Monday, November 23, 2009
A recently shared time with friends,
Good fun and good fellowship,
People who are generous with their talents,
Kyle and I are reviewing the story of Thanksgiving together - I can't wait for the weekend!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
WARNING: this post contains mature themes that are not for little readers.
Well, we've passed a big milestone here! How is it that we can go from this
so quickly? The infant seat has been retired, and now we're up in a big girl seat where we can see the world go by.
I am so, so grateful for my little girl. Alaina is such a joy!
I'm grateful for something else too. I'm grateful that I wasn't punished for having her. The Christian concept that each person is a valuable reflection of the image of God is still much a part of our culture. But in other areas of the world less touched by God's truth, women who have a baby girl are punished as though they had committed a crime.
If I lived in one of many Muslim countries, I could have been easily divorced in favor of another wife (or several other wives), and no one would have blinked an eye.
If I were part of a minority tribe in Tibet, and my "trial marriage" had resulted in Alaina's birth, I would have been banished to live in a goat skin hut in high altitudes where many do not survive.
In China, chances are I would have been pressured or forced to kill Alaina in the womb, so as not to waste my one chance for a child. It is hard for us to believe that all of these things are happening in 2009.
I am so thankful for my little girl. I'm so grateful for a husband who knows Christ, who delights in his girls and treats us as his most precious treasures. I am so very grateful for God's revealed word, the Bible, which offers value, protection and purpose to each of us.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Earlier this year I re-read The Hiding Place. Betsie Ten Boom is one of my heroes. It always amazes me to read about this middle aged spinster who was taken from her quiet life to radiate the love and victory of Christ in the midst of a Nazi concentration camp. It makes you wonder - how does someone with a very ordinary life develop that kind of amazing Christ-likeness? The kitchen just doesn't seem like a very good training ground for a hero.
The Hiding Place isn't primarily about Betsie, but it does give some intriguing glimpses into her life and how God transformed her into a woman who would pray for Nazis and give thanks for lice (even before she knew their purpose!).
First of all, we learn that Betsie suffered from a life long illness - Pernicious anemia. Among other trials, this prevented her from being able to have children, so Betsie decided not to get married. That's all that we are told, but I don't think we should take it lightly. I'm sure that had to be a huge decision in her life. There is no more natural and worthy desire in a woman's heart than to be married and have children, and yet we see Betsie give up these precious things and yet keep a heart free from bitterness and open to God's plan for her life.
We get another glimpse of her training as we see her willingly work in an uncomfortable job unsuited to her gifts. For some period of time, probably a number of years, Betsie worked as her Father's bookkeeper while her sister Corrie kept house. Then Betsie got the flu and Corrie took over the bookkeeping, and the family discovered that Corrie enjoyed the book work while Betsie longed to care for the house! Naturally they made the switch and both sisters were happy in the job for which they were suited. Being more of Betsie's bent myself, I can easily imagine the frustration and headaches her bookkeeping job may have caused her. Yet for years she performed her task so cheerfully that those dearest to her did not know she was giving up what she liked best.
We also see that she made her kitchen a place of service, both to her family and to others in need. In the care and creativity she brought to her housekeeping we see a hit of the skill and thought for others that would bring order and beauty into her prison cell. In the glimpses we get of her reaching out to others, we see the seeds of her later decision to help others, even at the cost of her own life.
I'm grateful for Betsie, and many other heroes whose lives encourage me to reach higher and surrender more, and I hope and pray that my time in the kitchen will be as fruitful a training ground as hers!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Usually at Thanksgiving we are thankful for all the stuff we have (and I am thankful!). But this year I'm also thankful for what I can give away.
When I hear about a need, I can do something about it. I can provide food and clothing to orphaned babies. I can send Bibles to China. I can help fund micro-loans and allow a poor widow to support her family.
I have tasted the joy of giving. Investing money here on earth is always risky. Everything I buy will one day end up in the garbage dump. But investing money in God's kingdom guarantees a safe investment with a great return, and that's pretty exciting! Today, I'm thankful that I can give.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Fortified with warm layers, my i pod and the comfy walking tennies that Kyle gave me for Christmas, Alaina and I headed out on two different walks. We hit a mile and a half on our morning walk, and about a mile in the afternoon. A couple laps to the mailbox and a few more with Alaina on my back (she loves to be in our little carrier) helped to rack up some more mileage. The rest came from not saving steps around the house.
By the end of the day I have to admit that my feet, in spite of the ultra comfy walking shoes, were a little sore, but I did manage to stave off a blister. So much for being in shape! I also got through about six chapters of my latest recorded book. (Nate, I put it on my I pod all by myself. I still remember how!)
So, what's the big deal about walking seven miles? What does this have to do with thankfulness? Let me see if I can tie it all together for you.
The average woman around the world walks seven miles a day for fresh water.
Monday, November 2, 2009
To start us out, here are some things I've been thinking about lately. For those of us who are Christians, we will always be able to give thanks. Following Christ isn't easy, in fact, we are guaranteed that we will suffer in one way or another if we do give our lives to Christ. I know of Christians who have suffered, and who are currently suffering unspeakably horrible things. But as Christians, we really can "give thanks in all things". Because will never experience the worst.
1. We will never suffer alone.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. Isaiah 43:2
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses. Hebrews 4:15a
For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
2. We will never suffer fruitlessly.
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 2 Cor. 4:17
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Rom 8:28
3. Our suffering is temporary.
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10
Thank you Lord Jesus that whatever happens, I will always have something to thank You for!