Thursday, February 23, 2006

I spent many summers in Forsyth as a kid. I'm guessing the population was around 1200 at that time. My grandpa had a church there for 8 years. I remember how hard he worked as he was just one man in a small church. Nowadays where we have assistant pastors and associate ministers, etc., we can share the load but he was, at least to me, a one man shop! (well, grandma did the kids sermons!)

My sister and I would argue constantly and really torment my poor grandma. One day I was entirely fed up with my sister and I ran away to the church basement. This wasn't much of a feat considering the house was about 100 yards away from the church. But I was pretty determined at nine years old to make a break for it. I'd had it with Big Sky Country and wanted to go back to the beach.

So I hid down in the basement and after about an hour my grandfather came down the stairs with a checker board folded under his arms and a box of checkers in his hand. He called me out and asked me to sit at one of the tables (the basement was set up for coffee after church and was partially furnished at this time).

"Honeychild," he said, "I'd like for you to come home to me and your grandma."

I shook my head. Nothing doin. I was a willful kid...I didn't do anything BOLD that I didn't mean. (not much has changed come to think of it...)

"I tell you what, play me one game of checkers and if you win, you can live here in the church basement for the rest of the summer. Grandma will fix your meals and bring them to you." Oh I was liking the sound of this...

"But if you lose, then you come home with me."

OH YES! My ancient grandfather was surely no match for my checkering. I eagerly accepted the challenge and my heart pounded as I took the first move...

Of course, my grandfather won the match. I didn't stand a chance! But at nine, I figured I knew it all. Being the wise grandpa that he is, he knew it wasn't as simple as asking me to come home or pointing out that staying down in that basement was a ridiculous idea.

How many of us have run away and are hiding? Accept God's challenge to go a few rounds. He'll whip your butt and then bring you back home. And isn't that what we really want anyway? Hanging out in a basement with no food and no grandma is for losers.

Danielle's Note: a reader reminded me that "butt whoopins" are for the ignorant. I'm speaking (well, writing) in figurative terms here. :-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My small group met this evening and I'd prepared a one week study on the power of prayer. It was something I needed. Something they needed. It was awesome.

The first questions asked were: "What kinds of requests do you pray about freely?" and then, "What do you hesitate to pray about?" Good questions.

I tend to pray more freely for others. I am not always specific in my prayers when it comes to my own needs. I beat myself up sometimes...just let go, just surrender. I've come so far...but the path before me into ministry looms and I want to be become a woman God can use. I know full well He is using me now but that complete surrender...I long for it with all my heart.

I have a bit further to go on my debt, nearly paid off. And the house I just bought? God will have to show me what I'm supposed to do. My contract ends in a few months. I left a 3 year gig to return to a place with little future for me but it was, in part, because I wanted to work with my friend who's wife has cancer. I wanted to be near him. When he called to tell me he needed help I knew it was more than just help with the audit. I felt he needed someone around who could help carry the stress load that the audit has brought. So I turned away from a 3 year contract and took one for 7 months and here I am now...trusting God. (sigh) I guess, I guess it feels pretty good. I would do it again.

So I want to begin to pray more freely about my financial place it in His hands.

The other issue I do not pray enough about is my singleness. I guess my problem is that I don't know what I want. Being a leader now in the Singles Ministry at my church, suddenly I take dating and even talking to men quite seriously. I'm freaked out on many levels!! It isn't in my best interest to make a snail's trail through the ministry...!

It's been over 18 months since Tom and I parted. The more time passes, the more confused I've become. I wonder if I'm meant to remain single (I seem to accomplish more this way...) This study on prayer challenged us to be specific with our requests. So I think I'm going to ask God to give me peace in this area. I don't know why I think this is so find peace...God only created the heavens and earth...this should be rather simple for Him, right? I'm such a dork!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

By Steve Arterburn

I wanted to take a moment and share an excerpt from his powerful book. I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr.Arterburn and of hearing him speak. He is truly one of my modern-day heroes.

"I invite you to pull out a Bible and take a moment to let God's Word sink in. Here are some convincing Scriptures that God's way is for us to work with one another and be there for one another--connected--as we seek healing. Look at God's truth:

- Romans 12:5 tells us to depend on each other as one body in Christ
- Romans 12:15 tells us to weep with each other, not to just weep alone
- Romans 15:14 tell us to counsel and teach each other, not to just wait to hear from God
- 1 Corinthians 12:25 tells us to care for each other
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage one another and build each other up...
- James 5:16 tells us to tell each other what we have done wrong, not to just tell God--then we can experience healing
- Galatians 6:2 tells us to bear each other's burdens, rather than to just trust God to take care of them

Over and over we see Scripture pushing us back toward each other. Look at all of the healing actions encouraged by God. Look at how God directs us back to one another when we want to hide. It encourages us to deepen our connection with others by love, devotion, confession, honor, encouragement, prayer, hospitality, submission, kindness, forgiveness, service, counsel, acceptance and fellowship. We were born for connection--it sustains us and it heals us. Isolation is the way of the fool. Connection is the way of God."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Miss Piggy: "Be yourself. If you try to be someone else, it makes life so difficult for the post office and deliverymen."
-- Harper's Bazaar interview (1980)

Hey everyone! Things have been going well with my ladies small group. I was unable to host last week and for the first time ever, my group met without me. Woo-hoo! I continue to volunteer with the Singles ministry team at my church. And I've been able to spend a lot of quality time with my son. This past week has been a great one.

