Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cookie Cutters

I LOVE COOKIES!

I don't necessarily have a sweet tooth. I don't even sweeten my coffee or tea. There are three sweets, however, that I simply cannot resist. A good ice cream (Yes, there is such a thing as bad ice cream! Come to Europe and try the rum-flavored stuff - it's enough to change your view on evil in this world!),homemade dark-chocolate brownies, and a well-baked cookie. Oh, let me say it again.

I LOVE COOKIES!

Since the practice of making cookies is foreign to this land like many of our other American traditions, I had to bring back whatever Christmas cookie cutters I had from the States. I found myself this year trying to be slightly creative with the baking along with my kids who get into the process a little more fervently now themselves. Being a little older, they all have their ideas of what they could do with the yummy morsels before them. One problem. I only have one set of cookie cutters that leave little to the imagination, and squelched the creative vibe going on at our house.

Though we used the cookie cutters for some, we tired quickly of them and got out a glass and began cutting circles to build upon. WHAT FUN! Though I still plan to buy some more cookie cutters once we visit home again, it brought about some major reflection. You see, we baked these cookies and treats for the church staff and close family friends. Going along with the holiday traditions of this land, we are around our church family often this time of year, and as such get into church, religious, theological, and holiday-inspired conversation. I chime in on occasion among the group, but as you would with any gathering of Baptist minds, you have vast and varied opinions on certain subjects, so I limit my input greatly. However, I for one, was tiring of a certain view on tradition at Christmas.

I found myself astonished at this revelation! I love our family traditions! We have many. One of my favorites, is opening a gift on Christmas Eve. Just one. Mom always saved out socks or pajamas for us to open on Christmas Eve. I do the same with my own three. One small gift to whet the appetite of the children. This year was no different. Then on Christmas morning, we all come down to the smell of my homemade cinnamon rolls. We read a passage from Luke chapter 2 and then the 3 children begin their search for the "special ornament" I have hidden as they all lay fast asleep. He who finds the glass ornament, opens the first gift. Again, our tradition was enjoyed and the gaiety lived on.

So why in the world was this opinion about carrying on the proper Christmas traditions getting under my skin? I sat silently and listened as the discussion was about the true meaning of Christmas, and how we must hold true to its real meaning and tradition, and I bit my tongue. Later, I poked fun at my husband about the root of the reason we celebrate Christmas this time of year being pagan, but that at the risk of offending the "brethren" would continue to keep my mouth shut. He smiled and thanked me.

But seriously, I thought of my cookies. The cookies I had just given them on this Christmas day. The unique, mouthwatering yumminess that passed from my hands to theirs with a purpose. That they may enjoy the purpose for which the cookies were made. I truly wanted to stand up and shout to the entire table "But I'm NOT a cookie-cutter cookie!"

Yeah, that would have made things a little awkward. Pastor George would have had a few problems, I think. So, at the risk of sounding like a raving lunatic, I sat in my chair and grinned at the thought of my own reflection.

I asked the Lord to remind me to have a celebratory spirit about his coming to earth for me, every single day.



Nope, I'm no cookie-cutter cookie. Although those cookies are beautiful and uniform, they are not how God made me. He took the time to mold each edge of my being and carefully planned the recipe to his own liking.

Though I will go on having my own Christmas traditions, I hope and pray that my children will not take only what traditions we had here to their own homes, but have the tradition of what makes them unique and special, and exactly what the Master Cookie Maker had in mind. That they would see how traditions are simply expressions of how we enjoy serving and loving him. Oh, may their expressions be most beautiful in his sight! That's the tradition I hope most that they will carry on. In whatever form it may be.

And I hope that anyone who may read this will bask in the joy of knowing that the sweet hands that molded them, eagerly await the form of expression their "tradition" might bring him. He delights in us. What a thought!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dream a little dream of me

I have three fabulous children.



They make me smile. As the ray of sun brightens this picture while I stood conspicuously behind them; so they light up my life.

When I became a young mother at the age of 22, I got all the books I could. I read. I formulated plans. I implemented strategies. I found every answer I could. Though the days were sometimes long and hard, by the time I was a mother of three at age 26, I had my philosophies in place. And they worked.

For the most part, I had children who listened quickly, were obedient, sweet-natured and kind. I would tell them, much like I had been told when I was young, that they were created for something special. Anything they put their mind to, they could do. I reflected little on my past or how my dreams as a child would go from being a musician to lawyer-no, movie star- no, teacher all in an afternoon.


Yet now, as a mother of a teenage girl, I find myself in constant reflection. I had dreams of grandeur and fame, modest philanthropic dreams, and just plain simple dreams too. That did not stop as an adult, except these dreams took on a new identity. I began to dream for my children. I still do. I don't think that I was (or am) wrong to do so, but in my state of reflection I find that my premise may have been skewed.

You see, I remember distinctly how my dreams of "being anything you want" quickly became "being what you want within the parameters of what we think you should be". And I could see myself doing the exact same thing. Those dreams I had for my kids were just that. My dreams. And it's not extremely easy to relinquish that desire to not only want them to do something, but to push them toward it, or away from something else, as the case may be.

So, I have been dreaming a little more. Shocked? Don't be. For as I see that my dreams may not be their dreams, I have learned something. I listen to them. I hear their dreams, and I dream with them. Sometimes it seems so silly and unlikely, and even unorthodox or taboo in this world of "nothing is acceptable outside of what I tell you". But I realize that as my dreams changed from the nearly impossible to what became a reality, those dreams will most likely change for them too.

I am learning, don't get me wrong. I will be pleased to see my kids in some areas, and probably disappointed if they choose others. But my dreams will be that they find whatever it is that God has in store for them. He may choose to fulfill his plan in a way I could have never imagined. And most likely that will be the case; he's funny that way. But for me, I am renouncing my dreams. My dreams are no longer dreams of them and what I see for their future. No, their dreams are now mine. No limits.

The sky's not the limit. Nope. God is limitless. Think of the possibilities!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fallen

This is the lake where I jog. Okay jogged. Past tense verb needed here because I am such a baby when it comes to being cold. I get about 20 minutes into enjoying the beauty of the snow, and jogging is not enough to keep me warm. But yesterday I figured I could walk at least once around the snowy path, and take some pictures before it all melted away.




Everything is cold.
Freezing.
Frozen.
And somehow there's life. Somewhere underneath the frigid surface is a breathing, living thing.




