, if you know me in real life, you'll know why this struck panic into my soul. If you DON'T have the dubious pleasure of knowing me in real life, well, I'm not great at hospitality. And I'm worse at spontenaity.

He made this suggestion while we were on our way home from church.

You do the math.

I didn't have guest-appropriate food on hand.  There was a pile of junk mail and other stuff that I don't really know what to do with at one end of the dining room table.  My bathroom hadn't been cleaned on Friday like it was supposed to be.  And worse, because I had blown off FlyLady's cardinal commandment, there were breakfast AND LAST NIGHT'S SUPPER DISHES sitting on the kitchen counter!!!!

Company?  Yeah, I don't think so.

The Bushman ~ The Social Butterfly ~ doesn't hold my views on hospitality.  He's a spontaneous, casual, who-cares-if-you-don't-have-anything-special-prepared kinda entertainer.  I knew my penchant for the hermit life was going to cause problems for him this afternoon.

But come on, he KNOWS this about me!  How could he possibly think I'd have gone for this crazy idea??!

How ironic, that just moments earlier, we'd finished watching another John Piper video in our Sunday school class ~ the one about how giving of ourselves is showing love and that it comes out of the overflow of joy in Christ.  You know, the whole "God loves a cheerful giver" thing.


Well, fine then, I decided ~ I wasn't cheerful, it didn't feel like the overflow of joy, I tell ya, but I caved and told my dear husband that since I knew he was going to be cranky all afternoon if he didn't get his way, he could invite them.  And yes, I really said that out loud.  {cringe}

I stormed into the house and the first thing I noticed was papers, toys, and colouring books all over the coffee table, clothing on the couch, and the dishes.  Oh, the pile of dirty dishes!  I'd have to wash some before we'd even be able to eat!!!

We'd had some homemade "Zumma Borscht" (green bean/sausage/potato soup) and there was a fair bit left over, so I figured I'd reheat that and make some garlic cheese biscuits to eat with it.  Then our guests arrived while I was still dithering and horror of horrors, SHE SAW MY DIRTY DISHES!  I confessed I'd need to wash at least the bowls and dessert plates before we could eat, and she promptly started filling my sink.

She washed while I dried, cooked another link of sausage to cut up and throw in the soup, and set the table.  I told her I'd thought of making biscuits to go with the soup and she asked if they were already made.  When I said no, she told me not to bother and to rather serve one of the fresh loaves of bread that were sitting on the counter.  I sliced up some cheddar and put each of our beverage jugs on the table, none of which had more than a cup or two left at the bottom.

There was no guest-appropriate food.
There was basically only water to drink.
Soup, bread, cheese, water.
And MY GUEST washed the dishes before we could eat.

That, my friends, is a recipe for humiliation.

But let me tell you, being humbled can be a beautiful thing.  And this, to me, is clear evidence of the work the Holy Spirit has been doing in my life over recent months.  This could have ended up so differently ~ and in the past, probably WOULD have.  Either I would have insisted on having my own way and The Bushman and I would both have been cranky all afternoon, barely speaking to each other.  Or we would have had our friends over, but I would have made him pay later, after they were gone.

Instead, we had a wonderful afternoon together with our closest friends.  We laughed and joked about the self-service kind of operation we had goin' on here.  No one asked why there wasn't dessert.  No one complained that there wasn't enough for a second cup of iced tea.  And my husband and I were friends after they left.

God says He loves a cheerful giver, but a bit contrary to what Piper had said earlier in the day, I think even the gifts given grudgingly He sometimes turns into blessings.  I think the heart of the matter is our heart. The attitude of willing submission.  Not just to your husband, but to God.

I KNOW hospitality is high on the list of evidence of Christ's love.  I know WHY it's high on the list.  (interestingly, this subject had featured in the Sunday morning message.  I really couldn't escape the theme at all!!)  But I didn't FEEL like being hospitable.  I did it out of a sense of obligation to The Bushman and to God, not willingly, and yet still with a desire to serve.  Not so much to bless my guests, but to meet the requirements of my position as "Christian."  And then I was so humbled to be the one receiving the blessing in the end.

