Tag Archives: following Jesus

Turning My Back on Mirrors

To my faithful readers, this post may meander since I am recovering from a bout with food poisoning. I'm hoping it was food poisoning, I wouldn't wish my last 48 hours on anyone and certainly don't want my family to get it. I think I'm swearing off food..forever!! Today, one of my favorite ladies from our church is celebrating her 92nd birthday. To look at Ruby you wouldn't guess she may be that age except for her beautiful white hair. I spent the afternoon with her on Tuesday as we worked in the kitchen together for a funeral dinner. The funeral was for a 94-year-old mother and grandmother and charter member of our Church. As Dorotha was eulogized by sons, a daughter, grandchildren and great-grands, I didn't hear anything about how she worried about her weight or how she looked. I didn't have the privilege of knowing her, but my guess is she may have struggled with these areas of life as we all do, but they didn't characterize her. Don't get me wrong, I try to eat right and spend a lot of time exercising at our local park when it isn't covered with 3 feet of snow. I firmly believe we should take care of the body God has given us, so I do my best to take care of my physical body. But I don't want to be marked by continually gazing in the mirror or wondering how much I weigh. I'd rather be a woman who fears the Lord. Both of these women could be characterized as godly, beautiful women. In fact Proverbs 31:10-31 was read at the funeral, emphasizing
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. Proverbs 31:30
In our culture it is harder and harder to turn our back on the mirrors and scales that get so much attention in our bathrooms. Everywhere we turn we are bombarded with the ideas  we're too skinny, too fat, too many pimples, too much sugar, too much white bread...you fill in the blank. And it's easy to catch our reflection in every window and mirror and I won't even start with the 'selfie' craze that our smart phones enable us to take. Ruby and several other senior saints I know and admire, are beautiful women because they decided a long time ago to love God and their neighbor and serve others. They looked away from fleeting beauty and gazed upon their Savior. Even though they have achieved senior saint status, they continue to eat right, exercise and spend their energies helping others.  I am in awe of this woman who decided this past year to 'enjoy God.' I could ramble on about what it means to enjoy God but you'd probably get a better answer from her..she's got a 40 year head start on me. Maybe I will ask her and write another post on her answer. In the mean time shall we all turn our backs on the mirrors that show oncoming wrinkles, white hair and flabby arms and look to our Lord who is worthy of all our praise. Happy May Day!!  

I Confess

I confess... I sinned this week. I confess the past six months have not always been the easiest. Why am I always looking for easy anyway? Yep, this post may ramble, but you will keep reading, right?!! It was September 2014 when Justin and Melissa decided to make good on their threat  dream to leave New York and move far west to Wyoming. Not two weeks later, I drove with Hannah cross country to move her to Arizona where she is happily living and working.  In January, Kelsey left dreary, snowy, cold NY for St. John Virgin Islands. She too, is having a blast. Who wouldn't where it's hot and humid in the winter? Lauren still lives at home, but is busy with school, youth group and friends, and I know she too is dreaming and planning of what her future might hold. None of this is new 'news', I've written about family here before. So, what's this about confessing sin? If you  know me well, I have a few mantras, one being, family is huge. Extended family, siblings, my own dear family, church family and life long friends. I love BIG. Is it possible to love too much? Is it possible to sin when I put people whether friends or family in the place that only God should be? Is Jesus, who loves me more than I could ever imagine at the center of my heart, mind and soul, or is it my loved ones? Enter sin. I won't go into the gory details. If you want details, ask the guy who has loved me no matter what when I put my kids where the Lord should be. I confess they have been my joy for a long time. And now that they are adults and we are beyond the terrible twos and the challenges of raising teenagers, I love them and my heart is full of joy over the beautiful people they have become, which I credit the Lord for. Earlier this week I found myself focusing on what I no longer have and not what I do have. I confess I was sad for me, I was focusing on me, that day was a day filled with self and self-pity. I will spare you the rest, but will tell you what God did for me that evening. I was reading in the Psalms, Psalm 87 and the last verse declared me guilty of finding joy somewhere else.
Singers and dancers alike will say, 'My whole source of joy is in you'.
Owww!! I was guilty of trying to find joy solely in my circumstances, my family, my surroundings, when all along my WHOLE source of joy should be found in God. Yes, our families, homes, jobs, friends, hobbies and pastimes can bring us joy, but if any of those things are my whole source of joy, well...I have sinned. I am the first one to say God gives everything to enjoy( 1 Timothy 6:17), but our focus should be on God who richly provides all things to enjoy. We find ourselves with adjustments, seasons of life and transitions. Babies grow up and live their own lives, jobs come and go and we find retirement brings a whole new way of life. Sickness and death interrupt our tranquil lives, and the snow never stops in the Northeast. Despite circumstances and the weather, the goal is to find our whole source of joy in God bringing true contentment. (Philippians 4:11)  

Why Do They Do That?

I have been asked on several occasions where my kids get their wanderlust=a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about I stutter and stammer, trying to explain why Kelsey went to Italy as a nanny several years ago and is presently in St. John living and working.  Why Hannah has travelled throughout Europe and Southeast Asia and moved to Arizona to live and work, and why Justin ventured to North Dakota a couple of years ago to work in oil fields and now lives with his wife in Wyoming. My guess is Lauren will do the same, not work in oil fields....wander!!! While reading a book on third culture kids I came across why I think these children of mine do what they do. Rob and I gave them wings. Literally, *"they all flew in airplanes before they could walk." With the exception of Lauren who took a 21 hour car ride before she could walk. Our kids have spent their lives flying or taking very long car rides to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  The roads we have travelled have been many. They have lived in Kansas, Indiana and Kingston, and Lafayette, NY. They will tell you our move from downstate to upstate was one of the hardest things they've done. That move shaped who they are today, which is a subject for another post. We started them on the road and airplane when they were very young which, I believe, *"taught them to look beyond the obstacles of their dreams and look at the benefits."We gave them the desire to rove or travel about because that is how we have lived. We have followed our Friend Who sticks closer than a brother, looking beyond what we would be leaving behind, which in most cases was dear, dear friends and church family and our extended family and friends. We looked ahead to what God was calling us to do, confident He would give us everything we needed as we packed up. We want to "see the world through the lens of hope and opportunity"*, which I'm guessing we have also passed onto our kids. So now I have my answer the next time you ask me why my kids live where they do...blame it on the parents. *Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging