Tuesday, July 29, 2008

God’s Purpose or Mine?

We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are
obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.

What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see "Him walking on the sea" with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see "Him walking on the sea" ( Mark 6:49 ). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.

God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.

God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious. (from "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers)

Monday, July 28, 2008

This Week's Lesson

Walk in love.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”—Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.—Love covers all offenses. “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”—“Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.”—Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.—Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.—If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.—Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (From "Daily Light" - Eph. 5:2; John 13:34; 1 Pet. 4:8; Prov. 10:12; Mark 11:25; Luke 6:35; Prov. 24:17; 1 Pet. 3:9; Rom. 12:18; Eph. 4:32; 1 John 3:18 )

Walk in love.
Even when it hurts.
Even when it feels wrong.
Even when you are reviled.
Even when you are treated as an enemy.
Even when it costs you something.
Even after all of these things have happened more times than you can count.
Even when you feel justified in walking in anger, frustration, vindication, or any other "ication" you can think of.
Even when it seems like things will never change.

He who commands will sustain and will fulfill his promises.
He who promised is utterly faithful.
He knows.
He sees.
He hears.
He is comfort, solace, a shield.
He will bless.
He will redeem.
He will restore.
What we sow in tears, He will reap in a glorious harvest of blessing...and joy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Interviewed by a 5 year old.

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed my youngest niece, the Diva. Shortly thereafter, my oldest niece, the Princess, decided she wanted in on the action, so I decided it might be fun to turn the tables and have her interview me. This is the result:

P: Do you like horsies?
Me: Yes. I like horsies a lot. I rode one once.
P: Do you like some zebras?
Me: Um, are zebras horses?
P: No!
Me: No?
P: (Shakes head)
Me: Ok. Well. I have zebra print shoes on right now.
P: (Looks down.) Yes you do!
Me: Do you like my shoes?
P:Yes. When I press that big thing on my hannah montana game, her skirt turns into a zebra skirt.
Me: Wow! That's cool. But um, your supposed to be asking me questions.
P: We had a web cast.
Me: What?
P: We had a web cast. Uncle Brad is webcasting us today. Do you like moles?
Me: Moles? Like the mole on my face?
P: Yeah! Do you like it?
Me: Um...not really. Do you like it?
P: No.
Me: Thanks for your honesty
P: (Laughs) Do you want to make some pie?
Me: What kind of pie?
P: Blueberry?
Me: Do you even know what a blueberry is?
P: Yes.
Me: What?
P: Its blue and its like this little and it tastes like blueberry and its blue.
Me: Alright then.
P: Do you want to be a rockstar?
Me: Um, sure! What song should I sing?
P: "I wanna be a rockstar!"
Me: I'm not familiar with that particular tune! Could you sing it for me?
P: Why?
Me: Um, because I don't know it.
P: Uh. Lets sing your songs at church.
Me: Ok. Which one?
P: Guess.
Me: Ok. Um. How 'bout "Only True God"?
P: Yeah. "True God".
Me: Do you like interviewing.
P: Yes.
Me: Can I offer you a bit of helpful advice?
P: Um, yes.
Me: You need to prepare better...and ask better questions. Oh, and stop playing with my phone.
P: (Laughs.)
Me: Hey, guess what?
P: What? (smirking)
Me: I love you.
P: I love you too. (Smiles real big and runs off to do pirouettes.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I have a baby tooth. I do. It is teeny tiny and it is still firmly attached to my jaw.
I don't know why but it never fell out, and it's grown-up counterpart, well, he is still resting comfortably in my gums...waiting...patiently.

My baby tooth, while very cute and baby-like, has caused me some degree of worry and anxiety over the years. I mean, they call it a "baby" tooth for a reason. It belongs to a baby. While I may act like a baby on occasion, I am decidedly not one in actuality and so, the baby tooth doesn't belong. Don't think I've never been gripped by fear or awakened in a cold sweat at the thought of my baby tooth falling out one day. The grown-up tooth, he's no self-starter, so I have no confidence that if my baby tooth actually did fall out, the big one would make an appearance any time soon. It's been 30 years already...what's 30 more, right?

So, in an effort to entice my baby tooth to stick it out for the long haul and be with me when I am once again in diapers I decided to make a fuss over it, introduce it to my friends and...name it. I also decided it was a "him". Since he is teeny tiny, I wanted to give it a confidence-inspiring name. "Otto" was my first thought, but then I picture a short, squat, hairy man, so I moved on. "Angus" was another, but I just got hungry, so it was scratched off the list. Finally, I settled on "Gunther". I think it suits him, and hopefully will have enough macho, slavic oomph to convince my baby tooth (who really is quite strong and manly...and handsome) to dig in, stay calcified, and remain in my mouth so long as all my other teeth do.

Oh...and "other teeth" I really, really *heart*, you too.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Diva

It's 5am.
A gecko and a slug are inexplicably perched beneath the large wasps nest hanging from my livingroom window.
And my 3 year old niece is asleep...in her bathing suit.

That, my friends, is "the Diva".

She likes things the way she likes them. Period.
Sometimes she just NEEDS to wear dress up shoes to church, or have juice in the octopus cup, or be held - standing up. only standing up. - in the kitchen. There is often no logical explanation for what she needs, but she NEEDS it... desperately. And if she doesn't get it? She folds up like a lawn chair and lets out the most pitiful wail, which is then followed by the most heart-breaking tears you've ever seen. And, also...dimples.

Even when she cries, she has dimples.
Dimples in her cheeks and a dimple in her chin.
We call it her John Travolta chin.
Not that we want her to emulate him in any way...its just what it looks like.

