Sunday, June 29, 2014

Road trip day #1



Today after church we began our annual road trip to "Oregon"... We always say that but really it's initially a road trip to Redding, CA where my sister lives. Eventually we get to Oregon.

In the past, I'd wake the kids early in the morning, load them in the car, and we make it closer to Sacramento before stopping for the night. But since we didn't get on the road till about noon, after church, I decided to stop for the night in Thousand Oaks, CA.

I like Thousand Oaks. Everything grows here! Only the Santa Monica Mountains separate us from the Pacific Ocean. I wanted to go to the beach tonight but I'm just toast. Working night shift Friday night and then getting up early this morning has my body pretty fatigued. I plan to go to the beach either in the morning with the boys or on the way back home to AZ on Thursday.

I love road trips! There's just something about the open road. I guess I like the feeling that I'm going somewhere. Sometimes life feels like you're going nowhere. When you're on the road, you're going somewhere.

I'm glad I stayed for church this morning. I needed to get my compass pointed the right direction before I hit the road. It's hard to hear the preacher preach on a subject that is a specific point of sin in your own life. As I listened today, I wondered if this is how folks feel when they hear a sermon on divorce after they've gone through one- or more- themselves. It's hard, but it's good.

I'm confident not a single person who's gone through a divorce would hear a sermon on what God has joined together let no one separate and be opposed to what they heard. They, in fact, would probably be the first to stand up and say, "Amen!" They know the pain themselves. They know the damage. They know God hates divorce. They know... they hate it too. The same goes for the woman, who married an unbelieving man, who listens to the pastor preach from Ezra 9 and 2 Corinthians 6. Amen! The damage is extensive. There is no fellowship. The heart is drawn away from God, and then, when won back (if won back), is faced with the heartache of being separate in what God designed to be joined together.

During the sermon my oldest son looked over at me with a, "You're busted," look on his face. He knows. He grieves. He feels the ripping apart that comes with living with unequally yoked parents. Even though I hate it for my kids, I pray that the mercy and grace of my good God will use the pain they experience now to prevent them from going down the same path and cause them to love God's ways, which are good. All the time.

We'll talk about it tonight before we go to sleep.  Which is in about 30 minutes.  Time to sign off.


 Quieted,
Sheila

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Martha and I



Every time I read the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, I'm taken back by his exchange with Martha. I see in Martha's words my inevitable human inclination to not get God yet act like I've got him figured out.

It's what Martha says.  Jesus has finally showed up at the scene of his grieving friends' home where Lazarus has been 4 days dead.  Martha, the busy-in-the-kitchen sister, runs to Jesus not for comfort, not for help, but to protest.  "If you had been here my brother wouldn't have died!"  She accuses.  I can hear the anger and disappointment in her voice.  She believed Jesus was powerful enough to have healed her brother when he was sick, but she didn't believe there was a thing he could do now that her brother was dead.

She throws out a hail Mary, "But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask."  When I read the rest of the exchange she has with Jesus it's apparent that she doesn't think Jesus will be able to raise Lazarus from the dead.  So what does she mean by this?  Maybe she's just saying what she thinks she's figured out about God: God gives his Chosen One whatever He asks, but the Chosen One doesn't himself raise the dead.    She's declared what she thinks she's got figure out about God.

Jesus tells her that her brother will rise again and she quips back with more of her authoritative knowledge of God,  "Duh!  I know that!  I know he'll rise from the dead in the end when everyone else does!"  (My paraphrase).

Then Jesus, the only One who really knows God inside and out and who says with absolute authority the exact truth about God declares, "I am the resurrection and the life.  Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.  Everyone who believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this Martha?"

In my version: I know you think you have God down to a science Martha, but here's the truth.  Do you believe it?

Martha, Martha, Martha.  I'm just like you.  We're all just like you.  Even when face to face with the undeniable truth about God, even with Bible opened, hymns sung, prayers muttered, and orthodox church attended we still take what God has revealed about himself in Jesus, and in stubborn unbelief, hang our heads when faced with what we don't understand and can't do a thing about.  We quote in wrote what we know we're supposed to know and think we have a full handle on.  But we don't really believe a word of what we say we know.

"Yes, Lord," she told him.  "I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one has come into the world from God."

She didn't know a single thing she just said.  But she said it.  She was orthodox.  She knew the right answer.  And if she was in a debate with a person who declared what they knew about the gods she would have put them in their place with her authoritative declaration that there is One God and His Messiah would come and set them straight!  If only she really believed what she said.  If only she really knew who it was standing there in front of her.  But she really didn't.

