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Feb
15

The Monster Called Arrogance

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A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,

but only in expressing his opinion.

~ Proverbs 18:2

Rarely a day goes by that I do not see it – a calling out of someone publicly. The topics vary, yet the reasons remain unwavering: the need to be right and be praised for it. Unknown fingers fly across keyboards, faces hidden, motives clear: humiliate whoever disagrees with your stance. What ought to be a private conversation, becomes a carnival show of hate. The aftermath of this arrogant judgement and spewed hatred is always the same: hurt feelings, humiliation, scathing remarks that leave scars heart deep on the victim. The claim of justification for the vitriol immutable: accountability while sharing the truth in love.

On the heels of this prideful  judgement, gossip and slander never fail to follow. And this monster called arrogance grows.

IMG_8684I expect it from the abyss of the world who is absence Yeshua and His love, ignorant to His grace and His Truth; for those who claim to walk in Torah, it perpetually blindsides me. I suppose I just expect more from people who serve an Elohim of love, who ought to be reflecting that love.

Pride and arrogance are fed by our insecurities. They are fed by our carnal desires for praise and adoration from people. We ought to ask ourselves when this shift took place, when being more pleased with the adoration of men and being less pleasing to Yahweh was allowed a foothold. He created us for a purpose only known to himself and ego fed desires thwart our purpose creating a path of self-reliance. Self-reliance steals the glory from the only one who deserves it. And regardless of the plan, we each have a duty as a follower of Yeshua: create disciples and teach them His commandments. Who wants to follow Yeshua if His followers are proud and arrogant, prone to slander and gossip and hate speech, quick to publicly shame those they indignantly judge?

Yeshua was the perfect picture of humility. His words convicted, never humiliated. Even in a crowd. Why if we claim to follow Him, is it so difficult to tame our tongues, speak words that teach and heal? Because the tongue is an unruly evil that no man can tame.

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man is able to tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, filled with deadly poison. With it we bless our Elohim and Father, and with it we curse man who have been made in the likeness of Elohim. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not be so. ~ James 3:7-10

And for that reason alone, we can not wage a war with everyone who disagrees with us. I would suggest the best path is one of silence and meditation on the Word for He teaches us the way to walk, to speak, to act, to be faithful. And that is the way it should be, a walking out of our faith in such a way that it intrigues people and makes them seek Yeshua and His truth.

Pride always points to us; sharing truth and exemplifying love and grace point to Him.

IMG_8838I believe we ought to have a boldness. But that boldness must present in the form of an unwavering stance of adhering to truth and not in a form of bullying and hostility and shaming. For we are called to be a peculiar people, example setters, a beacon of light.  Screaming opinions, bullying others, and prideful words never changed anyone’s mind.

I would even say this: if you must call some one out by name on their behavior or belief and you do it in a public forum such as facebook, you most certainly are doing it for your glory, not Yahweh’s. You are doing it to show all your connections how right you are and how knowledgeable you are all while shaming someone else to show how wrong they are and how ignorant they are. Sounds a little bit like the Pharisees if you ask me. Yeshua has much to say about them too: He called them hypocrites and vipers.

There is always a possibility we are wrong; if there was not, we would be Yahweh. Being open to that possibility allows truth to emerge. Being humble allows us to be taught. If our position is simply proving we are right, then we are arrogant to believe we are more knowledgeable than our Elohim who seeks to teach us and mold us in His image. And above all, His image is love and His image is Truth.

The worst thing is not being wrong, but being an abomination to Yahweh.

These six matters Yahweh hates, and seven are an abomination to Him:

a proud look,

a lying tongue,

and hands shedding innocent blood,

a heart devising wicked schemes,

feet quick to run to evil,

a false witness breathing out lies,

and one who causes strife among brothers.

But we are told how to protect ourselves from falling into the trap of these abominations:

My son, watch over your father’s command,

and do not forsake the Torah of your mother.

Bind them on your heart always;

tie them around your neck.

When you are walking about, it leads you;

when you lie down, it guards you.

And when you have woken up, it talks to you.

And then we are told why:

For the command is a lamp,

and the Torah a light,

and reproofs of discipline a way of life.

~ Proverbs 6:16-23

He gives us good instruction and yet we forsake His Torah. We ignore the words that lead us in the way to be holy and righteous and good. All for the satisfaction of being right. For being praised. For adoration. For a soon forgotten moment’s glory. For the applause, most often, of people we do not even know. All for a tongue that will not be tamed and for a fleeting satisfaction that can never fill our deep inadequacies that are only meant to be filled with Yeshua.

As Yahweh’s created, we need to be on our faces before Him seeking true humility and cloaking ourselves in it because if our walk doesn’t match His commandment to love, our witness is void.

IMG_8632Love is never proud. It does not boast. Nor is it self-seeking, easily angered, dishonoring to others. And if you must go around telling everyone how humble you are, how loving you are, how you are just speaking the truth in love, then probably you are not. There is a reason we are known by our fruits: they are seen not shouted. We must be in a state of perpetual self-examination, questioning where we are lacking in our character, repenting of it, and beseeching Yahweh to fill those holes with the fruits of His character. His love and peace and joy. His patience and kindness, goodness and faithfulness. His gentleness.  And certainly His self-control.

Yet if instead, we choose a path of arrogance and pride, of always boasting our opinions, of always shouting why we are right, scripture is clear in its warning.

Pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom. ~ Proverbs 11:2

Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to Yahweh; hand to hand: he goes not unpunished. ~ Proverbs 16:5

Before destruction comes pride, and before a fall a haughty spirit! ~ Proverbs 16:18

Have you seen a man wise in his own eyes? There is more expectancy for a fool than
for him. ~ Proverbs 26:12 And Paul reminds us later in Romans 12:26 when he says, “Do not be proud in mind, but go along with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.”

One often reproved, hardening his neck, is suddenly broken, and there is no healing. ~ Proverbs 29:1

Possibly, we ought to heed the warnings.

No one has ever made himself great by showing how small someone else is.

~ Irvin Himmel

Jul
1

No. Evil doesn’t just happen.

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“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that

He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.

2 Chronicles 16:9

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On June 13, 2016, the day after the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, Christianitytoday.com posted a blog entry by Karl Vaters entitled, 5 Dumb Things Christians Must Stop Saying When Evil Strikes. Karl Vaters is the lead pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain City, California. I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. And so does Karl Vaters’ church (http://www.cornerstonefv.com/about-us/what-we-believe.html) and I will take the leap that he does as well since he is lead pastor. You can find his article here, http://www.christianitytoday.com/karl-vaters/2016/june/5-dumb-things-christians-must-stop-saying-when-evil-strikes.html?paging=off . This is my response.

