Monday, January 5, 2015

Where You'll Find Me

This winter, you'll probably find me...
sitting in this chair...

poking my nose in a book
 (a little light reading for your January-Ezekiel and History of the South)...

grading lots of papers...

savoring sunrises...

posting on Instagram!  
watching Fixer Upper in 30 second intervals because that's as fast as my computer will make it happen...
hoping on a snow day...

counting gifts....
1001. Christmas break with College girl
1002. Good weather to travel
1003. Ham soup
1004. Organized cabinets and drawers
1005. Big Red  making drawer dividers just because I asked nicely.
1006. A savings plan after some unexpected expenses
1007. Seeing my mother over the holidays
1008. Some sunny weather for a walk
1009. Cat in my lap
1010. Tea kettle whistles
1011. An unexpected affirmation from a sweet new friend
1012. Big worship in our tiny church
1013. Plans for monthly craft nights!
1014. Our home in candlelight

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Scripture and a Snapshot: Flint and Diamond

Since Christmas, I've been reading Ezekiel.
Hard words for hard times.
Ezekiel breaks my heart and troubles my spirit and calls me to pray.
I don't take it lightly.

That being said, I am not playing fast and loose with scripture here. 
 I recognize the ramifications of this verse for Ezekiel, that God is preparing him for one tough assignment.

While I don't consider my assignment to be equivalent in the truest way,
 Ezekiel 3:9 still speaks to me as I prepare to go back to school as both teacher and student.

Not gonna lie--this year's group is one of those groups.  
The ones that come along every few years and make all teachers question their callings and lament society in general. 
 Individually, some are sweet, but collectively, they are trying. 
 Add to them some graduate school courses that look like doozies and my stomach sinks. 

When all is said and done, I want to have been obedient, even if I can't see the results.  

So I am asking for flint and diamond, 
a "forehead" stronger than their disinterest, 
an impenetrable wall to keep out discouragement, a shield for the battle,
I'm moving forward, after all.

Linking here and here and here and here.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My Word for 2015

Ever got "taken to the woodshed"?
My parents used that expression when I needed an attitude adjustment--
also known as a good, old-fashioned spanking.
My word for 2015 is taking me to the woodshed again, in the most loving of ways.

When the Lord spoke forward into my heart a few weeks ago, I heard the firmness of it, the gentle yet definite push behind it.

Get moving, Ginger.  Go forward.

I love old things--
antiques, rusty, peeling-paint things,
 houses and objects that wear the patina of their age.
All those bumps and dings add character.
But then there comes a point where stuff just looks bad, 
when  treasure was really trash.

Somewhere along the way last year, 
I moved from treasuring memories to regurgitating trash.
Every regret or wish-I-had or why-couldn't-it-have-been threw me into a funk 
instead of taking me to the feet of Christ 
where all those memories belong.
Spurgeon found the answer:
"I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages."
Hearts aren't made to wear rust.
New wine doesn't belong in old wineskins.  
The bottom line is that I am a failure at a lot of things.  
I have made mistakes that can't be fixed.  

Only Jesus is perfect.  
Only Jesus can redeem a life.

I kiss 2014 goodbye.  I cling to the Rock.  I go forward.


 Linking up here and here

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Less Project: Looking Backward

Merry Belated Christmas to you and yours!  
Meet P. Fitzwilliam Darcy, better known as Fitz.
I hope your season was--and is--bright with the Light of Christ. 
May I confess that I've started and discarded a dozen posts this month.  With my classes on hold until January, this month seemed the perfect time to return to blogging.
Only it wasn't.
This post, however, this post has been in my brain for a while, waiting post-Christmas, end-of-the-year reflection.  
Other bloggers are posting their "best of 2014".
 2014 got the best of me.
My word for the year was "less".
I envisioned clean closets, clutter-free counters, maybe even some minimalist decorating.
And there was some of that.
Like this year's Christmas, with its silver and white and green and pine.
(Having a red-free tree stressed me out for about five minutes, and then I found it soothing, somehow.)
But mostly, this year has felt like, well, less.
I can't even put a super-spiritual spin on my less-ness in 2014 
and say I learned there should be less of me, more of Him;
 truth be told, I've come face-to-face this year with just how much of me is still lurking around, 
and it's not pretty. 
With this year's tiny church plants and half-empty nest,
 its class-from-Hades and its what-was-I-thinking-return-to-college, 
it left me feeling half-empty, too.
There were  lots of good things--I counted 1000 of them!-- 
but with more stress and more questions, 
there was less blogging, less creating...
less focus, less discipline,
  less confidence, less peace, less purpose.
The Lord's been patient with me here, 
and He's talked to me about my dangerous propensity for nostalgia.  
He's given me a word for 2015 that amounts to a holy kick in the pants; 
I'll share it later on.
I think less was the prerequisite course.  
It's time to pack a lighter suitcase for 2015.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

