Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"I can do it all by myself... "

That's the refrain of every toddler, "I can do it myself!"  Usually they can, but sometimes it makes a terrible mess in the process.  I was always the kind of mom who found a way to "help" my kids do it so the mess would be less.  (Sorry, kids!)  Not great for building self-reliance. 

This is one aspect of parenting that is totally opposite from the kind of parent God is to me.  I come to Him, relying on my own strength.  But God doesn't want me to be self-reliant.  He wants me to be totally dependent on Him.  My maturity in Christ is measured by how dependent I can be.  So unnatural!  I should learn from my former toddlers and let Him do it!  I'd have fewer messes in my life.

There is a quote that is posted on my refrigerator right now, next to our family calendar.  It's one by A.W. Tozer.  It reads, "God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible.  What a pity when we plan only the things we can do by ourselves."

I've always considered myself a planner.  Control-freak security...  But what I'm noticing lately is, even though I want to do the will of God, I only attempt the things I think I will be successful at.  I've created a very safe environment for myself.  Well, I'm kind of sick of it.  Time to attempt things that only God can accomplish through me.  Sounds great, but how to start.  It's as unnatural as stepping off a cliff...

James 2:21-24 says,
Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?  You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.  And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.  So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

If I truly want to live the radical life of faith, my actions better be ones that take real faith, not self-reliance.

Lord, I don't just want to do the things I can do by myself. 
I want You to do the impossible through me. Amen!

Monday, March 28, 2011

'Now why don't he write?"

That's one of my favorite lines from the movie, Dances With Wolves.  They are looking down at a pile of bones with an arrow stock in them.  Most likely a pioneer who got on the wrong side of an Indian.  Well, you may have been wondering about me.  No, I haven't succumbed to natives, just the business of life.  I've had a few (many) months off.  Life has gone on in so many unexpected directions, it's hard to know where to start.  I think that what's kept me away for so long...

As Maria Von Trapp said, "Let's start at the very beginning... a very good place to start."

About a month after my last post, July 2010, we seriously had to decide what our oldest daughter was going to do in the fall.  She had just graduated from our home school, and was planning on working for a year to save up enough money to go to ministry school in California. She was not looking forward to that.  Although she had a good job at our local pet store, it wasn't where her heart was anymore.  Well, one thing followed another and the Lord showed us that Steph was not to wait a year.  He had everything worked out for her to go in the fall.  She realized that she had most of the money saved for the tuition.  Now, where would the money come from for her living expenses?  I decided to call my step mom and tell her that Steph would be going to California for school.  We didn't know how, but I had such a burning in my heart, I knew it was the right thing. She told me that she had just picked up the phone to call me.  She and my father had started a college fund for Steph when she was born.  (which I had completely forgotten about...)  Although they hadn't been able to contribute to it in quite awhile, it had matured and she could access it now that she was 18.  What an answer to prayer!  It was just the confirmation we needed.   So Steph was off.  The only thing that the Lord hadn't prepared was my heart.  Maybe that was my job to be doing all along.  I had greatly neglected that part.  Although I knew it was right and was working to make it happen, my heart was grieved at losing my daughter sooner than I had expected.  God blew my mind by providing me with the money to go with Steph and help her get set up in her dorm.  So here we are, seven months later, and I know without a doubt that Steph is where she is supposed to be.  I miss her like crazy, but God is good and there is grace that covers me.

God also blessed me with the opportunity to go visit my sisters on the mainland for my nieces' wedding.  I hadn't seen my sisters in over 5 years, and I had never seen where my sisters live.  They had always come home to Hawaii.  Eleven days away from the family was hard, but I had a wonderful time reconnecting with family, and celebrating Alicia and Jeff's new life together.

Despite these mainland trips and family changes, our school year began as usual.  Now I'm just schooling 3 kids; Rachael is a junior, Rebecca is a freshman, and Andrew is somewhere between 5th and 6th grade. 

I still haven't found a job outside my home.  Even though I continue to send resumes for jobs I'm well qualified for, the doors just haven't been opened.  Mark continues to work hard in the mortgage business, but as everywhere these days, business is extremely slow.  But God is faithful, as He promised He would be.

Another significant development over the last seven months is the beginning of a dream that the Lord has placed in our hearts.  It's a dream to start an intentional community house for ministry.  Believing that there is more to be done in the lives of those around us, we want to move into a bigger house where we can join with a few others.  Our primary goal will be to spread the love of Jesus to those in need around us.  We're still in the formation stages, but know that this is where God is leading.   Reading books such as Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and Radical by David Platt, have only solidified our resolve to live a more "radical" Christian life.  Now we're just looking for more people to join with us.

That's the major happenings in a nutshell.  I suppose more things may come up as I move forward.  I'll fill in the details as I go. 

All in all, 2010 was a year that proved out the name that God gave me for it:  Faithful.  God has shown and continues to show Himself faithful to me.  He also asked me to be faithful.  This doesn't end just because the year did.  It is an ever present condition that I long for.  When 2011 rolled around, I again asked the Lord to name the year for me.  The word I got was Restore.  Here is a scripture I'm hiding in my heart about it.

The Lord will guide you continually,

giving you water when you are dry

and restoring your strength.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like an ever-flowing spring.

Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.

Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls

and a restorer of homes.

Isaiah 58:11-12 (NLT)

I have plans to update this site and be a lot more regular in posting.  Your grace is always appreciated!
No matter what life may bring, as always, I'll be here, just enjoying the view.