Monday, November 24, 2008

So, so, sooooo much to be thankful for!

This is Thanksgiving week! There’s no doubt about it… I am overwhelmed with blessings. I think, if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us could probably say that. Words from one of Pastor Eric’s messages, spoken many years ago at New Hope, echo through my mind and heart…. “Why do you think He says over and over again, ‘Be thankful, be thankful, be thankful…’?” He was making a point of how God wants us to see and appreciate what He has already blessed us with, instead of constantly wanting and striving for more, and whining and complaining, and being pride-fully discontented.

I’ve been away from the computer almost entirely since checking in with some of my favorite blogs on Friday, November 14th, 2008. My mother moved in that evening, Praise God, and I’ve been trying to listen to the Holy Spirit as I’ve been seeking His help in ordering my priorities and the way I spend my time since then.

I’m working on a blog post for the benefit of my fellow bloggers who I also consider to be good friends, namely, Pastor Eric, Fred, Joseph, Chris and Dianna (in order by whom I met first to whom I met most recently). I’m hoping it will be a somewhat concise and yet comprehensive overview of my family and life, as they are right now, in writing and pictures. I’m greatly missing our blogging interactions, and am praying that God will provide a way for me to have some more time to engage in this, one of my most favorite of activities. But if that doesn’t happen, please know what a profound blessing each of you has been to me and how irrevocably my life has been changed by your influence, and God’s influence through you.

For Thanksgiving, we’re going to be going to my in-laws’ place in the mountains outside of Colville. It’s a much-needed yearly retreat away from the noise and hectic pace of my normal life, and I look forward to it with great anticipation. Tons of great food made by my mother-in-law, Nancy, and the sights and smells that go along with them… Serene, picturesque and quiet mountain scenery… Seeing and hearing my children playing together (in peace, Lord willing)… Late-night movies and games of Scrabble… Amazing wildlife and my father-in-law’s beautiful horses… Truly fresh air… The warmth of a blazing fire… Sigh… I long to be there right now.

Ooops, my lunch hour is almost over. If I don’t post this now, it probably won’t be posted until next week or the week after. There’s so much more I want to say… so much more that’s on my heart. Perhaps God will help me to remember it all at a later time. Signing off…

Monday, November 10, 2008

This message spoken by Paul Washer is one of the most powerful and important messages I have ever heard:

Friday night I was up very late, but still had to get up relatively early on Saturday, of course, to tend to my young children who are still a little too young to fend for themselves.

As soon as I could, I got onto the computer and the first blog I checked happened to be “Pilgrim in Conflict.” This message was posted there, along with a warning that the message is two hours long. I thought I would just listen to the first few minutes of it to catch the flavor of it, but two hours later I was still sitting there, my heart and my attention completely captured by these powerful words of truth. My husband, Keith, pulled up a chair and listened to the last hour or so with me, and we both sat there together and cried as the Holy Spirit worked in our hearts.

Yesterday, Keith played the first part of the message (the part he had missed when we were listening together on Saturday) on his laptop as he was changing the oil in our vehicles. Later he shared with me how much enjoyed this message and which parts spoke to him most deeply.

I had heard of Paul Washer on a dear friend’s blog, but had not had an opportunity to hear anything of his until now. How my heart rejoices at the truth of God that is being so bravely and powerfully proclaimed by this man!

Friday, November 07, 2008

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s doubly true now… I love hymns!! My two current favorites are “Immortal, Invisible” and “The Master Hath Come.” I’ve probably listened to these two songs 30 times each in the last week.

In these times of change and preparation for change, I feel God leading me to simplify. There is such a thing as too much information. Pastor Eric’s post with the video about how we’re living in exponential times really grabbed my attention. Through it I heard God whispering that it’s time to go back to the basics. His Word. Not what other people think about His Word, or what they think His Word means, but His Word—pure and simple, and interpreted and applied by the very Spirit of God Himself within me.

And I believe He has drawn my affection and appetite towards hymns as well. The other day I was expressing to my husband how much I love them, when suddenly it clicked in my head why I love them so much, and why I believe God loves them, too.

