Mother-Daughter Tea

Today, my daughter and I attended a Mother-Daughter Tea at our church. It was a sweet time, and she loved it. She seemed so grown up today, in a new dress from her grandmother, sporting a new haircut. I love time spent with each of my children individually.

God keeps driving home to me the point I made in my last post — that He is strong, and I am weak, that I live this life by the power of His Spirit providing me the strength I need, not through my own self effort.

I had the opportunity to go out of town last weekend and visit friends we knew when we lived in Virginia. We had a nice day and a half of visiting before I got sick with a stomach bug! It is not fun to be sick away from home, and I was praying I wouldn’t infect this sweet family. (My friend is pregnant and has a young child, and her husband has a busy job… the last thing I wanted to leave them would be this “gift”!)

I have to say though that the Lord used this time to give me a great deal of sleep and rest and time to read and study for longer periods than I normally have. He continued to speak to me about the topic of my last post and some things He is helping me understand right to my core.

I had the time to read a great book by Andrew Murray entitled Absolute Surrender that my friend had. It was exactly on this topic of living in surrender to God, allowing His Spirit to fill and lead me, and how He is strong when we are weak. I was absolutely weak, recognizing that in this sickness I was experiencing my weakness in a very physical way, but that this is just a picture of how I really always am, whether I feel it or not! I so need God and His power and strength, and I need to trust Him!

Murray described more about this surrender to God:

  • God expects my surrender,
  • God accomplishes my surrender,
  • God accepts my surrender,
  • God maintains my surrender
  • God blesses when I surrender.

Murray says, “I come to you with a message, fearful and anxious one. God does not ask you to give the perfect surrender in your strength, or by the power of your will; God is willing to work it in you.” (Philippians 2:13) “Look away from ourselves and look up to God.”

Here are some quotes from Andrew Murray’s book that I loved:

“The Spirit of God has come to make our daily life an exhibition of divine power and a revelation of what God can do for His children.”

“May God grant that the Word may enter into the very depths of our being to search us, and if we discover that we have not come out from the world entirely, if God discovers to us that the self-life, self-will, and self exaltation are there, let us humble ourselves before Him.”

“Why is there not more blessing? We have not honored the Holy Ghost as we should have done. Is there one who can say that that is not true? Is not every thoughtful heart ready to cry: ‘God forgive me that I have not honored the Holy Spirit as I should have done, that I have grieved Him, that I have allowed self and the flesh and my own will to work where the Holy Ghost should have been honored! May God forgive me that I have allowed self and the flesh and the will actually to have the place that God wanted the Holy Ghost to have.'”

“Religious self effort always ends in sinful flesh.”

Murray states that we must:

  • Humble yourself in His sight.
  • Acknowledge that you have grieved the Holy Spirit by your self will, self confidence and self effort.
  • Bow humbly before Him in confession of that.
  • Ask Him to bring you into the dust before Him.
  • Then as you bow, accept God’s teaching that in your flesh there dwelleth no good thing (Romans 7:18) and that nothing will help you except another Life come in.
  • Denying self must every moment be the power of your life, and then Christ will come in and take possession of you.”

So the sickness, though at first glance could have been a temptation to feel disappointment, instead was meant for good, to give me rest, to give me time to think and pray, for God to continue to teach me what He’s been showing me, to give me more opportunity to trust Him. He is so faithful, and I am thankful.

My Daughter’s Blog

My daughter started her own blog to share her poetry. She is quite funny and clever for 8 years old!

I had high hopes of keeping up better with my blog this month, but I have been remiss once again.

We had a fun family trip this week to Utica, Illinois. We spent the night at a resort with an indoor water park, an amusement park, and a miniature golf course. We had a good time being away as a family, and the children especially enjoyed themselves and bringing home souvenirs. Starved Rock State Park is also there with a neat little lodge where we had a country meal, buffet style. There are some great walking trails there, so it will be fun to go again in the future. It’s amazing how just 24 hours away can refresh you from the daily demands of life.

We had dinner with 4 other couples last night. I was thinking today about different conversations I had with those friends and others this week and a common thread that has been running through them — things that keep people awake at night. It might be politics, the economy, irritation with a friend or neighbor, jealousy, a health issue, or a work problem.

As I recounted each of my friends’ situations, and thought about the things that can keep me awake at night, there was another common thread — these thoughts that stir in our minds and control our emotions don’t seem to necessarily be based on truth, but are rather things that could almost be categorized as a person’s besetting sin. The things that keep me awake are not the things that keep other people awake; we all have our different issue that threatens to steal our joy and rob us of peace. I have been wrestling with mine for some time and so want to get to the point of just letting it go and not letting it matter to me.

What is the answer for them and for me? I think somehow, it must have to do with fixing our eyes on Jesus and speaking truth to the situation and not allowing ourselves to be controlled by anything other than His Spirit. Perhaps it means believing God that He can truly set us free from anxious thoughts and create in us a peace and confidence in Him.

I have a friend who is very sick with cancer. Her faith has amazed me. Her husband continually points to our extraordinary God who is helping her, noting that she is merely an ordinary woman. God has made her extraordinary though. She has sought Him for years, so that now, she is able to stand and believe in a time of such deep pain. She is ministering to so many through this. I have thought of her every day this week. When I am challenged by my besetting sin, I have remembered her example of faith and let it go.

This is truly a rambling post; perhaps I shouldn’t publish it. Just some random thoughts this week. I do praise the Lord for His sovereignty, His purposes for His people that are good even when we can’t understand. And I praise Him that we don’t have to fear things because we have hope in Him. And I praise Him that He can set us free from things that cause us to stumble and fall and that He is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless before His throne.

To Him be all glory both now and forever!

Family Camp 2008

We are with my husband’s family in New York for a family camp this week. My father-in-law and our brother-in-law (both of whom are in ministry) are the speakers, and the entire family decided to come along. The children are having great fun with their cousins. We have had plenty of entertainment with miniature golf, arts & crafts, rock wall climbing, playing at the beach, going to the camp’s carnival, sending the children to their classes while we attend teaching sessions, enjoying the concerts put on by the camp, and eating much delicious food.
I never much cared for camp growing up. 2 weeks was a long time to be away, and I always missed my family. This, though, as a family, is actually a lot of fun! I don’t feel homesick having everyone together. This is an ideal arrangement, especially when the children are younger.

I’m enjoying some time, too, to reflect on being a wife and mom. I’ve not ever considered these roles in life as much of a “calling” as I necessarily have other things. For example, when we helped start a school, God gave us a clear “calling.” Many things in life leave me with a sense of calling. Funny how with perhaps the most important roles I have, I’ve never thought about them in this way. And maybe God hasn’t made a particular “call” regarding being a wife and mom simply because it’s so obvious: it’s what I am!

After spending the last 2 years helping get a school started and at times being all consumed by it, I feel God calling me back to these most important roles. Over the last month or so, I’ve realized it over and over again in very specific ways. With my children, I know these days are short, and I don’t have long to pour into these precious lives, these gifts from God. I will continue to work at the school in the job I love, but my prayer is this year will be marked by balance and that each role I have will be put in its proper place.

I praise the Lord today that He has given us the gift of family and that He has taught us in His Word how to act and live as a family in relationship to one another and in relationship to Him. I praise Him that He is able to make all grace abound toward us. I need His help. In nothing else do I see my inadequacies so greatly. In this, as in all things, I must exchange my weakness for His strength and yield to His Spirit’s leading. He will no doubt give me joy in this call as I trust and obey Him. May He renew and revive each of our hearts in this home so that we may all walk in the fullness of Him!