Thursday, November 13, 2008

My basement is officially clean and that should be a good thing, right?

For those of you who know me well you know that my house is a mess. You will not hold it against me and you will acknowledge it kindly. I appreciate that. I have been on a real journey of sorts with my stuff. I am a packrat. I know it and I pretty much know why. Dealing with why is not always easy, but I am trying to overcome. Last year my theme was purge, and this year my theme is peace.

Going through one's things by one'self is not very easy. I get very lost in the "I might need this one day" mentality and then I also hear my sister and my good friend telling me that I will never use it, and then I also see my MIL giving me a strange look after I tell her why I think I will use it one day. I am trying to find myself in my stuff. I dont want to hear or see someone else's opinion of my stuff anymore. I need to figure out if my stuff is important to me and why and then figure out what to do with my stuff.

The playroom/homeschooling room is the front bedroom of the house. It has been ankle deep in paraphanalia of all shapes and sizes for - hmmm - years? I can visualize two different friends helping me clean it. The problem with said room is that for years (yes, years is correct) I clean it but dont completely finish and than it goes right back to the way it was because it was never completely done. It has truly been the bane of my existence as a housewife. My constant goal is to get to the playroom. Well, I work two days a week, my husband is a pastor, and I homeschool and try to take care of four children. "Getting to the playroom" is not a simple task and if I ever do "get there" it is never completely "getted" so I have started to ignore it because I know it is futile.

(This is going to sound backwards, but bear with me.) The basement of our home is like the typical garage and attic combined. It is the catch all for everything. The problem was that it was catching all and not organizing all it was catching. I decided that in order to get to the playroom, I needed to get to the basement. I could not continue to keep throwing everything down there without a vision for where it should go. I did not know what I had down there nor why. So, for the past 2 1/2 months my vision was my basement. Can we just pause for a moment...


I know, the reasons are still not completely logical, but believe me, if you understood the situation you would agree, so just trust me on this one or you will be reading several more sentences that I felt I needed to write in order to make it logical which I dont think the sentences will help, so just trust me.


I am tempted to take pics and post, but without before pics it is just not as affective, so just picture a really really clean basement with things in boxes and put on shelves. I have been through everything in my basement. everything. I know where everything is and what it is and where it is. I threw things out, and I put a bunch of stuff in the yard sale pile. And yes, I saved some stuff. But do you know what? I have a REALLY BIG basement. As long as the stuff I am saving is being properly stored and is not taking up room for something more important, I am OK with it. I have 4 small kids. They might need it, I might need it, and I feel AWESOME that it is organized.

So, you may ask, there cant possibly be a problem? Yes, there is. Unfortunately. The problem is is that the basement is now the cleanest room in the house and I want to move down there so I can wallow in the lovely organization of it all. (there are nasty large hairy centipedes down there that I absolutely detest with all of my being so I dont think I'll be down there any time soon with a pillow and blanket in hand.)

Seriously though, the problem is that everything else looks much worse compared to the basement. Even the "clean" rooms look dirty. And that is frustrating. So, this conundrum got me thinking. And this is the point of the whole post...

Cleaning is work. It is not easy. When we clean we have to admit and acknowledge the dirt. We will be uncomfortable with this knowledge and then have to find ambition to deal with our discomfort. It takes a very long time and can be disheartening and exhausting. When we are done cleaning we can stand back and say, "wow this is clean" but we now have a standard by which everything else is compared. Guess what? Other things look dirty too, because we now know and observe what clean looks like. This is also disheartening. Somehow I have to find the gumption to do this all over again somewhere else.

Is it not the same in our walk with Christ? Christ cleans out our hearts - gets rid of the junk - and it is not easy. We have to admit there is sin. Acknowledging sin is uncomfortable. We aren't always sure what to do with the knowledge and once we figure it out we have to keep ourselves plugged into Christ to keep up the strength to deal with our sin. It can be disheartening at times and exhausting. When we can finally say we have the victory, it is so exciting and invigorating, but guess what? We now know what clean looks like, and therefore the other areas of our life that we thought were OK now dont look so OK anymore. And this is very disheartening. And I need to find the gumption...