 

Dear Karl Vaters,

I will wholeheartedly agree people say stupid things. Utterly. Stupid. Things. The more tragic, the stupider the comments. And that stupidity breeds hurt, pain, confusion. It will make you want to spit in the face of the person that uttered the stupidity. I know. I have lived through tragedy. I have been the recipient of such comments.

However, of all the things you stated in your post, it is number five on the list, I can not let go of because we do not live in a random, chaotic world ruled over by a God who sleeps or gets distracted or is oblivious to what is happening to His created. And you make it sound as if God has no control.

Here is what you stated:

5. “Everything happens for a reason”

No. It just doesn’t.

Evil has no reason. It is anti-reason. And anti-love.

And don’t spout any nonsense about evil balancing out the good. Evil balances nothing. It keeps everything off balance.

That’s why God hates it.

“Everything happens for a reason” is more pagan than Christian. It’s more about Karma than Christ.

Evil is not supposed to happen. It does. Obviously. But it shouldn’t.

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The errancy in these statements are astounding. A book could be written refuting them.

“Everything happens for a reason” No. It just doesn’t. 

Actually, yes it just does.

And Solomon explains this in Ecclesiastes 3:1-9:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;  a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;  a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

So with these verses in mind, I will submit the two following statements are true and supported by scripture:

No one can die without God’s knowledge or permission.

Evil can not be carried out unless God allows it to be.

 

IMG_1089No one can die without God’s knowledge or permission. (Matthew 10)

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. ~ Matthew 10:29

In Matthew 10, we have Jesus speaking to the disciples, giving them authority and sending them forth to do God’s work. He is instructing them and He is warning them. He tells them to expect persecution and not to fear death and then Jesus says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.(v. 29-31)

Just to give some perspective… Sparrows were in such great quantity, they were insignificant apart from their nuisance behavior. They were everywhere. They were intrusive and possessive, and apparently, they had no reverence for even sacred places. David tells us in Psalm 84:3 that the sparrow even nests in the Lord’s altars. They were ensnared and disposed of with eagerness because they were a nuisance and they were cheap because of their seemingly never-ending quantity. But Jesus tells us that not even a sparrow dies without the Father’s consent or knowledge. He says that every single hair on our head is numbered.

Does this sound as if God were oblivious? Or unaware? Does it sound that evil just snuck up and caught Him off guard? I think not. Not only did God know who would die that day, he decided it was their time to die. Why He chose when and who He did is only for Him to know and not for us to question.

IMG_1088Evil can not be carried out unless God allows it to be. (Job 1:6-12, 2:1-10)

And the Lord said to satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So satan went out from the presence of the Lord. ~ Job 1:12

In the book of Job, we learn about Job and all that God allows to befall him at satan’s hand. In the first five verses, we are given a glimpse into Job’s life and it is pretty sweet. God has blessed him mightily. But it is also revealed why…Job was blameless and upright, a man who feared God and turned away from evil. He offered burnt offerings to the Lord, not only for himself, but also for his children. Scripture says he did this continually.

Then things take a turn because evil is allowed an opportunity.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?”

So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. ~ Job 1:6-12

Here we have a perfect picture of 1 Peter 5:8, Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. And why does satan do this, prowl around in search of someone to devour? To destroy you spiritually. He roams and seeks opportunity to afflict us with so much pain and heartache that we will turn our backs to God.

And this is how he attacks Job. Satan lays waste to everything he has – his children, his property, his livestock -leaving Job to mourn and to say, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” Chapter one wraps up with these words, “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

Another day comes, and the sons of God come before Him and once again satan joins them.  Again, he has been prowling around and up to no good and he tells God so. So God points out that he failed with Job – he was unable to persecute him enough to turn him against God. But satan, crafty and sly as always, points out God has not allowed satan to touch Job, only his possessions. This time satan wants Job and does he ever have plans for him. Once more, God grants satan permission to inflict at will, but refuses to allow satan to go as far as to take Job’s life.

And satan wastes no time. The moment he leaves the Lord’s presence, he strikes Job with loathsome sores from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. As Job sits in his ashes mourning and scraping sores with a broken piece of pottery, his bitter sass-mouthing wife, spits the words at him, “curse God and die.” But he admonishes her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” Chapter two wraps up with these words, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

Evil must ask permission from God before it may act and it may only act within the parameters God Himself sets.

IMG_1086To say, “evil just happens,” is to say God relinquishes control of the our existence and the world in which we live; it would mean God is not omnipotent, omniscient or omnipresent, and it would mean we live in chaos.  And was this not God’s first task, to not only create, but bring order order to that creation? He methodically, with purpose and with intent and with great care, spoke each element of our world into existence, in its proper time and put it into its proper place.

To make such a statement is wildly reckless and wholly irresponsible. But to say it to people grappling with understanding in a tragedy, is cruel. Because you are saying that God is ignorant of the events befalling His created nor does He care. You are saying random things happen for no reason at all  and that breeds anxiety and fear in the living and in the left behind. You are saying their life had no purpose or meaning because God did not bother to count the cost of their death even though scripture says He numbered all the hairs upon their head and planned out all their days.

You are saying God is not in control.

If He is not, then evil is.

And that is the most errant insinuation of them all: God has no control over evil.

By saying this, you have peddled a lie to the hurting and multiplied their pain a thousandfold. It was worse than any false platitude that might be uttered because it was a lie and satan is the father of lies and you, a pastor who should be serving God, have just done satan’s work. It would have been better had you shut your mouth and said nothing at all.

To speculate on why God does what He does is foolish and arrogant. To go to scripture and seek the truth about the character of God is wise.

IMG_1135Here is a mere sampling of what scripture has to say about God:

God is omniscient. He knows everything. His knowledge is complete. It is limitless, boundless, and unable to be measured or calculated. Consider Psalm 147:5…

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.

God is omnipotent. He has unlimited power. He is able to do anything He pleases. He has no limits except those He imposes upon Himself. Consider the following:

Nebuchadnezzar praises Him for it in Daniel 4:35; Job declares it before Him in Job 42:1-2; Jesus says there is nothing too impossible for God in Matthew 19:26; an angel conveys it to Mary when sharing news of Elizabeth’s pregnancy in Luke 1:37; and Isaiah declares it to the Assyrians in Isaiah 14:27 when he says, “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who can annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?”

God is omnipresent. He is in all places at all times. Consider:

Psalm 121:4 Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.

Psalm 139:7-12 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me,and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

God is immutable. He is unchanging. He is unable to be changed. Consider:

Malachi 3:6 For I am the Lord; I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

God is sovereign. He is free to act in whatever way He determines is best for us. Although scripture is full of God’s sovereignty, do we need to look any further than the beginning of our existence in Genesis?

