Posts tagged ‘Sundays’

Prayers for Sunday

Saturday night.  Time to pray and prepare for Sunday. 

Prayers for self tonight, leading to prayers for others. 

Sometimes hard to get my motivation up to take three kids when The Hub is not going to be there.  Before church, I have to take them to McDonald’s to keep up their tradition, which I try to smile through, but don’t enjoy for several reasons.  During church, My Man is not there and half of me feels missing, ard to worship alone after I’ve grown used to his presence.  After worehip, Red will be asleep and I’ll have to get him roused and to class.  Sunday School, Sunday school class without him there isn’t as fun.  After church, decisions about the kid’s day will have to be made without his input.  Afternoon, he’ll need a nap, and I’ll want one, but need to keep the kids and dog quiet so he can rest some.  Evening, he’ll be fired up to go to church–yet, during that service, he’ll be distracted with responsiblities and I’ll probably still be sitting alone still then.  After PM church, it will be time to scrounge for food and try to gear back up for Monday with the kids wanting to stay and play.  

We usually don’t recover until about the next weekend from the backlog a “working-weekend” creates everywhere else.  Many of you know too well!

I am so blessed, which makes it hard to be authentic at times where stress points are for me, still minimal compared to many folks I’ve heard about this week! 

But, my morning prayer for my life will be:  “Lord, let your grace fall on me!  Consistency matters to my kids!” 

For I sometimes think, “Perhaps I should just stay home with the kids and worship here instead of all the distractions.” 

But, I know what would happen, they’d beg every week, AND, frankly…I’m not sure I could trust myself with the proper cut-off for a switch-up for Sunday morning, though it’s fine, at times, for some. 

This prayer is on my heart, for me, and maybe for you today:

Lord, you are the husband to the one with no husband.  Be with all those who are “husband-less” tomorrow, for whatever reason, to whatever extent.  Be the One who joins in song with her, helps her make decisons, wrestles with the world as it sneaks in, and the One who vibrantly reveals joy in everything good! 

We can rest in God’s word:

Isaiah 54:5
For your Maker is your husband— the LORD Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.
Jeremiah 3:14
… “for I am your husband. I will choose you—
Hosea 2:16
“In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master. ‘

April 19, 2008 at 10:46 pm 4 comments

Sunday Review

Funeral in our family, Sat. PM

Hosted college student here, Sat.PM

Praise Band,7:00AM, Sun. AM

Taught Sunday School, Sun. AM (usually don’t do both the same week, but 5th Sundays throw the schedule)

Home Show with SIL in M. , Noon-5:45

Church 6:00 PM

Fundraiser 7:00 PMfor camp

Projected Monday, keel over.

I missed an intro today during worship that I should not have missed.  Even in the dark, I knew it.  Total brain wack.  ARG.  Hate it when that happens.  Worship was awesome today, though, loved the mix, the electric was “on” today, and the stage just had a presence of holiness about it considering how long it took to recover from Easter program settings. 

ENJOYED worship today.  Thank you, Lord, for your grace and your love and  your presence and your hope and your kindess and your energy and your recovering us.  Thank you!

Love,

“Maggie”

March 30, 2008 at 12:25 pm 3 comments

Super Bowl Sunday: Get Your Game Face On!

Well.  Sunday.  Ah.  Alas, the beauty of worship topped by the supreme anticipation of culinary cholesterol.  What could be better?  And, yes, something athletic is also going on, I think, during which time, I honestly anticipate being deeply involved in a game of Mexican Train.  {Red is banging his forehae…just a sec…forehead…OUCH!…  against mine begging for me to PLEASE make pancakes because he IS VERY HUNGRY!  Today, thoughts of food run in the family.]

Yeah.  I had planned on reserving all my calories for — excuse me, again…The Hub seriously just called me come watch an infomertial for a little baker like my sandwich maker.  She is putting chocolate candy bars INSIDE chocolate cake to have surprise treats ready in JUST EIGHT MINUTES.

Seriously. 

We are obviously on the distracted side today.

And back to my point.  I was going to save all my calories for tonight, but lately, it seems a little more reasonable to spread them out through the day.  In this way, you don’t have to worry about a sugar “crash–just keep eating more sugar.  It’s quite easy.  I’m not sure why the nutritionists among us have not figured that out yet.  🙂

If a person is just worried about sugar overload, just mix in some veggie tray, dip, and something with peanut better…the protein from that should carry you through.  I’m thinking Reese’s cups. 

Just ask me, Maggie.  I’ve got your Superbowl day eating needs covered.  

