Tremble In Fear and Do It Anyway

I once knew a man who belonged to a chat room called, “Young Millionaires”. He wasn’t even close to being a millionaire, but he was convinced that everyone else in the room was a millionaire and so he pretended to be one too. I quickly pointed out to him that they could just as easily be making up their financial picture as he was, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He believed them to be completely sincere despite his insincerity.

Last week, at the Write To Publish Conference, I had my first experience at a cyber-friendship made real life or (RL). I was really quite nervous about it.

“What if she doesn’t like the real me?” I wondered. “What if I’ve accidentally created a virtual me that doesn’t reflect the real me, like the guy in the young millionaire chat room?”

But the moment I saw her all fears were chased away. It was like I had known her my whole life…and I should have known all would be well, because Adela Crandell Durkee is a pretty amazing woman! She writes with wisdom and wit. She tells side-splittingly funny stories. She smiles under pressure, and everyone is stronger for her being in their presence.

She was the very first blogger to offer her friendship, writing to me an e-mail that stated, “Let’s be Best Blogging Girlfriends!” And that’s just what we are.

It occurs to me that our relationship with God can be much like a virtual friendship. We don’t see Him face to face, although we could get nervous about when we will someday.

When I do see Him in RL, will I stand before Him realizing how much of the time I was trying to be someone I am not? Will my insincerity drive me away from His presence?

I only know that I am told that I can stand in His presence boldly and that my faith pleases Him. It takes faith to stand in His presence. He sees right through our pretending. But when I do? He welcomes me the way my friend welcomed me, with open arms and loving acceptance, pleased by my reliance on His grace…the outpouring of grace which I gladly receive to tremble and go anyway.

On In Around button

…sharing a playdate with Laura:


(En) Couraged By Love

Love isn’t a feeling.

If it was it could never endure.

Because what feeling lasts forever?

But love can last forever.

Love isn’t word-deep.

It requires more than words.

It requires action.

Yet love isn’t actions alone.

“If  I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or [c] in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me),
I. gain. nothing.”

Love isn’t a touch.

Or else every sexual encounter would be love.

So. what. is. love?

Love is a discipline.

and to become disciplined, we must train,

and follow our Trainer.

Become a Follower of Love.

Who is leading in our follow-the-leader game of love?

God is love.

and Perfect love casts out all fear.

His love is perfect,

When I choose to be discipled by it I am (en)couraged.

Nothing can separate me from the love of God.

Even. me.

Counting his manifestations of love to me with my dear Ann: Counting the provisions of the Lord with Ann:

148. Spring springing.

149. A robin sighting.

150. Good finds in a library.

151. Real Mexican dining just a walk away.

152. A beautiful new company car for my husband!!!!

153. New mercies.

154. New opportunities.

155. Mama’s arms around my neck.

156. Relief after a 5 hour bus ride…

157. An understanding husband.

158. A son whose idea of an ideal Friday night is to watch Judah Smith preach at Church On The Move.

159. Everyday treasures discovered by little hands.

160. Little girl “mustaches”.

161. A much anticipated walk to the park.

162. An aunt not seen for 10 years.

163. A son who calls to make a lunch appointment.

164. Bagel chips.

165. Italian ice.

166. Revelations from “The Voice”…God is not waiting for me to impress Him before He commits to helping me succeed!

167. A plaque honoring godly pioneers.

168. A widow’s mite idea for a family wedding shower.

169. Exciting possibilities.

170. a hope and a future.

