Friday, September 2, 2011

The Wreckless Love of God

"There's a wideness in God's mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God"

Rich Mullins wrote a song about the Love of God that has a line about His reckless love for us, a raging fury of passion that overwhelms & sustains. My son misspelled a word while quoting some lyrics and that spawned a whole line of thought.

My first reaction was to correct his spelling (not cool on facebook, particularly from a parent) and then I thought maybe Rich Mullins did that spelling deliberately...wreckless is certainly part of what God intends for us. In Romans 8, He promises that ALL things work together for good. Such a little word with such a big definition! All things? All the litany of woes and desolation that bitter people bring up to refute the idea of a God in control?

You have to keep reading, to see that goal He has: that we would become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. We are not alone in the waves that threaten to drown us, we are in the ocean of God's love for us and no matter what happens next, the last thing will be eternal life with Him and all those who are His bride.

We have been being tossed around in some storms here in PA. Dave had sudden open-heart surgery to replace one valve & repair another. It was truly sudden, with few indications of the severity of the problem. Now we are dealing with his recovery, paperwork from bills, that crazy medical billing system in the US, and considerably less income. I got a book that was touted as excellent to help with the recovery issues from heart surgery...and the funniest thing about it has been that Dave can't identify with the author much!

That author has been terrified he would die, afraid to sleep, afraid his wife would leave him since he is 'damaged'. Dave has been stunned, but not afraid. He has had to make adjustments, as I have, but we are not terrified of death and widowhood. I'm glad I don't have to deal with it yet but I know God will get me through it. We feel overwhelmed at times, and yet God sustains us. Even when we get tossed into the waves, it has been good to know Him better and hasn't been a wreck. What is the difference? Knowing God a little vs not knowing Him at all.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Dave has had a short-term job at the Civil War Reenactment in Gettysburg. He works a 12 hour shift, all night long, checking passes at the gate so the people who come in are only registered reenactors and not 'riffraff'. Hard to tell the difference sometimes!

Someone who does reenacting is a person who is willing to be hot, dirty, uncomfortable, and inconvenienced for the sake of history. They are so excited about a particular period of the past that they recreate it in dress, living conditions, and often persona for the weekend. I come out to visit Dave at the gate, usually stay until about 1am, sitting by the campfire and watching the tents glow with candles & lanterns, talking occasionally to people about where things are in Gettysburg. Trucks and cars full of woolen uniforms and hoopskirts go past to walk the streets and talk to tourists. These people PAY to come camp in a field and be gawked at during the day while they literally live their dream of historical accuracy.

What am I that passionate about?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wandering in the wilderness

Dave & I are in the process of finding another church...after raising our kids in one on the other side of the county. It has not been an easy decision for me because it's more like God is nudging Dave to go a different direction than my habits have formed.

I wonder what Sarai said to Abram when he came home & said,
"Honey, we are moving."
"Where are we moving to?"
"I don't know exactly; just come with me......................."

And Sarai would be thinking about the details of packing all their worldly possessions and meals for all the servants and what is going to happen next while Abram is thinking about the promised land or something. I have no insight into his mind. I can easily imagine hers, though!

So, in the now, I am trusting God & calling my husband 'Boss' and not being frightened by any fear. This is not a politically correct attitude~but it comes right out of the New Testament in a book called 1 Peter in the third chapter. I have been laughed at for respecting my husband's authority in our marriage but I think I can trust God to be right on this one.

Dave and I have had deeper conversations and an increasing love & respect for each other as we wander around our wilderness following God. I'm excited about the future, and the part of the Body that we will be planted in next.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Every green plant for food

In Genesis 1:30, God says He has given every green plant for food to all the life that He made. I had to go look it up; I just brought home another huge bag of green stuff from the crop share I joined for the first time this year.

I had not previously thought that my diet was all that limited because I eat more types of vegetables than the rest of my family. But this has stretched my boundaries considerably! I have discovered that I don't know much at all about 'all the green plants' God has given for food. And some of them look suspiciously like the weeds in my yard. Some smell like a stink bug...googling has resulted in my theory that those particular leaves are cilantro and I don't know if I can bring myself to use them.

As I sorted through my piles of harvest, it occurred to me that I do this a lot with people....pile 'em up in heaps of familiarity or strangeness and put the unfamiliar ones in a holding pattern to deal with later....often later means 'didn't happen' and I end up discarding a slime pile or waving at a neighbor for years without actually connecting. (Maybe I should walk across the road with a bag of lettuce.)

It occurred to me also that I disregard the vast majority of what God has blessed me with, simply because I would have to trust Him to give me wisdom to deal with it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm baaaaaack....

I have been busy lately; I worked full-time for a while, got laid off, went on unemployment, started an Etsy shop ( to force myself to learn computerese.......

My husband keeps saying, "Did you make any money yet?" and, "You could do that blog thing" with no actual sense of how steep the learning curve is. He knows it is steep because all he does on a computer is look at Craigslist & sloooowly surf & play Spider solitaire. He's getting better at Facebook because our oldest son is stationed in Guam & deployed to Turkey so that's how we get updates.

