Monday, November 28, 2005

"If it die, if it die, if it die."

"The words that were left indelibly in my mind were those of Jesus just before He went to the cross, quoted by Walker as the only plan which ensures success: 'Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit' (jn 12:24). Each time I hear or read those words they come alive for me because Thomas Walker and Amy Carmichael both staked their lives on them, willing to be a corn of wheat, embrace what is contrary to human nature, and be -buried- in South India in order that others might find the true life. When, by my own faults and indifference, or the distractions of the world, I have drifted from this changeless principle (and imagined that I might -avoid- the deaths and somehow be fruitful) the words have rung again in the ears of my soul, -if it die, if it die, if it die-."

-Elliot, "A Path Through Suffering," pg 42

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Good enough to requote

There were a lot of people praying for us during that week. Once I learned the result I was scared to announce it because I felt empty-handed to encourage their faith on my behalf, because the answer God gave was "no." But in every other aspect of these circumstances my life has been covered with a "yes." How can it not be a miracle for us to know God and learn to accept and embrace His ways, a triumph of the circumstances, and the answers in God's graciousness of your prayers? Praise God for He has honored me greatly to suffer with Christ.

I don't know how much yard work you have ever done, but this last year I have had some experience with pruning. The first thing I was advised to do, once they were in the ground, was to immediately prune off any new shoots. It is an amazing thing to cut back rose bushes on a regular basis so that the plant might remain healthy and bloom even more.

And when I imagine the young or sick rose bush in my mind and yet I see that beautiful, single stalk of a rose, and consider cutting it off or leaving it, it all makes sense....

Elliot said:

"Vines must be pruned. This looks like a cruel business. Perfectly good branches have to be lopped off in order for better branches to develop."

--Certainly my lost baby makes God appear to be cruel. How innocent and perfect are babies, that we mothers would by circumstance be forced to know they could have been ours, but, just won't be?

"The life of the vine is strengthened in one part by another part's being cut away. "

--This is the secret for understanding why God redirects parts of our talent and time away from childbearing and childraising.

"The rank growth has to go and then sun reaches places it could not reach before."

--We are living, ever-changing beings just like a rose plant, and we never stay static in our relationship in Christ, either. Our services and devotions are either growing more authentic, or less, but never staying the same. Blessings that once drew us close to Christ because it made us eager to trust Him can soon turn into slaveries that draw attention to ourselves and away from Christ, which it was never intended to become. Thank God that we have not been charged with the responsibility to have the wisdom to know for sure what kind of affect each devotion can really make in us. God intervenes to lead to ensure our overall sanctification.

"A life's work--what to us is a perfectly good branch, perhaps the only "important" branch--may be cut off."

--This sentence just emphasizes the reality of how perfect our design was made, and made to be fulfilled. It is so wonderful, that blessing of being allowed to be a mother. It's undeniable and it is certainly God-given, a beautiful miracle, just as the beauty of a rose.

"The loss seems a terrible thing, a useless waste."

--Yes, it does feel like a pointless waste. No one can fathom why God would allow a woman to -know- what she could have had and then not let her have it. It appears there simply can be no good in it.

"Was it not work given *by* God in the first place, then given back to Him day by day?"

--I already know that it would be in my heart to constantly offer up and dedicate my children for the Lord's purpose, so why not my unborn ones as well? If I somehow denied Christ the opportunity to be sovereign over my children's fate, and tried to hold onto them in defiance and fear, I can easily acknowledge that I would not be treating my children healthily, nor would I be modeling my faith in Christ for them to grow up in. In fact, I'd want to take every moment to ask Christ in as the mediator between me and my child, to make up for all the inadequacies I have in loving them as they deserved to be loved. Christ certainly has received my children already.

"Things that once were counted as gain we now count as loss"

--Does this mean that if God had granted that child to us to bear and raise in our life, our relationship with Him would have suffered? That our ability to transmit Christ to the world, which includes the children we know we would love, would have failed more or less? I don't know, but I wonder if that is what He sees.

I thank God, if this is the case, that He has not let me endure in a defiance by letting me choose to have multiple children even though I'd know my devotion to Christ would have been compromised. Instead He has been merciful to intervene to spare me of the pain that would rise out of a life of not knowing Christ, which I would spread to my children and my children's children. May that never happen.