Many of the hymns I love the most have come to us through centuries gone by. “Be Thou My Vision” was written in the 9th century. Most of the other hymns I most dearly love come from the 1600’s, 1700’s or 1800’s. The people who wrote these beautiful God-soaked songs did not have minds that were cluttered and confused by millions of megabytes of information from multiple sources every single day…

Their lives were so much more simple than ours are, and when they set their minds to study the scriptures, that’s what they did! Sometimes they would study the scriptures for hours and hours every day. Most of their world-views were utterly God-centered, and they viewed all of Creation as existing by Him and for His glory. The songs they wrote were an overflowing of the God-reality that they ate and drank and breathed all day long every day.

Being a Christian wife, mother, church member, employee, homeowner, homemaker, friend, daughter, and citizen, in today's world and this time in history—I will never have time to study and have my mind truly, irrevocably renewed by God’s Word as whole-heartedly as these people did. But praise God! He has left us with the fruit of their joyful labors! He has left us with a bountiful storehouse of concentrated, healing, amazingly beautiful truth about Himself. And all of it is set to music, which somehow seems to open the doors to my heart in ways that simple speaking never could.

May His matchless name be praised forever!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Two Weeks - Two Miracles!!

1st Miracle – My mother is coming home!

My mother, Becky, lives in Pocatello, Idaho, where she has lived for 11 years. I’ve been begging her and trying every way I can think of to convince her to move back to Spokane ever since she moved away. I’ve been praying for and asking other people to pray for God to motivate her to come back. I love my mom dearly and wouldn’t be who I am today without her influence. And of course, I want my children to know her and have a relationship with her. Plus, she struggles with several different health problems, and it concerns me that she’s down there without any real family around her.

The whole reason she’s down there is to be with her boyfriend, Bob, a Native American that is paralyzed from the waist down due to an unfortunate accident that happened when he was in his early twenties.

On Monday, October 27, 2008, she called me to say that she and her boyfriend, Bob, had broken up. When I asked her if she was planning to move to Spokane, she said she was going to give it three months, and that if they didn’t get back together in that time, then she would consider moving. That was pretty much what I expected her to say, so I wasn’t too distraught. I told her that when she decided to move, I’d rent a U-Haul and drive down there and get her.

That same night when we were on the phone, I talked to her about the global political and economical climate, which she was largely unaware of because she doesn’t watch the news and doesn’t have internet access. She said she was glad to be able to think about those things, and then we hung up.

The next morning I was laying in bed in that half-dream state between being asleep and being awake. And it was like God was praying through me, planting words in my heart and in my head to pray, over and over again. The prayers went something like, “O Lord, if there truly is a global catastrophe on the horizon, please, please, please let my mom move back to Spokane before it happens.” I remember praying those prayers, but I didn’t consciously set out to pray them… They just happened.

That night my mom called again and said that she had decided to move to Spokane immediately, and that she would be giving her two weeks notice at work the next day. She had visited with Bob that day and told him what her plans were, and he insisted that he felt it was very important that she move to Spokane as soon as possible. She explained to him that if she moved to Spokane, she would probably never move back to Pocatello again, and he told her that if they decided to get back together, he would move to Spokane! (This is a miracle in itself, as I’ve sent him multiple letters in the past asking him to do that very thing, and to which he responded with so much anger that he decided he would never read any more of my letters…)

So she’s coming home! We’re preparing a room for her! I can’t wait to see her and be able to see her and talk to her and hug her on a regular basis. May God grant her traveling mercies, comfort and a calm and focused vision of where He wants her to be.


2nd Miracle – God captured my father’s heart again!!

My dad, Larry, stopped going to church when I was a small child, declaring that the church was full of hypocrites. From there he began to develop his own views of God.

These are his own words about the way he has been:

“I confess that for most of my life, I have not liked God… I have blasphemed God with words beyond profanity.”

During my childhood, I remember him shaking his fist towards Heaven in anger for many different irritants--cold, snow, ice and winter... A favorite football team losing... Inconsiderate drivers... Not winning the lottery…

I’ve been praying for him for years, but trying to avoid discussions about Christianity as much as possible because they only ever led to arguments and contention.

