Friday, March 30, 2012

Just a Thought...

Would you want the world to see the secret details of your heart and life?

What if your friends could investigate certain things about you?

Would you want them seeing your Internet history? Every page?

How 'bout your bookmarked links?

Your texting inbox and outbox?

The songs you have loaded on your MP3 player, or Ipod, or whatever you might use?

A list of all the books you have ever checked out from the library?

A time log of when you went to bed every night so far this year?

A list of everything you've eaten this year?

Would you want them looking at your bank account summary, and a list of all purchases you have made in the last 12 months?

Would you like the world to know every movie you've ever seen? Every book you've ever read?

What about a recording of every phone conversation you've ever had?

It has been in my mind lately that someday every secret thing will be made manifest, and what has been done in secret will be shouted from the housetops. I do have a best friend who knows not only everything I have seen and said, but also ever thought and considered. I'm going to have to face Him someday and give a reason - an account - for every idle word I've spoken, not to mention every moment I haven't redeemed.

To be quite honest, I don't want the world knowing everything in the above list. I've done some stuff I shouldn't have. I don't want people to think I'm a hypocrite; saying one thing and doing another.

But the reality is that it doesn't matter if the world sees it right now or not: I am what I am, in secret, or before others. Jesus knows that real me. He isn't taken in by my outward behavior. And if I would be ashamed for others to know "the real me," then I ought to feel a great deal of shame this very moment, for there is someone who knows "the real me."

That thought is very heavy and saddening. For, you see, I love this Jesus. I want Him to be pleased with me.

But even as my heart sinks, it skips a beat and remembers that Christ died for this very sinner who sits in this chair. He died already knowing that I would commit countless sins. And He has committed Himself to purifying me, and making me like Him. He's not going to give up. He shall complete whatever work He begins. He IS changing me, and He isn't going to get discouraged and give up. I am His, and that precious reality means I am forever His.

And, regal King that He is, He wants everything that is His to be the best. Including me.

So here I am, Lord Jesus. Take me, shape me, and teach me to do Your will. Thank You that You are honest with Me, and show me exactly who I am. And thank You for loving me in spite of all that, and removing the guilt for all of that.

I've never known anyone like You!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I haven't deserted you...

...I've just lost my computer! Viruses are nasty. What diabolical mind would create something like that and send it out to ruin the lives of total strangers?
My laptop is in the shop right now, and I'm praying that I haven't lost all my files! I have stuff on there that I really, really, really don't want to lose. I've had the computer for 5 years, and I write books and run two businesses from it, so there's quite a bit of data on there!
I praise the Lord for what He is teaching me through this experience. Patience. Trust. Time management. Trust. Priorities. Trust. I am thankful for His loving heart, and His tender teaching!
But I'm still praying that I'll get my files back. Would you pray too?
Meanwhile, maybe you'll get a post or two, from my parent's computer....but not right now. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Three strikes....

...and I'm out.

Double points for almost bonking my head against a wall while leaning back on my bed five minutes ago.

Triple points for scratching myself with my own nails twice inside of ten minutes.

Accidentally, of course.

I also get points for giving into worry and fretting, for running away from problems instead of dealing with them, and for blaming other people when circumstances make me unhappy. Lots and lots of points.

And in this game, like golf (though I've never played the game and have no interest in it), we're trying for the lower end of the score card.

So, if I make mix my metaphors, I've struck out. So0000 glad it's bedtime! Kinda.

(Which, incidentally, means I should be in bed, not here, especially since I have to get up at 5:00 am [which is my own fault] but who's paying attention to little details like that? I could use another point.)

Don't you just love run-on parenthetical remarks?

I admit it; I am NOT writing this blog post because I have any remarkable bit of wisdom or advice to share, or a funny story, or a heart-warming tale. I'm clattering away at the keyboard because I need to release a bit of frustration and grief, and you poor readers are always so sweet, to hear me out.

I had "one of those days" today. From start to finish, things went wrong, I didn't have enough time to do what I wanted. The computer was slow, I woke up late, I didn't have ingredients, I double-booked my know how it goes.

But that wasn't what was so hard. We all have days like that. Sometimes they just give us a day to laugh at ourselves, and everything is okay. Other times we learn through struggles, and we're okay.

I didn't feel okay.

All day long, a fluttering panic-y feeling was growing in my heart. Worry. Fretting. Anxious. I couldn't stop thinking about issues as small as, "WhatEVER am I going to find to wear tomorrow when my closet is empty and I don't have time to do laundry today?" or as big as, "How in the WORLD am I going to pay for everything I have to pay for next month?"

I was a failure. I knew it. I was miserable. My life wasn't going anywhere. I was on a treadmill and couldn't get off. I could feel my emotions getting the better of me, and that was what bothered me. Difficulties are a part of life, and it's just part of being an adult to expect them, but when I succumb to them instead of facing them, that.....that is horrible.

Sometimes the problems are not truly world-threatening issues - like "what am I going to wear?" Other times they are truly problems; like, "what are my customers going to think of me if I can't bake their order because I don't have the ingredients?!?!"

But my response is real in either case. If I fall into tears and frustration and worry because of clothes, it's just as much of a pit as if it were something more important. And I'm not supposed to live in pits. I'm a child of the King.

