Friday, November 19, 2010

The Mirror of Erised

John and I have be reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Store, his favorite. In the book, the orphaned Harry stumbles upon a the "Mirror of Erised" and is intrigued to see himself standing among his family. He spends hours in front of the mirror longing to have the connection reflected. Wise Dumbledore finds him and explains that the mirror reflects the deepest longing of a person's heart and that the happiest man on earth would be able to use it as a regular mirror.

Upon finishing the chapter, I began to think of the mirror. What would I see if I looked into the mirror? What should I see? My first thought was that I would see myself with my family in blissful security free from financial worry and stress. Wow that would be nice but as a Christian, I thought that is really not what I SHOULD be seeing is it? Then I thought, I should look in the mirror and see the world coming to faith in Christ. This is noble but I do not think that this should be the deepest longing of my heart. Next I considered seeing myself as God intended - sanctified and full of the Holy Spirit. As I thought of the things I should be seeing, another image was brought to my mind - this time from Lord of the Rings - Gandalf riding down a mountain on a white horse at the break of dawn with the light of dawn breaking through the dark night. That is when it hit me. If I was to find myself staring into the Mirror Erised, I should be blinded by the Glory of God. The deepest longing of my heart should be nothing more than, nothing less than, nothing other than Christ Jesus Himself.

For Jesus it was "I have come to do Thy will." (Hebrews 10:5-7) For Paul it was "to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21) My first was good. There is nothing wrong with my desiring financial security but it is not best. It is indeed noble to desire the nations come to Truth but it is not the best. It is a beautiful think to desire sanctification and right living. However, the best thing - the only thing really - is to desire the Lord. What comes to mind for me is the 6th verse of St. Patrick's hymn: Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me; Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

So, my prayer today will be for my heart's desire to truly be Christ.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Mighty Cloud of Seamstresses

In my last post, I began my adventure with a serger sewing machine. So far, I have learned that sometimes just reading the manual can be tricky. Today the machine will accompany John and I to church so that a more experienced friend can give me some pointers to accommodating the tension and making sure it is threaded correctly. As I was thanking God that I was so blessed to have women in my life that could help guide me, as she is not the only one, it occurred to me how applicable it is to the rest of my life.

In Hebrews 11, God pours on us a luxury: examples of faith. This week we studied faithfulness as one quality to the Fruit of the Spirit. As I thought of this "great cloud of witness," I realized that the beginning of the list had few if no examples to fall back on for encouragement. These men and women stepped out in faith and were counted righteous before the Lord. Now we can read their stories of faith along with those that have come since to find encouragement in our own walk.

However, I think that Hebrews 11 teaches us an additional concept. If the Lord allowed these histories of faith to be included in the Bible and also admonishes us become part of a body of believers, is it because we are to continue to learn from each other? I think so. We involve ourselves in Bible study, go to church, and interact with other believers partially for our instruction. Sometimes what the Bible (our manual) is teaching us is just plain hard to understand. Now before anyone gets in a tizzy - I am NOT saying that the Holy Spirit cannot reveal the whole truth of Scripture. I most definitely believe He can and does. Sometimes He chooses to use someone in our "cloud of witnesses" to instruct, admonish, or challenge us.

As a seamstress, I seek the advice of more experienced seamstresses when I encountered projects or challenges I have never come to before. They provide instruction and encouragement. What I have also found is that the best ALWAYS remind me to go back to the manual (or pattern/instructions). I think that is the true test of the value of their instruction and encouragement.

I have also found this to be true in all areas of my life. I have been blessed with a great cloud of witness that help me in parenting, marriage, friendships and every other in my life. Sometimes by their words to me directly and many other times through their examples. Again the best always encourage me to go back to the manual as God's Word is the best instruction I can receive. This morning I am thanking God for my mighty cloud of seamstresses and also for the exceptional examples of faith He has given me in my life.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Reading the Manual

I love to sew! I love to create beautiful pieces. The equipment I have is not fancy and I have always wanted to have a serger sewing machine to make my seams a little more professional. Well, a sweet friend heard me say that a serger was on the top of my wish list. She just happened to have one that she had not used in years. What a blessing! Now I have the serger and thankfully the manual. Now the fun begins. The only problem is that I hate reading the manual!! I hate to follow directions on a pattern, recipe, or pretty much anything. I should just be able to figure it out. And thus the struggle of my life.

Jeremiah 29:11 very plainly tells me that the Lord has a plan for my life - a finished garment. Then He as given me access to the manual or pattern. 29:12 says to call on Him, seek Him. I know this. I have been blessed to have known this since I was a child. However, I am impatient and I want a shortcut. I discard the manual and try to figure it out on my own. Often the result is comparable to an daygown I was working on the other day. It was gonna be so sweet - a lavendar gingham with lace and embroidered flowers. But I was in a hurry. I was sloppy when I cut it out the casing did not lay right. Did I stop and take it out? Ofcourse not, I just added the lace with the excuse that the elastic and lace would hide the problem. It did not. That is okay, I thought. I will just quickly cut that off and add a placket and neck binding. So I started rushing though cutting here and there until I cut too far. I ruined it beyond salvaging. What started as a little issue that could have been corrected with a little patience and care to the pattern and directions turned into a mess I can't fix.

