Monday, August 31, 2009
This week we started a new book in Sunday school on living a balanced life. Are you laughing yet??? Can you actually imagine what a balanced life might look like?? When our pastor asked my husband what in his life is balanced, my husband retorted, "My tires." Yes, that is his sense of humor. Anyway, I think all people,no matter what age or stage, sometimes (or maybe a lot of the times) feel like they are tightrope walkers, ready to tip over at any minute. What exactly is balance when it comes to living a Christ-centered life?
For a long time, my life was out of balance. When I got "reacquainted" with God, it became glaringly clear how it was out of balance. For me, it meant giving up some things to make room for other things that needed priority. Here is one example: For a long time, I tried to fit quiet Bible study/prayer time into my schedule: in the morning, (nope, didn't work-kids get up too early), a few minutes in the afternoon (not happening either with a preschooler who doesn't nap), or after the kids go to bed (this works, but what about my shows?) Okay, something has to give. Guess what it was? The shows. I basically had to give up most of my t.v. time except for a few shows that I love. Man, that was a tough time. Being obedient is NOT easy. But now that I have formed a habit of it, it comes a lot easier. My pastor made a great point during Sunday school. He said so often we try to fit time with God into our schedule, when in reality, we should build our schedule around our time with God. Makes total sense, but is so hard to accomplish in our crazy lives.
But what if God calls us to live an unbalanced life? Hmmmmm. What if he calls us away from our families to serve in the mission field? What if he calls us to pour our time and passion into a ministry that means we have little time for friends? What if He calls us to move to a different part of the country so our spouse can pursue his work? What if? Is living a life full of Christ balanced at all? Should it be so full of Him that there is little left for me? Totally unbalanced.
These are questions I have......... What do you think?
No matter what, though, I believe that God is holding my hand as I walk this tightrope. If I pursue Him and seek Him, He will guide me to a balanced life, or maybe an unbalanced life. Trusting and obeying, hoping, balancing..........He will be there if I fall off, to catch me and hoist me back up on the right path. If I will only reach out and grasp His hand, and not let go.....
If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:23,24
Anywho.....I can't stand when people give me this reason, "Dina, there is a time for everything and God's timing is that perfect timing." I mean, I know it's true, but I can't stand it! Sometimes I just want to be mad or sad or angry or frustrated or question (and not get an answer) or vent. Maybe that's just me, but that's who I am. Sure there are times that I need the reminder that "there is a time for everything" and God obviously thought this weekend was a time to remind me of his timing.
I have an acquaintance/friend that I have felt very bitter and angry toward for a while. We had started to become rather good friends last summer. Chatting on the phone or texting on occassion. It was fun - it's always fun to make a new friend. Well, she went through some stuff in her life. Lots of things were assumed by myself and others. She made some decisions that I did not see eye-to-eye on. Then, I started distancing myself.........slowly. I just sort or moved past it all. Or so I though until this weekend.
The Lord has been working on me lately to be open to HIM and where HE is leading in HIS timing, not something I do well at all. He chose Sunday morning to smack me right upside the head - HARD with harboring things. Specifically unforgiveness. PD challenged us with his sermon "Yes or No?" His question was about our attitude when someone new comes into the church. I started thinking: How would I respond if this acquaintance/friend walked into church? Would I welcome her into this place that can provide counsel and healing? Would I make her feel welcome? Would I sneak around and try not to be seen by her? Would I tell people all the things I've heard about her?
I'd love to say that I would accept her just as she is, however that may be. Truth be told, I don't know if I could do that. There is a time for everything and I feel like God is directing my heart into some forgiveness, confession, and restoration. I haven't talked to her for a while. I haven't spoken of all that I know. I haven't been Christ-like in my attitude about her. But, there is a time for everything including forgiveness, confession, and restoration.
I don't know what I would say. I don't know how I would say it. I don't know when I will say it. BUT I know that if my heart is real then God will guide me. He will pave a way because it will be in his timing and there is a time for everything.
Jesus, my heart is burdened. I'm stubborn and sometimes a royal pain. I fight you and argue and try to ignore. And then, I surrender. I'm not to that point but I know it is coming soon. Prepare me, knock me down, and speak to my heart. Take the grip that satan is trying to get on me and continue to loosen it. You are so powerful and I know that you have a time for things....help me to see the doors you open WHEN you open them.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
It's been about 6 months since I regularly attended at this church. The longest in my life. I am having a hard time attending there for many reasons. But due to the hardships there, my heart remains broken. I would have thought that after this amount of time, I would be able to go back....but the hurt remains.
