Thursday, December 30, 2010

when siblings live together

Mercy has been searching the internet for a summer internship; I overhear her siblings offer, "Come live with us this summer!"
So- my children grew up, and I didn't think much about how their relationships would look in the next season. . .maybe I was consummed with encouraging toddler and teenage peacemaking-
I never imagined how it would be to sit on the sidelines and watch them relate-and sometimes live together-as adults.
it's nice.
A few weeks ago I watched sweet Selma fly to her Aunt Rachel. we met in Golden Gate Park for a big family picnic; Selma had her sights set only on,"Aunt Rachel! my Aunt Rachel!"
for 6 years in Spain, Rachel lived with Joshua and Naomi, Malachai, Josu, and Selma-in a 3 bedroom apartment.
-togetherness that can galvenize lives, in the best sort of way.

Monday, December 27, 2010

together on the bridge. . .

So, we gathered in San Francisco to celebrate my mother's life; Luke suggested a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, remembering Grandma and her favorite birthday tradition year after year; he made the family plan. . .skeptical me-how could we coordinate 6 different plane flight arrivals and still do this-Sanely!
And we did-even with a hitch or two, we were there, on the bridge, in the chill and San Francisco Bay drizzle.
It was good-she would have loved it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

a shared sweater

20 years ago our family moved from Mexico to Texas- we lived for 3 months with my parents; it was a cold, wet December and my mother lent me her blue wool cardigan. I wasn't a knitter back then, but I loved the bulky merino wool, the thick cables, hidden front pockets, and narrow plaid ribbon trimming the button placket; hmmm, the sweater hugged my body just right.
"You can keep it!" Mom announced one day. . .but she must have missed that lovely sweater-"You can have it when I die!" she said.
Years marched on and we bantered about the blue sweater, "I left our sweater in the restaurant, but Dad went back for it. . .I wore our sweater when I walked the Golden Gate. . .remember, I'll will it to you!"
it was our sweater but she was wearing it!

So early this month my sisters and I sorted boxes in Mom's damp, chilly garage; then I remembered the blue sweater- I pushed back the clothes tightly packed in her closet, and there hung our sweater, the sleeves carefully draped across the shoulders on the hanger.
Day after day I worked in my mother's cold garage without her. . . wearing our sweater-it hugged my body just right.
And last week I packed my suitcase with memories of Mom; I considered the blue sweater, now worn and frayed-still lovely. I set it aside- because the story is enough.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Home. . .

I was in California for three weeks. . .yesterday I came home.
whenever I go away, John plans a project (to keep himself busy since he doesn't sleep!)
this time he scaped the popcorn off the living room ceiling, popcorn with sparkles. . the mess scraped off in just a few hours, but he's been working on the clean up for weeks and weeks. . .
Ahh-beauty, a smooth, clean ceiling.
And today boxes are piled in the living room, 7 cases of Bibles for the homeless shelter.
some things about home are very perdictable.
mmmm, I love this man.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lavish Forgiveness-9 (Pitfalls & Provisions)

Vengeance. . .a deep pitfall to forgiveness. The Bible forbids it, you know. "Never pay back evil for evil to anyone, never take your own revenge" (Rom 12:17,19)
We know of situations of great violence in which a person is tempted to consider vengeance. But, admit it, you and I dabble. . .we are tempted to cultivate a garden variety of revenge; for instance, we feel entitled to a little payback when we are hurt. So-what might the garden variety look like?
-a dear friend prefers company of another friend. . .you pull away, are cool, aloof to your friend.
-your son or daughter marries and seems to spend more time with the new family. . .you talk about your hurt with a friend.
-you witness a loved one treated wrongfully. . .you take up an offense and tell others about the injustice.
-you think, "he or she doesn't make time for me. . .so I won't make time for her."
-he criticizes my cooking. . .next time I'll put too much salt in the soup!
Remember, soul, a refusal to forgive is a decision for vengeance-think about last week, is the Holy Spirit convicting you of a time when you took revenge?
But God has made provision-even when we dabble. . .so, remember:
1. the Gospel! think on Jesus, our provision; our Savior didn't deserve death but was lead as a lamb to the slaughter (Is 53:7). Forgiveness filled His heart, not revenge.
2. God's instruction to proactively show love, if our enemy is hungry, feed him! rather than brooding about how you can repay, plan a loving response; our thoughts and actions should be driven by mercy, "Mercy triumphs over judgment" (Jam 2:13-I love this truth!)
3. Justice will come. . . our God embodies both mercy and justice; remember, God will settle accounts with our offenders, we don't have to. In Romans 12 God reminds me, "leave room for Me to work!!"
hmmm, as I format and type this post, my own heart is pierced-Lord, help me to be obsessed with forgiveness, not even dabbling in vengeance.
A worthy pursuit. . .