I think it IS possible to give out of duty rather than joy and yet still wind up feeling like you got more in return.  I don't think it's ONLY the cheerful givers who end up blessed.  But I think those blessings are only possible if your heart is willing to let the Holy Spirit work in you and change your attitude as you give.

And they all lived happily ever after.


"In His hand are the depths of the earth..."

>> Sunday, October 17, 2010

You can read more about these shirts, how the miners all happened to have them, and why Psalm 95:4 was printed on their backs in this article.

One doesn't always have the privilege of seeing how things are happening for the glory of God, but it's hard NOT to see it in this particularly incredible event.


Guess where I've been?

>> Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'll give you a hint...

I'm trying to convince myself to be thankful I have rich-person problems like computers that need repairs when the electricity that runs my warm, comfortable home flickers a few times.

To be honest though, I'm having a hard time with it.

(Just between you and me.)

I had to get Windows re-installed, which means that I have to also re-install EVERYTHING else.  My saved documents and pictures were all there (and they're backed up on flashdrives and discs anyway, thanks to unfortunately extensive experience in this area), but all the software to access and run them needs to be added again.

Even my Internet connection and email services had to be re-formatted.

I am NOT having fun with my computer today!

(well, this little bloggy break is therapeutic, I guess.  Geez, even HOUSEWORK would be therapeutic ~ and even preferable ~ to this!!)

((which is where I guess I'll be headed next then!))

So anyway, that's where I've been.  Hopefully, by Monday things will have returned to normal around here.

(Such as THAT is...!)

In other, completely unrelated, news, we have a new batch of kittens again!!  We don't know how many or where they are exactly, other than in one of the barn lofts.  We just noticed yesterday morning that our senior female seemed to have lost an AWFUL lot of weight overnight!  We'll wait a week or two before we seriously try to find the new little ones.

I love new kitties!  ♥


Seasonal confusion oblivion

>> Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This little beauty seems unaware ~ or maybe more unconcerned ~ that plants are supposed to be DYING this time of year up on the Canadian prairies!!

We have been having AMAZINGLY warm weather lately ~ unusually warm for this time of year ~ and so it seems some of the roadside weeds may actually be growing a second cycle now in fall!  I guess it could be a forage grass of some sort (although I did a quick Google search and didn't see any similar flowers on what gets grown around here), but whatever the case, it was definitely out of place, standing out in stark contrast to the grey gravel and mostly-brown ditch grasses.

I noticed it while I was jogging this morning and drove back later with my camera in hand ~ I had to go to the post office anyway.  I had to capture the wonderful little exclamation point at the end of this morning's love letter from God! ♥

(And now all of you who garden and are laughing at me because it's so clearly a common flower can feel free to enlighten me!)


Because I Have Been Given Much

>> Monday, October 11, 2010

I posted the words to this hymn on Friday already, at the start of the Thanksgiving long weekend up here in Canada, but they have been on my mind all weekend. Is just saying the words, "Thank you," really enough or is true thanksgiving actually thanksLIVING?

Nature's Bounty mural by Wendy Wolfe

Because I have been given much, I too must give.
Because of Thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live.
I shall divide my gifts from Thee
With ev'ry brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.

Because I have been sheltered, fed, by Thy good care,
I cannot see another's lack and I not share
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,
My roof's safe shelter overhead,
That he too may be comforted.

Because love has been lavished so upon me, Lord,
A wealth I know that was not meant for me to hoard,
I shall give love to those in need ~
Shall show that love by word and deed;
Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.

~ Grace Noll Crowell

That last verse always gets me.

Sometimes I think we content ourselves with simply SAYING thanks.  We seem to believe that meeting the minimum requirements of the command to "in everything give thanks" is doing our full Christian duty. But these lyrics indicate ~ and I think Scripture bears this out ~ that if we're really truly grateful for the good things in our lives, most importantly our eternal security and satisfaction guaranteed by the redeeming blood of Christ that spares us from God's just wrath, there will be a genuine out-pouring of love for others manifest in our words and acts of kindness. That we will seek to be a blessing to others in the same ways God has blessed us.

On this Thanksgiving Day, let's remember that thanksgiving isn't just between us and God ~ it should affect (and INfect!) those around us, too. Not just in our words on this specific day, but LIVED OUT in our everyday lives throughout the next 364 as well.


