22 November 2008

Patterns of Growth

Following is a little piece I wrote for my friend Joan for a church bulletin insert.

What will it be like, I wondered. I'm returning to the place where I lived for five years. I will see people I know. I will visit with old friends. Will they have changed? Will they think I have changed? 

I supposed they would notice the most growth in the children. But you always notice growth in children. Their height changes. Their cheeks fill out. They mature. They learn new things. They grow up. 

But what about me? Will people notice that I've changed too? The "growth" is not outward. It's something that's changed inside of me. I'm not the same person I was a year ago. Let me explain.

The last year has been full of difficulty. The kind of difficulty you wish would just go away. The kind of difficulty that keeps you awake at night crying bitter tears. But it's also a little bit like Spiritual weight lifting. The Scripture is so clear about "tribulation working patience". If there is no difficulty, I really don't learn much. I can coast. I don't have to work very hard in my Spiritual life. But when the difficulties come, I run to Jesus. And I find that in the midst of very hard things Jesus is everything I need. When I "walk through the valley of the shadow of death" I need not "fear the evil" for "HE is with me!" 

It sure isn't fun walking through the hardness of life, but I discover that on the other side of the difficulty I am stronger. I have grown. I'm a different person. There have been patterns of growth.

Do you have patterns of growth in your life? Can you look at who you are today and see those things Jesus has changed in you in the last year? If you're not growing, you need to find out why. If children don't grow properly it means something is wrong. Are there things hindering your growth? If you don't see much progress, maybe it's because you're too close. I don't notice too much change in my children, but those who haven't seen them for a whole year notice the change. Ask someone close to you what they see Jesus doing in your life. 

And just maybe those difficult things that you wish would go away are really the weights needed in your life to strengthen your Spiritual muscles. 

16 November 2008

Friends from long ago. . .

So, here I sit on this wet, snowy Sunday afternoon. God blessed our morning with His presence. Daniel has taken the kids on a hike behind our house. They needed some fresh air. My sister is on her way to our house. A blessed thought since I haven't seen her in nearly a year. And there is entirely too much to blog about. 

Friends from long ago stopped in to visit several weeks ago. It amazes me how easy it is to pick up where we left off about 12 years ago and chat on and on about our children, homeschooling, life, church, what God is teaching us and then still run out of time. Thanks Matthew and Rhonda for giving us a wee bit of your busy schedule. 

Seven lovely ladies. .. 
Rhonda hasn't aged a bit. Now me. . . That's a different story.
sweet friends

One of the quotes from the message this morning that bounced between my eyes was this:

"Don't tell God about your problems. Tell your problems about your God."

How easy it is to whine and complain to God about all the things that are going wrong. This week I'd rather tell my problems about the great big God I have. The God Who knows me and loves me. The God Who holds the earth in His Almighty hand. The God Who raises up one king and puts down another. The God Who is my shield and refuge and strong tower. The God Who is the King of all earthly kings and the Lord of all earthly lords. The God Who is preparing a place for me so that "where He is, there I may be also." Ah. I guess I can't put it into words today. . . 

Up next: a report on our recent trip to Michigan for a week of revival at Pine Grove Tabernacle and our good friends Darwin and Joan. Daniel preached incredible messages and we had the delightful privilege of singing together as a family every night! More later. . . 
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