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They breathe as one. She a fiery, red-headed gentile. He a tall, laughter-filled Jew. Together a love story. Together a picture of what it is to be loved by the Lord. Together. I cannot picture one without the other.

Neither will have volumes written about their many exploits. Nor will you find their names in a history book. They are common people. Everyday folks. Of the nameless mass that toils in the mundane. Common vessels that are known by the Father. Known by name and loved by the Almighty Creator of the Universe. His Plan. His delight. His instruments.

They play a unique duet. The melody haunting, beautiful, divine. It permeates this dark and dreary world with a supernatural tune that draws the heart beyond what is seen, and fans the yearning for something more. Light. Beauty. Profound simplicity. This duet sings of promise. They make beautiful music together. Together.

Oh how their music fills our hearts!

 

David & Cynthia, ambassadors for Christ

 

But God. Sovereignty. Providence.

For many years I watched them move through the world quietly, passionately. Each day they accepted what came from His hand as a means to bless, to serve, to love. Giving, ever giving until it hurt. Scars branded into their hearts. Yet each day they met the demands with assurance that their Father loved them, that they were walking ever closer to the prize. Each day I saw them yearn for others to join them in the race. The race that everyone wins, if they race to Christ. The Author. The Finisher. The Redeemer. Our Lover.

Yesterday was the first day living with the thought of one being without the other. One. One of them will finish the race and be at the Saviour’s feet. One of them will “fly to Jesus and live.” One will be left to play on. A solo.

Oh sweet sorrow.

They have run together for so very long. Each complimenting the other. Together a whole. When two common vessels love so deeply, each living for the joy of the other, we see the Father’s love for us. We know it is real. Sweet assurance.

But God. Oh Sovereign Father. Providence.

The song will change. The sound, still divine, will play a slightly different tune as it echos through the hole left in the heart. Still hauntingly beautiful. Still hearts will be drawn to the Father. One common vessel loved and loving. Singing a song of hope for the world in desperate need.

Hope.

And in the divine throne room one more common vessel, made uncommonly beautiful, will wait to welcome us home.

Update: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at the age of 52, our dear and precious brother entered glory. Heaven and earth rejoice through tears of great sorrow.

I have taken a long blogging break due to returning to school to become a nurse. Its intense, and its fantastic. Its right where God wants me.

BUT I needed to return here today (man haveI have missed writing) to post about my friend Jennie. Today is Show Us Your Singles day at Kelly’s blog. If you post about a friend you can link to her post and there are now hundreds of singles out there a-mingling. How fun! Blah blah blah. Here is the main point of my post:

Jennifer!

Fine Foods and Fun Travels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She is in her late 20’s and still single. Maybe its because she is so darn shy? I don’t know. I don’t get it. I would marry her for her cooking alone, but this fiery red head is also so very…

spiritual (God, Scriptures, Serving, Cool Church with delicious coffee to boot)

smart (she ALWAYS wins the games, grrr)

creative (she bakes scrumptious goodies for The Tea Parlor she owns)

healthy (she is a locavore when possible and always cooks from scratch)

athletic (she teaches ice skating and runs in local Cincinnati races)

well-traveled (she knows how to find the best places to dine)

fun (wine tasting Fridays at Whole Foods, Christmas parties, local coffee shops and other dives)

Its all there. What a catch! And with Jennie comes this fantabulous family which I have gratefully adopted. They sorta can’t get rid of me. ;o) Another great plus for marriage- you get all the rest of them as well (hey- here is her cousin). Just saying.

Wind in my hair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The men are missing out on the obvious here. Where are they? Apparently not in Cincinnati. Great catch here, guys. Need more details? Shoot me an email: Ah.But.God@gmail.com

Want a super companion for travels, for races, for dining, for life? Think Jennie!

Jennie and Susan- LA

 

 

Dieting Idols

I am on a diet. Not quite revolutionary. I think I have been on one since I was 10. Can you relate? Typical for a woman in America. This is a sorta last ditch really try hard for big results kinda thing. Its super restrictive, but it only lasts 8 weeks. Surely I can do anything for 8 weeks. The results are instant and dramatic. But 8 weeks?

Good grief I am so weak.

I have been shocked at the heart lessons along the way. I already knew I have a love (hate) relationship with food, but I had no idea I was obsessed. Nor did I know the level of worship I reserved just for myself.

Daily.

Daily I struggle with being hungry (and tired, and weak, and grumpy, and self-pitying). Not just the feeling of hunger, but hungry for all the things I am not allowed to eat. I have to constantly tell myself, “No! You can have it again in 8 weeks.” Amazing how long 8 weeks suddenly becomes.

Its only 8 weeks.

But the thing that shocks me the most is the depth of my belief that I deserve whatever I want. Whenever I want it. At whatever cost.

What if I was living in some remote village somewhere building a school, or feeding people that are hungry? And not by choice? Not because they need to lose 20 pounds of bread and cookies off their, ahem, butt and gut? What if I had to go morning after morning without coffee? And still be pleasant enough to honor God?!

