Thursday, May 26, 2005

Prayer?

Prayer?
This facet of spiritual life is one of increasing interest to me. Why? Well, if truth be told I find that I cannot move through life for very long without offering up a prayer. Now, some have questioned me as to how I pray. I think that this is an interesting question because I have lived my life in a mode of prayer – yet, up until I began teaching Bible studies this question was not coined. Basically, what that tells me is that many people live life in a mode of prayer, but since they aren’t in a leadership position only they and God are aware of the relationship.

For me prayer consists of thoughts being offered up either at a designated time, or at moments of intimacy during the day. I pray in a big red overstuffed chair that reminds me of something Scarlett O’Hara might have enjoyed in the Old South. I snuggle in during the wee hours of the morning, or the late hours at night and lay out my day, or replay my day with God.
The morning time is fairly scheduled – I read the word, read my devotional of choice My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, take out my prayer list journal and read off the names of the people that are nearest and dearest to me. There is nothing too spiritual about the list – just the reality that I’m a ‘woman of little brain’ and I must write everything down.

But, that leads me to the other type of prayer that I find myself praying. That moment by moment prayer that comes over me at the oddest times. Sometimes this comes when I see a child reach up and take their mom’s fingers in the grocery store – reminding me of how much of a child I am in my daily walk with my Lord and I cry out, ‘Thank you my Lord for ALWAYS being within my grasp, always being gentle and tender even in your discipline, never leaving me or forsaking me, being faithful and trustworthy, being the ‘parent’ to this sometimes wayward child. Not depending on me to hold on to You, but holding on to me and never letting me go!”

Or, when I am sliding across icy concrete and I marvel at His handiwork in the snow crystals that are cascading from the sky. Just think the Hand that made this winter wonderland chose to make us. He could have had relationship with the trees, the animals, but instead he chose to make us the receptors of His relationship. What an incredible God we serve.

Or, when I make a huge blunder, either in relationship or in some project I am attempting to complete, I wrap myself up in my bed covers and cry myself to sleep searching the Bible for words of comfort and encouragement. I cry out to Him and He slips His loving arms around me and comforts me in the most amazing ways.

When people walk away from me saying that they don’t need to pray because God is in control and He is trustworthy and there is nothing that they need to pray about, I feel sadness for them. I think that it would make me very sad to be in a relationship with a husband that I never talked to. What is relationship? It consists of a give and take of communication, working together, sharing each other’s thoughts and desires, as well as fears and concerns. God chose to send His son before the foundations of the earth were ever made. He ordered this world for relationship and in that recognition I find it interesting that we would only see Him as our Creator. He is that and so much more. He is God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He meets us on every level of our lives, physically, emotionally, mentally. When looking at the men and women of the Bible we see that God was involved with their lives. They were normal everyday people like us. They had no hidden powers, no extra portions of spirituality poured in. In fact, God makes it very clear that they were failures in areas of their lives, just as we are. However, what He also makes very clear is that they were either in relationship or out of relationship with HIM. We find it with the men and women that write insightful books, i.e. Tozer, Chambers, Lewis, TenBoom, Heald, and Moore. They are simply people that walk in relationship with the Holy One.

May talking to HIM become a wonderful exchange of life and love. Prayer is us talking to Him; His word is Him talking back! Hummmm this sounds like communication, interchange, could it be relationship?

Prayer = us talking to the lover of our soul. I encourage you to fall in love with Him – it is a relationship that will never falter, never waiver, never grow old, and never become stale.

I wonder…
What would your friend, your husband, your wife, your child say if you asked them how they pray?