Here’s the miracle:

Tuesday night, November 4, 2008, he called our house and said he was coming over. When he walked through the door, he had a new Bible in his hand and a 6-page handwritten letter to me detailing his “journey into the light.”

In His mercy, God opened the eyes of my dad’s heart. God captured his heart again and restored him to peaceful, joyful fellowship with Himself. My heart and spirit are awed and humbled. I could have spoken 10,000,000 words to my dad and not have affected him at all. But God turned his whole life around in one beautiful and holy moment. Thank You, Lord!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

One thing’s for sure… School isn’t just about reading, writing and arithmetic anymore. My kids are being indoctrinated. They come home with so much garbage in their heads. They seem so eager and so ready to believe and embrace absolutely everything they read or hear (except the truth).

This is going to be the major emphasis of our conversations at home for the foreseeable future: To instill in them that an education is important and something to be grateful for and made the most of, but that anything that goes beyond HOW to read, HOW to write, HOW to do math, etc, is something they really need to be praying about, and bringing home and discussing with us.

“So this is how freedom dies, with a thunderous round of applause and great cheer.” – Padme

Keith had to come downtown and rescue me last night from my flighty absent-minded self. We decided to make the most of the situation and go to dinner at one of the downtown restaurants, since I had a gift card for it and the card was going to expire on November 6th.

While we were enjoying a lovely and delicious meal, one of the ladies sitting at a table near us received several phone calls from someone who was watching the election results. Whatever she was hearing was obviously to her liking because she kept loudly exclaiming words and phrases of victory and celebration.

Every time I heard one of these exclamations, this quote from Star Wars Episode III kept echoing in my mind and heart. I kept seeing Padme's face as she who so dearly loved freedom watched as it was thrown away by the very ones who were entrusted to protect it.

Our freedom hasn’t died… yet. But I'm afraid I can taste it coming on the wind…
A Two-Edged Sword

Is everything in my life in order?

Ahem… No.

So why am I blogging again?

Well, because the first giant step towards getting my life in order has been accomplished, by God’s amazing grace. And because it’s been more than a week since this blogoholic blogged, and there are obviously lots and lots of thoughts stored up in this head that are screaming to be put into writing--thoughts that God might have had something to do with. Or at least thoughts that I don’t want to forget.


Blogging is a two-edged sword for me.

It’s a HUGE blessing and resource in my life. I love to write... I love to read… I love God… I love people (all kinds of people). God loves me and purposefully created me to be someone who loves these things—he loves it that I love them! He also created me to deeply enjoy connecting with other people – people who share some of the same values, people who will encourage deep thinking, people who will inspire me and motivate me to more fully be the person God created me to be, and people who might be blessed or intrigued by something I share.

But blogging is also a very deep source of sorrow and struggle and temptation. It so easily becomes something I do because I’m seeking the affirmation and attention of people. I enjoy it so much and love it so much that I’m constantly tempted to be doing it, even when I should be giving my full attention, heart, passion and energy to something or someone else.

When I post something, whether it be a post on my own blog, or a comment on someone else’s, I have a constant desire to keep going back to check to see if someone might have read it and have appreciated it enough to leave a comment about it. When enough days go by without any reply comments, I sometimes am actually disappointed and discouraged enough to have myself a little pity party and toy with the idea of deleting my entire blog! And that would be really stupid and selfish, because truly the reason I started it in the first place was to keep a written record that could someday be shared with my kids and grandkids if my earthly life came to an end prematurely. (Pride is an ugly, nasty, distasteful, destructive thing and I can’t say in words how desperately I despise it!!)

When I sat down to type all of these many blog posts today, I did so with a very strong sense that I shouldn’t check anyone else’s blogs first. So I haven’t, even though I’ve wanted to. Because these thoughts that are in my head are mine and God’s. They may have been started or planted by someone else, but they’ve been brewing and stewing in my heart long enough that some of these thoughts are actually authentically mine. I hope and pray and believe that God has influenced at least some of them.

