Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Down for the Count

Annnnd, the sickness which has been plaguing all my guys has finally caught me, too.
Not sure when I'll be back to blogging...

But I am sure God is good.
All the time!

Karen

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Finding Encouragement Here

Nations are in uproar,
kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice,
the earth melts.

~Psalm 46:6
This verse has been riding in my pocket, and stirring in my heart for the past six days.
I have worked on committing it to memory.
I've studied the key words in their original language.
I have meditated and ruminated and appreciated and concentrated and anticipated and investigated but never once become irritated, rather found myself fascinated - by the way God speaks through His Word.

And in my sanctified imagination, I see a picture like this:
Nations are in uproar. That is, my soul hears threats and howling coming from afar. The menacing noise gets louder and closer. The intimidation grows in ferocity - until my heart can take no more.
Then, kingdoms fall. That is, my spirit crumbles under the weight of peril which has been lurking, stalking, seeking to destroy me.
But, he lifts his voice. And a thunderous blare as mighty as a hurricane - yet contained in perfect restraint - whispers, Peace. Be still.
And, just like that, the earth melts. That is, the terror which threatened to undo me is rendered helpless. The danger dissolves and is swept away - at the command of the One who guards my heart.
And I am safe in His keeping.

I pray this picture will encourage your heart, as well.

Karen

Monday, March 20, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Lovely Moments

I swear, this volunteer role is just like having another teenager.

That is, I called Lovely yesterday morning to see if I could come over for a visit. But there was no answer.
So I called again in the afternoon.
Still no answer.
And I'm all, What's wrong? Why isn't Lovely answering her phone? She didn't tell me anything about going on vacation. Is she in the hospital? Why didn't somebody call and fill me in on her condition???

I mean, I tried not to think the worst, but I love her. And I couldn't get in touch with her.
She's always answered her phone every other time I've called.
The difference in this instance was troublesome to me.
But what could I do?
It felt strangely similar to the times my texts to a certain child have gone unanswered. And I've imagined that child in some predicament in a fishing boat somewhere. And I have scolded myself for worrying, but what else could I do? It feels like if there is no answer, something must be wrong.

I'm not the only mom afflicted with this jump-to-the-worst-conclusion disorder, am I?

Somehow, I made it through the rest of the day and evening. And I tried calling Lovely once more.
This time, she answered!
And said I could come over Friday afternoon to see her.
So my Lovely Moments are not lost.
Just delayed.

Remembering again, how important it is to cherish each moment.

Karen

Thursday, March 16, 2017

There's Just Something Precious...

...about a sick boy.

I have a couple of sickies in my house right now. It started with Matthew (He stayed home from school Monday and Tuesday.) and now it seems to have moved on to Josh.
Except it hasn't left Matthew.
So, I guess it hasn't really "moved on".
Excuse the interruption. Just analyzing my word choice out-loud.
Er, in-writing.
Bahhh, there I go, again!

Anyway, poor Matthew has been practically coughing his lungs out for the past few days. He's spent lots of time in bed, and has been pretty miserable. And, somehow, the whole scenario makes me willing to do nearly anything for him - because he's just so precious when he's pitiful.

Like Monday afternoon, when I was sitting with my heating pad trying to relieve the pain in my back. Matthew plodded out of his room and asked how my back was feeling. "Eh, it's so-so," I responded. With a look of disappointment he said, "Oh, then I guess you don't want to go to Subway to pick up a sandwich for me." (He may be sick, but the kid still eats!)
Truth be told, he was right. I didn't want to go. Sitting with my heating pad felt so nice! But before I could get control of my mouth I heard myself saying, "It's OK. I'll go. You're sick."
And I went.

Then there was Tuesday.
I think I was laying in bed with my heating pad. (It has become my friend!) Must have been somewhere between reading a book and falling asleep, when I thought I heard a voice. But I was too groggy (or lazy?) to investigate. Then I heard it again and my conscience got the better of me, so I rolled out of bed and went to Matthew's room to ask if he had called me. "Yes," he moaned. "Can you get me a drink of water?"
"Sure," I said.
And I did.
Without even a bit of resentment for being dragged out of bed - because he is so darn cute when he's crestfallen.

Which brought me to Wednesday morning.
I was downstairs exercising (Very carefully, avoiding anything which would irritate my back.) when I heard Josh softly call out from his room, "Mom?" At this point, I didn't know what he wanted. Was he going to ask me what we're having for dinner? Did he want me to put something in the wash for him? Didn't he realize I was up early exercising because I had to get to church to do child-care for the moms' group, so I wasn't looking for interruptions to my routine??? But before I could voice my indignation (thankfully!) he asked, "Will you get me an ibuprofen?" and I realized - he wasn't feeling well, either.
Poor kid!
Of course I would get him what he needed. And wearing my leg weights up and down the stairs would do me some good anyway.
So I got the pill and a cup of water, and I didn't even mind walking into his smells-like-a-teenager room to deliver it. Because when my man-child is sullen, he's just so sweet.

