Daddy, May I Help You?

February 1, 2009 at 11:34 am (Attitudes, Godly Living, stories) (, , , , , , , , , )

daddy-may-i-help-you

Posted by Abigail

“Daddy, may I help you?”

The wide, blue eyes peer wonderingly up as the father raises his head from underneath the car. “Of course, Son, I would love to have your help. It is my greatest wish for you to learn to do everything that I do.”

“What are you doing, Daddy?” There is a grunt as the father lowers himself under the car once more. The child waits for a moment, watching as his father’s body disappears behind muddy tires and dirt-caked axles. “Daddy, what are you doing?” the child ventures again.

“Wait a little and you’ll see,” comes the father’s muffled response.

“Daddy, did you hear me the first time? When I asked you the first time, didn’t you hear me?” The small boy drops to his knees, poking his head under the car to watch his father.

“Yes, Son, I heard you.”

“Why didn’t you answer me?”

The father raises his head to gaze lovingly into the little boy’s face. “Son, if I tried to explain to you what I am doing now, you wouldn’t understand it. I just want you to wait a little while and then it will all become clear.”

“Daddy,” the child wriggles under the car next to his father. “What can I do? You said I could help you?”

The father reaches past his son to grab a tool. “So I did, Son. But right now you are in my way. It would be most helpful to me if you would just climb back out from under the car and sit down on the pavement to wait.”

“But Daddy, I want to help you!”

“Do you want to help me?” the father’s eyes are keen as he again twists to gaze into his son’s eyes.

The child halts in confusion. “Yes, Daddy, that’s why I’m here.”

“I appreciate it, Son. If you want to help me, I need you to do what I ask of you.”

“But Daddy,” the boy whispers tearfully as he climbs out from under the car. “I want to help you, really and truly help you. Not just sit here and watch you work.”

“Son,” the voice is stern yet gentle. “I am not ready for you yet. Right now you are just in my way, slowing me down. Sit there and wait until I need you–then you will be a big help to me!”

“Just sit here?” He isn’t really intending to whine, but the pitch in his voice displays his dissatisfaction. There is no answer from underneath the jacked-up vehicle. The boy glances out of the garage door at the blue sky and warm sunshine. The he crosses his legs and sits quietly on the floor. A minute passes, then two. He can see his father steadily at work and his hands are itching to be doing something–anything. “Are you ready for me yet, Daddy?” No words–only the steady tapping of the metal tools against the underside of the car. “Daddy?”

“Wait–” the grunt is anything but satisfactory.

The little boy glances out the wide doorway again. The fresh air and sunshine are whispering alluring suggestions–he will hear if his father calls.

“Son, could you hand me that–” there is no answering scramble, no eager voice and smiling eyes as the requested tool is produced. The father raises himself on his elbows. Empty. The garage is empty. So much for the child who wanted to help him. The father sighs, crawls from under the car and reaches for the neglected wrench. He can hear his son’s delighted laughter just outside the door.

“Daddy, are you ready for me yet?” the dirty little feet patter across the pavement and pause by the car.

“Son, I needed you just a minute ago and you weren’t here to help me.”

“I went outside to play while I was waiting. What do you need, Daddy?”

“I already got it myself, Son. You will have to wait again, now.” A tool clattered to the concrete floor, drowning out the last few words.

“Why didn’t you come and call me, Daddy? I would have been happy to help you.” The child bent over again to peer under the car.

“It would have taken me longer to come find you than for me to just do it myself.”

“When will you need me again, Daddy?”

“I am not sure, Son. But if you want to make yourself available to help me when I need it, then you must sit down where you are and wait until I need you again.”

“But Daddy, sitting here isn’t really helping you!” the son pouts as he reseats himself in the sunshine that spills through the high garage windows.

“Son, the definition of helping me is doing whatever I need you to do. Right now I just need you to wait so that you will be available.”

The child watches his father’s legs wriggle as he moves to a new position. “Would you hand me a rag, Son?”

“Oh, but Daddy, the rags are so dirty!”

There is no answer. Only the soft shuffling as the father climbs from under the car and walks toward the plastic sack filled with rags at the far end of the building. He pulls out a long, greasy towel and returns to the car.

“Are you ever going to have something for me to do?” the son moans, playing restlessly with his dirty toes.

“You didn’t want to get me a rag,” comes the quiet response.

