Contents tagged with faith

  • God's Magnum Opus

    Hiking down Mt. Tom in Woodstock, VT I was surrounded by the splendor of creation. Wild daisies and Sweet William intermixed with ferns and grasses waving vivid green against endless blue sky. A bluebird rested in an ancient maple far above the tracks of doe and fawn dotting the soft forest loam.

    How not to believe at moments like these with the splendor of creation all around me?

    My little girls stopped to splash in a fountain made from an underground spring. Lightly freckled noses, soft blond lashes, sunshine reflected from red gold hair. Their beauty took my breath away. Meadow and forest paled beside it. I found myself blinking back tears.

    But, I quickly stopped and repented as I thought, No, wait, I’m here in God’s glorious creation, I shouldn’t be thinking so of my own children when surrounded by so much natural beauty. I felt guilty for a few seconds until I realized how very backward my thinking was.

    God’s creation, the boulders and trees and mountain springs, is glorious. It gives a glimpse of His magnificent imagination, but His crowning glory, His magnum opus, is the creation of man. He saved us for last and we alone bear His image.

    How not to revel in that? My …

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  • Somewhere along the line I became a crier

    Have you ever seen the movie The Fighting Sullivans? It’s based on the true story of four brothers  serving on the same ship during World War II.  As the ship begins to sink, the three older brothers realize they can’t find the youngest. They go searching, find him, but can’t save him.  As the ship goes down all four die heroically.  Then we see the poor mother and the young widow of one of the brothers trying to make sense of their loss and move on.  I remember watching this as a kid and teasing my mom as she sobbed through a good portion of the movie. 

    We were at a prayer meeting this winter where they asked that anyone in need of healing come to the side for prayer.  My youngest son quickly found our foster baby and took him over, explaining to the adults in what ways his little brother needed healing.  Then my son laid his hands on Baby J. and prayed over him right along with everyone else. I felt the tears leaking down my face.

    A short time later an old song began to play, one from back in the seventies when my parents first came to Christ.  I looked over and noticed a woman around their age who is wracked with Alzheimer's.  Her face was full of joy as, with lifted arms, …

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  • Ten Reasons to Sit in the Front Row

    When it comes to church, our family used to be solid back row dwellers, so much so that if the back row of the sanctuary wasn’t open, we would lurk uncomfortably in the aisle trying to figure out what to do.

    “Let’s go out to breakfast instead.”

    “Maybe if we stare at them long enough they’ll feel uncomfortable and move somewhere else.  There are plenty of seats up front.”

    “Kids, stand over there and cough a lot.”

    About five years ago we made a decision to move up front so that our kids could better see and follow the service.  It actually has a lot going for it. So, here’s my ten reason countdown on why everyone should sit in the front row:

    10. First lips on the common cup.  Now, I’m not saying how the rest of the congregation feels about us with our six kids getting to the cup first, but I figure we aren’t getting any germs.

    9.  Access to the altar.  My preschool aged daughter can dance out into the aisle and right on up across the stage where she has plenty of room to show off her moves while Daddy chases her back toward our seats with a baby in each arm. This also gives everyone a nice chance to see the striped red snowflake tights that she paired with a hot pink tutu, a …

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  • Don't Be Job's Wife

    We’re all familiar with the story of Job, but do you know what I noticed when reading his story the other day?  Everything of value is taken from him, and yet he STILL HAS HIS WIFE.  It kind of makes you wonder what kind of woman she was because apparently leaving her with him was more of a test for Job than taking her away.

    As it is she barely gets three mentions in the book.  First of all she appears in Job 2:9. She looks at him in his distress and makes her infamous statement “curse God and die.”  If ever Job needed a kind word, sympathetic ear, and warm hug, now was the time.  Yet, she comes rolling in with her bad advice, probably leaving him gritting his teeth and wondering why he ever married her in the first place.  I guess we’re starting to see why Satan left her around.

    Next she shows up in 19:17 where Job says “My breath is offensive to my wife.”  So, I’m reading this to say that poor Job is mourning the loss of everything he holds dear,  and his wife is complaining about his breath.  Hmm.

    The last time she gets a mention is in 31:9-10 where Job says that he has been faithful to his wife.  It’s funny, these days I don’t think most people would really fault Job if he …

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  • Mountain Top Moments

    Before my junior year in high school I went with my church youth group on a mission trip to Colorado.  I vividly remember one Sunday morning our youth leaders maneuvered the two white fifteen passenger vans up a steeply winding road to the summit of Pike’s Peak.  We tumbled out of the vans into the thin atmosphere, sky so blue it made your eyes ache.  The piles of snow scattered about belied the warm June morning.  We came together for a homegrown church service, just a few Bible verses followed by a song.    As we chorused Amazing Grace we were one with our maker, on the top of the world, young and unashamed.  And a remarkable thing happened, those who were on the mountain with us joined the song.  The voices of our brothers and sisters in Christ, people we won’t likely meet until the next life, co-mingling their voices with ours in praise and gratitude to our savior.  As the song ended we all nodded, smiling to each other before going our separate ways. 