You all know I’m joking, so if you have found this by Google, I highly recommend you go see a nutritionist for your dietary needs because I am in a mood to enjoy snacking today. 

February is my “tackle goals that I didn’t start in January” month, so we are about to get down and dirty with those.  Think of this it as a last hurrah.

And, with that:  church was great today.  The Ray-Man said so many things that bear consideration.  Here’s one with a loose translation (because I was not note-taking today.  My new contacts and I can actually see stuff.  I was enjoying the detailed creases in the fabric hanging on the stage, and all sorts of glory like that).  He said, “Be happy!  Get healthy.  You won’t be stress-free, or problem free, but find out how to get happy, and worship like you’re happy!”  Then came the kicker–and I do mean right-in-the-gut:  “You all do not look happy.  This does not look happy today.”

Ow!!!  Did anybody even hear that?  He said it with a bit of a smile, but don’t let it pass you by.  ‘Cause if that’s the case, we needed a tail kicking. 

Oh, ya’ll.  

Ya know.  You come: angry, upset, bored, confused, apathetic, frustrated, irritated, angry, happy, joyful, social, non-social, sick, hurting, well, feeling pretty, feeling run-down, laid back, geared up, or WHATEVER, and God will meet you there if you want to be met.  

This brings me to an obvious points, but perhaps overlooked by some:  if you don’t realize where you are, you are probably going to have a hard time worshipping authentically.  Perhaps it didn’t used to matter in worship, but today, it does.  Know thyself, and worship out of that place.  I don’t know how to explain this very well, perhaps.  But, let me just give you some samples of my poetic worship prayers:

“Lord, these kids are driving me crazy today.  I don’t feel like being around people today.  I am feeling crowded in this pew.  But, I know you honor it when we come together, and I’m thankful they are here with me.  So you just bless me.  Show me why I’m here today.” 

I  might be smiling, or it might be fake for a while, but I worship him and I praise Him authentically out of my mess.  He does show me why it was worth it  for me to be there before I leave most of the time.  The body is not the body with me missing…with missing “parts” everywhere missing in general. 

And, I’ve prayed: 

“Lord, I’m sick and I’m so sick of being sick I don’t think I can walk another step like this.  If you don’t get us well, off these colds and drips and wheezes, and meds, then I’m quarantining the whole five-some batch of us until we are well for a while!  I can’t deal with this anymore.  Can we PULLEASE get a break from this mess?  Do something!  You have to!”

Here’s what’s often happened to me after a mother’s prayer of desperation like that when we’ve been sick for months on end:  I’ve had snow days come where we could mend and get a break.  I’ve had heaters shut down at the school and school be cancelled:  we got a break.  I’ve had schools call off school due to illnes when I’m at that point and we get a break.  God can work it, people.  He just can.  That makes me smile.  Nope, I may not be smiling at that moment, but He’s got my attention and my heart, and I’m fully into the moment.  Engaged.

Worship is when I feel most “alive”.  It is when I can be myself and expect to have an answer.  I can think and feel and meditate and celebrate.  If I’m sad, he’s okay with that.  When I sing, he cheers me with the very words I sing.  If I cry, he soothes me.  If I complain, He corrects me.  Worship is very responsive.  It is about “engaging”.

Maybe I can say it this way and make some sense, though it’s hard to explain, and I’m certainly no authority:  when we worship, we have to be self aware.  And…we need to be aware of others.  We respond to both and should.  Yet, at the same time, we need to learn to block it all that out and focus on Him.  It is what we call, a paradox. 

Perhaps I can explain what I’m trying to say better this way.  It’s like the NFL  game:  a player is totally aware of every member of the team, their positions, their success or failure in execution, his own body, his limitations and needs, yet he blocking all that out to just do his job and do it well.  He is giving all, irregardless.  He is focused on the plan, the goal, the purpose…moving that ball.  His one thing.

Our faith moves the ball.  Our worship moves the ball.  Our prayers move the ball.  And, it’s both an individual and a team sport. 

I’m laughing here, imaging the Superbowl if any part of the team is just standing on the sideline with their arms crossed looking bored, waiting for the exciting stuff to happen before they decide to play.  That leaves a few exhausted, vulnerable players out there on the field in a real jam, getting exhausted and little done, as sincere as they may be. 

Sure, we all have different styles, but we are all on the team.  Somehow, we ought to all look like we are “in the game” in a way that shows we are serious about moving the ball and we know this is what it takes.   

We all have different comfort levels–but we ALL need to have our game faces on. 

Each has a different history, but we can all demonstrate the same intensity for the goal. 

Every person has different skills, yet God can give us all the same drive and passion–His own. 