“But Daddy, getting a rag is not real work. And it’s dirty. You know I want to help you with the real, hard work.”

The father pushes the towel out from the side of the car. It is covered in new grease stains and the dust of the garage is sticking to it. “Work requires getting dirty, sometimes. You are not ready for the big jobs yet.”

“When will I be ready?” the son asks, anxiously.

“When you become faithful in the little jobs–in waiting.”

“But Daddy, the little jobs aren’t any fun and waiting make my head hurt. Why can’t I be doing something important?

“Son, the little jobs have to be done, and that’s what I need you to do right now. Here, hold these nuts for me.” A hand reaches out from under the car to drop several cold, greasy round objects into the cupped hands of the little boy.

“Daddy, can I put them on or do you want me to put them away in the big jar with all of the bolts?” the boy starts to get up as he speaks, gripping the nuts tightly in his fist.

“No Son, I just took them off of the oil pan–just hold on to them for a minute. I will need to put them back on in a little while.”

“Daddy, may I put them back on?” the child hesitates a moment, deciding whether to remain standing or reseat himself.

“We will see,” comes the response as the father again reaches for the towel. Seeing the movement, the child pushes it toward his father. A nut falls from his hand and rolls under one of the wheels of the car.

“Oh Daddy! I dropped a nut! I’m so sorry! I was only trying to help you!”

“I can get the nut, I believe. But remember, I didn’t ask you to hand me the towel. I appreciate your eagerness, but what I need is obedience. I only asked you to hold the nuts. You dropped one because you did something I didn’t ask you to do.”

“But Daddy, I thought you needed me to help with the small jobs.”

There is a sigh as the father squirms under the far tire to retrieve the lost nut. “I need you to concentrate on doing what I ask you to do, Son, not on whatever you think I need help with.” He places the runaway nut back in his son’s hands. “Now, hold it tightly.” The chubby fingers close over the dirty nut, joining the others, and there is silence for a few minutes as the father works steadily. At last, “Hand me the nuts, Son.”

The child carefully places the nuts, one by one, into the large work-worn hand extended to receive them. “They are all here, Daddy. I didn’t drop any this time.”

“I see that,” the father answers with pleasure. “Good job!”

“How may I help you now, Daddy?”

“Would you like to tighten the nuts?”

“Oh yes!” the child answers eagerly, snatching up the wrench and hurriedly wriggling under the car.

“Son, climb back out from under the car and put that wrench back where you found it.”

“But Daddy, you said I could–”

“Yes, Son, I know,” the father’s voice is reassuring. “But you have the wrong-sized wrench. The one we need is under here with me.”

“Oh,” the sun hands his head as he lays the wrench down again and then worms his way back under the car. He rolls over onto his back and seizes the smaller wrench.

“Son,” comes the father’s voice form just beside him. “Hand me that wrench.”

“Daddy, you will let me tighten the nuts, won’t you? Like you said?” the child clings tightly to the wrench, afraid to let it go.

“Would I deceive you, Son? You must give me that wrench before you can do anything.”

Reluctantly, the boy releases the wrench into his father’s hands.

“Now, use your fingers to tighten each nut.”

“Will I ever get to use the tool, Daddy?”

“Finish tightening them with your fingers, Son.” The voice is firm as the father points to the unfinished work. “Now you may use the wrench, but you must be careful.” Gently the father shows his son how to hold the wrench and helps him tighten several nuts.

“I want to do it by myself.”

“You are not strong enough, Son. You need my help.”

“Please let me try, Daddy. I’m sure I can do it.” the blue eyes gaze up pleadingly at the father.

“You may try, Son, but you will not be able to do it.” the father’s hand drops from the wrench.

Eagerly the son grips the heavy handle and struggles to turn the nut. It doesn’t budge. He grunts and whines and sweats. “I guess it’s tight enough, Daddy,” he pants.

“Let me help you, Son,” the father’s strong hands grip the handle again, turning the nut easily.

“But I was trying to help you,” comes the disappointed whisper.psalm-25

“Help me is correct, but you can’t do it on your own.” The father gives his son a loving squeeze. “Now I need you to climb out from under here and wait until I need you again.”

“Wait, Daddy? Again?” The disappointment is evident.

“Yes, Son. Sit where you are. I will call you when I need you.”

“But Daddy, I am ready now–”

“I will let you know when I am ready for you–but I can’t use you unless you are available and waiting.”