Frozen soldiers defy the tempests and stand. Long and strong.




Fences confine the wandering from distracting their concentration.





But one has fallen.





Passersby turn not their heads. No stopping. No helping. No lifting up the fallen.





And there she lies. Wounded.




But though her hurts are heavy, her roots are strong.



We load on our own burdens, and carry on.




Build our bridges.




Mend our fences.




We go home.





And the sun sets.




Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we really lifted up the fallen. I mean, for real, no holds barred, non-judgmental help. I don't mean hypothetical theological answers that the fallen will ignore because it wounds them deeper. I'm talking about true love. Compassion. Nurturing. What would happen if the church truly reached out in love? No backbiting, no expectation of perfection, or quick remedy, no sweeping the ugliness under the carpet, but a willingness to embrace the seemingly unlovable. Those whose roots are strong will survive. But what happened to making this world a place where we should THRIVE? Not just expecting the church people to stand like silent, frozen soldiers fulfilling their duty so the picture looks pretty.

We are alive! We can move! We could be the one who picks up the pieces!

We can't prevent the storms. We can't handle the weight of the trials of their lives. Only God can. But we can use the broken pieces and mend the wounds. Maybe even help them find a fresh, fertile ground in which they might live again. Breath again. Bloom and flourish again. What would a church-goer like that look like? How would the world see us then?

And maybe someday when we fall(Proverbs 24:16), we'll find an outstretched hand like the one we often extended.

1 Corinthians 13:4 "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Covered



This weekend it snowed. Oh, and then it snowed some more. And more. We probably got a foot in just a couple of hours. The kids had fun, and I loved taking their pictures in the fluffy white gift from the sky. I love the way snow makes things look. I love how shiny and bright it is. I love the pictures you can get in it! Don't get me wrong. I love enjoying it from the comfort of my own home! I'm not a snow bunny by any stretch of the imagination. I love flip-flops, cotton tops, sunshine and warmth. But I'm not complaining. It is December, after all, and if there's anytime for snow; this is it. But I'll enjoy it while I sit by the fire, thanks.

So, as we ventured out Sunday morning after the big storm, I was feeling very "not in the mood" to get out in the frosty weather and go to church. But, I fulfilled my pastor's-wifely duty and went. As we began Sunday School, I got my cup of coffee and sat in my regular seat. Our assistant pastor teaches the class I attend and I missed last Sunday because George was speaking at a different church. So, he was catching us up on the events of the previous week, and I was trying to follow along as he quickly spouted out the points, but was more concerned with warming my hands with my coffee cup until he entered into this Sunday's lesson.

"The church just breeds liars".

"Here in the church, we're trained to be fake".

"You're not accepted here until you meet the requirements".


Yup, he had my attention now. He went on to explain how the purpose of our meeting in this casual Sunday School format, was not even being reached. We want to break down the walls of the facade we put on in our Sunday clothes and sweet smiles, and delve into the Bible together to find truth. Truth for your life. Truth for mine.

But a cup of coffee and a few sweets to make you feel more at home will not accomplish that.

We are afraid of the true "us" that lies beneath the pretty Sunday picture, and more afraid of what someone else will think of it.

I began to wonder where he was going with all of this. He did tie it together with his previous points of what it means to "grow" as God intended it, but my mind stuck on one simple statement.

"All that's broken, ugly, or unworthy about you is covered in God's grace."

Covered

Wow! As the shapeless crown of a tree that has lost its leaves is gloriously covered in a blanket of shiny white snow, so am I covered in God's grace! And what's more as the lesson went on, we talked about how a measure of grace is given to each one of us (Ephesians 4:7) . And the real reason we meet is because I need some of that grace that you have received. And you need some of the grace that I have received, because no one man receives it all the same. Your experience demands some measure different than my own, and vice versa.

Oh that we could be gracious!

I sat and wondered at the thought. Oh to be gracious! Oh that I would see my brothers and sisters as lovely creatures covered in the beautiful blanket of his grace! Oh that they would see graciousness in me!

Covered in grace.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Enough" is enough

This blog for me has become a source of therapy. I know a few of my friends asked me to start blogging probably because they wanted to see cute pictures of my kids. Sorry, that's what's Facebook is for, so if you want to see pretty pictures of my gorgeous children by all means, Facebook is where it's at!. Here, I share my heart.

A few months ago I became acquainted with a Christian author named Kary Oberbrunner who has written a new book entitled, Your Secret Name.

He sent me an email this summer, before his book was released, and invited me to submit a song that I had written to be used in his promotions. I have yet to finish the recording of the song, even though my plans are still in the works. Musicians are a shady lot, I tell ya! But this book, song, and idea of my very own God-given secret name has been transforming my life. I have yet to read the book, and plan to treat myself to it as a Christmas gift. But the concept is, as I said, life-altering. His premise is Revelation 2:17 "... To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."

As I have heard more and more about the book, and more importantly, the concept that God has a new name for us, I have become so intrigued. But that led to frustration. You see, there's a test you can take on the book's website that gives you a list of things from which to choose. You can choose things like "Abandoned", "Lazy", "Ignorant", etc. All labels that the world has put on people, their names, if you will. I didn't truly identify with any name but one: "Misfit". That's how I feel most of the time. Just a little bit out of place. The name they suggested for me, as an example of what God might call me was "Welcomed". hmmm...

Not so much. Welcomed, that's okay, but my name? I was a little irritated by the thought of others finding their names and myself being stuck with Welcomed. The stories others would tell said things like "I found the beautiful name God has given me, and I totally identify with my new name: "Hope", "Beloved", "Free", etc. I didn't "feel" it. I became a little frustrated and even irritated at God for not showing me my own name. I didn't like "Welcomed", I didn't FEEL welcomed even if I knew that He'd never shun me, I didn't want that to be my name. I chose "Misfit" and I wanted something like "Perfect Fit For My Plan"... but that's impractical, now isn't it? I mean, we've given up names like Sitting Bull or Shining Star in the Night when our ancestors decided to marry the British who frowned upon such things!

You see, a few years ago, I began to pray very candidly. I begin to tell God that he's just got the wrong girl for this job. I wanted to move. I WANT to move! I don't fit in here by any stretch of the imagination. I have found my niche, don't get me wrong. I love working with my kids and my husband. I love teaching. But rarely a day goes by where I am not reminded that I'm the foreigner in this foreign land! And that feeling of discomfort and just not fitting in nearly drove me insane. I tried to conform. I tried to please if not one side, the other. If not all, some... and I failed miserably and literally lost the essence of who I truly am along the way.

