"Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Steve left for Russia on Friday…and my thoughts are never far from him. I often find myself calculating the time difference and wonder what he‘s doing at that moment. I like to pray for him every time I think about him. Volgograd (where Steve’s staying) is 9 hours ahead of us. Since it’s 6:30 p.m. here, it’s 3:30 a.m. in Russia. He’s never been so prayed over as he’s slept! (Unfortunately I’m sleeping during much of his waking hours, so those hours might be a little less prayed over!).

For the most part, things have been going okay with Kyle since Steve left. However, this afternoon I started to see a whole lot of anxiety move in. He’s really ramped up about school tomorrow. (Not so unusual. He typically has tons of school anxiety). I’m getting lots of “I’m just going to quit school” type of comments (and a few more that I wouldn‘t care to share). Sigh.

When he starts acting up, my human nature wants to fight back. It’s often hard to stay calm, patient, and loving when Kyle’s trying his hardest to suck me into arguments. I struggle with loving him well when inwardly I’m screaming.

Do you ever have a Bible verse or passage that just keep popping up? Where you start seeing a theme that God just might be drawing your attention to? I’ve had a couple of these rise to the surface today, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

This morning in my quiet time, I spent some time reading in the gospel of Mark. I came across Jesus’ answer to the religious authorities who asked Him which commandment was the most important. Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this…‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12: 29-31)

Hmmm, love God…love people. Am I growing in love for God and people? Jesus said that this is the mark of a believer, the heart of spiritual life. And Jesus doesn’t give us a pass. He doesn’t say that I don’t have to show love to those who are acting really unlovable (like Kyle was this afternoon). Jesus just keeps patiently bringing me back to the classroom…love God, love people. Not always so easy, but that’s no excuse.

I’ve learned that there’s no way I can love well (God OR people) in my own strength. Not coincidentally, the other verse that’s been running through my head this weekend is from Colossians 1:27 “...Christ in you the hope of glory”. I can’t do this on my own and God doesn’t even expect me too! Christ lives in me, and I live - and love - in His strength. I have the power of Christ’s Spirit working in me. Christ in me, the hope of glory. Thank you Lord!

Friday, January 29, 2010

In this season of life

"Our season in life - whatever it is - is no barrier to having Christ formed in us. Not in the least...Instead of wishing we were in another season, we ought to find out what this one offers. Life counts - all of it. Every moment is potentially an opportunity to be guided by God into His way of living. Every moment is a chance to learn from Jesus how to live in the kingdom of God." (John Ortberg; "The Life You've Always Wanted").

What does Jesus want to teach you today, in your season of life?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's been awhile

Long time...no write. I hope to be a little more faithful than this! But that's life, isn't it? The past week has been kind of crazy, plus my computer is acting up. I think it knows it's not long for this world, and is planning to go out with a bang...and by making me totally frustrated. My dear son in-law has ordered me a laptop and I CAN'T WAIT for this new toy to arrive!

Today is my first day home - alone - in I don't know how long. Kyle has missed 4 days of school in the past two weeks...all because of anxiety. Not good. Couple that with the snow days, and well, let's just say the anxiety (and frustration) level around here has been somewhat high.

Is it a coincidence that Steve is leaving on Friday to spend 10 days in Russia? He plans to share the love of Christ with children and adults who have maybe never even heard of Jesus. Steve and I have talked about how Satan just seems to want to suck the joy out of his trip by trying his hardest to make our lives messy right now. I'm so thankful that God's power is greater than Satan's. I know that God is up to something big...and I sense that Satan knows this as well.

A couple of passages that have been running through my mind these past few days (as I consider Steve's trip to Russia) are these:

Isaiah 55:10-11 " As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

I John 4:4 "You are of God...and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."

I know that God's Word will accomplish what He desires and I know that God is greater than the prince of this world (Satan).

Please be in prayer for Steve and the others as they minister and serve in Russia. Thanks!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

On Thursday, I wrote about offering myself as a living sacrifice...and a longing to be transformed by renewing my mind (based on Romans 12:1,2). That reminded me of something I recently read in John Ortberg's excellent book, "The Life You've Always Wanted". I like to journal things that really speak to me, or I have a tendency to forget them! This morning I was reading through my journal and came across this entry from Dec. 16...

"There is an immense difference between training to do something and trying to do something... Spiritual transformation is not a matter of trying harder, but of training wisely." (pg.43)

Paul reminded Timothy of the same thing when he told Timothy, "Train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and the life to come." (I Tim.4:7a-8)

Spiritual training (and transformation) will be a lifelong process. One doesn't just set out to run a marathon; I would imagine you'd spend months in training. So I need to learn to be patient (following the example of the Spirit, Himself!) and not beat myself up when I blow it. God's Word reminds me that His faithfulness, His compassion, His mercy is new every day! Thank You, Lord!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What a day...