I could go on listing attributes. He is love (I John 4). He is holy (I Peter 1:16, Leviticus 20:26). He is gracious, righteous and merciful (Psalm 116:5).

The evil allowed in this world has but one purpose: to cause people to seek God. Because evil is allowed for the simple reason we have turned our backs to Him. We have so far removed Him from our lives and our world that it seems He is not present. However, I can assure you, it is we who have moved.

But God is near.

So very near.

And He is waiting for us, His people, to return to Him.

Peruse the Old Testament and example after example can be found where God’s people drifted away from Him; God lifted up pagan nations to carry out actions against them to humble them, and then God punished the pagan nations for their eagerness to carry out such evil against His people.

Evil exists because without God in our lives, we choose it.

Why?

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

For from within the hearts of men come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, arrogance, and foolishness. Mark 7:21-22

Romans 1 describes how God will give men up to their evil, darkened hearts and their debased minds. Turn your back on God and He will let evil have its way because you have chosen it, not because it is what He wants for you.

What God wants for us is to live a holy, set apart life so that everything we do points others to His love and the salvation offered through Jesus’ gift on the cross. Unfortunately, most choose a fleeting, worldly existence to satisfy their fleshly desires. They flock to churches with pastors who tickle their ears with lies and pervert God’s word. They want to feel good and justified in their sin, and in this day and age are they ever catered to.

Sitting in church hearing God’s truth should be an unsettling experience. We ought to leave questioning how we need to allow God to work in our lives so that we are holy because He is holy. It ought to create change in us and by default in the people around us and that change should ripple out into the world.

But that can not happen when pastors make errant statements and publish them on the internet. I pray that you will take a step back, correct your words, and honor God by sharing His truth and not some filtered version of it that creates further distance between God and His people.

So while false platitudes are harmful, so are lies. And I believe that is why I find reason number five on your list so reprehensible. One might not know what to say and sometimes silence is better, and yes, we should cry with those who cry. But is it not far better to speak the truth?

Yes. It was tragic.

Yes. I know you are hurting.

Yes. Explanation escapes me.

But God…

He knows.

He has purpose in everything He does and everyone He created.

He is sovereign and just and merciful and good.

And we can trust in His word. And we can trust in His Truth.

Because above all, He is love.

 

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God will not protect you from anything that will make you more like Jesus ~ Elisabeth Elliot

Sep
23

A Life Altered: a conversation between two women

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Behold, children are a blessing from the Lord.  The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like armies in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.    -Psalm 127:3

Elizabeth Marchman Logan“What am I going to do?” you whisper. “I am pregnant.”

I nod.

I smile.

I want to tell you, “Be joyful.”

But how can I, when fear is choking the breathe right out of you?

And because I have wrestled that same fear, instead I tell you, when I was nineteen and in my first year of college, I was faced with a decision that, no matter what I chose, the outcome would alter the rest of my life. In high school, I was the good girl voted most likely not to be promiscuous by all her previous boyfriends and, as word spread, I was avoided by potential future boyfriends because, well, there seemed to be only one end goal on a Friday night while we sat by the lake. Quickly, I decided being a good girl only earned you no boyfriends. And even though I did not create a plan to seek out anyone in particular, I certainly spent ample time thinking about how much fun some of my other girlfriends were having.

As my first year of college came to a close, I let myself be charmed by a slick talking city boy who knew all the right words to say. And for the first time ever, I had my pants charmed right off of me.

IMG_0288After three months, Slick decided fatherhood was not for him.

You nod.

And he left.

You smile.

Just. Like. That.

Your eyes brim with tears and we both sit, bound by a same situation, two decades apart.

So I drop out of college, take a job at a grocery store and a second at a temp service, and work toward my new future as a single mother instead of my dream of being a  photojournalist for National Geographic.

Then I pause because, what possible wisdom do I have to offer you?

I can’t sit here and tell you every moment was filled with being over joyed in my circumstance.

I can’t tell you that I did not mourn some of the sacrifices motherhood required I make.

I can’t tell you I never envied the fact that my friends went on to finish their college days while I sometimes worked two jobs and was up all night taking care of a infant.

I can’t tell you that financially I never struggled.

I can’t paint a picture for you that it was easy or without fear or that all my friends clamored about me in support.

I can’t tell you I was never tired. Or inconvenienced. Or irritated.

I can’t even tell you that I was not counseled by some of those closest to me to have an abortion.

IMG_0289So instead, I tell you these things because being a mother has changed my life in the most unimaginable ways and if abortion had been my choice, I would be a completely different person sitting before you now. And so would the people around me because our choices have a way of rippling out for good or for bad.

When I heard the heartbeat at my first doctor’s visit, it was the most thrilling thing I had ever heard in my life.

The first purchase I made was a small teddy bear and a white bib with a clown embroidered on it and it was the most exciting $15 purchase I ever made.

Those early morning snuggles and beautiful blue eyes undid me every time in the most glorious of ways.

Sacrifice and love are the epitome of being a parent and in them are joy unexplainable.

Firsts. First smile. First tooth. First step. First word. Those firsts never stop their whole life. And those firsts will bring you happiness your whole life.

My mother was there in the delivery room and saw her first grandchild born. I remember my father holding my son for the first time, after first saying no he was covered in construction dust and a nurse laughing,telling him that is why they installed sinks and to wash up because there were no excuses worthy for not holding that child right now.

My grandparents refinished the family crib for their great grandchild that held my mother when she was a baby, all of us kids and too many cousins to count and what a blessing for my child to sleep in a bed steeped in so much love and prayer.

The friends that fell away? Not missed one of them in the last twenty-four years.

And my brother? He was more than willing to heed the call and drive the car at ungodly speeds, the whole seven miles to the hospital, when the doctor said, “Go now.”

A week of missed lunches due to lack of funds because you are pulling down barely more than minimum wage at $5.25 an hour with no benefits and your son has a pediatrician visit, will make you the most frugal person there is and THAT is a life skill we all need.

My child had more thrift store clothes than new clothes and I learned that everything did not have to be brand sparkling new. So with my next two children, I searched out second hand clothes before I bought one stinking thing new.

snapshot memories of happy

snapshot memories of happy

But here is what I believed then and what I still believe now: we were old enough to consent to and engage in sex, so we are old enough to take responsibility for the potential outcome of pregnancy. And whatever sacrifices we must make are ours, and ours alone, to bear.  I never expected a handout, but was grateful for the love and guidance and help that came my way. And I assure you, it will come your way too.

