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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Birth

Yesterday, at 4:26 a.m., my newest grandson was born.

Justus Sterling Boettner is my fifth grandchild, and I have been privileged to be present at the birth of all five.
I wonder if I can capture here what struck me as I watched my daughter labor to bring forth this new child.
I can try, anyway.
Rachel has birthed three other babies-----she is, at this point, a skilled laborer :-)
I watched as the contractions pressed in on her, puckering her face with concentration and discomfort.
I could not help but think about the circumstances in our lives, how we carry a great unborn hope that requires all our attention.  We know there is a great good to be born, but we travail.


As the pressure increased, Rachel knew from experience that resisting and tensing up slows the labor.   But there must be a response, a cry-----as I watched her relax into her task, my heart cheered as I heard her tune her cries to a note of music!  What note was that, I wondered?----it made a hard thing beautiful.  She sang the baby into this world!






  "Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy praise"  The old hymn comes to mind as I process God's beautiful message-----maybe Rachel was singing in the key of "Yes".   And through Christ I answer back "Amen and Hallelujah!"

How Great Thou Art!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Radical Selflessness

This morning, as I contemplated what it would require to take the next step---leap, really----into more active service to God, a phrase popped into my head.  I would need "the radical selflessness of Christ".  Yikes!  That is at once an exhilharating and terrifying thought.  Every self-protective cell in my body,( you know,  those dark cells that crave the familiar and  are threatened by  light),  screams in protest.  But the God part of me, the part he planted and is cultivating-----that part starts cheering.  Yes! 

May the yes-ing continue!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

More on Yes

So, now that I've opened up the "yes" box, I am noticing what an irritating word it is.

I guess that's why I picked it.  It goads me.  How do I apply it?  Do I say yes to discipline and no to abandon?  Or the other way around?  Do I switch off?   Where are the directions on this box, anyway?

Irritating......but valuable.  I know that.  I've misused my yes, squandered it, hoarded it, argued with it.

I think the reason I chose it this year is that I sense its value, and I sense there's a way to use it as it was intended.

When Eve said yes to the tempter, and Adam said yes to Eve, they started the whole downward spiral, didn't they?

Back to my verse from the last post about "Yes in Christ".  In Him, yes is sanctified, put back in its proper place.  So, I guess that answers my question for today-----the directions for using yes come from Christ.  He demonstrates it.  Shows us how it's properly applied-----"I only do what the Father says", he told his disciples.  I want to learn that kind of agreement. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My One Word

This post has been brewing in my mind for weeks.  Sometimes it's hard to get the thoughts into a cohesive mass-----I suppose, baker that I am, I've been mixing and kneading and proofing these thoughts.

This post will center less on Stu and what's happening with him----if you're looking for an update, this isn't it.  This is more a contemplation of my own direction in life----which, of course, has been greatly impacted by this "Stroke of Genius".  It is, by now, a new norm for me to be separated from Stu.  The initial shock and grief have been processed, to a livable degree, at least.  I've always depended on God to make the big moves for me----and always I am surprised at the way He does it!

So, the other day I was inspired to sit next to my friend Lori at church, and she shared something that got me thinking----maybe it will do the same for you.  She told me about a book called "My One Word", also a website http://myoneword.org  in which you choose one word to contemplate for the year.  Seriously, right up my alley!   All the way home, I was brainstorming words:  ENERGIZE.......HATCH.......OPEN.....GENEROUS........FEARLESS.......EMERGE........TRUST....COMMUNITY

By the time I got home and was able to check out the website, the pump was already primed.  Living water was circulating!   I knew that just the experience of asking for a word for the year was a gift.   ASK.....was that it?

For a person like me who revels in words, narrowing it down to just one is a worthy discipline.  WORTH?  DISCIPLINE?   No, the bell was still not ringing.

I went to my journal, refreshing my memory about what has been stirring in my soul.  REFRESH?   FRESH?  Nope.  (Are you laughing yet?  I am.....LAUGH?  No... LOL....o.k., back to the subject)

Here is what I found.  And I share it with you because, really, my journey is your journey too.  We are fellow travelers.
         "As I reflect on the past few years, one theme that emerges is "strengthening".  Everything that has happened  has systematically removed old crutches and idols, and replaced them with living faith.  Slowly but surely, my old, rocky acreage is being transformed.  Hiding underneath many of those "rocks" has been a core of shame (sometimes shame is so shameful you're ashamed to recognize it for what it is!).  I can see it quite clearly right now, as if there are two of me.....one who stands safe and sure in your love, Lord, and one who is hurt and damaged and identifies with the shame.  Flinches at the implication of worthlessness.  So many years I spent, living in the shadow of Stu's complexity.  I unconsciously preferred that to trusting You, Lord.  I could not have even known what trust looked like if You had not taken me by the hand.
      Now I am experiencing a different "covering", and under it I am hearing a different message----or maybe it's that my ears are not as plugged, and I can hear more clearly a Voice that has been calling me all along.  As I think it through, I can see that I am only scratching the surface of this issue----but even so, my chest is expanding with new air.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I come back again to the foundational stone that is being firmly established----that I am your workmanship,  not dependent on the approval of men, holy and blameless in  your sight, beloved, considered precious enough to die for.  In other words, my soul has great worth in Your eyes, not because of my good works or my connection to any other person.  My worth has everything to do with my connection to You, which you have been strengthening.  And out of that amazing relationship comes a joyful outpouring of love and concern for my fellow travelers! May that grow ever stronger in me, Lord.  All of my scribblings here are efforts to describe and rehearse that one truth"
      When I consider what it is that strengthens me, I can see that it is Your Word.  "There is no room in love for fear.  Well-formed love banishes fear" 1 John, 4:17, the Message.  I find my heart crying out "I want to be sane!"  That is my one request.  All around me are forces, dark ones that  I don't understand, compelling forces-----and often I feel an answering force within me that agrees with those dark forces.  Resisting those dark forces is the holiest thing I do.  But there is no way to resist in my own strength.  My greatest asset is my "YES", and I say it now to You, Lord.  Exclusively and with all my will, I say Yes, Lord.  Thy will be done.  Now and forever" (end of journal entry)

"Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus.  In him, this is what we preach and pray: the great Amen, God's Yes and our Yes together; gloriously evident.  God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us.  By his spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge----a sure beginning of what he has destined to complete"  2 Cor. 1:20-22, The Message

There is more in the journal----much more.  But this is already a long read, and I have brought you to my word for the year.  It is "YES".  I look forward to exploring its implications and power in future posts.
For now, my bakery is calling my name----and I think I must say "YES" to it!

Until next time!

Sue