Thursday, April 22, 2010

piece by piece

before having kids i was an elementary school teacher.  i actually taught 2nd grade for the two years that i worked full-time in the classroom before having my first baby.

one of my favorite things to do with my students as a learning center and as one of those "time-fillers" for the 2-3 minutes they finished a project early before the rest of the class or were waiting for the 2 minutes before the final bell rang to go home for the day was a puzzle.  i loved to always have a puzzle on the blue table in my classroom that was a work in progress.  a student would put in a piece or two here and there and as a whole class we would slowly chip away at finishing it together.  my students got pretty skilled for 7 year olds at puzzles.  i remember the hardest one i brought in was a 500 piece puzzle that ended up having very odd pieces when i opened it up.  i thought, oh great!  i picked one that they will not be able to finish.  i wondered if it would end up being demoralizing to have something way beyond the age and ability level they were at.  i even had other adults sit down once in a while when they stopped by and marvel at the difficulty of the puzzle we were undertaking.

yet, little by little, with great patience and perseverance, my class of second graders finished the difficult puzzle!  it was one of those moments when i was not only proud of them, but honestly surprised that they were even able to do it.  what a great example that was to me that the most difficult tasks can be completed one small piece at a time.  it doesn't necessarily matter my skill level or even my confidence.  it is all about the patience and perseverance of doing the little i can and not giving up until it is completed.

now i do puzzles with my kids.  asher, my six year old, has been putting puzzles together since before he was even a year old.  now he is amazing at the puzzles that he can finish!  with each child i have taken some time, some amazing bonding time, to teach them the skills and strategies of completing a puzzle.  we talk about doing the edges first, then matching colors, shapes, the male to female sides, and all the different ways that they can use trial and error to find that one missing piece.

today i took some puzzle time with my four year old and two year old.  my four year old and i taught the younger one how to figure out which piece to try where and which side to try if one didn't work.  it once again reminded me about patience and perseverance. 

and since i cannot leave you without a Bible passage to meditate on, here is the well-known passage from romans 5:
we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance
and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  
and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
for while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 
 we all want that kind of hope - the hope anchored in Him who laid down His life before we even loved Him.  let's persevere through whatever lay before us, even if it seems a task too big or too difficult, and practice patience in our pursuit of doing one small piece at a time.  we will see the other side and the other side is good, but along the way we will gain hope because in the step by step, piece by piece journey, we will realize that He is there with us all along.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

the flowers fade

yesterday we had a conversation in the car that went like this:

asher:  those are pretty flowers mom.  why did amma give them to you?

me:  because she is going out of town and wants someone to be able to enjoy them.

asher:  but who is going to enjoy them when we go out of town next weekend?

me:  well, they won't live that long.  they will only probably be alive a couple more days, so we get to enjoy them for the short time they are still alive.

asher:  but i thought it was spring?  why will the flowers die?

this led into a conversation about the difference between cut flowers and flowers that are still on the plant, and how in reality both will eventually die.  of course, as a six year old, asher's main question was why.  i started thinking about how to explain it to him.  since i am not a botanist, i simply told him this:  God created the flowers.  He could have made them any way He wanted to, but He chose to make the have a short spurt of absolute beauty and then for them to die.  He could have made them bloom forever.  He could have chosen to have their fragrance and beauty go on and on and on.  but for some reason, when He had a completely blank slate to work with when creating flowers, He chose for them to bloom, be fragrant and beautiful, and then in frailty fade away.  i don't know why He chose it to be this way, but i do know it was not an accident.

i thought about this the rest of the evening.  there is beauty in the frailty of flowers.  it reminds me of the verses in matthew 6 about God's care for us:
and why are you worried about clothing? observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. but if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? you of little faith!

i also think of david's comparison of man to the flowers in psalms 103:15:
as for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

also isaiah 40:6-8 comes to mind:
all flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 
the grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass.
the grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.

the bible has so many references to the frail beauty of the flowers.  it makes me wonder:  why God, did You chose to create flowers this way?  why would You create something so beautiful and so satisfying only for it to be gone in a short time?  why would You take something so beautiful and instead of creating it strong, You purposed to make it weak? 

