Sunday, August 21, 2011

Seasons and Transitions

We all realize there are varied seasons in life, but I don't think we realize the extent of the transition until we're there.  It seems the last few years for me have been full of that transition.  Life is full of change and it can be very good or seem difficult.  I rest in the truth that all things are used by our Heavenly Father who never changes.  He is the One who is stable, consistent and able to guide because He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  My story ....

I laugh because as I begin to think of the changes of the last year my head spins.  But in reality, all of my life has been about change.  I began my life in a family full of boys - 3 brothers and 1 little sister.  Our lives were full of athletics and outdoor actitivites.  To say the least, I was not a girlie girl.  I could outrun and out throw most guys until we all got into our teens.  I was strong, independent and looked at my future as one of world travel, career and excitement.  Instead, God blessed me with husband, five children and being a homemaker for 20+ years.  I couldn't be more thankful. 

Then, as my children began to grow up there was need.  Work began part-time so that I could still be available for my teenagers who were quickly growing into adults.  My youngest went to college and God provided a full time job for many reasons I think.  One, of course, being to help financially since at that time there were three in college.  Although, God had always provided for their every need.  I believe it was more for me than them, but He used it for both.  Again, I am so thankful. 

My youngest graduated and married--actually in reversed order.  My husband was going to have a great year of travel ministry so we decided I would join him.  So, I went back to subbing so that I could accompany him and do more ministry.  Thus begins this new season in my life.  My children are adults.  Each one being a person I am extremely proud of and thankful for.  (The greatest joy of my life is that they all  walk in His truth.)   There is no longer need for financial assistance, oversight or guidance.  Of course, I pray for them daily and know they need encouragement as all people do.  But they are adults who are making their way before the Lord.  Thankful.

Life has taken a whirlwind shift it seems.  In the past ten months I've married off my youngest, traveled to three different countries and three different states.  I've been privileged to teach in retreats, classrooms and church in numerous situations.  Now we have just moved from the house that we called home for 27 years.  The only house my children have ever known as "home".  We are blessed with a new, bigger and better place.  One we hope will be filled with love and ministry even more than the other.  However, it's been kind of like the old shoes that you love so comfortable you don't want to give them up.  I have no regrets, but I'd be lying to say this hasn't been a bit of a transition. 

That comfort level has to be built here as there.  I want my children and others to come in and immediately feel warmth, welcome and God's love.  I related totally when one daughter cried as she left the old house.  Her life full of transition as well.  I'm comforted by the fact that it's not brick, mortar or stucco that makes a home.  In fact, I've said to many a young wife, "Home is where your family is.  It's where you make it."  It's true.  It's not the house that makes the home.  It's the loving family, the memories and the experiences that bond us together that makes a home.  In our case, thankfully, it's our common bond of Christ who holds us and blesses our unity.  Our blessings have been beyond measure.

Seasons of life all have their blessings and their trials.  We may enjoy certain ones more than others, but the point we need to see is that all of these are for a purpose.  God has different tasks for different times of our lives.  He doesn't usually toss you from one to the other without some preparation.  You don't lose your children in one day.  They grow into adulthood year by year.  Neither trials nor blessings are wasted in God's economy.  He has a purpose for all things.  Why all this rambling about seasons?  Obviously, it's on my mind.  Yet, I would hope to encourage anyone who is in transition to trust Him.  Change is not just for change sake.  Be encouraged that life does change, but the One who orchestrates all does not.  HE has a purpose, a task and truth to teach.  Oh Lord, help me see that, live that and honor that in all things.  Thank You for being the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  In YOU I trust.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ukraine Conference
Very special girls!
It never ceases to amaze me how Christians can be from different parts of the world and have totally different circumstances of life, yet there is an immediate bond.  I’ve seen it time and again, but each time it’s fresh.  Only God could do this.  Only He can work in hearts to create family from a world away.  It’s been my privilege to see that in numerous areas of the world.  This time was no exception. 
We met people in the church in Ukraine that we admired and loved immediately.  We had some that were immediate family.  There were some young women there, in particular, that were similar to our own daughters.   Intelligent, talented and amazingly fun, we loved spending time with them.  The bond of Christ unites our spirits without major discussion or event.  It just is. 
We’re connected to the same Head.  Jesus is the Head of the body of believers everywhere.  It’s no work for Him, but still incredible in scope.  We serve a God who is not only able, but cares enough to put kindred spirits together when their homes are thousands of miles apart.  What a God we serve!  May our worlds be joined in the love that He gives and His word be spread to all!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We Are Like Children, But HOW?

Scripture tells us to become like little children in our faith.  We are to trust God as children trust their parents or those they love.  Their trust and belief is unwavering and totally committed.  They believe with all their heart and lean on their parent to guide and care for them. This is the message we are to hear.  It occurred to me today, however, that we are like children but just in the wrong ways. 

Some of you know that I had a class of parolees for about 4 years.  I am now subbing for classes of the same type.  I had the privilege of returning to my former class today.  One of the discussions was very interesting.  First of all, I was giving a couple of them a hard time because I told them they had gotten lazy in their efforts since I have been gone.  You have to understand that I would have to spend the first few days and sometimes weeks convincing these guys it is worth it to try to learn.  Much of the time school had not been a pleasant experience for them.  They used to fight me all the way with excuses, goofing off or mostly just warming up to letting me help them.  Most had to be shown that I would help and could help AND that they actually could learn.