I have more to say, and I don’t know when that will happen, but I know I won’t be able to check anyone else’s blogs until I’m done. And I pray that God will give me the grace and strength not to check for comments either, until after I’m done.

Having the time to do this tonight is a gift from God. I either lost my truck keys or locked them in the truck this morning, because I can’t find them anywhere. So I’m sitting here in my office typing this as I’m waiting for my husband to come downtown and open the truck for me. Keith is so good about putting up with my absentmindedness, even though I know it drives him crazy. I love and appreciate my husband and am more grateful for him than I could ever possibly express.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Journal Entry - A Great Weight of Responsibility

On the evening of Friday October 24, 2008, I was sitting in our family room with my young children, surrounded by a pile of clothes. The laundry was Megan’s job, but she went to a school party that night and offered to pay me $5 if I would put away the clothes for her. I started to put them away but noticed they were horribly folded, so I set about re-folding them. I don’t mind folding clothes, and it provided a good opportunity for thinking (without picking my fingers to the bone.)

As I was sitting there, I began to feel the full weight of all of what I’ve been trusted with, and the even heavier weight of the knowledge that I’m failing miserably at being faithful with any of it. God was right there with me, gently leading my thoughts. It suddenly came into my mind what I needed to do.

I called my husband and asked him if he’d be willing to take himself and the five children to his mom’s house (in the mountains outside of Colville, WA) for the weekend so I could work on getting my house (and the rest of my life) in order. I simply couldn’t handle it anymore. Every drawer and cupboard, every table and closet, every corner and room needed to be gone through and sorted.

The burden of the paperwork was especially heavy to me. We have a filing cabinet that was so full, it hadn’t been used for any new filing since 2005. We have stacks and boxes and plastic bins of paperwork that we can’t find anything in because there’s no order or organization to it at all (except sometimes a mildly consistent date order). Simply trying to find something to do with the mail was a daily burden that I didn’t want to deal with, so it kept piling up and adding to the stress of everything I wasn’t doing.

Well, my husband wasn’t able to take the kids that weekend because of several different complications. But he said he would take them to their Grandma’s the next Friday (Halloween). I spent a couple of hours on Saturday the 25th blogging, but on Sunday I felt very strongly that God had called me to a blogging fast until I got my life under control. I can’t even begin to describe how hard it was for me, and how freeing at the same time.

Every time I sat down at a computer at home or at work that week, the first thing I wanted to do was check all of my favorite blogs. But I also noticed how much more I got done without having that drain on my time, and how much clearer and more focused my thoughts and prayers were.

My husband did take the kids to his mom’s the evening of Halloween. The whole time they were gone, I felt a driving compulsion to make the most efficient use possible of every single moment. My plan was to work 24/7, only stopping briefly for catnaps when absolutely necessary, and to take a couple hour break on Sunday morning to go to church. (Which I didn’t actually end up doing because I was beyond exhausted and every single bone and muscle in my body hurt.)

I felt that I absolutely had to get through my craft room (which had become the family’s junk resting place), the filing cabinet, and the most recent stack of paperwork. Because to try to do any of those things with a two-year-old in the house would have been next to impossible and pull-my-hair-out frustrating.

So I attacked all of those things with gusto, passion, and energy. It didn’t take long, though, before my mind was almost completely numb and I was running on automatic pilot. I couldn’t even pray. So I finally put in an old favorite CD (Glad: A Capella Hymns) and God used the beautiful music and brilliant truth of those treasured songs to breathe joy and energy back into my exhausted mind, body and spirit. Not that I wasn’t still tired--I was--but at least I was able to keep going.

By the end of the weekend, everything was done that I’d felt such an urgency about. And I felt far more hopeful and enthusiastic about getting the rest of the house organized. All – and I mean ALL – of the glory and credit goes to God for what was accomplished. Every single time my stupid pride would rear its ugly head and try to take credit for what was going on, I would nearly choke on tears of frustration.

God birthed the ideas, He gave me the strength, He filled in the gaps when I didn’t know what to do next, He led me back to that awesome CD (again and again), He kept me focused, and He kept reminding me again and again that it was Him in me that was doing the work – and that I just needed to trust and rest in Him.

