March 2, 2009

Life sure does give reason for disappointment at times, doesn’t it?.  Health issues, broken dreams, lost jobs and difficulties of all sorts cause me to ask “why?”  This last year has been tough.  There have been times when the most I could do was to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And sometimes I would cry out to God, “Why would you bring me here to this place in my life only to see me fail, broken, and so useless and unhappy?  What’s the reason or purpose behind all of this?”

A friend of mine recently recommended Philip Yancey’s book Disappointment With God.  She also has been struggling with physical injuries, lost dreams and broken relationships. It’s been a tough year for both of us.

Philip Yancey does an excellent job of examining the Bible to understand why we all suffer from such disappointments.  He travels from Adam, who had the perfect relationship with God before eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, to Job, who suffered the ultimate in disappointment.  He asks, “Does seeing more evidence of God make it easier for us to believe?”  He looks at the Israelites traveling through the dessert, who experienced God’s presence in a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day and witnessed miracles of water coming from rocks and manna provided each morning to feed them.  Yet, they too cry out to God in disappointment. Such real evidence of God in their lives didn’t seem to increase their faith or trust in him.  They still doubted.

Philip Yancy draws the conclusion that no amount of miracles or visions of our Lord would make us believe and trust in God more, resulting in less disappointment. In fact, it is often the silence of God that draws us closer to him and  increases our faith.

God desires a true and honest relationship with us. He wants us to choose to love him.  People often ask, “If God really wanted our love and faithfulness, why didn’t he make it easier for us?”  He could have programmed our hearts to always love him. But would it have been a love given freely or a love that was “program” or “demanded”?  If we look at our own relationships we appreciate much more the ones where we are loved in spite of circumstances or situations.  God also desires our love, given freely, not because he has performed miracles or given us our every desire but because we have chosen to love him.

From the Bible, I know that God is good. So, I must look through glasses of trust rather than doubt when times are tough.  God doesn’t promise that life will be easy. But he does promise that he will never leave us or forsake us.  Even if he feels a million miles away, he sees and knows the struggles we are experiencing.  God came to earth as a man, Jesus, and experienced all of the same disappointment we are now experiencing. Hebrews 2:18 says, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Go and read the book Disappointment with God. The last few chapters look at Job, who suffered the loss of his health, his family, and his wealth and yet still believed in God. This book encouraged me to not give up hope when life is tough, but to trust even more in the Lord. May it encourage you as well.


10 Things That Begin With “A”

February 13, 2009

It may look like this blog has been abandoned.  But it hasn’t been completely forgotten. Just neglected. Poor blog.  Maybe this inspire me to spend some more time over here.

Lisa has invited me to play an alphabet game. Here’s how it works. If you want to play, leave a comment on this post letting me know that you want to play and I’ll assign you a letter. You write about ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and post it on your blog. When people comment on your list, you assign them a letter, and the game continues on.

Ten Things I Love
(In no particular order. No. Actually, they are in the order that they popped into my head.)

1. Art. And artistic details.  I love the old masters as well as  many contemporary artists. Even if I don’t know that much about art.  Fabric prints, quilts, and other textile crafts, like knitting, can be art. Cooking and baking can be an art. And God is the master artist. Look at how creative he was in designing the world!  It’s these little details in life that make it more enjoyable for me.

2. Activity. I am not know for my ability to sit still and be quiet.  I like my hands to be busy with something at all times.  I don’t think God intended for us to be inactive either. Not that I can find a Bible verse that specifically says that.  But he did give the Garden to Adam & Eve to tend.  And, there are verses like Proverbs 31:13 that imply it.  “She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.” And He advices older women in Titus 2 to teach the younger women to be busy at home, as well as loving their husbands & children and to be self-controlled.

3. Autumn. This is my all-time favorite time of the year! It’s not too hot, not too cold.  I can wear long sleeved sweaters, but not be freezing cold. I love the smell in the air. I love the sound of the leaves rustling under my feet.  I love all the brilliantly color leaves.  I love pumpkins & squash and the harvest being brought in. I don’t think there is  much that I don’t like about autumn.  Well, I don’t like the insanely busyness of harvest-time on a farm.  I grew up on a farm. But I like the harvesting of the garden.  That size is much more manageable.

4. Agave syrup. I’ve started using agave syrup as a replacement to honey when baking.  I haven’t noticed a huge difference in the taste. But it is healthier for you.  If you are diabetic or follow the glycemic index, it has a lower index than honey and sugar. Which means that it is a more complex carbohydrate and takes longer for your body to digest, which keeps your insulin levels more steady.  Sugar or other simple carbohydrates make your insulin levels spike and fall, causing those sugar crashes later.  Plus, it costs less than honey. At least it does at my local grocery store.

