Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Random Thoughts

Agape, the ministry God has blessed me with, is having a women's retreat this summer. I have found that I am putting in a lot of time to make it a God-inspiring retreat. My team at Agape is willing to put in the time too, and we will be starting to prepare decorations this weekend. I've been collecting trash to turn into treasure.
 I am in a place of isolation right now. I spend a lot of my time doing ministry, and then craving to be home in the quiet of my house. When I am home I think about the war we are in and my part in the everyday battles. The unseen enemy of my soul is constantly putting a battle in front of me, the kind that makes it challenging to have a ministry, or women's retreats, or to figure out what to do next.
In my quiet moments I have been reading a lot. I've been reading about things like Spiritual Wisdom, Spiritual Gifts, and Prayer. I've been reading that I have the mind of Christ, because God's presence lives within me. I've been reading about gifts of the Spirit like the gift of prophecy, serving, exhortation, giving, and leadership. I've been thankful for the gifts God has blessed me with.
My son stayed home from school today and we watched a show on TV about a guy that makes cakes, really nice cakes. We sat in the big round chair together and cuddled, while the cake guy made a lot of cakes. It was really nice.
A close friend came to see me today and we talked about several things, then we ate soup. Lentil soup with sour cream on the top, and it was good. We went for a walk, then we sat outside in the swing and prayed together. "Where two or more are gathered..."
I took a jar and glued glass pebbles on the entire thing. My husband said that it looks like some kind of treasure that one might find deep in the ocean. Treasure, that's how God thinks of me.
And, I fed my children burritos. They are starving all the time and as soon as I finish with one meal, it seems they are asking about the next. I don't have a plan for the next meal.
Last night I talked with another friend about what I believe. What do I believe really?  It was a deep, and heartfelt discussion, and I am praising God that I know what I believe. Yet still, in all the belief, I have days of doubt. In all the miracles around me, I can still be a skeptic. Even though, I am a Saint through Jesus, I still sin. Do I believe He has set me free? Do I believe He will protect me? Do I believe He has captured me in His Hands forever? Do I believe?
And now, here I am with all my random thoughts, giving you a glimpse of just a few. Deep down inside my soul I know that the Lover of my Soul, is alive and well. He continues to impact my life, He continues to reveal His Truth, He continues to talk me through the battles, and He always loves me.
Say That Again, Sweet Jesus, You keep pursuing me, holding me, and loving me. Ah, Say That Again!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Meatloaf Sandwich

I made meatloaf muffins with a friend last week. My husband thought they were pretty good, and my daughter thought they were okay. My son ate them, but didn't care for them too much. A couple days later I took the left overs and put them on a bun, with added barbecue sauce. My husband especially liked it then, my daughter still thought it was okay. This is what my son thought of it:

Sometimes, I know God is asking me to do something, and I don't want to. I might start to grumble a little, or I may even try to hide. Either way, I have to make a choice. God is patient and kind in the waiting and the nudging. Say That Again, God is patient and kind.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Tender Moments

Every night when my son goes to bed, I go into his room to say goodnight. As soon as he sees me, he takes a dive under his covers, we begin the nightly game of me trying to give a kiss.  I have to wrestle him for a kiss, as he is completely covered up under his blankets. He is getting really big now, and strong, so wrestling him for  a kiss is a lot of work. Sometimes my husband stays around to help me out!  As soon as I manage to get the blankets off of him, and I smack a wet one right on his cheek, he says, "Ouch, that hurt, kiss it better!!" And, we start all over again!
I love tender moments like these. This is what God offers me, tender moments. When I am hiding, He comes and finds me. He wants to be with me in relationship. I am His.
Say That Again, my God, tender moments.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Mother's Day Jaunt

While in Portland for my son's graduation, it was strongly suggested by my oldest son that rather than drive straight home we drive to Seattle first! He pled his case for a good 30 minutes before my husband decided it would be a fun adventure. He just had to mention Seattle to me, and I was ready to go.
We left Mother's Day morning bright and early. Our first destination was the Mars Hill church downtown Seattle.  The sermon was about Philippians 4:6,7:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And  the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I've put a lot of thought into the command,  "be anxious for nothing". Hmm, is that actually possible? It must be, and not only that but peace is being offered beyond my comprehension! The only thing I have to do is PRAY.

So, church on Mother's Day, was very nice, and I'm still thinking about it....
After church, we walked to the market.

 We looked at the fish.