Last Night's Declaration

>> Thursday, October 7, 2010

The heavens keep telling the wonders of God,
and the skies declare what he has done.

Each day informs the following day; each night announces to the next.

They don't speak a word, and there is never the sound of a voice.

Yet their message reaches all the earth, and it travels around the world.

Psalm 19:1-4a (CEV)

Thankful Thursday ~ hosted in October by Lynn @ Spiritually Unequal MarriageI'll admit it ~ I'm cheating a little by changing this post to a Thankful Thursday post (it was originally just a boring ol' Wednesday post!), but it doesn't change the fact that I'm SO thankful for glorious moments like these. And that I have Someone to credit and thank for these awesome displays of splendor. I can't imagine enjoying a sunset quite the same way if I didn't have a relationship with the Almighty God.

* Click the button above to visit our host and check out other thankful people. Read more...

Do you like your kids?

>> Monday, October 4, 2010

Kelly from Generation Cedar gave me permission to re-print this post.  I found it on her blog a while back and couldn't have agreed more.  Oh, it hurt to agree!  It hurt to see myself in this post.  It might hurt to see yourself here, too.  But a little conscience-pricking can be such a healthy thing.  I hope you can see it that way, too.

I stood talking with a woman at the checkout and her 5-year-old was climbing first up her leg, then squealing, then dropping to the floor, still holding her mother’s arms, jerking her downward, demanding to be picked up, running round and round while the mother’s face grew more tense, trying to focus on our conversation–both of us attempting to ignore the giant elephant of this demanding child.

“I have two and I’m exhausted”, she said. “They’re wild.”

Wild. Her words played back as I drove home. The lady appeared to be a Christian–I know at least that she attended church regularly.

Lately it seems that I see too many mothers not enjoying their children. Some of them say so right out loud. They scramble to go places, to find activities to entertain them. It seems impossible to them to just be at home for any length of time with their children, playing, hanging out, soaking them in.

Just being….something, I think maybe children need more than anything.

What is the problem?

I sit frozen at my computer after typing that question. I think of so many things, intertwined, reciprocating, and it’s impossible to make a list.

I think of mothers and fathers who simply lack the wisdom and understanding of basic child-training. I think of a new wave of parenting among Christians that shames parents for even believing that the Bible teaches they have authority over their children. What do we do with that?

I think of parents too busy to engage in child training if they did understand it; too consumed with other pursuits to roll up their sleeves and perform the arduous task of raising children.

I think of how the birth control mentality we embrace inadvertently distorts our view of children and makes them a burden before they even arrive.

I think of the sheer lack of time parents spend with their children that hinders the natural friendship and affectionate bond that should exist which draws us to enjoy them.

I think of our addiction to entertainment and distraction and how it destroys family relationships.

I think of so many organizations that subtley pull the already-fragmented family in different directions–physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I think of a century of feminist dogma that convinced us that motherhood was peripheral, at best, and not worth our full attention.

I think of the utter death of the “Christian soldier about my Father’s business” in the 21st century.

And I think of how all these factors become a vicious cycle that reaffirms our decision to stop having children–godly offspring that were intended to “speak with the enemy in the gates."

I think of apathy among Christians, and a lack of theological depth and a flippant belief system.

What we believe affects how we live.

And if we believe that “it doesn’t really matter–this way or that, whatever works for you” we all end up swirling around in this cesspool of confusion and consequences from rejecting the wisdom of God.

Yep, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick with “Do You Like Your Children."

Everything’s connected. It’s about our whole world view.

That’s my life message.

And we’re going to have to do a lot of rewinding to get to liking our children again.

Do you need to rewind a little?  I did.  I still have some unwinding and rewinding to do.  I guess it's probably an ongoing process.  But it's worth it.


October Reminder:

>> Saturday, October 2, 2010

in both Canada and the US.

I had a funny (but admittedly rather crass) photo related to mammograms up earlier, but in reviewing the verses I'm working on memorizing in Ephesians 5, I felt compelled to remove it.


Happy October!

>> Friday, October 1, 2010

One of the tree-lined roads at the St. Peter's Abby and Monastery.
Muenster, SK. (Sept 28/10)


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