Chapter Four

"Spiritual Pruning"
[Chapter 4, Elisabeth Elliot's book "A Path Through Suffering]

'In God's management of the affairs of men suffering is never senseless. We can find plenty of good sense in the metaphor of pruning found in the gospel of John.

When Jesus was about to say farewell to His disciples, He was straightforward with them about what they should expect when He was gone. They would face much suffering. They would be hated as He had been. They would be persecuted. People would follow their teaching as little as they had followed His. They would be banned from the synagogues and even killed by those who believed that killing them was a special service to God.

Jesus explained His reason for giving them all this bad news: it was so their faith *in Him* would not be shaken. Faith in anything less would certainly collapse, but a strong and settled trust in who He is would not be altered by anything that might happen. It was for them to continue His work, represent Him on earth, be the very bearers of the divine life when the Word Himself was taken away.

And how were they to do this? They would have to dwell in Him--abide, remain, make their home in, stay--sharing His life, drawing His strength. The secret was explained to them not theoretically but analogically. Their relationship to Him was that of branches to a vine. The life of the vine is the life of the branch. It has no other life. As long as the branch remains in the vine it is nourished. Cut off, it dies.

"Apart from Me you can do nothing." In the spiritual realm there is no other life but Christ's. In Him we live. Without Him we die.

Vines must be pruned. This looks like a cruel business. Perfectly good branches have to be lopped off in order for better branches to develop. It is a necessary business, for only the well-pruned vine bears the best fruit. The life of the vine is strengthened in one part by another part's being cut away. The rank growth has to go and then sun reaches places it could not reach before. Pruning increases yield.

God hears the prayer we make to renew us thoroughly. He begins the process of directing us toward His commandments. Some old twigs and branches had to go. When we ask for the hallowing of our souls, the correction of our thoughts, and all the rest, we are asking that the life of the Lord Jesus flow freely in us and develop His graces in us. Ought we then to be surprised that spiritual pruning will be required? When it happens, we need to submit humbly, trusting the skill of the Gardener who prunes us with tenderness.


A pastor's wife said, "When one witnesses a work he has poured his life into 'go up in flames' (especially if he is not culpable), is it the work of Satan or the hand of God?"

I looked where I always look for clues--to the Bible, and I thought of Moses' repeated efforts to persuade Pharaoh to let the people go, of Jeremiah's pleas for repentance, of the good king Josiah's reforms, rewarded in the end by being slain by a pagan king, I thought of the beloved Son, despised and rejected. "The world, though it owed its being to him, did not recognize him. He entered his own realm, and his own would not receive him."

Satan was certainly at work in every case, but he was not the only one at work. When a man or woman belongs to God (when the branch dwells in the vine) it is the hand of God at work when the pruning comes, regardless of the second causes. A life's work--what to us is a perfectly good branch, perhaps the only "important" branch--may be cut off. The loss seems a terrible thing, a useless waste. But whose work was it? This is a question I have had to ask a number of times about work which I had thought of as my vocation, my *life's* work, apparently thrown on the brushpile.

Was it not work given *by* God in the first place, then given back to Him day by day? Jesus said God is the Gardener, the One who takes care of the vines. The hand of the Gardener holds the knife. It is *His* glory that is at stake when the best grapes are produced, so we need not think He has something personal against us, or has left us wholly to the mercy of His enemy, Satan. He is always and forever for us.

So we let go our hold of things we held very dear. Things that once were counted as gain we now count as loss, and out of what seems emptiness come beauty and richness. "Those who receive ...God's grace, and his gift of righteousness, live and reign through the one man, Jesus Christ" (rom 5:17). The branches "live and reign" through the vine.

But oh, the pain of that pruning process! No matter how thoroughly we understand its necessity, it comes hard to human flesh and blood. Yet the hardness is softened (believe me, it *is*) as we concentrate on the illumination of the truth the Lord has given us.

We can always look at the experiences of our lives in the light of the life of our Lord Jesus, who "learned obedience," not by the things he enjoyed, but by the things He suffered. Was there suffering in His life? A great deal. Losses? All kinds. Was it *His* glory that was at stake? No, His single aim was to glorify His Father, and He did just that, every moment of His life. The work He did is the work He saw His Father do. The words He spoke were the words His Father had given Him. The purpose of His coming was to fulfill the will of the Father. His death was because He loved the Father. There was no thought of Himself.

