Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just watch it ...

... this skit, I mean. Thanks to Lynn for posting it on Facebook. I don't know how long it will take me to "get" this, to understand it, to "own" it. But I'm going to keep trying until I do!

God's Chisel

You don't have to buy it -- the preview is what I saw and it's pretty powerful. Hope it makes an impact on your life!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Wilderness

So, I guess you can tell by my title where I've been lately. I don't know what's happened, but I have been less-than-inspired lately, not "feeling" God, dry as the lake bed near here is going to be if we don't get some rain soon. Yeah, I feel like I'm in a spiritual drought just as much as Central Texas is in a physical drought.

The thing with droughts (at least spiritual ones) is that they tend to feed off themselves. Not inspired? Won't spend much time in the Bible. Not "feeling" God? Probably won't pray as much, or it will be more rote and less from the heart. And so it has been with me.

Plus my husband is going through "yet another" emotional/spiritual/whatever crisis. I'm worn out from trying to figure that all out, trying to be a good, supportive wife when I really want to run the other direction screaming on his bad days. I love him, I really do. I just don't have anything in the reservoir these days.

So I have been praying for God to help me out of this wilderness. I know I don't absolutely HAVE to "feel" Him in my life, though being a person who runs on their emotions, it would sure be nice! But I want to care! I want to care again about absorbing God's Word into my life, into my heart, into my brain, rather than just reading the Bible and saying, "Okey dokey, I can check that off the list today." I want to care about TALKING with God instead of just sorta handing Him my prayer request list and saying, "There Ya go, Lord, can You please take care of these?"

Some of this is, I think, health related. When you're exhausted because you didn't really "sleep" all night, but rather spent it doing all sorts of weird stuff in an alternate universe, it makes it hard to concentrate on anything, much less on things you know you're supposed to be really getting something from. But part of it is, I suspect, a lack of real effort on my part. I'm not going to any Bible studies, not going to Sunday School (we have praise team rehearsal during that time, although it's really supposed to start earlier), none of that. That helps me concentrate better than just a quick Sunday sermon (no matter how great) and the "daily reading" thing.

I'm glad God is a God of grace. I don't really know how to feel that a lot of the time. I'm too busy thinking how disappointed with me God must be. He probably just wants me to rest in His love for now. Wish I knew how to let go and do that!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Simple Faith

For Father's Day, I gave Bjorn a CD by Johnny Cash called "My Mother's Hymns." (Aidan took him to a Gilbert & Sullivan play, which they said was hysterical.) The listening came after I'd been reading about someone's spiritual journey to Christ, away from Him, back to Him, and now kinda in limbo. And I tend to be surrounded by "deep theological discussion" with an intellectual husband, books about God, various other places, etc. I think it's almost an epidemic these days that we (myself included -- heck, I started this blog, didn't I?) have this compulsive "need" to dissect everything about our lives, including our walk with Christ.

I think it's important to examine our lives, our difficulties, to know what we think and believe and why we think and believe these things.

And yet it was SOOOOO refreshing to just sit and listen to these simple hymns tonight and reflect on the days when people just lived their lives with Jesus already integrated into them, just by virtue of their love and gratitude to Him.

One of the songs on the album is "He Reached Down." It's not one I was familiar with. But this is the one that really struck me -- just the simple beauty of telling how lost I was and how Jesus reached down and found me. Not that I reached up to Him, but that He reached down to me. The core and crux of it all. So simple. It made me wonder why we spend so much time dissecting, hashing and rehashing point after theological point. I guess it's because that's the way the World does things, and in order to reach the World we have to be able to meet them on their intellectual level. But, I don't know. The simple love of Jesus never changes. It was what the heart of mankind needed 2000 years ago, and it's still exactly what we need. His love reaching down to us. Pure. Simple. (And, as an aside, that's the best way to reach people for Him, I suspect -- not that I'm an expert, because I tend to keep myself in my little protective shell -- but it does make perfect sense. I don't really know anyone who was ever "argued" into the kingdom of Heaven, although my intellectual husband did take "convincing." Still, without God's love showing through me in ways beyond the wife-husband, or even friend-friend relationship, I don't think all the "convincing" in the world would have mattered.)

I really do get weary of all the arguments, discussions, this-vs-that, pontificating, etc. I know I participate in it, have my opinions, think I'm surely right, and want so badly to convince everyone else of it -- right? I mean, I think a lot of us do. But what an awesome thing it would be to just FOCUS on JESUS -- to "turn [our] eyes upon" Him, as the old hymn says, to just spend our days living for HIM instead of trying to figure out this thing and that thing and arguing and convincing.

And I think living for Him is just as simple as going about our lives with the awareness that He is always near, with an attitude of thanksgiving to Him for all that He has done for me, for reaching down to me; and keeping focused on Him instead of on ourselves. Wait, did I say simple? That last thing is very, very hard.

Well, anyway, it all boils down to grace in the end, doesn't it? Grace for salvation, grace for everyday living, grace to see the brokenness in others that makes them do things and behave in ways that cause me to want to judge them.

And even though it wasn't on the album, I am soooo grateful for God's "grace that is greater than all my sin."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Experiencing technical difficulties ...

Well, not technical difficulties, technically. More like spiritual difficulties. Or maybe it's just authorial difficulties. Whatever it is, I haven't been particularly inspired of late. As you can tell.

Although I will tell you I have not been a Very Good Girl lately. I slandered my husband all over my Facebook page (no, I will not be your friend if I don't already know you). I had the world's worst attitude about helping with VBS. I have been a control freak, a Diva Princess, an Emo Queen, a spoiled brat, a judgmental snot ... oh, and I was sick for a couple of weeks, too.

*SIGH* I really do wonder sometimes how God puts up with me, why He doesn't just point His finger at me and go "poof! you're outta here!" and fry me like a fly in a magnifying glass-focused sunbeam.

Then I'll be listening to the Christian stuff on my MP3 player and come across this one by the Newsboys:

"Great is Your faithfulness to carry on with a sinner like me;
Oh, and great is Your faithfulness, turning shame into victory.
Your grace has never let me be,
Your mercy's waiting patiently.
Oh, so great is Your faithfulness to carry on with a sinner like me ..."

