Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Restorer, do your work.

Romans oft quoted verse when one of us is going through a rough patch: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

So many, many times in my life it seems like when I am learning something specific, the information comes at me from a variety of angles and sources. And it seems to me that THIS is the Lord working all things for my good. I'm blown away by the attentive, gentle care of the Lord this week and by His great ability to speak to my heart in ways that I cannot miss (Good thing...I am often a bit thick.) From three separate sources He has spoken a word: Restoration.

I looked up restore on

re·store (ri stôr′)
1. to give back (something taken away, lost, etc.); make restitution of

2. to bring back to a former or normal condition, as by repairing, rebuilding, altering, etc. to restore a building, painting, etc.

3. to put (a person) back in a place, position, rank, etc.

4. to bring back to health, strength, etc.

5. to bring back into being, use, etc.; reestablish, to restore order

I was BLOWN AWAY by those definitions! Ask me later about this privately, but every piece of this definition spoke specifically to me in regards to the losses of the past year! It is as if these definitions were written to apply to me. Hmmm...

Silly me, I often live my life saying, doing, thinking things that do not reflect the Lord's immense, loving care for me. When I have times like this past week, where He speaks so obviously, with such clarity and continuity, how can I not daily live like Jesus loves me dearly? How can I have those days where I wonder at His love? How quickly I forget. And how quickly I choose to live by my feelings instead of by the Truth that He loves me with an Everlasting Love.

This is one of the highest reasons I see to motivate me to look to Him daily. When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they were allowed to gather enough manna for only one day (except on the day before Sabbath, when they could gather enough for two days...Exodus 16:1-5). Obviously, we need to be reminded daily of His care. Seems as if it takes no time at all to lose sight of our True Source.

Last Sunday, our speaker told us that this is a sure sign of a self-righteous life: going through the day without connecting with Jesus. And I have to admit that in the crazy confusion of life, the stress, the busy-ness, I often do not take time for and with Him. And how very many, many times have I determined to do better, to try harder to make time with the Lord. I'll get up earlier. I'll stay up later. I'll try to get away by myself (Like that ever happens in a household of 6 people in a home with only 2200 square feet!). It is dawning on me that I need to quit trying so hard on my own and start making a U-turn, repent and let Him change me!
Lord, I give up, let the restoration begin.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A right time to hold on and another to let go...

After some B-E-A-utiful spring weather, we are trying not to complain about a blast of winter here in the heartland of America. BRRRRRR. Is spring springing or not? The tulips and daffodils and forsythia and magnolia are so lovely...but here in the season of spring that is just beginning (according to the calendar), we have a mini-season of winter. We know it will not, cannot last, but it is hard to endure anyway.

One of my favorite Sara Groves tunes, "Less Like Scars" goes like this:
It's been a hard year
But I'm climbing out of the rubble
These lessons are hard
Healing changes are subtle
But every day it's
Less like tearing, more like building
Less like captive, more like willing
Less like breakdown, more like surrender
Less like haunting, more like remember
It HAS been a very hard year. Thank the Lord, our family is doing well, but some other relationships that have been part of our lives FOR YEARS seem to have been ripped away from us. We are in a big transition and doing our share of floundering about, grieving, wondering why. I'm thankful that we are not going it alone. I'm thankful to have a new view that God is good and faithful all the time and that we humans are all fallible!
Jesus promises me that there is a time, a season for everything. What is a season? In my mind, it is a period of time with a beginning and an end. I am ready for this season to be over. Seems like we begin to see the end and some other crazy thing happens to drag out this 'Series of Unfortunate Events'!

What is my 'job' while we are in this season? Am I responsible at all for bringing about the conclusion of this difficult time? While thinking of and praying for a friend today I saw that my job is to obey today, to draw close to the Lord, be a seeker of Him, to allow myself to gratefully be in process. His job is to deliver me from this 'captivity' (Jeremiah 29:13, 14). His job is to bring to completion the work He has started in me (Philippians 1:6).

It is a mini-winter season - it had a beginning, it will have an end - hopefully in the not too distant future. Signs of spring are showing, but we may have to endure some intermittent chill before winter is finally a season of the past.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Por que Dog Blog

What a weird name for my blog you say? Here is the story behind it.

As long as I can remember, I have been at best a tolerator of pets...there have been times when I can say that I have HATED having pets, in particular, dogs. We always had dogs growing up and much of my family of origin liked pets a lot. Maybe I was jealous of the attention other family members gave the dogs...I don't know. Whatever the reason, I did not like dogs, had no desire to own one.

We got our first dog, a German Shorthaired Pointer, about 6 years into our marriage. David did 99.9% of the care-taking of Beau. He was a beautiful dog. Dave spent a lot of time with him and taught him to be a very good boy! However he did have his share of neuroses and quirks: afraid of tile floors, scared of the oven door, the vacumn cleaner, thunder and he did lift his leg on my dad once - in the house. GROSS. He was great with the kids, though. He loved playing fetch - he'd play forever. They'd hide his eyes and hide the ball in our house and he'd use his super-sniffer to find it.

