Thursday, July 21, 2011

want to know what i have been reading?

so, if you are anything like me you probably wonder what other people are reading that they are really enjoying.  there is no reason to keep it a secret when we read something worthwhile.  so, though it is long overdue, i am once again posting my own...

reading recommendations:

look up: lessons i learned from kyle - this is written by a friend who is on staff at our house of prayer here in redding.  i personally was struggling with major freak out mode yesterday and then read this post this morning and felt the thoughts, "charis, what are you doing freaking out?" this is worth the read and the reminder.

how to love God with all your mind - this is written by my uncle who is the director of convergence house of prayer in fremont, ca.  i have been thinking about this since i read it and the tozer quote he includes is really shifting my perspective... i am already thinking of ways i can use the quote in something i write!

memorize - this is written by a college friend who i got back in contact with through beloved facebook (isn't that how we all find our old college friends?)  her blog is very inspiring, so i would encourage you to take a look through her archives after you read this post about the importance of memorizing the Word.  we have had it as a goal to memorize the book of psalms as a family (we have finished the first two chapters - woohoo!) and just when i was not super motivated to tackle the next chapter i read her post.  anyways, she has a lot of valuable insight in parenting, loving God, and living an authentic walk so check her out.

rising above food wars: eat for God's glory - this is a blog that i like to read about all kinds of stuff from natural food to being a mom to walking with the Lord.  this particular post was so good i wished i had written it myself (i even thought about printing it out and whiting out "food" and writing in all the hot issues i see dividing believers and handing it out! haha!)  really really godly and healthy (no pun intended) perspective on how we live in our convictions but keep them in eternal perspective and keep the main thing the main thing.

the crisis of the revelation of God's heart - this is written by my favorite guy on the planet... my husband.  he has a "secret blog." okay, it isn't really a secret but he doesn't promote it like lots of bloggers do (um, his wife for one).  his perspective on pursuing the Lord is one i respect tremendously as i watch him not only talk it but actually walk it day in and day out.  i will preface this post by saying it is a bit offensive to even me to realize the way i perceive God's and my heart being more alike than they really are, but sometimes our tweeked thinking being offended is the little nudge we need to correct and find so much more intimacy.  read at your own risk.

i know i could include more, but those are fresh in my mind so check them out.  come back here and let me know what you think and if you were encouraged like i have been.  now, go read!


Monday, July 18, 2011

how to dig deep into the Word

Summer rain on the window

often when i read the Bible there will be a passage that jumps out at me that i feel like the Holy Spirit is highlighting.  i try to follow the leading and meditate on that chunk for a little while and let it really open up to me.

sometimes i will sing it.  sometimes i will decide to blog on it because in many ways my blog is my journal (that all of you get to read!).  sometimes i will pray it back to God.

always i will ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the knowledge of God to me in it because i know there is something there for me to gain - not just head knowledge but the spirit within me coming alive and in love with my Creator.

as i have been reading through the new testament now on the last stretch of my Bible reading challenge, i have really been encountering the teachings of Jesus in a fresh way.  below is a chunk that i have been stuck on for the past couple weeks.  i even felt the Lord leading me to text it to a friend who is going through a hard time right now.  i feel maybe it is for some of you as well to be encouraged by - to be filled with courage.

read it, then go read the whole chapter and even the couple chapters around it.  if He starts to stir your heart, dig a little deeper and wait on Him -

ask questions.

pray it.

sing it.

write it.

He will teach us all as we press into Him.

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you...
but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. john 14

275 - 290:

275. the smell of rain.

276. celebrating the birthday of a friend and seeing all the different women who gathered - she is richly loved.

277. a cool day in july - is that an oxymoron?

278. my dear little one turning 1 year old.

279. tomatoes just starting to turn colors...

280. t-ball games - watching, laughing, cheering, enjoying.

281. tears that fall almost daily - cleansing, refreshing... like the rain.

282. coming to the Lord with my burdens.

283. watching others succeed and be blessed.

284. discovering dark areas in my heart that surprise me, but knowing He is never surprised and still loves me.

285. He came because of the broken messed up world we live in... He brings me hope for eternity.

286. money is not really all that important in the grand scheme of things.

287. flowers on my porch table.

288. farmers' market produce in the fridge.

289. chocolate cake.

290. zucchini.

i am linked up at a holy experience.

would you share something you are thankful for?
is there a passage the Holy Spirit has been highlighting to you?
how do you dig into the Word and seek out the knowledge of God? 


Saturday, July 16, 2011

dear simeon

picture by myriah grubbs (cool to have a photographer for a sister, huh?)
.one year ago today. 