Yeah. Amen, brothers. Amen, and amen again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Religion vs. the gospel

So, no, I'm not going to do a huge treatise on this topic! It's just that I've been reading this amazing book called The Reason for God by Timothy Keller. I highly recommend it, whether you're a believer or a skeptic or something in-between.

Anyway, my pastor (who is having my guys read this book for their Monday night "theological session" they have with him) recommended I read the chapter titled "Religion and the Gospel" first. He said, "This chapter is you and me." He knows me very well, since I've had a few very long talks with him before when my brain was having spiritual issues ;-). And he was right! I read it this morning while I was at the doctor's office "waiting out" my allergy shots (I have to sit there and wait for 30 minutes after I get them so they can make sure I'm not gonna have a bad reaction and cark it in that time -- of course, I could still have a bad reaction HOURS later and potentially cark it, but, understandably, they don't really want me to live at their office!)

The chapter was amazing. I mean, so blatantly obvious to people who "get" grace. But to those of us who struggle with it, it was just ... amazing. To start with he describes the difference in "religion," which is working to please God, to rack up points or whatever, to earn our way into heaven. And grace is what Jesus did for us. He called that the "gospel" in order to differentiate. Okay, yeah, I know all that stuff. "For by grace are ye saved, through faith; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9 (I did that from memory -- I mean, you grow up in an evangelical church, you can rattle that one off at the drop of a hat.) I totally believe it ... for salvation. But what about for my daily life? And here I'm mixing book and Stacy for a sec ...

I have a very hard time accepting that I don't have to WORK to please God, i.e. to garner favor with Him, approval, acceptance on a sort-of "sub-salvation" level. Okay, yeah, I'm accepted for salvation because of His grace. But then after that, don't I have to prove to Him what a sincere, serious Christian I am? Don't I have to have all the little checkboxes checked off on the "good Christian list" in order for Him to truly approve of me, to really love me the way He loves, say, Billy Graham? And then don't I have to really show the world what a good Christian I am (presumably so they can admire my Christlikeness and want to become a Christian themselves)? Don't I need to "come apart and be separate" by having my pro-life bumpersticker, by verbally disdaining all things that are opposed to my viewpoints and way of life, by shunning the "other" (as the book puts it)? "Oh, God, thank you that I am not like those stinkin' pro-choice jerks ..."

Hold it. That sounds kinda familiar. Like ... hmmm ... oh, yeah, I know. Like the Pharisees. The ones who thought they had to have all the checkboxes checked, and knew it was impossible, so they vaunted themselves up above everyone else in order to feel good about their religion. (And I used that word "religion" intentionally.)

Oh, boy. Hittin' a little close to home, here. This is my hugest struggle with my faith. The difference between legalism and grace, between "pleasing God" so He'll like me ("tui moment" as they say in New Zealand, translated as -- Yeah Right), and obeying because I love my Father and enjoy doing things that please Him.

I am accepted already! There was a line from the book that I'll see if I can remember: Something like, "I'm so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, but He loves and treasures me so much, He was glad to do it." Whoa. Seriously? I mean, yes, my spirit believes that with everything I have. But my head cannot get itself even remotely around that. I'm accepted just ... just because of God's love for me? It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that I go to the "right" church, that I sing on the Praise Team, that I'm pro-life and anti-gay, that I hold myself "above" the culture, that I disdain atheists and liberals, that I'm a good Republican (albeit pretty middle-of-the-road), that I don't drink and I don't swear, and I don't even like most of what's on TV these days? I don't get POINTS for any of that? Jesus loves me regardless of my score?

I know that doesn't mean that being pro-life is Pharisaical, or that keeping myself as unsullied by the culture as possible is a bad thing. But the thing is, I find myself counting on those things to get me God-points, in addition to the very real convictions that lie behind my stance on them. And it makes me very judgmental (see previous post). And angry at the world in general. Which is stressful and not good for my health. Because, you see, there's no way in hell (gasp! I used a bad word!) that I can possibly get all the checkboxes marked off! I'm human! God knows I can't do that! That's why He sent Jesus in the first place -- the whole checkbox system wasn't working, the Old Covenant was impossible for us to achieve, all it could really do was point out to us how desperately we need God for our salvation.

So, anyway, I have faced this concept before and marveled at it and held it to my heart for awhile and then let the "checkbox mentality" of legalism creep its way back into my head and heart. But I'm miserable when I do that! I beat myself up, I judge others, I just don't live the life God intended in any form or fashion. So I'm praying that God will help me to GRASP this grace thing once and for all! To understand that HE LOVES ME, period. There's a Newsboys song that has a line in it that says, "He doesn't love us 'cause of who we are; He only loves us 'cause of Who He is." He chose to love me before the beginning of the world, and (here comes a cliche, but a really cool one) there's nothing I can do to make Him love me more, and there's nothing I can do to make Him love me less.

I really need to keep that at the forefront of my brain! (And tattoo it on my hands or somewhere I'll see it alot!)

Well, my brain runneth over, but I have to go pick Aidan up from drama rehearsal in a few minutes, so I'll just leave it at this for now. Christianity -- the GOSPEL, not the religion -- is absolutely the most beautiful, amazing deal ever. And I am so thankful that God blessed me with faithful parents, teachers, pastors, friends so that I am still here, following Christ, sticking it out, enduring. I mean, because, really ... what better deal is there?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Moral Imperative, or plain ol' Judgmentalism?

So, I was going to write about something else today, but then I read an article on the Christianity Today website called "The Good Friday Life," and this became more important today.

Here's the quote I want to go off of:
For the Christian, moral discourse begins by focusing not on the sins of the other but on one's own failures. "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner." It is the publican's humble prayer that is accepted by God, and it is the Pharisee—who is confident of his morality and the other's immorality—who is condemned. Moral discourse begins, as Jesus said, by taking the log out of our own eye.