There is nothing by which death can hold any of His faithful servants, either. Settle it, once for all--we can never lose what we have offered to Christ. We live and die in Him, and there is always the resurrection.'

Focal Point

Here is the centerpiece of the wisdom God gave me three days ago, which made me tremble....

In John 1:10-11, it says about Christ:

"The world, though it owed its being to him, did not recognize him. He entered his own realm, and his own would not receive him."

I was struck by it... the sacrifice God made all the time by that choice of being not only God but also a man while on earth. Why didn't He come only as the Almighty?

I know two things about Christ's expression of himself in relation to us, thinking off the top of my head. He is our creator and sustainer. Imagine how Christ would have been fulfilled in His heart if He was understood as the creator while he was still on earth 2000 years ago. But the disciples didn't get it; when they were in the boat and a storm came, they asked afterward, "Who is this man who can control the sea?" Imagine the love the disciples would have absorbed if they knew that their Creator was there to provide for them in the storm. Imagine how differently the outcome of the boatride would have been if they already knew that before they began. They could have been more intimate and joyful with Christ, and Christ would have been fulfilled in His heart.

I also know that Christ describes Himself as being our groom as we are His bride. Jesus talked often in the gospels about how today was the time to celebrate as long as He was on earth, to drink wine while the bride and the groom were together. Jesus had a passion to be with us, and it is implied that He would have been fulfilled to have us be passionate and united with Him. Instead, we wait to see this fulfilled in His and our hearts; when He returns we will be united as we always longed to be. For now, we wait.

Christ has particular features to His character and attributes. He is not made but He is a God of purposes, and His heart He has made known.

I spent 7 months trying to conceive this child, which for me seemed so long. I started to resign myself for no baby and that is when I became pregnant. I am ready to love this child. I was made by God to love my children. This is the way I was made, it is an undeniable aspect of my makeup. In the same way, Christ is known for His undeniable attributes. He is the creator of the world, the sustainer of the universe. He is the one who loves us and longs to be with us as the groom is to a bride. Wasn't He denying His very being by letting the expressions of His attributes be left... unfulfilled? Wasn't this a service of worship offered to honor the Father who appointed all this to happen? He entered His realm, and we as women have entered our realm of loving our conceptions. Yet He remained not recognized. And when we surrender our chance to keep our baby and live with them for the length of their life, we also leave our qualities not recognized. To let His makeup be unfulfilled was the path for Him designed from eternity so that He could point out His hope in heaven and a God who was worthy of everything.

Can I allow God to let my makeup be unfulfilled?

This is a question that deserves a lot of honesty.

If so, how much?

In what ways?

In every way? Am I to understand that surrender of my fulfillment is meant to be in inversely correlated to what is already supplied to me without my effort to secure, equaling to a life of interaction that is totally at peace with all whom I meet??

Do I trust Him to carry me through all these multiplying potentials of little and great unfulfillments? He and I, together designed to fulfill a romantic purpose in the realism of heartbrake? I would surely hold to Him as my soulmate if I walked this path; the only one who understands me, the only one who walks before me and beside me.

I feel utterly weak, and intimidated, and yet bold and ready.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


I've been going through this cycle of feeling despised of myself. And then I experience deep blessing. And then I'm very quickly back to despising myself.

It's kinda scary, because I realize that what I prayed on Nov 2nd, God answered:

"But when I am down and out, then I am assaulted emotionally to surrender all. To hope in Him, with all my soul.
If only I could always be so full of shame--it'd be to my Christian benefit."

Meanwhile I spend some of my time in this cycle being utterly contemptuous of myself and crying. But I am finding a new pathway in it.

I think I am becoming a realist. Formerly, then, I would have been a romantic.

I think I still am a romantic, just confined in the binds of the ouchiness of sin, which happens to be all around.

I have said publically that I love sacrifice. Wow; now looking back on that I am amazed to think that God was listening.

A couple of mornings ago I was following my husband driving the girls and our dog in the minivan. I remember under what pretense we purchased this vehicle--the pretense of a growing family. I was pregnant with Elizabeth at the time, but even under anticipating her birth we were sure that we were going to have more children than just two. Still, I always felt like the buy was a little bit too arrogant of us. I didn't want to be one of those people who buy a huge expensive family car when they didn't have the need for it. I remember thinking at the time, "When we have our three children, then I will finally feel justified in owning this car."

