Thursday, October 25, 2012

Perish the Thought

In our Bible study last night we were reading in 1 Peter 1 that as Christians we are to "prepare our minds for action" or, as the King James puts it, to "gird up the loins" of our minds; and that we are to be "self-controlled," or "sober" in the KJV.  So we were discussing what that means and how we need to take control of our thoughts.  Paul also mentions this in 2 Cor. 5 when he tells us to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

On another tack, I was just pondering the other night, why are gems and certain metals so valuable?  I have wondered that many times, why is gold considered precious? But then it finally dawned on me (I know I am slow) that these things are practically imperishable. They pretty much won't rust or mold or burn up. Their value is perhaps not only in their outer beauty, as I had suspected but not understood. Their worth is greatly magnified by their inner stability, their near incorruptibility, at least compared to most other things on this earth.

Back to 1 Peter 1, I was reading something amazing about our inheritance as Christians. Inheritance is an intensely personal and important concept to me.  It is because I realize that God is my inheritance.  In the Old Testament, the tribe of Levi was chosen to be the Priesthood, and as such they did not receive a portion of the promised land of their own--God Himself was to be their inheritance! I have always resonated with this because I know that this is true of me.  God is my inheritance, my cup, and my portion. There is no better inheritance than this.  

I receive this blessing not because I am a Levite, but because of Jesus, who has brought us "into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade"--1Pet.1:4  

This inheritance is imperishable.  It is of  infinite value.  My inheritance was bought for me, but "it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ."--1Pet.1:18-19.

I am going to paraphrase something my pastor once said, and I've done it before but it warrants repeating.  Do you know the true worth of your own soul?  Do you realize that it is worth more than the whole world? It is to Jesus Christ, and it should be to you. Perish the thought that says otherwise.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Stones Would Cry Out

I can sympathize with George Bailey ("It's a Wonderful Life") when he says he wishes he'd never been born.  I realize how saturated with self-pity the statement is, and yet, it is me.  I thank the people who make movies & stories like that, "A Christmas Carol," "Groundhog Day," etc. for teaching me again and again to snap out of it.  But sooner or later I generally fall back in.

I love to mow the lawn.  I think it's because I'm a Daddy's girl. Back in the day, dads weren't around all that much, or at least my dad wasn't.  The sound of a ballgame on TV, or a lawnmower, the smell of fresh-cut grass...that just brings a vision of my dad in a short-sleeve button-down plaid shirt.  It meant Dad was there, he was home.  The world was just a way brighter better place when Dad was around.  It is true in my home now, too.  My husband is Dad here, and he is the sunshine.

A funny thing happens though, every time I cut the grass.  While the motor is on, I swear I can hear cicadas buzzing right along with it. But when I cut the power, they are quiet.  The mower is so loud I tell myself it is a trick my ears are playing on me; but I really don't think so.  You know how cicadas do, they buzz in a long pattern--then another tree starts up in an overlapping song.  They go back and forth like that and I wonder if they are doing that with the lawnmower.  Or maybe I am just hearing things.

Sometimes when I play piano with the windows open, the birds do join in and sing along.  I am not imagining it, it really happens.  They are more enthusiastic if they really like the song.  It is a very wonderful thing to me.  A friend of mine was telling how in her small town they have an annual worship service where all the churches get together.  The only place there is room for everyone, she said, is outdoors, at the cemetery.  She said that this year whenever they began to sing a hymn, all the birds started singing out really loud.  I had to smile.

"As he (Jesus) was drawing near--already on the way down the Mount of Olives--the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!'  And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples.' He answered,'I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.'"--Luke 19:37-40    

Well, I do think that the birds, the cicadas, the skies, indeed all of creation is pouring out praise to God, constantly:
 "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard."--Psalm 19:1-3

 I was thinking on that this morning in my prayer time.  Actually I was thinking of how incredible and amazing God is.  Like when I watch stuff on TV about subatomic particles and then I think of the expanse of the universe, and how fantastic and beautiful and ordered it all is.  And then to think of my little son, his little face and hands, and the relationship we have. Tenderness and humor and art...sometimes it just freaks me out how intensely brilliant people can be, or attractive, or can be like it's supernatural!  And then I realized, that it is.

God has made every thing beautiful.  I look at my wood floor.  Every time a board is cut from a tree, it has a different lovely pattern. Or cut open a carrot, or look at metal, crystals...all this crazy stuff.  We make it into a stove, or a car, or a city, or an instrument. We make music and express our hearts.  We are made in God's image...

