Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Sound of Silence

Sometimes I'm loud. Sometimes I'm quiet.

Some view silence as their mortal enemy. Others view silence as a dear friend.

Silence can be unnerving. Images of inward introspection, self-reflection, and uncomfortableness come to mind.

Yet, how can God speak to us if we don't have silence?

I used to be surrounded by constant noise. I woke to an alarm, got ready to music, drove to the radio, walked to a mp3, studied to academic lectures and music, and sang to fill the time when I completed chores. If I didn't have music on, I would call people and talk.

Constant noise. No need to evaluate my life, just turn up the noise.

Now, while I still wake up to an alarm, sometimes I drive without the radio and work on chores without noise. When I'm home alone, it's ok to have silence. I don't have to sing, talk, or listen to music. Sometimes, I can just think silently or pray. When I'm preparing fruits and veggies, I don't always have noise, but I do have peace.

My benefits of silence: Silence gives me...
1. Time to think
2. Time to evaluate
3. Time to pray
4. Time to be still
5. Time to be lost in a daydream
6. Time to listen


My benefits of not-silence:
1. Noise muffles a negative inner voice
2. Noise transforms a fear of home alone into a dance party
3. Noise expresses joy
4. Noise changes a boring task into a celebration
5. Noise communicates with the world
6. Laughter

There's a time for silence and a time for noise. There's a place for music and a place for the sound of silence.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Identified

My identity is in Christ, but sometimes my identity gets misplaced in other, less secure things.

For a while, my identity was in my diet. I was vegetarian and proud. After a while, I was a vegetarian out of habit and that part of me was more important than my obedience to God. He reminded me that I am a Christian first. I started eating meat again when I headed to the mission field for a 2 month stay. Now I cook vegetarian sometimes, but not excusively.

For a while, my identity was in my grades. I am smart and my grades reflected my intellect. It was hard for me to adjust to a college level history class, where I was expected to write essays instead of taking multiple choice tests. My ego took a blow when I got a B in History freshman year, but I still prided myself on my As and that one B. When I hit hard classes, I had to work harder, but I still made my As. Then I hit the science of sound. The physics of music. I'm not a science major...or a music major. For a while I was sure that I would get a C in the course. It was a horrible blow to my ego and I had to readjust and remind myself that my identity is in Christ, not in my grades.

Then my identity switched to my "no cavities" history. It turns out that my memory was faulty and I had had prior cavities, but I still placed my identity in my false cavity free past. Then I had a cavity and I had to readjust and realign my identity to Christ again.

These identity crises took place in my sophomore, freshmen, and senior years of college respectively. Time and time again, I place my identity in something other than Christ and then am shocked with my identity collapses because it wasn't in something solid.

Christ is the solid rock. When my identity is in Christ, it is solid. It is stable (yet growing). When my identity is in the solid rock, I'm secure and correctly identified.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Company in the Late Nights

Sometimes, late at night, after my hubby has gone to bed, I have a guest. She's not a normal guest; she's not even really in my house. She's the Proverbs 31 woman.

I've been learning from her about the definition of a good wife:

-a good wife has her hubby's confidence and provides for him (verse 11)
-a good wife brings good, not harm, to her hubby (v. 12)
-a good wife makes clothes and craft projects (v. 13, 19, 22, 24)
-a good wife gets the food (v. 14)
-a good wife gets up early and makes food (v. 15)
-a good wife spends *her* money for the good of her family (v. 16)
-a good wife works hard (v. 17)
-a good wife sells some of what she makes for the family's profit (v. 18)
-a good wife stays up late (v. 18)
-a good wife cares for the poor (v. 20)
-a good wife provides clothes for her household (v. 21)
-a good wife acts in such a way that brings respect to her hubby (v. 23)
-a good wife is wrapped in strength, dignity, laughter, wisdom, and the Word (literally Torah) (v. 25-26)
-a good wife is aware of her home's business (v. 27)
-a good wife is not idle (v. 27)
-a good wife earns the praise of her children and hubby (v. 28-29)

The wife of noble/virtuous character is the "chayil" woman (that's the Hebrew word used in the passage). She has strength, ability, efficiency, and wealth.