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lavish Forgiveness-(8a)

8a?? well, I like a tidy outline-I'm content when the points and sub-points construct in orderly fashion. . . this one doesn't quite fit, but it's really important, I think-
You see, 8a is just a slight indentation in a semi-tidy outline!
Remember: bitterness is the sinful response to injustice or perceived injustice, the result of brooding upon wrongs, real or imaginary.
So-are you struggling with perceived injustice? Maybe you've taken up an offense for something that isn't an offense at all. . .
When I read through Paul's epistles, I'm struck by how the apostle was a hard man to offend- because he refused to take offense. I want to be like that.
"Love does not take into account a wrong suffered." (1 Cor 13:5)
If I focus on myself rather than on God and others I will be hurt by almost anything.
We must be women who are hard to offend- we can choose how to respond to the perceived wrongs of others.
So, what could a perceived injustice look like? My dear children have grown up, imagine that! Now 6 are married-with new extended families.
Now then, I notice the temptation in my heart to be hurt or offended when I think my children are spending more time with the other families-do you believe that? It's real, I confess-and if you have adult children, I bet you struggle with the same perceived wrongs. . .
And truly, I want to be a blessing to my grown children, to make it easy for them to love their new families-mostly, though, I want to honor God in my heart.
8a. . .Do you take up an offense at every turn? or like the apostle Paul, are you hard to offend?
A worthy pursuit, indeed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

driving, reading, knitting. . .

Long road trips mean driving-reading-knitting for John and me; he drives and I read aloud. Last week we plowed through D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The First 40 Years by Iain Murray. (more on that later!)
And when my voice is exhausted, we listen to good stuff on the CD player and I knit and knit. . .a bag of unfinished knitting projects traveled with me last week; I finished this Baby Suprise Jacket (Elizabeth Zimmerman)-you knit away on this one while wondering, what in the world is this lump of yarn?. . .and then finally- you see the little sweater forming!
I'm thinking of our Adalyn Grace who will wear it. . .

Saturday, December 4, 2010

and this little one asked. . .

The other day my grandaughters and I talked about our trip to California; Amaleah asked, "I know it's sad. . .Gigi (great-grandmother) died, but I'm excited to see my cousins in California, is it okay for us to play and have fun?"
Indeed, sweet girl-there will be tears and joy, sorrow, laughter, playing . . .for the Lord was faithful to Gigi.
"Even to your old age, I shall be the same. And even to your graying years I shall bear you! I have done it, and I shall carry you. And I shall bear you, and I shall deliver you." (Isaiah 46:4)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

buttons and a birthday

This one is for our sweet Selma- last month she turned 3 and her mama threw a party in California, a Button Party for Selma and her girls (my girls, Selma calls her friends)
And here in Texas Amaleah, Julia and I played with buttons and thought about Selma, wishing we were there too. . . eating button shaped quesadillas, balancing buttons on a spoon. . .
our girl-sweet Selma

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lavish forgiveness-8 (Pitfalls & Provisions)

Have you ever found yourself brooding over a wrong done to you? Bitterness is the sinful response to injustice or preceived injustice; bitterness is the result of brooding upon wrongs either real or imaginary. . .brooding and bitterness-Pitfalls to forgiveness.
Brood-hmmm, the word even sounds foreboding, don't you think? You and I are tempted to play with bitterness, tempted to brood about being treated unfairly.
Ask yourself: Is there an area of my life where I focus on injustice done to me?
"A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but hot passion makes the bones rot."(Prov 14:30) Think about it: rotting bones means death.
"Fooling around with bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping someone else will die." (Nancy Leigh De Moss)
You see, it's not wrong to notice I've been treated unjustly-but how do I respond?

And God always provides a way to escape temptation-I have no excuse:
1. I must put away all bitterness (Eph 4:31). Put off bitterness and put on love. remember, "love does not take into account a wrong suffered." (1 Cor 13:5)
2. Don't brood--Go! God tells me to Go, resolve the conflict quickly (Matt 5:23-24) and Go humbly.
3. God's provision is the gospel; in The Cross Centered Life, C.J. Mahaney writes, "We deal with bitterness by cherishing the experience of being forgiven by God."

A Worthy Pursuit. . .kill bitterness, cherish the experience of being forgiven by God!