Could I?

I am disturbed by the expectations and entitlements I carry in my heart. Shocked. Disgusted.

I want to lose 20 pounds. I think the Lord wants me to lose the belief that I have the right to worship… me.

By His grace and for His glory.

Why me?

Throughout the night I was praying for friends with health or marriage struggles. When I woke later in the morning, I thought about those suffering in Asian slums or prisons. In sex-traffincing. Unlike the people in Psalm 103:3-5 they do not seem to have any kind of consideration from God. And then they die.

Deep Sorrow.

His answer? Psalm 100. Those who belong to Him can and will rejoice. There those that are His own. His alone. His own live in His presence even while on earth. His own taste joy. His own taste Him and rejoice in His goodness, love and faithfulness. The God of all calls even me His own. I am clothed in His righteousness. Are you?

It is bittersweet. I feed on green pastures. My Shepherd goes before me in His protection. My cup runneth over and forgiveness abounds in His mercy.

His grace.

In the other pastures I see desperate emaciated sheep who strive, grab and yearn just to survive. Some even seem to thrive with abundance for a time, but their price is a rotting tormented death.

Separation from God forever.

While I (and you?), I who was His enemy am now forgiven and free. I who fail daily , I who wander and wander, I live in His abundant love and imminence. I live…

Fully

Freely

Loved.

In a sad and dark world I live purely for the Lord’s glory… with gladness. I live to woo others to His love. I live to serve.

I cannot fix everything. I cannot free everyone, but I can reach out to one. At a time.

What is your purpose?

Why are you here?

Pre-Praise

My Father seeks to teach me of His great and faithful love and delight in me.

In you.

By adversity.

Confounding?

I think He wants to teach us to “pre-praise.” Adversity teaches us about His heart of faithfulness, but also about the idols (desires and expectations demanded) in our own hearts that need to be purged. It is good.

As we slip down the slope into a pit, in the midst of the No Matter Whats, the Lord asks us to praise Him anyway.

Who He is.

What He has done.

What He will do.

I see this as “pre-praise.” An acknowledgement that He is and He will. Its easy to praise Him when He has, but I believe He wants to teach us to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving when it is still- He will.

Search your heart. When you look deep inside what is there?

He might?

Or…

He will?

All praise and glory to the Father Who will… and Who has.

They saw. They looked around and saw their desperate, hopeless, impossible circumstances, and they were gripped with fear.

Saul waited. He waited for Samuel to appear on the 7th day. To make it all better. At some point on the 7th day Saul’s source of hope, his deliverer did not come. In desperation Saul decided to take things into his own hands.

Action.

A plan. Saul needed a plan of action. A show of might and bravado lest all his men desert him. Saul, Saul. Where does your hope and confidence lie? In man? In your religious leaders? In human action? In what is seen?

Certainly not in his true Deliverer. Not in his Lord Most High Who had already given him victories. Always been faithful. Ultimately his hope was in himself, in what was seen, in human plans. For Saul, and so often for us in the midst of temptation or trial, there is no hope in Who the Lord is, what He promises, nor in obedience to this One.

We forget.

We seek solace in our own plans without consulting our Deliverer.

“I’ve got to DO SOMETHING!”

We do not do the next thing- that which we already know to do- for our hope is not in the One Who laid out the next thing for us.

Unbelief.

Obstinate even?

Pride?!

He has called us to His throne. To His love. To His heart. But He has also called us to obedience. Even when it makes no sense. For its not about the action but about trusting the One behind the plan. His process.

Believe and be free.

Soooo simple. Soooo impossible… without the Spirit.

Marriage- 1 Sam 13

Circumstances. They looked mighty bleak for king Saul and his people. Hopeless. Many of his troops were paralyzed with fear, hiding, and even running away. If there really was help available… it was going to be too little and too late. The time for action was now!

I have spoken with many wives (and some women not married) who look around and see only hopelessness, fear, even anger grown out of bitterness. Its never enough. Too little and too late. I have been there myself in the past. I understand their pain and uncertainty, their weariness. In the midst of it all is guilt and shame because we know we should trust the Lord. Trust and wait.

How does one get to this hopeless state?

To the bottom of the pit?

I see a destructive path in this passage, one that we quickly and easily tread. The only way, so it seems. At first. Until it lands us at the bottom of the pit. Again.

Context. Saul had not been king very long, yet he had already enjoyed a tremendous victory clearly provided by God as he sought to purge the land the Lord had given him. Let’s assume the war with the Philistines was justified in God’s sight. That aside, here we find the first misstep.

1 Samuel 13.6. Read it. Do you see it? Quite simply… they “saw” and were afraid. Deeply disturbed. They looked around at their circumstances and grew increasingly terrified. Their eyes were on their temporary earthly circumstances. Their hearts forgot Who and What their God is all about.

And they grew faint.

That is the first step on the path to destruction. It is a very subtle shift. Subtle but potentially deadly.

So… Ladies… Focus.

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