Each brings different experiences, yet we can all walk in the same joy, encouraging each other.

Every single one of us may have different role, yet we all walk in one purpose. 

Certainly, different preferences and approached, but blending to create broader enthusiasm.  

Wow.  I get excited thinking about what could happen.  Yup, I hope we get full to where we need to be…wherever that is.  I SO want to see what this thing looks like when all the players are in the game, game faces on!  I might even put down my bean dip, Reece’s cups, and game of Mexican Train for that!

February 3, 2008 at 2:38 pm 2 comments

When the Nib Gets Dry, the Ink Doesn’t Flow

 107140_fountain_pen.jpg

Today:

I felt so tired I could feel my body hitting the floor, only it wasn’t.  Whew.  Getting used to heart meds again…may as well just have a bed on wheels attached to my body to drag it along with me so that I can rest at any opportunity. 

I got a good nap today…feel better for the moment.  Sometimes my heart meds don’t affect me, but mixed with a cold and meds…zonked.

———-

Worship:

Extraordinary today at church today.  Sound was perfect.  Things seems in sync.  So refreshing. 

Prayer time saw many ministered to. 

Healing was even testified toward at the end of the service.  Precious.

Daisy Dog:  barking non-stop.  The boys played with her some today and she is not ready to call it quits.

Currently:  four boys in my TV room playing Playstation together with a new “multitap” we got for Christmas.  The competitive game of football, with no one getting hurt!

In Sunday School today: I taught the kids about fountain pens.  Yup.  Work out of your passions, I say.  I taught them how the ink can get clogged in the nibs of the pen after months of not using them.  I showed them several pens and the different width of nibs — how it made the lettering change, then we got to the one that wouldn’t write.  I asked if they knew why and took my drinking water, dropped it in there.  Soon, ink began to flow, though watered down at first. 

We are like that dried-out pen sometimes.  Just with daily use, we can get so stopped up so that it seems nothing is coming out of us.  And the less we are used, the worse it gets.  We feel dry.  Funny thing is, we blame God, though he’s still there, full!  We saw it in the cartridge of this pen.  Brand new cartidge of ink, just sitting there.  But…no flow!  The problem was not with the ink, but with the ink dried inside the nib.  It was clogged up.  

pen-and-ink.jpgWe soaked the nib in my water cup for a while, and sure enough, it began to flow.  Diluted at first.  But soon, flowing black, shiney, and fast again.  Beautiful wet ink.

They all wanted their names written.  I wrote their names for them, AND their “one little word” to help guide them in some personal challenges for 2008. 

I love my class.  I love teaching it more every week.  I have such a receptive class this year.

Except for one boy.  He said, “Is that it?  That’s the cool thing?” Okay, so he’s honest.  “A hard sell!” the Hub said.  But, he wanted his name written on “a whole page to himself”!!!  He thought it was cool.  Maybe he’ll remember the lesson anyway someday!

You know, I can think of some places my nib “needs cleansing”.  I’m longing for a day with Christ alone very soon for that very purpose.  I love times like right after my Great Banquet experience where any “ick” was removed from days of deliberate soaking.  Things just flowed so easily.  I need that again, Lord.  Bring it on.  I’m ready.

January 27, 2008 at 6:06 pm 4 comments

My “ONEs” for the Year

One word for the year…that’s what I’ve been thinking toward the last few years.  One phrase.  One scripture.  One thing. 

I can do that.

Today Sunday School, I forgot my short story book…where prayers are made: “Lord, help!”

The early AM services helped move us into the direction of resolutions–where I wanted to go.  I’d made stars for the kids to write their “one word”, but I needed a story to tie it together before class.

We talked about a short word or phrase goal for the year.  Some of mine have been:  “Smile.”  “Joy.”  “Shine”.  “Seek peace”. 

When class started, I said, “Does anyone know what ‘resolution’ means?”

By the time we finished, I was teaching them about pictures and clarity and computer screen resolution and pixels…and we decided that “resolutions” lead to “higher resolution”…a clearer picture in our lives of Christ.  Now, how cool is that?

We put our one word on a star and decorated it with sequins, putting thoughts around the one wor that gave us some direction as to how to attain the one word goal.  Finally, I helped them find scriptures that spoke to that goal.  Everytime I shared a key word I’d focused on, one of them would pipe in spontaneously with a song to go with that keyword.  Eli was the first, then Keely, then others.  I told them they were like the funny  little mice on the movie “Babe”. 