5. Alpacas. They are SO cute. And their wool is wonderfully soft to knit!

6. Adirondack chairs. They are the best to lounge in on a warm summer afternoon. One of my favorite spots (although I don’t get to visit it often) is a coffee shop on the other side of town that has Adirondack chairs in front of their shop. When the sun is shining, and I have a hot espresso, and I’m sitting in one of those Adirondacks, and someone special is with me… now THAT, that is the best!

7. Advent. I miss celebrating Advent.  We currently attend one of those evangelical churches that tends to avoid all things traditional.  We barely even celebrate major holidays.  Aside from the general anti-tradition attitude, it’s a great church. I just miss some of those seasonal celebrations, like Advent.

8. Avocados. If they are made into fresh guacamole…  canned or jarred guacamole = blech. Fresh = yum!

9. Atonement. God’s atonement of our sins through Jesus Christ.  Praise God that we have been reconciled to him and can look forward to eternity with him! It’s sad that this didn’t pop into my head first. It’s the most important “A” word in the whole list. But I was having a hard time thinking of things that begin with “A”.

10. Architecture. And architectural details. I LOVE old houses and old buildings. I don’t know what it is.  Maybe there is more little details in the old ones than the new ones.  Built in cabinets. Decorative moldings. Interesting windows. Nooks. Crannies.  Even in my own neighborhood or city, where there isn’t much that’s old, I find myself wandering around like a tourist with my head turned around looking at buildings than walking like a local with a purpose.

Thanks Lisa!  Anyone else wanna play?


On the Eve of Christmas Eve

December 23, 2008

This song sends tingles up my spine every time I hear it.

We’ve been studying the book of Matthew in our Bible study this year and recently looked at the chapter where Jesus walks on water and Peter asks Jesus to call him out to the water as well.  It’s been giving me a lot to think about.

How could Mary know the magnitude of what God was calling her to when the angel announced her pregnancy?  And how many times did she glance at the storms of judgment around her just as Peter saw the waves around him as he was walking on water?  Our Bible study talks about how we, in our own lives, often step out in faith and then are overcome with fear when we take our eyes off of Jesus and look at the circumstances around us.

People often talk of how they once lived in fear and now walk in faith. But seldom do we talk about how we can be overcome by fear where we once had faith.  What a daily challenge it is to continue walking in faith… as Mary must have felt while raising Jesus from a baby to a man, and Peter as he walked on water towards Jesus while the waves began to splash over his feet.

This has been a tough year. There have been a number of opportunities to let fear overcome my faith.  It has been a challenge to trust God with the circumstances, believing that he will work it all out, that he has a plan, and he knows where it all is going.

Mark 9:24 is my prayer, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!”


My Favorite Scene

December 8, 2008

THE BELLS OF ST. MARY’S – Children’s Christmas Play



November 23, 2008

I am thankful for my hubby who has become excellent at cooking breakfast!  These are Banana Nutella Crepes.  Yum, Yum. We recently made Egg Nog French Toast for breakfast. It surprisingly good!

I am not a morning person.  Most days, my husband gets up first and makes the coffee. Then, after the coffee is made (the sound of the grinder grinding the beans has become my alarm clock) I will slowly roll out of bed.  I wake up foggy and slow and not at all talkative.  Gary has learned that few words and fresh coffee help me wake up much more pleasant than grumpy.

Just a few more days until Thanksgiving.  What are you thankful for?  Join me in giving thanks during the month of November.


God’s Provision

November 16, 2008

This is a huge carrot that we bought at the open-air fruit & vegetable market just before it closed for the season. It will open again in early spring. But I always miss it while it is closed for the 4 or so months during winter.  We made Italian Wedding Soup for dinner tonight and it was delicious.  It’s just a reminder of how God always meets my needs in better ways that I can ever imagine.

I am so thankful for God’s provision.  In the past, he has always provided just what I’ve needed…  food when I couldn’t afford it, money when I had bills coming due, a friend’s shoulder to cry on, guidance when I’ve needed wisdom.  Those needs haven’t always been met in conventional ways, but they were always met.

It’s comforting to know that big or small, God cares for us.  Nothing is too huge or too trivial.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ” ~ Matthew 6:25-33

What are you thankful for?  Join me in giving thanks during the month of November.


Nice Bosses are Nice

November 12, 2008

I’m thankful for good bosses. These are truly rare indeed! It makes serving them with Godly actions so much easier.  Not that we shouldn’t be serving the mean and uncaring bosses with Godly actions… but it is so much harder to do.  And I’ve had my share of those bosses as well.

Today was a good day at work.  It was also a busy day.  But it is nice to work for someone who appreciates the effort that goes into working in retail.

“submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” ~ 1 Peter 2:18

What are you thankful for?  Join me in giving thanks during the month of November.