Even though he was such a great doggy, I had little appreciation for Beau until he had to be put down in September of 2001. (One week after 9/11) He had had some seizures that scrambled his brain. The vet had us give him some antibiotic, thinking he had some kind of infection, but the seizures continued. One night, as Beau came out of a terrible seizure, he seemed very disoriented and acted like he did not know us. He had a frightened look in his eye. He growled and started to chase Elly. David chased down Beau, calling his name, which seemed to snap him out of it and no harm came to El. (Thank you, Jesus!) But we decided then that we could not have a dog in the house that we could not trust. We had him put down that afternoon.

Our family was devastated by his death. Dave, Dan and our girls cried for weeks. Literally. I had a hard time seeing them all in such pain. I suggested privately to David that we get a new Shorthair for Christmas. He knew I had no deep love for dogs and was shocked I'd suggest such a thing. I thought maybe getting a new pup would distract and comfort our grieving fam. We gave each of our kiddos photos of our new puppy (that we had picked out a couple of weeks prior to the holiday...) on Christmas morn and went and picked up 'Bella' the day after Christmas in a town about an hour south of us. For our kids, it was love at first sight.

But what were we thinking???? Bella was cute, but grew fast and it seemed like no one wanted to pay much attention to her, to teach her. I think everyone just wanted Beau and maybe we expected Bella to act like him automatically. She grew up to be a pill, always trying to bolt out the front door and impossible to catch when she did escape. She'd tree a squirrel in our backyard and bark and yipe interminably at Mr. Squirrel. She would not come when called. Oi. I must say, I hated that dog. And I let everyone know it. I'm embarassed now to say that when she'd tree a squirrel and would not come in, I'd chunk rocks at her and yell at her. (it didn't do any good, of course)

Fast forward to a couple of years ago...I was preparing to take Freakezoid Bella to the vet. She was a stressful mess when we'd go to the vet: so excited to see other animals and very hard to control. I was commenting to our kids how much I did not want to go. Bree asked why I hated Bella so much. I replied that I hated her for many reasons, but that day, I hated her because I was about to spend $100 plus bucks on a dumb dog that I would so much rather spend on my kids! Bree's reply: "Mom, I love Bella so much that when you spend money on her, it is like you are spending money on me."

Ouch. That was a shot to the heart. I felt terribly guilty! And I started asking the Lord to help me at least like the dog. I asked often.

A couple of months later, I noticed that when I would enter our home from the garage and ascend our steps to the main floor, I began to look forward to the greeting Bella would give me: the wagging hiney, the happy dance. She had always greeted me this way. I just didn't notice it before. I was astonished that even though I was not a big fan of hers, she did not care...she greeted me as if I was her best friend. (Major spiritual lesson in there somewhere...)

Also, she started sitting at my feet in the evenings when we'd all be in the living room together. I was puzzled by this, but it was endearing. Pretty soon, my family was astounded that I was inviting Bella to sit with me on the couch. I think I was amazed too.

It dawned on me one day that I was starting to like her. The Lord was answering my prayer, changing my heart over a period of months. This was not a small thing. I had HATED that dog! When I asked God to help me to like her, I didn't think He would actually do it! (O, ye of little faith!) A short time after this, our kids started commenting what a relief it was to them that I was liking Bella. I had no idea how saddened they were that I didn't like her.

During this time of change, my sister, Bone, and her family came to visit us from California. They brought their dog, Petey, a white boxer. I really liked Petey...such a nice temperament. That got me to thinking about boxers. David and I both talked at length about getting another dog. We looked in the paper every Sunday for many months for ads for boxers. To make a long story short, we bought Easton in September of 2006. Below find a photo of our new baby! Isn't he cute? He is almost two now and (I never thought I'd say this...) he is a joy.

I think this Doggy Love is so significant to me because I am changed because I prayed! Jesus heard me. My kids continue to comment about how they notice me enjoying the dogs. And I am emboldened to ask the Lord to keep changing me. I have a new hope in Him. I see His work and I am amazed.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Writing used to be a staple in my life...I used to grieve the days and weeks that I did not journal, thinking that all that was not recorded of my life was lost! I'd like to make blogging a part of life nowadays for a few reasons. One, I LOVE to write! Two, it has been a toughie of a year, complete with the onset of some scary anxiety attacks (who, me?...yup!); I'm hoping that blogging will be one type of therapy for me. Three, I'm hoping to be less of a private share more, maybe learn more, maybe be a better friend. I'm thankful for this very convenient outlet and looking forward to dividing and hopefully conquering some of the battles in my mind, with the Lord's help, of course. When I am weak, He is strong!