I know that I am sinning when I wish I were never born.  I know God already knows that I think this way, and I was hoping that I could somehow get an attitude adjustment without shock therapy that would make it easier for me to finish up this life.  And here's what I thought, it might not be right, but...this morning as I was praying--that is discussing this whole issue with my Maker (!)  I thought, God spoke everything into existence. (See Genesis) That makes me an expression of God. Wow.  Did that make me feel incredibly special!!!  But not in my own right, the value is in Him.  He is the One who spoke me into existence.  He thought me up.  That idea made me so much more valuable in my mind.  

And here's the thing:  If I wish I'd never been born, I'm kind of telling Almighty God to just be quiet. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Well, that was quick.  School is back in.  Still struggling though, mostly with death.  I know, I feel like Woody Allen.  And yet, I wonder, how can anybody not struggle with it?  It just gets close enough to think about, I guess, at a certain age.  Or a certain level of tiredness.  Or maybe it's that a lot of people and things that were important in my life aren't here anymore, and it diminishes my connection with this world.

It is weird to have a limited amount of time left here and yet to be squandering hours away.  Well, not really weird, more like scary.  My oldest son is on his way back to Afghanistan.  The last time he was there God gave me such a peace the entire time; it can only be explained in those terms.  This time I am sad, because he leaves behind a wife and two kids.  They have a great attitude about it.  I know he is only doing what he signed up to do.  I'm just proud that he signed up to do it at all.

My other son is finally getting his art career off the ground, I think. And I am proud of that too.  I knew he had the talent to do it, but it takes risk and persistence as well.  He was here for several weeks this summer.  Unfortunately it was the hottest most miserable summer I remember, literally, in all my life. It was good for him to spend time with his little brothers.  It was good for them too.  I got to reconnect, at least from my point of view, with my son who had become such a stranger.  I love him too much.

I love them all too much.  I am a spoiler mom. Not proud of that.

We have been looking into moving.  Spending money on the prospect too.  I hate wasting money.  Funny that I do it all the time.  I am really not clear on our future.  I had been feeling rather depressed.  But yesterday for some reason I got on YouTube and was listening to Andy Griffith singing "I'll Fly Away."  It made me smile, because he did recently do so.  And then I listened to Alison Krauss singing the same, which led me via sidebars to her version of "Beulah Land," a song I never before understood.

The hopelessness of this life has been leading me to nothing but dead-ends...Even though I have EVERYTHING a person could want on this earth...

"I'm kind of homesick for a country
To which I've never been before.
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken
for time won't matter anymore.

Beulah Land, I'm longing for you
and some day on thee I'll stand.
There my home shall be eternal.
Beulah Land -- Sweet Beulah Land"

And I realized where I need to be looking, on what horizon, and it awakened joy in my soul, like sunlight slipping through a cracking door.  


Friday, June 8, 2012


Soooo, a lot has happened since my last post, and yet, I'm still thinking about those same things. When I last wrote, I had just met a friend, via her cooking blog, and she had recently discovered her cancer was back, and only this morning, she died.

My son broke up with his girlfriend of four years.
We lost two large trees in our yard.
School is out.
I found a new babysitter (we had none).
My dad is in very bad shape, healthwise.
I finally met a neighbor I had been praying I would be able to meet.
I met my second grandson.

For a while I went through a very dark period, maybe the darkest of my life. It was about the fear I have of eternity. Though it threatened to tear me away from God, I am now closer to Him because of it.

My grown sons will both be here soon, the younger one in two days. He's the one who broke up, Tim. Chris is coming with his family in July.

I don't have any funny jokes or profound sayings tying all this together. Life just goes on, rushing like a river-- sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes high, sometimes low. That must be a plagiarism, sorry.

The photo is my husband, Ron, and me on our wedding day.  We are very happily married, still.  Back then I had worried about whether you would get bored with someone over time. People are much more complex than that.  I will never be able to spend enough time with Ron in this life.

Same with my kids. And so many other friends and family, some who are already gone.  I can't really say I'm not still afraid of eternity, but, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."--2Tim.1:12

Monday, February 13, 2012

What is Regular, Anyway?

I have been plunking away at the piano from as early as I can remember. I'm not very good, haven't studied or practiced nearly enough. Yet I still love it, and from time to time have had a few brief series of lessons. My last piano teacher was actually really good. If I had stayed with her, and pursued it, I'd probably be pretty decent by now. She taught me a couple of things I hadn't known about--though maybe I thought I did. One thing was she made me go out and buy a metronome.

I thought that was going to be a real waste of my $25. "I know how to keep time, duh," I thought. But I got the thing anyway, put the battery in, turned it on, and began playing. Whoa! What a colossal freakout! I mean, who needs drugs to alter your reality? Just get one of these things! The experience was mind-bending, or should I say time-bending. As I played at what I thought was an even rhythm, the ticking of the metronome seemed to speed up and slow down randomly all over the place! It was a real eye-opener, and still is.