As I was driving behind them my elder daughter Grace was waving and turning her head back, and at every light I could see her little hands making "I love you" signs to me. I felt pain thinking of the missing hands, knowing of my third baby I will never have the pleasure to be my child on earth.

Later that same day God imparted powerful wisdom to me regarding my circumstance. One of those deep blessings I have found while seeking Christ instigated by my new self-loathing. God knows that my healing comes through wisdom, I don't know why; but that is what means so much to me: words. Words I can live by, hope in, rest upon. These words God gave to me were so powerful that I literally laid in my chair trembling, for about two hours. My breathing was heavy, and my heart was full of peace and purpose.

And you will not believe what I happily prayed to God at some moment in it: "God, I am ready to sacrifice more. Anything you want, Lord, you can have it."

I meant it, at the time.

But since then I sway in thought of my offer. I'm scared at times. For some impetuous reason I decided to take my daughter on a walk with me up to the corner video store last night at 7pm. There were two shootings on that very corner within the last 9 months. How could I be so dumb? Did God allow this because something is going to happen tonight, I kept worrying?? The night before thanksgiving, when people are drunk and crazy?

I felt a tremendous urge to hold onto my children, to not allow God privy over her life if it meant their harm. And I am still tossing this around tonight.

This amazing thing struck me this morning. What was next to be minimized in my life? Certainly something would be. God started to open my eyes. I am beginning to see that the next sacrifices I will be experiencing are those that have to do with aspects of my relationships with those I love. And things I permit with myself. For instance my eating habits. Food was not permitted to me like it should have been, another words I was obligated to earn it of which I often failed, when I was growing up. In college I started eating huge mounds of food. Thank God that I am only 20 pounds heavier than I was before I left home, and that entirely of being pregnant and nursing twice. It's not really a weight issue as much as it is that I know better. God is already working with me in this. It's been an off-limits realm in my heart for God, up until now. And there are two or three different other issues which have been long-overdue for some attention to start doing something about.

My heart has been experiencing the extreme. And my life is following suit.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The chicken or the egg

Which comes first? Is it my suffering which caused me to surrender my life in trust to Christ, or was it my surrender because of inspiration of the depth of His love, which caused my longing to suffer?

I can victoriously say, that as for *this* time, to God's full credit, I did not merit a jarr in the rib cage in order for Him to get my attention.

Back before the turn of the year from 2004 to 2005, I read a book I already recently quoted called "A Path Through Suffering" by Elizabeth Elliot. Not that any book should create in anyone a following and a devotion in any likeness to scripture; however, at the end of her life which was victoriously walked in intimacy to Christ, she simply has the wisdom to put the pieces together. Why should I not try and gleam, to listen, to sit at her feet and absorb what she gained at a price??

This book was able to inspire me with an all-consuming love and trust for Christ. It was so inspiring that I was able to say to the Lord back then a year ago, "Lord, I am ready to go anywhere you want. No matter what that may look like. Would you let me suffer for Christ?"

And now everyone I imagine is thinking it is time to commit me to a mental facility. It sounds crazy. But you should have seen the love and peace I saw through the illumination of that path....

Here is some evidence. God had inspired me through the peace of his love, to take a step of faith and leave my friends at LDS Digital. And then it was the next day that I found out there was something wrong with the baby.

This is the blog entry I made five days previous at Fellowship Hall, where the seed had been planted by God in a more abstract way which got flushed out in prayer that Sunday:

I consider giving up my presence with them a challenging sacrifice. But then, I was handed another, even harder one, the next day! I started to reconsider. I wondered if maybe it was still His intention for me to follow through with the sacrifice of the optional one when there was a harder one that was not optional. But it was. And in now two weeks I have walked simultaneously away from two of my loves. I never knew I could do either one of them; actually, I know that I can't. God is giving me a miraculous amount of strength. Praise the Lord.

These sufferings were not hurled at me because I am lazy in obedience and caught unaware of God's movement. Isn't that reassuring? They were meant as a fulfillment of what is in my heart, planted by God and prepared for me and in me.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Does it hurt? Yes.


That's how I felt during that week when I was praying. Terrified because I still can't believe that the answer He will give is not dependent on me, at all, terrified that the answer would be no and I'd be lost in confusion, terrified it might be yes and God would appoint a glory through my life that I wasn't ready to transmit.

This week of post-news has been utterly different. I'll tell you what has been hard for me.