After they shared their words:  “health, active, attitude…(great thoughts)”, I shared mine:

2007-12-30-001.jpg

Ta-Da!  It always feels like magic of some sort when I get my “new word” for the next year.  It usually comes from repeat exposure, a sense of awe and inspiration that comes–something that I can’t get out of my head.  Usually something that surprised me or caught me as “new” or relevant or needful.  Not necessarily divinely inspired in any spiritual moment…just something I can focus on as a whole and be walking in the right direction in seasons where things may feel “fuzzy”.

This year’s came from a scripture Bro. Ray brought out about a month ago, 2 Timothy 2:22.  All three of these have similar and basic elements that describe an effective walk with Christ:  turning, seeking, and pursuing. 

  1. Psalm 34:14 (Support verse, OT)
    Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
     
  2. 2 Timothy 2:22 (My One VERSE)
    Flee the evil desires of youth {[note to self:  think about what those are]}, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
     
  3. 1 Peter 3:11 (Support verse, NT re-quoted))
    He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.

I’d like to add this year to teach them to my kids.  Key verses.  I can do that.

December 30, 2007 at 9:12 pm 3 comments

Sunday School Lesson for 12-30

I’m preparing for second grade Sunday School tomorrow.  The title of the lesson is “Wise Men Sought Jesus”.  I suppose I can spin that…but we’ve hashed the story for four weeks already.  My last turn was fun (every other week, a GREAT plan for getting some adult SS and still getting to help teach…automatic sub built in…I highly recommend it).

I took those little puzzle-slide games where you shift the pieces of the picture, then have to slide flat squares to try to get the picture back in order.  I had them for gifts and figured if we didn’t work them in class, they would be displaced in a few days with the latest gaming systems!  So, I built the lesson around them.

They LOVED them…worked on them fervently for a long time and asked me to help if they got frustrated or stuck…then they’d want to take over again.

We talked about how the prophets had received prophecy that often looked like a scrambled picture…and how, piece by piece, God helped clear the picture up so that they could see what it meant and how it all fit back together…how the prophets must have felt as clueless at times as they did working on the puzzles. 

We talked about how life is sometimes like that…and how sometimes we need help for a while getting to the next point.  But, how God knows what the picture will look like and how he puts it all back in order again in His time.

That was a fun lesson.  

But, tomorrow?  Whew…I have no idea and it’s late.  I may do a “Chicken Soup for Children’s Soul”.  As luck would have it, I have Kroger cookies on hand.  That saves any Sunday School lesson!

December 30, 2007 at 12:14 am 1 comment

We All Need a Little Soul Rest

Today, I had to go to “the Sunday morning before Christmas” service without The Hub.  Coats missing, hair not wet down, food in tow, Bible, coloring books, crayons, missing socks, demands for McDonalds, snacks from Mamaw being digested moments after the Bacon Egg, Cheese Bisquit by The Three.  Whew.  Sigh. 

Time to go, coats missing, kids missing, kids found, kid missing, mom yelling, gift bags overflowing, friends greeting, me barking, and child in meltdown.

It’s all about the Christmas spirit.

I think I have argued with my kids more today than in any day in recent history.  I think they get “over-entertained” to the point that they forget the basics!  Today, I AM HERE to remind them of the basics.  We had NO TV, NO PSII until lunch was clear, the dog was fed, things were up off the floor, and we’d had a few “moments of silence”.  The first three “moments of silence” in the van were met by laughter at the process.  They didn’t think I was serious!  I’m serious. Maxed out. 

And so, this mom is on crackdown mode with the kids.  I’m hoping it’s preventive maintainence.  I am convinced that if kids are not kept at home long enough for deliberate crack down modes in holiday seasons (deferring to what is best for the group)…they are not ready to get serious about life when it matters latter. That’s my argument, and I’m sticking to it. 

A household running on one parent for a while…the little stuff matters… A LOT!  Everyone has to do their part.  Mine…weren’t.  And…somebody remind me to bring a big shopping bag with me to church the Sunday before Christmas each year! That would be SO helpful for hands FULL to overflowing!!!

I hope this battle works. I’m hoarse and it’s just past noon!

December 23, 2007 at 1:54 pm

Sunday Before the Sunday Before Christmas

Today  has been a much needed catch up day on house and home.  One person said to me the other day, “I don’t know how you do it”.  Well, that’s easy, I said.  You ought to see my kitchen! 

Actually, my house.  It’s festively…busy.  But, was not yet festively…relaxing.  I put away crafts for today, and cleaned up some.  We’re getting there.  I still have some crafting to do, but I’m going to try to relocate to my original dug-out, the guest room.  They kids have needed to be in their for illness so much lately that I had to overwhelm the kitchen table, which is fine, until meal-time.  The bar hosts the kids fine, but The Hub would like to sit down to eat.  Obviously, we just need another table in here.