When I am weary and wanting to waste my time, she reminds me of why I love my hubby and why I would want to get up and tidy the house or pack his lunch.

She teaches me the meaning of selflessness and grace. She sets a high standard and encourages me to follow. So when my hubby goes to bed while I bump around the internet, but he wakes up to find his lunch packed, laundry folded, and house tided...it wasn't just me, it was also the company I keep: the Proverbs 31 woman.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Removing the Scum

I drink a lot of tea.

I always rinse my cup between tea flavors or between days, but I don't give it a thorough cleaning or scrubbing often.

Scum builds up. Yuck.
My dear and stained "tea" mug

It stains the inside. It stays so long that it seems to be a permanent stain.

With a little elbow grease, most of it comes out. There's some wedged in the seams, but the cup looks practically new.
The cleaned area and the stained/scummy area

Likewise, in my life, sometimes my heart gets scummy. Sometimes I don't rinse my sins in the blood of the Lamb* often enough. Sometimes the scum seems to become a part of me.

With a little humility and quality time with God, it comes out. Fresh and pure.

*Jesus is considered the "Lamb of God" and by Jesus living a sin-free life and dying for our sins, we are cleansed.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Prodigal

Luke 15:11-32 tells the story of the prodigal son. The son who left his family to live how he wanted to. The son who fell on hard times. The son who meekly and humbly returns home. The father who waited and watched. The celebration  of the son's return.

This is a song-poem I wrote based on this story. It's written through the eyes of the father.


Prodigal

Refrain:
Come home, come home
I Am waiting here for you.
My eyes are on the road.
Dear child, I want you here with Me.


You're a long way off,
So far from home,
In a strange and distant land.
Living life your way.
Seeking to find yourself.
Living the fast-paced empty life.
*refrain

You wanted your freedom
You wanted your money
You wanted to experience life
So you took off from Me
To follow the world
How I wanted to keep you here
*refrain

Day after day I watched for you
Hoping for your return
Knowing your struggles and
Your battle with pride
Spotting you in the distance
And running to you
*new refrain

New refrain:
You're home, You're home
I've been waiting for you
I see you on the road
Dear child, I'm glad you're here with Me.

If you have wandered away from our Heavenly Father, come home, He is waiting for you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What I Pray For Vs. How My Prayers are Answered

When I pray, sometimes I ask for things that I shouldn't have or that are for my convenience (instead of His glory). Sometimes, my prayers are answered in different ways than I expect, but it's in these moments that I realize how God's plan is so much better than my plan. This is a poem I didn't write, but I still love it oh so much.



I Asked God...

I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.

I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve.

I asked for prosperity and God gave me brawn and brain to work.

I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome.

I asked for patience God placed me in situations where I was forced to wait.

I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help.

I asked for favors and God gave me opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted I received everything I needed.

My Prayer Has Been Answered.

~Author Unknown~
Where I Found This Poem

Monday, September 3, 2012

Directions To Peace

Go on a trip to Tennessee with your mom.

Soak in the beauty of God's creation.
Waterfalls

Mountains

Streams
Did I mention the mountains?


See a sign pointing to a quiet walkway.
A short walk on this easy trail offers close-up views, subtle aromas, and the serene quiet of a protect woodland. You will be walking in one of the last great wildland areas in the East, but you won't need a backpack or hiking boots. Take your time. Have a seat on a rock or a log bench. The trail has no particular destination, so walk as far as you like and then return.

Pull over and start on the trail.


Walk until you can't see the road.

Walk until you can't hear the cars.

See a steep hill.
There's a path; I promise.

Climb it.

Find a forgotten cemetery


Wonder at the lives lived by these people. Soak in the silence, the beauty, and the peace.



Return down the hill, over the stream, through the woods, and across the road to your car.
Marvel at the intricacies of God's creation

Remember that He reveals Himself in many ways

Be still and sweet enough to attract butterflies
Return to interact with people

Resume your trip, but carry this peace with you.