Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I'm so sorry, everyone, for my lack of posts!  I have been seriously very busy.  I had an Etsy order to finish "as soon as possible" and several other sewing orders from people for Christmas, I and am working on finishing Bethany's petticoat and hers and my Regency gowns for a Regency-themed Christmas gathering coming up on December 10th.  I've had a little time to catch up on reading blog posts and writing emails, and very little time for writing MD (I am sooooooo glad I didn't do NaNoWriMo this year or I would have had NO time to write or else felt VERY overwhelmed), and almost no time for blogging.  I have had several post ideas but they haven't taken the form of typed words yet. :-)

Hopefully next month I will have more time for posting. 

Happy Last Day of November!

The Shepherd and His Sheep

     "For thus says the Lord GOD: 'Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out.   As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.   And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country.   I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel.  I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD.   I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. . . . .
     ". . . . I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep.   And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.   And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken."

~Ezekiel 34:11-16, 22-24

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Good Blogs to Read, Part 8

Doing It Write

I met Amber a year or two ago on the Sense and Sensibility Forum.  Our first interaction with each other was teaming together to defend the gospel of Christ in a rather interesting debate about religion.  I then began to follow her blog, then we began emailing, then we friended each other on Facebook.  The Lord has really blessed our friendship, even though we've never met in person; so many times the Lord has used her to encourage my heart or set my focus back on Him.  And besides that--  we also share a love for writing!  Not only does she like to write, but she does write, and she writes for God's glory.

Just recently Amber has started up a writing blog called Doing It Write.  Here she posts her own struggles and triumphs in her writing, reviews on helping books and websites on writing, and thoughts on how we can glorify God with our writing.   She speaks honestly and freely and brings everything back to God-- God has given us the ability to write; we should use it for His glory.  Already I have been very encouraged and challenged.

I highly recommend this blog to all my writing friends!  And even if you are not a writer, check out her other blog, The Fruit of Her Hands-- I guarantee, you will be blessed by Amber's writing!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In Which God Answers Prayer and Reminds Me of His Protection

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. For He will deliver you from the snare of the flower and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night..." (Psalm 91:1-5a)

Those who know me very well know that I am a very fearful person. In fact, a bit of a phobiac, if indeed that is a word. Ever since that month in which Aunt Leah, Harrison, and Sophia died in a fire, our cousins' cousin died unexpectedly from a seizure, and we discovered about our friend Megan R's death from an accidental gunshot wound, I have been terrified for the safety of my family. I have been terrified of fire, of carbon monoxide, of hunters, of illness, of the cracked tree in our side yard falling on my parents' bedroom during a windstorm. Many has been the night that I've laid awake praying over and over, "Lord, please protect us-- please protect each member of our family-- please protect our house."

I know the Lord understands the fear that arises from seeing tragedy in the lives of people around me, and yet that does not make that fear, that lack of trust, right or even "okay". But He cares. He watches over us. And today He proved that to me in a very special way.

I had been awake for much of the night. From the time I went to bed to about 12:30 or 1:00, I was awake thinking about this and that, and at around 4:00 I woke up again-- not with the terror that I've awakened with many a time, thinking I smelled smoke or something like that, but rather just with a nagging, quiet sort of fear. My dad was going to be leaving to visit some friends in another state at 5:30, and a violent wind was blowing outside and smacking raindrops against my window. I was worrying about him and Mommy driving to the airport in the bad weather, and about him flying, and about us at home, and the wind... and as usual in a windstorm, I was thinking about the tree in our side yard with the crack up the center. "Lord, please protect Daddy as he travels, and please protect us here at home. Keep us from all harm..."