You see the news.  I see it too. They rage about women’s rights and Planned Parenthood and whether abortion is right or wrong, when is a baby a really a baby. Videos surface and horrors are revealed, and angry people shout hate speech like heathens instead of God-fearing, human- loving Christians.

But I am grateful, I tell you.  I am grateful I did not waver. I am grateful I stood my ground. I am grateful I was not swayed by opinions of how inconvenient it would be to be a mother or how I was too young or the sacrifices too great. I am grateful that my parents taught me to be responsible for my decisions and never, not once, let me get away with shirking the consequences.

Mostly, I am grateful God gave me the strength and the courage and fortitude to press on and that, standing on His truth, I was able to view the preciousness and the sanctity of the life He created and gifted to me as exactly what it was. Holy.

No matter how it came about.

No matter how it changed my future.

No matter what it cost me.

IMG_7927Because here is the thing I do not want you to miss:  when you take the convenient way out, you will never be able to walk through the toughest situations you will face going forward. You will never know the joy of victory over your circumstances. You will never walk through the unknowns of life and know the beauty of trusting God. You will never experience the strength of God in your weakness and your fear. Because once you take the easy road, your fortitude and tenacity evaporate. Your excited “what if I dos?” becomes apathetic “why bothers?” and you will miss the greatest blessings of your life. You may think this is the toughest circumstance, but I assure you it is not and more are sure to come. And I want you to know the feeling of gratitude and the joy of motherhood. I want so desperately for you to know the beauty of God working miracles out of what seems the wildest uncertainty and the darkest despair and the deepest pits we can dig for ourselves.

And between me and you, can I tell you this? Sometimes things harder than unplanned pregnancy come along. Sometimes tragedy rears up and steals two children right away from you in the quick blink of an eye and you look back and see the one left is the one you chose not to abort, but to keep and to cherish and to love.  I assure you, it is then the magnitude of God’s omnipotence is apparent and His divine plan clear. And unending gratitude you will possess for eternity for the wisdom and strength to have made just one right choice. Because every right choice gives you strength and wisdom for every new circumstance you find yourself in.

Life is not easy. Never has been. Never will be. If someone sold you that lie, demand a refund.

God allows hard choices because it is…Not. About. Us. It is about Him. It is about the path we are meant to follow and following Him is a life long pursuit. And this world will tell you to live with a ME mentality that will crush the life right out of you when something goes awry in the little lives we make for ourselves.

But know this:

Every single situation has a purpose. Every single LIFE has a purpose.

And when Jesus Christ is our focus, clarity reigns and the decisions of right and wrong are replaced with trust of the only Omnipotent Being. The One who has thought it all through. The One who has planned it all out. The One who knows what is not only right, but what is best.

And that is true, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.

He alone, has given you this gift of life. Right now, it might seem more a burden than a gift. But I will ask you to do one thing.

Come with me.IMG_4234

Let’s go listen to this heart beat wild with life.

Then, we can thank God for the most precious gift He has to give and that He has chosen to give it to you.

Being a mom is tough, but it is the best hardest thing you will ever do your whole life. And not having an abortion, I promise, will be a choice you will never need worry about regretting.

Aug
16

Perfection Defined

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Some might see imperfection in this picture; others might think its consideration unworthy of little more than a glance. I see different. I see God’s provision to His created beings.

From its leafy beginning to beyond its elegant bloom, this flower is giving the very best of what it has to offer to what surrounds it. Honey bees gather pollen and nectar, swallowtails rest upon its velvety petals eating lunch, finches will pluck seeds for breakfast.


What is left is something a little worn, a little scarred that exudes a lot of graceful beauty, a glimmer of truth.


God created us to be like this plant, thriving under His omnipotent provision of life; He created us to be givers not takers; He created us to love even when we are not loved.

And so, as it is, the world leaves us a little worn, a little scarred; no doubt a little empty, a little lost.

Though, in what is missing, I see what has been able to thrive. This unique gem will not ever cease to give; the uneaten seed will fall to emerge in the spring and begin its work again. I look upon the nibbled petals and wonder what is cultivated in my spirit by the takers of this world; what beauty might be brought forth within my willingness to abide in God’s lavish agape love each moment , for He is the only One who can bring beauty from ashes.

I wonder…..

Apr
2

The Sanctuary of Silence

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God is in Heaven and you on Earth. Therefore, let your words be few.
Ecclessiates Scripture on chalkboard

reminder that God's wisdom is infinite and mine is not

I pray these words over my household,
 pray them over myself.  
I am learning silence is a better way. 
 It suits me better anyway.
I try to make this common practice.
My eyes fall upon these words 
as I enter our home
and when I sit to share a meal,
 those words,
they hang above my head as humbly,
with grateful blessings,
I speak to Him.
Though the world and its people
are unpredictable,  uncontrollable….
sanctuary has been gifted.
Wading through the muck of another’s mean words,
it is then I remember…..
Elizabeth at Honey Bee School

attending the Queen at Honey Bee School

Our words are just puffs of air
most are the meaningless, mindless chatter of opinion,
of gossip,
words run amok 
drowning the tongue’s self-control 
flowing across lips in a waterfall of hurt and mean,
dashing the beauty of what is growing under God’s Omnipotent Hand.
Tim Cruse's honeybees

the honeybee's exquisite and precious art.

With a puff of air, God breathes and speaks the world into existence.
With a puff of air,  
my words are meaningless
and I am small.
I long for my words to create
encouragement,
love,
peace,
not be rote in reply, 
not be old habits in motion that stunt growth and happiness.
Unless my words are grown from Holy roots, 
they dare not sprout and be loosed to thrive.
Elizabeth inspecting hives at Honey Bee school

experiencing the divine uniqueness of God

I pray protection over the unholy words spoken to me,
another’s chaotic din rising in wails,
beg they dare not be let to thrive as kudzu consuming
my dream,
 my peace,
my happiness,
my patience and waiting in His stillness.
It is not a requirement of thoughts they be birthed as words if they are not worthy of creation.
One day, all will be held accountable to the thoughts that leave lips 
in words of destruction 
and
in words of creation.
front porch steps spring flowers

front porch steps are a good place to hang out with God

What kind of words will you be held accountable for?

Jul
26

God’s Perfect and Infinite Wisdom

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sunflowersTrust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

 


At a women’s retreat several years ago, I was prayed over and my hands were anointed.  I was told that my hands, specifically, would be used in service to the Lord.  I held onto the words that were spoken to me. Tightly.  I imagined a thousand scenarios where God might use me.  In my mind, the possibilities were endless.  Where I might go and who I might serve hijacked the majority of my thoughts. Then one day, an opportunity was presented to me.  A team of missionaries, who travel to Honduras every four months, were planning their next trip.  Their primary ministry is to dig wells. During their ten day stint, they also provide a Vacation Bible School for the children in the community.  There was no hesitation. I signed up. It was decided that I would oversee the Vacation Bible School.  I planned for weeks.  I scoured the internet for ideas and studied a little Spanish so that I could communicate even though it might be limited.