I'm not ready to give up my baby. I want to make my case still. I can't accept that the verdict is ironclad. By Thursday I was finally forced to start some of my normal daily routein. But I felt like a traitor to leave this resting period, because it's kinda like I am disrespecting the memory of my child. Like I am giving up the fight. Like I am saying, 'It's okay with me that you won't be here.' I can't endorse that everything is normal. I can't move on from this place without giving my baby a chance.

I want to know and to hold my baby. How fundamental a right I am being denied here. I'm not afraid, because my love is bigger than that. I actually had the chance to hold my baby, but I lost that chance because I just didn't know it was there when it was. I replay that in my mind over and over, and I wish I could take it back.

I was with my nieces on Saturday for the first time since this happened. And like the millions of almost unbelievably blessed moments in the last 5 years, I once again marveled at the perfection of four little girls running around with their complementary cohort, beautiful and unique, silly and creative. I even felt my new niece/nephew move in my sister's 36-week old tummy. Yes, there is a baby in there, and I am so happy! But how many times am I going to miss mine from now on to forever? I could almost faint at the prospect of such an endurance that I cannot fathom giving.

I have come to points where I hate myself. You know it's funny because you'd think that at a time when I was so helpless to stop my own suffering that my conscience about my shortcomings wouldn't have been turned on fullblast, but it has. Wow. When God lets me see my sins in the last 2 weeks, it is like a slap across the face. I feel obliterated. I am *so ashamed* for everything I do. I cannot see the good at all in everything I am trying so hard to give away good to those who matter.

Thank God for God.

Regarding this point where I feel so deeply ashamed over myself, that was when I just was so desperate and exposed with God. And I asked Him to help me, but the help I knew I needed went so wide and so deep that I almost couldn't put words to it. When I woke up the next morning to carry out the next day's acivities, He gave me an answer to a prayer I have been waiting for for a long, long time. I had the most blessed day. I was able to do everything I felt was important and leave nothing out, and I was able to create and participate in an attitude of peace, joy, and prosperity with friends and family who gathered together. You may think that's nothing to call a miracle over, but it was something I have sorely prayed over for a long time. And He just let me experience it. I believe He wanted to show me that it was okay to cry and cry out. Because He wanted to show me the depth of His comfort and His riches.

Christ said He would cause division in the family. But He also said He would provide a family that was blessed too. So God is taking away one part of my family, and letting another bear deeper in perfection and lovingkindness in action.

If you have bore with me through reading my hurts in this post even though they are not a pleasant topic, if you have loved me enough to be unafraid of examining my sores, then I count you as a true friend to me indeed. Thanks.

A Clean Severance

"Botanists say that across the leaf-stalk there forms in autumn a layer of thin-walled cells, termed 'the layer of separation.' These press and tear the older cells apart, and become disintegrated in their turn, till without an effort the leaf detaches with a severance clean and sharp as though made by a knife. The plant sentences the leaf to death, and the winds of God carry out the sentence...."

In old testament times suffering was seen as evil. In the new testament, suffering and evil are no longer identical. Think of the shock the crowds must have felt when Jesus said that those who mourn, those who are poor and persecuted and have nothing are *happy*! How can He say such things? Only in light of another kingdom, another world, another way of seeing this world. He came to bring life--another kind of life altogether. And it is in terms of that life that we must learn to look at our sufferings. I have found it possible, when I see suffering from that perspective, wholeheartedly to *accept* it. But it takes a steady fixing of my gaze on the cross.

If the cross is the place where the worst thing that could happen happened, it is also the place where the best thing that could happen happened.

To be 'saved' requires a severance from the former life as clean and sharp as though made by a knife. There must be a wall of separation between the old life and the new, a radical break. That means death--death to the old life, in order for the new to begin.

Many who come to Christ have a long, sinful, and destructive past. The 'layer of separation,' the cross, stands now between us and our past. We have to make up our minds to part company with it, not by struggle but by an honest act of renouncing it in the name of Christ. Sin no longer holds authority, 'exacting obedience to the body's desires. You must no longer put its several parts at sin's disposal, as implements for doing wrong. No: put yourselves at the disposal of God, as dead men raised to life; yield your bodies to him as implements for doing right; for sin shall no longer be your master, because you are no longer under law, but under the grace of God' rom 6:12-14.