At the moment I am falling on my face before God and asking forgiveness for being such a HUGE Pharisee in my life! In the name of "Moral Imperative" I am so judgmental! I sit on my throne of judgment day after day calling down fire on this politician's head, or that entertainer's, ridiculing this popular concept or that, criticizing even those I love who don't see the world the same way I do. Oh, God, why do You even put up with me?

I have such a huge plank in my own eye I think I need about four people to help me carry it around! I mean, yes, I know that there are things we must judge, and there are actions we need to speak out about. That's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about being Holier Than Thou about so many things and thinking I am somehow above it all because I am ... I don't know ... somehow "better"? Do I think that I am better than Madonna (who I rank one of the most immoral people around) because I don't sin in the same ways she does? My sin is no less horrid in God's eyes than hers. The only difference is that mine has been covered by the blood of Christ because I was blessed enough to have parents who took me to church as a child, and because I listened to the Holy Spirit's promptings when I was seven years old and accepted Christ as my Savior. I could just as easily have rejected those promptings. I mean, it's a classic case of "there but for the grace of God ..." It's God's grace, not my so-called holiness, that covers my sins and has set me free from the law of sin and death. Anyway, you get the point on that.

I actually wrote a comment on a local newspaper article today sort of "lovingly" slamming the writer who had written how we Christians should NOT celebrate "Easter" because of the connection to a pagan holiday and how we were invoking the names of pagan goddesses when we even said the name. Gasp! She WRONGED me, because she was being so legalistic! So when I read an article, also on, concerning this very question (of whether Easter actually had come from a pagan holiday), and it said that this was a misconception, I couldn't wait to put in a comment that put her "lovingly" in her place! (I promise you, it wasn't as snarky as I'm making it sound, but, still ...) Why did I do it? I'd say about 10% so the atheists who LOVE to circle like sharks any religion article in our newspaper would have to eat many of their own words, but also simply to put her in her place because I don't think like her, because I thought she was being legalistic and "leading others astray"! I was TRIUMPHANT when I sent that comment post! HA! I thought. Shows you!

Oh, Kyrie eleison! Christe eleison!!

This is what nailed Jesus to the cross. My hateful little vindictive judgments. My Holier-than-thou moments. My "Oh, God, thank You that I am not like so-and-so ..." thoughts. And I know I'm not the only one. The "Good Friday Life" article is talking about this mostly in reference to our political activism, and we as Christian Americans are RIFE with Moral Imperatives. But it doesn't matter what anyone else does. What matters is what I do.

Dear God, this is not how I want to be! This is not WHO I want to be! Please have Your Holy Spirit so fill me with Jesus that He pushes ME out and makes me like Him!

Sounds easy, right? A "magic" little prayer and everything is all better? Ah, but God and I both know this is not even remotely that easy. It's certainly not impossible, since "With God all things are possible." But my SELF will continue to want to rear its ugly little head over and over and over again. The dying to self thing ... yeah, that's probably the hardest thing we Christians have to do. I LIKE "self". "Self" wants to be really comfortable and keep on living a cushy life here in my spirit and soul. But Jesus said I have to deny my SELF, take up my cross and follow Him. "It is no longer I who lives, but Christ within me ..." I have the feeling it's going to take me a loooooonnnnggg time to get to that point. But, Jesus, please don't give up on me, okay? It's the desire of my heart, my spirit, my soul to be there. Thank You that You know the REAL me, deep inside, and that even when all the other bits of me seem to drown it out, You still hear, You still know who I really am in You.

You're my only hope!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

God inhabits our praise

So, duh, right? (The title) I mean, as Christians we all know this. But I know I forget it so easily, what it really means. For years I've had people tell me I should play praise music constantly in my house because a) the Devil doesn't like it and will stay away, and b) God inhabits praise, ergo His presence will fill the house. But I've always balked at that suggestion because I don't tend to like praise and worship CDs (you know, like Vineyard or Hillsong or whatever). There is absolutely nothing wrong with them, I just don't like the "sound" or whatever. It's a personal preference thing. So I just haven't done it.

But God has been working on me about it lately, mainly because I know that I and my family are under spiritual attack. If it's not my marriage, the kid has a weird phase. If it's not the kid, it's me with depression or illness (or both). If it's not me, it's the hubster with stress or whatever. And 'round and 'round it goes. As Roseanne Rosannadanna on Saturday Night Live used to say, "It's always somethin'!" So God has been pointing out to me that the Newsboys and Phil Joel have praise songs. And there are lots of praise songs on albums I used to listen to a lot, like the City on a Hill albums, and Tree63, and the Passion worship albums. I even have two WOW Worship CDs from several years ago. So last Thursday or Friday I got on our Windows Media Explorer and made up a Praise and Worship playlist from the Christian stuff we have on there. And then yesterday I went through our CDs and added a bunch of other stuff. It's funny that there are songs we have on CDs that I discovered I loved when we had this very hip worship minister in our church for awhile, and I didn't even know we had the songs! (I clearly wasn't listening to those particular CDs.) So now I have a great collection of P&W songs that appeal to me that I can put on and listen to whenever I want to! And my plan is to keep them on in the house all day long, even if I'm distracted and not really listening, because the Enemy knows those songs are my heart, he knows I mean them regardless, so hopefully they will keep him and his minions at bay.

