Reformed Grits

Testing, testing… Is this thing on?
August 21, 2009, 3:20 am
Filed under: Faith, Family, Our Call, Uncategorized

Ok, well tonight I’m sitting in my bed with a bowl of cookie dough that I made for the express purpose of eating.  Not for making cookies, I mean, but just eating.

I have not blogged in MONTHS.  NO one looks here anymore or reads here anymore and that’s ok… because it’s still here and I can come visit it when I like and all my memories are here.

I recently came across a childhood friend (Hi Amy!!) who asked me about our call to ministry and I referred her here which is much better than trying to tell it again.  And you know what?  When I came to look for it, I read it.  And I wanted to cry.  Do you know why?  Because one year from now we could be any where.  On the planet.  I’m totally serious.  My beloved will, God willing, graduate in May and I seriously have told him to brace himself because I’m throwing a GIANT party.  Totally not kidding.

So then what?  We will do what a wise woman once said:  Do the next thing.  And for us, that means working towards ordination which he hopes will be accomplished by the end of the summer.   He *can* start at a church while he’s working toward ordination, which means that anytime after May’s graduation he could get a job in a pastoral position at a church.  Anywhere.  And no kidding, we have been ready since day one of our call to “go.”  If you will recall we are committed to be “preparing to go; but willing to stay.”  Funny, but we really are preparing so much to go, I’m not sure at all that we are willing to stay.   It kills me to think of my kids not graduating from this precious, wonderful school we have totally invested our guts in from before the first day it opened.   Of asking what will be my 10th grader to leave the only school he’s ever known and go who knows where?  But it occurred to me today… I am going to have to let go of the notion that the possibility of that change for all of them (I will have 5 in school and Bee will be in 4k!  Hard to believe!) will be tragic.  If God has a plan for us, He has a plan for ALL of us as a family.  One of the best things that ever happened to me was when the school I had gone to for 7 years closed down.  I was “forced” out of my comfort zone and I would not change it for the world.

Other things going on in Gritsville… The only child in the WHOLE family doing an activity is JD who will be doing drama again this year.  Wow.  It’s good, only because I have hit the wall and that hurts.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

What else?  Oh!  I’m having more migraines than ever and started having unexplained anxiety and panic attacks in April!  That’s been fun.  I’m so drugged up now that I cry every day and actually hug people.  I hugged at LEAST 2 people today.   Wait, 3 for sure.  It’s weird.

I’m trying the Exodus 14:14 method of parenting one of my children.  I will not be asking them about homework or assignments or checking behind them.  I will not even be watching their grades online.  AT ALL.  If they fail, they will repeat the grade but they are capable of achieving.  But I’m at the point where I don’t want them to be “doing school” reactionary to what mom’s gonna do; I want them to look forward to not failing and repeating a grade.   Everytime I fret and fritter over how they will do, it’s a call to prayer.  Only God can change a heart.  This I know.  It’s actually a bit liberating.  Maybe that will be one thing I can cross off my “I haven’t cried about this today” list.  That list is already full.

Ok, so there it is.  The update since, what, January?  Pathetic.  I’ve missed writing; so I will write when I can.  I need to telll stories.  I need to vent.  I need to wordsmith a bit.  It’s an outlet.  If you read, I appreciate you and hope you enjoy.  I love comments because I’m pretty self-centered and like to be petted that way; but God is rearranging me bigtime.  I’m seeing HIM and His “bigness” everywhere.  I’m done pushing; I’m done striving.

By the way, Exodus 14:14 says, “The LORD will fight for you, and you will be silent.”  Don’t you love a hero?  He’s my hero.   He’s going to save the day, and all will be well.  And He loves me.  What more could a girl want?


Merry Christmas! Or, “why the fuss?”
December 25, 2008, 12:23 am
Filed under: Faith

It's in His job description.  It's worth fussin' over, and it makes me thankful because it helps me see His fingerprints on my life:

Jesus came…  "to preach good tidings unto the meek; he
hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the
captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for
ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the
spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."

Oh.. THAT'S why the fuss!  Praise be to God for His indescribable gift… JESUS!  IMMANUEL… "God WITH US!" 

Dear Lord…..
October 22, 2008, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Faith

Dear Father, I have a few questions for you tonight.  I know I may not know for all eternity but one day if You would be honored in letting Your curious child know I'd be grateful…

Why do people who say they love democracy and free enterprise in our republic say it's not socialism to give "tax refunds" to those who don't pay taxes?  Isn't that really just stealing from people and giving it to those who quite frankly are just too lazy to work? 

Why, oh Lord, do all the most delicious things have saturated fat and cause diabetes?  And why can't the goodies in life, like ice cream and cookies and brownies and meat wrapped in bacon and dipped in sugar–why, Lord, can't they be health foods?

Why are my children quiet until I get on the phone, on the potty, or in a frantic situation?  And especially if I have a frantic situation on the phone while I'm on the potty.  That always solicits a scream from somewhere in the family. 

Why, dear Lord, do the ones we love the most have the ability to injure us most? 

And the waist, Lord, why did you make what was supposed to be tiny and attractive just sit RIGHT above where all our baby pudge would reside for the rest of our lives on earth?  It's like a big, giant boob from your belly button to your pelvic bone.  Is this attractive to you?  Do you see beauty here?  Why can't everyone?  Why can't muffin tops be hot? 