And I knew that. I kept telling myself that. "Snap out of it, Amber - you're silly to mope like this with all Christ has done for you!" But I didn't want to snap out of it. I was miserable and wanted to mope. ...Sorta.

The only verse that kept going through my mind was, "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Okay, Lord. This is Your will. And that is Your will. And that too? Okay, that too. All this stuff is happening to me because You let it. And it's going to be okay. All right. Okay. If You say so.

I held onto that idea like a lifeline, for that is what it was.

I lived long enough to know that if I hold on long enough, all the sudden my eyes adjust and I can see the Son again. He is there all along, but I just have to be patient. It seemed a long wait today.

So I sat down to vent while I was waiting.

You know what's funny? As I wrote my list of "point achievements," I started noticing what I couldn't write down. Strange, huh?

I wrote down "Rotten Attitude," then thought "well, I was tired and sad, and sighed a lot, but I wasn't exactly rotten. God gave me grace to have several kind moments toward others, actually, now that I think about it." Backspace that.

I typed out "Being Lazy," and remembered the hour I wanted to spend doing something - anything - mindless on my computer, but instead forced myself to be glued to a chair working on measuring garments for my website. And I remembered the photos of those same garments I wanted to put off doing, and didn't. And I cleaned the living room. And printed out flyers for my bakery business. And wrote a blog post on my other blog. And made breakfast. And practiced my fiddle.

I may not have accomplished everything I wanted to today, but I know in my heart I wasn't lazy. That started a warm flutter in my chest.

Maybe today wasn't a waste. Maybe God answered my prayer of this morning - that He would use this day for His purposes. And tomorrow isn't going to be so bad - even if I have to get up at 5:00. God is in control. This is a beautiful life. The weather is gorgeous. My bedroom window is open. The crickets are chirping, and cool air is flowing through the screen. No cats fighting beneath it tonight, unlike last night. :)

God has whispered to my heart. Circumstances haven't changed. I don't have an extra hour in my day tomorrow, and I'm certainly no richer, but I'm okay. In fact...I feel a smile coming on. My first smile in several hours.

I did. I smiled. And what's this? Tears? I managed not to really cry today. But now I am. I'm happy. It feels so good to smile. It feels so good to let go and know that He is God. The big things, and the little things, are in His hands.

I think I'll sleep well tonight.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Sunday afternoon....

Four generations of my family together....Sunday dinner...laughter....discussion....

After lunch, Grandpa and Mom wash dishes together. Father and daughter, talking while they work.

Daddy and my three youngest siblings sprawl out on the nearby living room carpet and play a game.

My brother-in-law and the brother closest to me in age sit side-by-side on the plush sofa, heads together over a laptop, deep in a discussion of some sort.

I turn around a dining room seat to face the living room, where Heather cuddles her baby and Grandma sits near by. The three of us bounce from topic to topic, making remarks about whatever is on our minds. Sometimes we just sit.

Heather passes Byron to me. I let him snuggle into my shoulder, and I rock back and forth slightly. Conversation lags. I just enjoy the warmth and weight in my arms. I press my cheek against his soft hair, and hum contentedly.

I suddenly feel so rich. From the sunshine outside, to the radiance within, everything around me is satisfied. I am surround by family. I never dreamed my grandparents would live close enough to come over for Sunday dinners. I never imagined my sister passing me a baby boy that belongs to her. I couldn't have fathomed a brother-in-law who fits so well with our family. I can hardly believe my senses when they tell me my younger siblings have blossomed in such fantastic ways and grown into such fine young folks. All these riches have come to pass in such a short time.

And it's happened to me, of all people! I belong here, with these folks, in this family. I am one of them. They are mine. And I am theirs. This is our world. Who knows how long this golden age will last? No matter how many years, it will be but a vapor when it is passed. And I know that. But I do not think of it just now. For the moment, I am content to bask in the simple joys, and know that God will be just as present in the future as He is in the present.

And all I want to say, Lord Jesus, is thank You.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Never Say Never

I was walking through the Dollar Store when I saw it. (I know, I shop in the most glamorous places.)

It was sold in small packages, inside a flimsy cardboard box.

Chocolate Cream of Wheat.

Now, I love, love, love, chocolate, but I am no fan of cream of wheat. And the idea of adding chocolate...well, chocolate may be able to cover a multitude of faults, but not a multitude of wheat.

Disgusted with a capital "D". Never was going to try that one.

Well....remember I told you I'm going without refined sugars for two weeks? I was getting desperate for breakfasts without sugar.

A few weeks ago I soaked and coarsely ground some wheat berries. I hadn't used them for bread because our blender didn't grind them fine enough. They were sitting in a baggie in the corner of the refrigerator. I was hungry...I looked at the baggie, and thought...why not? I'll put a lot of maple syrup on it.

...Then I thought about chocolate.

I missed chocolate. Two weeks without chocolate is hard.

...But baking cocoa doesn't have sugar in it. Just cocoa.

Okay - long story short, I mixed a big scoop of baking cocoa with my home-ground cream of wheat, a big scoop of peanut butter, a splash of milk, and a generous drizzle of maple syrup.

Oh. Wow.

So. Good.

Never say never.