When I first started listening to them on Friday night while cooking supper, I was so uplifted! Some of these songs I hadn't heard in years, and they had been incredibly meaningful to me "back when". Oddly, the last couple of days I've felt a bit depressed, but I'm not terribly surprised. I'm sure the Enemy is NOT happy about this new warfare tactic. At any rate, I'm lovin' the songs and the devotion they inspire and the good stuff they remind me of! I even borrowed an extra MP3 player my husband had and put the playlist on it so I could listen to these songs in the car. (I wanted to keep MY MP3 player "Newsboys/Phil Joel dedicated." lol)

So that's one of the things that has been helping lately. It also helped me a great deal to spend time talking with my mother on Saturday (the day before the anniversary of her mother's -- my Granny's -- death), remembering my Granny, and especially sort-of rehashing all the junk with the hospital and the situation surrounding Granny's illness and death, all the nightmarish stress we were all under, all the disbelief that this woman, this amazing lady who had been such a rock in our family, just forever!, who had always been the strong one, always been the no-nonsense one, always been the one we counted on to live forever (or until Jesus came back), had become so sick, so dependent, and had died in the hospital instead of quietly in her sleep, like she so deserved. After awhile Mom and I got to the point in the discussion where we were just going over all the incredible things God had done for us through those six weeks, how He had sustained us through our own illnesses and weaknesses so we could be there for Granny, how He had provided for so many different needs, how He had made sure all of her grandchildren had had a chance to be there before she passed away so they could say goodbye (she died the very day my middle brother came up to see her -- the only day he had been able to get free to come). And then afterward how He had sustained us through her memorial service, even enabling me to SING for her service, after I had said I would never be able to sing at a loved one's funeral. And I looked at my mother and said, "You know, in those times when I find myself doubting God's existence, or that He cares about me -- all I need to do is think about how He was with us every step of the way through the crisis with Granny and her death." God even allowed me the special privilege of being with her at the time she passed. It was just me and my Dad in the room with her. It was such a peaceful, quiet passing. As Dad said, "she just stopped." I believe I was there as a stand-in for my mother, who would NEVER have been able to handle that. (Mom was her only child, and they were extremely close.) Plus, it was just a very unique, special thing to be there at the moment my precious grandmother passed from this life into Eternal Life. Not pleasant. Not "happy" by any means. But a special honor, in a way.

Okay, so the whole point is -- God has been there for me so many times in my life I can't even count them. And I am SO quick to forget that! I'm so quick to let the dark clouds -- the fog, if you will -- of my depression obscure the undeniable proofs that HE IS THERE, that HE LOVES ME, and that HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME NOR FORSAKE ME! The song "Great is Thy Faithfulness" just sums it all up so beautifully. If you don't know it, here are the words:

Great is Thy faithfulness, o God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin, and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.


Isn't that the most beautiful song? I know the words are a bit archaic, but it is just such a testimony to the truth of His trustworthiness and, well, faithfulness! My mother has long said this is our "family song," because He has proven Himself faithful so many times in my family of origin. And I'm seeing Him prove Himself faithful in my marriage-family, too. Especially when I pull my head out of my own despair and look at the facts!

Well, the kitties are clamoring for their bedtime feeding ... and my stomach's kinda growling, too, actually! So it's off for a bedtime snack and then, hopefully, a good night's sleep.

Blessings to all ...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Just a quick post tonight ...

There is SO much I want to write about, but it's really late and I don't have time to do everything I want to say justice, so I'll save that for later. It's been a really, really tough week, but God has been working, and I'll just say one thing -- all those people who used to tell me I should have praise and worship music playing in the house were so RIGHT! I tried that on Saturday and it was so cool the difference it made, both in the general atmosphere of the house and in my heart and spirit!

So tonight I'm just going to post my scrapbook layout for the Faithbooking project I'm leading on the Paper Craft Planet site (the group I head is called SHINE Christian Crafters' Challenge). It's a digital layout, which I guess is kinda "cheating" or something at a site called PAPER Craft Planet, but I had to use digital to get the effects I wanted, so, hey, ya do whatcha gotta do, right?

So here it is. The pages are supposed to go side-by-side, but you can't really see them well (too small) if I post them that way here, so the left one will be on top, and the right one on the bottom. The topic is "Struggles and Scars":

That's me about 20 years ago on the merry-go-round at the elementary school where I went growing up. It's a self-portrait, taken during the aftermath/fallout of a 3-1/2 year long relationship with an emotionally abusive boyfriend. Yeah, I have scars from that that are still there today. Probably always will be. Dude was surgically precise with his abuse and knew how to cut very deeply.

Anyway ... that was then. This is now! (Praise God!)

One more quick thing. See this beautiful lady?

This is my Granny. She passed away exactly a year ago today (March 22), at age 95. Such an amazing woman. We all miss her so much! But we know she is totally enjoying being in Heaven with my Granddaddy and, better yet, with her wonderful Savior whom she loved (loves) with all her heart.

Okay, it's late, Aidan's calling for me to come say goodnight, so I've gotta run. More later!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Abraham's faith

Well, it's been a few days since I wrote anything in here! Sorry about that -- it's been a tough week. Becky, I appreciate your comment on my last post. It's all so true! I just tend to lose sight of it sometimes in the fog! (BTW, I always appreciate y'all's comments. Forgive me if I don't get them moderated right away -- I forget I'm moderating and I have to approve them, but I think it's kinda important to moderate this blog ...)

ANYway. So I found a good journal entry from Jan. 24, 2007 when I was doing the deliberatePeople "through the Bible" reading schedule and actually journaling (I'm doing the schedule again this year, just haven't really journaled anything -- sorry Phil!) It kinda speaks to some of what I go through a lot, so I thought I'd post it here:

Romans 4:18-25
Standout verse - v. 18 (in The Message version): "When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he couldn't do, but on what God said he would do." Wow! That's pretty profound -- Abraham's eyes weren't on himself here, but on God. No matter what Abraham saw, no matter what the facts seemed to be according to the "natural" eye, Abraham saw with eyes of faith that God would do as He had promised, no matter how "impossible" it might seem, no matter the limitations Abraham might have in his flesh.

Well, Abba, You and I both know I really struggle with this very thing. I mean, not that You've promised to make me into a great nation or anything, but I'm always so afraid of my own failings, of my own weaknesses, that I don't even hear what You're calling me to do! And that's so silly, because if You call me to something, You're not going to just dump me and walk off. No, when You call Your children, You equip them! You give us what we need in order to fulfill the calling -- we only need look with eyes of faith.

So help me to do that, please, Abba! Help me to raise my eyes above my own limitations -- perceived or real -- and put them on You, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Strengthen my faith, please, Abba. I don't want to miss out on anything just because I'm looking in the wrong place!

I love You!

