Rainbows as Reminders

Rainbows as Reminders

Have you ever had moments of desperation? Seasons of life that drive you to your knees? To your face? Not necessarily a moment or season of difficult circumstances or outward trials, but an inward hunger and thirst for righteousness – right-ness with your Lord. The anguish of heart, as you desire to know that you are pleasing Him first and foremost – not yourself and not merely a people-pleaser. Do you ever have an overwhelmingly keen sense of your own inadequacy? The “Whom am I Lord…?” syndrome? Who am I Lord… … to steward the lives of these children? … to respect and help my husband? … to teach your word to others? … to minister to other parents? … to lead areas of a national homeschooling organization? … to teach my children at home? … to manage the monthly grocery bill?!!! Often times these roles and responsibilities overwhelm me like a flood! My frailties floating higher and higher around me. How about you? Do you ever feel that you will drown in the sheer volume of responsibilities contained in your day-to-day life? Do you ever need a reminder that He is in charge? That He oversees the affairs of your life? That He will not allow the flood to overtake you? Well… these last few months have been like this for me. This morning I intentionally cried out to God and poured out my heart before Him! Wrestling with Him for His perfect work in my life, in lives of our family, in our community, in our church, in Classical Conversations and beyond. As I went out to...
The Winnowing Valley

The Winnowing Valley

Throughout the Christian life there are times of faith-filled victory and trust as well as times of deep doubt and even crippling despair.  This week I received a call from a dear and trusted friend who has experienced the first but is currently walking through the later. How about you? Have you too experienced the presence and power of the Lord so undeniably that you were sure that you would never doubt His word or intention for your good ever again? Most of us would be honest enough to say that these words echo our own experience.  This side of heaven the battle to hold onto the unseen, to trust the eternal and to not give into the world’s ways is an everyday reality in the Christian life. I call these times of struggle and despair: Winnowing Valleys. Are you familiar with a few of the "winnowing valley" symptoms? Everything that once seemed fine and manageable is now difficult or larger than life. Spiritual truths and principles that were once clear and accepted are now foggy and up for question. Perhaps a particular temptation that you had been victorious over now has a newfound magnetic power. What is going on??  Where did this come from? Why is this happening? Questions like these loom and linger.  Somewhere along your journey you have been transported from the majestic mountain top to the vulnerable valley below. While winnowing valleys are a bit enigmatic in nature their ultimate purpose is always crystal clear… but before we identify the purpose of these strategically appointed seasons, we must know more about Him who oversees the...
The Silence is Broken

The Silence is Broken

Yes, I am returning to BLOG land this week! With other pressing priorities and seasons of sickness, I return with much blogging catch-up to do! I hope to catch up with many of you soon and blog our happenings too… As I continue along sanctification’s journey through everyday life with my family, life lessons in mothering, principles revealed in my studying, dialectic discussions in our home schooling and what God is doing as I travel around speaking. My heart overflows… I look forward to sharing more...
Sanctified Steps

Sanctified Steps

Every day.  Every choice. Every decision.  Is dictated by our beliefs.  Our beliefs about what is most important in this life – our priorities if you will.  Our priorities dictate how we spend our time and how we spend our money. The calendar and the wallet are the true barometers of our heart.  Not the words we speak on Sunday or what we do when we know others are watching – but our the day-in and day-out, habitual expenditures of our time and our monies. How is your barometer reading? Lord, help me to take an honest inventory and make adjustments as necessary.  Show me the sanctified steps I need to follow to be more in line with your priorities amid the clamor of this world. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. John 17:17 Sanctify them with truth; thy word is...
For Whom the Bell Tolls (part 2)

For Whom the Bell Tolls (part 2)

The following days Caleb interjected concerns about the looming dentist visit that was weighing heavy on his mind. "Mom, I should have listened.  Now I understand that you were trying to help me and save me from having to go through this. I wish I would have really listened and I’m sorry it will cost you so much money." Mindful of his precarious position between self-absorbed pity and true godly sorrow, I proceeded with discernment. "Caleb, we have the cost covered, that is not something you can bear or have the resources to cover.  However, I need you to be a big man and walk through these dental repairs with courage.  I also need you to remember that many times the counsel and warnings I give you, you will not fully understand at the time they are given.  There is a way that seems right to a man,  but in the end it leads to death.  Proverbs 14:12 But I do. You then have to choose if you will rely on your own limited understanding and wisdom or my greater understanding and perspective." Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 "Yes, mom, I understand that better now." "Good, Caleb." Enough said today.  More sober simmering. Can you think of times of regret when you have relied upon your own understanding or limited perspective, instead of His?  Or perhaps the converse.  Have you known the joy of trusting Him when your understanding would have taken you...

Recollecting Fearful Family Beginnings and Rejoicing in Festive Family Birthdays

Nauseous and tired, I poured myself into my Maxima at the early hour of 7:30am.  I drove a short distance to our neighborhood drug store, where I waited in the parking lot until 8:00am when the doors would opened.  While waiting, I pulled out my small Bible and began to read Psalm 139.  In my heart I knew I was pregnant, but my mind needed E.P.T. to make it real.  I was 26. I began to cry. Me, a mother? I can’t do this. What does this really mean? In my heart, I knew someone was getting ready to come into my world that would make me want to sacrifice many of my current comforts and perhaps delay a few of my personal dreams.  My own sleeping schedule, study schedule, speaking, teaching, work opportunities, etc.  I was good at my work, in ministry, but I wasn’t so sure how I would fair as a mother… In short, the reeling weight of pending responsibility had crashed into my world.  Don’t get me wrong, I understood how this all occurred.  Ed and I had talked about it a few short months ago. However, talking and reality are often two different worlds, aren’t they? Several months later, on October 13th, 1995, Daniel Edward Shirley was born.  My first born.  Named after Daniel in the Bible, Edward after Ed’s family name.  He came quietly into the world, almost peaceful.  His easy going nature continues to be his character trade mark as He has grown. This week is Daniel’s Birthday! Happy 13th Birthday Daniel! Daniel, just when I thought it wasn’t possible, I find...