    Thanks to my dad, I’ve been hiking up mountains for as long as I remember.  As children, my brother and I would trot along ahead of him, hopping over mossy logs and slippery rocks, racing to the mountain top.  Once, when I was …

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  • The Prayers of Children

    When I opened the webpage and saw that we won, I’ll be honest, I was amazed; my eyes grew teary.  It seems a little thing.  A week at camp.  My children had been fervently praying to win since they learned of the contest two weeks ago.  Each day my three sons prayed for it, wrote it in their prayer journals, and coached their two and four year old sisters in praying for it, too.  Oh, how they wanted that week.  And there was my name, plain as day, an answered prayer smiling out at me in simple black and white text. 

    There is something about the prayers of children.  They take those verses so easily to heart, the same verses that we, the older, the jaded, struggle with, verses like:

    “But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6b)

    And-

    “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” (Psalm 5:3)

    How often do I truly pray with thanksgiving and expectation?

    Who was surprised that we won? Just me.  Just the other adults.  But, the kids? Not at all.  Thrilled? Yes.  Surprised? No. Because they completely trust that their prayers are being heard and answered …

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  • The Anti-Midas Touch

    Yesterday, I was feeling that if there is such a thing as the anti-Midas touch, where instead of turning to gold, everything you touch blows up in your face, I had it.  I more than I had it, it was created expressly with me in mind.  I poured powdered sugar into the stand mixer and suddenly the kitchen had a fresh dusting of snow.  I went to drain a can of tomatoes, and they all fell into the dirty sink.  I tried to turn up the volume on the girls’ video and the button got stuck, nearly deafening the three of us. Showing them a video at all was making me feel pretty guilty. (The anti-Midas touch on my parenting.)

    The icing on the cake (and not the one I was making the frosting for) was when I tried to play a parenting cd while cleaning the kitchen.  We have been having trouble reaching one of our children.  I had read the first part of this book and was excited to finish up with the cds.  But, the cd wouldn’t work in the cd player.  Then it wouldn’t work in my computer, Joey’s computer, or Matt’s computer.  By the time I gave up on it, I had gone from frustrated, to annoyed, to angry, and ended at depressed.  I was a failure.  I couldn’t even play a cd.  Everything I touched …

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  • Taking Soap Beyond the Bathtub

     How does one mom who already has more than enough to do suddenly end up in the business of making soap for charity?  Especially, when she never made a bar of soap in her life before this past October?  Well, it was a slippery (pun intended) slope, let me tell you.

    As so many things do, it all started on youtube.  In an effort to raise our awareness of those living in third world countries, one morning, during family devotions, I cued up a few videos showing the struggles of many Africans to obtain sufficient water and that, even then, the water is filthy and contaminated.

    This touched my children’s hearts and led to my eleven year old’s comment, “Mom, how about we cancel our trip to Disney World in April and use the money to buy a well for an African village?”  (This, of course, warmed my mommy heart, brought tears to my eyes, and made me think that maybe there was some hope for my kids turning out well after all.)  Well, Grandma was paying for that trip, so that wasn’t really an option, but the discussion had begun: How could we help with this problem in Africa? And, more specifically, how could we raise the $2600 needed to provide just one well to an African village? …

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  • Kids and worship

    Every weekday morning, before beginning any other school, I gather my children on the living room couch for family worship time.  Of all our daily activities, this one seems the most doomed for disaster from the start.  But, stubborn woman that I am, I persist.  Not being particularly musical, I cue up several youtube videos with lyrics for us to sing along with.  We read the Bible, each person prays,we do some Bible memory and occasionally act out Bible stories.  It should be so simple.

    Alas! It's difficult to read the Bible when someone is flipping the lights on and off so quickly that you feel you're at a 70's disco.  It's hard to feel close to God when one son is praying, "Lord help (my brother) to stop kicking me so that I don't have to punch him," and another chimes in with, "Help (my brother) to get his finger out of his nose."

    Then, the videos: "Wait this isn't the right one!  I want the one that shows the goat standing on a mountain!" "Ha, ha, that  guy has a funny beard!" "Click like!" Click dislike!" "Add to favorites!" "Ooh, this one has 2 million views!" All the while, I'm trying to model the desired pious behavior, an effort I inevitably botch by declaring, rather …

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