 And, I admired the vegetables.
 The flowers were exceptional.
 And, we ate lunch on the pier.
It was a delightful day, one of the best! I was able to enjoy worship, time with my husband, time with my children, a lovely city, a road trip, the market, and coffee!  The Mother's Day Jaunt was fantastic. And, because of the jaunt, I am asking God to Say That Again to me "be anxious for nothing, Bethany, just pray!"

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Graduate, The Market, and The Dead Body

My son graduated with his Masters degree in pastoral studies.

It was a good evening for all of us, although I think my grandson, his one year old son was not nearly as interested in all the festivities as the rest of us.

The next day, my son flew off on a mission trip. My daughter in law and grandson went on other adventures, and we went with our oldest son and daughter in law to the market.

On the way to the market there was an accident. We slowed with the traffic, and as I looked over to the side, I saw a body laying on the sidewalk. The body was completely covered up with the silver blanket, only legs were showing. I gasped, and my husband turned, to look. We both began to wonder who the person was and my husband speculated about her morning.
Once again, the realization of how quickly the gift of life can be taken was right in front of me, and I praised God for my life and my family. I praised Him for graduations, and market days, and sweet moments with my grandson and treasured time with God. Life is unpredictable, but God is not.
Jesus, Say That Again to me, You are with me all the time, I can count on that. In life and in death. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Sweet Moments

 We are on a trip to visit our son and his family. Our son is graduating, and we are very excited and happy for him. He is moving forward with many opportunities, and best of all, a beautiful family. We had the honor of spending the day with him and our grandson yesterday, and the afternoon with our daughter in-law. We went to the park to play, and had dinner. The moments, every one of them together, were sweet.
 We played on the big teeter totter. I watched my grandson slide down the slide. And swing in the swing.
 My grandson discovered the water, and wished he could go for a swim.
And, he gathered lovely flowers, then tried to eat them for a snack!
Life is full of sweet moments, and I have been blessed with many of them. Sometimes I still forget them! I can get caught up in the daily routine and stress of life, and before I know it the big sweetness of life can feel small. So, today, I am thankful for parks, and teeter-totters, swings, and flowers in the grass. I am thankful for the sun, and toddlers learning to walk. I am thankful for children that teach me about the sweet moments, the silliness, the celebrations, the sobering realities, and family. I am blessed to be loved and wanted.
As Jesus walks each Sweet Moment with me, and brings more of them into my life I ask Him to Say That Again to me. "You are loved and wanted."

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Path of Uncertainty

This morning I read in Isaiah 50, verses 10 and 11. It was the chapter that went along with the book I'm reading, and today the title of the devotional was "God's Ministry of Darkness" it is not referring to the darkness of sin, but rather to the darkness of uncertainty.

Who is among you that fears the Lord, that obeys the voice of His servant.
That walks in darkness, and has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and rely on his God.

When there is light, it's easy to know who is on my side. But, in the dark, the obstacles are hidden and I must rely on Christ to lead me through. My natural instincts tell me to sit down and quit. Or to be afraid.  To trust in Jesus, when there is uncertainty about the path ahead, takes faith.
My devotional went on to explain how Abraham had a path of darkness for many years, he tried to light the path himself by sleeping with Hagar, and to this day we are paying the consequences.
As I think about my own life and the promises that I know God has given me, and the path of uncertainty and darkness that I so often have walked, I can see that I too have tried to light my own path. Or, many times in my fear, I have just sat down and stopped. Other times, I think I've turned around, simply telling God I wanted a different path, consequently, adding to my own uncertainty.
Walking the path is not easy, and today I am praying for continued faith, trust, truth and joy in the Light Giver.  His promise to me is that He will never leave me alone, He will always be there to show me the way, because He is the Way, and in Him there is no darkness!
Say That Again, Sweet Jesus, You give promises, You keep them, You bring light to darkness.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The New Dog Food

My husband purchased a new dog food for Fur Ball. This has been a very exciting event in Fur Balls life, he loves his new food! He wants to eat all the time now. Every morning, he runs to his bowl eagerly awaiting his scoop of food. As soon as we get home, he starts pawing the floor and barking, in a desperate effort to tell me that it's time for a little snack. In the evening, he runs to his bowl and prances around barking, in hopes that we will graciously give him an evening snack to hold him over til morning. I've noticed that his encounters with the butter on our counter has lessened, because he is now totally taken with his own food!
Just as Fur Ball is constantly thinking about his food and wanting to take it in, I too want to feed on the Word of God. Jesus, the Bread of Life, feeds my soul. What a wonderful, glorious thing!
Jesus, Say That Again to me, today, You will feed my soul, and I will breath You in.