.one month ago.

dear simeon,

i can't believe you are my baby.  it seems like only yesterday that i was crying every morning i woke up because you hadn't come out yet.  you are my only baby who was overdue - only by one day, but when you had a brother 2 weeks early who was 8 pounds 14 ounces and another who was 5 days early and 9 pounds 11 ounces, well... mama was not thrilled that you were content to stay inside so long.  amazing that you ended up being my second smallest baby weighing in at 8 pounds 13 ounces - you surprised even the midwife on that one (i think she was betting on you being the biggest of all!)

my pregnancy with you was very difficult.  i found out i was pregnant with you so early because i was hoping that you were in there and i really wanted to tell my dad that you were coming before he had to have a big surgery.  i was pretty sure i was pregnant with you and still remember your daddy's raised eyebrow when i showed him the extremely faint line on the test 5 days before i was even "late" and said, "i think we are having a baby!"  it meant so much to me to tell my daddy that he was going to be a grandpa again right before such a difficult surgery - baby boy, you were a comfort to me and i think to him as well.  you gave me courage simeon - courage i didn't know i had.

so, in more ways than one, you were my longest pregnancy.  you were my sickest pregnancy too.  that last time i threw up i was 24 weeks - that just isn't right!  once while leading worship the whole room went black and my hearing started to go... i was passing out from really low iron.  that scared your mama (and your daddy) so much!  

your birth story will always be a special one to me.  so much of it did not go as i had hoped or planned.  you would think that all expectations would be out the window with the fourth baby, but of course your mama is a dreamer.  i never thought that labor and delivery with you would confront some of my deepest fears.  it is too much to get into right now baby, but i will let you know that your mama had to be very brave and trust the Lord that He was looking out for me.  

one detail i that was really important to me was that the midwife be there to deliver you.  they told me she was on at 8am... coming in at midnight in full-blown labor i didn't think you would wait that long after your older brother's labor was less than 2 hours from start to finish and they couldn't get ahold of her to come in early (though she did in the morning).  we called some friends and asked them to pray with us that you would wait to be born until 8am.  silly request right?  you may never understand the tears of joy your mama cried when you were born at 8:00am on the dot.   who prays for her labor to slow down and to have to experience pain longer?  your crazy mama, that is who.  

simeon, there is so much i never expected about you.  for one, i thought you were a girl.  i was afraid of being pregnant again, but mama is so glad that you are you and that you are mine.  as hard as my pregnancy was and as challenging of a time it was for me on so many many levels, you were so worth it.  your name means to hear or heard - and God heard me!  He heard me and you are my little testimony that He is the God who hears.

you have this red hair.  (strawberry blond or red?  we will see, won't we!) i did not see that coming!  who in our family even has red hair?  you are one of a kind.

you look just like your big brother asher, and yet just like your daddy to me.  you make me laugh and give me the sweetest cuddles.  you are my first baby to not be hospitalized.  that is a big deal for this little mama right here.  your first sentence at an extremely young age, they wouldn't believe me if i told them, was "i want mama." 

i want you simi.  i want you.

simeon jacob.  you are a fighter.  you are going to be one who perseveres, who wrestles with the Lord until you are changed into another man.  you will be one who hears the word of the Lord and proclaims it with boldness.  just as simeon the righteous was able to live to see Jesus the Messiah born, i really believe you will get to live to see Him return.  i believe you will be a hope giver - you will point people to the hope in Him, a hope so much bigger than this world can offer... life from the dead!  

i love you with all my heart.  i did not know i could love you so much.  sometimes i have wondered how i could ever love anyone as much as your brothers asher, uriah, and david... but then there was you.  i love you so much.  

thank you for filling my life with the blessing of you.  

 mama - (charis)

Monday, July 11, 2011

it's the simple things

it is often the simple things in life that we enjoy most if we can pause long enough to really see. 

the days in the park when it is blazing hot, but the shade of the trees and the warm breeze makes it tolerable to enjoy the blue sky and long afternoon.

a simple game of catch.  teaching the young ones the skills of throwing and catching.  watching their amazement when daddy throws the ball high in the air and it lands in his mitt.  remembering your own amazement not too terribly long ago when your daddy showed off the same trick.

watching them eat their first foods fresh and full of summer sweetness and refreshment. laughing that the rind of the melon serves as a teething toy as well as entertainment for this little one who will be running around the green fields with his brothers and daddy all too soon.  slow down baby boy, slow down.

holding back from kissing the freckled nose of the little boy who was the baby so very recently, but who will not allow you to call him baby.  david, call me just david, he insists.  knowing the melon dripping down his shirt will take some time to clean but enjoying watching him enjoy the small pleasures in summer somehow makes the laundry work to come tolerable.

gazing at the green eyes that are the only one of the 4 sets that match your own.  as much as you love the others being blue like their daddy's, there is something about seeing a bit of yourself in your little ones that makes the heart swell and eyes stare. amazement at how God designed each feature drawing from both mommy and daddy to make a unique mix in every child.

wishing this little one would slow down just a little bit, yet thanking God for every moment that you are privileged to watch him grow up.  careful to not take the moment for granted, knowing that it is a treasure that will soon fly by, fleeting as the wind, and leave you with only the warm memories of grace gifts He chose to bestow in kindness on your life. 

reminding myself of all He has given.  sometimes speaking to myself, reminding myself, is the greatest gift i can give myself.

life is so full of grace.  each moment, 
if we can see it - if i can see it
is full of grace.

251 - 274:

251. that God holds us in the palm of His hand - our lives are literally sustained by Him.

252. the countless number of people praying for and giving to our dear friends and baby audrey.