 

Two months later, the trip was cancelled.  I was devastated. To me, it felt like a punishment of the highest sort.  I begged God for answer, but He was not cooperating. The words of encouragement around me to wait on God were lost on me.  I actually thought that if one more person quoted scripture to me concerning God’s timing or His ways that I could not understand, I would explode leaving nothing but a mushroom cloud where I had stood. I surrounded myself with projects and shut myself off from the world. As far as I was concerned, the presented opportunity had been a sign from God.  Had I really needed to spend a lot of time in prayer?  Why would God have allowed this being presented to me if it were not meant for me to go? Did He not know the secret desires of my heart?

I presented myself with a plethora of reasons about why God would have changed His mind. I was not obsessing, but I really did not understand. And I wanted desperately to understand. This decision God had made, this door He had closed, tripped me up.  Where else would He close doors and why would He close them? To me, I viewed it as a little thing God could have done for me.  I wanted to go on a mission trip.  I wanted to serve Him.  I wanted my heart’s desire, but I had been denied. Or so I thought.

 

For the last few months, a spiritual battle has raged around me.  Troubles attached themselves to me with superglue strength.  No matter what I did, no matter how much I prayed, they hung on determined to bring me low.  Each new day, I found myself crying out to God for peace, and each night I would cry because peace had not come.  Certain God had finally given up on me I began to obsess over the reasons why.  I had a long mental list of all the reasons why God would not want to use me for His Kingdom’s work. Every day, the list grew, and from this ever-growing list, a crushing doubt emerged ready to devour me. I almost convinced myself God did not really have a plan for my life. It left me with an icy emptiness in the middle of my gut. I could feel it as I would sit at my desk attempting to pour words onto pages and all those reasons would clang around in my head…until a month ago.

 

The most amazing thing happened.  I began to experience a warm pulsing in the palms of my hands.  Just the palms. My fingers felt cold, even the tops of my hands felt cold, but my palms felt as if they had been holding a hot cup of tea.  I sat there, eyes closed, remembering snippets of words spoken to me.  I remembered prayers I lifted up to God asking for direction, discernment, signs.  I remembered my hands being anointed, being told I would use my hands to serve other women. I remembered being told that if my palms grew hot, it was a prompting from God to pray for someone near me; if I was alone, then I was to place my hands on myself and pray. And that is exactly what I did.

 

I prayed for God to reveal to me what He was trying to teach me and because He is faithful, He gifted me in that moment an understanding of why He is God and I am not.  He made me understand why His ways are higher than my own.  In His perfect timing, this is what He showed me: visions of me praying for my real heart’s desire – to be a writer. He showed me sitting at a desk, in the bed, in the car – all holding a pencil in my hands. I had never, not once, prayed to go to Honduras to serve Him until the opportunity had presented itself.  My prayers to go to Honduras were not my heart’s desire, but I knew it would do one thing in my confused mind: it would validate me as being His and affirm it was a miracle, not a mistake, that I had survived the car accident no one thought it possible to survive.  It would prove to me, God wanted me to serve Him in a big way, in a way that would change lives. I wanted to know I was important enough, and not too messed up, to serve Him.  More than that, I wanted to prove to God, He could count on me, He could trust me. In the midst of the denial, I should have trusted God instead of trying so very hard to convince Him that He was wrong. It was one of the most humbling moments I have ever experienced. I felt no guilt, no shame.  I did not feel as if God were shaking His Holy finger at me.  He was helping me to understand that He has called me to write and that is where I will serve Him because that is my true calling.  Writing is my heart’s desire because it is the desire He intertwined with my DNA when He knit me together with all the uniqueness of what makes me who I am.

 

And this changes everything. It changes my prayers to Him.  It changes my attitude of acceptance when He answers a prayer differently than I expect.  It changes the why’s into requests for discernment in the midst of my lack of understanding.  It gives me patience to wait on the Lord for direction.  It changes my view of how God sees me.  It gives me pause to recognize my motives for service. It makes me understand that I do not ever have to prove myself to God.  He already knows it all, every second of my well-planned life that He created.  Most of all, He knows my heart even when I do not.  I sometimes wonder if it is in my plan to go on a mission trip to Honduras because there is this part of me that wants so much to accompany others in changing lives somewhere south of the border.  It is in the silence after this last thought, He so very sweetly and gently points out letters that need to be written to our sponsored children there.  And for now, I can best serve Him as I string together words into sentences of encouragement and hope about God’s goodness to those beautiful children I love.

bachelor buttons, blackeyed susans, single magenta cosmos

 

May you abound in His perfect peace and love,

Elizabeth

May
20

The Beginnings of Faith and Trust

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Elizabeth Marchman Flower #18
Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith. 
~ I Peter 5:8-9a