OK, I am looking forward to both of them feeling back-to-normal, but I must admit: I kinda enjoy having them docile and thankful for their mom. *wink*

What do your kids do to tug at your heart?

Karen

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Wishes for The Shack

If you live in America and spend any time on social media, chances are you are well aware of the controversy among Christians surrounding the movie, The Shack. No?
I did my share of reading blog posts and movie reviews both in favor of and opposed to seeing the movie. I read the book several years ago and already knew there were theological problems with it, and after reading a number of arguments for not going to the movie - I decided not to go.

But then my husband invited me to join him and a group of friends for a showing and, well, I accepted the invitation.
Fully expecting to not be impressed.
However, as I sat through the movie I was impressed. Impressed by the beautiful portrayal of the gracious love of God. I honestly was grateful that I was there, that I had changed my mind about going. Because I saw representations of God knowing what we need, and meeting us there. I took in a tender scene depicting that Jesus cares about the pain we carry in our hearts - He cares deeply, and wants to comfort us. I cherished the picture painted of the Holy Spirit making beauty out of the mess that is us. These scenes - and many others like them - welled up within me feelings of thanksgiving and an attitude of praise to God for His amazing love.
And I thought it a shame that so many people would not come to this movie because of the negative reviews and "warnings" that it would lead people astray.
I thought it a shame for people to miss it, because it was so touching.

Yet even as my heart was wooed as I watched, I also had frequent feelings of disappointment. I was saddened by scenes which stopped short of presenting the gospel, and which missed opportunities to declare significant spiritual truth. That is, the movie did an excellent job of depicting the LOVE of God - and that made it touching. But it failed to display the HOLINESS of God. And if it had done that as well, I think the movie would have been powerful, not just touching.
I'm thinking of two scenes in particular, and if anyone were to ever re-do The Shack, these would be my wishes for redeeming them:
1) When the main character was with Papa and asked something like, "So You don't condemn sin?" And Papa replied something like, "Oh, sin is it's own punishment" (and I cringed in my seat) I wish Papa had said, "Oh, yes I do!..." and then had gone on to explain that sin is evil and must be punished. I wish Papa had told about how sin broke the perfect relationship which had existed between God and man, and brought death into our world. Oh, if Papa had made clear that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
And 2) when the main character was talking with Wisdom and was struggling to be the judge, when he couldn't bear to chose to send one of his children to Hell and cried out, "No! Send me instead!" oh, how I wished Wisdom would have gone into the gospel right there. I was yearning for her to say, "Don't you know? That is exactly what God did for you! He couldn't bear the thought of all mankind being condemned to Hell so He allowed Jesus to die in your place. Jesus took the punishment for sin which you deserved. He died and was buried so you could be forgiven. And God raised Him from the dead so you could have new life. Now everyone who believes in Him and takes Him as their Savior is freed from the grip of Hell and can look forward to eternity in Heaven."
I wish...

So, there it is. My response to the movie, The Shack.
I enjoyed it very much and was delighted by the beautiful picture it painted of the unconditional, unending love of God. But I wish it had also shown the undeniable holiness of God. I wish the gospel had been presented. If those aspects were included I would actively recommend the movie to anyone. As it is, if you choose to go - while I hope you will relish the love of God - please remember it is not an accurate representation of the Truth. Only the Bible can give you the Truth!

Karen

Friday, March 10, 2017

Lovely Moments

Whew! I didn't mean to go AWOL on you this week. But between life, intermittent back pain, and lots of naps - I just haven't been writing. Special thanks to those who noticed and checked in on me. *smile*

The good news is, I got to see Lovely yesterday.
I called in the morning to see if it was a good day for a visit and Lovely told me she had company at the moment, but would be free in the afternoon. So we made our plans and said Good-bye.
Well, when I knocked on her door in the afternoon and walked into her apartment I discovered someone else there with her. "Oh! You still have company!" I said. But they welcomed me in to join them.
Turns out it wasn't the same company she'd had when I called. It was a man who lives in her apartment complex who had stopped in after lunch to visit. (A budding romance? I dunno! *wink*)
Anyway, the three of us sat and talked for the next 45 minutes and had such a nice time.
Her guest was just delightful.
Yes, Delightful. That's what I'll call him.
Over the course of our conversation we talked about everything ranging from Tiger baseball and Michigan State basketball to using our hands as a Michigan map to raising kids and following Jesus. I even found out that Delightful attended the same church I've been a part of for the past 23 years. Now he goes to services at the chapel in their apartment complex. And we agreed that this Sunday morning he ought to knock on Lovely's door and take her along with him.
It was true joy to spend time with both Lovely and Delightful, as we shared thoughts and memories and plenty of laughter. Didn't get to the Bible study I had brought to do with Lovely, but that's OK. Next week I'll bring three copies. And if Delightful is there again, perhaps the three of us can go through it together!

Karen