Sunday, September 28, 2008

Harder Still

Quiet dinners with uninterrupted conversation. Picking up and going out to eat on the spur of the moment. Long distance car rides without stopping. Clean floors and uncluttered counter tops. These are some of the things I remember of what life was like for the twenty two years before we adopted our daughter. Now people ask me, "Isn't it hard to be a mom?" And I answer, "Yes, it is hard!" But, the truth is, not being a mom was harder still. Thank you, Lord, for the joy, for the blessing of a child. Children are a gift straight from You. (Psalm 127:3-5)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rocking Prayer

The gentle rhythm of the rocking chair on the hardwood floor soothes a crying baby and turns my heart toward prayer. Suddenly I am stopped from my usual activity, my frantic thoughts are finally focused. Have I forgotten to pray for you today, little one? Oh, what longing for this child overtakes me. "Make her yours, Lord! May the eyes of her heart be enlightened that she may know the hope to which You have called her, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in the saints, and Your imcomparably great power for those who believe."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Making People

Nine months of knitting at the hands of the Master. A baby is born. A new creation. One of a kind. Amazing. Staggering. Beyond biology class, this is a person. Only God can create a person. Mom and dad can donate the necessary components, but God makes us who we are. He forms. He shapes. He designs. It is a serious business, one that we would do well to take seriously. It has implications for how we live, how we love, how we act. We will be held responsible. "Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, '...We did not know this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?" (Proverbs 24:11-12)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Consider Others

The lights dim, and she steps awkwardly to center stage. Anticipation hangs in the air as you glance around at the others seated in the auditorium. To your left are the doting parents. To your right, her best friends. The music begins, and she sings. Or dances. Or plays an instrument. And she's not that good. Maybe even bad. You close your eyes and say a quick prayer for her. Uneasiness comes over you, and you begin to rehearse how you might describe her performance politely without lying. Two weeks later, a video of the evening is posted on YouTube. Then it begins popping up on blog posts as an attempt to garner humor. Comments flow forth, joining in the joke. Paul reminds me, "Consider others better than yourselves." (Philippians 2:3) Help us, Lord, to laugh at the right things.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

His Compliments

Fine-tuned to hear compliments. So it is with my ears. My flesh cries out, "Tell me more; tell me more." But, I recall my previous way of life, my life before Christ. There was nothing good in me. Without faith, it was impossible to please God. Everything I do or say that is right is through His enabling power. So, if a compliment comes, I will pass it on to the One to whom it truly belongs. "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name give glory." (Psalm 115:1)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

God's Jewelry

A perfect pendant. Pale luminescent green with a thin line of gold ribboned around the top. Tiny spots of gold dotting the bottom. Exquisite. The chrysalis of the Monarch butterfly. Two women that worked at the botanical garden had been eager to point it out, and it was the first time I had ever seen one. Close by, an actual butterfly had just emerged from yet another of these amazing masterpieces. "This is so God!" My exclamation was met with no response, but clearly there could be no other explanation. "His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made." (Romans 1:20)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Reappearing Verses

There it is again! I read The One Year Bible during my quiet time, and today's Old Testament reading was Isaiah 1:1-2:22. After reading and prayerful reflection, I picked up a book that I hadn't read in at least a couple of months. I've been slowly working my way through it and had just resolved last night to finish it. The chapter was entitled "Christianity and Race Prejudice" and was written in 1910 by Francis J. Grimke. He concluded with the verses of Isaiah 1:11-17! There it is again! The same verses I read in the Bible, amazingly ordained by God for me to read again moments later in "The Faithful Preacher." This is exciting to me, as if my precious Lord has a special message to me through reappearing verses. Today it was this: "Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." (Isaiah 1:16-17)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Not Me

I'm not cut out for the mission field. Sleeping in a strange place. Eating strange food. Trying to learn a strange language. Building friendships with strange people. Facing strange trials. Fighting strange diseases. And me, a much-afraid. How could I ever make it? No, not me; I couldn't make it. But God can and does equip us to do those things that we can not do so that He will receive the glory. "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 12:8) If you mean for us to go, Lord, let the world see and know that it was by Your great hand that it was accomplished.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Keep Praying

God in His sovereignty chooses to work through prayer. It's mysterious, beyond my understanding, but confirmed many times over by the testimonies of His people. A friend has been praying faithfully for my toothache since my root canal last week. Each day there has been improvement, and each day she asks me about it and affirms her continued prayer for me. I believe God hears, and I give thanks to know that my Father is being approached on my behalf. If we reflect on how our prayers are affecting those for whom we pray, it may drive us more often to our knees. Thank you, my friend, for causing me to reflect. "Be constant in prayer." (Romans 12:12)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Babysitting Andrew

Two-year-old Andrew was happily playing with toys as Jesse plowed around him crashing through everything in sight. I got on the phone with my mom and kept my eye on them. Within minutes, I noticed that Andrew's eyes started tearing up, and I heard him whisper "mommy." I finished my conversation, we started to play together, and he was fine. In an unsure moment, he thought of his mommy, one of the two people who most show Jesus to him. In our unsure moments, let us also cry out to the One who our earthly parents prayerfully seek to reflect. God comforts the downcast. (2 Corinthians 7:6)