I decided to stay up to see Mommy and Daddy off to the airport, so about five minutes before they left, I got up. Kitty had come in when they were taking luggage out to the van so I sat on the floor and pet her while Mommy and Daddy finished getting everything ready. Then I hugged Daddy and told him "I love you" and "Have a safe trip." Then Kitty and I went to the sliding door, which offers a good view of the road, to wave to Mommy and Daddy as they drove away. It was still dark outside, so I did the usual "wave" we've been doing since we moved to this house-- switching the porch light on and off a couple times. They disappeared around the corner and I let the curtain fall. "Well, I guess we'll go back to bed," I was thinking. But before I could move from that spot, I heard a noise.

Crack. Crack. Crack.

I'd heard that sound before-- like the prelude to thunder, only louder and closer. "Ohhhhhhhh Lord, help us! The tree!" I scooped up Kitty in my arms and made a dash for the side of the house opposite the side yard. Kitty, terrified, jumped out of my arms, and before I had even crossed the room, I heard a loud BANG!

My next thought was, "Did it fall on the house?" It hadn't sounded like it-- the bang was more of that of the tree landing on the hard ground outside. Still, I hurried to Amanda's and my bedroom to see. The windows in our 1950s ranch-style house are very high for a short person like me, so I climbed onto my bed, lifted the shade, and looked out.

My heart stopped.

Oh. My. Word.

Just outside my window the very tip-tops of the tree were just touching the side of the house. Right on the other side of the wall from where my head goes when I sleep. Right there. Just touching the edge of the house.

"Wow. God is good!" I said. Amanda, who had been awakened by the noise, climbed up on my bed too and was awestruck as she, too, saw the protection of God. A moment later, Bethany joined us and we all were amazed at the goodness of our God.

A while later, when the morning had cleared the darkness, we looked out and saw that the tree had not broken off close to the ground. It had broken off several feet up-- maybe five feet-- jaggedly, as it had had a crack up the middle (I think caused by us having our campfires right next to it). If it had broken further down, it might have landed on our roof and caused more damage. However, God guides even the forces of nature, and He had it cut off just where it did to protect us and our house, just as I had prayed He would.

I wonder why we are so hesitant to believe that God really does watch over us, that God really does hear and answer our prayers. Our God loves and cares for His children. He has promised in Scripture to watch over them, and He always keeps His promises. Sometimes He allows what we call tragedy-- a freak fire or a mistake gunshot-- but that does not mean He has forgotten to watch over His children. And sometimes-- in fact, most of the time, if you think about it-- He shields us from things that can harm us. Whether it is a tree falling on you during the night, or skidding on the ice on a bridge, or a semi-truck drifting into your lane-- so many things could happen that we don't even realize, but our God keeps His eye on these things, and He protects us. And he not only keeps an eye on our physical protection, but He also sees the other details of life that we think He might not notice-- family problems, church problems, friendship problems, stress from busyness, and other things. He sees, He knows, and He cares. And He always keeps His promises.

So now I know I do not need to fear. My God is watching over me, and when I lay my head down at the end of this day, I can do so knowing my God neither slumbers nor sleeps-- He is watching over me and my precious family.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"The heart set to do the Father's will need never fear defeat.  His promises of guidance may be fully counted upon.  Does it make sense to believe that the Shepherd would care less about getting His sheep where He wants them to go than they care about getting there?"
~Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity, page 50

Monday, November 8, 2010

"You're Such a Dreamer... Get Over It"

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
(Jeremiah 29:11)

This verse is quoted frequently and often imprinted on Bibles, Bible cases, coffee mugs, pictures, pens, jewelry, and other gifts for high school and college graduates. It is used to encourage people that God has a plan for their lives, far greater than they can even imagine, for good and not for evil, and to encourage them to follow that plan.

However, in a practical sense, the same people who quote this verse, and others like it, and give gifts with this verse (and others like it) imprinted on them, also contradict it as they relate to the people in their lives. Everyone likes to be assured that God has a special plan for them, and that they can do something wonderful, but it is much harder, often, to accept His will and the dreams of others. I'd say this is probably a notable challenge for parents, as they watch their children grow and make decisions and form dreams, but I have struggled with it myself in regards to my family and friends, and I am not a parent.