171. Young men who dream dreams.

172. Toddlers to give presents to.

173. My husband’s snoring.

174. Almost summer-like days.

175. Human frailties that insist upon grace.

176. Sabbath rest in the midst of chaos.

177. A gift of The Hunger Games

178. Direction for lent (finally!)

179. Learning about preparation in all things.

180. Aha! moments at church.

181. Answered prayer and more answered prayer.

…sharing a playdate with Laura:

….finding heaven with Jen:

…hanging out with L.L.: On In Around button

…sharing with Shandra:

 

Eulogy to the Death of A Role Part Deux

Almost a year ago, I wrote about the death of the role of mother. Of course I will always be a mother to my three children, but not in the same, every day, home school, stay-at-home mom way that I’ve been for the past nineteen years. You see, I’m enrolling my youngest into college…and in the flurry of excitement, visiting schools, filling out FASFA’s, scholarship applications and auditions, I hardly have time to feel anything…at least until the house is empty and all I can hear is the dog snoring and the refrigerator running. Because now, I am alone with my thoughts, much like the day I realized that I was the mother of an eighteen year old, I grieve. But this is far worse, all that there is left to who I was before motherhood and home schooling is a shadow.

I have heard mothers scoff at the place I find myself in. I have heard them criticize ladies before me who have wrestled with this identity crisis. They have whispered behind the back of this pained one, “That’s why I don’t believe in home education. If her focus was more on her husband, she wouldn’t be so lost right now. Home schooling is far too child centered, and not nearly enough helpmate centered.” I hope that our choice to educate our children and everything else that we have done was Christ centered and not people centered at all.

My husband recently lost his job; a job that he loved dearly. He anguished over it, and grieved over the fact that he was no longer associated with this company that he so loved and admired…and he only worked there for 2 years! I have been on this journey for almost ten times longer than he has, and yet no one blames him or thinks that he’s silly for feeling disappointed, and maybe even a little depressed. After much thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s normal to be saddened at the end of a journey. It’s kind of like the let down you feel when you come home from vacation, or after all of the Christmas presents have been opened; the “what now?” feeling.

I suddenly have all of this time on my hands, and I don’t want to fill it with just anything. I don’t want to give over my future to the first thing that comes along. So I guess in addition to grief, I feel a little anxiety, like a girl just out of high school who is deciding whether to get married or go to college. I mean this is the rest of my life, I must choose wisely! And though the feeling may be similar to the high schooler, I don’t have as much time to fix it if I make a mistake.

In the midst of all of this confusion, I do feel a glimmer of hope and excitement. I know that when I acknowledge Him…He will direct my paths. And His paths always drip with abundance. My prayer is that I don’t bend under the pressure of uncertainty, but rather that I bow humbly offering my life to His Majesty knowing that He has plans for me, and that they are good. So now I’ll encourage myself like David did. Stay still, and know that He is God. Don’t bend, but bow, these must be the words I choose to live by. For I am out of control, and let me tell you I’m not loving it. However, deep inside my heart I know that this is the only place to be; the place where his hand turns my heart like a compass to new lands and adventures planned out, just for me.

When Fear Postpones the Birth of Dreams – Guest Post by Shelly Miller – Painting Prose

What more can I say other than that I adore Shelly’s writing? I am thrilled beyond words to hear her mention the four-letter b word, “book”, and can not wait until she shares her thoughts with the world. Her prose is full of images both visual and experiential. In this piece, I see daffodils waving in the wind, and I feel the heartache of letting a child mature…and as usual, she stirs my emotions with her poetry in prose. Please accept my invitation to visit her beautiful blog…Redemption’s Beauty.

Daffodils stand at attention in perfect rows, their yellow faces saluting the sun. Branches sway windy, waving pink fairy dust as I breathe the beauty of what blurs past my windshield. New life pops confetti on bare branches and today, I let go of my daughter’s hand. Watch her dance the last stanzas of childhood in this circle of life we share.
She turns sixteen today. A day she begins to collect her own packet of seeds to scatter. (Mark 4)
Because aren’t we all farmers of what he gives?
Yesterday I squeezed her dimpled knuckles. Today, wearing wet hair and tall boots, she drives away in her white Volvo with cardboard owl swinging from the mirror, pop music vibrating.
Later, in the quiet empty, I wipe off the syrup pitcher, put her dirty dishes in the sink, notice the pile of cards holding checks from friends stacked neatly beside her place at the bar. Pieces of hope paper stacked for the promise of a mission trip to Jamaica.
Sixteen years ago, H caught me standing in the closet sobbing silent tears over my pregnant stomach. Fear puddled out in knowing what my mind could not comprehend. That this life inside would change me, change us forever. I didn’t know how to master cultivating a successful life.
Who can master a life He gives with a story already written?
A book of invisible pages revealed to the muse in whispers by the author, at the turn of each day.