This was just one of those days! Yesterday an ice storm came through, canceling schools. Today the schools were delayed for 2 hours. Most kids LOVE to have a delayed start to their day. Not Kyle. This just adds so much anxiety to his life. In fact, he seldom even makes it to school on days when there's a delay (he ended up staying home all day today). The whole timing thing just throws him for a loop. His anxiety comes out in agitation, following me around, pacing, arguing about why the schools should just CANCEL for the whole day, etc. I try my best to not argue with him since that just adds to the anxiety and anger. But after awhile...gggggrrrrr.

Then, I lost my front tooth while eating a piece of toast. Yep. It came completely out. YIKES. I've been dinking around with that tooth for awhile now. It's going to be completely replaced in a few months. But in the meantime, it's bonded in place. But the bond obviously isn't permanent. Actually, it came out yesterday, too, and I had it re-bonded. That bond lasted less than 24 hours. Not a good thing :( To make matters worse, I had to lead a Bible study this morning (a new group, too yet!) Thankfully I could put the tooth back in, and then hold it in place with my aligner. The only problem is that the aligner makes me lisp. I thought I sounded like a teenager with a new tongue piercing. Great. Anyway, I explained to the group why I was talking like I was, and they were all very understanding!

But all this got me thinking about why I automatically moan "what a bad day" when things don't go like I want them to. Several months ago I heard someone say that a great way to start the day is by saying Romans 12:1-2 as a prayer. I loved that! What a neat idea. So I try to begin each day by saying something like this...

"Precious Father, today I offer myself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to You - as my spiritual act of worship. I will no longer conform to the pattern of this world, but will instead be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Then I will be able to test and approve what Your will is - Your good, pleasing, and perfect will."

So this morning I offered myself as a sacrifice to God. Yet 30 minutes later I'm sucked into an argument with Kyle about why he WILL go to school. An hour later I'm groaning about the huge gap in mouth and just wishing I could stay home and skip Bible study. (Somehow I doubt that the aroma of my sacrifice was very sweet-smelling at this point). I lost sight of the fact that God wanted my heart and my will to be offered to Him (and not just some nice-sounding words). He reminded me that transformation isn't always so pleasant. In fact, it's often painful and may even cause me some embarrassment from time to time. A sacrifice, by it's very nature, connotes images of fire, blood, pain -- dying. A sacrifice is a dying to something. Today I sensed God asking me to take a close look at my attitude. Was I imitating God? Was I honestly seeking His "good, pleasing, and perfect will"? God longed for me to ask Him to fill me with His Spirit, to take on His nature, to go into my day relying on His strength.

In the course of this day, God's given me several opportunities to "try it again" (and I can't say I've really enjoyed any of the lessons...I'm such a work in progress!) But I am SO glad that God is PATIENT with me!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A fun weekend!

Last weekend was so much fun! My mom, my sisters, and I love to go on an occasional "sister's weekend". This year we went to our cousin's beautiful condo on Lake Okoboji (thanks John and Amy!). We mostly spent our time just hanging out. We watched SEVERAL episodes of "The Office" (hilarious!! Mom decided it DOES grow on you!) and played lots of rummikub and Canadian salad (a card game). The best part was just being together. Never a shortage of laughter! We even got to help Carol celebrate her birthday in person this year! We all bought her a bottle of Tassel Ridge's Red, White, and Blue wine (her favorite). Hopefully this will keep her stocked for awhile!

It's always just a little bitter-sweet, though. Even though there are 6 of us (including mom), it invariably feels like someone is missing. This coming March it will be 6 years since Laura died. I'm so glad we went on a sister's weekend just a month before she got too sick. That weekend is just one more precious memory in a whole host of good times spent together as a family. Sometimes I think that our missing Laura just makes the time we spend with each other even more cherished.

On Sunday I went to Hull to spend a short 24 hours with Steph, Kirk, and the kids. FUN! Konner and I got in several games of trouble, and had lots of time to "play upstairs" (his favorite thing...I think he wants to make sure I won't be distracted by the babies!). But don't worry, I spent lots of time playing with Haley and Kaden, too!

"A cheerful heart is good medicine..." How true! Laughter ranks right up there with the best of all therapies!!

Friday, January 15, 2010


Here's some food for thought...

"It is interesting that Satan lies to unbelievers to convince them that they are not guilty while he lies to believers to convince them that they are guilty." Robert McGee, "The Search for Significance"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is God Really Good?

Is God really good? If He is, why does He allow devastating earthquakes and other such catastrophes to happen? Last night Steve and I watched some of the coverage of the earthquake in Haiti. Even on this side of the TV screen, the fear and horror that the people of Haiti were experiencing was palpable. There was so much confusion and tumult. Everywhere the cameras scanned you could see destruction , calamity, and death. I think what got to me more than anything were the faces of the people. So many gazed through eyes that were vacant…blank…obviously in shock. Others mirrored the pain, confusion, and sheer terror that surrounded them. The word “why” can be spoken in a thousand different languages without having to say a word.

So is God good? Not an unusual question to ask at such a time. I can easily recall times in my own life when I wrestled with that same question…at age 25 struggling with infertility…six years ago when my sister, Laura, and my brother-in-law, Duane, were both dying of cancer. Is God really good?

