Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–we’ll do more detail at some later date)
- Reading something frivolous? Or something serious? Both!
- Paperbacks? Or hardcovers? Either.
- Fiction? Or Nonfiction? Both, always.
- Poetry? Or Prose? Prose.
- Biographies? Or Autobiographies? Biographies.
- History? Or Historical Fiction? History.
- Series? Or Stand-alones? Either.
- Classics? Or best-sellers? Hmm...eclectic. :)
- Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose? Straight-forward, basic.
- Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness? Both.
- Long books? Or Short? Long.
- Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated? Love illustrations!
- Borrowed? Or Owned? Either.
- New? Or Used? Used all the way!! :)
this morning. I *really* want to read this book. I rarely buy new books, but I may have to make an exception for this one. The author is Tom Davis, founder of Children's HopeChest, an organization that works with orphans in Russia and in several African countries.
or have the resources for,
When I first read this week’s quote, my mind immediately flashed back to a comment I made over five years ago. I even know the date…February 2, 2004. :) I was talking to a friend on the phone…I’m not even sure who…and I remember distinctly saying, “I know That God never gives us more than we can handle, but I am telling Him that I am *there*. I am at the outer limit.”
The funny thing about that comment is that I have no idea *what* I was talking about at the time. I know that my parents and I were dealing with “issues” with my grandfather, which were part of it, I’m sure. I remember feeling rather overwhelmed with housework and homeschooling…it had been a difficult pregnancy, and I had had a hard time keeping up. But really, I’m not so sure *what* was so overwhelming at the time, other than that a conglomeration of “life”.
I have often wondered since if God was smiling as he heard my words. :)
Two days later, I was in an ambulance in the middle of a snowstorm on my way to a hospital with a Level III NICU, in premature labor. Three days after that, Ammah Grace was born, 10 weeks early. She spent the next 6 weeks in the NICU, 2 1/2 hours away from home, receiving one dire prognosis after another. I spent those 6 weeks travelling back and forth, staying in Little Rock the last three weeks while Billy, my parents, and various friends and church members cared for our three older children and things at home.
Just when we were starting to feel a bit “normal” again after that upheaval, my dad’s health, which hadn’t been good for several years, began a sudden, steep decline. A few months later he was hospitalized and we discovered that among other things, cancer had returned. He died two months before Ammah Grace’s first birthday.
The years since my dad’s death have held their own traumas…days that have made Ammah Grace’s hospitalization and my dad’s illness seem like the easy part.
At some point in the midst of all of that, I was reflecting back on the conversation with my friend two days before Ammah Grace’s birth. As I chuckled at bit at the irony of my words on that particular day, and how *often* I have since wished I could go back to those “good old days” :), I realized that my theology was faulty.
God does, often, give us more than we can handle. Because it’s not about “what we can handle”. It’s about His strength, made manifest in our weakness. He wants us to learn that we can *not * make it in our own strength. He wants us to learn to rely on *His* strength. He tells us that we can do “all things” through Christ who strengthens us…not just the things we can handle. (Php. 4:13) He wants us to learn what a big God he is, and to depend on his power completely, moment by moment.
In fact, He tells us to rejoice in what we *can’t* do! This passage has had a whole new meaning for me in the past few years:
"But He said to me,
"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong."
~2 Cor. 12:9-10
We are to *delight* in our weaknesses, in the hard times, in the things that we “can’t handle”. We are at our strongest when we realize that we “can’t” handle circumstances in our own strength, and begin to truly rely on *His* strength.
I still struggle with this. It’s a day by day, and sometimes hour by hour, thing. Just last night I got completely overwhelmed, again, and fell flat on my face. There are *lots* of days when if I only attempted the things I knew I could do or for which I knew I had the resources…I wouldn’t get out of bed!!
But God has been so amazing over the last few years to show me more and more how HUGE He is, and how amazingly vast are HIS resources. Through circumstances I would have said I could *never* handle, He has shown me things about His nature and character I could never have learned any other way. And I am thankful.
I seem to have a fascination lately with books about family secrets. I like the ones that wrap up with nice, neat happy endings (I know they aren't particularly realistic, but that's okay :)), and I like the ones (most of the time, anyway...;-)) with more real-life endings where things aren't necessarily resolved in a package with a pretty little bow on the top. I won't tell you which category Trish Perry's latest novel falls into...that would be giving things away. :) But Sunset Beach keeps you engrossed until the very end *hoping* for a happy ending for Sonny Miller, recent college graduate who decides her graduation present from her mother is going to be the answers about her past for which she has waited all her life.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
“To just read the Bible, attend church,
and avoid "big" sins -
is this passionate, wholehearted love for God? ”
The Seeking Heart
What a quote! I was so excited Friday when I saw that this was going to be today’s In “Other” Words quote. How easy it is to fall into that trap~to “read the Bible, attend church, and avoid ‘big’ sins”~and feel like we are “set”. All of those things are important. It is vitally important that we saturate ourselves with God’s Word. We are commanded not to forsake the assembling of the Body. And we are told to “Be Holy” as He is Holy…not just to avoid “big sins” but “all sin”.
But it mustn’t stop there. Our heart must be in love with God. We are commanded to love Him with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our strength, and with all of our mind.
And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
I’ve realized in the past few years that I had fallen hard into that trap…even though I *knew* better. I had let a list of do’s and don’ts take the place of a Relationship. Now…I still feel very strongly about many of those do’s and don’ts! But the motivation has changed.
God has used the experiences of the last few years to rekindle a passionate love relationship with Him. I have experienced that love in ways I never imagined before. I still fall very short…both in the wholehearted love relationship, and in the behaviors that should flow out of that. But…my heart’s desire is to please Him, to serve Him, and to obey Him, because of His great love and sacrifice for me. I so want to have a “passionate, wholehearted love for God”. I want to demonstrate that to my children.
As I said in this post, that is my primary goal as a mother:
“My primary goal is for my children to love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength. Only if they truly love Him and have a personal walk with Him as not only Savior, but also Lord of their lives, will they truly be the successes that He...and I...want them to be. No matter what they look like on the outside, no matter how intelligent, polite, and "successful" they appear to be...if they haven't given their hearts to Him completely, it is all for naught.”
And if that is truly my primary goal as a mother, then I must live it myself. Not just for them, not just for my husband, but for *me* and my relationship with God. I want to be totally, passionately, on-fire-sold-out-in-love with Him. And I want that love to spill out wherever I am.
Speaking of passionate love, the book Crazy Love, by Francis Chan, has been on my wish list for a long time…since my friend Tauna first mentioned it to me months ago. This month it is the free download from ChristianAudio.com. I downloaded it today and can’t wait to listen!
Thanks to Debbie at HeartChoices for hosting In “Other” Words today. This is a great quote and one I needed to think about this week.
- George Washington Carver, 1939
- Patrick Henry, Patriot 1776
- Theodore Roosevelt - (1858-1919) 26th President of the United States
- Thomas Jefferson, 1871
- John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) 35th President of the United States