My kids have four beds in one room right now, so I see no problem with two dining room tables in the dining room. 

I was just reading Bev’s notes from a book on knitting.  Geez.  I think I need to knit!  I say a lot of these things about many crafts.  It is a form of “yoga”, the diversion cleanses the mind.  It has social benefits, and can help you lose weight (you don’t snack!).  However, it can also KEEP you from exercise and healthy socialization.  It’s all in the balance.  I think knitting looks very relaxing, though.  I’ve gotten 4-5 hand knitted scarves in the last few years and you just have to feel loved wearing something someone spent so much time on for you!   Maybe I get as much “yogo” type benefit WEARING mine!  😀

  • Our first Christmas guests today
  • Wrapped
  • Cleaned
  • Listened to Christmas music
  • My 2nd grade Sunday School Christmas Party (I don’t teach next week)
  • Christmas homecoming tonight.
  • By the hospital three times to drop off, pick up, and visit

I’ll post my Sunday School festivities tomorrow…we had a blast!

December 16, 2007 at 9:59 pm

Sunday Morning Reflections

McDonalds with my kids by 8AM this morning.  Hubby at work.   Last night, I out-did myself and sewed some little quilts (pattenered paper on a matte of felt, fringed) for my 2nd grade class to add sequins onto today.  They were adorable, and had a message “Jesus warmed my heart” on them. 

I should have taken a picture, but we were having too much fun for that.  We also ate Christmas Tree ding dong treats and had marshmallow Christmas trees.  SUGAR!  Sorry Mom and Dad…they loved me for it, though.  

I’m now home after a restful morning service at church.  I listened to a sermon on Christmas while trying to catch up on reading Hosea (who was instructed to marry an adulterous wife–go figure). 

Out of the combination of messages, I left with a sense that sometimes God asks us to do things against principle and wisdom in order to make a point and do His thing.  It doesn’t look like it has a thing to do with Him because it going against our grain. 

But, we need to be obedient above following good principles.  Sometimes, on rare occasion, the principles are blown out the window by what we felt God was calling us to do. 

This comes into play with our current church debt.  God doesn’t like debt, and neither do I.  Principles of wisdom tell us to pay off our debts quickly. 

We could look at the church from a corporate model and say, “Debt load is just part of a healthy and growing business”.  I don’t look at it this way.  God doesn’t look at our finances this way.  He says to be quick to lend and slow to borrow. 

Our debt was a step of what leaders felt was obedience.  We needed to make room for people and ministries; we did not yet have the finances.  We took a step of faith. 

Is this the normal way to handle expense flow?  No.  I don’t think so.  It is not to be the rule or the principle.  However, it was a priority.  It was not based on “wants”, but on “kingdom priority needs”.  We were comfortable supporting it as a priority in our budget because it is of higher priority than most other things we could spend money on…and because we trust the Lord’s direction through our leaders. 

Now, we are to be faithful in making sure we are “paying off debt quickly” as Proverbs tells us to do.  It is a priority.   We think of the church debt and budget as if it were our very own, paying it off above adding other things.  If the church is in debt, we are in debt.  I do not like to be in debt. 

It is my prayer than we can prove our faithfulness so extraordinarily that we do not have to go into debt in the future to do kingdom priority ministry.  When God calls us to “build”…we are ready!  We do not have to take on more debt.  I hate the strain of debt on a budget.  There is such freedom in getting ahead.

Well, my printing is finished…I’m off to the next project! 

December 2, 2007 at 1:23 pm 2 comments

Slowly Getting There

I have felt so odd today.  Everything a bit out of place.  A few notes missed, out of character.  Feeling sort of pulled together.  Perhaps the lack of routine is getting to me, the change of seasons, the change of family situations, new tasks to learn, meals to cook.  Oh, yes, lots to be thankful for, but an overall lack of normalcy.   A family member in Iraq, one facing surgery this week, another with cancer.  Just a lot of “new”. 

I so needed the sermon today: the holidays are not about perfection, perfect situations and people and hot cocoa moments (I just made that up “hot cocoa moments”.  That’s a good one)…it is about our need for a Saviour–through it allAnd I’m thankful for that. 

I’ve come to realize that this whole day has been a decision for me to continue the disciplines of Thanksgiving into the Christmas season, with the priority of thanks now simply shifting to my thanks for Christ, through whom all good things flow.  Jesus makes Thanksgiving possible. 

Rather than “transitioning to the Christmas season”, I want to continue the discipline of joy, thankfulness, observation, service, celebration…these are my comfort and joy.

