Monday, June 25, 2012

Waiting for Summer..........

Once again, we are waiting for summer at the end of June!  The sun has been playing hide-and-seek with beautiful puffy clouds, and the puddles continue to dance with the rain drops every other day.  I'm looking forward to some warmth soon.  Hopefully.

We went to a wonderful wedding the other day.  It was an incredibly warm and beautiful event, despite the rain outside!  Lots of sunshine inside.  It was one of those where we just rejoice that there's nothing to worry about with these two.  It's a good match.  A godly relationship.  A "Yes!" in the kingdom of God.

We've been to a few gatherings honoring this couple in the past month, and I caught a couple of shots of my grandson and granddaughter at them, as well as one in May at Jessie's birthday party.  Just thought I'd share them.

This is sweet Ava last month,

and last week.

And handsome Xander at the wedding,
shortly after filling his candy bag at the "Candy Bar."
One happy camper!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

And the music remains...

Tomorrow, if God allows, an almost life-long dream will come true for me.

When I was a kid, my family watched The Smothers Brothers Show on TV for as long as it ran.  The summer of '68, they introduced a guy from Arkansas who so charmed the masses and the CBS execs that he was offered his own show the next year.  He had an amazing voice and played the guitar as if it were part of him.

I was twelve years old.

Music is a funny thing.  It embeds itself in places I can't see, draws associations I'm unaware of at the time, gets indelibly lodged in my memory and evokes emotions that surprise me.  I listened to this guy's music for many years, faithfully watched his show every week for the 4 years of its run, gathered his albums, followed his career, his ups and downs, his tragedies, and eventually learned that the grace of God had saved him.  I recall great emotion when I heard that news.  And whenever I hear one of his songs, it just does something to me.

Surprised by emotion.

Glen Campbell now has Alzheimer's.  Again, I was surprised by the emotion that knowledge evoked in me.  Sadness.  A flood of memories of TV shows, magazine article pictures on my bulletin board, and 33 LP records.  I also discovered that he is in the midst of his "Goodbye Tour" and will be playing in Shelton tomorrow night, surrounded by three of his kids who form part of his band and who help him function enough to do the shows.  This seventh son of a seventh son, who still has a golden voice and magic in his fingers, is performing despite the ravages of this diabolical disease, because in ways we don't understand, the music remains.

And I'm going. 

More than 4 decades beyond the summer of '68, and I get to go listen to this man sing the songs that have been part of the fabric of my life since then.  And I get to share it with some of my favorite people on earth.

How cool is that?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The conversation matters more than the outcome.....

"But you, when you pray, go into your inner room....."
"Pray in this way: Your will be done....."
"All things for which you pray and ask,
believe that you have received them,
and they will be granted you....."
"With all prayer and petition
pray at all times in the Spirit....."
"Pray without ceasing....."
"Is anyone among you suffering?
Then he must pray....."
"Is anyone among you sick?
Then he must call for the elders of the church
and they are to pray over him,
anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord....."
"Therefore, confess your sins to one another,
and pray for one another
so that you may be healed....."
"Beloved, I pray that in all respects
you may prosper and be in good health,
just as your soul prospers."

The Gospels and Epistles

I don't know one person who, having earnestly prayed for something at one time or another, hasn't been met with silence.  Seemingly unanswered prayer.  Why is that?

I have been working this through as we have prayed and prayed for answers to what is wrong with me.  I know He knows, but He isn't telling right now.  Not yet.  Maybe not ever.

Okay.  So what do I do with that?

In His mercy, He has dropped a lot of words in front of me in the past months about this:

~ The book of Job. (Yeah, what do I know?  I'm right there with him.)

~ "Lord, the one You love is sick."  (about which I blogged recently.)

~ The difference between Religion and The Gospel, (a collection of comparisons sent to me in an email):
 With Religion: My prayer life consists largely of petition and it only heats up when I am in a time of need.  My main purpose in prayer is control of the (my) environment.
With the Gospel: My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration.  My main purpose is fellowship with Him.

~ And then I came across an amazing piece by Julia Attaway, a contributor to Daily Guideposts, that has had a tremendous impact on me.  I am including here a small part of the lengthy piece.  I highly recommend reading the whole thing here.  For a little background, they have a son who has chronic anxiety and this piece starts with her challenges in parenting a little one with such struggles.

"One night in desperation I finally cried out, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”  Much to my surprise I got an answer right away, quiet but clear as a bell. “Pray and suffer.” 


Pray and suffer.

It wasn’t on the list of things I’d hoped for, or even on the waiting list. However, it made infinite sense. I’d been praying: for John’s problems to go away, for superhuman competence, for the grace to master my frustration. I winced as my brain slowly circled the idea that learning to live with not getting what I thought I needed could be part of my cross. If so, I’d been fighting it as much as I’d been fighting the turmoil that had been thrust into my life.
Pray and suffer. Why not? There are worse things to learn to do graciously. If we are to trust God in anything at all, it’s absolutely essential that we trust He will work through any and all circumstances to draw us closer to His son. The cross doesn’t teach us that God will keep us safe from the Boogie Man. It shows us that what we cannot endure alone, we can endure with God, for the love of God.....

And this is mature trust: we know God can save us from the fire, but we choose to worship Him whether He saves us or not. God is God, and worthy of being served for that reason alone. To grow up in faith means we move beyond thinking about what God can do for us, and rest in who God is. It means we pray without ceasing because the conversation matters more to us than the outcome.  And it means that we accept the times we get no answer to prayer, because we want His will more than we want whatever we’re asking for."
 copyright 2011 Julia Attaway

So, here's where I am when contemplating my question "So, what do I do with that?"

~ Realize I don't know squat.  (Just like Job.)
~ Understand that it isn't my purpose to control my environment.  (It's to fellowship with Him.) 
~ Communicate in faith and trust. ("Lord, the one You love is sick. You are sovereign and I leave it with you, offering no ideas for how You might answer.")
~ Pray and suffer.  (He did.)
~ Come to the place that the conversation matters more to me than the outcome. (Wow)

Maybe I'm getting it a little bit.  It's relationship He's after.  And I have a long way to go.

It may be quiet around here for awhile yet.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Will Carry You......

"Lord, the one you love is sick."
John 11:3

I just recently finished reading "I Will Carry You" by Angie Smith.  It chronicles the loss of a daughter just after birth, and the struggles and victories that lie on the road of grief.

What had the most impact on me was Angie's sharing of what she learned from the story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus in John 11.

When Lazarus got sick -- very sick -- his sisters sent a note to Jesus that simply read, "Lord, the one you love is sick."

"Lord" (here KYRIOS in Greek) denotes sovereignty. They knew He was Who He said He was, able to do anything. But they only said, "The one You love is sick." Nothing more. They told Him the problem. And left the rest to Him. Complete trust.

Since reading this, I have found myself praying that phrase repeatedly over the situations in my life that seem insurmountable. "Lord, the one you love is sick."    "Lord, the one You love is hurting."    "Lord, the one You love is needy." I so often want to provide Him with the solution I think is warranted and include that in my plea.  But leaving it at that one phrase actually represents a trust in Him that I need to cultivate.  Every day.

I'm working through how to recognize when it is time to communicate as Mary and Martha did, and when it is appropriate to seek, ask, and knock with persistence, specifically asking for certain things, as in Luke 11 (vs 8).

I am encouraged that both appear in His Word.  In walking the road of health challenges, I have mostly employed Luke 11.  Persistence.  I am now learning to say only, "Lord, the one You love is sick."  And leave the rest to Him.