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Women of Wisdom: Behold, the Lord’s Handmaid

December 23, 2008 at 9:45 am (W.O.W.) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

the-lords-handmaid

Adapted from the gospels of Matthew, Luke and John

Once upon a time a modest little Jewish girl was born into a loving home in the  city of Nazareth in sunny Galilee. As she grew she learned to care for a home and a family and she dreamed of the day when she would marry a godly man and raise godly children. Then one day her dream seemed almost realized when she was sought in marriage by Joseph, the son of Jacob, a local builder, a man with a reputation as clear as his namesake, the son of the first Jacob who had become Israel. Though not wealthy, Joseph also traced his family line directly to King David! How her heart must have swelled with pride and pleasure as the couple exchanged their betrothal vows and prepared for happily ever after.

In the midst of the daily routine of baking flatbread and washing clothes and weaving linens and dreaming of marriage, Mary received a remarkable visit. “Good morning, God’s favored one. Yahweh is with you!” The brightness, the splendor, the purity and holiness radiating from the face and clothes of the strange man sent tiny shivers down her spine, but it was his greeting which Mary found most troubling. Brow knit, head bowed, she turned the strange words over and over in her mind. “Favored one. Yahweh is with you.” Her mind darted toward the temple in Jerusalem where Yahweh was said to dwell—unapproachably. How could He be with her? “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with Almighty God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and you will name Him Jesus. He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High; and God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and His kingdom will have no end.” The angel’s voice was like a waterfall, pouring over Mary’s mind and soul and heart. She desperately tried to take it all in. Was he promising that she would be mother of the Messiah? The long-awaited Savior of Israel? But what did he mean “the Son of the Most High?” Would Joseph be the father? Was this a promise for later…or now?

“How is this possible?” Mary whispered, her hands trembling. “I am a virgin.”

The angel’s next words would remain in her heart forever, treasured and turned over and pondered upon. “The Holy Spirit will come on you and God’s power will cover you. This is why the holy offspring will be called God’s Son.”

Did the full impact of the message sink into Mary’s heart?  The Messiah would be divine. Born of a virgin. No human father. God’s own Son. She would hold God in her arms. Nurse God at her breast. Teach God to speak? Kiss God on the forehead? A shiver passed through her body as the angel continued. “In fact, your relative Elizabeth has also become pregnant in her old age—she who was barren is in her sixth month! Nothing is impossible for Yahweh!”

Overwhelmed by inexplicable emotions, Mary knew one thing with certainty—whatever God did was good. Whatever He planned would be accomplished. Whatever He wanted, she wanted. With her whole heart. She was at his disposal. “Behold, I am the Lord’s maidservant. Do to me whatever you have said.”

Then he was gone.

Then came the uncertainty, the doubt and the fear. What would this mean? Virgins didn’t conceive. To become pregnant during betrothal was adultery—and punishable by death. Her life had looked so simple and beautiful—an ideal marriage to a godly man. God had called her to something more. Might the call of God destroy her dreams? The angel had told her something else—Elizabeth was also expecting miraculously. The first opportunity found Mary accompanying a caravan to Judah.

God’s confirmation greeted her in the form of her aging cousin, renewed like Sarah of old, her face wreathed in smiles. “Blessed among women are you! And blessed is the fruit of your womb! How has it happened that the mother of my master has come to me? When I heard your voice the baby within me leaped for joy! Blessed are you for believing the word of the Lord!”

Tears sprang to Mary’s eyes as she felt the Holy Spirit burning hotly inside her heart. She couldn’t hold back the joy that poured over her spirit. “My soul exalts the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. He has regarded the humble state of His bond slave…the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His name!” The words rushed from her lips like the flow of a pure fountain, washing her trembling spirit in life and light.

The next three months were times of continual wonder, being with Elizabeth, sheltered from the uncertain future, watching the miracle inside her body develop. When Elizabeth finally delivered a son and his father regained his voice to deliver a stirring prophecy, Mary’s heart clung to every word. Full of God’s unfolding plan, she turned her steps homeward, knowing she must soon share her news. How would it be received?

In the moment between Mary’s explanation and Joseph’s response, the scenes of the last three months flashed before her eyes: all the wonder, the excitement, the joy. But in the face of her betrothed she read only pain and heartbreak. Virgins don’t conceive. Only adulteresses do. For Joseph to marry a pregnant woman would mar his reputation forever—as if he accepted the bastard child as his own.  Worse yet, his own repugnance to impurity could not allow him near a fornicator.  As he turned and walked away from her, Mary’s girlhood dreams came crashing down like the walls of Jericho. Who would ever marry a woman who had given birth to a child while claiming to be a “virgin”?

