Thursday, June 23, 2011

Standing Stones...

I have been participating in a Scripture Memory Challenge over that the Living Proof Ministries blog.  Two years ago, Beth Moore asked for some people to join her in committing to memorize two verses a month. 

On the 1st and 15th of every month we would comment on a specific blog post made for that purpose, and leave our name, city and state, and our bible verse, with the reference and version of the bible we took it from.  I was able to keep up pretty well with the accountability and did all right.

Last year, though Beth didn't do an official challenge, I did still try to keep up the 1st and 15th memorization, but it was hard and I kind of slacked off.  I don't think I would be able to tell you any of those verses anymore (not that I could right now of the ones I memorized in 2009, though I might remember a few).

This year, Beth issued the "challenge" again.  She set up ahead of time, as an incentive for us, a special celebration at her church in Houston, for this coming January, once we all have made it through the year, and all 24 verses. Our ticket in the door is our scripture memory spiral... along with having "signed in" on each post with our name, and memory verse each time, and the ability to say back to another siesta (sister - just one of the folks following along on her blog) 12 out of the 24 verses we have memorized.

Well, I am halfway through.  I went through yesterday and made myself go over and over the verse references, so I have them in the right order, and then I tried to remember all the first phrase of each verse.  Before I fell asleep last night, I went through all 12 and was able to remember the full verses.  I am so thrilled.  This is much better than the past two years.

Maybe it is because I have that incentive.  I already asked my hubby if it would be possible for me to go to the celebration in January, and he said it was fine with him.  I am hoping to meet up with my "siestas" that I have gotten to know from their posts, their blogs... but more important, I am looking forward to celebrating with God the fact that I was able to commit to memory precious bits of His Word that no one can ever steal from me.

This time around, as we are halfway through, Beth asked us to finish the sentence "memorizing God's Word has...."

I realized, as I looked back, that every single verse has made a huge impact on me because each and every one of them has been fitted to my exact need at that moment, or spoke to situations I found myself in for the next 15 days or so after I chose it.

I had to respond to Beth's question of what the memorization has done by saying each verse is a standing stone.  A standing stone attesting to the power of God, the amazing acts of God in my life, in the lives of those around me... Twelve standing stones so far.  I have no doubt that there will be a total of twenty four by the end of the year. 

It's not just a random gathering of verses.  Each time, I ask God to give me exactly what I need for that day and the ones to come.  Each time He has answered me. 

On Monday, I still hadn't chosen a verse for the 15th. I was nearly a week late.  I couldn't find anything to settle on.  It was quiet at church.  I was working, but I felt like I was in so much of a haze.  I just couldn't focus well on anything, and I was all out of sorts.  I think I was dealing with some depression.  I felt disconnected from God, from my emotions, and didn't like the out of touch feeling I was having. 

I finally got so frustrated at not being able to find a verse, and with the way I was feeling, that I said out loud, "God, I just need a Word!  I need a Word from you!" 

I felt silly for saying it out loud and was glad that no one was there to hear me, because it came out much louder than I had intended.

I have been "parked" in First Peter for a while (what I had thought was only a seven day stay turned into a month or more now), and had moved away from that book to find a verse, but found myself back there - and there it was.  My verse.  Literally moments after I cried out, God answered me with a verse.

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light."  1 Peter 2:9

Here I was feeling disconnected from my emotions and God. Frustrated with some things I was working on.  Gloomy because of the dark, rainy weather.


I am chosen.
I am royalty.
I am holy.
I belong to God.

That who I am.
Why?  Whats the purpose of that?

So that I can declare His praises.  Praise God and glorify Him before everyone I meet.  Everyone in my life, that I encounter, who I work with, should be able to see God in me, and hear how He has worked and what He is doing.

Why am I to do that?  What prompts praising God?

He called me out of the darkness.  I remember the darkness well.  But now I am living in His glorious light (I suppose I always was, but didn't see it... now He has pulled the veil of lies away and I can SEE!!!!)

God gave me the verse that I needed to remember.  I had some things that happened on Tuesday that could have really dumped me down.  But I had that verse.  Normally I would have reacted much worse to something like that - and I did react, but it didn't get me down for as long, because I remembered my verse.

No matter what happens, I have an identity defined by God.  I have a purpose defined by God.  I have nothing to fear because I am firmly in His light.  Even if it's a cloudy, dark, cold dreary day!

See. That was an example of how this memory verse is a standing stone to me.  All of the others have their own story to tell.

How I have grown to love standing stones! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

believing and praying

"I've anchored my life in the belief that God can do anything, but somehow feel presumptuous believing He will for me.  That's doubt masquerading as false humility. And that, my friends, saddens God and limits His work in my life."  Glynnis Whitwer in her devotional at Encouragement for Today.

How much of the time do I pray, even now, feeling presumptuous because I know God can do anything, but will He?  Will he for me?

I fear praying bold prayers, giving voice to the silent dreams inside, afraid they are not what God wants for me.  That allows fear and doubt to rule me, to dominate my life, to dictate what I am going to do and say.  Instead, in faith, I need to step out and believe.  Pray, daring to believe that God will answer my prayers.  If they aren't in line with His will, He will make them line up.  He will say no.  He will redirect me.

I don't want my prayer life to take a back seat to "life" as I live it.  The "life" I live as I run from one thing to another, exhausted.  Not taking care of myself by getting enough sleep, or eating correctly, gets me tired and crabby, which then overflows into how I care for the kids and interact with my husband.  

Is that really Life?  No, not the way God intends us to live it, and not the way Christ modeled it.

Jesus made prayer His priority.  When He was tired of the crowd and needed refreshing, He went to be with His Father, He rested, He ate.  I need to do all those same things.

