Thursday, August 27, 2009

a worthy pursuit

Mercy, our youngest, started school today-her third year of college, seven hours away from home. I'm missing her. . .

So, I'm cleaning out closets and files and I came across an entire folder of The Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter. I've been reading through them, one or two every night; here's a portion from the May/June 2001, a selection she titles, A Strange Peace:

"Shortly before my daughter Valerie, my only child, went off to college as a freshman, a sudden tide came over me one morning . . .She has grownup, I told myself. My job is finished, the job I loved more than anything else I have ever done. The nest is about to empty. Overcome with sadness, I sat down at the wicker table, picked up the phone, and dialed Van, who is the type of friend you don't have to explain things to. Tears came as soon as I tried to talk.
'It's O.K. Bet,' she said quietly. 'It'll be O.K.'
She did not need to explain to me what she meant. She knew I understood, we believe the same things. . .but I needed to hear her say it. I needed to have the Word made flesh for me in her voice. Van's simple word, It'll be O.K., encouraged me to trust and obey. I learned that in this renunciation I had what the seed has that falls into the ground--a new potential for life-giving. I would be lonely, but I now had something precious to offer in love to my Lord, which in turn would make something quite different out of my loneliness. In some mysterious way which I could not predict, that offering would bring forth fruit. It would make a difference to the wholeness of the Body of which I was but a single member. . ."

So much good here- I think about Mercy, and me. . .and others in my life who are learning to trust and obey God with his good providence, with loneliness, lack, weakness. . .
And in her weakness, Elisabeth called a friend, one whom she was confident would speak truth to her. hmmm. . .wise women, both of them, and what a great model for biblical friendship-I want to be that kind of a friend, don't you-vulnerable, truthful, refreshing. . .a worthy pursuit.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

a sensible extravagance

We left Molly in Davis on a Tuesday in July, and headed to the coast, racing the sun. There was a plan- to pitch our little tent before dark at the Bodega Bay state park. . .but alas, the park was full-full of R.V.s, no room for tents, imagine that?
So, we kept driving-along the dark and curvy coastal highway.
John pulled off in Jenner, on an estuary, where the Russian River meets the Pacific. "Let's see how much it costs to stay at this bed and breakfast," he said.
Yep- more pricey than the $6 state park fee-but we decided to get a room, me with more reluctance than he. . .
John trotted our bicycles down two flights of wooden stairs and when we opened the door, the little cabin room smelled like cedar-hmmm. . .Extravagant, indeed!

And in the morning we watched the fowl on the estuary, then walked down the foggy road to breakfast in the big house dinning room-waffles with a little pot of syrup and sliced fresh fruit, a side bar of hot drinks. John whispered to me, "do you think this is it?"
hmmm, just my kind of breakfast-his face still looked hungry. . .I placed half my waffle on his empty plate. It was nice.

But the truth is. . . my heart constricts at the thought of spending a little extra on something . . .well, on something sensibly extravagant, like one night in a B&B or the like-why is that, heart?
Then I think about my God - extravagant in creation, rich in mercy, abounding in lovingkindness to those who call upon his name, lavish in his grace and goodness.
And He's given us all things richly to enjoy!

So today, over coffee with Kate, I felt compelled to tell her, "Plan into your life some sensible extravagance!" -now, was that random?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I love this girl. . .

On a Tuesday in July- John and I left Auburn, stopped in Sacramento and then headed to Davis-home of the California Aggies. We had time for bicycling around campus before meeting our niece, Molly, at 3:00; the campus reminded me of Texas A&M. . . but for the trees, huge Eucalyptus trees-Ahh, the fragrance of Eucalyptus in the heat of summer.
Molly met us on her bicycle- John said, "Molly, that front tire needs air-I told your father I'd check out this bicycle. . ."
So, after a bicycle clinic in the parking lot, we were ready for a grocery store; Molly suggested a few. . . "and then there's the hippy grocery store", she said.
Ahh, yes, sounds like the place for us. . .it was a fun scene-we thought of our own college days, in California, in the early 70's.

So with bread, cheese, fruit, and veggies in my bike basket and hummus in Molly's bag (John was steward of the heavy stuff-fancy drinks from the hippy grocery) we were set for a picnic in the park.
"Aunt Darcie, you put your helmet on backwards. . ."
"Thanks, Molly."
"Wait. . . Aunt Darcie, don't cross yet-the cars!" (I love that girl!)

