Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Current Reading

"The God of All Comfort" by Hannah Whitall Smith

"The Call to Joy and Pain" by Ajith Fernando

"The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Henri Nouwen

"Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper" by Harriet Scott Chessman

Psalm 42 and 1/2 Thessalonians

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thankfulness in All Circumstances

Be Still by Stephanie Marrott
Be Still

“Is a man ever made to drink the cup of affliction when no drop of mercy is
intermingled? Is he ever visited with calamity which does not in some way
contemplate his own temporal or eternal good? Could we see all, we should see
that we are never placed in circumstances in which there is not much for which we
should thank God. And when, in His dealings, a cloud seems to cover His face,
let us remember the good things without number which we have received, and
especially remember that we are in the world of redeeming love, and we shall find
enough for which to be thankful.”

--Albert Barnes

Monday, May 19, 2008

Praed Street

I came across this site recently which is called The Way We See It and is dedicated to Londoners taking pictures of specific locations and then putting them all on a flicker stream. I was excited to see some photos of the very building we lived in when we first arrived in London. This is the building at West End Quay on Praed Street that we lived in for one month after our arrival. Here is another picture. And here is the little souvenir shop we passed each day as we walked along. Another view of the building with a deserted pub across the street, which is very near to the metro Tesco where we would get our "daily shop" in. And finally the zebra crossing from St. Mary's Hospital, whose ambulance sirens kept us up half the night until we got used to them. Thanks for taking the trip with me to Praed Street, London!

Little Steps of Faith

"If we would have great faith we must begin to use the little faith we already have. Put it to work by reverent and faithful praying, and it will grow and become stronger day by day. Dare today to trust God for something small and ordinary and next week or next year you may be able to trust Him for answers bordering on the miraculous." -A.W. Tozer

Since becoming a parent nearly 7 years ago now, I had to learn to trust God in new and more meaningful ways. I will never forget holding my newly firstborn and thinking how very underprepared I was to be his parent --and this after reading every book and magazine on new parenting that was out at the time! Then after my second child, who was born only 15 months after the first was born, there was a new level of faith required. This time, I needed to trust God that He would supply all I needed as I endured sleepless nights with a newborn and the demands of a toddler.

About 9 months after my middle child was born, she and her Daddy took a nasty tumble down the stairs that caused a traumatic brain injury and could very nearly have cost her life. In those moments, I remember crying out to God that I simply did not have enough faith to give her back to Him. But in the end, I came to the determination that I had no choice. And in His grace, He spared not only her life, but her health in its entirety. You would never know now that she had suffered such an injury.

When my older two were merely 3 and 2 years old, our youngest was born. The faith required this time was for my own personal sanity, as I suffered with post-partum depression as I never had before, enduring torturous thoughts from the enemy about the health and safety of all of my children. I had to take very small steps of faith then, as miniscule steps were all I could muster. I had to believe that God had good plans for me and my children, plans to prosper and not to harm. I stood frequently in that promise.

This past year and a half required a new level and type of faith --the faith that is required to move away completely from all you know and into another culture with my family. The faith that is needed when one is lonely and isolated and alien. I grasped onto faith then with the very tips of my fingernails as if I were gripping onto the edge of a tall cliff. I learned in a very real sense that "Jesus Loves Me This I Know" at a point in my life when I have never felt more alone, unloveable, and bumbling.

Now, I am at another crossroads of faith, one that involves as I've written about previously, the provision of a job for our family. This new kind of faith - faith for our very sustenance - has proven difficult for me. In the end, I wrestle with my erroneous theology and find that I do not believe that I should expect anything more from God than my salvation. Hasn't that been gift enough? But He does promise to provide for his children, does He not? The perfectionist in me gets frustrated with my imperfect self in this new test of faith.

But this quote by Tozer (above) reminds me that the steps of faith that I have been taking all along have not been in vain. All of the faith steps above and others that I have not written about but have definitely lived out in the years since I invited Jesus into my heart all those many years ago --all of those little steps of faith--are the very foundation for which I will trust Him for the next big thing. And in the end, may there be something very miraculous indeed. Not the job that God provides, no, but the faith. The faith that believes He can do anything. The faith that becomes sight. And the legacy for our family when we tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Natural Thrill

Bird nest with eggs by James P. Blair
Bird nest with eggs

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter...
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring -
these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
~John Burroughs

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sometimes Their Prayers Put Me to Shame

During our circle time today, we were praying for some church friends who are in Guatamala for the summer and we got to our "thanksgiving" portion of the prayer time. My two oldest blew me away by what they shared. One said, "Thank you God for our home and our family and for music and for books." The other said, "Thank you God for your Bible and your words that Jesus brought to us." I was astounded that the once simple prayers of thanks for home and family (which are very valid in their own right) had turned into thanksgiving for his good gifts of books and music and His wonderful Word. I am humbled to be praying with my little people. Through these simple every day experiences, sometimes God gives me a glimpse into the Kingdom people that He is growing them to be and I think about them in the future and I am excited and blown away and scared all at the same time. I am so thankful that as a mom I get to see these little pieces of their hearts during our prayer time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What? No Bank Holidays?

DS6 (while looking at our English calendar): "What?! Yesterday was a bank holiday and we missed it?! And dad could have stayed home for that day?!"

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I Guess I'll Be Googling This...

DD5: "Mom, what is paint made out of?"

Me: "I'm not sure. That's a good question."

DD5: "Well, you're so smart. Shouldn't you know that?"

How's that for a back-handed compliment? ;)