Well, all I can say to that is -- Amen!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A bit of sunshine

Well, you'll be happy to know that God and I are on good terms again. ;-)

Honestly, I've been struggling a lot these last few days, but I woke up ... not sure which morning, might have been Friday ... just ready to give it back over to Him, tired of being so negative and ungrateful feeling. I wish I could tell you I bounced right back to SuperChristian Stacy (like I've ever been that), but even though my attitude was better, it still took a couple of days. I had a mini faith-crisis last night, but it was actually kind-of a good thing because it ended up resolving when God reminded me of several very special times in the past when He has shown me CLEARLY that He IS, that He loves me, and that the whole Christianity thing is THE REAL DEAL. I always feel so wretched for even having one micron (or whatever is really small) of doubt, but this world these days! It just shouts "there is no God!" at us and hammers us sometimes until, if we take our eyes of Jesus for a half a second, we start going, "Wow, this stuff really is kinda incredible." So last night I was doing the "God, I believe; help Thou my unbelief!" prayer and He sure did! I can't refute the things He has shown me in the past. I just wish I would get another one soon, but I'm grateful for those! Very, very grateful.

I wish I could explain them to you, but they're not easy to put into words. Glimpses of heaven (a feeling really, of the most intense love I've ever felt, just for a second -- I think because He knew more than that would have utterly overwhelmed me in my tiny humanness ... and besides, I was driving); images of His love pouring over my head like rose petals; very, very brief glimpses of His amazing glory. And other things I just can't put words to at all. But they touched those places in my heart and soul that connect with God, the very, very most intimate places of the soul where God lets His children know He is there and He loves us. Sounds really weird and mystical (maybe it is, if looking at it from a human standpoint), but all I know is, it's real. And I'm NOT one of "those" kinds of people.

So, tonight I go to bed secure in the knowledge that God exists, that there is a Heaven and a Hell, that Jesus Christ is the only road to salvation, and that because He died for me and I have accepted His sacrifice and the Truth of Who He is into my heart and soul, I will one day join Him in Heaven. Rock solid, no doubts. The way my heart and soul really know it is if I'll just stop listening to the Enemy and get my eyes back on my Savior.

BTW, I know that I and my family are definitely targets of spiritual warfare -- I guess all Christians are. But it seems like the last few years have been just crazy with it. So if you're inclined to pray for us against the Enemy and his armies, I wouldn't turn you down!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bruised reeds and smoldering wicks

I'm going to post this "old" writing of mine from 2006, not so much because I'm feeling better about life, but because I need to be reminded that He does listen, I do hear, and I'm not always wandering in the desert refusing to be comforted!

This was from January 17, 2006 in my deliberatePeople Bible-reading journal:
Standout verse:Genesis 35:3b
This verse really stands out to me in my readings today, Abba. "...God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone." Yes this is You, my God! You are so good and faithful to always be with me and to always answer me when I cry out in distress -- even if the distress is self-inflicted. You come to me, wrap Your strong, beautiful arms around me and remind me of Your love for me, and then, if I need it (and I often do), You gently, lovingly show me what I need to do to get back on track. How I love You for that! How I love and appreciate You for always being with me!

Matthew 12:20 -- I have always loved this verse about You, Jesus, and it goes along perfectly with what I just wrote: "A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out." I am so thankful for Your tender mercies, for the way that You are so gentle with us when we're suffering, when we're struggling! You don't take us when we're down and crack us over Your knee. You tenderly bind us up and strengthen us. And when "this little light of mine" is just barely there, merely a hint of blue on the wick, You don't get frustrated with us and blow us out completely, but rather You cup Your hands around us and blow Your breath gently on us until the flame is fanned up and burning brightly again. How precious and loving You are! Oh, breathe on me, breathe O breath of God! Breathe on me 'til my heart is new! Take my heart and cleanse every part of it, Holy Spirit! Fill me up again and purify me!

I am a very bruised reed right now, Abba. A very, very dimly burning flame. Please help me stop seeing you so darkly. Please help me see you as I did then, as loving and gentle. Oh, Abba, bind me up, blow the breath of your loving Spirit over me until I can stand again. And, oh, forgive my hurting, accusing heart!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Not a "good little trooper"

This has been a tough few days. I suppose that's to be expected after posting about refining. I got to go to church on Sunday and ACTUALLY SING on the praise team for the first time in, like, three months (I took a mini leave-of-absence because of my sinus issues). It was so awesome! I loved every minute of it, I felt close to God, I sat there and praised Him and told Him I really wanted to make a fresh start and get totally back on track with Him, etc. I meant it. With every fiber of my being. It was such a great day.

And then Monday morning I woke up sick again. Mild fever, achy, totally, completely exhausted, and, of course, sinusy. And I just went spiralling back down into the blackest of pits. And it seemed like everything in my life was just WRONG, not just the chronic sinus thing.

So this week has been a huge struggle. God and I have had some pretty heavy talks (okay, I did most of the talking). I told Him I'm TIRED of being refined. I'm not doing a very good job of being refined, anyway. I'm not sure there really is much silver in there. (Apparently He has a different opinion.) I'm tired of being sick. Not like that's a huge revelation. I'm tired of being a crummy wife because I can't take care of anything when I feel like this ... wait, have I posted this exact same thing before, just a couple of weeks ago? Um, yes, I did.

So this has got to be spiritual warfare. I know it is, even if some of you may say it's just whiney old me! lol

Anyway, I confess to very, very dark thoughts about this world's need of having me in it. I do that from time to time. I would never act on those thoughts, but it takes me quite some time to work through them. This is usually when I do my "yelling" at God. Not actually vocally, but definitely internally. I'm glad that I'm confident He can take it. He got an earful last night. I mean, honestly, sometimes I don't understand why He doesn't just STEP IN and DO SOMETHING. Immediate. Miraculous. Not just about the stupid sinuses, but about life.

And then the morning comes and I feel better. (I'm very grateful for mornings.) Not entirely "all better," but acceptably okay. I still don't understand why God won't just FIX the things that get all knotted up in my head and my heart and make me so depressed. I know there are other people involved ... is it okay for me to want them to change? Do I have to be the only one who does any changing? 'Cause clearly, I'm not doing a very good job of it, here, and I could use some major help.

