April 27, 2011

Just Enough

I practically giggled, telling him of the latest item in my ever-growing repertoire of homemade household items. His eyes caught mine in the mirror. What a difference 18 years makes, he said. I never expected that you would be making so many things.

The truth of his statement cuts to the insecure part of my heart, stinging. I look up to see the admiration in his eyes.  It covers the hurt, soon forgotten. The truth is, no one is more surprised than I at the changes wrought in our lives, in my life. The young girl he married - brash and loud - turned up her nose at the word frugal. She was far too busy wanting to be somebody to think about cutting corners and looking well after her household.

People change.

Life changes.

The calendar hurdles toward the one year anniversary of my man's last day of work. I am still completely amazed at how God has proven Himself time and time again. Life is not perfect because we are not. Yet this path we never would have chosen is. We are living Romans 8:28 every day.  For it is good to have enough.

Too much breeds greed and idolatry.

Too little breeds resentment and envy.

In His sovereign wisdom, God has given us enough.

...enough to cover the bills.

...enough to have some fun.

...enough to support His work.

...enough not to worry about where our next meal will come from.

...enough to know just how much we need to rely on Him for our sustenance, because He is more than enough.

Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, "Who is the LORD?"
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.
~Proverbs 30: 7-9 (ESV)
(emphasis mine)

April 26, 2011

What's On My Nightstand - April Edition

My reading quilt has been relegated to its summer place, resting until cool nights once again descend. My reading tapers off as the days grow longer. Still, there's plenty of good reading on my nightstand.

What's On Your Nightstand


~My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier. A suspenseful delight. Not as chilling as du Maurier's best known work, Rebecca, but worth a look.

~What is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics by R. C. Sproul.  A book I felt I needed to read.  I was right.

Currently Reading:

~(Audio) Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas.  I must confess, I checked this out of the library on two separate occasions. I just couldn't get through it, despite my interest in this intriguing story. A friend had it on audio, so I borrowed it. This is my first foray into books on CD, and I like it.

~(Kindle) A Place for Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering by Michael Horton. In preparation for this book discussion.

~Loving the Church by John Crotts. Not quite what I expected, but something I really need right now.

Up Next:

~(Kindle) Lady Susan by Jane Austen. It's been entirely too long since I've read something by Jane!

~Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever.

What are you reading? Link up your list at 5 Minutes for Books.

A Prayer for My Backslidden Soul

When the world's unbelievers reject thee,
and are so forsaken by thee that though callest them no more,
it is to thine own thou dost turn,
for in such seasons of general apostasy
they in some measure backslide with the world.
O how free is thy grace
that reminds them of the danger that confronts them
and urges them to persevere in adherence to thyself!
I bless thee that those who turn aside
may return to thee immediately,
and be welcomed without anything to commend them,
notwithstanding all their former backslidings.
I confess that this is suited to my case, for of late
I have found great want,
and lack of apprehension of divine grace;
I have been greatly distressed of soul
because I did not suitably come to the fountain
that purges away all sin;
I have laboured too much for spiritual life,
peace of conscience, progressive holiness,
in my own strength.
I beg thee, show me the arm of all might;
Give me to believe
that thou canst do for me more than I ask or think, and
that, though I backslide, thy love will never let me go,
but will draw me back to thee with everlasting cords;
that thou dost provide grace in the wilderness,
and canst bring me out, leaning on the arm of my Beloved;
that thou canst cause me to walk with him
by the rivers of waters in a straight way,
wherein I shall not stumble.
Keep me solemn,
resting on free grace
for assistance, acceptance, and peace of conscience.

~Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, p. 86 (emphasis mine)

April 15, 2011

Living on the Altar - Revisited

It is still dark and my mind's a little fuzzy. It rolls over these two words, time and time again. Contemplating...

living sacrifice

What does it mean to be a living sacrifice? I delve deeper, scratch some notes in my commitment booklet.

My thoughts immediately rush to that scene in Genesis...Abraham taking the son long awaited - the son of promise - up that hill, bearing the weight of God's command. In faith he assured the child of God's provision and goodness. How do you praise and proclaim His goodness when He is requiring your very flesh and bones?

I remember a verse I've been meditating on for several days in my Bible reading plan.

John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven."
~John 3:27 (ESV)

The man who ate locusts and honey recognized our depravity, our complete and utter lack of anything of substance. Abraham knew it, too. He knew the pain of the enormously hard task, but also the grace and peace in the moments of quiet obedience. They are God's gifts to us.

My own inadequacy presses down hard on me.  The life I've been asked to sacrifice has died hard and cruel, the moments of quiet obedience too few and far between. I have plodded up the hill begging God for any other way to teach this lesson, waiting for Him to provide another sacrifice. But here I am, bound by His protection, His love, and His sovereignty.

Did Isaac chafe against the ropes his father wrapped around him to bind him to the altar? Did he fight until the ropes burned into his wrists and ankles?

I see the marks of my own fighting against this life on the altar, the wounds of one who lacks faith. They are still tender. I pray that His grace will pour over them as a soothing salve, bringing peace and healing.  Life on the altar is not comfortable, but it is the truest place of worship I know.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
~Romans 12:1 (ESV)

*from the archives

April 6, 2011

There's Some Seriously Good Reading...

...in Becky's month-long series, Doctrine in the Kitchen. Click the button to find out more.

April 1, 2011

Around the House: April

My soul lifts at the turning of the calendar. For once, I am happy to leave March behind. I stare at the field of wildflowers that bloom above the blocks named April. The spacious place is inviting. I realize just how weary I've been. How weary I am of being weary.

The empty blocks beg to be filled.  I hold strong to ignore their plea, promising myself that only good things will find their way to these spaces.

An annual girls' weekend at the beach with my dearest friend.

Various Easter services.

Spring Break.

A night out with close friends.

Four weeks from today, R's semester will be finished. We'll be 2/3rds of the way through our journey toward a new life. I marvel at how time has flown and how the One who made time has stood Faithful and True.

I want to take advantage these first days of Spring. To simplify and rejuvenate. To restore my soul.

The days still may be quiet around here.  I have a few posts brewing in my head and hope to get them out soon.  In the meanwhile, I'll leave you with something I've been pondering these past few weeks.

Follow someone who follows Christ; follow a pilgrim who insists that you live up to what you have already attained, and then press for more. ~D.A. Carson