Thursday, February 11, 2016

thankful for


...conversations with my girl about her future. Watching her eyes light up, listening to her plans, affirming her gifts. These are good things.

...the Lord's provision. It doesn't always come in the way or time I'd like, but it always comes.

...books that challenge me to change my way of thinking.

...sisters in Christ who uphold me in prayer.

...fresh coats of paint

...laughter. With my husband, my girl, friends. Precious times.

...and these,

I thank thee for personal mercies,
a measure of health, preservation of body,
comforts of house and home,
sufficiency of food and clothing, continuance of mental powers,
my family, their mutual help and support,
the delights of domestic harmony and peace,
the seats now filled that might have been vacant,
my country, church, Bible, faith.

~Valley of Vision

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

pondering...


She'd denatured parts of her own existence by printing and framing and freezing them. And they'd become denatured even further by being written about, analyzed, lionized by other people, by strangers. 
- Anna Quindlen Still Life with Breadcrumbs (p. 231)


and this,

It’s great that struggling and lonely people can find community, resources, and honest conversations with others online. But one drawback is that we can feel a weird sort of obligation to put our private stuff out there for everyone to read -- as if a little privacy were the same thing as a lack of authenticity.
- Rebecca Reynolds @ Thistle and Toad 


as well as this,

The internet makes the world too big sometimes. Big can be good, as the internet delightfully stretches our reach across the globe, enabling us to glimpse what gospel laborers are so faithfully doing in various creative ways.
But then, when our view is stretched out across the world, it is far more difficult to close the laptop and return to the close-up view of our lives. The close-up seems small, like the sluggish feeling of slowing the car to 30 when we've been cruising at top-speed on the interstate. It suddenly seems as if we're going nowhere, doing nothing, at least nothing that would draw attention as a status update.
- Christine Hoover @ Grace Covers Me

and praying for eyes that focus on the close-up.

Monday, February 8, 2016

"I am deeply persuaded that the foundation for people-transforming ministry is not sound theology; it is love."  At first I wanted to close the book. The club-wielding Pharisee inside of me was quick to decry Paul Tripp's words.

Join me at Out of the Ordinary to read the rest...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

ouch.

"My daily behavior is my attempt to get what is important to me in various 
situations and relationships. My choices and actions always reveal
the desires that rule my heart." 


It had been the most difficult week I could remember in quite a while. Unexpected bills, a heat-pump on its last legs in the most brutal stretch of winter so far, two days of jury duty an hour away, and disappointing news. They had all converged in five tortuous days. I was at my breaking point when I opened the book for a much-needed reprieve. Yet the words were like a bucket of ice water thrown in my face.

I thought back to my behavior of the past week. I'd been upset, and I let everyone who came within a 10-mile radius know it. As each new disappointment came, I looked for someone to blame - my husband, our insurance company, the electric company, the legal system, and, finally, God. How could he let these things happen? Didn't he know how tight things are right now? How much we'd hoped for a different outcome in a particular circumstance? How much all of this hurt?

I continued grousing as I read. I wasn't convinced that my complaining was the problem. After all, my tears and bad mood were completely justified.  Weren't they?

"The deepest issues of the human struggle are not issues of pain and suffering, but the issue of worship, because what rules our hearts will control the way we respond to both
suffering and blessing."

Oh. With a heart sufficiently pricked, I once more thought over the previous week. This time seeing my sin as God may have seen it. Ashamed, I realized that Tripp is right. My troubles weren't the problem; my misplaced worship was. Instead of giving God the honor and glory due Him, I had worshiped my comfort, my expectations, my convenience. These things were far more important to me than anything else at the present. They were my idols.

I wish I could report that at that moment, I fell to my knees and thanked God for every trial of the past week. I didn't. But I did ask for His forgiveness. I did pray for His guidance. I did beg Him for patience.

Tough lessons, but good ones. Praise God for His inexhaustible grace!