As a person that lives for lists, organizations and day planners this is a frustrating part of faith for me. It doesn't matter how many times He reminds me that it's not my plan but His...I still don't get it!
I am not really sure what the point of this is...I guess God is making me start to talk about something that I have been keeping pretty much inside for a while.
I am looking for the faith lesson that I am supposed to be learning in this time.
I am having a hard time completing disciplined tasks that used to be second nature.
I have a poor attitude towards a lot of the individuals that I used to be so close with.
I don't see God weekly on Sunday morning because I am broken and distant.
I don't have a ministry that I poor my heart and soul into.
I miss my kids at church.
It changes my attitude throughout the week.
It changes the witness that I could have Monday - Saturday.
It makes me feel guilt, in turn causing more hurt.
So I know I am not the only person suffering from a disagreement on timing issue with Christ. I also know in my hard hurt heart that Jesus us bigger than all of this. And I know that when He died on the cross He knew what this struggle would feel like for me, He lost His ministry too but instead of a loss at all, He tranformed it into something even greater...Salvation. I am thankful that in my confusion, I still know His Salvation. His Mercy Still Covers Me.
Thanks for never changing. Thanks for sending Christ to experience this world and to offer your sweet sweet salvation. You know my specific struggles, could you transform them into something big and great, that will bring glory to your name. I long to bless your name. Amen
My husband and I were talking about my post for this week. I usually bounce my ideas off of him before I post and he said he thought I'd write about our anniversary which I had not even thought about. Then after I did give it some thought, I realized he was part of that idea in a different way too because he asked me to marry him some 32 years ago. He teases sometimes that I asked him which I did not.
Mike and I met in college and from the very start we were good friends which they say you should marry your best friend, don't they! But I guess soon after we started dating seriously, we both must have known that we were made for each other. We had similar upbringings in the church, both loved children (we both majored in elementary education), and seemed to have the same ideas on the importance of family and many things. It's kinda funnie to write all this, I guess I believe we can truly say that God brought us together. I know it says in Jeremiah (29.11) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Because of our shared Faith, I believe God was working in our lives BUT sometimes we didn't even recognize Him. He was watching over us and our family and all the decisions we made!! And has continued to all these years!!
We've had our struggles like every family but in looking back there has been much more positive. I praise God for the ways he has prospered and blessed my family. I think I am much more aware of it now maybe because I'm older, maybe because I know more now that God does have a plan for us, for everything we do and will help us to follow that plan. I'm ashamed for the ways and times that I wasn't following God's plan for my life. What a loving God we serve that will forgive us when we aren't and will call us back and wait with open arms until we come back to HIM. HALLELUYAH!!!!!
Next, I wanted to comment on all the wonderful people that made themselves available to work on the Fish Fry and then just this last Weds for the Day of Caring. (maybe you were one of these people!!) These are two things that our church has been involved with for many years connected to the missions committee. Two separate things but still for this post, the same. We had the fish fry to raise money for the mission workteams; The Day of Caring is thru the United Way and Housing Opportunities of Warsaw. It is sooooo AWESOME to see how God's people will come together to serve. We served 589 people at the fish fry and two separate families for the Day of Caring. There were so many that came out to work and I praise God for all of these people!
In closing, the Ladies Mission Workteam is preparing to go on their next trip in just a few weeks. We leave on September 13th thru September 19th. Our theme this year is 'We Are All Members of God's Team'! For our last meeting, we had a visit from a gal that calls herself 'Princess Purple'. She speaks to groups, usually women, about their royal heritage - that we are all princesses because we are daughters of the King of Kings!! She is a great encourager and she came to prepare us for our trip. She is so kooky and not afraid to share about God's love and the ways He works in this world. She talked to us about being on God's team dressed as a cheerleader in, yes, you guessed it, all purple. She reminded us that we needed to always be checking in God's 'planbook', the Bible. Most of all, she just shared her excitement in JESUS which she wanted us to be able to share with those we serve on our trip and all we come in contact with even in our lives!! So take these words from Princess Purple that you are a member of God's team and always 'look up'.
Dear God, I praise you for all the ways you work in our lives. I thank you for the plan you have for me and for others. I thank you for all the great people that join me on this team of yours. I thank you that you have the game plan all written out for us in the Bible and I pray that you will put it on our hearts to be reading that 'planbook'. All this for your Glory!! Amen.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
- My sixteenth birthday- My parents gave me a party with a friend whose birthday was 3 days before mine. We had all our friends over, and a great cake... it was the best (plus I got my driver's license!)