all this thinking of flowers reminds me of our own short lives here on earth.  i think it puts in perspective what the end of the passage in isaiah 40:8 says - the brevity of the flowers and even our lives are meant to stand in great contrast to the eternal nature of God and His Word (Jesus).

when i can look at all of life and all of the natural world around me and realize that the only thing that never fades is Him, it causes me to wonder.  how could the eternal find pleasure in temporal and fragile beauty?  how could He take those who fade just like the flowers, and transform them into an eternal bride for His Son?  how could the God who possesses all strength and majesty find beauty in humanity which is so frail?   it is a mystery that may baffle me for a lifetime. 

with each flower of spring, wonder arises within me at this Creator God who could have done things a million different ways.  but He chose the perfect way.   this God of all strength and power chose to pursue and win the hearts of frail and fragile humans like me.  this truly is a wonderful God.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

new every morning

i am exhausted.  what does this picture have to do with it?  nothing.  i just like it.  it is from dying eggs with my kids a couple weeks ago and i love the colors. 

tomorrow is a new day.  tomorrow i am officially in the home stretch of this pregnancy:  3rd trimester. 

there so much going on in my mind right now.  it could mean it is a good time for writing.  it could mean that i should get a bit more focused before i ramble in 30 different directions at once. 

i talked with my son last night after he had a hard day obeying and making good choices, and i assured him that tomorrow is a new day.  i told him how the mercies of God are new every morning, once again referencing the passage on hope that has grabbed my heart and refused to let go.

the Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. 
they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 
lamentations 3:22-23
so, whether today was a good day or a bad day, a day full of the awareness of the nearness of God or a day that He felt distant and the heart felt cold... tomorrow is a new day and He is so faithful.  He is our reason to hope.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a new song

sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.  psalm 33:3

one of the ways i am blessed to connect with the Lord is through worship.  i love to worship Him.  playing the piano is one of the ways i worship the Lord.  sometimes i can just get lost in the moment and let my fingers sing their own song to Him.  it is such an amazing blessing to be able to offer Him something that comes from deep within me - music and the song of my heart. 

every monday night for the past month, and for the upcoming month and beyond, i get the privilege of playing at our house of prayer called the watch of the Lord the devotional set from 6-8pm.  the devotional set is a time people can come and spend their own one on one time with the Lord, worshiping, soaking, reading the Word, or praying through their own personal prayer lists and burdens.  i get the opportunity to create an environment where they can connect with the Lord individually.  it is such an awesome opportunity that i cherish.  even at times when i have had a long day and don't feel like going to play and sing for two hours, i inevitably end up connecting with the Lord and finding that place in worship when serving Him and pouring out my love just makes sense.  it is as if my burdens melt away because my focus become rightly aligned to what matters most:  Him.

it is exciting that the Lord has been downloading songs to me during these times.  i don't have a bunch of completed songs from these mondays, but i will get little choruses, melodies, phrases, and they just flow.  i am trying to steward them by writing them down so that i can develop them sometime if it works, or even just use them again as little pieces of my time with the Lord.  so many times when one of these songwriting moments hits me, i will be in near tears because of the way the Lord's love moves on my heart.  those are the moments i live for.  not every moment of life, or even the the house of prayer, is like that, but when it is... oh how sweet!  it reminds me of the verse that david penned:

o taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!  psalms 34:8

i encourage you, whether you are a musician or the furthest from it, take some time to pour your heart out before the Lord, sing your hearts song to Him, and find Him in that one on one connection.  you will be refreshed and so glad you took the time to get a fresh taste of Him.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

links to favorite past posts

i was looking at all the people who now read my blog and i realized many of you have started reading in the past couple months and may or may not have had the opportunity to go through my archives and read some of my past posts.  i wanted to put links here to some of my favorite posts of the past that may encourage you where you are at right now. enjoy!  bookmark this one so you can come back and click through the links at your leisure, and feel free to email and share with friends who may be encouraged!  i write so i can share my journey and give what i have been given to others. 