In the past couple years, however, I have begun to skip all the politics, and ask God if at least he still wanted me. Could I fit in to his plan still? Because I sure wasn't feeling cut out for the stuff I thought that I was supposed to do.

And so, you see, this book - this concept - caught me along my soul-searching journey. Along my road to finding out who "Shelly" is. But that's not really what matters, I have found. It's what God knows me as that matters. About two or three weeks ago, God was so gracious to understand my frustration and hear my cry. I was asked to do something I am not completely comfortable doing and I automatically said "yes" without hesitation. I don't know what I was thinking! Oh the battle that went on within me, trying to find an excuse to get out of it!

The excuses didn't come, so the prayers increased.

I just ended up telling God, "But I really don't think I'm good enough to do this without being ridiculed AGAIN!"

And then, in that inaudible, lovely voice, He spoke ever so clearly.

"You're Enough for me!"

That's it! That's my name!

ENOUGH

Maybe it isn't something you would choose, or even identify with. Maybe it wouldn't speak to you like it did to me. Maybe it isn't fancy, but it's me.

It wasn't about taking a test, though it works so well for some. What a help it is to see the opposite word of how the world sees you in bold print, right in front of your face! God sees you like that.

But for me, it was more than the test could give, and I am sure exactly what the author had in mind! It is a personal realization that God sees you in a way only he can. It is as unique as your own fingerprint.

For me, "Enough" is MORE THAN enough!

What's your name?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A little piece of my heart...


Have you ever wondered about that? You know, some say that those who readily give a piece of their mind are usually those who can not afford to spare any. I feel that way sometimes about my heart.

I don't know how to not get attached.
I don't know how to let things be business and not personal.
Instead of letting things roll off my back, I mull over and analyze them.
I give my heart away, and pieces of it have never been returned.

So, I began to wonder. I began to change some.

To withdraw.

My heart was shrinking and nothing replaced it. Sure, I ran to the Lord. I'd pour out my sorrows and complaints and he'd give me comfort. Then I would face the world again.

People.

Man, can we be stupid or what? Notice I put "we"... I know that I have been the source of another's hurt whether I have wanted to be or not.

But still, another piece of my heart would be gone.

Thankfully, God was gracious enough to give me people in my life who would exchange pieces of their heart with the piece of mine that I would fearfully extend, and my closest relationships are blossoming and growing tall and strong. It has given me strength to look beyond my own heart, my own gaping holes and realize that I am not alone.

Though apathy is still at times my greatest companion, it has become my greatest enemy. I wish the world to know that my heart is open, because it is filled with God's love and his love is limitless. Though I am human, I fail, stumble, and reach my limits rather quickly; he does not.

I am learning to give a piece of my heart even when I receive nothing from the one who takes, and takes again. I might not always do it happily, but at least now I know I can still do it. I can do all things through Christ. Maybe even have a regenerative heart!

So this is just my little piece from today. Take it. I hope you find a little love there.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Trapped



That's me.

Bound.

Trapped.

Shackled.

Imprisoned.

Sentenced for life.

Sounds overwhelming. Sounds sacrilegious, doesn't it?
I'm finding that it may be sacrilegious, but it's not exactly against God's Word. Even if you don't agree with me, I'm learning to be okay with that too. I might not be okay with it always. I might even delete this without posting. Or maybe post and then delete. I feel alone in my imprisonment sometimes. I watch as others are freer and freer to take part in the freedom of the Christian life and enjoy sharing raw truth about God, Christianity, growing with the saints, and just being truthful about things - pretty or ugly. And yet I see myself still only sharing the pretty.

I have flown on flights of transforming metamorphosis and crashed-landed on thorns of dismay and still I feel only worthy to share victories - because isn't the Christian life a victorious one?! Maybe it's religion itself that has led me astray.

Jesus was an enemy of religion. It got him crucified. I do not suffer such dangers, for I live in a land where I am free to believe what I want.

I live with a different type of social pressure, much less dangerous. I am married to a man who pastors a church. I'm expected to be religious. But aren't we all religious in some way? I religiously brush my teeth. I religiously take a bath. I go to church religiously. I straighten my hair religiously (for now). I go to work religiously. Hence, I am religious. So why has "religion" gotten such a bad rap?

Bound.

Trapped.

Shackled.

Imprisoned.

Sentenced for life.

That's what religion does to so many. But even for us, who are believers in Christ... It's a life sentence, this whole thing, you know? There's no getting out of it. I am God's, and his forever. In that way, I am bound with a tie that can not be broken. Yet that doesn't mean that the tugs of the flesh and the religion of man won't take it's toll on my psyche. But is it religion to which I am bound?

For so many years I thought that though I am saved by grace alone, only works will gain God's favor in my walk through life. When all along he's been wanting me just where I am. Talk about sacrilegious! That's exactly what Jesus was telling those around him while on earth. He wanted the unwanted. He helped the helpless. He covered the infractions of the lawless.

Oh yes, I am shackled. I am bound. I am trapped. I am sentenced for life and imprisoned. And though at times it seems that I'd love to break away from what the world perceives as my religious role of imprisonment, the only one to whom I am forever bound is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!

I am free to tell him that I don't like being a foreigner in a foreign land, when no one else wants to listen without judgment. I shout to him my cries of inadequacies and complaints of seeming despair. And he only wants more!

More of me, just where I am.

Despite the fact that I feel trapped and bound in this role that demands a "pastor's wife" performance to the world at large, I am still finding myself freely imprisoned in his love. His demands are doable. His yolk is easy. His burden is light. I am shackled to them, and they to me. And somehow in the most ironic of circumstances as only God can do, I am free to be myself because of this binding love.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Naturally beautiful






This post is dedicated to my BFF, Laura. I know that this term has been trivialized and overused in recent years, but in 1988 when I met my best friend, these three letters had deep meaning indeed. Like totally. We were there for each other at just the right time of our adolescence. No one can understand a junior high aged girl like another tween, of course. But what's so wonderful about my BFF is that even today there rarely seems to be another who can understand me quite like her.

And so, as I enjoy the amazing autumn the Lord has blessed me with this year, I cannot help but think of days gone by... where the two of us would hike and play, take a million pictures, find our favorite trees, trade sweaters, break out the jean jackets and thick socks, and soak in every bit of fall together. It used to be my favorite season. I now remember why. The beauty of nature, and my naturally beautiful BFF. They go hand in hand for me today. I am blessed.

