Behind the Scenes on My Vanishing Act

March 26, 2009 at 7:14 pm (Announcements, God's Will, Godly Living) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Hello Sisters! I realize I’ve been missing in action for several weeks now…at least in the online world.  Many small factors have played into my absence, and you deserve an explanation.  My Mom and Papa were in a minor motorcycle accident about three weeks ago and Papa broke his collar bone.  It seems to be healing well (though still swollen, green and painful), but he’s been on temporary disability which leaves him home—for at least a month.  Always, anything unexpected brings both unexpected blessings and stretching.  You see, I’m a person of projects.  My projects always seem, to me, to be of great importance—whether blogging or taking pictures or journaling or designing literature.  But sometimes something “interferes” with my projects and I must learn the secret of priorities—the priorities the Lord has created for me.  Blogging is something that has blessed me and been an enjoyable outlet, as have writing, music and many of the other “projects” in which I’ve engaged—but it is not a God-ordained priority.  The Lord has set up priorities that start with my relationship with Him and continue to serving my family, then to outreach to those in my immediate life.  With my father off work, I’ve been super busy.  At first, my heart stubbornly resented the intrusion into my “projects” and “goals” at first, but the Lord is patiently reminding me what’s most important.  Honestly, I’ve come to enjoy the break from my project-driven mentality.  I know that I’m doing God’s will, serving the Lord, when I simply obey and serve my father.  It’s pretty freeing.

The blessings have been surprising as well!  I’m an idealistic realist, which means that I don’t believe ideal exists but I’m holding out for it anyway.  J Over the past several months, frustration had built up in my heart:  frustration with status quo, with the mundane—with things I struggle with perceiving as unnecessary wastes of time.  Why do people have to eat, anyway?  A couple of weeks ago, I came to Papa in tears with a pile of questions taller than I am.  Having him home gave us some time to work through some of my confusion and frustration and bring me back into focus—reminding me that God is the One who works miracles and that many mundane things are for my own good—to prove my character.  And my hopeless tendency to forever reevaluate what I’m doing has been God’s very tool for honing and strengthening me.  He forever reminds me that He still works through things that aren’t ideal and that I simply must depend on Him to work in His perfect way.  I wasn’t redeemed to serve God—as an end in itself.  He has angels who constantly do His will.  I was redeemed to be restored to an intimate relationship with Him—as Adam and Eve once walked with Him in the garden.  All the working and learning in the world are empty eating from the Tree of Knowledge without a relationship with God—the author of wisdom.  And no matter where I am or what I am doing, I can walk with God.

This time of year my life always turns upside down with crazy busyness (you know, weddings, graduations, “projects”, people) and I struggle to balance everything.  The Lord has given me a simple reminder to prioritize and rest in Him, knowing that only one thing is truly important:  being with Jesus.

So, ladies, whether or not I make it back online any time soon, my cry remains the same:  Love Jesus!  Be with Jesus.  Serve Jesus.

Blessings in Christ,

abigails-sig1

Permalink 3 Comments

Rebel without a cause?

March 20, 2009 at 3:00 pm (Food for Thought) (, , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

Those who never rebelled against God or at some point in their lives shaken their fists in the face of heaven, have never encountered God at all.  ~Catherine Marshall, Christy, 1967

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

Permalink 3 Comments

Gone

March 16, 2009 at 11:19 am (Poetry) (, , , , )

gone
Posted by Lauren

Gone

And I didn’t know

Gone

And I didn’t ask

The rain started the moment you left

And it began to pour when I found out

Gone

And I didn’t know

Gone

And I didn’t ask

On bright days I saw you

And we spoke, though from a distance

Gone

But where to?

Gone

And with whom?

Last night your candle faded

And the dawn brought endless tears

Gone

Did you know Him?

Gone

Do you seem Him now?

Will I see you again in Sonlight

Or are you lost forever?

Gone

And I never knew

Gone

And I never asked

Gone.

“WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” ~Romans 10:13-15

Permalink 3 Comments

A Son in His Image…

March 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm (Announcements) (, , , )

Just thought ya’ll might like to know…

Lauren and Nathaniel are having a baby boy!  A boy to carry on the family name!  Hurrah!

In other news, we are moving a bit slowly–crazy things happen sometimes.  Forgive us!

Blessings,

lauren-and-abigail-sig1

Permalink 6 Comments

12 or 21?

March 11, 2009 at 1:27 pm (A Time to Laugh) (, , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

a-time-to-laugh

I visited a teacher friend’s second-grade classroom yesterday as a guest story-teller.  My 12-year-old sister, Lydia, came along as a marvelous lovely assistant and personified Little Red Riding Hood while I rattled on and on about the Little Red Hen, the Three Billy Goats Gruff and Puss in Boots.  We were just wrapping up our performance and getting ready to head out when the students stopped us with a surprising question:  “Which one of you is older?”  I blinked.  Lydia giggled.  Then they pointed to Lydia, “She is!”  Forty years from now I might appreciate their conjecture.

Permalink 7 Comments

Whole Wheat Date Scones

March 8, 2009 at 1:08 pm (Counter Culture) (, , , , , , )

counter-culture

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

6 tbsp margarine or butter

1/2 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Grease cookie sheet.  In medium bowl, combine flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; mix well.  Using pastry blender or fork, cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in dates.  In small bowl, combine milk and eggs; reserve 2 tbsp.  Add remaining egg mixture all at once, stirring just until moistened.

On floured surface, gently knead dough to make a smooth ball.  Place on greased cookie sheet.  With floured hands, press dough into 8-inch-circle.  Cut into 8 wedges; do not separate.  Brush with reserved egg mixture.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Cut into wedges; serve warm.