In the middle of the night, Joseph heard from the Lord. His immediate response was immediate obedience—he rose from his bed and took Mary as his wife. Like a thief in the night. But he kept her pure, so that the holy child would truly be born of a virgin. Now perhaps Mary could have her happily ever after?

But the Lord was on the move again, fulfilling prophesies through the ungodly Caesar. A decree required Joseph to travel to his heritage town of Bethlehem. Willingly, Mary packed up and went with him, about to give birth. And while they waited, unable to find housing, the labor pains came on and she gave birth and wrapped her baby and laid Him in the only thing available—a manger. What must her thoughts have been as she held the newborn Son of God to her and whispered the name the angel had given her “Jesus?” Or the name Isaiah had prophesied for the virgin’s Son: “Immanuel”—God with us. Soon her tranquility was invaded by a group of noisy, smelly shepherds, eagerly seeking the Messiah. Opening her heart and arms, Mary shared with them the gift God had given her, pondering all that had been told her and storing it in her heart.

Life hardly ended with a serene crèche scene. A week later Mary, likely still cramping and bleeding, traveled with Joseph to Jerusalem to present Jesus at the temple, offering the best they could—two turtle doves or two young pigeons to redeem Him back. There they were greeted by prophetic confirmation: the elderly Anna who praised God for the redemption of Israel and the aged Simeon, who took the infant from her arms and promised her more pain, “A sword will pierce even your own soul.” Any thoughts of happily ever after must have fled Mary’s mind at these words.

Joseph found work in Bethlehem and built a house. As a devoted mother, Mary poured herself into her baby, meeting His needs, nursing Him, holding Him, wiping his little bottom, bathing His little body. Never had she realized how truly raising a baby was serving God. She was just beginning to feel at home when a large caravan arrived outside the door. Camels grumbled and snorted, horses pawed the ground and a group of elegantly dressed men with long grey beards and turbans invaded her little paradise. Again she opened her heart and watched, bewildered as they poured out gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. Then, almost as quickly as they had come, they were gone. Mary was shaken awake in the middle of a sound sleep by her husband. “Get up, quickly!” he urged. “We have to leave and get Jesus away from here.” Just like that, her serene life was shattered and she found herself a fugitive in Egypt, living off the gifts of the wise men. Before she could make herself at home there, the Lord had called them back home to Nazareth.

Once upon a time a quiet little Jewish girl had dreamed of a quiet life with beautiful, dark-eyed children and a gentle, godly husband. Then the Lord had called her to the most blessed role and her life turned upside down. She nearly lost her betrothed. Rumors and insults still straggled across the lips of neighbors for years afterwards. She had to give up her home and give birth in a far away place, cold and alone at night. She’d fled her homeland to save her child. Now she was home again. Finally, perhaps she would find her happily ever after.

As the child grew in grace and more brothers and sisters were added to the family, Mary began to learn more of this Son of God, born to her. The Passover feast found Him missing and her heart raced as she and Joseph searched for three days before finding Him in the temple. Struggling between pride at the report she heard of His wisdom and relief at finding Him she scolded, “Why did you do this to us? We’ve been searching everywhere for you!” His answer must have sent her mind spinning. “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I must be doing my Father’s business?” For the rest of His life, His Father’s business would be His priority. He would stay out all night, sleeping under the stars, trekking across the countryside healing, teaching and gathering disciples. Mary knew His divine mission was from God, but she didn’t understand that the sword that pierced her heart would come so soon. She didn’t know that she would watch her Son slowly proving His independence of her and her advice only to prove her dependence on Him. Yet she had to trust Him, to trust that her Son knew the best. Each time He reminded her that He knew best, it must have sent a sword through her heart. Hadn’t she nursed Him? Hadn’t she wiped away His tears? Hadn’t she poured her heart and life into Him? She admired His compassion, His wisdom and His love. But how could she let go of the tiny baby she had held in her arms so many years before and worship the Man He had grown to be—God’s Son, in Whom He was well-pleased.