John and I left Davis at 6:00, headed west. . .
Molly, thanks for making time for us-it was good.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

no tent in my backyard

Recemtly I was praying for my family members- Where in the world is this family, anyway? I made a mental tally: John and I were visiting Noah and Jamey in Dallas, Joshua, Naomi and the kids were home in Spain, Rachel was visiting Abigail and Nathaniel in London, Mercy was with Luke and Gabrielle in San Antonio, Josiah in Memphis, Jeremiah in College Station-with more movement pending. . .remember, you didn't raise your children to pitch a tent in your backyard. . .and I continue to learn about divesting, life is a series of divestitures.

So, last month John and I stopped in at the Jacobsen's near Fresno, California-our families love visits together, sharing life, and memories. . .

Jane is one of those friends- God uses her to refresh my heart; this visit we had just 2 days- and talk, fast and furious over coffee.
Can you imagine that we talked about our children? how they're growing up, leaving home-appropriate talk about divesting.

Over a year ago Jane's daughter, Liz, married her John and moved to Cincinnati; my friend is experiencing her daughter's absence- And now there's sweet baby Emma . . . (our visits coincided-hmmm, this little one is ready to eat up!)

Ah, yes, giving up our children is hard, but it's good- remember heart, they belong to God, not to us. . . I already know that -and so does Jane, but reminding one another of truth is good, especially when emotions intrude on our peace, tempt us to focus on self. . . hmmm, then we're on the slippery slope. . .
I like what Elyse Fitzpatrick says to mothers in The Afternoon of Life, "We forget that God has plans for our children that were decreed in eternity past . . .we think we've got to make everything happen in just the way we think it should. . ."

Imagine that-God may have plans for my children different from my own! And there's the truth revealed to mothers in Psalm 139:13, 16-Your eyes saw my unformed substance; and in your book they were written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there were none of them.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

6,500 miles. . .home again

So, we traveled 6,500 miles and yesterday we drove home to San Antonio. The Jetta perked along with only a little trouble- air bubbles in the fuel line and somewhere in Kansas we lost fifth gear (do I sound like the wife of a shade tree mechanic?). . .it's good to be home.
There's lots to share about road trip, summer 2009-but first to unpack, re-adjust toTexas heat and . . . Aye, the mail!
Today we were together with our dear church family- in the past five weeks, we've been with Christ's body, the church, in five different locations- in each gathering Christ was exalted:
week #1 we worshiped with the church in Lake City, Colorado-that Sunday the church met in a park (I met a woman who knows Joshua and Naomi!)
week#2 we gathered with the body of Christ in Mountain View, California; after the meeting, we ate together- a gourmet sandwich lunch.
week #3 we met with the church in Applegate, California- in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas; we met the sweet couple who pick up John's mom for worship every Sunday morning.
week#4 in Puyallup, Washington-we gathered with the church in a rented facility, enjoyed outdoor fellowship (how delightful to meet a woman who knows my good friend in San Antonio!)
week#5 we drove through the Bitterroot Valley (with binoculars poised for duck sightings) to worship with the church in Stevensville, Montana.

Hmmm, sometimes I struggle to love the church (then I'm not always easy to love. . .)
but Christ loves his church-He bought her with his blood-so I'm committed.

Lord, help me to exalt you alone, to persevere in putting off sin, so that I can love and serve your church until the end. . .

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Give me the ocean. . .

Last month I asked a Texas friend what she likes to do for outdoor fun. . ."I love the ocean, Port Aransas, the Gulf coast", she said.
And I thought, The ocean?. . .the gulf? Couldn't be. . .
So, when John and I arrived in lovely Monterrey, we rode our bicycles along the Pacific coast- I stopped to take pictures, to record the ocean-the expanse, foamy waves, craggy rocks, kelp (I love the kelpy smell!) shelled creatures, to smell the tangy air, hear the ocean fowl. . .the Gulf is God's unique creation, but it's not the Pacific Ocean!
However, the best part of our stay in Monterrey was visiting Carol-a long time friend from our early married days; we were young Christians, just dipping into God's truth- Carol encouraged us then . . .and now. So, we talked of the past 20 years, of God's goodness, of his continual involvement in our lives.
Carol and I opened the Bible- she shared her renewed commitment to memorize God's Word. A highlighted 3 x 5 card read,

"Hence, also, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them"(Hebrews 7:25)
Carol said to me, "I love to meditate on that Word uttermost-Jesus is able to save to the uttermost. . ."
Ah, a good friend -a worthy reminder.