It pleases me when I can post something uplifting and not gripe. We should praise God through trials. This is often a challenging concept for me. On one hand, I don't want to have some stupid plastic grin on my face when I'm feeling down but on the other hand, griping never does any good either!

I love blogging because I know ya'll will be reading my comments and this is unlike a diary where I could spew hate and bumble on with such self-pity (I've been down that route). Because I know you're reading, I tend to be more considerate of what I'm saying. So thanks for reading and keeping me accountable.

And like Miss Piggy, I blog on a Mac...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Friends, I'd like to share this beautiful scripture from Corinthians. It is from the Message translation and really warms my heart. God is a relational God and He loves us and desires a relationship with us. Scripture is filled with messages of love and devotion. Not hate, not condemnation. So many have abused religion to control and pollute what is beautiful. Relationships, at their finest are beautiful. Totally gorgeous. And a love for God can be too once embraced. I pray this week you will surrender yourselves to LOVE. I pray that you will surrender yourselves to the idea that you are LOVED.

"No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I am bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies." --Corinthians 13:3-8

Okay, now that's AMORE' !!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

"The best way to know God is to love many things. I think that nothing awakens us to the reality of life so much as a true love."

Okay...poor Vincent was a BIT dysfunctional but he had the right idea in mind! God is love and we were wired to crave intimacy in a spiritual, emotional and physical sense. How awesome is THAT?!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Okay, I have to admit something. I had NO IDEA what a "praise report" was until I kept hearing friends at church use the term. For those of you who don't know...a praise report is a report or a story of something you want to share and also say at the same time "Praise God!" Like a Christian "woo-hoo!" Praise reports, when you've got one to tell, are very very cool. So here's mine tonight...

Things with my father are going very well. We have had many deep and meaningful conversations since we first talked again back at Christmastime. He's in a different place these days. I am too. It feels great. Just really great to talk to him and learn more about who he is. He seems to have less anger in his heart these days. I do too. And that has made a difference.

The next thing is that my son is with me tonight. I'm not interested in "keeping score" when it comes to how many nights he's with his father or how many nights he's with me...I just love to have him here with me. My heart feels good.

My son told me a couple nights ago that he doesn't want to waste his life. I asked him: what would you do with your life if you knew you couldn't fail. If you knew God would empower you to be successful. And he said immediately, "I'd go on a mission."

Hmmm. I still don't think he is going with me this summer...but I know it is in my son's heart to follow God. He is just that kind of kid. And when I hear him talk about things like this I praise God for the people in our lives who care so much about us. And I thank God for giving me a son with an awareness of how precious life is.

"No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, it is put on a lampstand to give light to all who enter the room." Luke 11:33 (NLT)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. You must make allowances for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace and always be thankful." Colossians 3:12-15 (NLT)

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Your Japanese Name Is...

Akako Heike

This is my Japanese name according to this silly game...something fun for Superbowl Sunday ('cause I'm gonna do ANYTHING other than watch the game...)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

My son and I talked this morning. He was upset that between a 2 week vacation planned with his father this summer and the missions trip, he feels he won't have a summer with his friends. He went on to share with me that he feels he can't say no to me or his dad.

Although I feel a missions trip would be meaningful to him, maybe it isn't time.

I said to him, "you know, I'm on mission for life. My heart longs to do God's work forever, so how 'bout you just go with me another time, a different summer?" And his face lit up. I could see how relieved he felt. I asked if he would help me prepare for my trip and he was enthusiastic to do so and we agreed to just do some one day trips to Mexico to do something local.

I may not be taking him on a missions trip this year but I pray God continues to give me the wisdom and patience to love my boy with an open hand. I would love to see him on that trip with me but for now, I'm not going to plan on it. My son needs a break between choosing between what mom wants him to and what dad wants him to do. I know my son will be used by God in a special way. I pray I may continue to be a supportive example to him.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I am lifting a special prayer to the heavens tonight. I have friends who are planning a missions trip this summer and I have asked if my son and I might be permitted to join them. They have promised to pray on my request and will let me know in short time. God has put Rwanda on my heart and I would like very much to go there. Their group is looking into Rwanda as a possible mission destination...sounds perfect? Almost.

My son's father is having a very hard time saying "yes" to allowing me to take our son to Rwanda. We spoke tonight and he is "thinking about it." I praise God that I didn't get a flat out NO.

I used to serve a small group leader whom I learned works with my son's father. Is this a God-thing OR WHAT? I didn't know this until yesterday. She is well experienced in missions trips (she's been several times to Africa) and she's been talking to my son's father over the last 2 days trying to provide comfort to him and give him confidence. (he went to her...I didn't even know of the connection until he told me her name!!!)

I ask God that if my son and I are supposed to go on mission to Rwanda that He remove the obstacles.

Dear Lord, I am yours now and forever. You are awesome and I love you. You remind me each day that you are here now. You remind me each day that your love is real and unending, miraculous and limitless. Father, keep your hand on this situation. Guide my son and I to the mission You want us to be on this summer. Remove all obstacles. Soften hearts. Do what you do best and give me the wisdom to get out of your way! Amen. --Danielle