Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I receive a daily devotional from Walk in the Word by Dr. James MacDonald; this was yesterday's. Awesome stuff... (none of these words are mine, but I agree whole-heartedly).

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. . . . It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. 1 Corinthians 4:3-5

I grew up in a good church with good people. But one issue I noticed even as a young person was a constant struggle with an outward focus. Folks were obsessive about appearances.

As a kid, I remember the day I found out that a man in our church smoked cigarettes. I was shocked. To be clear, I think smoking is an unhealthy, addictive habit that I wouldn’t commend to anyone. If it’s something you have an addiction to, I hope the Lord sets you free. But somehow this external habit was blown way out of proportion and was thought to be the most awful thing a Christian could do. In our twisted little grid, you could only be a good Christian if you didn’t do "The Filthy Five" (smoking, drinking, dancing, gambling, and going to movies).

Well, what about all the other things you’re not supposed to do? Or the things you’re supposed to do that you don’t do? Well, we don’t really talk about those. We just obsess about the ones people can see.

The external was put under the microscope. The outward appearances were scrutinized. You couldn’t walk in the church foyer without everyone inspecting everyone else. And the truth of it is, nobody was pleasing anyone. It took me a long time to shake that mind-set in ministry.

I cannot please everyone. You can’t either. The attempt on our part to keep trying leads first to a crease, then a crevice, then a canyon of distance between who we are and who we try to appear to be. Let’s be done right now with people-pleasing. It’s destructive to us and despised by God. I dream a better dream for us than allowing petty people, majoring on silly things about which the Bible does not even explicitly speak, to control our hearts and lives. Let’s not allow even our brothers and sisters in Christ who have strong opinions to pressure us into external conformity that doesn’t reflect our hearts and doesn’t please or satisfy God. No doubt about it, hypocrisy has to go.

It would be hard to even frame language that could capture how much God hates hypocrisy. Most of the time we just don’t get it-God isn’t fooled by our cleverest act. How arrogant of us to think that God has forgotten what He told Samuel: "For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).

Monday, May 26, 2008

2000 Miles

Goodness...I've never had a week go by so fast. :-)

Last weekend, my uncle, who lives in Quinter, Kansas, passed away from cancer. My mom, two of my aunts and myself started out last Monday around 12:30 pm for my sister's house in Indiana where we were meeting another sister from northern IN. The 6 of us piled into her Suburban and headed for Kansas. We drove to the west side of St. Louis before stopping for the night.

Here's the interesting thing- I'm used to traveling with my husband who would never just drive around looking for a hotel. He would have calculated where we would be by bedtime and made advance reservations. We have 6 women, none of whom want to make a decision about our nightime accomodations. I have it within me to take charge, and yet feel the need to not be controlling- a real fine line, at times. Anyway, we finally decide and settle in for the night.

The next morning, we were on the way. We got to Quinter around 7:00pm on Tuesday, in time for the visitation. My aunt was so grateful we had made the effort to go, and that, in turn, made me thankful that my husband and children were willing to take care of things at home so I could go. We attended the funeral on Wed. morning and headed for home after spending the afternoon with my aunt and cousins.

This one thing I know- I will never be tempted to move to western central Kansas! I had forgotten the ever-present blowing wind, the dry, dusty air, the gravel roads...It's not a pleasant feeling to bite down on grit. Some of the locals commented that the day of the funeral was one of the windiest they have had in a while.

We spent Wed. night east of Kansas City. We were on the road Thurs. morning by 6 bells. We got to my sister's Thurs. evening and than had the 3 1/2 hour ride back to Ohio. I enjoyed the time with the ladies, but I was certainly glad to be home again. The kids had taken excellent care of everything, including meals and laundry.

My husband was actually kind of apprehensive about me going. We couldn't remember the last time I had went away and left him at home with the kids. He said he was nervous because he really didn't know how to do everything I do...and so, that was probably a good thing- for him to see a little of that.

Jerald took the day off Friday so we could have a 4-day weekend. We spent most of that time working outside, with a break on Sat. to attend a friend's graduation open house.

Like I said, the week flew it is Mon. already.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

I've tried to really down-play Mother's Day here...I don't want the kids to think they always have to get me anything or make it seem like a burden. But it seems like they WANT to, which is encouraging as a mom. I remember some of the homemade things when they were little, the cards, the drawings. One memorable year, I was served breakfast in bed complete with the flower in the vase. I usually HATE my food touching on my plate, but that time it didn't seem to matter so much.

This year has probably been the most touching. We had plans to spend the weekend in Indy with some friends. Saturday morning before leaving, Adam (our 18 yr.old) knocked on our bedroom door while I was still lazing in bed and said, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom" and produced roses. While in the mall browsing with our friends on Sunday (our girls had went off to shop by themselves) they appeared with candles for each of us moms. And then, to top the weekend off, after we got home Sunday night, all the kids produced a certificate for a one hour rejuvination facial.

The really cool part is not the gifts themselves, but that the kids take the time to know who I am as a person and what really speaks to me. Thanks kids...I love you all so much!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Yippee Skippee

I'm going to the airport to get my husband tonight...he's been gone for most of the last two weeks. Then we get to spend the weekend together with my family at Pokagon State Park (Christmas gift from my mom). Even though there's a bunch of us, hubby and I will definitely be seeking out alone time.

If you haven't figured it out by now, my husband travels for business a fair amount of time. He loves, loves, loves his job and that means enough to me for me to support him no matter what. Because of homeschooling, it is more of a challenge for me to get to go along, but every now and then it works out.

The older the kids get, the harder it is to be mom & dad. Even though my husband and I talk every day while he's gone, it's hard to share adequately over the phone. When the kids were younger, it was more physically exhausting, but now it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Our kids have been a tremendous blessing to us, serving the Lord and loving Jesus, but there's just a certain amount of commotion going on pretty much 24/7. They have a lot they want to talk to us about (which we are very thankful for), but sometimes I can feel fairly overwhelmed trying to just listen and feel their emotions without trying to fix and solve and etc.
God has just been so incredibly good to us and our family. We have a strong marriage and 5 beautiful strong children. And how I went from the first sentence to this, I'm not really sure. I'm just typing my thoughts as they come...