Whoops ... backtracked. Anyway, as I was saying, I know God knows best. I trust Him to know what He's doing. He's God, after all. He's got the Big Picture, the Ultimate Agenda. He, according to the Bible, loves me. And I've had lots of proof of that in my life. I still have trouble believing it sometimes, but it's true. That doesn't always make me feel all perky and Pollyanna, though. Sometimes His will is tough. Lots of times I just flat don't understand it. ("Just flat ..." Can you tell I'm a Native Texan?) Many, many times I buck against it, chafe about it, whine A LOT, and just really wish God would privilege me with more details than He's given. But in the end, I have to say along with Job, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." (Job 1:4-5)

(I'm not saying that like I'm standing up on a big rock proclaiming it to the world. I'm saying it like I'm sitting on the rock with my head in my hands, HAVING to say it because I know there is no other way for my heart to respond.)

I love God. He is MY God, my rock, my salvation, my fortress, my deliverer and my sustainer. (Despite what I feel sometimes, though, I really do hope He doesn't slay me!)

Friday, February 27, 2009


My apologies for being AWOL for the last several days. Between illness, busyness and just plain LIFE, I haven't really had much reflection time, or even felt much like finding old stuff.

And I will confess that even today's post isn't a Stacy Original. My niece sent it to me in an e-mail, and although I'd seen it before several years ago, I love it and thought I would share it. Maybe some of you haven't seen it yet and would like it as much as I do! I first read it when I was going through a period of severe depression and was struggling with why God wasn't stepping in and DOING something. This, plus the "Footprints" poem really helped me see that He wasn't abandoning me, and that He did have a plan for my life, that even the blackness that I was in at the time would serve its good purpose.

Malachi 3:3 says:

"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study, and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it." If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

The picture is a very clear picture of how God deals with His children. Silver is most often taken from lead (from what I read on the Internet), which is a lot like us being taken out of the world, or out of our old selves. In order to do that, to get rid of the lead and get the good stuff, it has to be burned at very high temperatures. So, in order for God to get us out of the world/our old selves, He has to pour the heat on. I don't imagine it's a process He enjoys any more than we do, knowing that it's painful to us, and difficult -- except that He knows what the end result will be and exactly how long we have to go through the fire. And in the end, we, like the silver, will be able to reflect the face of the Refiner.

So, yeah, that was incredibly obvious, but it made me feel all wise and "rabbonical", KWIM? lol But hopefully this image will help someone who's going through a period of refining to realize that it's not for no good reason. And God really DOES know what He's doing. (And in looking on the Internet for the above picture, I realized that I am FAR from the first person to post this story in a blog, or to illustrate it, either! lol)

I would like to take a moment to thank Jamie and Mel for your recent comments on my posts. Especially the ones concerning the materialism post. They've given me good "food for thought" and helped me not feel QUITE so bad about myself! I don't come from a tradition that "does" Lent, neither does my current church observe it, so it's a difficult thing for me to get my head around. Not so much the "going without" -- I mean, on a sort of superficial level I get that, on a kind of "legalistic liturgical" level (don't take offense -- I'm not done with my thought yet). That part is because I know ABOUT Lent from "the culture" (i.e., the things that float around in the world around me that I hear about), and I know there are lots of people who observe Lent from a strictly "tradition" point of view and give up whatever just because they're "supposed to." What I mean about getting my head around it is ... well, I guess I want to understand the depth of it, from those of you who truly OBSERVE LENT, like Jamie mentioned. For you it's not just a "tradition" but a time of focusing on your relationship with Christ and what the season means and all of those things ("all of those things" being the things I'm woefully lacking knowledge of). Sometimes I think I'll "do Lent" because it sounds "cool" (from a devoted-Christian kind of perspective), it sounds so "holy" to GIVE UP something for forty days in honor of the run-up to Easter. But then I don't do it because I'm a non-liturgical Protestant who has No Clue. Not really. And I don't want to do it "wrong," for the wrong reasons. And I know that because I'm not part of the group that understands Lent and does it for the right reasons, I'd give up after a few days anyway. It'd be kinda like a New Year's Resolution.

So, I'm truly interested in Lent, in what it means to those of you who practice it. I think it sounds like an amazingly wonderful thing, actually focusing for forty consecutive days on Christ. I mean, yes, we're supposed to focus on Christ every day, which I am more or less successful at depending on what's going on in my life at the time (ugh, I hate how superficial that sounds!). But to TRULY FOCUS, to have a specific season of focus like that. We non-liturgical Protestants miss out on so much. (I love liturgy, BTW. I wish we had more of that kind of thing in my church.)

I'm sure I just showed my TOTAL ignorance of Lent. Feel free to set me straight! Lovingly, of course. ;-)

Okay, I need to go give my family material sustenance (or whatever you call feeding them actual food as opposed to spiritual food). I bought U2's "Live Under a Blood Red Sky" DVD at the grocery store today. I have the video but can't watch it now since we don't have a VHS player anymore. It's a very iconic concert/vid for me. I'm glad to know that Bono is a Christian. An unconventional one, to be sure (and I'm not sure God really approves of Bono's, *ahem* colorful use of language), but I think we need more "unconventional" Christians sometimes. Bono definitely lives out Jesus' message with his initiative to help with the HIV/AIDS relief effort in Africa. You go, Bono!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The poverty of the Prosperity Gospel

I am NOT a believer in the "prosperity Gospel" -- you know, the whole "but God LOVES to bless His children materially, so it's okay for me to have this nice, million-dollar house and drive this Mercedes and have two others in the garage, not to mention the big boat and the lake house and ..." Yes, I do believe God may choose to bless His children materially, but I don't think it's so we can live in big, fine houses and drive nice, expensive cars.

