Thursday, February 21, 2013

Swamped with Stuff

This weekend, we have slated to clean out the storage room in the basement.  More cheers from the boys about this task (well, really, not so much).  It needs to be done, though.

We have a lot of room for storage in our house.  That is both good and bad.  I have been able to, at the boys' request, keep all Keith's clothes until they get older and can wear them.  I can also store the myriad of things needed to homeschool...tubs and tubs of books.  I also have my own little consignment shop of the hand-me-downs, ready and waiting as each boy grows.  Great blessings, all of those.


It also means I have been able to keep all kinds of things that we really don't need, really could pass on to someone else.  Some things have sentimental value, passed down my my late mother, or Keith's late father, or Keith himself...but perhaps no value beyond that.  Some are outgrown and unused, from a time when my children were younger and had different interests.  Good stuff and not-so-good stuff intermingled in a disorganized mess.

So...we are taking stock and letting go.  The goal is no extra stuff.  Not sure if we will achieve this rather lofty goal, but there it is.

I have come to realize, though, that, in God's economy, there is no extra stuff.

This widow journey is long and fraught with hard stuff.  Just now, my stresses are money-oriented.  I long for Keith's "boy brain" to muddle through some of the decisions that my "girl brain" has a hard time with!

But this is merely the tip of the iceberg.  I could present a diatribe about all the stuff I go through.  You may be able to guess at some of it, but until you are there, you really don't know.  I know I didn't.  Even now, five years later, stuff still crops up that hits me like a ton of bricks. didn't hit God like a ton of bricks.

He knew everything that was going to happen to me on this widow journey...on this coming the time of my formation (Psalm 139:16).

He knew that I would struggle...and certain areas and would succeed in others...and He let me go through the areas so that I could (1 Corinthians 10:12-14; Romans 3:23).

He knew that, though it is hard, hard, hard some days, good would come of all that has happened and is happening to us (Romans 8:28).

And He knew what outcome would happen...what all this would bring about in my life and the lives of those who know me...and even those who know of me.

And I pray that what they see...and what I see when I look in the not some silly creature who makes a lot of mistakes, who worries about too much, who is very grounded in the world and its workings.

I pray they don't see the stuff I am swamped by...but...instead...see the Lord.

That makes it all worth it...for me and whomever comes after me!

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. - Job 42:5

Friday, February 15, 2013

Who Do You Love?

In one of my favorite movies, Facing the Giants (, the main female character, Brooke Taylor, after realizing that she is not going to be able to have kids, promises the Lord to always love Him in spite of this.  It is a moving and wonderful scene...and right after that in the movie, big things start to happen, so I won't spoil it if you have not seen it.

When I was single the first time, I longed for two things...for a husband here on earth...and for the ability to say the same thing...that God was fully enough for me as a Husband.

It was an odd place of dichotomy, but I think fairly typical to many deep places in the Christian life.

It finally happened one year at Valentine's Day.  After praying and studying hard on the subject...real work involved here...I was finally able to say that God was completely and fully enough for me, even if no earthly husband ever came into my life.  What a freeing moment that was!  Praise Him for leading me faithfully to that point.

This begs the question...where am I in my second singleness?  Have I achieved this same peace and joy with God alone as my Husband and the Love of My Life. I could say it was fully.

I loved being married to Keith and we had a good marriage.  There's a lot about it that I miss.  Having a flesh-and-blood husband is very comforting and strengthening on many levels:  someone to hold me, someone to help me, someone to share with me.

God is there always...I know that as clearly as I know there is air all around me.  But, He cannot take someone to guitar for me, or wash dishes for me, or physically hold me when I cry.

On the other hand...
  •  I have the unique opportunity to be able to pick up and go any time, anywhere, without regard for vacation schedules or days off.
  • I can manage on the fly a bit better, changing the plans to fit our needs and things that pop up better.  That certainly did not happen married to my sweet-but-structured husband.
  • I can stay up with a girlfriend, listening to her problems and concerns and not take time from a hubby.
  • I can serve cookies for dinner (yep, I have) and leave the folded clothes on the other side of the bed until morning.
So...I will wait on Him...wait for that feeling that He is enough...wait in this limbo that singleness necessarily creates...wait for Him to fill me as no other.