As I share these photos and a bit of my thought process while I was walking and soaking in the fall, allow me to share what else was going on. I was having a lovely time with the Lord while taking these. I walked down our street and decided to climb the hill that is essentially the base of the mountain. It was as if God was guiding me while I walked and showing me that path... remember that shining path he showed me before? I am drawn to little paths now, and I seem to find them everywhere! It's funny, and a little overwhelming, I think.

It's in direct correlation with my life.
I see those pathways, so many of them. Which is the right one to take? The light that shines before me will simply have to lead the way, and I'll continue to stop and examine each one and just enjoy the natural beauty around me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The little things in life

I wanted to blog today. Just to write out some light-hearted, frivolous things that a girl can love to spend time on. I have emotions that continue to fluctuate, don't we all? And I just wanted to be able to spill something. Anything! Nothing heavy, nothing religious, nothing "churchy" or spiritual. But... then I began to think of what in the world I would write!

This morning when I awoke, the song "How great is our God, sing with me, how great is our God..." was singing happily in my head. Psalm 71:23 "My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed." The fact that our God is great, good, loving and that he desires us, flooded my soul this morning. The activities of today are more enjoyable with that in mind. And I began to ponder the sweet thoughts that even the little things, the girly, the silly, the frivolous, and the light-hearted topics of my day are still wrapped up in the fact that God loves me and his thoughts are ever toward me! So I share with you a fun activity that made me think of God who loves spending time with me, even more than I love spending time with my kids!


This collage is actually from a fun activity that we had a few weeks ago. The electricity had gone out in our neighborhood (not an uncommon occurrence) and there was "Absolutely nothing to do"! According to the kids, that is. So, we decided to have a fun day of making cupcakes with colored cream-cheese icing and homemade play-dough to replace the hardened store-bought kind. And what fun we had both eating and creating!


And here are a couple of recent cakes I have had fun making as well. I'm trying to learn the best recipes for the perfect combination of beauty without sacrificing taste! If you have any yummy recipes that have worked for you, please do share!!!

God is so good. He is everywhere. He is in everything. Ah, the little things don't seem so little anymore, do they?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Darker Days


Today is bright and beautiful. Jesus has shown me a shining path that he has for me, and that it's there with a wide, vast future in store! However, after coming down from a spiritual high - the fact that my chrysalis was no longer binding me, the swift, wide wind at the tip of my spiritual wings - I became frightened. That big, wide world is intimidating, you know! My chrysalis beckoned me with a force that can not be explained. And I succumbed. My chrysalis is in fact a bedroom with dark, heavy drapes and a door that closes tightly. The quiet solitude it offers is almost intoxicating. I'm away from the world, reality, and all things scary when I shut myself in. Again I can only see darkness. I see no change of metamorphosis, no hope that there will be a day of flight. And I wonder how it is that after feeling so free, I can choose that cocoon once again! I know it is the work of the evil one, yet I feel defenseless against his powers.

Fact: He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world. Okay, true. I accept that. But am I the only one who doesn't always FEEL like it's true? I have heard discussions, sermons, and talks recently on feelings and though I know that they can be fickle, I find solace in the fact that the Psalmist says "RESTORE unto me the joy of thy salvation". Meaning at one point there wasn't that joy, and his feelings were the opposite of what he knew to be true.

I had the privilege of praying with a dear friend of mine a couple days ago, and her words encouraged me so much. The day seems brighter today because of the way we were able to grab hold of the words Jesus showed us to be true. And though I know that the darkness will come again because of warfare, I seek the light of his truth today. I hope I always will. Today is bright and beautiful.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Questioning

Looking out on this big wide world, I have questions. I can remember how as a child I would tinker with things, take them apart, and look at the intricacies of how they function. We had an old telephone that had stopped working. I couldn't have been more than 15 when I decided to take it apart, look at the wiring, and put it all back together, in working order, of course. The funny thing is, I did it.... for a short time, anyway. It worked, and I was allowed to keep it in my room until it died, really died, beyond repair... or at least beyond what my tinkering skills could decipher.



I would also look out at things like buildings, and wonder how they stood. I wanted to know it all, how it all worked, why it was there, and why it HAD to be a certain way. In time, of course, I learned the laws of physics and nature. Why a foundation could only bear a certain load and how a bridge could be suspended across a body of water. What made sound travel through wires and how energy can be harnessed in so many ways... and the questions somehow became answers and what had once been an insatiable desire to figure things out became a "that's just the way it is" attitude.

My entire life I have been involved in Christianity. Before I was a believer, I was a follower. Or maybe I was just a listener. Either way, my parents were going to church, and I was going with them. I remember having some questions, but when it came to believing, it seemed natural. I was taught in biblical ways from the time I was born and it made sense to me. It was almost the opposite as my physical world. I didn't question, I just followed. Until I became a teen. Oh, yes, the dreaded teenager. I can't say I caused too much grief for my parents, but questions, questions, questions galore!

And how the floods came. I am glad they did, because by then, I was not believing because I was told, not even AS I was told, but believing because of what I had experienced and learned. But then... somewhere along the road... I got that whole "that's just the way it is" answer so many times, that my questions slowed, and even stopped. I accepted things and went along my merry way. Until recently.

Over the past year I have seemed to question EVERYTHING, and boy do I mean everything. I felt guilty. I had thought for so long that it was wrong to question spiritual things. But then I started to find answers. Not right away, but eventually. It's kind of liberating. I hadn't felt that way since high school and my dad was encouraging me to figure things out for myself. After years of feeling like I was guilty if ever I questioned things, I was actually feeling freer and freer by the questions I would ask. You know why?

Because EVERY TIME Jesus was always the answer!!! No matter what I would ask, what area I would question, what kink I would throw into the well-oiled machinery of this religion I was in, the answer EVERY SINGLE TIME was Jesus. His love, his mercy, his gospel, his will. And it hit me. Like that proverbial ton of bricks. If Christianity is about THE answer, then all it will do to lead a soul to find it is provoke question, after question, after question. Because the answer is and always will be JESUS!