David found the gumption. In Psalm 51:10 David is asking God to clean his heart: "Create in me a clean heart, O God;" And then we quote the rest of the verse because we know it, but did it ever make sense in this light? "And renew a right spirit within me" David needed his spirit renewed because cleaning is tough. It is not easy. The cleaning and the renewing are not necessarily separate actions. When we are done being put through the ringer and all cleaned up we can be very worn out. And then, we have this new standard of cleanliness that is so refreshing, but then we look around at our lives and want to beg God to clean some more, but we are just so exhausted. I think that many people are puzzled by these conflicting emotions. Satisfaction yet exhaustion mixed with unsatisfaction and longing.

We need our spirits renewed.

Renew means repair. We need God to repair our spirits. Put it back together.

All this cleanin' done wore me out - Lord, I am tired. I am clean, but I am tired. You broke me to clean me, Lord, and man, does it feel good to know that I am holy and and righteous in your eyes, but Lord, I am in pieces and I need you to put me back together. When you clean me, Lord, I am broken. But when you are done, dear Father, you will put the pieces back together for me.

We cannot maintain a holy life without asking God to renew our spirits. We will be forever exhausted and overwhelmed at the insurmountable obstacle of a holy life if we do not ever ask and experience God's repair of our spirit. Holiness and righteousness will only be associated with the pain of the breaking but when God renews our spirits we can experience a sweet and quiet walk in perfect communion with Christ.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Having Time

*As I post, my labels will be my chapter titles/book titles and my posts represent additions to these chapters or books. Sometimes they will be separated by lengths of time and sometimes they will be in a series*

Time. I am fascinated with the concept of time. It is said to be the third dimension.

God is eternal. He has no beginning and will not have an ending. If He never began and He will not end, He had to create time in order to create the world.

God created time. That is just so amazing to me. We are used to beginnings and endings and schedules and rythym and He created ALL of it!!!

So let's think about the concept of having time. Do we actually have time? Interestingly, I think that God gives us time and resources (mostly money which comes from using the resource of our energy and our abilities in a constructive way) at our disposal to both survive and thrive in this world. So I would say, yes, we have time.

I dont have time for _______________. (Think of something you should be doing not something you wish you were doing.) If God is truth, and His Word is truth, and in His Word He gives us commands to obey, and then gives us time at our disposal to obey these commands, are we truly able to say that we don't have the time to do what He wills? God promises us the strength to do what He commands (Philippians 4:13) but also trusts us with the proper use of our time to then carry out these commands.

Is my time then truly mine? Or am I to be sacrificing myself - including the time that I have - and lay it at God's feet to do what He wills? "I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live..." The time I take to eat, to sleep, to be entertained (TV, radio, movies, amusement, sports, etc), to relax, to shop, to anything at all - these are not bad things - but am I sacrificing the use of my time for Jesus' name to serve myself? "...And the life which I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20) In order to sacrifice my time, I need to choose to trust that God knows best how my time should be used.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Defining Wisdom

Asking for wisdom is daily my heart's prayer. There are numerous promises in the Bible that we often neglect and only need to claim; I am often taking James 1:5 to God's throne:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upraideth not; and it shall be given him."

God tells us that if we realize we need wisdom to ask him and we will get it.

This is such a simple promise, but have you ever wondered how you would recognize this wisdom? We have the world and all it's philosophies, friends, family, and perhaps common sense rolling around in our head, and we wonder which voice is God's voice. How do we discern? Well, if we continue reading in James we will discover that God describes for us both what God's wisdom IS and what it IS NOT.

James 3 tells us that the wisdom God gives us is manifested through our TONGUES. What we say determines if we have wisdom from God, or wisdom from this world.

Many of you are familiar with the first part of the chapter in which James discusses how much power our tongues have for evil. Then he disusses how hard it is to tame our tongues. He says that sometimes we say evil things and sometimes we speak good things but "these things ought not so to be."

I have never understood the connection between our speech and wisdom until reading this chapter. I would never normally tie the two together, but this bridge is fascinating. If we are thanking God and blessing Him, but then are speaking ill of what is happening in our lives and even cursing, it is evidence of the world's wisdom. These kinds of words are evident of a heart full of envy and strife. A wise man cannot possibly utter both blessings and cursings. If a man is wise it is impossible!! If our lives are full of envying strife and confusion, it is a direct evidence that we are adhering to the wisdom of the world (vs 14-16).

Are you wise? Well then, "show out of a good conversation your works with meekness of wisdom (vs13)." Our conversation is our lifestyle, our behavior. Wisdom is not only thoughts, direction, purpose or beliefs, but more importantly our actions. Wisdom will direct us to live an excellent life with a gentle spirit that can only come from having wisdom.