I need to start my day at nightfall, getting good rest and continue my day, following that rest by time with Jesus.  Time in prayer.  Time in His word, refreshing my spirit the way my body was refreshed by sleep.  Then the rest of my day should continue in productivity with whatever God has laid out before me.

I need to restructure my days and nights so that I get into a different rhythm.  I need it.  My spirit needs it.  I spent the weekend without any one on one time with God, and I could feel it yesterday.  Thursday, I spent some good time with Him in the morning, but Friday, Saturday, Sunday and even mostly yesterday, I didn't concentrate on time with Him.

I now am running on an empty fuel tank... on fumes.  My new day, starting with my nightfall will be spent at work, in a meeting and locking up after another meeting is done.  I won't get to really rest till well after nightfall tonight (or should I say tomorrow? See, my brain can't wrap itself around this one!)

I long to be closer to Jesus.  I want to pray in His will.  Yes, I am still afraid to pray the wrong things.  The only way I will know how to pray His will is to take care of myself, as God's temple, and to restructure my busy schedule so that I can have the room to take time out and away to spend time with Him.

Yes, God can do what He says He can do.  And He is willing to do it in my life, and in yours.  It isn't presumptuous, its called stepping out in faith without trusting in my own strength to do something "just in case" God doesn't come through the way I think He should.

I never knew it would be such a struggle to really believe God.  It sounds so easy, but it is a daily decision, a moment by moment decision sometimes.  Prayer, effective and powerful prayer is found in someone who really truly believes God, has faith and is willing to step out over the edge of a cliff without seeing anything that will keep them from falling.  

That unwavering faith is what fuels someone to ask the seeming impossible, because with God all things are possible.... for those who believe in Him.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My story...

I ran across a blog post today that challenged me.

The writer shared that we all have a story, and need to know how to tell it.  That means we actually have to know what our story is.

Much of my story has poured out here on my blog.  I have written a lot over the years, though it has tapered off some in the last months.  But just because I have found more freedom in Christ, found more joy, found more of Jesus... well that doesn't mean that my story is done.

God has so much more for me (and you).  His redeeming love has rescued me from so much.  He is rescuing me.  Daily.  He will rescue me.

I don't get it.  His wild, irrational, redeeming love.  But I am so grateful, thankful, overjoyed, humbled.  He sings over us when we are unaware.  He constantly whispers truth about ourselves and about Him in our ears.  Sometimes it takes a lot to really hear what He is saying.

Oh God, help me hear and acknowledge and really believe what it is You are saying!

This post about becoming an expert at telling your story had a challenge at the end.

He asked, "In three sentences or less, what is your story?"

Here is what I came up with, after many drafts.

"Coming from a sheltered home-life, I succumbed silently to cruel bullying in school.  After finding Christ in college, terrible depression enslaved me using my poor choices and relationships.  Ready to die, God stopped me, setting my feet on the path of freedom, teaching me transparency and dependency on Him, giving me an impossible joy."

So, I am asking you.  What is your story?  Can you express it in three sentences or less?  Will you share it with me?

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Here I am sitting at the computer on a beautiful, sunny, warm day.  I am inside, only because the kids and I were out this morning and ate lunch as a picnic in our back yard.  They got tired and wanted in, so therefore I had to go in too.

I have a ton of things I could be doing around here.  The list seems to be unending.  I have been working on some laundry, cleaned up the kitchen some, and started defrosting some brats for supper. 


I have a ton more to do, other than the day to day upkeep.

We are going to be moving, probably at the beginning of August to the farm.  We need to get the house ready to go on the market.  I can't begin to comprehend how in the world we are going to get this place ready!

All I can see right now is the big picture.  I can't figure howanything that I attempt to do today even begins to affect that big picture!

I am overwhelmed.  When I get overwhelmed I grind to a halt. 

It doesn't help that I'm still not feeling 100% over the cold I had yet.  I am still exhausted, and coughing some still.  I want to curl up and sleep, but that may not be all due to the cold, as some of that comes from the automatic shut down I go into when I don't know how to tackle what I have to tackle.

With all the day to day things I need to get done, I can't seem to figure out how to get the other stuff done on top of it.  I am so behind on the laundry, the cleaning, and daily maintenance because of my cold, that it will take me all weekend to get caught up on that, and by the time I get to next weekend... well, I will be starting over on that stuff again, and not get to the clearing out of this house to move.

Dave set the kids last week to packing up some of their toys.  Marina partially filled one box and quit (and I kept on throwing away things, or throwing more in there.  Peter filled 3 boxes.  That was a start.  I however keep flitting from one thing to another, with great intentions and nothing gets done.

I can hear Peter in their room right now, throwing things into a box to take things out to the farm.  I wish I had his motivation, or focus or whatever it is that is getting him going right now!

I guess what I could use is some prayer~
to be able to see one piece at a time
to have the motivation to do something - however small
to not let myself get overwhelmed but instead focus on God who is my strength
to trust in Him and believe Him in this upheaval as well

Don't think that I don't want to move to the farm.  I do.  Very much.  I just wish there was some way to "zap" all our stuff there and not have to figure out how to pack it all up!

So, if it is quiet around my blog for a bit, it isn't because I don't want to write.  It is mostly because I am so exhausted and have so much to do.

When I have this much on my plate, I find myself feeling dry and unable to write.  I hate that feeling and it is hard to try to write when I feel like all I am writing is "drivel!"

Know that I am taking time to read and visit other blogs, but I just have felt really dry and unable to contribute much.

And now I must go and see what "damage" the kids are doing as they are trying to "pack up their room" to move it to the farm!!