It is 2a.m.. Voluminous clouds ride the wind’s breath low across the treetops. Bare branches reach into the midnight sky.  There is a beauty in the surreality of these moments where I exist alone.  Shadows create a world of possibilities from the purview of my bedroom window as my mind wanders through a plethora of demands that weigh me down. A storm is approaching.  Lightening shatters the sky and seconds later the crushing sound of thunder shakes me with its forceful growl. To see the lightening rod salesman from Something Wicked This Way Comes, walking along the sidewalk below would seem quite fitting and not the least bit out of the ordinary.  Instead, drifting clouds lull me into stillness.  The stars shine hypnotically against an infinite blackness, so deep, so vast, I feel miniscule.  Part of a Nahum scripture asserts itself into my conscious: “The Lord has His way in the storm and the clouds are the dust of His feet.”  My mind creates an image of God on a mission of utmost importance. He marches in long strides with angels closely following.  The second troop of clouds march rapidly into view, then disappear over the trees.  Wispy remnants linger as the last of the clouds race by with a swish that swirls my thoughts and I want to reach out, call up to God, “Wait.  You are going too far.  You passed right by me.”  The wind whispers a husky goodbye as I drift into a curious mind’s restless slumber with the words, “What is so important?” on my lips. 
I wrestle with the sleep that comes to me. In the morning when I awaken, I feel forgotten.  Before I even open my eyes, I can feel the anxiety building.  Behind my closed eyes, a scroll unrolls a list of musts.  And I must get moving because I am behind, so woefully behind.  I feel frazzled, overwrought, exhausted.  I sit at the edge of the bed praying.  The disquiet of my mind, creates an anarchy that, like a boa constrictor clinches me, squeezing until I am in tears, gasping for air.  I breathe shallow breathes. My head feels enormous, strangely buoyant as if it is filled with helium.  I scour the room for an exit as the claustrophobia creeps up from my feet tying me to the floor.  I panic sure this time is the end.  This is the day that I really can’t take anymore. The fear confuses and disorientates me, debilitates me.  It turns me into a jumpy, edgy mess. The demons that haunt me and nip at my heels are good at what they do to me – a total derailment.  They isolate me and persecute me day after day as if they have permission to create as much upheaval as possible.  Turmoil churns and boils in our house creating a jungle of adversities and I want to slip away unnoticed for just a little while.
I have often thought about what my faith would be like if I had never experienced the trials that God has laid before me.  I think that my faith would be a shallow puddle of water incapable of surviving the heat of a summer afternoon.  It would just evaporate into the air and disappear. 
It would not make for a very good disciple, I fear. 
For me, the most difficult part of a spiritual battle is to know God is there, but being unable to exist in a state of patience to experience His presence.   I am still trying to control outcomes, trying to convince God that I do not deal with catastrophe well. I want Him to promise me that I will not lose anything more than I already have lost.  I want Him to fix the problems in my life without having a major lesson come out of it.  I know He is conditioning me, equipping and instructing me, qualifying me for the moment when He calls to me and says, “Okay.  It’s time.”
In the past I have struggled to understand why days, weeks, sometimes even months go by where I feel totally in synchronicity with God.  There is a contentment that fits perfectly in my life and peace reigns. Until that one morning, that one morning I wake up feeling unsettled and in an instant, I forget that He reigns.  I forget the One who with His very own hands fashioned me to be who I am, then He placed me on Earth in a perfectly selected place and time to do the work He gives me to do.  To fulfill my purpose here on Earth, it is necessary to under-go faith building.  God does not expect my faith to stay the size of a mustard seed.  Seeds were created to grow into beautiful, hearty plants; some which nourish our body, others which nourish our spirit.  Just as the seed waits for the warmth of the sunlight and the rain from the Heavens so they might grow in their time, so should I wait on God and follow Him wherever He leads me, no matter the trial, no matter how scared or anxious I am, because He is teaching me something so incredibly important.  He is teaching me to trust Him.
Elizabeth Marchman Flower #19

Christian maturity requires sacrifice, but God promises us that He is sufficient.

 Always.
Forever.
Infinitely.
This is all I need to know.

Peace, love and blessings  to you all,
Elizabeth
Jun
8

Control Issues and Grace

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Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. ~ Genesis 2:15 (njkv)


I am having a little trouble showing grace the past few days.  It seems that my neighbor does not enjoy my style of gardening.  


My neighbor’s yard is very neatly manicured and edged and weeded with chemicals.  His grass is very, very green.  There are many shrubs, few flowers.  It is what my friend and I call landscaped – it is the bare minimum for a neatness factor.  We also think, in some cases, it is a facade for control issues.


Elizabeth Marchman butterfly #1
My yard is full of gardens.  They line my driveway, my portion of the sidewalk, and my fences.  I have herb gardens, vegetable gardens, flower gardens.  Some gardens are mixtures of mints and sages, some heirloom variety cosmos, coreopsis and bachelor buttons.  My crab grass has been weeded out by the clover that took it over in one corner of my yard which the honey bees love.  It naturally controls nuisance weeds and adds nitrates back to the soil.  I have what some might refer to as cottage style gardens.  I might choose the term free-spirited – The wispier, the better.  My grass is a little higher than my neighbor’s – it is not knee high, but gracefully covers my bare feet when I walk in it.  Unfortunately, this adds to his stress level because where our yards meet, to his eye, mine seems unkempt.  So he cuts it.  Whenever he feels like it.  What he does not do is cut the whole lawn making my yard look half taken care of and to my eye, unkempt.


I know this may seem a petty issue and not worthy of a blog writing.  It is a difference of opinion and style and really, when all is said and done, is just a preference.  Those things I can handle and respect.  


The snide comments to other neighbors and to me, not so much. 


The comments are harder to handle than all the weeds that creep into my yard.  The more his control issues, lawnmower and Round-up spill over into my yard, the harder I find it to show any grace.  My teeth keep finding their way into the end of my tongue and I am sure that I am only one more comment away from completely losing it and my sanity, but thank you Lord for your Grace, which is sufficient for all situations.  I just, very simply, feel as though I have used the last bits in my little grace barrel.  Right now it feels empty and I feel hurt.  I try to not take this personally.  I am trying to show grace.  I would love to sit down and explain to him how much joy my gardens bring me and how the words that he has spoken to me and others have taken some of that joy away.  I know they are just words and I should just let them float away, but Embarrassment crept across my face blushing my cheeks when I knew the words had been spoken to a neighbor and friend.  Then, Spite reared up joining the party and began to spout off, “well, I will just show you.  I will plant a garden to border our front yards and then we will just see how you feel about that!”  The twins, Vengeance and Vindictiveness, walked up and reminded me with the power of an enticing threat, “His fence is not to code, remember?”

Elizabeth Marchman flower #32I went inside feeling low and angry and hurt.  I reasoned that it wasn’t even my tongue that should be hurting, his was the one that had been wagging.  Mine had spoken in defense of my gardens.  Gardening organically was good for the earth, the honey bees and for me.  My yard is much like a bird sanctuary.  The yellow finches rest on the bachelor buttons and eat the seeds.  The bumble bees buzz around the milk weed while the monarchs lay their eggs.  My tomatoes and peppers and herbs can be eaten without ingesting chemicals and the rain water that flows deep into the cracks and crevices of the soil is clean and pure.  God has given me a little corner of His earth for me to care for and I believe that God and I are on the same page here.  It says in Genesis that He gave man dominion over the earth.  He expects us to care for it, nurture it and weed it, but I believe that first we have to begin in our hearts and our minds.  So I had to get to work and it seemed I had much work to do.


First, I plucked Embarrassment. Why should it be allowed to grow and choke out Joy and Happiness?  Why should I have to defend the beauty God creates in my yard or the nature that He gives to take refuge there?  The prickly Spite was the next to go.  She is a true troublemaker and sucks up all the nutrients that Grace needs to grow.  Vengeance and Vindictiveness are two things God did not plant in my garden.  The devil certainly wasted no time planting those seeds and they wasted no time growing, and before I knew what was happening, they almost completely destroyed Forgiveness who was struggling to survive in the darkness they had created.  I had to grab the pick ax for them both because those roots grow fast and they grow deep and they get their nourishment from the fires of hell.  As I weeded, it appeared I had some control issues of my own.  How had the weeds in my little Christian Garden gotten so out of control so fast?  My friend reminded me yesterday that sometimes the weeds just get ahead of us.  Yes, indeed, they do.