Because He IS the I AM,
i am
a mutating missionary

Friday, May 20, 2005

Consequences

It’s 3:23 am. I’m up on an internet site looking up blogs of friends and supporters. Why?
These thoughts are roaming around in my head…
- My youngest son got married to the most wonderful woman one week ago today. The wedding was quaint, glorifying to God, a celebration to our family, and a celebration to my daughter-in-law’s family.
- Things I learned during this time:
o nothing matters as much as God being glorified in a wedding; no matter how hard you try people get their feelings hurt during a wedding, even though many people wonder if it is not a better idea to elope – weddings, when done right, are an important melding of two families. I am proud to be melded with my daughter-in-laws family; it doesn’t matter how hard you try, all weddings worth their salt will have some sort of trauma going on!!!! (i.e. relatives from Michigan drive for 20 hours to get here on Thursday, go out in friend’s boat on Friday during the afternoon, have boat break down and fry while trying to get back to shore and the wedding on time – not fun / but memorable)
o The choices we make have long-term consequences. I have an ex-husband. We have long since given up acting like 2 years olds when we celebrate a moment with our children. However, I was sad for him during this wedding. He said goodbye to us in 1988. That is 17 years ago. He divorced me and remarried another woman in 1990. That is 15 years ago. He has been a father as much as a father can be when one is not in the moments of living. (A bit of clarification… it matters not whether or not a person cares, wants to be, or says they will be – if a person is not in the moment by moment living with the ebb and flow of LIFE they cannot know a person. In the movie SHALL WE DANCE. The wife of the man who is learning to dance says something like “marriage says that you are committed to a person enough to take notice of the everyday events” i.e. the trip to the cleaners, etc. It is the same with families. One must be committed enough to a family to take notice of Life in all. Without that commitment we just don’t know each other. I was sad for my ex-husband. He didn’t know the triumphs that my children had experienced, the glories that they had shared with God, the people that had invested into their lives, the memories that had been seared into their brains. He was on the outside looking in – even though we tried to include him, he felt it. These are the times I sit back and know that relationship consequences must be the hardest.
o On that same note. My son and his new wife made a wonderful statement of consequences. They chose to remain chaste until their wedding day. Now for those of you that don’t know that olde word chaste – it means that they were virgins. They made decisions all along the way (and they dated 5 years) to be cautious about their boundaries. i.e. physical, emotional, friends, time, personal – all these boundaries in place in healthy doses helped them. During the ceremony they openly exchanged their chastity rings for their wedding rings. Now they are reaping the wonderful consequences of JOY and PEACE in their beginnings. I am thrilled that God was glorified.

Because HE IS the I AM
i am
a mutating missionary

Friday, May 6, 2005

Weddings

Can you believe how many of them there are this time of year?

Today is an interesting date: 05-05-05!
Why does this remind me of weddings? Back in '77 my sister encouraged my ex-husband and I to get married on a weeknight so that we could have a wedding date 7-7-77. I've never forgotten that lost opportunity - but we stuck with 7-9-77, a Saturday wedding that was 'normal' instead. What a pity.

My youngest son marries his high school sweetheart at 7:00 pm exactly one week from tomorrow. My youngest son.

I'm doing a lot of recalling lately... You know

Recalling:
Pregnancy
Birth
1st Birthday
Kindergarten
1st lost tooth
Boy Scouts
Bicycles
Middle School
Trombone - 2 Trombones - 3 Trombones
Shoes...Bigger Shoes...Bigger Shoes...Biggest Shoes in the house
High School
Calling her after she accepted Christ as her Savior to ask her out on a date (because I wasn't OK with him discipling her) ...
(((exact dialogue: or at least pretty close thereabouts!
"Mom, I've really been thinking about it, and praying about it. And I think that it would be a really good idea if I discipled _____! You know she's just become a Christian. And well, I think that since I've got her in my math class, well, I think that it would really be a good idea for me to do that. What do you think?"
"I DON'T Think so."
What follows? A look of total dejection from 17 year old young man in mom's bedroom red chair - shocked and a bit shaken at mom's response.
"Why not?"
"Oh come on. You know that sooner or later you would dissappoint her and then she wouldn't be mad at you... She'd be mad at GOD! If you really want her to be discipled then think about asking a girl to disciple her. It is never a wise idea to disciple the opposite sex."
"Ohhh..." completely set back.
"Now, if you want to date the girl...Call her up and ask her out!"
"Really?"
"Of course."