When Satan the accuser scorns that act of renunciation later and taunts 'Hypocrite! You didn't mean it! You never *really* put yourself at his disposal or parted company with us at all!'--run to the foot of the cross, our safe shelter and abiding place.

The further we travel on this pathway to glory the more glorious it becomes, because we are given to understand that every glad surrender of self, which to the young Christian may seem such a morbid and odious thing, is merely a little death, like the tree's 'loss' of the dead leaf, in order that a fresh new one may, in God's time, take its place.

(Chapter 2 of "A Path Through Suffering," by Elisabeth Elliot)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It's just God--doing it.

My child is gone. There is a lot of hurt left ahead of me.

For the moment I am at peace with the outcome. I had so many phases in these last several days. Earlier in the week I was hopeful and also scared. Later in the week when I started bleeding I became angry, because I did not want to give up my baby. And now I am blessed because God turned the outcome in a way that I needed in order to be at peace.

I am a sinner. When I sinned I invited death into my physical body. That is the consequence for sin. Now in terms of the spiritual my death has already been made up for because of Jesus hanging on the cross. But the physical--even though later He will fully restore all life and all sicknesses and infirmities because He has overcome death, for now it still reigns in our lives.

God sometimes answers prayers for rejuvenation of life--resurrection; healing. But most of the time He does not. He largely and ultimately allows death and pain to happen. He wants me to know that our hope should not be in amassing perfect conditions here in this world but in the qualities and realities of a Kingdom that is alien to our world.

Sometimes God is plainly merciful, because He steps in and does not let us suffer by reaping what we sow. Other times He does not interfere with this spiritual rule of cause and effect. Which is why I was so terrified. In the general sense, I am to blame for my baby's death, I realized. Because, when I first entertained sin I gave permission for death to enter into me. And as my LDS friends would remind me, God has given me free agency--I must take full responsibility for that choice; it is not God's fault nor was it his work to see me fall. Now it is very tempting to think that my relationship with God is cause and effect; imput and output, like some cosmic vending machine. You do this, He does that. You don't do this, He doesn't do that. If it is really my missteps which cause me to suffer, then how can I ever stop blaming myself?? I'd never be free from guilt. I knew I had to rip myself out of this depression and guilt by rejecting the idea that I am earning my blessings, that I am earning my righteousness and protection. Really it doesn't make any sense. If it were true that God protected the righteous from suffering, then there would be no poor believers, and there would be no sick believers, and there would be no dying believers. But that's not true! In fact it is these very suffering groups of people who God says He comes to defend and abide in power with.

It also says that God disciplines those He loves. It says that Job was a blameless man who obeyed God, when calamity struck his home and family. The bible has told me that the Lord has appointed sufferings for me to carry in my body to display Christ to the world. He wants me to count it joy when He allows suffering and trial, because He is producing wisdom and love in me that will enable me to offer Christ to those who walk through it after I. If God has these things foreordained for us, as He knows all the days of my life before I live them and He knows the words I will speak before I say them, then does it not matter at all what I have done wrong? Are my sins unrelated whatsoever to my sufferings? Are sufferings simply blessings (disguised by trial and work) randomly and unassociately applied to my particular life??

This also I cannot believe. Not because it doesn't feel good to me, because it does. But I don't think that this is completely balanced either. Why? Because deep in my own conscience I know the things God has set out for me as I am marching on in life, and to me there have been too many instances where it has been uncanny that I am reminded of my sins as they relate potentially to my sufferings, *in a way which causes me to be repulsed and never return to that way of life again.*

As I have said before, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit if we find ourselves able to obey the commandments of God because we have been made sober or newly minded about our sin.

God does want to use my sufferings to remind me of the destructiveness of sin. God does want to point out the horrible ways of living which lead to death in its kinds. God does want sin to become so utterly sinful through an examination of how I measure up to His holy law, in a harsh, honest light.

Can I really be held and protected by grace, completely forgiven, completely absolved of my guilt, yet also made sober in detest for my sins and a corrupted way of living?

Is this what a balanced perspective looks like??

I am finding right now that once again it all comes down to relationship. He just wants my heart! He uses blessings and He uses sufferings in the perfect amount at the perfect moment, to draw me closer in reliance on HIm. To give me a defense and a strength to walk a righteous life. He knows exactly what I need to turn and believe. And He delivers it through my circumstances. Just as He uses prayer and the answer of either a Yes or a No (or wait), to build a deeper reliance in myself upon Him, He is doing the same with my conscience about my sin or my innocence in sufferings.