To this day I have the same sensation when I use my metronome. I have been using it a lot more lately, as I am the accompanist for a monthly Hymn Sing. It is sobering to know that I am capable of speeding up and slowing down to the point of throwing those poor singers right off their chairs, like some out of control merry-go-round! Well, maybe it's not quite that bad. But they are "counting" on me. So the $25 turned out to be a really good investment.

And it continues to illustrate to me more truths about how my perspective can be really off; and how my reality, though sometimes imperceptible to me, is warped. I am teaching a drawing class, and we have been discussing issues of perspective, naturally. If you want to drive yourself crazy, try drawing a piece of paper lying flat on a table. Okay, now, hold it up. Is the paper lying flat or is it tipping? The difficulty of this exercise is exacerbated by the fact that the angle at which your eye sees while drawing is probably not the same angle at which you are holding up the paper. Nevermind.

When I became a new Christian, I acquired a set of Bible memory verses put out by the Navigators. One of the first verses was Galatians 2:20--

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and
gave himself for me."

I memorized it, but never understood what that verse meant, though I tried. Sixteen years have gone by, and I have grown in my understanding of the Bible and in my walk with the Lord. It has been slow-going, as I have had a tendency to keep myself on the throne of my heart, instead of Christ. I was afraid to trust in Him alone. Though it seems silly, I really felt like I had some kind of control over my universe, and did not want to relinquish that. My tiny little fingers clinging, petrified, to an illusion.

The good thing about getting older and things falling apart is that you finally, finally lose the false sense of invincibility. Many people have this maturity before they begin to age, but I didn't. I have been blessed, so blessed, and used it to my detriment. I kept half my hope in God and the other half in me. My "superpowers" are beginning to fade, and I'm getting a little more desperate. That is a good thing.

On Sunday, my pastor was talking about the cost of discipleship. He talked about "taking up our cross," which really means dying to self. He explained, and I finally understood, that this is the meaning of Galatians 2:20

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Okay, I'm Ready to Talk About it Now

A while back people were posting on their facebook status a certain year, and what was happening with them then, like their favorite song, what they were wearing, how old they were, etc. If you "liked" their post they would give you a year. Seemed fun, until I got my year, 1975. That was not a good year for me.

Recently, two of my (new) friends have actually published novels (!) which of course I immediately read--well, one I am still reading. Interestingly, they are both about 13 year-old girls. Though the stories are vastly different, they are both dredging up for me some pretty untidy emotions. I was 13 in 1975.

I am not going to lie, it is not all better yet. What I am talking about is that there has been a lot of "working through" things in my life...Thought I was all done with that. When given the year 1975 on facebook, I quickly shut the door on that festering little pocket and did not expect it to come up again--so soon.

I don't even read novels. If these ladies weren't my (new) friends I never would have picked up these books. And really 1975 is just representative of the years surrounding it--between one horrible situation and the next. I actually don't even remember too much of that year. On one side of it I was a dorky kid who was so depressed with my home, my school--thank goodness for the one light in my life, my siblings. I was the oldest.

But then there was the divorce, and we were split up. They stayed with their mom; I went with my dad. I was on my own. Ironically, at around that time I was reading Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, which so effectively dug around in my soul and reflected the horror of the situation I was actually going through. I don't even remember the story, just the feeling.

My second (new) friend's novel, Whitestone, deals largely with the huge themes of loss, sanity, and God. I can hardly say how gut-wrenching it is for me. And I'm still not done with the book, so maybe it will help in the end.

But the title of this blog refers to this: I am depressed, again. And sometimes I feel like I almost choose to be this way because it's somewhat of an escape; only it doesn't work very well. I mean, I know how to deal with depression, having had the disposition since third grade. The hardest thing is getting out of bed in the morning.

And then there's the shell. I sometimes think back to that nerdy pre-divorce period of my childhood when I had these three really sweet friends: Gina, Indriati, and Debbie. They descended into my gloomy life like angels sent from heaven. But I blew them off. And of course after the divorce I never saw them again.

Many times I have thought what a shame it was that I hid from those nice girls. One of my best memories of that time was a sleepover at Gina's where we watched cheesy old black-and-white horror movies late into the night. But then I shut them out. I just couldn't deal with anything. I felt so raw.

I have three nice girlfriends here in the neighborhood now. (Funny how history repeats itself). I find myself pulling inward. There is a lot of pain. I'm sorry. I know there shouldn't be. Life is great, and I'm a Christian. But that's just the way it is right now.