And there you have it. Courtship of two of the most incredible young people that I have ever known in all of my life. A courtship that glorifies God. Others have observed them from afar and said that they wished for a relationship as healthy.

They have given each other room to breath, to grow, to stumble, to question, to be angry, to be sad, to be happy, to be apart, to be together, to be faithful, to be pure and chaste, to be real, to be silly. They have taken long walks when the money was tight, watched the sun go down on the front lawn, laughed a lot and cried when necessary. They have made a concerted effort to keep their friends as friends and not block them out of their lives - trying not to become tunnel visioned in their own relationship. They have talked until my son had no more words in him (sometimes that was only 5 minutes - lately it is hours). They have desired to serve God together. They have encouraged each other to have boundaries with their friends, their families, and each other. WOW! What a celebration we will have in one week. Five years after that first phone call!

Humm it is no longer 05-05-05! This day has ended and I am thankful to God for the wonder of my son, my to-be-daughter-in-law and my other 2 children that are encouraging and gracious as their only little brother walks down the aisle into this love of his life. May they be blessed to be a blessing - May God be glorified to all the nations in this blessed covenant - and May we all enjoy a great big party in 7 days!

And may nothing about this day be 'normal' - adventurous yes - normal never!

Because He IS the I AM, i am
a mutating missionary

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Titles


I’m blogging?
Me – this 48 year old woman who only two years ago was dragged into the 20th century by signing up for a cell phone account after having my daughter give me one that was passed down to her from someone else. (this is not a typo, I meant 20th) I’m blogging. Now, am I on the cutting edge? I doubt it. I’ve wanted to do this for several years. The first time I considered it I was standing in our youth pastor’s office while he explained how incredibly easy it was. I stood there, glassy eyed over his shoulder, as he deftly zipped the cursor here and there. I got most of it, but knew it would escape the grey cells soon, so I whipped out a notebook and began to take notes. Coming home, I carefully placed the notes in a folder titled My Blog Info. Several days later, when I had the time, I sat down to create my own blog. It was going to be easy, right? I entered the site; everything went smoothly until the request for a title came up. A TITLE??? Panic set in. A title? Oh dear, I need to be witty in a title, no maybe it should be contemplative, or perhaps playful. A title…
I promptly navigated out of the site and moved on with my life – leaving the folder on my desk for later perusal.
Soon stacks settled on top of the vanilla colored gift of knowledge, and the gray cells couldn’t even remember what the abbreviations were that I had scribbled down. But, did I get rid of it – NO! I wanted to enter the blogging world – it became something I discussed with several of my friends. Many of my friends have young people in our youth group and many of them read the youth pastor’s blogs finding them fun and enlightening. Several have gone on and left it in the wayside because it is simply too much writing for them. One in particular (a very dear friend) is amazed at how she feels it almost voyeuristic in its makeup. And, it is in a sense. Placing ones thoughts in a public realm for picking through, peering at, postulating over. (Even as I type the word postulate I wonder if I am frustrating someone that is reading this). And then I laugh. Who is going to read this? Sure, I’m hanging out here on this cyber page – but who would actually invest time in --- I digress.
Yesterday, a wonderful woman sat with me at a Starbucks, that still has internet availability that can be plugged in to a telephone line (thank goodness for that 20th century staple) and helped me set up my blog. The night before, I was quite panicky. We had made a quick decision on Monday to do this on Tuesday because the day was amazingly light for both of us. Now, I was faced with the TITLE. Settling in to my cocoon of covers on Monday night still nothing had come to me. Then, just as AW slipped up from his comfortable all night location at my feet to his “get up and feed me” location at my shoulder on Tuesday morning it hit me. I thought about it during the shower, pounded it on the computer after dressing, met her for coffee and ‘blog creating’, and this morning am quite thrilled with this new ritual that I will attempt to set into my life.
Funny thought came to me this morning as AW’s gentle paws hooked themselves over my side-sleeping shoulder, his body gently rumbling that low purr, I wondered…
Do you think that God had trouble deciding on titles for each of His books before the development of time???? Giggle
PS I don’t know that I can, nor want, to make a commitment of a daily blog – let’s just see where it takes us.
Because He is the I AM, i am
A Mutating Missionary