It is true, then, and it is proven, that my religion is not man-made but God made, for He is *not letting me get stuck* at any moment for any reason to walk away from Him:

"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you." Ezek 36:25-29

It's just God--doing it.

His salvation is so real.

Somehow what I do matters somewhere mixed in with everything. But in the overall picture I am completely and utterly reconciled. It's absolutely not my yoke, to see myself become clean.

I love my baby. And I love the Lord.

I dedicate this post to all the people who have prayed for me. The Lord knew best to bless my heart by giving me a little window in on wisdom, and also giving me the wisdom of some godly counsel, because that's my personal way that I receive healing and rest in Him.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Why prayer??

Jesus says, "Ask."

How can He ask me to ask?


What difference can it make?

After all, who are we talking to, if not a sovereign; God? He answers to no one.

I've always tripped up on that predestinational thing, you know; that everything is set out before us by an all-powerful, selective, all-knowing God. How can I even begin to pray when I already know that I never know what is truly best?

When I was a college student and had just freshly turned over Lordship of my life to Christ, my counselor Kathleen told me: "prayers are like adding a rock to a pile, and as you pray the pile gets bigger and bigger, and then God can't ignore it." While I agree with the timing for answers to prayer that she indicates here, I wonder if there isn't something missing in that point of view.

We know that prayer is not a work. No one can evoke God out of obligation. Not even prayers in the name of Jesus Christ evoke answers by sense of obligation, but as a gracious gift in a promise.

But we also know that it is clearly commanded! Jesus spent so much time praying to God--again, why?? He was already God, to boot. But just in the example, prayer must have done something important to cause Him to spend so much time in it.

I have been getting the notion for awhile that prayer is submitted to the factor of *relationship*. Our prayers are somehow perfectly not being answered until our hearts have been purified in the request, and not being answered until all of those around us that we see and who see us, are also perfectly aligned to see the answer. Would it really be best for me to get what I ask for, at this moment? Or, would it turn into something rotten and fall apart because I am still too spiritually immature to handle it with sobriety?? God knows the perfect timing. God knows the perfect timing for when an answered prayer will not increase animosity or disbelief for those who see it, but reverence and humility. It's all about the glory of God. He somehow, amazingly, orchestrates all of us together perfectly so that we can be there with the right frame of mind at the right moment. I am absolutely confident in my experience of this phenomena.

So if answered prayers are all about the relationship, then what new can I see in His command to "Ask?"

Are there not times that we are being confronted by God's askings? Another words, there are the times when we are in His shoes, in the sense of making requests.

David makes the prayer in the Psalms:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting." ps 139:23-24

The Lord said, if you love me, follow me. He was asking us, for something, something very important to Him.

Yes, He does have a heart.

Hasn't he asked us for many things? Does He not want to see our love... by our choice to give Him what He asks for?

Just like I want to make a difference to God's heart, He wants to make a difference to my heart. The Lord wants me to see how meek and generous He can be, maybe even as David said: "See if there be any offensive way in me."

We are both talking to each other like persons who are really alive, exploring and learning and testing. I can learn so much about the faithfulness and kindness and forgiveness of Christ, simply by being brave enough to ask Him for the things my heart needs. And if you think about it, wasn't God also brave when He made requests for His important values, too?

"The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain." gen 6:6 Yes, He asked us for His important things and we did not answer Him with any "Yes"s. I am so grateful that God is the better guy. He won't do to us what we did to Him.

And knowing this, I can be even excited to pray. To ask Him for the things I really, really need. And trust Him. Because He will answer them perfectly in accord for the heart in my request. Whatever will encourage me on to trust Christ, this is how He will answer my prayer. Because He wants to show me Himself, and show Himself in me to others. That's relationship.

Friday, November 04, 2005

sing a song of boy

With a boy there's no blouses
or bows or ribbons
With a boy there's no silly tap shoes

With a boy there's no hairdos
or stockings or purses
With a boy there's no emotional issues

--Improv; Ben P.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Tonight I started bleeding.

I called my doctor and he said that it is often normal.

I want to treat myself normal, because I don't want pregnancy to get the best of my attitude. I was dancing for about 45 minutes and that's when I noticed the blood, but the doctor told me no strenuous exercize. So I'm back to feeling like I need to protect my slovenliness.

It sure scared me.

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