He Answers Me in Nehemiah 4

I’m weary-worn from a hectic week at work,

Feet on husband’s lap, tissue on tear stained face.

Who knew that there would be days like these?

People call and leave their burdens at my feet,

and I try to remember that I’m not Jesus,

and that ultimately it’s my job to point people to Him

not to solve all of their problems.

Yet, the Martha in me tries.

I can’t help but feel that I’m only a little girl

“pretending” ministry

and the shoes are way too big for me.

'Walking in my shoes' photo (c) 2011, Susana Fernandez - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Honeytree sang,

“‘I’m playing grownup and no one can see in me,

I’m just a child who is learning to hide inside,

Longing to live, but yet learning to die.”

Voices come, masquerading themselves as my own:

“Why did I think I could do this?

What was I thinking?

I’d better quit now before anyone sees…

that I’m not perfect.”

Husband listens, but his eyes begin to droop

because it’s been hours that he has heard me drone on.

I tell him to go to bed.

Thumb slides on phone

looking for His Words to me

on this matter.

Nehemiah Four:

“What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing?

Do they think they can build the wall in a single day…

Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap…”

The voice sounds oddly familiar.

It’s the one that sounds like my own.

Then Nehemiah prayed.

Then I prayed.

Nehemiah didn’t listen to the voices,

and neither will I.

'Wall' photo (c) 2011, fishhawk - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I will go back to work rebuilding the walls

delegating to others

and we’ll whistle while we work.

But not without the Sword of the Spirit

in our mouths,

to chase away words

that cajole and confront

that we are nothing and can not finish.

I am nothing.

I can’t finish.

He is everything.

He has finished.

I am in Him,

and He is in me.

It is done.

Giving thanks because I need to see:

289. Free leggings just when I needed them.

290. Beauty in every corner

291. Cozy corners to enjoy coffee or cocoa

292. Sunlight glitters in an autumn dance

293. It was a dark and stormy night…and I am in my very own attic bedroom.

294. My very own burning bush…what is the Lord saying to me?

295. Joy unspeakable! I’m living the life of Jan Karon’s Father Tim!

 

 

Five Favorite Authors – Friday Favorites

5. Ann B. Ross – If you find yourself a little down in the dumps, you need to read the Miss Julia books. I have never laughed so hard in my life! Laughter is a medicine, and I’ve often healed myself reading Ann’s words!

4. Jan Karon – I call the Mitford series “Vacation in a book”. Often times I find myself encumbered by life with too much to do, with the demands of a wife and mother, and maybe filling too empty to give the way that I should. When this happens, I know that it’s time to grab a Mitford book. Her character development is pristine. I know that somewhere there must be a Father Tim and an Uncle Billy. They are too real not to be real. My daughter recently asked me what literary character I’d most like to be, I answered, “Cynthia!” She is so charming, and has such a positive, fun outlook on life. She is who I long to be.


3. Ann Voskamp – Isn’t she pretty? It had been a long time since I read words that stirred my soul the way Ann’s do. Her poetic prose is rich with image and feeling, and she conveys her beautiful heart so effectively. I love the way she thinks, and even more I love the words she comes up with to portray her thoughts; her thoughts the color on canvas, her words the brush. She had me from the first line, hanging onto every word. While reading her book, A Thousand Gifts I found that I would have to put the book down, just to savor the gift she had just unwrapped before me. Sometimes, I’d even meditate a day or two before returning because there was so much to learn from her. Not only is her book brilliant, (and a New York Times bestseller), but her blog draws me into her world as an intimate friend. I feel loved.

2. C.S. Lewis – My first taste of Lewis, was The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I was in elementary school at the time, and very willing to be on the look out for a wardrobe of my own. The Chronicles of Narnia were a huge part of my spiritual formation. The next book I read was Screwtape Letters, and then Mere Christianity. I admire Lewis’ logic and clear philosophy.

1. Madeleine L’Engle – One of the greatest regrets of my life is having missed the opportunity of hearing Madeleine speak at Wheaton college. I guess I thought she and I had all the time in the world..but we don’t. A Wrinkle In Time is the first book of hers that I read. I so much identified with Meg. I was the geeky, uncomfortable in her own skin Meg with glasses and no self-esteem. Her triumphs were my triumphs. I read all of her young adult books with so much vigor! She opened a whole new world of deep thought to me, and dared me to think outside the box. And then as an adult, I found out about her wonderful non-fiction books. How I love to read her thoughts! I agree with some, disagree with others, but love the originality of her thought. I can not wait to spend time with her in heaven!

A Wrinkle In Time Series Pt. 1 – Books That Inspire

If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know how much I love Madeleine L’Engle.  One of my deepest regrets is that I never made it to one of her many writing conferences at Wheaton College.  My love affair with all things “Madeleine” began when I was in about sixth grade. My mother and I were on a quest to read all of the Newberry Award winners, and I came upon Madeleine’s A Wrinkle In Time.


I don’t know if any book, other than the Bible of course, has had such a strong impact on my life as this book did.  First of all, I was going through a very ugly stage.  I could completely relate to Meg Murray, who had nondescript mousy brown hair, thick glasses and braces.  Minus the braces, it could have been a description of me.  Not only is her appearance insignificant, but she feels that she is inadequate in every way.  She doesn’t do particularly well in school, although she is a math whiz, and she isn’t good at sports or music.  She feels completely useless.

Much of that changes during the book.  Meg is able to solve a deep problem for her family, to have a popular boy show interest in her and most importantly to she finds value in who she is.  The characters in the novel are quaint and lovable, and Madeleine’s search for God comes through in the pages.

As an adult fan of her work, I’ll never forget reading about her struggle to get this book published.  It was her first major work for children.  She was about to turn forty, and was wondering whether she should give up writing and concentrate on her family.  (Sound familiar anyone?)  On her birthday, she received a letter from a publisher.  It was yet another rejection.  She went on a walk to cry and talk to God.  “God, why all these rejection slips?  You know it’s good; I wrote it for you.”  It was only through an acquaintance that she was able to have her Newberry Award winning book published.

Although the book became part of a series, the books each stand on their own.

I will be exploring other Madeleine Books in the next few weeks, do you have a favorite?