He has never had to "market" himself because his customers come to him. His family have been woodworkers in this county for generations and we live in the house he grew up in so people come to the door & say, "Is this the Jacoby that does cabinetry?" God keeps providing just enough work without showing the long-range schedule.

It reminds me of the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness. It can be so easy to complain about the insecurity of following the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night! It is much easier to trust God to lead my husband than it is to step out in faith and do new things myself, despite the fact Dave has been encouraging me to do it.

A huge factor of self-employment is being a self-starter. Make that a CONSISTENT self-starter. Much of my life I have been a responder-to-the-current-problem; homemaking & homeschooling tend to run like that, and my jobs are generally the call center type. Dave is a great self-starter and I am slowly learning from his example. It's an attitude change that requires not only researching how to blog & run an Etsy shop but doing it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

more things I've learned...posted on

I became a Christian at 20, was sexually active & sporadically engaged at the time, and struggled with the whole celibacy idea for years. Not a struggle of intellect or conviction; a struggle of awakened desires that would not go back to sleep once I chose to be chaste!

I kept putting my desires to be married on the altar, & there are lots of tears in that statement. I asked God not to allow me to be married until I could be a real "helpmeet" and He kept closing the door to marriage in my pleading face for 10 years.

Now, I have been married for 25 years and can share a couple of points--

Both states, married or single, are referred to as "gifts" by Jesus. All gifts are given for the benefit of the Body of Christ and are not necessarily for the rest of your stay on earth. People die all the time, and that will include you or a spouse and could happen today. (Excellent motivation, by the way, to appreciate what God gives you every moment.)

Both states, married or single, require being dead to self and alive to Christ. If you aren't struggling with something being put on the altar, you aren't sharing His suffering or growing in His grace. Your sin nature is not compatible with anyone else's and marriage does not mean constant fulfillment.

Both states, married or single, are actually temporary because there is only one marriage in Heaven, that of Christ & His Bride... which includes you if you choose.

Both states, married or single, are dim reflections of eternity and are going to be baffling with times of blindness. This means you walk by faith and not by sight.

Learning to be content in whatever state you are in requires knowing God & His Word, which is true theology. Only truth sets us free, and He is Truth.

Theology isn't an intellectual exercise, it is knowing God & interacting with Him--"God-Logic", that which makes sense (ology=the study of) because of God (theos=God). The hidden choices you make in response to Him every day are where you serve, married or single.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

leaky pipes & little foxes

A marriage in our church has just fallen probably was getting emptier and emptier for a long time and the masks just couldn't stay pasted anymore.

This is tragic, not just for the family but for our church. How can this amount of pain come together every Sunday and during the week without being addressed by someone? One answer; they are good fakers. (My thought on that; faking happiness is no substitute for the real thing and a dangerous game that brings agony.) Another answer; they thought that pretending things were ok would make them ok. That's like ignoring a malignant tumor, hoping it will go away. Sadly, a third reason would be that when people like me say, "how are you?" we are so programmed into hearing, "I'm fine" that we don't actually pay attention.

A common criticism of Christianity is the hypocrisy people see...but I see hypocrisy in all of us. I do not think it's a religious thing but a human thing. I think it bothers people more in "church" settings because each of us genuinely needs there to be a place where we are accepted & even loved despite who we really are....and each of us genuinely needs that sense of belonging in a bigger sphere than our homes. If we have it at home we usually don't appreciate it at all or even think of it any more than we think about plumbing.

A recurring problem in my own marriage is my feeling like I'm just "part of the plumbing" in Dave's life; that he takes me for granted & doesn't appreciate me. The problem comes, not from being taken for granted, but from my attitude about being taken for granted. If I am playing the wrong tape in my head, having conversations with Dave that only exist in my brain, I set us up for problems because he wasn't actually part of the conversation in my head...and I start reacting to the "head-Dave" instead of my real human husband.

Solomon (in his Song) has some good ideas on this: he talks about the little foxes that run through a vineyard taking bites off the grapes--a little here, a little there. If you don't catch the little foxes, you end up with a devastated vineyard after time from something that did not seem important at the time.

In another part of his Song, he paints a word-picture of a lover coming to his love, "open to me, open to me, my love" "I have just washed my feet, how can I get them dirty again? I have just put off my dress, how can I put it on again?" So the lover leaves, and the bride wakes up & starts looking for her lover & gets hurt.

A recent advice columnist asked for input from men in why they cheated on their wives. The main theme I saw in their answers was this..."my wife doesn't respond to me, she does". Not a physical response, an emotional one, in most letters. I'm not in any way excusing a cheating husband; I am pointing out a human trait we all share.

Forgiveness is a theological thing...I think of theology as God (theo) logic; that which only makes sense because of God. The more I understand His forgiveness for me, the more I am able to open to my mate when I am hurt by his human shortcomings. My ability to respond to anyone is based on my current selfishness. If I am focused on how I feel I am NOT being "dead to self and alive to Christ" and am blind to what He is asking me to do in His strength.

Real Christianity is lived moment by moment in the battlefield of my mind and revealed in the actions & words I choose. The victories I have over the little foxes and leaky pipes in my life don't seem important or worth the cost but looking back I can see the damage I have allowed by ignoring His prompting to deal with something I thought trivial.