Wednesday, October 29, 2014

God's Protection? Part 1

A few weeks ago I came across something as I was reading the Bible that I've been thinking a lot about.  In Acts 4 verses 24 - 30 there is a prayer recorded that the early church prayed when Peter and John were released after being imprisoned for preaching about Jesus.  The young church was experiencing persecution that was only about to get worse.

There was something in this prayer that struck me immediately.  Verse 29 says "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness."  This prayer is distinctly different from how I would have likely prayed.  My prayer would have sounded more like, "Now, Lord, consider their threats and protect us Father."

I pray for protection a lot.  Protection for my husband.  Protection for my children.  For family and friends.  For myself.  One of my greatest fears is harm coming to someone I love.  'Protect them Lord'.  This is a common prayer of mine.

Yet, here was the early church - facing true danger- and instead of praying for I would have....they prayed for boldness.  Even though that boldness may cost them their lives, it's what they prayed for.

That has really stayed with me.  Could I willingly place myself and my loved ones in danger for the sake of the gospel?  I want to believe that I could.  But, I just don't know.

Then I came across this video today produced by Voice of the Martyrs.  It's called Liena's Prayer.  Oh dear friends.  We have Christian brothers and sisters who are facing this very question today.  

And so I'm wrestling with this question of God's protection.  What does that mean for a Christian?  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Confessions of a Mom in a Quiet House

This is me right now.
I'm supposed to be working on supper.  My husband was gracious enough to take all four boys out of the house for about 15 minutes (They're gearing up to work on their dirt bikes tonight) and give me some peace & quiet.

It's been a rainy day today...and they had early dismissal from school.  So, there were a lot of energetic boys stomping around this afternoon and making a great deal of noise.

Sometimes a momma just needs a little quiet in the midst of the chaos.

So, here's my confession.  I could be taking these precious minutes to put the finishing touches on supper without any interruptions.  But, instead I decided to jump on here and say 'hi'.

P.S. - I'm really not liking my hair right now.  Certainly that's not a major world issue.  But, I'm still lamenting that I cut my hair a few weeks ago.  It had gotten really long and I liked  it that way.  So, why did I cut it in the first place?  I'm not really sure.  I wanted to get rid of dead ends, freshen it up a bit, and get a little more shape/ movement.  Instead, I ended up with a haircut I regret.  But, hey!  It'll grow back.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

This Song

This song.....

"Lamb of God" by Tenth Avenue North.


What I'm reading

I'm taking a discipleship class at church right now.  And, they challenged us to  go on a media fast for about 2 months.  I'll admit that I haven't followed this fast with 100% success.  But, I have stopped watching tv & movies (Last week I slipped a bit and watched a movie with my kiddos and a couple shows with my husband.)  And, technically I'm not on Facebook right now except for 'business' purposes (promoting our next Vintage Sale fundraising event).  I haven't been entirely successful there either.  But, that's a whole other post.

My point in sharing about the media fast is to say that I've been doing a LOT of reading lately.  I have always been an avid reader.  But, in the last several years I'v done a lot less reading and have allowed myself to get sucked into excessive tv watching in the evenings as a way to relax....or excessive computer use (especially Facebook).

I have really enjoyed reading again!  And, I've come across some good stuff.  I thought I'd share.

I really enjoy non-fiction...especially memoir type books.  I came across the book, Spiritual Misfit by Michelle DeRusha, and was immediately drawn in.  She shares her story of being raised Catholic, realizing at a young age that she didn't really believe in God, and re-discovering faith in God many years later slowly and tentatively.  She's funny.  She's honest.  She's profound.  Her writing was refreshing.  And, she's totally relate-able.

Also, I've discovered the A.D. Chronicles by Bodie & Brock Thoene.  This historical biblical fiction series is set in the time of Jesus life here on earth....from his birth to his death & resurrection.  There are 12 books in the series.  I've actually been reading them out of order because I get them from my library & I've just signed out whatever is available.  But, the books are written in such a way that you don't have to read them in order.  And, they are just absolutely incredible.  They focus on so many different characters...some from Biblical accounts and some created as those who may have encountered Jesus.  They bring to life the stories from the Gospels unlike I've ever experienced before.  And while, it's a fictional series, they remain biblically accurate and they have done painstaking research on Jewish culture at the time.  It's truly a fascinating and moving series.