So in this time of dealing with my lovely, new mom-and-questioning-teenager-stage, I am excited about every question she brings. I was SO SCARED before when the nay-sayers would tell me their horror stories, but now, I truly believe that every question whether I see things the same way or not, will always lead us back to the answer. The way, the TRUTH, the life. All we have to do is embrace the answer. And I can't wait to learn more and more about the way this whole thing works, and just pray that those who follow me will someday be more than followers, more than listeners, but believers and "experiencers" of the relationship that will provoke question after question in order to draw them to the Answer!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Metamorphosis


My favorite place to go in the zoo is the butterfly habitat. I can remember the first time I had ever gone in such a place. It was warm, moist, and serene. The place was not crowded, and the few people who were there seemed to whisper so as not to disturb the peaceful home of our lovely, winged friends.

I love the fact that the butterflies are so freely at home in this warm, sheltered environment, and fly around you as if to say "Welcome! Isn't it beautiful here? Stay a while and look around!" During my most recent visit, the butterflies would even land on hands, hats, or t-shirts of the people in the passing crowds.

This past summer, I was at the zoo with our family and some friends and I took this picture of a majestic butterfly in all her glory. I love the colors in this picture, but I was somehow led to a different thought recently. Metamorphosis. I teach this process in school. I know what it means, what it entails, and can even name the various stages of its evolution. However, after someone mentioned to me that she thought I had been going through a sort of spiritual metamorphosis, I thought long and hard about the process.

A while ago, the stages in my life had begun to morph into this haze of doubt and question and I was astonished, to be honest. Things I thought I knew were seemingly unraveling and I started construction on my cozy cocoon. I love warmth. I love big sweaters and fuzzy socks this time of year, and I love emotional security just the same. It feels warm to me. It's what I want, inside and out, yet I was chilled to the bone and couldn't get warm. I was sure that my chrysalis would keep me safe and sound.

It's funny how apathy works as a buffer sometimes, but that's exactly what my chrysalis did. It buffered out the cold and kept me apathetic for the most part, but scared and suspicious too. I was always preoccupying myself with its construction, all the while keeping an eye out for danger of any penetration of my secure place.

And one day, I realized that this cocoon was not my shelter from the world, but a preparing place for me to changed. A hard, exhausting process by which I would morph into something I could not even imagine. For there was One person from whom I can not hide. Psalm 139:8 "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there."

I feel almost as if I didn't even know Him before, not like I could have. As if it was all new. This metamorphosis in me may have been brought about because of my apathy, my mistakes, my shortcomings, and even my doubt; but what allowed me to see that I could break free of this constricting house of solitude is that there was a plan all along. As the fuzzy little caterpillar may crawl to its nearby destiny, be thrust into a constrictive prison of self-metamorphosis, and then break free to flights that can cross a continent; so I was meant to morph from babe, to gangly miss, to woman who must break free from binds of self-doubt and condemnation to soar where wings of hope and purpose may take her!

I didn't start this blog to do anything more than share my thoughts, but I hope that if you are reading this, you see that whether you are a caterpillar, in your warm, constrictive cocoon, or soaring above to new heights and lands you haven't yet seen; that you, as I have, experience the joy that comes with knowing that this stage is for your good.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Secret Identity

You know that every superhero has a secret identity, right? So why not super-mom? It's almost as if we've been programmed to have that secret identity in public and then we wonder why in the world we get lost in knowing who we are sometimes. For a long time, I have wondered what people would think about the real me. You know, the no-mask, no Sunday clothes, no teacher's books and heels, real me.



Thanks to a good friend of mine I was recently challenged to look at myself the way God sees me. Have you ever done that? Not that sitting-in-fear-of-condemnation-and-my-righteousness-is-as-filthy-rags view, rather, the one that allows you to see that God's thoughts are of YOU!!! He loves YOU!!! I hadn't done it in so long that I couldn't even remember what it felt like to be truly loved and not just brought to my knees in fear of a holy God. Don't get me wrong, GOD IS HOLY and I am flesh, weak, sinful and undone without Him... but His thoughts are ever toward ME, just as I am!!! I knelt on the floor and cried as I prayed along with my friend and felt things I hadn't felt since my youth.

And this is what I saw. His calla lily, beautiful, pure, full of joy and a song. That's what I am to Him! I love the song... "wonderful, beautiful is what you see when you look at me". It had been a long time since I felt that in my walk with Him. And now I am overwhelmed by the feeling that only His love can bring me. See yourself through His eyes!!!! It is BEAUTIFUL!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

You give love a bad name...



Remember that song? Jon Bon Jovi in the '80s... what can I say, nobody's perfect. Anyway, it popped into my head this morning after mulling over the early morning events of my pastor-husband receiving a phone call from a man who has long battled a crippling addiction to alcohol. My husband had already left for Saturday morning prayer meeting, the kids were all still in bed, and I was up enjoying the quietness of a sunny, Saturday morning and thinking about what a job my husband has. As I judgmentally wondered about what name this man is portraying for Christianity itself it was as if God said, "But do you give LOVE a bad name?" Hence the song reference, and if you know me well, you know I have a song for every third sentence. And so I snickered a bit and talked with God for a while as I made my breakfast.

Giving love a bad name? Me? No, ya think? You see, I was happy to see this man's wife leave him. Yup, happy. I could sleep knowing that there would be no injury to her that night, no crying ball of degraded flesh in the church office that week. She was free of him, and I was glad. Not really the pastor's wife's typical stance on marriage, but I couldn't stand to see it anymore. Years have now passed since the initial separation, and every time it seems that their lives are getting along fine separately, another hit comes. He's drinking again, stalking her, in the hospital for his alcoholism treatment... and on and on. So, really, what kind of name is that for Christianity? Why shouldn't I be concerned for Christ's name?

I can only know that my husband does the Christian thing. He tries to help, encourage and love. I love too. I love the wife. She is such a dear friend and a help to me every time I have a need. So, hey, I love. I love the lovable.

As I sat pondering my husband's actions and analyzing his thick skin and amazing heart, it hit me. Whether or not this man is or is not a Christian, my husband is. I am! And this man needs someone to say, "God loves you. Only he can heal you, help you, and turn your life around." At what point does God stop loving him? Because I sure had a stopping point. The moment he abused that woman I love so dear, it stopped for me.

It's overwhelming to think that God's love is unconditional. Do we really know what that word means? I put the condition of sobriety on my list. God doesn't. Man, I must have a long list for requirements of "lovability". I guess He's just teaching me again today. I'll be knocking off another stipulation and trying to love more fully. I want to give love a good name, for God is love!