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

process in progress

Immutable/mutable
Immutability/mutability
Unchangeable/changeable
Never Changing/Never Ceasing Change

Think about it…
God is immutable
He never changes – within His makeup is stability. He made change, is outside of change, and looks down from His throne upon change.

We on the other hand move from moment to moment – or if we are into today’s terms nanosecond to nanosecond - unable to remain the same. Time is constant, change is constant.

There are positives and negatives to this reality. My friends are quite involved with this thought at this time in our lives. We laugh about needing to pull out our reading glasses to read the menu at Chili’s. We gleam with pride at the pictures of our grandchildren we send in our e-mails to our friends and relatives – now just think about that for a minute WE DON’T JUST HAVE E-MAIL! WE USE IT! And of course being women, we are constantly discussing ‘The Change’. (Fellow bloggers please do not be offended by the reference to estrogen, or should I say the lack thereof, that comes about in this change.) We laugh at our bodies, try to find solace in the camaraderie of it all – but IT is scary.

We remember the days of our childhood, when 10 seemed to be so far away, a number in the offing. After blowing the 10th candle out, nothing slowed down from there. Soon we were questioning the changes that were happening in our bodies. Unable to discuss them with anyone because it was just ‘not discussed’ we forged forward much of the time in complete chaos. We didn’t understand why we looked like women and the guys (sometimes standing a foot under us) still looked like boys. We still felt like girls, or did we? There were subtle differences within our groups. The ‘in’ crowds and the ‘outs’. But we were ALL changing.

Then dating or not dating came in with all its insecurities and fears. Some of us slipped into the misconception that the changes our bodies had gone through gave us some type of freedom to use them in anyway we could – anyway that ‘felt’ right. Many of us slipped into dreaming of changing from Miss to Mrs. and thought that that would settle us – secure us – seal us! Talk about misconceptions!

I myself moved 38 times in 32 years. Granted some of those were from my parent’s house to a dorm – but when we are talking about change and moving being change we must count those as well. Since then I have moved 3 more times albeit within the same area. But, just ask my youngest son who lost his best friend in the last move – changing from one house to another ­i­­s a move; i­­­s shaking; is change.

All that said, and I probably will come back to this thought many times in my musings, CHANGE is actually one of the most frightening constants in our lives.

As a woman I deal with the fight within myself of the ‘what ifs’. You know the ‘what ifs’. What if Sara finds out I like Johnnie? What if he’s ‘The One’? What if I’m pregnant? What if I loose my job? What if my husband looses his job? What if my husband leaves me? What if he doesn’t?

I believe that men play this game as well, but being a woman I can say it with all confidence – we women live in our brains at least 3 months in advance.


One of the most incredibly peaceful attributes of God is His immutability. God IS. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is the only thing you can hang your hat on that won’t fall down, blow over, or deteriorate! God is God!

This mystery/reality and the mystery/reality that Jesus was/is 100% GOD and 100% MAN are two of the most impacting truths in my life. These two truths lead me to the understanding that if they were true (which after many years of digging, digesting, and agonizing I came to a certainty they are) then what else is more important than sharing Him with others? Why keep this peace-love-joy to myself? Why not share the wonder of Him to the neighbors? Why not share it with the strangers that come across my path? Why would I not want EVERYONE to know this? And that was the deciding factor in this appointed missionary’s past that spurred me into signing on the dotted line – missionary appointed to Europe.

Welcome to this blogspot where I will place the musings of a mutating missionary.

May God be glorified in this safe place of questioning, quandary, and quipping.

Because He IS the I AM, i am
A Mutating Missionary