I'm a Christian.  And if you need adjectives I'm an orthodox, Calvanistic, reformed Christian.  I believe there is one God and that He is Father, Son and Spirit.  I believe in the Christ, the only begotten son of the Living God.  I believe I'm made right with God simply and impossibly by my belief in Christ's death as the only propitiation that satisfies the wrath of God for my sins.  I believe that Christ rose from the dead on the third day and that the Spirit of the Living God dwells in me.  I believe one day I too will be raised from the dead and will live forever in abundant life where fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore are mine because I'll be in the presence of my Savior.  And beyond understanding, I believe that in that day, when I see Him, I'll be made like Him- sinless, an Image-of-God Bearer, a Redeemed One.  I believe right now I'm being transformed into that image and am being led by the same God through many tribulations as I follow the steps of my Savior.  And finally, I believe all this that I believe, I only believe, because God made me alive to Himself when I was dead as a doornail.  Even my belief is a gift from Him.

Now that's a loaded paragraph.  I claim to believe all this.  I say I know God to be these things.  But the reality is, like Martha, I claim a lot of things I really know nothing about.  This is not to say they are not true, but that the mountain of truth that they are is greater than my puny understanding.

Like Martha, my belief, my proclamation about God does not show my all encompassing knowledge, but rather, shows that an all-knowing God has rocked my world.  Like Martha.  And despite my unbelief in the things I claim I believe, He's still proving himself to be to me the resurrection and the life.



Quieted,
Sheila

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thursday: three weeks into summer break.







I work tonight. After 11 days off I'm actually looking forward to working tonight. I have had every opportunity to write a post in these 11 days, but honestly I feel like I haven't had anything post-worthy to write about.

The enjoyment of the morning milking routine is still there, but unless I get up before 6 am it's pretty warm out and I've worked up a sweat by the time we're done.

The baby goats are growing fast.  They're about 10 weeks old now and very playful.

Our five chickens are only producing 2 or 3 eggs a day.  One of the chickens (formerly the egg eater) has yet to lay a single egg.  I have seen her sitting in a nest a few times.  Since she seems to be cured of egg eating I figured maybe she'll warm up to laying eventually too.  I'll give her some time but if no eggs after a reasonable time (and any adjustments I may need to make in my care of her) I think we'll have to cull her.

It's too darn hot to go outside between the hours of 8 AM and 7 PM.   I make a run outside to give fresh water and run the sprinkler in the animal enclosure once mid day.

Our indoor days have consisted of the game of LIFE, approved movies and video games, daily Bible readings, short exercise breaks, lots of brother silliness (accompanied by lots of sighs and walking away from me), surprisingly few days arguments, a trip or two to the city pool, a library visit, lots of reading on goats and laying hens, an overnight in the Payson area and a very good visit with a friend or two.

"Blessed by the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation." -Psalm 68:19

This was in my morning reading.  It's exactly what I needed.

 Quieted,
Sheila

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

14 thoughts on turning 40

Forty is a landmark.

No big deal was made of today, but I feel like it is a big deal. I'm forty. I've been thinking a lot about what that means.

Here's fourteen of my thoughts and desires upon turning 40:

1.  According to the average life expectancy of a woman in the U.S.  I've lived half my life already.

2.  According to the Bible that's about half the life of hot breath on a cold window-  a fraction of a vapor.
Indeed, You have made my days [as] handbreadths, And my age [is] as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state [is] but vapor. Selah -Psalm 39:5

3.  If I'm half way through my life, I'm taking on the motto, "It's all uphill from here!"  Not downhill.  I want the high country for the last half.  I don't want to coast my way to the end.

4.  Forty feels... comfortable in my own skin with a deep ache for Who I was made for.

5.  I want the gospel of Christ to be more precious, and treasured, and beautiful to me than ever before.

6.  I want to love my husband well.

7.  I remember standing in the bathroom, looking at my 13 year old self in the mirror thinking, "I wonder what I'll look like when I'm 30?"  I never even thought I'd be forty.

8.  I want to speak of Christ and the good news of what he's done to reconcile man to God boldly and with love.

9.  I want to be rid of the fear of man.  It's snare has been attached to my foot too many of these forty years.

10.  I want to learn how to use power tools.

11.  I want to plant a garden and reap a harvest.

12.  I want my kids to see God's power to save!  "Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children." -Psalm 90:16

13.  "And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you [and] test you, to know what [was] in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not." - Deut. 8:2

14.  Moses was simply a dweller for forty years before God made him a deliverer.   "Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.  And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai." - Acts 7:30

This is only the beginning.  You can do anything God... even with a half breath like me.  I want to be spent for You!  Apart from you I can't do that.  May the last half of my days bring you more glory than the first.


 Quieted,
Sheila