Elizabeth Marchman butterfly #2

I believe that we can have a variety of gardens to suit different tastes.  My gardens grow with total abandon and never look back.  I can only hope that one day my Christian attitude will do the same.  I hope that I will always choose to freely take a fresh cutting of Grace that God so freely gives me fresh seeds each day for planting and that they will always find nourishment for growth. I can pray that I choose to take a cutting of Forgiveness, so that I might always forgive as quickly as God forgives me, whenever I am hurt.  I can only hope that one day my own angry tongue will be stopped in awe of Self-control’s beauty and that I remember to nurture it until it is the most exquisite flower in my garden.  May my neighbor begin to see the beauty in my words and deeds that Grace replenishes so that he can always see God’s beauty in my little corner of His world.

Mar
13

Anticipation

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Elizabeth Marchman eggs

For we are all His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:10


We have some friends that live two doors down from us.  Their first child, Ruby, is about 16 months old.  Last Sunday, they all showed up on our doorstep with a little bowl of three perfectly dyed eggs.  And Ruby had food coloring all over all over her – up her nose, on her chin and all over her hands.  As we stood there on the front porch talking, I thought about how much fun it is to dye eggs each spring for Easter.  There is so much to take into consideration to get everything just right – the temperature of the water, holding the eggs just right so no fingerprints are left and mixing the exact amount of food coloring for all those favorite colors like periwinkle and sunset orange or sky blue and mint green.  No matter what I serve for Easter dinner, there is always a centerpiece of towered dyed eggs and a bouquet of fresh spring flowers.  As I watched them walk away, I smiled at Randy and laughed as I said, “Easter eggs have come early this year.”   And I knew why too.  They couldn’t wait for Easter weekend to watch her dye those eggs.  The anticipation was unbearable because there is nothing more exciting than watching your kids do the simple ordinary things each season like bake Christmas cookies, wave sparklers on the 4th of July or hunt those just dyed Easter eggs hidden around the yard after Sunday dinner – especially when they are doing them for the very first time.  Somehow though, even as they grow older, the excitement doesn’t really fade away.  There may be less blue dye up their nose and more on the counter top that won’t fade for a month, but there is always still something eventful to laugh over, to enjoy, a new story to add to that ever-growing family history book.  


I wonder if God delights in those ordinary things that He sees us do when we are walking in the good works He prepared for us to walk in.  I want to believe He does.  I want to believe that when we are obediently following Him as He calls us to, it is just like watching our child dye those eggs or wave that sparkler. 


What does He think when we step out in faith with a joyful and excited heart not really knowing what is going to happen, yet trusting in Him and staying the course all the same?  Is it like watching your child cross the street for the first time alone?  We whisper those instructions, with our heart beating a thousand miles an hour, that we know they will never hear as we watch from afar.  Look both ways.  Watch for cars.  Look again and again and again.  We gasp as they take that first step off the curb and it seems forever until they reach the other side in safety.  Then they are out of our sight and we fight the urge to not sneakily follow them all the way to their destination.  So I wonder, is God standing there at the edge of Heaven whispering words of encouragement even though we might not be listening? Is His heart beating with excitement as we step up and accept the responsibility He has laid at our feet hoping we remember He is there, He is watching and that He is only a whisper away?


I think it is just like that.  


In the end, I think it is just like the one day, you leave your child dying eggs while you switch out laundry wondering what bizarre and crazy colors you are going to end up with and you return to find periwinkle and sunset orange and sky blue and mint green.  You smile and you couldn’t be happier when they sit on the table in a perfect dyed egg tower centerpiece.  Because I believe with each year that passes, we are perfected under God’s ever watchful eye.  I think when God looks down upon us in these moments, He is smiling and He is proud.  I think He is pleased not because we are perfect, but because when we follow obediently in His footsteps, we are perfect enough.  The truth is, we never, ever, have to worry that we might hear him wrong because we have a God who is bigger than our mistakes.  He can still use it to His greater good in His own perfect way.  And when He pastes the story in the only history book that matters, that blue dye we spilled all over the counter top will be more beautiful than anything Michelangelo ever painted.

Mar
5

Faith like a Ferret

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Elizabeth Marchman ferret

“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” ~ Matthew 21:22


In the Bible, Jesus tells me that if I have faith the size of a mustard seed, then I can move a mountain into the sea.  Most of the time I would settle for just a portion of Poe’s faith.  It is a never wavering and always present faith.  It is evident in every move she makes.  There is no obstacle that her creative and quandary-solving mind can not overcome  She wears her faith like an attitude and defeat is not in her vocabulary.  Sometimes God sends people into our lives to teach us something we need to know.  They cross into our path.  They may drift in and then, they may drift out.  They may stay for a while or maybe a lifetime.  I believe that He sent Poe to teach me about faith.  And leave it to God to do it in an unusual way.


Poe is my ferret.  She weighs in at not much more than a mustard seed, can curl up in the palm of my hand and can back down 200 pounds of our Labrador Retrievers just by making her presence known.  I firmly and undoubtedly believe that if the devil himself were standing in front of her – she would back him down too.  She wouldn’t even have to perform her Weasel War Dance to get it done. She is also a thief.  If it isn’t nailed down, then she assumes it is rightfully hers, that she may take it whenever a whim strikes her and hide the loot in any one of her many dens.  This list of items is vast but include things such as my Blackberry, the T.V. remotes and mouse pads with cool pictures on them given as Christmas presents.  I keep praying for a treasure map with an x that marks the spot. Our intelligence department has shared their knowledge, but we are on a need to know basis: location one – the sofa.  We have a little tear in the lining.  It is a small tear – I can barely get my fingers through.  


One day, she accomplished a feat worthy of a page in Ferret History.  Randy has a little crate under his desk that he uses for a paper recycle bin.  There were a few pieces of paper in there with a small community phone book, still in the plastic, on top.  I am still not sure how she managed to retrieve the phone book and get it out of the bin.  All I know is I came out of my writing room because I heard a thump, thump, thump…and here comes Poe with the phone book in tow, her teeth bared and embedded into the plastic.  I stood there waiting to see what would happen next.  She saw me and stopped.  She waited.  When I didn’t make a move in her direction, she continued around the end the love seat and headed for the sofa.  I started to laugh because I realize what is about to happen.  And she stopped  giving me that don’t-you-dare-doubt-me look.  All I can say in reply – oh me of little faith!  I am still in awe at what happened next.  She continues on her path and gets even with the sofa.  She then jumped, phone book still in her mouth.  She didn’t make it.  She tried seven more times before she switched tactics.  You thought I was going to say give up didn’t you – oh you of little faith.  Poe never gives up.  At this point, she looks around.  Now keep in mind, she has never let go of the phone book.  She drags the phone book to the other side of the coffee table.  Now underneath the coffee table is a stack of magazines.  This in no way hindered her.  She used my neglectful housekeeping to her advantage.  She backed all the way up across the living room.  Phone book at her side, teeth sunk in and ran toward the coffee table, up onto the stack of magazines and pushes off to give herself leverage and then jumps up and onto the sofa phone book still in her mouth.  She turned and tried to drag the phone book back and down through the cushions.  