Of course, I am also the world's biggest hypocrite about this (as are most of the Christians I know who would agree with my first paragraph). If I lived up to my own belief, I wouldn't have a room full of scrapping/stamping supplies that I don't even WANT to put a value on (i.e., how much money I've spent filling it up). I'm ashamed to think about how many starving children that stuff could've fed, or how much AIDS/HIV or cancer research it could've funded, or whatever. I don't think God intends that I don't have a creative outlet and do fun things -- for one thing, I do think He gave me the creativity and wants me to use it, especially when I can do so for His glory. But when I buy compulsively, when I "collect" more rubber stamps than I will ever use, when I have a paper stash that would get me through a hundred or more scrapbooks ... I don't think God is very happy about that. I think it's HARD to live in America (or Britain or France or New Zealand or Australia ...) and have any kind of comprehension of what the rest of the world is like, of what it's like to be a parentless child in Africa having to raise your siblings -- and, yep, we've got those here, too -- or being a single mother with HIV/AIDS, which you caught somehow because practically everyone in your village has it, trying to cope with raising your children as you grow increasingly weaker, as you have little or no money, etc.

I got a newsletter in my e-mail inbox yesterday with a link to this which is why all this is pouring out of my brain today. And you wanna know what's really awful? I don't know that I'll ever read this book because I don't want to have to feel guilty about what a shallow, lukewarm Christian I am. It makes me think of the Gollum/Smeagol exchange in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers where Smeagol ends up covering his ears and saying, "Not listening! Not listening!" God, please forgive me! And please, break my heart with the things that break Yours whether I want You to or not!

I found this that I had written several years ago while reading a book about Rich Mullins' life that ties in perfectly with this:

Consumption is the opposite of the Cross. Be indifferent to the world's view of consumption as all-important. "The world will respect us if we court it, and it will respect us even more if we reject it in disdain or anger; but it will hate us if we simply take no notice of its priorities or what it thinks of us." -- Brennan Manning

A "prosperity gospel" is no gospel (good news.) Money is dangerous. God doesn't "bless us" with money. It's a curse! We're so proud of ourselves for giving God ten percent -- we ought to give Him ninety percent because He knows how to handle money a lot better than we do!! -- Rich Mullins

(I'm writing this stuff down, Lord, because I'm trying to get it through my thick skull! I'm afraid to pray that You'll change my outlook on "stuff," because I'm afraid You will! I feel secure being able to buy "stuff" -- it terrifies me to think of having to go back to penny-pinching and "doing without," when, really, "doing without" materially = having more spiritually. Why don't I value the spiritual more than the material? I'm a Christian, for Pete's sake! "This world is not my home" sort of thing. But, boy, do I want to be comfortable while I'm here! I'm afraid to ask You for help with this, Lord, because I'm afraid You will help, and I see visions of lost jobs, smaller incomes, financial crises, and that's hard and uncomfortable and very, very frightening. Help me not to fear first, then help me with the rest!)

Isaiah 55:2 "Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?"

Ouch, ouch, ouch. Ouch.

I stand here busted, Lord. Utterly, utterly busted. Is there ANY hope for me?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Jesus' Apartment

Well, my post yesterday was so gloomy that I thought I'd spare you that again and go back into the "archives" to bring you something much more upbeat. So here's a little something I wrote back in 2001. I don't remember exactly what brought it about -- maybe I was just thinking about what things would be like if Jesus were walking around physically on earth today. But, anyway, it's an image I like. I hope you will, too!

Jesus' Apartment
copyright 2001 by Stacy Aannestad, all rights reserved

If Jesus was bodily on earth today, I think I know what his place would be like:

First of all, as Jesus’ friends, we’d have to all chip in and rent Him a place, because He wouldn’t be worried about where to stay at night. We would worry about Him, though, so we’d get him some little loft somewhere, probably just a one-room job with the kitchen, living room and bedroom all together (like an efficiency). I picture it with uncovered brick walls, smack in the middle of downtown. You could see the fire escape outside his living room window. He would have kids’ drawings all over the place from all the children who love Him so – they’re always giving Him stuff they’ve made. His rickety bicycle would be propped against a wall, and there would be a bowl of cat food near the door to feed the strays He so often takes in. There wouldn’t be much furniture, just what we’d brought in from garage sales, etc., because we were tired of having to sit on the hard floor all the time, and, besides, Jesus ought to have a proper bed! His dishes wouldn’t match, his ‘fridge would be old, and he wouldn’t have an electric dishwasher.

But all that wouldn’t matter to Him at all, and it wouldn’t really matter that much to us, either, after awhile. Jesus is so warm and caring that when we go over to visit, we don’t see the sparse, shabby furnishings and the crack in the wall, and one of us usually winds up doing His dishes for Him because He’s too busy helping people to notice they’ve stacked up.

So, this morning I went over to see Jesus, just to say hi. He greeted me at the door in scruffy, worn bluejeans and a slightly faded blue plaid shirt. His hair was a bit disheveled and He seemed tired, but He looked so happy to see me, as if I were the exact person He’d been hoping would walk through His door! He explained as He pulled his hair back into a ponytail and smoothed his beard that He’d been up with a troubled friend half the night. He asked if I’d had breakfast yet, and I said no, so He went to the fridge to see what there was. He looked a little sheepish as He offered me a choice between a can of tunafish and leftover pizza – that was all He had at the moment. I laughed and said the pizza would be great. I knew from experience that Jesus gets so busy helping people that He sometimes forgets to eat. But, in all honesty, cold pizza with Jesus is better than a sumptuous breakfast at the finest restaurant anywhere. He asked me what I’d been up to lately, and I filled Him in. He really listens. His eyes just bore right into you with this most incredible kind of love! I noticed that His dishes were stacking up again, so I offered to help Him with them. After that He showed me some of the things His kid friends had made Him recently. Some of them were pretty awful, artistically speaking, but Jesus displayed them as if they were the greatest works of art straight out of the Louvre. In the middle of His old, scratched Formica dining table I noticed an orange juice can with some mangy-looking dandelion blooms drooping over the edge. He saw me looking at them, and with the biggest smile told me about the little girl who had brought them to Him yesterday on her way to school. She had picked them from her front yard. She thought Jesus would like yellow flowers because they were so sunny looking.