While the daygown might be a total loss, I am so thankful that my life does not have to be. Each and every day I have the opportunity to start fresh with the Lord. If I all Him to guide me by using His manual I can offer up a beautiful garment of praise at the end of the day. Today I will take a deep breath and tell God, "I want to say yes to You today." I don't want to cut corners with my life; I want to follow the pattern He has designed because He is "able to do immearsurably more than all we ask or imagine." (Eph 3:20)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How's your yarn ball?

I bet no one has ever asked you how your yarn ball was before. On the way to Bible Study this morning, I was wrestling with my thoughts and feelings over some financial issues we are figuring out. I asked myself if I was in knots. The answer came from the Lord as a picture of a mass of tangled crochet yarn that lives in the bottom of a box in my sewing room. We are like a skein of yarn.

I don't know if you have ever worked with yarn, but it is almost impossible to use an entire skein without getting a knot or kink in it. Sometimes it is easy to loosen, sometimes you have to take the whole thing a part and roll it back into a ball. If you have children or a cat, you likely have to deal with even more knots and tangles. How like our lives this is, when we try to live our lives our own way when end up a big tangled mass of kinks and knots. We work on one area for a while and make some progress only to come upon another area of trouble. Sometimes there are big knots that take a long time to work out, sometimes kinks that are easier to work through. However, it is impossible for us to work them out completely, only the Lord can do that.

So, for today I am asking the Lord to take care of my yarn ball; to make me useful for His kingdom and that He would work me into a beautiful tapestry. I know that I will probably manage to get tangled up and need more knots worked out and I am thankful that He is faithful to do it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Learning Not To Dangle

"There are days when I feel the best of me are ready to begin. "
I haven't thought of that song in so long. I have just completed week 3 of Beth Moore's Bible study "Breaking Free." I, as usual, arrogantly tried to assume the Holy Spirit's role to try and figure out what areas I need to work on. I love the Lord. I trust Him. Why then do I continue to struggle with doing what He says? I am learning that it is because I am a dangler. I give things to the Lord and then I hold on so tightly that my feet are not touching the ground. I am dangling, peace beneath my feet if I would just let go.

Lately, I have had been dealing with 3 main issues with varying degrees of success:
1. God's will for the life of my family. I am quite certain He is ready to move us to a new stage in our life. I don't care where, you know that is what most of us would have trouble with., I have never really struggled with where. When? Now here is my issue. I am learning to let that go and it feels great! I know it is coming and when it does I'll be ready. For now, I am not dangling on this one anymore.
2. Our finances. Man have we flubbed that up several times. I now have Dave Ramsey in my ear whispering 'do you NEED it.' We are a year out from using credit cards. Oh we are still paying for them, we just don't use them. I would like to say that we would have made a huge dent in our debt by now if Jason hadn't lost one of his jobs. However, I don't think that would be the case. I don't think we were REALLY learning our lesson (DANGLING) until we had to fully rely on God for our daily bread. What a blessing that is!! It is stinking hard, but so totally worth it. I only want to be tied to the LOrd. I do not want to be tied to credit cards, or banks, or Heaven forbid the government! Anyway, this area is still a work in progress, but we are making strides, like a wobbly, baby gazelle.
3. Now for the area that I think I might still be grasping at, motherhood. Being a mother is all I have ever really wanted to be. Now I have three beautiful gifts from God. What do I do with them? Satan has a field day with me here, but I have news for him: that is coming to an end!!! I have struggled with how to discipline my very smart, VERY strong willed children. It is so easy for me to feel like a failure when they choose poorly. I hate punishing them at the same time I shudder to think about not punishing them. I love them so much and I am learning to let go and realize that loving them, praying for them, and teaching them about the Lord is the very best things I can do for them. Boy do I have a long way to go on this one, even now as I am typing I am standing on my tiptoes holding on for dear life.

So I will leave you to get "On My Knees."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Family pictures

John is 6.

Evie is 2.5

THis is Liliane Grace. She is our "new" addition at 10 months. WAYYYY behind on the blog!

Lent 2010

So I have been trying to decide what to do about Lent this year. In the past I have given up French Fries (lame) or fast food (also lame) or even tv. We hardly ever eat fast food now, so that is no good - not that it ever was. I am fairly limited in my tv time so that is out.
However, I have been studying Beth Moore's Breaking Free at church and I think I finally know what I am going to do. I am going to add blogging for Lent and maybe after. THis is your warning. Ha!