Finally, I'm still in the process of reading this book.  But, the book Radical, Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt has been eye-opening and challenging to say the least.

What are you reading?  What reading suggestions do you have for me?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Looking Around

Some of my favorite posts to go back and look at are ones where I simply posted pictures of some of my favorite things and favorite moments.  I didn't usually write a long thing to go with it.   I just let the pictures speak for themselves.  

I haven't done that in a really long time.  And, sometimes I get so caught up in the craziness of life, that I forget to look around.  I forget to embrace the joy in small things.  I forget to be thankful.

And so, in the last couple I looked around....and really SAW.....I saw plenty to be thankful for.

So as I loaded these pictures to this post, they loaded in a totally random order.  I had planned to give a brief line or two to label the pictures....some are from camping with friends, some from a weekend away with my sister and brother-in-law at the Fingerlakes in NY, some of my boys sorting pumpkin seeds, some of my boys just being silly, etc.

The old me would have agonized over this and would have worked to the point of frustration to fix it, put them in order, and add my labels.

But you know what,  it's ok.  They still bring me joy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What I Could Tell You

There's so much that has happened that I haven't written here about.  I barely know where to start.  Should I tell you about the 40 day Daniel Fast I did over Lent this year that jump started both a new spiritual awareness and some weight loss?   Should I tell you about my continuing struggles with weight loss/ gain/ maintenance/ body image?  Should I tell you about the Discipleship classes I'm taking at church and the media fast we've been challenged to do...and that I'm not totally successful at?

Maybe I could tell you about my gosh they've grown a lot since I last wrote about them here!  There's never a shortage of boy stories to share.  Most of them I've been sharing on Facebook in witty (well, I like to think they're witty), limited-sentence anecdotes.  People tell me they miss my Facebook updates now that I'm doing my (sorta) media fast.

 Ooh!  Maybe I should tell you how since I've stopped making Facebook updates over the last two weeks, I've realized how every interesting, notable, or even un-notable experience becomes a Facebook post in my head.  Things that are otherwise non-events quickly organize themselves into 2 or 3 sentence snippets.

What I should really tell you about is how our Vintage Sale events (done as fundraisers for local ministries) have been we have our own Facebook page, are in the process of having a website I'm freaking out a little because I'm not business-minded at all yet I find myself with something that has the potential to be either a business or a non-profit venture.  Either avenue seems totally overwhelming and out of my comfort zone.  And, I don't know how to take this from hobby to something serious.....or if I even want to.

Or, I could tell you about how I still struggle with losing my temper with my kids, managing my time, and keeping a relatively clean house....and how I fail desperately at all of these over and over.  I could also mention that contentment is another area I sometimes think I've got a grasp on, until I think of ways I could be even more content.

There's so much I could tell you.  Someone remind me that if I wrote here on a regular basis picking a topic wouldn't seem so overwhelming.  Someone remind me that I really like have past posts to go back and read and re-live moments I'd long forgotten.  And, then someone remind me to write again in a few days.

Friday, August 8, 2014

When Worlds Collide

I can't stop thinking about it since I saw the news article today. Iraqi children being beheaded...their heads placed on spikes in playgrounds. Seriously. This is happening. As I look at my own children who are safe because of a few thousand miles? a lack of Islamic extremists in my backyard? Yet. A mother's heart. A father's heart is the same here as a place we only hear of in the news. 
I saw a picture earlier today tacked on to one of those news articles & I couldn't find it again. It was of a crying traumatized girl...maybe 8 or 9 and beside her stood a smiling, triumphant looking, smirking 20 something young man....perhaps one of the extremists? I never did find out because when I went back to the same article the corresponding picture had been changed.
In an attempt to find that picture again and perhaps find out exactly what was happening in it, I made the mistake of googling Iraqi children killed.....and, oh friends, the pictures that popped up may never ever be erased from my mind again. One in particular. A little girl in a cute dress and white tights...laying headless in the street.
I can NOT, will NOT simply forget this. We turn on our tv's and are amused & entertained by such simpering, ridiculous images and messages, things that are supposed to matter to us....0% financing, hair care, fashion trends, idiotic sitcoms that celebrate the worst in us - greed, lust, envy - and turn it into something 'funny'. It's all empty. Worthless.
For years, I could not forget the image of the girl in the red coat after watching Schindler's List. Now, I shall have a faceless little girl in white tights emblazed on my memory.
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