Monday, March 28, 2011

Calendar Dates

March 17th
July 4th
December 25th

Dates that are meaningful to most of us.

But what about:

February 12th
August 3rd
October 27th

These are dates meaningful to me and just a few others.
On February 12th, my beautiful girlie was born.
My boys entered the world on August 3rd.
And, Lawrence made my day and my life by proposing to me on October 27th!

But, then there's March 16th. At the start of 2002, I anticipated that date on the calendar with great excitement and joy. It couldn't come soon enough. It was my wedding day. And, every March 16th since then has been looked forward to with joy.

But, it wasn't always that way.

March 16th is also my late Father's birthday. Since his passing in 1989 until 2002, March 16th was a day I would approach with sadness or at times, anger. It was a day that reminded me of the first major tragedy in my life, my Father's death.

Many of us have calendar days like that. Days that are ordinary to everyone around us but extraordinary to us. Days that are sometimes anticipated with dread and despair. Days that can't come and go quick enough because they mark some pain filled experience in our life.

When choosing a wedding date, I was blessed beyond words to have March 16, 2002, fall on a Saturday. We chose that day to honor my dad. God chose that date to show me something about Himself:

The Keeper of time is the Redeemer of time.

Not all my calendar days that represent something sad in my life have taken on something happy or more celebratory in my life quite as nicely as March 16th. But, I can still come upon those dates and "re-write" them if I chose to view them through the lens of who God says He is and how He says He works in our lives.

Psalm 103:2-6 says,

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.

Romans 8:28 says,
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

and Jeremiah 29:11 says,
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Dates exist for me that I still approach with a sense of sadness. But, I also approach those dates and the memories they hold armed with truth. God does and will redeem ALL events in my life and the lives of every one of His children. He will set all things right one day. And until then, I can trust that He is using those sad or grievous events for my good and often the good of others as well.

By faith, I will trust the Keeper of time to be the Redeemer of time, and I will love Him more as I see redemption unfold year after year.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Need

I wake up nearly every morning with what can be an overwhelming sense of my need for help, for God's help. I wrote this prayer on one of those mornings recently...

I need you, Lord
to walk humbly and faithfully through my day
to be gentle and kind with my kids, respectful,
and the same with my husband
to serve gratefully at co op today
to endure a long day with the kids
to pray without ceasing
to not fear us all getting sick
to be about Your agenda rather than my own
to have self control in my eating, & speaking & computer use
to be content with the condition of my home and even joyful recognizing it & all you've given or withheld as more and better than I deserve
to purpose to encourage and edify those I interact with today rather than just go through the motions
to responsibly take care of things that need my attention
to say "no" when I need to say "no" and
to say "yes" when I need to say "yes"
to not fear anything that is frightening
to draw near to you
to have faith that You exist and reward those who seek You.

I need you even for my next breath

for safety on the roads
to remember all the items of priority today
to not be selfish but selfless
to not grow weary in doing good
to hate my sin and love righteousness
to deal with sin quickly
to live up to my commitments to others
to provide a home atmosphere that reflects You and Your character
to guide my children in wisdom and address their heart above & beyond their behavior
to love others
to love You
to not put any 'gods' before You
to be nice to my husband when he gets home after work
to save energy for him.

II Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Busy Season Blessings

"Busy season". In our house, it means Christmas is over and January has begun. April 15th is a long time away. Winter has set in, and contagious illnesses of varying types along with it. It means longer periods of darkness and of single parenting as Lawrence spends more hours than usual at work.

We battle snow, ice, and illnesses along with our own hearts that our tempted to grumble and grow weary.

Yet every year, we experience God's blessings in the midst of busy season.

Being half way through our busy season, I'm already aware of many undeserved, unexpected gifts I've received from my Heavenly Father, who loves to lavish good gifts upon the objects of His affection. Why I am among them, I do not know. It will never be comprehended, only received and enjoyed.

Thank you, Lord, for making me an object of your love rather than your wrath.
Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to take Your wrath for my sin, many of which are committed during this busy season when I lose my footing so easily.
Thank you for being a good Father, a perfect Father who knows how to give good gifts.

Thank you for these precious gifts to me this busy season:
  • a mini road trip to Philly with dear friends to see my new favorite group, The Civil Wars, in concert. & a table right infront of the stage at which to sit and enjoy the beautiful and pitch perfect harmonies of Joy Williams and John Paul White.
  • a gold mine of a 'find' for me in my search for inexpensive organic food sources: an Amish run country store in Pennsylvania which affords me another good gift:
  • road trips to my home state to buy raw milk, fresh eggs and other such good food from my farmer friends
  • having a few moments while waiting for my milk to watch Abner plow his fields with his four horses and a metal plow. Row by row, he tills the soil, and this means Spring will soon be here!
  • my hubby putting in early work hours on a Saturday to surprise me by taking me to the Bel Air Chocolate Festival. I've never been able to go but have always wanted to. This year, I was taken and delighted.
  • a girl's night out with my sister-in-law, Yvette. Wine, dessert and some really good fellowship.
  • spending a Sunday afternoon with my older sister and her family when they kindly brought 1/4 cow's worth of meat for us to fill our freezer!
  • Celebrating Bella's 4th birthday for which my parents made a trip down from PA to see us.
  • 2nd row seats at a play of "Charlotte's Web" I took the kids to see
  • an unexpected, spontaneous lunch date with friends from church at which I ate the most amazing chocolate raspberry torte ever!
  • minimal illness; this is nothing short of a miracle!
  • a timely seminar that a friend attended from which I have been indirectly yet greatly encouraged and helped in growing in gentleness with my children.
  • holes that have been in my walls since we moved into our home in 2003 patched up and caulking that's needed to be done, taken care of. Every time I look around the toilet at that sparkling white caulk, I smile.