Friday, May 21, 2010

WORDS



I love words. I love to read, listen and learn. The pages of old books like the one I'm reading now are enchanting to me. I get lost in a good book. I have had to stop "pleasure reading" while at school because my class could run a muck and I'd be content to be reading alone at my desk, lost in the world of words that so beautifully paint a picture for the mind's eye.

Yet, the fascination does not stop with a good story. I have been pondering the depth of words lately. This book I have photographed is an old book with yellowing pages. It was discarded by a library. Its copyright is 1964, and it's a book about some of the greatest leaders of the 20th century. A little presumptuous some might say, but by the time of its writing, the 20th century had seen two world wars, and the change of a wide, vast world into that "small" world we know today. And the words are strong. Fascism. Communism. Revolt. War.

Words... how deep, and at times, how shallow. Even the small decisions of the men in the 20th century dictated the way we live our lives in the 21st, to some extent, and the words they lived by were so strong. I wonder what words we live by sometimes. As Christians we live - or should live - by the words given to us by an almighty God and yet we waste our words away on silly insults, gossip, criticism, and many other "fillers", as I like to call them. Why?

No answers from me. Just "Why"? I wonder why, truly. Is it that hard to search to the depths of our vocabulary for a reason to say something actually worth saying? I'm just wondering. I listen more than I talk, just out of habit. I am content to let others have their say most of the time so I can analyze away in my true intrinsic fashion. But I have opinions, thoughts, and contributions that seem so obscure at times that I often wonder if I'm crazy to think that some things are worth saying and others are just not.

I'm just sayin'.... :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Keeping score



I love baseball. Growing up in a baseball town I could hardly escape the excitement that the spring season would bring. The sea of cardinal red under a clear, blue sky is still an enchanting sight to me. As a child, I remember climbing the long ramps of the old stadium and getting more and more excited as further and further up we'd go - all the way to the nose-bleed section. It was the best seat in the house to me. I was at a baseball game, and I'd eat up every minute. But there was one thing that we would always do upon entry to the stadium. We'd get a score card. My father would stop after taking just a few steps inside and buy a 2-dollar piece of paper. I never really noticed or cared what it was when I was little, it just became a "tradition".

As a teenager I thought it rather comical that my dad would not only buy that score card but religiously mark each strike, foul, hit, run and play in each and every inning. It was his way of enjoying baseball to its fullest. As we would all be standing, shouting, and cheering for our team, dad would stand to see the play he needed to record and go on completing his records. He never shouted or jumped up and down. He'd stretch his legs at the seventh inning and even sing along with tune we'd all belt out with pride. But his joy was in the mechanics of the game. As I was swept into a magical world of baseball bliss, he'd be in his world of intricate detail. And they meshed well.

I recently had an epiphany. I've become the holder of my own life's score card. Every hit, I have marked down, every run that seems to plow me over, every strike that haunts me, every foul that hasn't gone my way, I've got proof. It's all stored in that secret file where I've been keeping score. I haven't left it to my Father, no. I'm keeping a record of it all.

It does not surprise or astound me that once again my own father would paint a lovely picture of what my Heavenly Father is to me. He is the keeper of the score card. The intricate plan that He has for me is never left undone. Each inning of my life is recorded, each tear stored. He can handle it just fine. No hit goes unnoticed, no foul play against me ignored. He's got the record and knows the outcome of this whole thing. I've taken that for granted.

So today I have relinquished that card. The record keeping of how many times someone's wronged me, spoken falsely of, or even hurt me openly - I'll let Him keep score. The hits and misses, the victories and failures all left in His care. For I have now realized that like it or not, intentionally or unintentionally, I am on the score card of someone else's life. And if we all leave it in His care and trust that He will bring His plan to fruition in our lives, we are left to enjoy the game, as He keeps an elaborate record of the goings-on of our lives.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Through the eyes of others

In my creative writing classes the other day, I gave an assignment where everyone had to be in the same, small space - our school courtyard. They had five minutes to walk around and then we all sat in a circle to write about the one thing that inspired us. Each thought was different. It was astounding. Even though I knew the purpose of my lesson, I was still blown away at the variety of thought involved. I will share mine and then a few of the other thoughts.

My Mother

Yellow flowers
Sweet Kisses,
Pinches and caresses,
That's my mother.
Goofy smiles
Contagious laughs
Sandals and long dresses,
That's my mother.
Silly giggles
Excited shouts,
Cluttered, organized messes,
That's my mother,
And I love her.

And by the way, these little flowers whose name I do not know, are lovely paint holders! If you tear this plant at any part - leaves and all - it holds a lovely yellow shade of "juice". It's a fun activity for the kids to stamp, draw, and paint with the plethora of yellow juice from this fun plant!

Some of the other thoughts were these; I am summarizing the thoughts of my 4-5th graders.
- The brick grill by the wall reminded one student of the time he went picnicking with his family.


















- The lone dandelion next to the tall, strong tree reminded a girl of little David next to a strong giant Goliath.




- The mud splashes on the white brick in the form of a snowman were a reminder that winter passed and spring is here. ( I couldn't get the picture for this one to turn out to see the mud, sorry!)









- The white flowers fluttering down the blossoming tree remind us that the "snow" of spring is fresh and warm.










- The garden flowers of yellow and purple are reminders of a beloved mom and grandma.




And my personal favorite and these are basically verbatim from a 10-year-old:
- The thorns on the rose bush remind us of Jesus' crown of thorns. We are like the rose, we live and die because of his sacrifice.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lest you fret...

I have shared my blog with a total of 6 people. Yup, 6 of you lovely ladies have the address to my "deepest thoughts" and yesterday was no exception! I was thinking about highlighting my hair. And then I had doubts. To highlight or not to highlight? Whom shall I ask? I know! My online friends... but wait... posting highlighting questions online, are you serious? What are you thinking? As if, Shelly! Who would even care, silly girl? And that is where my thoughts of highlighting basically came to a halt. I have formed this comfy cocoon in which I rest peacefully with the realization that most people could really care less, and if I don't stick my head out there in the big wide world, it has much less of a chance to get clobbered! So, there you have it. Nothing very deep, just hair woes, if you care to know! And I know you do, so thanks... remember baby steps for me. I'm getting more and more used to the thought that you really are out there! :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Nevermind

I was thinking of something today,
As if it mattered greatly.
Musings,
Thoughts,
Wonderings...
Just me and my mind,
As usual...
To share or not to share?
Not, the choice for me,
As usual.
I'm trying...
Getting there slowly.
Baby steps for me, folks.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Memories...