John Waller has a wonderful song that was in the movie Fireproof ( called While I'm Waiting (  Here are the lyrics:

I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am hopeful, I'm waiting on You Lord
Though it is painful, but patiently I will wait

And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I'm waiting I will serve You
While I'm waiting I will worship
While I'm waiting I will not faint
I'll be running the race even while I wait

I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am peaceful, I'm waiting on You Lord
Though it's not easy no, but faithfully I will wait
Yes, I will wait

And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I'm waiting I will serve You
While I'm waiting I will worship
While I'm waiting I will not faint
I'll be running the race even while I wait

I will move ahead bold and confident
I'll be taking every step in obedience, yeah

While I'm waiting I will serve You
While I'm waiting I will worship
While I'm waiting I will not faint

And I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You Lord

I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting

Amen and amen!  God's got it.  I don't need to worry about it.  He will tell me when the waiting is over...whatever form that may take.  And it will be glorious!

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. - Isaiah 40:30-31

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Clean House

Yesterday was the big winter cleaning of our house.  You can probably hear my boys groan from there.  They have good reason for groaning.

It is usually a painful day...for a very good reason.

I will never win any housekeeping awards.

I have the best intentions, but...

Life gets in the way.  Homeschooling, my activities, the boys' activities, sports, travel...many things are more exciting and enjoyable, to our way of thinking, than cleaning the house.

Oh, we fake a good game.

If you have been over, you may not realize just how messy we really are.  There's a reason for that, too.  We tend to clean the main floor only, and only do cursory cleaning anywhere else.  (By the way, don't try to go up the stairs to my bedroom without an invitation...I might have to tackle you!)

Aren't we like that with our faith, too?

We put up a front...pretending we are fine, clean on the inside and out, while really we are stressed and hurting.  We stumble along, ignoring the relief that could be ours in the form of friends who sincerely desire help us...all in the name of appearances.

A different kind of white-washed tomb...but just as deadly, to my way of thinking.

Aren't we called to be here to share in community?  Do we think all our friends are perfect, with no problems?  Don't we want to assist them with whatever is going on?  Don't we get joy from helping them?

Didn't Jesus accept from others all the time, as an itinerant preacher, even as He gave?

I tell you the of the best parts of this widow-walk is the closeness that comes from needing others.  I have learned, albeit painfully, that no man (or woman) is an island...nor should they be. 

There is a divine dependence that comes from walking this walk...and it truly is a beautiful thing. 

There is no way on God's green earth that I can do all the stuff I need to do on my own.  And in that statement, I am freed from trying...from trying to be perfect, from trying to be all things to all people, from trying to walk alone.

And that's a truth I need to remember each and every day.

"Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." -- John 15:4-5

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thank You, Lord (A Poem)

Beside my bed I kneel and pray
And thank You, Lord, for another day.
For friends and family near and dear
And knowing You are always here
To guide me, love me, hold my hand
And to always understand
Even when I am pouty and sad
Or I am having the worst day I have had
I remember Your love and constant care
And then I have not only enough for me but also to share
With my boys, my church, my community
And all those who have blessed me
Forever I will remember Your love
From now until I go above
To the world that is waiting beyond for me
Because You were willing to die on a tree.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Glory in the Morning

Tuesday was just a glorious day for walking!  The sun was shining, the birds were singing!  We were having one of those Virginia midwinter days that hit the 70's.  A wonderful reminder and promise of the coming spring! 

I love when these days hit, and we seem to get a few each winter--contrasting with our normal weather of darkness and gloom, bluster and rain, and even cold and snow.  Everyone around seems to smile just a bit more, basking in that pre-spring glow.

A promise of the warm weather to come.

Isn't it the same with God?

In the darkest times of my life, when I have felt broken to pieces and lying in a heap on the floor, ready for the dustbin, He gives me reminders that He is there, that He cares, that one season leads naturally into another.

A long time ago, 1990 to be exact, I was leading a life that was very far from God.  Then I was introduced to some wonderful Christian people, and decided to get my life together and to walk with Him.  I met with the minister of our church to discuss my baptism.  We met in a local restaurant for coffee, sitting for a couple hours in discussion.  Our waitress was diligent during our entire visit...carefully filling and refilling our coffee cups...and probably catching snippets of our conversation as she was in and out of our area. 

It came time to leave.  Our sweet minister Dale and I prayed and then asked for the check.  Our waitress came over and proceeded to hand us bits of paper instead of a check.  "Merry Christmas," she said, not understanding fully what was going on, perhaps not being a believer herself, but recognizing that things of God were happening right there in front of her, and reacting, prompted I am sure by the Lord to respond.  Our endless cups of coffee cost us nothing...and may have even cost her a bit.

We were surprised, of course.  Dale said, "I've never had anything like this happen before!"  I just smiled, even then.  God was talking to me through this sweet and attentive waitress, a promise of things to come in my life with Him, and I recognized it as such.

Thus began my life with the Lord.  He's always there, whether I see Him working or not.  And...when I need those reminders the the warm spring days in the middle of a Virginia winter, He reminds me that He is and always will be.

Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning. -- Psalm 30:4-5