Permalink 7 Comments

Someday

March 5, 2009 at 10:55 am (Articles, Attitudes, Family, Friends & Ministry, Godly Living, Singleness, Vignettes) (, , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

someday

I was sixteen years old when my Grandma took me driving and told me I needed to be more aggressive. Five years have passed and this weekend found me pondering her words as I navigated Kansas City to visit her. She’s eighty-two and as far back as I can remember she’s been running a hundred miles and hour serving other people. She spent most of her younger days in a cult one step removed from Mormonism, but she met the Lord not long before my birth. A short time later, she lost her husband. She’s been a widow as long as I’ve been living.

At sixteen or twenty-one, it’s easy to rush forward, hurrying toward the next thing, dreamily planning the future. Marriage, children. How many of us look beyond marriage to a time of being single again? We think of our wedding day as signifying the day in which we have finally arrived, the day when our life is fulfilled. For those newly married brides, a baby is the next thing—the completion to fulfilled life.

When that dream ends, what comes next? When the nest is empty and we’re back to sleeping in a twin bed, then what?

I watch my grandma with pride and amazement. She lives simply, but always busily. She went to a ladies Bible study at a retirement home and took cupcakes and fruit salad. I’m willing to guess that most of the ladies present were younger than she is. She’s held more dying people than I can count, pouring love and tenderness into their last days. She’s sent parts of her carefully stewarded retirement overseas for the spread of the gospel. She studies God’s word and shares it with everyone she can find. She’s helped out young mothers. She eats lunch once a week with a troubled little elementary school girl. She keeps tabs on a destitute nephew. Prays daily for her large family: some know the Lord and some don’t. Offers smiles, encouragement and even rebukes to those she comes into contact with. Shares Jesus when she can.

From the other room I heard her answer the phone when a neighbor lady, another widow, called. After a few minutes, she gently said, “I’d rather not talk about other people like that. It doesn’t really do anyone any good.”

She’s about to have her knee replaced. “That’s just what happens when you get old and your body wears out,” she shrugged. “And I have to make an appointment to get my batteries checked,” she joked about her pacemaker. No bitterness. She laughs easily, teases lovingly and trusts the Lord in everything.

I think of my grandma and I think of Paul’s requirements to Timothy for widows “indeed.” The wife of one man, a reputation for good works, brought up children, shown hospitality, served the saints, assisted those in distress and devoted herself to every good work. His greatest warning was that they be wary of becoming gossips. When he wrote to Titus he said that older women should be teachers of what is good—to the younger women.

It’s natural for young women to think and dream and plan for marriage, to strive to become godly wives and mothers, to look forward to that time. But being a godly wife and mother is not the end in itself. Being a wife and mother is not what fulfills a woman. Even a pagan can be a wife and mother. Serving the Lord, being obedient to Him, loving Him and serving His people—that’s what fulfills a woman, in whatever circumstances she finds herself.

My mind goes back two thousand years to another widow who lived her life serving the Lord. Anna, the daughter of Phanuel grew up in Israel and married, but her happily ever after ended seven years later with the death of her husband. Being a widow in Israel was especially difficult, yet Anna spent her days in the temple, serving the Lord with fasting and prayers, waiting for the Messiah. Then one day, when Anna was eighty-four, a young woman entered the temple with her husband and newborn son and Anna knew that the Lord had finally sent redemption. When I look into my grandma’s smiling eyes, I think I might know what Anna looked like.

Sisters, your whole life will be filled with someday. Someday you will likely be sixteen and driving. Someday you will likely marry. Someday you will likely have a baby. Someday your children will likely grow up and fly away. And then someday, someday you will likely be a widow. Through each someday the Lord wants you to recognize today—this is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it.

For twenty-one years I’ve lived as a single woman on one side of marriage. For twenty-one years my grandma has lived as a single woman on the other side of marriage. The call to both of us is the same—serve the Lord.

Permalink 12 Comments

Diminishing God?

March 4, 2009 at 6:57 am (Food for Thought) (, , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell. ~C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

Permalink 1 Comment

Skip the Stores!

March 2, 2009 at 3:06 pm (Homemaking, The Domestic Economy) (, , , , , , , , )

domestic-economy

Are you in the market…

…for clothing, shoes, or home décor? And would you like to save a few bucks while you’re shopping? (Who wouldn’t?!?) Before you head out to your favorite department store (or even Walmart or Target), check your cheaper options first. Thrift stores and garage sales are excellent places to find great deals on all kinds of items. I recently bought a shirt at the Salvation Army Store for $2. Later that day, when I was in Walmart, I saw the same shirt still on sale for $12! Ah…success! Also check out Good Will, or any locally-owned thrift stores you know of.

 

Garage sales are perhaps a better resource if you live in a metropolitan area. Get the newspaper ads on Thursday or Friday and map out your plan of attack. Think about where the more expensive neighborhoods are and be sure to make them the priority. The folks with the most money will have the nicest stuff and will probably have barely used it! I got a never-worn name-brand sweater for a dollar! And if you’re looking for rugs, furniture, wall-hangings, curtains, or baby clothes and toys, garage sales (or the ad pages of your newspaper) are the place to start! Keep in mind that if you go garage saling on Saturday only, the sales that started on Friday morning are probably not the ones you want to focus on—they’ve already been picked over. You want Saturday only garage sales unless you actually have time to get out there on a Friday. When Saturday morning comes, get out there early and bring cash! And set a budget—all of the interesting things you’ll find at garage sales can tempt you to spend more money if you’re not careful!

 

On the flip side, when you have too much stuff, remember that you can donate to the local charitable thrift store or to a local shelter. Or, if you need some cash, you can have your own garage sale or post an ad in the paper (just remember that newspaper ads aren’t necessarily cheap).

Permalink 5 Comments