note on commenting:  i went back and copied and pasted all my past comments from before i installed the intense debate commenting program that apparently hid them all.  (yes, this took me a couple hours.) unfortunately, that means the dates on those comments are all wrong, but they were posted right around when the blog was written.  i didn't know how to edit the dates when re-entering them in.    for those who want to comment and are still having a hard time with intense debate (which i am kinda regretting adding), you can comment as a guest by just typing in your comment and not worrying about where it has ways to log in.  Then, below, you can post the url of your blog or website and it should make your name (even a guest name that doesn't have an avatar by it) a hotlink to your site.  try it out and let me know if it works better for you.  so sorry that intense debate messed up some of my commenters.  i love the interaction with readers, so don't give up on trying to comment here.  hopefully i can get all these bugs smoothed out.  if only i was more techie!  then i would know better what to do.

master gardener - my second post on this blog.  i am always amazed how God speaks to me deep life lessons through nature again and again and again.  

life of faith - written a year ago about this crazy journey the Lord has had us on the past year... God has been so good to us though it has been the adventure of a lifetime!

His eye is on the sparrow - a follow up to life of faith six months later.

i have a couple posts on fasting:  fasting 1  and fasting 2

humility is a post i wrote on the character of Jesus that just fascinates me - He referred to His humility more than any other character trait when talking about Himself.  there is gold for us to get when we study what He said was important about Himself.

a vision for fullness of joy - more on humility, but moreso on how it relates to our personal lives and how it can open up doors of joy we would never know apart from it.

psalms 27 is one of my favorite chapters of the whole bible and i have a couple posts on it:  psalm 27, i believe, fearless trust, unless

if - a post about revival and what it takes to see it really happen.

a post about abortion:  open your mouth for the mute

words, words, words - challenging thoughts about how we use our mouths.

a couple posts on a common theme of mine these days: hope!  - hopetherefore i have hope, unless

this i know - confidence that God cares for us.

a heart that is alive - simple steps to contemplative prayer - demystifying the mystical.

don't give up - a reminder i need often.

it's all a part of the journey - the raw emotions and turning to the Lord

an apologetic of sorts - why i believe what i believe


Saturday, April 10, 2010

random thoughts

random thoughts:

i love color.  if you were to venture into my home, you would see color everywhere.  every room is painted a different color.  i am blessed to have a mom who is an interior designer with color being her specialty.  i felt confident to experiment with color on our walls when we bought our house without holding back because she had all the paint custom mixed so all the colors "go" together.  people pay good money for that freedom to express themselves with color.   i got it as a birthright.

this is my favorite mug.  my husband got it for me several years back as a gift, and i think it personifies me in mug form.  bright, cheerful, and full of life, yet with a delicate girlie curly side.  it is always the mug i reach for when all the mugs are clean. 

spring is a love/hate season for me.  i love the new life seen everywhere around me.  i love the colors that spring forth after a pretty drab winter.  i love the motivation it brings to me to clean, plant, get outdoors, dream...  it is also the season i have the most allergy problems.  so the love of the outdoors is always mixed for me with the price i know i will pay after spending time out in pollen and over fragrant flowers and blossoms that make me sneeze, have watery itchy eyes, and often a headache.

my oldest son had a sleepover at a friend's house last night.  it feels very empty here without him.  we have never had just one of them gone overnight, and the house just seems quieter and lonelier without him.  the other two are doing great and playing and having fun, but my heart is aware that there is someone missing.  i guess that is part of being a mom.  it makes me look forward to this next baby being born and being an important piece of our family puzzle.

garden update:  i love all the advice people gave on time for my first veggie garden or where kind to message me on facebook.  i have been researching and learning soooo much.  i am amazed how much there is to learn.  we tilled our section of the garden a couple days ago, and by we i mean my husband hand tilled our section of the garden.  i told him that i now know why i married him: he will till my garden for me.  he called me a patient woman to wait 8 years to find that out.  my little seeds are just barely beginning to sprout in my window.  i am so excited for when we can get them in the ground!  i am officially a gardener! speaking of gardening, this makes me think of the second blog post i ever wrote on here that many of you may have never had a chance to read.  it is called the master gardener.  i love how God speaks to me regularly through His creation around me.

i am about to venture outside.  i am willing to pay the price for some fresh air, sunshine, spring inspiration, and color.  i love color.