Is this right? Is it a good thing to tell people God has a plan for them, and to encourage them to follow His will for their lives, but when we discover that this plan may involve something extraordinary or unusual or even dangerous, to suddenly discourage them and tell them they're just fanciful dreamers?

Many people who have done extraordinary and lasting things in the past faced this from others. Isobel Kuhn's mother, who was the president of the Women's Missionary society in the Canadian Presbyterian church, told Isobel, "If you go to China, it will be over my dead body. I will never consent." Eventually, the Lord used Isobel to bring thousands of the Lisu people of China to Him. William Carey, upon presenting the idea of going to India as a missionary and speaking of the command for Christians to evangelize, was told, "Young man, sit down: when God pleases to covert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine." Carey is now known as the Father of Modern Missions. Gladys Aylward was told by a missionary society that her education was too limited for her to go to China, and that the language was too hard for her to learn. However, she went to China on her own with almost no money and introduced many people to Jesus and saved the lives of many children during the world war. Our Lord Jesus faced rejection by family, friends, and the religious rulers of the day, because He did the will of God, and that will was not what they thought to be good. And He is our Saviour and perfect example.

These are just a few people who have sought to do God's will and been criticized and hindered by those who had a reputation as religious, God-fearing people. These people probably felt very justified in their opposing. "My daughter, go to China, where she could be killed for her faith? It is too dangerous, and as her parent, I must protect her." On the other hand, there are those whom God leads to do less "glamorous", but just as noble, things, such as being a homemaker, mother, and wife; and even though this is not a dangerous calling, they get the same amount of opposition. "Listen, you're an amazing pianist; you have so much talent! You can't just waste it like this! You need to go to college and put it to good use; what good will be it if you live your life changing diapers and making dinners? You're going to waste it all... You've got to go to college..." This is the prevailing mindset in this country, this mindset that screams of "I know better than God what is best for your life", regardless of how dangerous or how quiet God's plan may be.

A missionary speaking at our church yesterday spoke of this attitude many people have. Parents teach their children wonderful stories from the Bible; before the children even know their own names, they have heard the story of how God parted the Red Sea and delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, how God used a young shepherd boy to kill a mighty giant and save his people, how Jesus walked on water and calmed a storm. They encourage their children to do God's will. Then their teenage daughter asks permission to join a short term mission team to New York City and the parents nearly lose it. "You? Go to New York City? No way. That place is dangerous. The culture is full of evil. You'd be surrounded by wicked people. You could get hurt. No way; you're not going to New York City." And by doing this, they basically say that God is a liar, and that all those stories are false-- God cannot part a sea so that people walk over on dry ground, God cannot use a young boy to save His people and kill a giant, God cannot calm a storm, God doesn't know what is best, God cannot change lives, God cannot protect a teenager seeking to spread His Gospel in New York City.

This is a serious problem. Is God pleased when we (I say "we" to include friends and siblings like myself) tell others that God is almighty and that they must follow His will and then, when He makes His will known to them, change our minds and say they are foolish? Could it be that when we do that, we do it, not because we don't believe it is God's will for that person, but because it is not our will for that person? Is it because we think they ought to do something else (as though we know better than God), or that God cannot take care of them as well as we can? Are we really concerned with God's will, or our own will?

Many articles have been written to encourage young people to follow God's will, no matter what. While I agree whole-heartedly and may write an article about that sometime, this article is for the family and friends of those young people. Are you really desiring God's will for the people closest to you? Are you stepping back to let God fully work in the life of your child, sister, brother, friend? Or is your attitude, "You're such a dreamer...Get over it!"?

"So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!"
(Acts 5:38-39)

Note: This article is not written directed towards any one person. This is something I've been convicted about myself recently and that we all need to be reminded of.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Word of Encouragement

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptations, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.

~Annie Johnson Flint

May you know the grace and strength of our Lord today as you "climb"!