One terrible night, at the height of His popularity, He was betrayed by a friend and led as a sheep to the slaughter to the hill called Golgotha. His mother stood at the foot of His cross, weeping because she could not hold Him and comfort Him and wipe the blood and sweat from His face. She stood, ready to do for Him whatever she could, helpless to do anything for Him. Once God had promised she would bear a Son who would save His people from their sins. The Messiah. There He hung, naked and shredded, gasping for breath. His eyes met hers. “Woman,” he whispered, “Behold your Son.” And his eyes fixed on her nephew. “Behold, your mother.”

In that moment, Mary knew that He was no longer hers. That He never had belonged to her. In that moment the sword pierced her heart with a searing agony. Where was the happy ending of which she had dreamed? Then darkness overwhelmed everything and He passed.

After years of devotedly seeking to serve God, Mary lost her holy Son.

Such a moment couldn’t bear repeating had God not known best, had Jesus not been in control, had not the Spirit been moving. Mary had sacrificed her dreams and hopes for her Son unaware that He would sacrifice His life for her. Just as Jesus had laid down His life, He had power to take it up again. Three days later He rose, no longer Mary’s Son, but now fully her Master. Her God. In His death and resurrection, He saved her from the power of sin and death. Through Him, she obtained the new birth that made her a child of God. Through her Son’s perfect plan, Mary obtained her happily ever after—for eternity.

wow

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Lessons Learned…And Still Learning!

October 7, 2008 at 7:36 pm (A Slice of Life, Attitudes, God's Will, Godly Living, Homemaking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

As many of you have probably noticed, I have taken a break from blogging for, well, nearly a month now!  I’m sorry that I pulled away while in the middle of the series on situational modesty-I didn’t want to quit after dealing with only one situation!  I didn’t want to leave our readers hanging!

That said, I do not regret the decision to stop writing for a while.  My life had become rather disorderly and discouraging because of some wrong thinking and wrong actions that I had allowed to creep in.  So after talking with Nathaniel about my need for focusing on the basics, he agreed that I should put down the pen and take care of my top priorities.

And really, that’s what this has been all about-priorities.  God has created me and saved me to be first and foremost His daughter, His maidservant, His worshiper.  And He has given me in marriage to my husband Nathaniel, to be his wife, his helper, his home-maker.  My job, my career as it were, is to serve my God by serving my husband.  It’s incredible the way even good things can turn into major distractions when we set them up as more important than simple obedience to what God has clearly commanded in His word.  And such has been the case with writing for this blog.  I had begun to view it as my job, and I approached it in a professional manner, seeking to do my best, meet deadlines, etc.  And with the same mentality as the modern feminist, I eagerly threw myself into the task, the “ministry”, and allowed that to become more important to me than my wifely duties.

Having something else-something more visible to the rest of the world-made me feel important.  When people asked what I do, I could now say that I’m more than just a housewife-I’m a writer, too!  But why do I want more?  Why is serving God and my husband not enough?  Because I was seeking the praise of man, and I was allowing humanistic, feminist ideas to influence both my thinking and my actions!

It played out something like this:

Week one: I love being at home serving my husband.  I’m so glad that he supports me in staying home and not having a career-it’s such a blessing to be able to focus on serving God in our home.  With that in mind, Nathaniel has encouraged me in my decision to start a blog with Abigail-we really want to share a vision for biblical womanhood with young ladies, challenging them to obey what God has commanded us as women.  It’ll be a good outlet for my many ideas and writing.  God has done so much in my life to conform me to what He desires, and it has brought great blessing!  I want to share this with others.

Week two: Blogging is going well, we’re growing; it’s fun and challenging.  Spent too much time online reading and commenting on other blogs…I’ve neglected the laundry for a few days…I really need to get that done!  All in all, though, I’m managing things pretty well.

Week three: God seems to really be using our blog to encourage other girls in their walk with Christ!  There’s so much I want to write about!  I think I’ll write a series on situational modesty!  And I need to set deadlines…be really professional about this…other bloggers seem to be doing well by doing this or that…I think I’ll try that.  Might take a little more time, but the more people know about our blog, the more God can reach with our message about biblical womanhood!

Week four: Got up and saw Nathaniel off to work.  Then logged on to the computer.  I’ve got a lot to do today, and I wanted to get going on my writing.  Oh, dear.  I ended up spending three hours in front of the computer-writing and surfing blogs.  I’m such an information junkie.  Sigh…end of the day, what have I gotten done…whoa, I hardly got anything done that I intended to do.  And…well, I guess I’ll read a Psalm before I go to bed.