Friday, April 9, 2010


i have been in a place of really being aware of my own weakness.

i am finally feeling better from the nausea and vomiting part of pregnancy and already feeling the woes of the end of pregnancy.  yet, i am continually faced with all that didn't get done the past six months in every area of my life.  i feel the 12-14 weeks until the baby is here urgency.  i feel just better enough to work myself so hard that i have no energy left at the end of the day.  i am completely spent.

i sit there, sometimes unable to even muster the energy to get up, and am vastly aware of my weakness.

i am physically weak.  i am emotionally weak.  i am mentally weak.  i am spiritually weak.

and yet this comes to mind:  His great desire for me far surpasses my great weakness.  i have been going through a course taught by allen hood on the Excellencies of Christ.  this past lesson was on the desire of God for intimate relationship with man.  let me tell you, i have only just begun this course and i can already see its potential to be life-changing.

as i heard him teach on the book of genesis and the creation of man and the creation of woman, and draw the parallels of adam's desire for a helpmate to God's own desires for a helpmate, i was blown away.  i know that the book of revelation says that He (Jesus) was slain before the foundations of the world, but to put that in context with the story of creation just did something to me.  He desires me.  even in my weakness and my fickleness and my insecurities, He wants me and always planned to win my love with His life.

i cannot even articulate right now the thoughts swirling around in my brain that this revelation causes.  i cannot express, though i so desire to, what it does to my heart to know that when i am so extremely aware of my weakness and my shortcomings that He desired me before He even breathed breath into adam.  His plan was always to lay down His life so i could be loved.  His desire has always been that i would understand the depth of His love and that it would draw forth love in return.

it wasn't plan b.

i cannot express what this does to my heart.  who is this God who wants relationship with someone as broken as me?  who is this God that death on a cross to win my love and my life was His plan a?  i have to know Him so i can love Him because no one has ever loved me like that before.

He didn't give up His own life for the one He created it because He had to fix the mess we made.  He wanted to do it and planned to before forming the dust in His hands and breathing life into the nostrils.  He wanted to do it before i could even see my own weakness and acknowledge i was in need of saving.

i must have more of this kind of love.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

reading for today

                                                                                      image from

now on the first day of the week mary magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.

so she ran and came to simon peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "they have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."  

so peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 

the two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than peter and came to the tomb first; 

and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 

and so simon peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there,

and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 

so the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 

for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 

                                                                                                                              john 20:1-9

He is risen.  He is risen indeed.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

the lone cypress tree

today i am feeling a bit discouraged.  i am tired, not having a lot of perspective, and reading the sermon on the mount again trying to gain some.  interesting that matthew 5-7 get read often when i am feeling down and discouraged about something in life.

this lone cypress tree is sure beautiful.  i was amazed at its apparent serenity all alone in the midst of rocks and right on the edge of what could be wild crashing waves in the midst of a storm.  it is a wonder and a beauty.  i can't help but be reminded of where Jesus taught His disciples in matthew 7 that a wise man builds his house (or in this case tree) upon the rock.  when the storms came and the waves crashed, the house would not be shaken.  only a foolish man would build upon the sand because the same storms come to everyone.  his house would surely fall.  great would be its fall. 

then i think of psalms 1.  david said that the righteous man was like a tree planted by streams of water.  he bore fruit in his season and his leaf did not wither.  whatever he did prospered. 

gosh, it sure looks lonely to me out there alone on the rock.  it is so close to the winds and the waves and i am sure the storms are felt intensely.  but i want to be a tree planted by the waters.  i want to build my house on the rock so that when these times of discouragement and doubt come, my foundation is firm. 

God sent me the perfect thing to read today at just the right timing.  i follow randy bohlender, a blogger and intercessory missionary out in kansas city at ihop.  i think his blogs are insightful and funny.  i love how he and his wife have 4 kids of their own and 3 they have adopted.  i really love that he is willing to be vulnerable and because of that his own struggle and journey spoke to my heart today and gave me hope. 

read for yourself.  it is good.  i do not doubt many of you will subscribe to this guy.  as i said, i have never met him, but in following his blog for the past 6 months i am so glad i can glean from him for my own journey.  here is a link to his blog 

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