- My 23rd birthday- We had just moved to Haiti. I was adjusting to the heat (and don't even think it was nothing but H.O.T in August), to living at an orphanage with 65 kids, having no phone, tv, internet access, or even electricity. I just found an old journal from that time and I wrote about that day... I was so thankful for my friend Charity, who spent the year with me. I wrote that I got some special birthday presents- lettuce, real milk, brownies, and carmel apple suckers. (all definitely treats that year!)
- My 29th birthday. I was living by myself in Huntington, starting my fourth year working for the University. I remember calling a girl friend and telling her that I had never ever pictured that I would be single at the age of 29 and with no boyfriend in sight. I told her that I was going to have a great year and live my life to the fullest but if I was still single on my 30th birthday I was going to take the day off, cry all day, be sad, then move on. :)
Monday, August 24, 2009
1. That God loves me right where I am--imperfect, grouchy with PMS, over scheduled at times, but still lovable to God.
2. That His perfect love found a way for me to be with Him-- His name is Jesus. And HIS Grace IS enough for me.
3. I am rejoicing that I am healthy. I had a little scare over the last few weeks, but all is fine! I am thankful that He still has work for me to do here on this earth and I am tackling that work head on!!
4. I rejoice in my family: My loving, funny, dependable -as -the -sun rising husband who is my best friend, my energetic and inquisitive son who still loves to snuggle, and my loquacious, sweet as pie little girl that is a spitten image of her Daddy.
5. I rejoice that my son accepted Christ as His savior on his 8th birthday!!! Hallelujah!
6. My friends..... God has blessed me with some amazing friendships. Some close by and some far away. Each special to me.
7. I rejoice in my church family and in my little town on the lake. Both blessings.
8. I am blessed with a loving extended family-- sisters, nieces, nephews, grandmothers, cousins, and of course, my parents! My in-laws are such a blessing as well. They live 5 minutes from us and are totally involved in our kids' lives.
And of course, I have to add a few funny ones to the end of my "oh so serious" list of rejoices for today.
9. That there is a Dunkin Donuts on the way to the closest large city! All I can say folks is "Bavarian Creme, please!"
10. My daughter chose Care Bears as the theme of her upcoming birthday party instead of a "Tom and Jerry party where we watch cartoons, not play games". Thank you Lord!
There are so many more things in my life that deserve mention of a "rejoice". In my prayer time, I am really trying to praise God first for all of the blessings, and not focus so much on the "These things are not going as planned, Lord!"
One of my favorite verses I have committed to memory... I hope it blesses you today as much as it has blessed me over the last few years!
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!!! Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:4,6,7
Sunday, August 23, 2009
That was exactly how I was going to start this blog. "I'm so busy at the beginning of school that ...... blah, blah, blah." Truth be told, I haven't really known what to blog about. I have had lots on my mind: school starting, student teacher, new Bible studies, routines, running......just nothing that seemed blog worthy.
Then I was greeted this morning at church by Shannon, "I'm ready for a Dina post!" The first thing that went through my mind - see italics in previous paragraph. Then, our scripture reading from this morning really got me.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Anyway, my other sister (L) brought up a very thought-provoking point. She said (paraphrasing) "Why do we look to politicians and government and people to solve all of our problems? No one thing in this world can be the solution. Only Jesus can be our everything."
Wow. She is so right. How many times have I thought, "Oh, if such and such would do this, it would make everything ok. If only the President would do this, then our country would get back on track. If this person would stop doing that, then my life would be so much better."
Yes, maybe those things would help, but without God in the center, it is meaningless. The Founding Fathers, (while not perfect by any means), did do at least one thing right. They intended for God to be the center of our existence here in America. The center of our government, our schools, our work, everything!! I am so thankful for the freedom we have to worship the God who created us. But I am afraid that God is not the center of our being here in America any longer. I think we are the center of our being. It is all about "me" and what makes "me" happy, comfortable, popular, wealthy, etc.
How do you let Jesus be "IT" for you? How do you let Him be the guiding force in your life decisions? How do you balance politics and what God says to be true? I would love to hear your thoughts.
"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Ascent by Beth Moore is an in-depth look at 15 Psalms. Just as a song or poem can express feelings of fear, doubt, hope, and joy, these 15 psalms model how study participants can voice their own petitions and praises to our God, who is always available and ready to hear us. Explore the major feasts of Israel and journey with Beth through Psalms 120-134 in this 7-session study. Themes such as unity, joy and gratitude, redemption, repentance, the power of blessings, facing ridicule, and more are explored in detail. Modern-day believers can learn much from these treasured Psalms in their journey toward greater intimacy with God.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Thanks to each of you who left a comment! I know I love reading all of your favorite worship songs, each time I said to myself "Yep, that's a good one too!" We will be doing another drawing...sometime! I think they will just pop up here and there so keep your eyes on the blog!