How exactly is God's wisdom manifested? Well, James describes it for us in verse 17. Wisdom from above is:

(first) pure - This is very interesting: above all else, our wisdom should be pure. This could be described as holy perhaps, but a better description is innocent. Our wisdom should be so pure that it is not even aware of sin.

peaceable - creating quietness and rest (do my words do this?)

gentle- appropriate or patient (do I know what to say and when or what not to say and when?do I dismiss what others are saying?)

easy to be entreated - easily compliant (am I a good listener? do I give in when it is not a matter of principle? do people like to talk to me? do i readily submit to authority?)

full of mercy - compassion (do I want to help those in need?)

full of good fruits - works (do my actions produce honorable, excellent, useful, or pleasant results?)

without partiality - not partial (do I treat others fairly?)

without hypocrisy -sincere (am I a fake/phony? am I putting on a show?)

It is easy to ask for wisdom. It is easy for God to give me wisdom. From this list I can now identify God's wisdom quite easily. Am I manifesting the wisdom of the world or the wisdom from above? "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required..." Lk 12:48

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Celebrating Small Victories

I went through

a box of old cassette tapes,
gift boxes,
gift bags,
gift wrap and ribbon

And actually threw stuff away!!
(and put some stuff in the yard sale box)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just wondering...

Does it seem odd to anyone else but me to put a coupon inside a hotdog wrapper?

The truth about my hand-held grater from IKEA

I love it! And it has a red handle to match my kitchen.

However, grating vegetables is highly preferred over gratings one's thumb.

Kids driving you crazy?

This thought was running through my head. (Sometimes they spin too, but for now this one was just running.) So I thought about the kids driving me crazy and it dawned on me that that means they are in control. Now according to just about every good book I've read including the Good Book, they are supposed to be obeying me. I also believe that means that I am supposed to be in control, not them.

So, in essence, I'm wondering if that means that the kids are never supposed to be driving me crazy.

Of course the thought continues to run, and so begins the conundrum about control. How much control am I supposed to have? Because let me tell you, I am also compulsive (I dont believe that was on the ol' description) and if I think I'm supposed to be in control, I WILL BE IN CONTROL. The question of balance arises. Constantly thinking about the same thing is not healthy (balance anyone?) so either a) I realize I am fooling myself and really I am not in control of anything or b) I realize that it is impossible to be in control at all times and therefore sometimes

The children will drive me crazy.

It is a unique and precious journey. The view is spectacular.


In case you were wondering, yes, sometimes my thoughts will be random, and yes, sometimes my thoughts will be silly.

Why do salt and pepper work so well together?

My blog - welcome!

Of course you are wondering why you are here. There are plenty of voices in the bloggy world, so why should you listen to mine? I hope to be a voice for truth, and I'd love for you to stay.

I am a thinker. An old friend calls it "ticker tape." She says you can tell I never stop thinking.

Sometimes thinking prevents doing, and sometimes (well, most of the time) thinking allows me to focus my thoughts - channel them; funnel them - to a center place, a place of truth.

"The truth shall set you free" John 8:32 Truth sets us free: free from pain, free from bondage, free from misconception, free from stress, free from confusion. This truth has the power to free me from whatever I have been enslaved. What power this truth has!! What wonder! Pain, bondage, misconception, stress, confusion? Books and articles and essays are written every day about how to obtain this freedom, and yet 6 simple words claim more power than any of these.

Knowing this truth has so much power is so motivating. I want to find this truth. I need to find this truth. I need to be free. Unfortunately the beginning part of the verse is often forgotten: "Ye shall know the truth." I can only be free when I know the truth. "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."

"Thy Word is truth" John 17:17

"In the beginning was the Word...and the Word was God" John 1:1

You see, it is only when I know truth that I am able to live in truth. "Abide in me" Jn 15:4 I cannot abide in that which I do not know. Once I know truth I have the freedom to follow truth without the "entanglement of the affairs of this life."

This, my readers, is my goal: to know truth. I do not claim to have any more power or talent or ability than any one else in this matter, simply the power from knowing Christ and His Word. So welcome to my journey of thought: thoughts about truth. It is my goal to focus the thoughts and happenings of my day around God, His Son, and His Word.

So as you read come join me at the fireside of life with a hot cup of (tea, coffee, cocoa). This is a place for you to curl up and think.