You know what?  At the hanging of the greens service, there were many “carolers”…people looking crisp and holiday.  But, there were many like me, watching, just showing up, enjoying in jeans and a sweatshirt.  At first, I was self conscious.  I usually find something red and festive for the occasion to take part.   Tonight, I decided to recover, and just “be”. 

While I was “being”, Boy Wonder gave me wonderful hugs and a neck massage.  I rubbed his curly mass of hair for a while as he reclined on my shoulder.  I was afraid I might make him self conscious, so I stopped.  He took me hand, twice, put it back, willing it to keep moving through his locks.   

Down the pew, my Goldilocks curled her lengthening legs up in her handsome Daddy’s lap, hugging his neck tight for a very long time, smiling up at him adoringly as only a daughter in her sweetest moments can do.  The Hub and I locked gazes,  reaching across three children to clasp fingers, if only for a few moments.  We smiled at each other, drinking it in. 

Red?  Oh, he was there…sprawled across all of us most of the time, fighting for more space, as in…the whole pew, not giving me place to land OR room to stand.  The pester-wort of the evening, he saved all his hugs for Mamaw.  I got tickled as he read “CANDY” in the program, and they grew excited together about it.  Mamaw acting as if she didn’t have a clue. 

Add The Hallelujah Chorus, Wonderful, Merciful Saviour (and a healing baby as Jesus), a quartet and various solos to chill you, Christmas carols (ending in my favorite, Silent Night), and I began to soften to the gentle, healing lull and simple joys of Christmas.  Not the work of it…but the spirit…giving: glowing lights to replace fallen leaves.  Joy to replace the cold of winter.  Smiles and cheer to soothe hurt, pain, sickness.

I might just be able to celebrate beyond Thanksgiving.  I might.

Comments have been turned off for the evening.  Thanks for the grace of your presence.

November 25, 2007 at 10:30 pm

The Brief on Sunday

  • extremely bad headache, meds, nap, still bad headache.
  • prayers for problems I don’t understand…”God, fix it.  I don’t get it.”  Trying to learning to let go and let God. 
  • prayers for God to make me more than I am, and to let my best be good enough.
  • thankful for grace when I don’t deserve
  • being myself, rejoicing in that, yet trying to be what others need…a delicate balance, not doing so well
  • prayers to be a better parent of a “tween”
  • thankful for a good word this morning, friends restored to health/or being restored, seeing babies we’ve prayed for healthier
  • starting Lamentations {whew, Lord, give me strength…not ready for the jump from the LONG Jeremiah to Lamentations just yet}
  • not ready to jump from one celebration season to another head-long!  Unable to dig out Christmas sweaters just yet (may wear a tshirt and jeans to the hanging of the greens tonight, but I will enjoy the joy of others until I catch up!)
  • Lord, you are enough!  Be my “enough”.  Be “all in all”, as you are.  Giving my all, but no striving.  Rest.  Joy.  Peace.  There is grace for all, including myself.

(Trying the discipine of turning off comments occasionally, today, on Sunday, just for the sake of variety — as some blogs do that I read.  Thanks for reading and for your dear friendships, and for your beautiful comments.  I LOVE THEM!)

“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”  Psalm 136:26, NASB

November 25, 2007 at 3:42 pm

Sunday Reflections

fall-monday.jpgGod causes the earth to quake. (Psalms)

God causes the seas to roar. (Psalms)

At the sound of His voice, thunder rolls and lightening flashes (Psalms)

Yet, God came to Elijah, not in the wind, not in the earthquake, but in stillness.  The calm.  The quiet.  Why? 

Don’t we all long for the overwhelming power of God?  Well, to be frank with you, Elijah saw it, and it spazzed Him out.  He needed a good long break after that. 

I have found myself in his shoes in days not too far long gone!  Fried.  Overwhelmed.  Spazzed out.  I get Elijah!  Totally. 

The things I’ve seen or have experienced that have testified to me how big God is are minimal compared to what He saw! Still, at times, it’s been just “too much for me”.  As the Psalmist in Psalm 139 said, “Such knowledge is to wonderful for me, to lofty for me to attain”!

Ever been overwhelmed by the sovereignty of God? 

I have.  Who could see the horrible effects of forest firest, or the effects of Hurricane Katrina, and not be overwhelmed?

But, reallly, who needs Bible-level miracles when you learn to see God in everything that happens and is created? God is everywhere!  His hand is everywhere.  Once your eyes have been opened, you see him everywhere, all the time!  It’s a normal thing… His fingerprints are on everything!  

