Monday, December 21, 2009

Priority #3 - It's THAT Time of Year

It is THAT time of year. While all the world is celebrating the birth of our Savior (or some pagan association with it), I am mourning my firstborn who would have turned 20 years old today. The day is both bitter and sweet. So much so, that my husband even TOLD me to blog. LOL! I am thankful that she left this world at peace with her family. We look back on our lives together as a whole family and have no regrets. There were no expressions of love left unsaid. No unfinished arguments. Just memories full of laughter and family togetherness.

My Diva has had a difficult season, but I pray that the resiliency that is characteristic of our family will be with her now and stay with her where ever she goes. I pray that she will never close her heart to love, even when the possibility of pain is present. I pray that her heart will always be soft towards the Lord and that wisdom and discernment will never depart from her.

Boy Wonder is a joy to me. He leans his head on me like he did as a baby, and then in the next moment he will gross me out by showing me a picture of a roasted guinea pig in Peru and then laugh at my reaction. He recently won 4th place in a homeschool geography bee. I'm so proud of him. I pray that the Lord will give him health, strength, and a long life. I pray that he will be the family man that his father is.

Princess Butterfly is my baby. She just turned 10 and I feel like the world has opened up for her. She'll be getting a military ID card this week. It is a rite of passage for military kids. I pray that she will learn to overcome her tendency toward disorganization. Lord knows it's still a challenge for her mama. I pray that she will be wise and discerning and not cast her pearls before swine. I pray that she will always use her gifts to bless the people of God.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Priority #2 - My Husband - Sing Unto the Lord

One of Friend Hubby and my favorite things to do together is sing. On Saturday after our garage sale, I found an old song book from a choir we sang in back in the early 1990s in Germany called the Anointed Voices.

Our head director (Friend Hubby was assistant director) had put together a booklet of our repertoire with all the lyrics. It was in a box I found in the garage that we'd kept all these years.

Some of our favorites include lyric that say things like:

"I shall wear a crown when it's all over. I'm going to put on my robe, tell the story how I made it over..."

"Are you ready? Are you ready? For the coming of the Lord!"

"Make a joyful noise all ye people. Sing a song to the Lord of His goodness, love and His mercy, sing a song unto the Lord."

"If you want to be born again, say-a-a, say-a the word!"

So many songs reminded us of our season in Germany, reminded us of what the Lord brought us through and how we are still able to be standing even today. God has been so good to us!

We started singing the songs together in the driveway. If we can sing on a cold street corner in Klatovy, Czechoslavakia, we certainly don't have a problem singing in suburban central Texas!

One thing we noted was that songs that are played on urban gospel radio stations today do not have the same themes as what we sang about then. Today's lyrics say things like:

"Let's get back to Eden, live on top of the world."

"Enough is enough, I'm taking back my stuff. I'm taking back what the devil stole from me."

"Get your inheritance."

Do you see the difference? We used to sing about HIM and HIS kingdom. Now we sing about our own kingdoms.

We have recently been attending a small fellowship of believers who are researching the Hebrew roots of our Christian faith. The more I read to my children and we have discussions about the history of the Roman festival of Saturnalia and the customs of the ancient Catholic priests of trying to win converts among the Druids by mixing some of the "old" with the "new" and how much of the "old" which never actually left, I am hungering for truth, authentic, and in it's simplest state.

Friend Hubby and I have always been on a different path than those around us. It seems as though that is where we are now as well. The only thing we can do is to keep singing and keep trusting in our Lord who is leading us into uncharted territory for us. I just know that in the churches I have attended in the past few years there is too much Me-Me-Me and not enough Him-Him-Him.

"Hallelujah, salvation and glory, honor, and power unto the Lord our God. For the Lord our God is mighty. Yes, the Lord, our God is omnipotent. The Lord our God, He is wonderful!"


Friday, October 16, 2009

Priority #1 - My God - Pilgrim's Progress

I have discovered Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. You would think that in my 17 years of homeschooling that I would have read this book, but it is new to me. It was first brought to my attention in a sermon I listened to online by Chuck Swindoll. He told of the main character's fall into the Slough of Despond. It caught my attention because I am well acquainted with the place. I have too have gotten stuck there many a time. I also wanted to read it because Princess Butterfly is studying the Pilgrims and the Puritans at this time.

I got the complete unabridged version of the book but I thought I would share it with my children so I found a kid's translation at the library.

