Monday, January 28, 2008

Though None Go With Me...

"Though none go with me. Still I will follow. No turning back. No turning back..." This phrase has been circling about my mind over the last few weeks. I find my faith being challenged, my soul being searched by the Lord in a way that is both unfamiliar and somewhat unsettling.

Here's my attempt to explain this. I am able to grapple with the concept that if I make CHOICES that are contrary to the Word of God, then the consequences of those actions are justly deserved. But what about the unexpected tragedies of life? How do you build a faith that can withstand the death of a child/spouse or the end of a dream? How do you survive a diagnosis of cancer with only months to live? Where do you find the strength to mend a broken heart? How do you hold fast to God and continue to walk in His ways when your world is falling apart?

I shared these thoughts with a good friend of mine recently and she offered me the following thoughts. "It's highly unlikely that ALL of those things will occur in YOUR life. And even if they do, you begin NOW building a faith day-by-day. You don't wait until a tragedy strikes to call out to God. It's the things that you do today, the Word that you hide in your heart today, the lessons that you learn thru God's faithfulness in your current life that will prepare you to endure any hardships that come your way."

And while I am quite certain this lesson will be lifelong & at times my faith will waiver, I am beginning to learn to say in my heart with more confidence..."Though none go with me. Still I will follow. No turning back. No turning back..."

My prayer for you is that you can make this same commitment, this same statement of faith to follow Christ no matter what, regardless of whether you have those you love alongside.

And for those of you who have lost one you love, those who are facing tragedy or who are walking thru painful moments in this world, THANK YOU for being an inspiration to us who follow in your footsteps.

SMILE When You Step on 'the Scale'

'The Scale' and I have never been the best of friends. Although I was somewhat outraged when my husband suggested a bathroom scale on our bridal registry, lately I have been excercising more at the local YMCA and thus have tentatively begun incorporating 'the scale' back into my life. Because of the stress involved in this activity, I have developed a technique similar to setting your bedside clock 10 minutes fast (even though you are constantly subtracting 10 minutes in order to determine the ACTUAL time). You see, the scale in the fitness center weighs in at exactly 2lbs more than the scale in the women's locker room. So, if I am having an exceptionally discouraging day, I simply bypass the scale in the fitness center & head to the locker room for a little pick-me-up!

All this rambling to share with you a classic Family Circus cartoon which always makes me smile.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Released to Serve...

A key topic in this past Sunday's sermon was regarding the concept of 'works versus faith'. I need to get a copy of the sermon so I can review the lesson in more detail. I sometimes struggle, okay, I OFTEN struggle with whether I am living my life in a way that brings pleasure to God. Am I doing enough? Am I making a difference? Does the Lord view me as a 'good & faithful servant'? I continue to be challenged by the Word and others to become less concerned with 'doing' and more concerned with 'being' -- being the individual whom God created me to be. I found this excerpt in a book which I recently read and the phrase 'released to serve' penetrated into my heart.

"The secret is not in who we are, or what we are, but in our dedication to Him. In turning over all that we are, for His use, for His purpose. He asks only for us, as He has created us. He decides who we are, what we are, what abilities, aptitudes, and gifts we have. We decide whether we are going to willingly give what we are, who we are, back to Him. Only then will we be of use to the Master. Only then will we find fulfillment and contentment in life. Only then will we be given freedom -- released to serve."

I believe that God wants us to be free from our feelings of weakness, our feelings of inadequacy. I believe He wants us to find victory in knowing that we are loved because of WHO we are, not because of WHAT we do & in the victory, we will be free to serve Him not out of obligation but in a response of praise for the love which He has bestowed on us. I have lots of growing to do in this area of my life; I am thankful we serve a merciful & patient God.

It ($) All Belongs to God...

I was thinking of my great Auntie Ann today. For as long as I can remember, I have received random notes of encouragement from her in the mail & they often include a copy of a comic strip or cartoon. When I saw the above, it made me chuckle at our 'humanness' and am quite certain it would bring a smile to my Auntie Ann, too. 'All gifts come down from the Father of lights...' and may we be faithful in giving back to Him what He has loaned to us.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The 'Ideal' Couple

It was 7 years ago this week that Blake asked for my hand in marriage -- seems incredible! I thought of this as I was sorting thru a box of letters and found a card I had sent to Blake which said the following: (front) "We are the ideal couple!" (inside) "I am perfect in every way and you've learned to appreciate that." I included the following quotation in the message of the card: "We come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly."

For my married couples friends out there, my challenge to each of you, as well as to myself, is to attempt to view our spouses perfectly, with an unconditional love, like the love of our Lord who accepts each of JUST AS WE ARE. I believe that if we can accomplish this goal, our marriages will be richly blessed.

Here's a picture of my hubby and I celebrating our 6th anniversary this past summer @ Ravinia.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

To: Jonah, JP or Mister-Mister...

A 'shout out' to my littlest nephew. Here with his most favorite Uncle Blake.
We love you, Jonah Paul!
Happy 3rd anniversary, Peter & Penny!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Falling Inside Broken Hearts...

"I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people..." (Hebrews 8:10, NIV).

I read the following in a magazine article recently. A man asks, "Why does God write the law on our hearts? Why not IN our hearts? It's the inside of my heart that needs God." His friend answered, "God never forces anything into a human heart. He writes the word on our hearts so that when our hearts break, God falls in."

Disappointments. Broken promises. Unmet expectations. The realization that life is NOT a fairytale. My heart is fragile/sensitive, it gets broken easily. I loved the illustration of these words. God is not absent, He is not distant when our hearts are breaking. He falls inside filling up the cracks with His love, mending us from the inside out.

Monday, January 7, 2008


This is a picture of my niece, Moriah, in a very familiar eating pose. Now, I understand that it's 'socially unacceptable' to put your elbows on the table, but if someone has flexibility like this where they can place their foot on the table, do you really want to 'squash' that talent?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A New Year, Time for New Things...

I could be described (at best) as technologically-challenged but with my husband's encouragement I have decided to officially join the 'blogger world' in an attempt to chronicle the days of the year 2008.

As I was working to create this page & pondered the title and site address, I was reminded of a chapter in a relatively old Max Lucado book which was entitled, The Choice. The chapter began like this..."In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For the next twelve (or more) hours I will be exposed to the day's demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I am free to choose. And so I choose..." The chapter continued for several pages listing & describing each of the fruits of the Spirit and then concluded with the following, "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when the day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest in His love."

And so came the title of my blog, "I Choose This Day" to make an intentional choice, regardless of the circumstances of the particular day, to serve the One who loved me so much that He died for me. My prayer is that this blog can encourage you, too, to daily walk in the footsteps of Jesus.