Angie, CONGRATS! Could you please send your address to our email address? We will get your prize to you as quickly as possible!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Well, after dropping them off, I am a bit anxious. In my head I know they will be fine. My in-laws are responsible people, have taken care of my kids so many times, and love them to pieces. But in my heart, I am worried. I am a worrier, I admit. Even though I have come a long way in laying down my "worrying" and handing it over to God, my nature is to mull things over in my mind, creating scenarios that could happen. Does this sound familiar to any of you? I think of all the things that could possibly go wrong and how I might prevent them from happening. I think I overwhelmed my mother-in-law with all of my instructions and explanation of what I packed for them. (Did I mention that I have a bit of a control issue as well?)
So when I got home, I prayed. I prayed for their safety. I prayed for good hygiene and healthy food. I prayed that no one gets lost or sick or hurt in a freak accident. But ultimately, I prayed for God to calm my anxious heart & handed my children over to His care, knowing that He has it all under control. I heard a devotional piece on the radio today that spoke about handing over our worries to God and trusting Him for our lives and the lives of our loved ones. The speaker said our worrying does no good! It does not add one single hour to our lives. It will not change what God's plan is for us. When I worry, I try to remind myself that it really is an act of sin against God. I am showing lack of faith and trust in my creator and my redeemer.
On the way home from dropping off the kids, I heard David Crowder's newest song, "How He Loves Us" and it reminded me that nothing in this world can overpower God's love for me and His love for my children. Not even my own weaknesses of worry and control. He knows I struggle with these faults and He loves me like crazy anyway.
What can you hand over to God?
"Humble yourselves under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7
Friday, August 7, 2009
Your own copy of Me, Myself and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild. I haven't read this book but it's recommended by Beth Moore. And if you haven't caught on....WE LOVE HER! I would pretty much read anything she told me to! You will love it and be blessed by it I am sure!
And because we want you to know that you are beautiful! A Vera Bradley make - up bag....I don't know if this is the right bag because my mom got it and I can't call and ask her (cause she's at VBS...) and I don't know if it's the right print, it's just my favorite one. So even though it may not look like this, it will be pretty and you will love it!
This year is Camp E.D.G.E. where we Experience & Discover God Everywhere. It has been about extreme sports which I think the kidds think are really cool, especially the bigger kidds. We have the church looking like a camp with tents, campfires, coolers, and folding chairs. We even have a canoe where the kneeling benches usually are and it looks really neat. They've had some fun crafts and snacks that tie into that theme. I wonder sometimes if most of them even realize how it all goes together, probably not. Oh well, we plant the seeds...God will do the rest!!
I'm reminded of the story in the New Testament where Jesus calls the children to him to bless them saying, 'Let the children come unto me, do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these'. They all believe so willingly and get so excited about everything they are learning. We need to have a faith just like them!!
Maybe we need to have VBS for adults. We get so tied up in our day to day tasks and decisions which I know are important but we forget about so many other important things for God. We need to have our own personal VBS each day so that we are spending time with God daily and then our other important things will all fall into place. Let me tell you, I need to hear and heed my own message. Maybe that's why I love VBS so much because it brings me back to where I know I need to be even if only for that week.
Hey, gotta go - finishing up the sit-upons we are making today. I love VBS!
Let us pray...Dear God, I praise and thank you for this week we have had with these little ones. I pray we have touched their hearts for you and encouraged them and ourselves to follow you each day. Thank you for VBS - help us to see how important it is to take that time each day to ground ourselves and our busy lives in You!!! In Jesus name, AMEN
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I love camp for SO many reasons. This year though, I experienced something new at camp....LOVE.
For any of you who have followed my story either on here or my personal blog, you know how much I struggle to truly experience love. God reminded me just how much he does love me at CA this year. The crazy part of it is that I went to camp ready to serve and make it a great week for the campers....not expecting that God was going to stir me up so much.
I don't think I will ever be fully prepared for the way God works or the moments HE chooses to teach me more about him. He tends to use the moments when I'm not "expecting" him to dig at me that He does his best work. I truly think he uses those unexpecting moments because I am not focused on me - I'm focused on him and his guidance. Oh, how I long to be like that more and more. I long to get out of my way so that God can do his work....He's super GREAT at what he does.
Thanks Jesus for showing up unexpectedly.