As I was reading to my children one particular section stood out to me the other day, in light of all I have endured this past summer. It was a conversation between Christian and Apollyon. Just like it says of the Devil in Revelation 12, "Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down," Apollyon brings up the things that Christian has done wrong:

"When, Apollyon, have I been unfaithful to Him?"

Apollyon leered and came another step closer. "When you almost failed in the Slough of Despond. When you tried disloyal ways of removing your burden. When you almost turned back at the sight of the lions. When you took pride in telling of your so-called victories at the Palace Beautiful."

"All this is true," admitted Christian, "and much more that you have left out. But the prince that I serve is merciful and ready to forgive."

I have asked the Lord to help me forgive my relatives. It is a daily thing. At this point, I forgive as an act of will, but I don't want to see them or communicate with them. I just want to be left alone. My neighbor said to me, "This is not what I expect of you." This same neighbor has watched me live through the unemployment of my husband, the death of my daughter, and the taking in of my nephew. You know what? This is not what I expect of me either. I thought I was strong enough to take the false accusations, the vicious slander, my private life being open to public scrutiny, and still make myself available to her. I'm not. But thankfully, I don't have to be. "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

The grace that I have for today keeps me from dishonoring her with my mouth. In spite of all the pain that I carry, other than a couple of close friends, Friend Hubby, and My Diva, I don't speak of her at all. Better I should say nothing than to sin with my mouth. I may not do everything right, but I'm trying to do SOMETHING right.

Finally, I was able to find an abridged radio drama of Pilgrim's Progress. It takes the monotony out of my work to listen to it between reports.

I received a blessing this week. A total stranger, sent me a book that I've been needing for Boy Wonder's curriculum. I had ordered the book a couple of times from Amazon and twice was sent the wrong book. This woman asked me to allow her to bless me with the book for free. How incredible is that? When I received the book and unwrapped it, inside there was a card that read:

"The Christian life is not one chain of successes, victories, and triumphal marches - It's warfare against the forces of the Evil One. Praying that you will be strong and courageous in the daily battle." Isn't that a blessing? And for a change, to have another Christian sister, rather than scold and tell me what THEY think I should do about my situation, to just simply acknowledge my fight. That THEY see that my battle is not with flesh and blood but with the enemy of my soul, and though I have fallen, I am not defeated, nor is the battle over.

Pray my strength in the Lord!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Priority #6 - My Ministry - Trying to Get Back to Me

For the most part, my life has become back to normal since our horrendous summer. School is going very well. My children are learning and moving faster through their curricula than they have for the past 2 years. All of my children are enjoying their extracurricular activities. The only thing that has been troublesome for me to get back to was being a Girl Scout leader. At one point, I thought of giving it up and disolving my troop, but I mentioned it to Friend Hubby and the first thing he asked me was, "Why?" I really couldn't give him a good answer.

I still continued to drag my feet. I didn't have my first troop meeting until after Labor Day. We elected troop officers this year. I'm pretty pleased with how well it's going so far. We had our second meeting the other day and I feel as if I've gotten my wind back in my sales! Fall product sales were from October 1st through October 10th. We forgot to give the order form to Friend Hubby to take to work. We set out this morning with the goal of getting $100 worth of orders. Somewhere out there, we changed it to $120 so she could earn a plush puppy, but a little after that, we set the goal at $200 so she could get a $10 gift card to spend at the Girl Scout store. It took us from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., but we met it! I loved how we changed our strategy at the end to tell the customers how far we were from her goal. They responded very well to helping her get there! We went from $41, to $31, to $15, to $8 in a matter of minutes. It was great! I've got to remember that strategy come Cookie Season. LOL!

There are some situations in Scripture that have been on my mind lately:

In Mark 6, we see that Jesus could not exercise His gifts of healing among His own people because of their unbelief. Jesus says that He has come to turn daughter against her mother. HE will do it! That's not a comfortable theology is it? In Matthew 10:36 says, "a man's enemies will be the members of his own household." How painful is that?

There are numerous Scriptures that speak of slander as well. That is one of many reasons that I have tried to keep my mouth shut on the whole issue. Of course MY name has been dragged through the mud, but the Lord told me to just let go and not try to save my reputation myself. If people want to believe the worst about someone else, let them. This is painful, but once you choose to let go, it is freeing. I have put my name in His hands.

So, in this season, I am learning to keep my mouth shut and just trust the outcome to the Lord. I don't think ahead any further than today. His grace is sufficient for today, and in spite of all I have endured, He is still blessing my family tremendously!