I took this picture when at The Museum of Computers and Technology in Paris. It was a run-through for me, practically. See, I'm thankful for all the computer technology of this day and age, really, but I am so NOT a computer geek. However, there is a man in my life who is. In 1983 my dad came home with a computer, okay the year may be a little off, but it was in the early 80's, nonetheless. We had Atari and Colecovision and whatever else was new and innovative back in the day. My dad was not only intrigued, I'd say he was a little obsessed. I guess OCD wasn't diagnosed as such way back when. Good thing I at least know the name of my ailments - my dad was oblivious, poor guy. So, as I sauntered through this museum to quickly make it to the next on my list, this computer caught my eye. I can almost guarantee you that one much like this one (if not exactly this one... my dad would be the type to not throw it out and donate it to some guy wanting to preserve such a rich piece of modern history) was sitting in my front room as a grade-schooler. Since it has been more years than I wish to recall that I have lived near my parents, anything that reminds me of them stops me dead in my tracks. The color yellow, the smell of brewing coffee, a computer that would fill half a room, an old book, and just a pair of eyeglasses can take me back to those memories of my sweet parents. I cherish each one. I live too far away not to live in the past a little... and look forward to the future, to the day I will embrace the ones I love so dear again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Growing



Spring is just in its beginning stages here where I live. I always enjoy the growth and the life that comes from a deadly winter, even if it means that I suffer with strained breathing, itchy eyes, and all the symptoms that go along with the budding beauty of this season. What I appreciate the most about spring is the color. I love color! I like many colors, but my favorite has to be the many hues of my beloved purple. These buds look bluer than in real life, but the periwinkle shade would in my mind lie under the classification of “the purples”. From the lilacs that permeate the air with their fragrance to the deep shades of irises that line spring gardens, I love it. I always seem to notice purple flowers wherever I go. I act as if God made each one especially for me. Yes, I am that self-absorbed! I love them. I just want God to know that if no one else noticed these buds today – I DID!!! And I love Him for it. You know what’s even cooler, though? My ugly sins didn’t make a difference in his loving me today, even though it took a purple bud to make me notice him. He always notices me! It is a humbling thought to know that he created me exactly as he wanted me, and that I can come to him just as I am… because it’s not a really pretty shade of purple, folks! I wonder what color I am in his eyes...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Michal, the Mother



I love my children. I love their kisses and sweet notes, their laughs and giggles, their silliness and even their mistakes. I love the fact that I am called "mom" by three amazing human beings. I love holding them close at times and at others watching them test their "wings". I love being a mother.

Though Michal was barren, we see her privileged to have the role of mother. This is the last time Michal is mentioned, 2 Samuel 21:8. I cry every time I read this passage. Let me give you the story, in short. At this point, there is a famine in the land and the Lord tells King David that it's because of Saul. Apparently, Israel dwelt peaceably amongst the Amorites but for some reason, Saul decided to break that peace. The Gibeonites mentioned in 2 Samuel 21 are the ancestors of the said Amorites. David goes to them and tells them that he realizes God is punishing the land because of the broken promise, and he seeks a way to appease this wrong-doing. What they demand is astonishing. 7 sons of Saul. They want revenge. 2 Samuel 21:7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD's oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. 8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:

Michal was mother to her sister's children. I don't know what happened to Merab and her husband, Adriel, but Michal became the mother of her 5 sons. Those sons became the sacrifice David gave to the Gibeonites for the wrong of their grandfather. Disturbing, puzzling, unfair, and gory as it may seem, it's how things were done. And Michal in one day had nothing. 2 Samuel 21:9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest. This always depresses me a little. How did Michal die? What did she ever do again? The only time she is mentioned again is in 1 Chronicles where they reference her reaction to David dancing in the street when she hated him for it. Is that all she was good for? A lesson in what not to do?

I imagine she was a strong, amazing woman with a big heart. A heart that would open her loving arms to the children of her sister and raise them. A woman who loved, was wronged, and chose to be stubbornly bitter and not forgive, but direct her love elsewhere... and that was taken away too. I can not say that I know what pain it would be to lose a child, or be betrayed by a husband, but I have felt wronged. I have been falsely accused and lied about. Every time, I have built a wall of defense and unfortunately even become bitter. But for all the good Michal must have done (remember she saved David's life, took in her orphaned nephews, and who knows how much more!) she held on to what she believed was her right, and lost it all. I hold on with gripping force so many times. It's hard not to. I wish there was a formula for an alternate ending mentioned in the Scriptures because that's what I'd mention now! But since there's not, I'll just say that this concludes the study I've done on Michal, a woman I feel I understand completely. I pray that I, Michal, will find that path leading to liberation from the nasty wrongs I face, and that you, Reader, would find your path of freedom as well.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Michal, the Queen


I'm not sure if it was custom for kings and queens back in Bible times to give masked balls, but it's what I think of when I think of the life of royalty. I guess it's due to an interest in the history of Marie Antoinette and other such figures. However, the wearing of "masks" is something we all do, isn't it? How many appearances must Michal have had to keep?! The next time Michal appears, her love has turned into disdain. Second Samuel chapter six shows us a Michal who instead of rejoicing over her husband's triumph, ridicules his dance of joy before the Lord. David was victorious in bringing the Arc of the Covenant back into its rightful home! What an amazing feat! Yet, Michal does not rejoice with David. She mocks him. Se wants him to feel the pain she does. It backfires, as it often does in life, doesn't it? She is punished. 2 Samuel 6:23Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death. This punishment seems severe at first glance. I would have been much like Michal, I think, and would have wanted to see David suffer. But, there was one problem. You see, David was a man after God's own heart. Was he perfect? No. Are any of us? But Michal not only mocked David, but she despised his offering of praise to the Lord. I personally believe that is why God chose to punish her as such. I think that God loves women and has given us a unique position and an extremely powerful influence in this life, so I can't bring myself to believe that God is being unjust here, even though my heart breaks for Michal. I think that God would have listened to a prayer of grief from her, even a complaint of the unjust way she had been treated, but instead, she took it out on her husband, and mocked his service to the Lord.

