Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy time with family and friends today!
Lord willing, I'll see you back here Monday.

Karen

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Do You Have a Son?

Joanna Teigen is a friend of mine.
Our daughters bunked together for the first time at summer camp three (or was it four???) years ago, and our families have been friends ever since. In fact, Joanna's daughter is the one I pray for whenever I see a yellow car. We have shared many conversations about God and mothering and life, and I have grown to truly love her.
Joanna knows that I love to pray, and when she asked me to contribute a story to her new book about prayer I was more than delighted to participate. But I was a hundred times more excited when the book arrived in my mailbox Monday.
Check out this (shortened) table of contents:
*When he needs God's salvation
*When he feels inferior
*When he's angry
*When he's going through a storm
*When he needs to tell the truth
*When he's stressed
*When he's rejected
*When he hears false teaching
*When he needs self-control
*When he needs a Christian community
*When he doubts his own worth
*When I don't know what to pray
And there are 65 other prayers for your son in this book!

As I read through the table of contents and think about my own sons - and the days and months behind us (and before us!) - my mother's heart is eager to pray, pray, pray. I look forward to God leading me to pray for my boys as I read this book.

If you'd like to get your own copy, you can do so here.
BTW, my story is on page 35. *smile*

Karen

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Say That Again?

Overheard in the Kitchen:
Matthew: Josh. Jooosh! Come finish emptying the dishwasher.
A few minutes pass, and Josh shows up.
Josh: You know, you could use a different tone of voice when you're asking me to do things.
Matthew: Huh?
Josh: Your voice when you just called me. It was all whine-y and stuff.
Matthew: No it wasn't.
Josh: Yes. You're all "Jooosh!" You were whining. And I really don't feel like doing things for you when you use that voice.
And I'm sitting in the family room listening, thinking, Whoa! I remember saying those same words to that boy (Josh) when he was little. What goes around comes around, I guess.

That little scene was funny enough. But it got better.

Moments after Josh chastised Matthew for using a whine-y voice, he approached Brian with questions about driving his Jeep to school the next morning.
Long story short, Brian said Josh may begin driving the Jeep on his first day to work.
But that answer didn't sit well with our son. And he kept coming back with more questions and slightly different proposals. Each time demanding an answer which "made sense" to him, and each time becoming just a touch more whine-y.
Finally, Brian let out an exasperated sigh and said, "I am becoming less and less motivated to continue this conversation with you." Or something like that. His words were more eloquent. But what I think he meant was, I really don't feel like doing things for you when you use that voice.

Karen

Monday, November 24, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lessons From the Edge

There is purpose in our pain.

I had been talking with J - whose parents used to live at Edgewood - and was saying Good-bye, so I could go visit my grandmother. When I told J where I was going, he said, "Oh! I want to come, too." (He'd visited with my grandmother before, and wanted to see her again.)
When we entered her apartment, Grandma was in bed - still in her pjs. She was not feeling well and didn't have the energy to get dressed that day. So we sat down by her bed and began our visit.
Grandma was discouraged because she can't seem to shake this cough and congestion thing she's got going on. It's wearing her out, and she just wants to be done. She shared with J (I've heard it many times, already...) that most days she wonders, What's next?
She overcame the troublesome tingling in her arms and hands by using an oxygen tank. Then she got a weird infection in her elbow. When that was gone troubles with sleeping began. Then she discovered she was so tired she can't stay awake to read much - and she really loves reading. And it just seems to her like a new problem awaits at each turn.

Discouragement understood.

Fortunately, J was quick to chime in with encouragement.
He has been going through his own set of medical trials and shared with Grandma the ways he has seen God at work in the midst of them. He has had opportunities to share his faith and speak life to nurses and doctors and technicians. J shared stories about interactions he's had with other patients. He gave God praise for his pain, because he could see how God was using it for His glory. All these people have been reached - and they wouldn't have if J didn't face these troubles.

I sat there by my grandmother's bed, listening to J's stories, completely delighted to hear about God's faithfulness. And then a very beautiful thing happened.
My grandmother began sharing a story about one of the nurses who comes to help her a few times a week. She was beginning to recognize how her own pain was being used for a good thing.
A young nurse is being impacted by my grandmother's life. And if Grandma didn't have these needs - if it wasn't necessary for this nurse to assist her - this young woman would be missing out.
At that realization, J began to pray. Among other things, he prayed for my grandmother's healing, of course. He also prayed for the people who are being reached because of the trials she faces each day. And when we said, "Amen," and I looked at my grandmother I'm pretty sure I saw a glimpse of a sparkle back in her eyes. I think she was finally feeling some encouragement because of the words of Truth which had been drifting into her ears.

There is purpose in our pain.

Karen

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Josh and the Jeep: An Update

He got a job!

Starts training the weekend after Thanksgiving.

And he's excited. Because he'll be able to start making car payments.

So he can start driving this:
OK. Not that exact Jeep.
I got the picture off the internet.
It's entirely too cold outside to go take a picture of Josh's Jeep.
But his is blue and the same year as the one pictured. And that's good enough for me on this cold day. *wink*
I am proud of my boy for getting a job. I look forward to how this added responsibility and freedom will grow him. I can't wait to see how paying for his own gas opens his eyes to the value of good planning. Annnnnnd, I'm probably going to be a nervous wreck while he's driving around in this Michigan snow over the next several months.
But at least he'll be doing it in a vehicle with 4-wheel drive!

Karen

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Learning to Trust

I had a great conversation with a teller at the bank yesterday.

Honestly, I don't even remember how we got started, but he was asking me questions about God and my faith - and the Holy Spirit just took over.
Early on, "R" asked me about how a person can keep the faith in the midst of struggles. And later, he pressed me for a more complete answer. He wondered, How can a person trust God to get them through difficult times?
At that point I think I leaned on the counter to get a little closer to him. And I told R I think it's important to remember what God has brought you through in the past. I believe there is a lot of value in recalling His faithfulness, so you can have confidence for your present circumstances.
Then I looked into his beautiful brown eyes and said, "It seems to me, we have a choice. We can either keep pushing God away and not trusting Him - which will likely result in Him allowing more difficult circumstances into our lives so we have more chances to learn to trust - OR, we can surrender. We can say, 'OK, God. I can't do this on my own. I'm going to trust You to take me through it.'"
That is the way God worked in me to build my trust. I remember it was mostly in hind-sight that I recognized the succession of events in my life which had shown me how trustworthy God is.
Yes. I'm a slow learner.
And at that point, it was rather undeniable. My God had been faithful through big things and small ones. Something in me (I think it must have been the Holy Spirit!) had me completely convinced I could trust Him with all my future needs, too. And so I came to the place of surrender, where I made the decision to trust Him. No matter what.

Before I left the bank, I promised R I was going to be praying for him. And I am. I am asking God to convince R of His love for him, and to help R come to that place of surrender. The place where he will know God is completely trustworthy and faithful.

How about you? How has God been teaching you to trust? Is there any way I can be praying for you today?

Karen