I want to say a special thank you to Dianna for praying for me and for her words of encouragement and admonition and for her powerful and effective prayers. Thank you, Beautiful Sister! I love you!

I love my country. I’ve always loved America. Even as a child, songs like the National Anthem, “My Country ‘tis of Thee,” “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless the USA” made my heart cry out with passionate love and thanksgiving. I will be sorry to see her existence come to an end. My heart is already grieving.

I don’t think we’ll ever see another presidential election.

I’ve read in several different places that no democracy has ever continued to exist as a democracy for more than a few hundred years.

Why is that?

It’s obvious to me that the American people are ready to be done with the whole idea. We’re sick of the election process. We’re sick of politics. We’re sick of corruption in government. We question and distrust authority.

So I wonder… What do we want instead?
A Journal Entry – My heart is breaking

This theme keeps reverberating through my consciousness - Time is short. The end of earthly life as we know it is fast approaching. Redeem every moment.

Today is a momentous day. This day will see the election of our next president. God is sovereign. He is on the throne as He always has been and always will be. He still raises people to positions of power and takes them down again. I believe that this election will turn out a certain way. I also believe that this next year will see catastrophic, mind-blowing global suffering and change.

Is this Thanksgiving going to be the last Thanksgiving we will celebrate together in freedom? Is this Christmas going to be the last traditional American Christmas we’re going to experience? I don’t know for sure, of course, but it well could be. And if it isn’t, then the next one might be, or the next one, or the next one. I want to appreciate, treasure and be faithful with every moment.

I believe the roller-coaster ride of the end times has been set in motion. Jesus Christ is my car, my seatbelt, my track, my handle, my force, my foundation and my destination. May God in His mercy grant that my children will see Him that way, too--as the all in all of everything.


This has been my passionate prayer for the last several years -– that God would direct my steps, thoughts, desires and decisions according to His perfect will. He is always faithful to do so, and uses many methods to accomplish that task. Many times He speaks to me through His Word, the Bible, and through the messages of my pastor. Sometimes He speaks to me through the words of men and women of faith, both past and present, dead and living. Sometimes He speaks to me through other people in one-on-one conversations (either in person or in writing).

Last week a dear Christian friend spoke to me and said, “You need to take care of yourself.” I could taste the truth of God in those words. (This same friend consistently sends me scriptures that he believes God has laid on his heart to send to me. Each and every time, the scriptures he sends are exactly what I needed to be reminded of at that precise moment.)

That same day another dear friend wrote to me and encouraged me to do the following: “Spend time in the Word and prayer each morning focusing on Christ and His Cross at least 15 to 20 minutes; and be a good steward of your day, by accomplishing the tasks that will bring you more peace and serve your family before serving your own need for answers and affirmation.” I could taste the truth of God and hear His precious voice in those words, too.

The same friend who wrote these words to me had also written something else to me a few days earlier that really stuck with me—namely, how vitally important sleep is. Sleep is easy for me to sacrifice, but it’s not good for me to do so, and I believe God showed me through her that it’s not His will for me.

Lord have mercy, I have been a hideous steward of my body in so many ways. This diary entry from Jonathan Edwards really hit my heart about the importance of healthy eating:

“By a sparingness in diet, and eating as much as may be what is light and easy of digestion, I shall doubtless be able to think more clearly, and shall gain time; 1. By lengthening out my life; 2. Shall need less time for digestion, after meals; 3. Shall be able to study more closely, without injury to my health; 4. Shall need less time for sleep; 5. Shall more seldom be troubled with the head-ache.” (Works, I, xxxv)

God brought this verse to my memory one day as I was sitting on the couch: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” This truth is revealed in my life. When I’m sitting worrying instead of actually doing something, especially when I’m stressed, I have a nervous habit of picking at and chewing on the skin around my fingernails. Lately, the first three fingers on each of my hands are picked raw—very painful and bleeding. After my friend told me that I needed to take care of myself, when I would catch myself doing the picking thing, I’d remember what he said and God would use the memory to motivate me to stop (for that moment, anyway.)