I’ll never forget a quote I read shortly before Laura died. I read it in a book by Stormie O’Martian, called Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On. These words helped put things in perspective for me…

“Often people blame God for the tragedies in their lives and close themselves off from the very One who can take their pain away. But we won’t make the same mistake if we will remember two things: God is good, and Satan comes to kill and destroy. It’s crucial to not confuse the two during a time of loss.” (p 154)

God is good. Satan comes to kill and destroy. Jesus said these very words to His disciples shortly before He was brutally crucified. “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal, kill, and destroy...(then Jesus goes on to remind us why He came to this earth)...I came so that everyone would enjoy life, and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10)

Satan’s plan has always been to create doubt and confusion in our minds about the absolute goodness of God. He makes us doubt God’s goodness and love when our prayers aren’t answered as we want them to be, or when we’re in a time of crisis. Satan boldly points an accusing finger at God and tells us that “a loving God would not allow such a thing to happen”. But we would be wise to remember that for now God has allowed Satan a certain amount of control on this earth.

This world is not our final home…in fact, we’re told that we don’t even belong to this world (John 15:19). Jesus knew we would face crises, problems, heartache, and devastating losses on this earth. So in perfect, typical Jesus-fashion, He provides us with infinite hope. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

I pray this day will be one of peace for you...no matter what you're facing. God IS good.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haley and Kaden are 6 months old!

Today Steph and Kirk's (daughter & son-in-law) twins are 6 months old!! Haley Jo and Kaden John were born on July 13, 2009...9 weeks early. What miracle babies they're proving to be! They continue to develop and thrive right on target for babies born so prematurely. God has so blessed that little family!!

I love how God speaks to us through the everyday things of life. When Stephanie was pregnant with Haley and Kaden, God reminded me (Grandma Bev :) how very much He loves me.

I was thrilled when Steph and Kirk emailed me the first ultrasound picture, taken at six weeks gestation. I still have that picture taped to my kitchen cupboard - I just can't seem to tear it down! It was so miraculous to see those precious babies. Granted, at that point they were just two dark spots (greatly magnified)on a gray background. But from my first view of them, I fell totally and completely in love with these babies. My prayers for them became more earnest as the reality of their existence became evident.

My heart burst with love over these tiny little ones. They didn’t have to do anything to earn my love. I loved them simply because they were. Through this ultrasound picture God reminded me that’s how much He loves me. He loves me not because of what I've done...or what my name is...or where I live...but He loves me because of who HE is. He loves me because He is Creator God and I am a deeply treasured creation of His. He calls me (and YOU) His masterpiece!

We don’t have to do a thing to earn our Abba's love. He doesn’t require us to be good enough or creative enough or smart enough or beautiful enough to earn His love. When you were just a tiny, tiny speck in your mother's womb, God was beside Himself with joy! He freely and generously lavishes His love on you today because you are His precious child...the crown of His creation.

Here are Haley and Kaden at 6 weeks gestation...

And at Christmas...

And here's one with big brother, Konner, age 5!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I have a small notebook where I've compiled an ever-growing assortment of "keepers". When I hear or read a neat phrase or thought, I like to write it down so I'll remember it (hey, I'm 50 and don't always remember things so well :)! Here's a keeper that I heard yesterday on Beth Moore's weekly radio program...

"Write the word WAIT on a piece of paper. Directly below it write the word FAITH…make note of the letters that are the same.


She went on to say that “3/5 of faith is in the wait. If there is no wait, there is no faith…because things seen don’t require faith.”


Monday, January 11, 2010

It's the Truth!

I recently read an incredible book by Robert McGee called "The Search for Significance". In the book he takes us through our belief systems...Satan's lies versus God's truth. At the end of the book he reiterated four truths of God and encouraged us to put them on a "truth card". These are worth memorizing and repeating to yourself everyday!

1. I am deeply loved by God. "God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love -- not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." I John 4:9-10

2. I am completely forgiven and am fully pleasing to God. "Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done for us." Romans 5:1

3. I am totally accepted by God. "...He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault." Col. 1:22

4. I am a new creation, complete in Christ. "...Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" 2 Cor. 5:17

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I finally did it!

Okay, so this is all new to me! This is something I've thought about doing for a long time now, but just never worked up the courage (I'm pretty tech-illiterate). But today I decided to give it a try!

The picture on the right is one of my favorites. I took it when Steve and I were in Cancun last January. To me it looks like we're standing just on this side of heaven. I love the way the light is shining through the arch. You can almost feel the warmth on your face...

I wish I was in Cancun today! For the past several days the temps here have fallen far below zero. But in a matter of weeks, spring will arrive. And isn't that the way it is? We endure the cold frigid days of winter, but the promise of spring is always near.

Just like life on this side of heaven. We so often experience struggles, problems, trials...cold, dark days. But never without hope! We should never forget that the shadows are all on this side of paradise. Even here the Light of heaven shines through -- warming us from the inside out -- reminding us that the best is yet to come!

"For you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture." Malachi 4:2