So, last night, she came over for a visit and wanted to sleep over. More to the point, she came over to visit and asked me to hold her and caressed my face and hair and asked (with dimples set to stun) "Ti Ti, are I gonna sleep over?"

And for some reason, probably the dimples, I couldn't say "Not tonight, baby, Ti Ti as to go to work tomorrow." So, now she's asleep in her bathing suit. In my bed. Probably drooling on my pillow. But, she has dimples, so it's ok.

How did she wind up in her bathing suit, you ask?
You might think it was because we went swimming or did some late afternoon tanning or that the swimsuit competition was the last event in the "Little Miss Dimples" pageant last night. But no. The real reason is, she just NEEDED to wear a bathing suit to bed. Oh, I offered her pajamas. I even offered her sister's pajamas. I thought that would be a sure thing because most times she NEEDS to have or do whatever her big sister has or does. But no, even sissy's jammies weren't good enough. But, just as it seemed she was about to do the folding/wailing/crying thing, I saw it, shining like a ray of heavenly light in the drawer: her pink Nemo bathing suit.

When I pulled that baby out, those dimples went deeper then I've ever seen them before. "Yes, Ti Ti." was all she said.

And then she squealed and did a little happy dance after it was on. Oh, and she twirled and pranced a bit. And this, is why I love her so. But also because of the dimples.

Things I'm Thankful for: The Diva

Last night, I had a sleepover with my 3 year old niece, the Diva. We don't usually have sleepovers on weeknights, but this time when she asked, I just couldn't say no.

It was a sweet time. She was just so excited to have this special time with her Ti Ti all to herself. I, of course, was blessed beyond all reason by her sweetness and desire to be with me.

Just before we went to bed, I told her the story of the day she was born and how God answered my prayer. See, about 4 months in to her pregnancy, my sister-in-law had an ultrasound and the doctor told her she would have a boy. They picked a name, a nickname, and we started buying baby boy things. But me, I just felt in my heart that a girl baby would be better for their family.

I had my reasons.

So I started praying. God is the creator of all things. If it was a boy, he could make it a girl. He also orders and ordains all things, so he could have made the doctor read the ultrasound incorrectly. Only He is perfect and infallible.

I prayed for the next 5 months, daily, that T.J. would be a girl and not a boy. And, low and behold, it was! And, I am so thankful. I'm thankful she was a girl. I'm thankful she loves to spend time with her Ti Ti. I'm thankful she has dimples. And, I'm thankful that everytime we snuggle down to sleep and I say "You wanna pray?" She smiles real big, snuggles closer and says "Yes."

You can read more about my precious girl, here: http://lifeofamadfatwoman.blogspot.com/2008/07/diva.html

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Birthday Boy

I love to laugh. I probably love it more than I love coffee, which means I wouldn't just marry it, I'd have it's babies, nurse it through sickness and change it's diapers if need be. So, when I meet someone who can not only make me laugh, but cackle, snort and, on occasion, stop breathing...they're a friend for life...whether they like it or not.

I met one such person a couple of summers ago. The company I work for often hires employee's kids to help out with errands, copies, archiving, and filing during the summer. This was one such summer intern, and he showed up raring to go, except for the fact that he was still asleep. His dad woke him to introduce us. He grunted, wiped a bit of drool, and went back to sleep.

Over the next couple of months, I made it my personal mission to get more than a grunt out of this kid. Any time I saw him, I'd smile real big and say "hello"; he would just grunt as he stared at the floor and quickened his pace.

Time went by, he got hairier, and I kept greeting him in my own delightful way. Still, all I got was a grunt and a sprint. Then, one day, it happened! He came into the office I shared with another co-worker, they got to talking about the Yankees, and my increasingly hairy friend pretty much never left again.

Soon, I was feeding him. I mean, not physically "here comes the choo choo" feeding him, but I bought food for him. He took to stopping by our office whenever he had a chance to snack and chat and perch on my shoulder. At times, my co-worker had to offer to "hold him" so I could go to the potty...and I took to keeping a lint roller nearby to deal with all the shedding.

In the midst of the Yankees talk, pb&j sandwiches, and excess hair, my co-worker and I discovered that this kid was a vegetarian, extremely liberal, and very, very funny. We also discovered that he was an atheist, which added a whole 'nother dimension to my affection for him.

In the midst of all the laughter and our tendency to turn "jewish mother" on him, we also asked questions and shared our faith and just loved on him regardless of our differences, hoping that he would see the gospel in our care for him.

But we also laughed...a lot. I mean, I've had near death experiences laughing at this kid. I've snorted. I've shot coke zero through my nose. And, I've cried praying for his soul. I've also laughed alone in my car just thinking about some random and hysterical thing he said. I'd share, but I think most of what he says would fall under the category of "you had to be there". Like that time he walked into my office and said "Ms. Tina, I gotta go make pee pee."

I still crack up about that one.

Anyway, my little, hairy, atheist friend turns 20 tomorrow. (tear) They grow up so fast!
I am so thankful that he is part of my life, even if it is just at work and I can't adopt him and train him in the way he should go. I am thankful for the bright spot that he is to me at the office now that my Yankee-lovin' co-worker is gone. And, I am thankful for the opportunity I have to befriend, and care for and minister to him...and occasionally shoot coke zero out of my nose along the way.

So...happy birthday my friend.
I love ya!


Things I'm thankful for: The Birthday Boy

A couple of years ago, the Lord allowed me to befriend a very special, and very hairy kid. He turns 20 tomorrow...so I guess I should stop calling him a kid, but it's weird to call him a man. Anyway, I'm just so thankful to the Lord for him. You can read more about the birthday boy here: http://lifeofamadfatwoman.blogspot.com/