I really enjoyed my visit with Jesus this morning. He made me feel so important, even when I was just chatting away about little stuff. Tomorrow we’re going to go for a walk in the park. It’s always an experience to walk with Jesus – He points out the neatest things you’d never notice otherwise, and He likes to tell how His Father and He got the ideas for creating them. And, if I know Jesus like I think I do, we’ll probably wind up helping someone in need, and inviting at least a few people over to His place for lunch. He always manages to scrape something up. Served with His kind of love, any food is the best food around.

Grace & peace!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

God, I beg You ... smile!

So, today has not been a good day. Not just an "off day," but not good for ongoing, frustrating, upsetting, seemingly never-ending and hopeless reasons. So tonight I picked up one of my recent journals and found some verses from Psalm 119 in The Message version of the Bible that had spoken to my heart one day and I had written down. They speak to me tonight, too. So here are some of them:

Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?

... train me well in Your deep wisdom. Help me understand these things inside and out.

... build me up again by Your Word.

Barricade the road that goes Nowhere; grace me with Your clear revelation. I choose the road to Somewhere.

... God, don't let me down! I'll run the course You lay out for me if You'll just show me how.

I beg You from the bottom of my heart: smile, be gracious to me just as You promised!

Oh, love me -- and right now! -- hold me tight! just the way You promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live ...

In Your great love revive me so I can alertly obey Your every word.

... put me together again with Your Word.

Let my cry come right into Your presence, God; provide me with the insight that comes only from Your Word.

Give my request Your personal attention; rescue me on the terms of Your promise.

... Invigorate my soul so I can praise You well.

Yes, God, again. Once again I find myself standing in this same place (or a similar one farther down the road), hurting again, angry again, confused and weary and all the stuff You already know so well. Angry because this isn't the life I signed up for. Hurting because ... well, You know why. Confused because I thought things were looking up again, but once again the Big Cloud comes and I can't do anything about it, no matter how hard I try. I need to quit trying. It's not something I can fix, anyway, God, only You can, since there are other people involved and ... It's like hitting my head against a brick wall so I might as well just build one and protect my heart again, Y'know? I know, I'm giving in to the Enemy. I don't want to. I want to win, God, I really do, but this is too big for me. It has been for years. Help! Again.

So ... yeah, only You can get me on my feet again. I am trying to stay in Your Word, and I'm hoping that will "build me up again." But You definitely have to barricade that "road to Nowhere" that I keep trying to go down.

And honestly, Lord, sometimes I just have no clue how to run the course You lay out for me. I'd be happy to do it if You'd just show me how, just like the Psalmist asked.

I need You to smile on me again, God. I know, You have been, in lots of little ways and one or two big, totally unrelated ways, and I am SOOOO grateful for those! They definitely give me hope. I just need a Really Big smile, Abba. One I can see through the clouds. Because right now they're pretty thick. Help me remember to look up, though, too, Abba. To keep my eyes on You. Because I can't exactly see You smile if I'm not looking.

Friday, February 13, 2009

God, Are You There? (Probably Part 1 of many)

"Experience cannot heighten the certainty of His presence any more than fear of His absence can lessen it." -- Brennan Manning

Whether I feel God or not, He's there. Sin can damage my relationship with Him, of course, but even then I believe He is there, waiting for me to come back to Him and repent, restoring the closeness. But even in those times when sin isn't a factor and I just can't feel Him, He's there. He has promised that, now that I'm His child He will never leave me nor forsake me. I cannot possibly make Him love me more -- nor can I make Him love me less. It's not about my feelings or my performance; it's about His passionate love for me, and His forever presence.

Grace & peace ...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The "unforced rhythms of grace"

Taken from my deliberatePeople journal entry of 1/16/06:
(Writing as a prayer to my "Abba" -- which is the Aramaic word for Daddy, and one we can use in addressing our Heavenly Father, according to Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, and Galatians 4:6.)

Abba, thank You that You're teaching me about the "unforced rhythms of grace," as The Message puts it. I know I have such a long way to go, such a lot to learn still. But I've come a pretty good distance already and I am so grateful for that!

Thank You, Jesus, that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30)! Sometimes I get to thinking that being a Christian is so hard, that dying to self is so painful, that the whole road is so long and full of steep climbs and difficult stretches. But when I stop and remember that You are on this road with me, helping me, communing with me, even carrying me sometimes, well, I wouldn't trade it for all the smooth, flat, wide, "easy" roads in the world!

So thank You for Your grace! Thank You that I don't have to bring a report card with me for entry into the Kingdom. Thank You that my works are filthy rags and that it's all about the ticket You bought for me with Your blood, Jesus. Thank You that all I have to do is accept the ticket and I don't even have to worry about losing it! It's permanently engraved on my heart and in Your Book of Life!

So take my heart, my life, today, Abba. I want what You want for me. Please help me remove the veil of self-centeredness so I can see what that is.

I love You!

In the Beginning ...

Okay, that was really cheesy, but anyone who has ever read my crafting blog knows I struggle with titles. I promise my writing is better!

I've decided to start a blog where I can explore my walk with Christ more in depth than I can in my crafting blog. I mean, heck, there people want to see my scrapbook pages and handmade cards, not hear me wax philosophical (or theological, or whatever you'd call it). And it seems like since I started a Christian Crafters group on the social networking site Paper Craft Planet, and started a Faithbooking project there for the group ... well, somehow I've just wanted to be more verbal about my walk. I used to journal my faith a lot, but for the last couple of years I'd stopped doing that. Hopefully this blog will give me a little kick in the pants about getting that going again.

I will also be including previous writings that I've done over the last, oh, ten, fifteen years or so. Occasionally I wrote what I consider to be some Good Stuff, so I'll be posting that here, too. Especially when I can't come up with anything new because not only are my "specs" fogged, but so is my brain!

So I hope you'll join me on my journey. You'll see from my writings that I certainly don't have everything about Christianity, God, Christ, etc., figured out. In fact, the longer I'm on this walk, the less I realize I really do know! (And I've been on this walk for 38 years now.) But we can be fellow travelers on this Kingdom Road, ay?

Now, the biggest issue is ... what to put between paragraphs to break up all the text, since I won't have pictures of my crafts to post ...?

Grace & peace.