Now this is where my husband I disagree.  He says I was mean to take the phone book away and I say I was saving her the disgrace of defeat.  You can decide for yourself.


At this point, I am in amazement that this has even happened.  One thing I did know was that even if she did get the phone book between the arm of the sofa and the cushion, it would not have fit through and down the little ferret hole she had created in the sofa lining.  When I picked up the phone book, Poe still has her teeth bared and sunk into the plastic, all her little legs splayed out and she is holding on for dear life.  I immediately panicked and set the phone book down.  I didn’t want her to fall to the floor.  


Sure, that was in the realm of possibility.


I tried to pick her up and the phone book came with her.  I literally had to put them both on the floor and pry her teeth from the plastic with my thumb and first finger while pulling the phone book to safety.  I took the phone book back upstairs to the recycle bin.  She defiantly followed and stood looking at me from the doorway with disgust.  I walked downstairs and heard a thump.  I stopped two stairs from the bottom and turned around only to see Poe at the top of the stairs, phone book by the plastic in her mouth staring down at me. Before I could make my move, she jumped down a stair and the phone book followed.  She wasted no time.  She was half-way down before I captured her.  The tug-o-war was waged.  Ultimately I won.  Not that I am bragging.  I simply have an advantage. I can shut the door to the room where the phone book was returned.  For the second time.  She just can’t reach the handle.  Why it did not occur to me to shut the door after I returned the phone book the first time still eludes me.


I made the statement that God gave me Poe to teach me about faith.  And she does.  She has taught me to hold onto God’s promises.  His promises are found in His word.  We are told to ask believing to receive.  We are told that we can accomplish anything through Christ’s strength in us. We are told we can move mountains. And there are so many more.


God never lies.  His words are Truth.  He never makes mistakes.  Not even when He answered that prayer for you, just not in the way you wanted Him too. I read somewhere, “God’s answers are smarter than our prayers.”  I believe that because in weakness and desperation, I can pray some outrageous ideas.  We are called to walk in faith and not by sight.  Now for some, seeing may be believing, but in God’s vocabulary it is the definition of doubt.  God calls us to step up and when we do, great things happen because God works through ordinary people to create extraordinary events.  I learned this from reading Max Lucado and John MacArthur.  Every story in the Bible is about ordinary people who had extraordinary faith in what God was telling them to do.  Whether their mind conceived the task was in the realm of possibility or not, whether they believed they were capable or not, they acted in faith when God called them that He would make it happen.  And He did.  


Because God can do anything He chooses.  Even create an animal, at the dawn of creation, to teach me about faith in 2010.  That is one omnipotent, awesome and powerful God. And I am so grateful and humbled that He is on my side when my smaller-than-a-mustard-seed of faith rises up ready to serve whenever He calls my name.

Feb
15

The Monster Called Arrogance

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. ~ Proverbs 18:2 Rarely a day goes by that I do not see it – a calling out of someone publicly. The topics vary, yet the reasons remain unwavering: the need to be right and be praised for it. Unknown fingers fly across keyboards, faces hidden, motives clear: humiliate whoever disagrees with your stance. What ought to be a...
Jul
1

No. Evil doesn’t just happen.

“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9 On June 13, 2016, the day after the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, Christianitytoday.com posted a blog entry by Karl Vaters entitled, 5 Dumb Things Christians Must Stop Saying When Evil Strikes. Karl Vaters is the lead pastor of Cornerstone Christian...
Sep
23

A Life Altered: a conversation between two women

Behold, children are a blessing from the Lord.  The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like armies in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.    -Psalm 127:3 “What am I going to do?” you whisper. “I am pregnant.” I nod. I smile. I want to tell you, “Be joyful.” But how can I, when fear is choking the breathe right out of you? And because I have wrestled that same fear, instead I tell...
Aug
16

Perfection Defined

  Some might see imperfection in this picture; others might think its consideration unworthy of little more than a glance. I see different. I see God’s provision to His created beings. From its leafy beginning to beyond its elegant bloom, this flower is giving the very best of what it has to offer to what surrounds it. Honey bees gather pollen and nectar, swallowtails rest upon its velvety petals...
Apr
2

The Sanctuary of Silence

God is in Heaven and you on Earth. Therefore, let your words be few. I pray these words over my household,  pray them over myself.   I am learning silence is a better way.   It suits me better anyway. I try to make this common practice. My eyes fall upon these words  as I enter our home and when I sit to share a meal,  those words, they hang above my head as humbly, with grateful blessings, I speak to...
Jul
26

God’s Perfect and Infinite Wisdom

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths ~ Proverbs 3:5-6   At a women’s retreat several years ago, I was prayed over and my hands were anointed.  I was told that my hands, specifically, would be used in service to the Lord.  I held onto the words that were spoken to me. Tightly.  I imagined a...
May
20

The Beginnings of Faith and Trust

Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith.  ~ I Peter 5:8-9a It is 2a.m.. Voluminous clouds ride the wind’s breath low across the treetops. Bare branches reach into the midnight sky.  There is a beauty in the surreality of these moments where I exist alone.  Shadows create a world of possibilities from the...
Jun
8

Control Issues and Grace

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. ~ Genesis 2:15 (njkv) I am having a little trouble showing grace the past few days.  It seems that my neighbor does not enjoy my style of gardening.   My neighbor’s yard is very neatly manicured and edged and weeded with chemicals.  His grass is very, very green.  There are many shrubs, few flowers.  It is what my...
Mar
13

Anticipation

For we are all His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:10 We have some friends that live two doors down from us.  Their first child, Ruby, is about 16 months old.  Last Sunday, they all showed up on our doorstep with a little bowl of three perfectly dyed eggs.  And Ruby had food coloring all over all over her –...
Mar
5

Faith like a Ferret

“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” ~ Matthew 21:22 In the Bible, Jesus tells me that if I have faith the size of a mustard seed, then I can move a mountain into the sea.  Most of the time I would settle for just a portion of Poe’s faith.  It is a never wavering and always present faith.  It is evident in every move she makes.  There is no obstacle that her...

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