So Much

When I was a little girl, the children used to sing a song that went like this:
   "We have so much, so much, so much, (hands spreading apart a little at a time; quiet voice)
 so much, so much, so much, (arms getting wider and wider; voice getting louder and louder)
so much, so much, so much, (arms spread as far as they can reach!; shouting!)
to be thankful for!"
It was quite rousing!  We liked it.  
It's an easy song to learn and a harder life to live, which is the way it goes.
This year I am counting gifts.  I think I will make it to 1000 by December 31st.  That's cool, but it only matters if my heart is trained to bless God in the process.  We can record on autopilot, I think, just as we can approach the Thanksgiving table tomorrow with hearts still cold toward Christ.  

This morning, my devotional asked for a bit of reflection, for me to take time to think on the last 10 years of my life and see God's faithfulness in it. 
What a decade.
We moved, went from elementary schoolers to high school and college,
buried my dad, moved my mom, went through two surgeries with her in a year,
 found our ministries in the church, left our church, started a church, 
went back to teaching, left teaching, went back again.
We gained three dogs, lost one.
Gained three cats, lost two.
Crazy, but no crazier than yours, I'd warrant.

And God is faithful.
In ten years, He's done more than I could think or imagine.
He is more than I thought or imagined.
David Crowder said it best:
"At the start, He was there.
In the end, He'll be there.
After all our hands have wrought,
He repairs.
  He repairs."

This year is full of nostalgia for me, but my faithful Father is nudging me along, 
gently but with definite firmness, 
because, while gratitude looks backward and blesses, it looks forward with yeses,
with the "Amen" as benediction and the "Our Father" for the journey to come. 
He is faithful.
Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Long Time, No Blog: a Daybook

I've missed you.
I miss writing, and I miss words, and I miss the faithful handful who respond and make me feel like I have something to say.
So today I am diving back in as though someone cares--because the someone who cares is me.

It's a Friday day-book--just because.

Listening to...the No Other Name album by Hillsong.  Does the Lord give you theme songs?  He does that to me all the time.  This album is the background music for this season.
Eating...brussel sprouts!  (Like, for the first time ever.  Brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, roasted at 425* for about half an hour.  I'm a believer.)
Checking...things off my packed fall schedule; one class down, just three papers left in the other, and I'll be about 1/6 of the way through this Masters.
Sneezing...ah...because it's time for my annual head cold--choo
Missing...a regular exercise schedule, teaching women's Bible study, my college girl
Untying...the knot in my stomach over this school year.  Knowing why would not bring me peace.  Jesus brings me peace, so I'll take it.   By faith, not by sight.

Stunned by...sapphire blue skies, leaves crowning trees like rubies and citrine and topaz. 
Say hello if you will!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Beautiful Gate

(Two posts in a month!  We should probably celebrate.)
 One night, I manage to slip away from the papers and tests long enough to go with my husband to the track. 
Beside me, Big Red begins his intensive workout--sprints, burpees, and other mind-boggling, sweat-inducing moves.
I walk in circles. 
Big Red is training for a Spartan race.
And I thought, I am training to hold my breath.
So I pray to exhale.
Around the track, around my head, prayers loop and weave in between my parallel lives of teacher, mother, student, wife.
Lesson plans and supper plans and best-laid plans.
The next morning, I'm in Act 3, 
reading about the man at the temple who holds his cup out to Peter and John.  
He's asking for silver,
but he gets something far more precious.
He gets a chance to praise Jesus with everything--
body, soul, spirit.
It's a cool testimony, and one with lots of implications, but my eyes go to the line Luke repeats.
"...the Gate called Beautiful."
It sings like a chorus in my head all day: the gate is beautiful.
The place he sat, day after day, year after year-
 where he looks at Peter and John,
where he listens to Peter's voice,
where he anticipates just enough for today,
where he seizes Peter's right hand,
where  he gets more than he ever thought or imagined.
It was beautiful 
because it was the place where he waited with expectancy and where he accepted what was offered.
This place where I am, 
the place where I'm waiting with my cup out,
looking, listening, expecting,
that's the place Jesus calls beautiful in me.
What looks like brokenness now will look like beauty later.
I don't know what I'm anticipating, 
but I know Jesus well enough to know that it will be more than I bargained for--
and I want to seize it, accept it, 
and leap for joy.