253. every answered prayer, no matter how small or how large they may seem... every answer is such grace from Him.

254. my four wonderful, beautiful, amazing, strong little men - God has richly blessed me.

255. chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream.  s'mores ice cream.  okay, anything with chocolate in it. it isn't so much the ice cream as the chocolate.

256. bike rides in the park with my favorite 5 men in the whole world.

257. the chickens that keep trying to eat my garden.

258. roadside strawberry stands selling the sweetest berries for amazing prices.

259. a bag full of local berries in the freezer ready for smoothies.

260. tomatoes growing on the tomato plants... hope of what is to come.

261. the promise that He works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

262. the Holy Spirit who will never leave us... He promised He would not leave us as orphans.

263. a bbq at the lake with our house of prayer community filled with fellowship, good food, and prayer.

264. a group of people who are devoted to prayer, a group of persistent widows, to walk through the hard times of life with knowing they actually will pray.

265. He will one day bring justice once and for all.

266. we get to taste of His justice to come now in measure and the longing it stirs within me for the day of His coming.

267. the honor of living the life i do and getting to do what i do.  how am i counted worthy to waste my life on Him?

268. so so many new clothes, that fit!, after a shopping trip with my sisters and mom to forever 21 sponsored by my family's generous birthday money gifts.

269. relaxing lunch, great coffee, and pastries all from my mom on our girls' afternoon getaway.

270. warm summer nights.

271. the beautiful place i get to call home... so often when looking at the mountains, river, lakes, or just enjoying the warm summer nights i am known to say, now this is why i live in here.

272. fireworks.

273. amazing grass-fed local steaks from the cow we went in on with friends.

274. swimming in cool water on a hot day.

i am linked up at a holy experience.

i would love to hear the grace in your life that you have eyes to see... it opens our eyes to see the grace He has give us in our own lives.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

when life takes us by surprise

there are things that happen in life that take us completely by surprise. we can be in cruise control in pretty normal day to day life, not extremely up or down, and then be thrust into the most surprising and difficult trial imaginable.

it is in these surprises of life - not the birthday party or flowers on the table for no apparent reason - that we realize our need for community, family, and deep friendships that become pillars in a time where all else around seems to crumble.

these surprises - usually smelling strangely familiar to that valley which king david wrote of where darkness and death loom all around threatening and taunting and draining one of all strength - are when the connection to the Lord is tested.  do we harden with offense accusing Him - how could You let this happen to me?  or do we fall back into His arms realizing in that moment that He is with us comforting us with His perfect leadership?  

we often live under the delusion that these surprises of life only happen to someone else.  never to the ones i love... never to those i know... never to me.

and when these delusions, the idealism of our own making, are shattered our priorities shift.  the mind spins into a blur with all the to do list, that was previously occupying the thoughts, and the what ifs, which start to crowd out everything else.

in this moment we grasp for some sense of control to stop the spinning mind.  for me, a sink full of dishes is suddenly feverishly scrubbed and dried, the sink scoured, then the counter tops polished, the floors swept and mopped, as i take out my angst on every speck of dirt that offends my kitchen.  the more i cannot control the surprises, the more i reach to control that within my grasp - desperately trying to find stability and not give into the crashing, the falling, and the swirling that threaten to overcome my soul.

then it cracks.  it is a soft word of comfort or a touch on the shoulder and the outward facade that everything is in control crumbles and the tears spill out.  a mix of anger, grief, and confusion race to the surface and the little that we can control is suddenly put back into perspective - meaningless.

God alone is the Refuge in the surprises of life.  we as believers, as friends and family, have the privilege of walking with one another, encouraging each other to look to the Source, the Refuge for our souls.  when we realize how very little we can control in life, we also realize how big He is and how much He is in control - He holds us in the very palm of His hand. 

photo by myriah grubbs

this past week has been one of these kind of surprises for our house of prayer community.  a family in leadership with the watch has been thrown into intense circumstances completely out of the blue and out of their control.  their baby girl's life hangs in the balance.  the life of one of our own hangs in the balance and we get the opportunity to find out how big our God is, how perfect His leadership, and how much we believe that He can do the impossible.

for what is impossible with man, is possible with God.

i cannot stop hearing this proverb in my thoughts as i pray and try to serve my dear friends whose world has been turned upside down.
a friend loves at all times, 
and a brother is born for adversity. proverbs 17:17
this is what we were born for - to love in the way He loves, to stand beside and fight with those we love and pray until they pass through the valley and breakthrough comes.

He is our Strength.  He is our Refuge.  He is our ever present Help in times of trouble.
we will not fear.

we get to be His hands and His feet.  we get the privilege of crying His tears of compassion with our dear friends.   

we serve.  
                we fight.   
                               we pray.   
                                              we love at all times.   

He will win - now and forevermore.

would you like to help our dear friends  
will and atasha macivor? 

we have a facebook page set up with details of how to pray and how to give if the Holy Spirit leads you to help.  God is bigger than all the surprises of life.  we believe He can and He will bring complete healing to baby audrey.   

thank you for your prayers for our house of prayer community as we fight for the life of one of our own.

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