Week five: Three articles into the series on situational modesty.  It’s really been a blessing to see how ladies have responded-kinda calmed my fears that I’d be stepping on people’s toes.  My morning Bible study has been anything but consistent lately…and usually I end up reading God’s word for my writing more than to spend time with him…that’s not quite best, but at least I’m in the word each day!  I think I’ll go to the coffee shop to write and study…I feel more professional there than at home.

Week six: UGG…I do NOT want to write this next article.  The swimsuit thing was a lot of work, and people seemed to appreciate it…but this next article might really stir things up…I am dreading writing it!  Sigh…and there’s so much piled up here around the house…and I’ve been so emotional lately-it’s like I’m driven by my emotions.  What’s up with that?

Week seven: Ok, this article is not writing itself, so I’d better get started on it.  I’ll do an outline.  There, my notes are done.  Wow, that’s a lot to cover.  Oh, I want to write it now, but there is a huge stack of dishes to be washed!  Good grief!  I wish those dishes would just do themselves!  This takes so long.  How am I supposed to keep up with a decent writing schedule when it takes so long to keep up with things around the house?  And I just have to do it all over again the next day?!?!  I’m a writer, why should I have to deal with this stuff?  I’ll just get Nathaniel to help me clean up this evening…

Breaking point: Wow, I used to love serving and cleaning and organizing.  I love being at home, and I love being a home-maker for my husband.  So why have I not enjoyed it lately?  Gasp!  I’ve placed other things above the things that are most important!  I’m just like the career-minded woman-even though I’m not getting paid and I’m not even leaving my home, I have sought to escape my most basic responsibilities, neglecting them to pursue something else!  If I have as my highest daily priority something other than worshiping the Lord and serving my husband, if I am more eager to do that new priority than the other two, then I have 1) created an idol, 2) begun to embrace the feminist mindset that values personal fulfillment and achievement more than God and family, and 3) I’ve robbed myself of any joy in doing what I have been called to do, because I have come to see something else as a higher calling.

The major indicator of this problem that became most evident to my dear husband was my attitude of discontentment.  I simply wasn’t happy and couldn’t figure out why.  I would talk to Nathaniel about how I felt, and he gently and wisely alerted me to what I was saying-I wasn’t content.  I was looking for the things around me to be just right in order for me to be able to function, to be disciplined, to be happy.  Instead of being satisfied in my Savior, and thankful for all He’s done for me and given me, and instead of thriving where He’s planted me, I had neglected to give thanks, neglected to stay put, and I sought affirmation from other people and comfort from doing whatever I felt like doing at the moment.  Living to please yourself really is the short cut to emptiness.

And when I’m empty I have nothing to give to others.  I cannot teach others to do what I am not doing.  I cannot spiritually encourage others when I am downtrodden.  I cannot serve my husband to the best of my ability when I’m worried about serving my readers (most of whom I’ve never even met).  I cannot glorify God in my writing if I am not glorifying God in my daily life!

Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can fall into wrong thinking and allow everything to be turned on its head?  Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can allow something like “ministry” to get in the way of what God really wants us to be doing?  This was hard to take in once I realized what I’d been doing.  In brokenness I confessed my wrong thinking and wrong priorities and attitudes to my husband, and expressed to him what I saw to be a very clear solution (or part of the solution):  pull away from blogging.

If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it far from you…Let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us…All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable…All things are lawful, but I will not be mastered by anything.  Scripture is clear.  I knew what I had to do.  I had to cut out the idol-and for an undetermined amount of time.  And this was best anyway, since I didn’t have anything to offer-no wonder I dreaded writing my next article!  I was running on empty!

I’ve had a lot to learn in the area of personal discipline over the past several weeks-my unwarranted loyalty to blogging was only the most obvious problem.  It seemed that everything was in disarray when I finally hit my breaking point.  And now things are looking up, so I’m slowly getting back to writing, though now with a new focus.  I’d like to share more of what I’ve learned in my “time off” in future posts, but I think what I’ve written here will suffice to bring you up to speed for now.  Just please learn from my mistakes.  Don’t allow ANYTHING to get in the way of simple, joyful obedience to the things God has clearly called you to in His word.

May we keep in mind lessons learned, and may we continue learning to please the Lord in everything we think, say, and do!  Grace and peace!

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