At times, for me, my mind is not big enough to comprehend it.  I spend most of my time overwhelmed by Him.

The sermon yesterday led me to this question:  what if everything that is impacted by God or affected by God, are created by God…but all that stuff is not God.  What if all of that demonstrates how big he is, yet all of that does not really show us his personality?

What if unbelievable things need to be done by him to remind the world of his presence, yet… those things do not need to define God for the faithful?  Nature.  Disasters.  Circumstances.

What if the personality of God REALLY IS what he says it is:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? 

He is!

That is such an arm-tingling reality for me today.  He made himself “small enough for us to touch”.  Now I see why.  The Elijah factor.

God could just keep us freaked out all the time with his miracles and displays of his power and might.  But, he chooses to meet us in the heart place, a tender place, a touchable place…for those of us who seek Him.  God chooses to walk along-side us, pick us up, and speak encouragement to us, just as He did to Elijah.  Was that perhaps why he was not in the earthquake or the wind?  I imagine that God Elijah needed to see a smaller God, a still God, a calm God, His peaceful, peace-loving God… to calm his fears, his fear of God, and his fear of danger.  Was it possible that he was sensory-overloaded? 

God had every right to give Elijah a lecture, or tell him to get over it, but he was He is so tender and kind, giving him a new tasks he could handle with joy.  He led Elijah beside quiet waters, restoring his soul AND his flesh, teaching him again to fear no evil, for God was with him.  From yesterday: 

“Gentle strength is the world’s strongest power.  The world stands up and takes notice of it.  The humility   demonstrated on the cross showed us that same kind of strength of God  The world’s efforts to show us strength cannot compare!” (sermon (sermon yesterday)

Do I show quiet strength when I need to? And is there a time for the loudness, as with God?

GENTLENESS.

God is gentle. (Galations)

God is quiet. (Psalms)

God is not a God of disorder, but a God of peace. (New Testament)

November 12, 2007 at 9:34 am 1 comment

A Grace-Filled Sunday

I praise God for our worship service today.  It wasn’t overly emotional, but it was respectful that we were all dealing with public issues.  Leadership was gracious and real and amazingly focused to the tasks that needed to be done, all at the same time.  It is hard to allow for emotion and yet stay focused as leadership to the needs at hand, and such a blessing to see God’s grace at work in all that today. 

I must confess that I was not sure I could teach a children’s Sunday School class today.  Friday night I spend with my Dad.  Saturday morning was Super Saturday for the kids in Bowling Green, Saturday night, a birthday party for my precious Mother-In-Law whose knee has inflamed so much from serving funerals and such that she was back to her walking, too immobile to be out.  Today, I just wanted to escape.  But, I’m glad I did not miss the grace of God at work.

I find myself telling my kids that though today is Sunday, we must get some order to our home.  I usually don’t force that on Sunday and do any laundry myself and kitchen duties, if any.  That’s about it.  Today, we must all center back to family time and recover from the week…and perhaps we can play for their two days out of school Monday and Tuesday.  My daughter’s birthday will be Saturday, after another day out of town.  So, we must prepare now.  Many tasks.  One God of grace. 

Today, Lord, help me teach my kids the beauty of balance…in contrast to the perceiving mistake of “working on a Sunday”.  Yes, it’s all about that mysterious word “balance”…in that, we find rest.

Maggie 

November 4, 2007 at 12:26 pm 2 comments

Sunday Night

I just updated Kim’s blog with a phone interview:  Check that out

Today was awesome.  A totally new reflection on what it means to “worship in spirit and in truth”.  As keyed in as I am to worship, that phrase has always been a little vague for me.  What does it mean?  It means to sing it like you mean it and if you don’t mean it, don’t sing it.  Either you believe it with all that is in you…you are totally revved up about it, or just don’t do it.  Man!  What a difference that mindset made in our worship tonight.  I felt like I was on the receiving end, being ministered to in worship.  It was great.  Someone on the team said, “for the first time in this building, I heard the body singing above Brian, and that was SO AWESOME.” 

These guys in our church bands could use their gifts in so many different ways…I think it is awesome when they get some indication that the gifts they are giving mean something.  They could be in crowds with people drinking, hooping and hollering at a bar, yet they choose to serve us. 

That feedback…it isn’t “for them”, but it is important.

A lot of personal reflection this weekend…revival does that to me.  Change of leaves…change of seasons, change in priorities.  New lists.  

Well, my Sunday night laundry awaits.  Much like many of you.  Short on jeans for every child in the house. 