I wonder if there could have been a turning point here. I know myself and if you've read the previous posts you know that I am convinced my parents had it right when they called me Michal, because I have been outraged while reading this whole story at times. It's only when I began really searching for the meaning behind it all that I saw that Michal's sin was unto the Lord, as all sin is, really. And the rights that I think she had are really not her rights at all. I can't say I would've done any differently, but I can wonder at what would have become of her, and how the story would have changed had she found a way to cope without becoming bitter.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Michal, the Wife


Michal's choice was her husband. I Samuel 19:11Saul also sent messengers unto David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David's wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain. 12So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped. 13And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth. 14And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick. 15And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him. 16And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster. 17And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee?

Michal lied to her father about David threatening to kill her, and saved the life of the one she loved. We then do not see Michal appear until chapter 25 when we are told that she was given to Phalti to wife. As women in a society where we are emancipated, it is so hard to fathom this concept. However, she now found herself given to another man. I have often wondered what kind of man Phalti was. His name means "pillar", so I think he must have been a strong man. He must have been influential since the king saw fit to give him his daughter to marry. I wonder how long Michal was married to him. One thing I do know is that she is not mentioned again until II Samuel chapter 3 where we read that David has at least 6 wives by this point, and "there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David." It had been no short period of time. Theologians could probably tell you the number of years, but I won't venture a guess here.

So, here we are, years later, Michal is the wife of a man named Phalti, her father has died, her first husband was about to become King of all Israel, and he demands her return to him. I have often been puzzled by this. Michal must have been beautiful, sweet, and desirable for David to want her back. But there was a problem... 2 Samuel 3:15And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish. 16And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, Go, return. And he returned. Both men wanted her, and she had no choice but to follow orders as any woman in her day would have to do. The fact that Phalti followed her weeping must have been hard for her. I think she must have started to turn that love she once had for David into hate, as there can be a fine line between the two, and this must have been the point where she started to resent this man she once called her love. At least, that's what this Michal (yours truly) would have done. I'd start construction on a wall of protection so as not to get so hurt again, and let apathy have it's way in a relationship. We see this happen with our Michal, David's wife.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I am Michal

I have decided to open my blog with a recent study, and kind of an introduction to who I am. My name is Michal. It’s not a name I go by, unless on legal documents, but it is Michal nonetheless. Mary Michal, actually. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers were named Mary, so I was never intended to be called by that name, it was merely a formality, if you will. So, it was my middle name that was left. I was named after King Saul’s daughter and my brothers’ names are Jonathan and David. My mom and dad just love the story of King David and our names reflect it. I suppose they didn’t wish to name my sister Merab for obvious reasons, so she is the only sibling without a name that reflects this amazing story. For years, I hated my legal name. You see, everyone calls me “Shelly” as if you pronounce Michal as you would Michelle, and it’s just who I am… I always left Michal far behind until someone dared ask my middle name, and there would be a long story attached.

As the years passed, I began to like my quirky, unique name and would sign my legal name without the shame I would feel as a youth. But there was always something that bothered me. Every time I would hear the name Michal in a Bible study or read about her example in a book, hear of her in a sermon, or just have a discussion about her in Sunday School, she was always used as a bad example. I would cringe just a bit, knowing who I am, and I became determined to see who it is this woman really was. These are my findings. The further I delve into this woman’s life, the more I realize that my parents had it right. I am Michal. No, our circumstances aren’t the same, I am not experiencing the same life she did, but her actions show a sentimental, head-strong woman with whom I can completely relate.

My next few posts will show a bit of what I have learned from my own study. I pray it will be helpful to someone else along the way.

Michal, the Princess


Michal was part of a royal family. I Samuel 14:49 tells us who King Saul’s three children were. It is the first mention of Michal in the Scriptures. I can only use my vivid imagination to think of what it would have been like to grow up as a proper princess. Since my daddy always treated me like a princess, would call me that at times, and spoiled me as much as his finances and time would allow, I fancied myself a princess often, as I believe most little girls would. But this was for real – real riches, real kingdoms, real fame. She was the daughter of a King.
If you are interested in further study, read I Samuel 14 – 18.
Between the first time we see Michal in chapter 14, and the second time we see her in chapter 18, much has happened. King Saul, her father, has disobeyed God and the kingdom is going to switch family lines. A young shepherd boy, David, is chosen and anointed to become the next king, and that same shepherd boy was the only one brave enough to slay the giant Goliath. There is a covenant made between Jonathan, the rightful heir to the throne, and his best friend, David.
For the man who slew Goliath, the hand of the King’s daughter in marriage was promised. Merab was the older sister, so her hand was to be given before Michal’s, but now Saul’s jealousy of David had taken over his logic, he intended to kill David, and gave Merab to another. Saul then finds out that Michal loves David. I Samuel 18:20 “And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.” I have often wondered why Saul was pleased. Maybe it was because he knew that he could still save face, so to speak. He had promised Merab, but since she was now given to another, he still had another daughter to give. Surely he was thinking that his daughter’s loyalty to Daddy would out-weigh any love she had for David. It must be a strange feeling for a dad who has raised a little girl as his princess to see her transfer some of that love and respect to the man she wishes to marry. I am thankful that I have never had to choose between my father and husband, but Michal did and her choice was clear.

Inspiration and Introduction


Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

This picture inspires me. It is simplistic beauty, life amongst the cold and frozen “death” that surrounds it.

I remember being in a creative writing class in high-school and having my teacher tell me that I just needed a little inspiration. I have thought of him often throughout my life and the things that inspire me when I never thought they would. I have been inspired. My best friend encouraged me to start a blog and I have long considered myself too busy for one, but lately another friend of mine has inspired me to open my heart without reserve. I don’t know that it will ever be interesting to anyone, and that’s what’s kept me from it, to be completely honest, but right now I want to do it for my own good. Selfish I know, but true. I need to just see my thoughts in black and white sometimes. No suppression until explosion for me anymore… just freely expressed words and thoughts that make me who I am.

So, what this blog will become, I sincerely do not know. I suppose that at times it will be silly, superficial, and fun. At others it will most likely be deep and emotional. I will share pictures and activities sometimes, and at others be completely allusive, but that’s just because I am me – the happy-go-lucky teenager, turned into the confident, head-strong twenty-year-old, turned into that 30-something preoccupied mom who would rather close the door to her bedroom, cuddle up with the kids on her bed, and sip flavored coffee than be slapped in the face with that thing we call “real life”. But the door always opens… so why not be inspired by the things that wait to be discovered?