So, as I got a couple young guys to concentrate and we finished for the day.  I was encouraging them to realize they had years ahead to change their lives and this could be a good first step in that direction.  So, they began telling me that other teachers had not checked on them like me.  Therefore, because other teachers did not come up and make sure they were learning--they weren't.  They had convinced themselves, in other words, that it was up to someone else to make them learn.  Remember now that these are the same ones whom I had to "fight" to get them to accept help.  They realize it's a good thing that I help them, yet these same guys fought me doing that very thing.

It hit me how much like children they are and we are.  Children sometimes fight the very thing they need the most--things like sleep, protection, sharing and just plain discipline.  We have to help them learn that these are good for them.  Some fight harder than others and on different fronts, but all fight something.  Yet, it is the very thing that they need and would make life so much better. 

We are all children like that.  We fight against the very thing that would make life better.  Our sanctification requires chaffing against the things that we love greater than we love Christ.  We tend to fight against the change that we need to make instead of embracing it because it makes us more like Him.  It comes on so many fronts.  Some we don't even recognize at first.  Yet, true just the same.  My guys had learned that accepting help and putting in effort was so worth it even though they fought it at first.  Oh, that we would learn that the discipline of the Lord is so worth the effort. 

Lord, help us be honest with ourselves about where we argue or fight against the very thing you're wanting us to see.  Help us be like the child who has learned to trust and believe You even when it means we have to change.  Making ourselves more vulnerable is hard.  Accepting your help when things haven't worked in the past is hard.  Letting go of the past is hard.  Allowing You to enter in to the main frame of our hearts and mind is hard.  Sanctification is not easy, but so worth it.  Teach us to be like the little child that holds dad's hand because he trusts he MUST since his father said so.  That's the part of childlikeness that we need.  Help us let the other parts go.

Friday, February 18, 2011


James Dobson aptly names one of his books, “Parenting Isn’t for Cowards”.  So very true!! There are so many ways that God uses parenting in the life of the parent as well as the child.  We have the assignment of molding and training our children, but in the process we realize this job is the most challenging, stretching and life-changing we will ever have.  It is definitely the most demanding in time, patience and wisdom.  It causes great angst sometimes and the most powerful love and joy known to man other times.   Each child you have is an instrument in the hand of God to TRAIN YOU.  Whether you get that or not is entirely up to your response to His work in your life.
 I know that many of my posts will come from a parent perspective because that is the area that God used the most in my life.  It’s also the area I’ve spent the most time in besides marriage.   However, let me say from the beginning that my parenting, or anyone else’s for that matter, was by the GRACE of God.  Anything that turned out right or wise only came from God’s working in us, or by direct instruction from His Word.  Praise the Lord my children love Him and serve Him.  For that I praise Him daily.  I can take NO credit for that, however.  The character of my children is why I sometimes get more credit than I deserve, but I know it was the incredible grace of God in all our lives that made the difference there.  So, as I attempt to write to answer questions I get or attempt to encourage parents, just know that ultimately what your child becomes is up to God.  When I teach parenting I share two main points:  (1) Point them to Jesus as if their spiritual life depends on you.  (2)  PRAY with the urgency that knows it all DOES depend on God.   My hope is that as I tackle different issues of parenting God will use this weak vessel as an encouragement to you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The cutest thing happened the other day on Valentine’s Day.   I had a sweet friend and her two-year-old daughter come by with some valentine goodies.  She and the little girl were sitting with me at the table and the little girl was eating a cupcake.  Out of the blue she looked up with cupcake all over her mouth and said, “Love your house!”  It was so adorable.  She had a slight drawl when she said it.   Her mom started laughing and said I don’t know where she got that.  She didn’t remember saying that anywhere although my suspicion is that she has.  She possibly came up with that herself, but she more than likely was imitating what she had heard mom say or someone else close to her.  Imitation, the greatest form of flattery, is quite common with those whom we love and have spent much time.
Children look up to their parents.  They love without reservation and repeat behavior and language without even realizing they’re doing it.  The intimacy of relationship and pure amount of time spent listening and learning make it next to impossible not to mimic.  I find myself saying and doing things my mom said even now that I am much older and have raised my own children.  That mimicking, of course, is sometimes positive and sometimes not.
 It came to mind long ago when I would watch my children mimic me or their father that I want to be an imitator as well.  I want to have the kind of intimacy with the Lord Jesus that makes me mimic His life and Word without even thinking about it.   I want to be to the point of obeying and reflecting Him without even realizing I’m doing it.  What can get me there?
If I go back to children I see that spending time, lots of time, watching and listening in all situations we begin to imitate.  The only way to watch and listen to the Lord is spending that kind of time in His Word and in communion with Him.  I have come to realize how much the Lord uses His Word to renew my mind and spirit.  I have known that verse in Romans 12:1,2 for many years and have appreciated the truth there.  But, in the last few years, the reality of seeing my mindset and emotions truly converted to freedom in the Spirit has brought true understanding (at least a glimpse of it).   I appreciate the truth that I knew, but now KNOW.
The Word of God is THE instrument of true change in the Christian’s life.  It’s the way He trains us, guides us, gives us wisdom and teaches us how to think.  It’s a mirror to our soul in the way it reflects our sinfulness to our own eyes SO THAT we can give that very sinfulness to Him to change and transform.  What a God! What a Word! What a life He gives!  Oh, may I see Him with fresh eyes often!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Yes, I've done it.  I've joined the blogging world.  My concern is that I won't continue to add to it.  However, I have invited my daughers to add their thoughts any time they wish.  So, between the five of us, perhaps we can keep something interesting going.  Thanks for looking.  My prayer is that there will be encouragement for the soul found here.  The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is our hope and supply.  It will be our goal to share HIS wisdom, for we have none of our own.  May He bless this new adventure!