Blessings,

Maggie 

October 28, 2007 at 9:38 pm 1 comment

Cautionary Dreams–A Memorable Sunday Afternoon Nap

“Thus far has the Lord has helped me.” I love that quote from where the memorial was built and the place called Ebenezeer.  After every major mountain I have to climb, I hear it in my head.  “Thus far, has my Lord helped me.”

It’s been a good few days.  Trying to stay on top of housework, kids, and tasks.  Trying to rememeber and soak in what the Lord last said to me.  Not moving ahead until He says so. 

This weekend has been my husband’s last weekend of study before a big exam on Friday.  That test has re-organized our family time this fall.   Sometimes, it’s seemed redudant and stressful to keep the house and kids quiet and stay grounded near home.  In other ways, it’s been a refreshing change of pace to just be home and learn to be still.  I’m sure it has allowed me to stay on task with my 90 days reading!  I need to catch up, even today!

This will be a different kind of week I’m sure, him reviewing notes and doing final study.  I hope he does well.  A couple nights ago, I dreamed he made a 90.  (But, then again, I don’t think it’s prophetic, for I also made an 80.  I would have probably beaten him, but a proctor was being so loud and obnoxious, I took him out in the hall to give him a talking to.  Fortunately, I woke before I had to hear that lashing.) 

I’ve been having such strong themed dreams lately.  I just took a nap just now and dreamed I was driving along, praying, sort of stressed with a lot on my mind.  I was going fast, and climbing a huge mountain on a four lane road, only there was a mountain between me and on-coming traffic…where the median would have been. 

When I looked up, an enormous floor to ceiling rainbow caught my eye, and it made me smile.  I could barely make it out with my sunglasses on, and wondered if I saw it at all, so I took off my sunglasses.  Oh yes!  There it was, but the car in front of me was sort of blocking my view.  In my dream, I immediately started to pass–without looking over my shoulder.  When I remembered to do so, there was a car was right there, in my blind spot.

I corrected just before I hit it, and veered back toward the curb of my lane.  A came to a — non-existent emergency lane,  just as I would have dropped off to sure death down the mountain.  So, I swerved back just as my tires felt the raw edge of blacktop, just barely missing the car in front of me, knowing I could not brake now or I’d lose traction, though I wanted to, to keep from hitting the car in front of me.  I was right on his tail. 

I willed the car not to hit.  My heart would have started beating fast and I would have freaked out, only I told it I could not, I breathed deep, and willed the car again, and held on tight.

And I woke.

I took a deep breath, my heart at normal speed. 

I should have hit the cars in that dream.

I thanked the Lord for all the times he’s saved me. Before I got up, I asked him if there was something I was supposed to gain from that.  

Whether it was Him or not, I do not really know.  But, what I sensed was the message was this at the time:

First things first.  Some things HAVE to be done when they have to be done.  There is no waiting.  And…be careful.”

It was a scary dream.  It was not a dream I want to have again.  But, I almost missed it, and I’m glad I didn’t.  I turned over once, stared at the ceiling, and then realized there was no more napping today.  I came to the kitchen and there was Red, trying to open us his jar of homemade frozen strawberry jam (frozen, like he likes it, but the jar won’t ever open for him).  I said, “Son, what are you doing?” 

He said, “Dad said I could have this!  Dad said I could!”

“Okay, well, where IS Dad?”

“He was asleep in your bed.”

Was.

That’s where I would have been.  If I had, I would have missed this unusual dream–I dreamed it in the minute before I awoke.   

Yes, we are to live spiritually like police officers.  Always on duty.  Always alert, even in our times of rest and need for inspiration and reflection.   Even with other things on our minds…first things first.

Selah.

~Maggie

October 21, 2007 at 3:39 pm 2 comments

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ME: “MAGGIE”

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Sifting the joy from the mundane:

recording, photographing, learning, creating.

I am married to the love of my life, as we raise three children, learning the ways of grace.

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Magnanimity (derived from the Latin roots magn- great, and anima, soul) is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes. Its antithesis is pusillanimity. Both terms were coined by Aristotle, who called magnanimity "the crowning virtue."

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines Magnanimity as such:

MAGNANIM'ITY, n. [L. magnanimitas; magnus, great, and animus, mind.] Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.[1] (Source: Wikipedia)

MAGNANIMOUS WORK

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"We shall not waste our time in looking for extraordinary experiences in our life, but live by pure faith, ever watchful and ready for His coming by doing our day-to-day duties with extraordinary love and devotion." ~Mother Teresa

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"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today. Let us begin." ~Mother Teresa

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A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in it's vicinity freshen into smiles. --Washington Irving

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When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. -Harriet Beecher Stowe

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