Last night, I crawl into bed next to my husband, sigh deep and he asks me what I am thinking.
I share my brick on the chest feeling over the birth of this book-writing journey. How words stumble when someone asks me why I haven’t started the book yet. Because I don’t know how to conquer this petrifying perfectionism that needs to know the outcome before I start something new.
Sixteen years later, I am pregnant once again, gasping for breath and knowing I won’t know the outcome about this either. The fear of failure postpones birth.
When He gave me my own packet of seeds all those years ago, they came with simple instructions. Just plant, water and weed. The outcome, well that is His job.
I cannot see all of the beautiful blooms yet on the life that is my daughter; what color they will be, how tall they will grow, how long they will remain on the vine. I cannot linger over the engraved letters on the spine of the book penned in my name, know how many hands will hold it, or how it will transform a life.
But I will continue to do my part: plant, water and weed.
I will wait on Him for the outcome.

But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. Mark 4:20 ESV
Are you stuck because of fear of the failure? Has it kept you from birthing a dream?

Please take the time to comment and let Shelly know how much this piece blessed you!

If this is your first time here, let me explain what we are all about. We are a community started by Emily Wierenga. It was called Imperfect Prose. She is on a bit of a vacation as she has some extra responsibilities at the moment.

If you are new, please check out Emily’s blog. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and you need to be acquainted with the woman who made all of this happen!

JourneyTowardsEpiphany

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Flushing, A Simple Pleasure?

The candlelight flickered on the curved ceiling, causing creepy shadows and suggesting eery thoughts.  Camera like flashes and crashing thunder echoed throughout the house.  I had just driven through the worst storm I have ever experienced.  I had dodged fallen trees, driven over downed power lines and hit metal buckets.  The fan in the car wasn’t working, so on top of the blinding rain, I couldn’t see for the fog on the windshield.  My clothes clung to my shivering damp body, and my hair hung in ringlets.

And now, I needed to go to the bathroom.  The nerve wrecking evening had finally caught up with me.  But…wait…no electricity.  No water.  Typically, how small a thing it is to flush a toilet, but tonight I recognized it as a simple pleasure.

 

Pushing Past Panic

Last night was one of those nights.  You know them.  The nights where your glasses seem to be more like magnifying lenses, making every fear and possibility larger than life.  Now, before I start getting phone calls from friends and family, let me explain that there was nothing particularly frightening happening last night.  Just the usual family stuff, my husband’s birthday, a loved one in the hospital, an over tired teenager and a schedule on which it seems everyone is depending on me to be several places at once, just normal family life…But for some reason it felt like my whole world was falling apart.  And no, I was not hormonal at the moment.

I tried voicing my concerns to my husband.  He is a very kind and understanding man, but he doesn’t get it.  Anyway, it was his birthday, and I didn’t want to bog him down with how truly panicked I felt inside.  That’s when I decided to go and spend some time with Him.  Nobody else can take His place anyway.  So I went into my little room of solitude, sat in my comfy chair and opened His love letter to me.  I said, “I need to hear from you tonight.  I am at my wits end.”  I will not tell you what He spoke to my heart, as it was for me and for me alone, but I will tell you that I almost instantly had peace.

It’s easy to run to someone you love after a tough day and pour out your heart, but do you really feel better afterward?  Is anything solved or different about your circumstances?  But there is a Friend Who sticks closer than a brother.  He comforts and heals, and He never disappoints.  Can I recommend that you spend some time with Him too?