Why do clowns scare people when they are supposed to make us laugh? 

Lord, why is it that the most absolute precious time in a woman's life– when she has just experienced the miracle of birth and life– why is it that she's so exhausted that she can't enjoy it?  I would love to know that one. 

Did you make the little bitty dogs to really survive in the wild or are they some weird cultivation of the species?  Seriously, I'd like to know how that happened. 

And finally dear Lord, I'd love to know how you thought up the way babies came out.  I'm just askin'. 

Lord, now my kids are home and I will no longer be able to think of these questions.  I'm sure I'll have more.  Children always do. 


Rock on
October 4, 2008, 11:03 pm
Filed under: Faith

I think I'm figuring out why I like rocks so much.  I have 3 rocks in my house that I keep. 

This one is the first rock I brought back from Scotland, aka our "Ebenezer Stone" from Dunsinane Hill.    Yes, I know it looks like a potato, but it's a rock.  I promise.

This one I thought I'd never get:  it's the stone from the same hill when we went back the second time.   We left one on top of the hill that we plucked from his gravesite before we left.  Corny and cheesy, I know.  But I do like some cheese with my corn.

The last one is a little rock, I doubt anyone knows the story of– even the momma of the little fellow who gave it to me.   My dear friend, Meg, who is a commenter on this here bloggy and lives way far away many states over, and I have been friends since we were children.  She has 7 children now on earth and one in heaven… but strangely enough we have never been pregnant together.  Go figure.  When I was pregnant with John Knox she announced her 5th pregnancy just a week or so later and I was thrilled beyond measure that we would be pregnant together — finally!  Of course, we all know how that ended for me but she went on to have a beautiful wee boy, baby D.  I always wanted to know what D was up to because that would make me remember what my boy would have been doing since they were due a week apart.  Smiling, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking…

I finally had the opportunity to meet baby D last summer as he was a big almost-20 month old boy.  He was precious and busy, like boys are, and as you would expect didn't have too much to do with me as much as I wanted to squeeze him.  He was lovey enough but he didn't have the same affection for me that I had for him!   Anyway, on the day we were to leave I was getting in our vehicle to return home when baby D toddled up to me and held something out to me.  I was thrilled after being virtually ignored by him all weekend that this very special-to-me child would have some type of parting gift. 
He handed me this, of which I never cease to be reminded:
I don't think it was anything more than a little sweet boy handing me a rock that he found, but it was profound for me. 
Rocks are a re-occuring theme in my life.  But in the last year or so this "rock" has meant so much to me:

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.  Psalm 40:2


Do you ever just feel like you are stuck in miry clay?  In life situations?  Relationships?  Sadness?   I have great news for you.  Your feet can be place firmly on a ROCK.  No more sinking sand; no more mucky mud.   I'm so thankful that I'm incapable of digging myself out of a pit– I would only dig deeper–, but that I have been BROUGHT up and OUT of the pit and PLACED on a rock. 

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock,
in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my
stronghold. Psalm 18:2

in this tornado that is my life…
September 14, 2008, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Faith, Life

I'm so thankful for today.  It's Sunday and I'm sitting in my chair in my room listening to nothing but the a/c running. 
We have done nothing but run, run, run all week and I'm thankful to have slowed down today. 
In the last 7 days, we've had 3 soccer games (one 2 1/2 hrs away), 2 practices, 2 meetings, 2 birthday parties, 1 Scout meeting, 1 day of work for me (well, at the site anyhow), a termite inspection, a plethora of tests, purged 3 rooms (for a total of 5 children), rearranged the furniture in one room, switched 2 bedrooms with each other, a youth event, and stuffed almost 2000 information packets with Jojo.  All this in addition to church twice, groceries, CVS, and other places.  And this is the tip of the iceburg. (Of course there was laundry, meal prep, etc but that's hardly worth mentionig, eh?)

It's the picture of life:  I'm sure yours was likely as busy.  But today I'm tired, and it's the first day I've been able to slow down and just be.   It's nice.  I like it 

But if all days were like this it'd be called "lazy."  On this one day, God calls it "rest."  I love Him for that.  It makes the work on the other six days more intentional, and it makes the quiet on this day all the sweeter. 

He owns the cattle…
September 10, 2008, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Faith, Family

My oldest two children, only being 15 months apart, are 1 year apart in school.  This means that for the first time this year, I have two children in the junior high "youth group."  Can I just say, it's expensive!  They don't do everything.  Jojo pays for his own, of his own initiative, because he was cutting a few lawns this summer so was able to and just started paying his own.  It's been great because since it's his hard-earned money, he really thinks about what he wants to do before he plunks down the cash.  With Sister, she's not had the opportunities to make money like he has but she does have money so we usually subsidize her 50/50.  (In case you think we are being partial, we did make the same offer to Jojo but he passed and just pays his own way.   I don't take that amazing and sweet fact for granted!) 

Recently they were excited to get a flier with the fall activities but the real buzz was over the retreat.  They've talked about it a lot.  Their friends are talking about it.  And it costs… well, let's just say for our family it was prohibitive.  We aren't poor and we have everything we need and a little more but in terms of a one time activity (times two!) with that price tag, well let's just say with the unexpected commitments in soccer it really made it something we'd just have to trust the Lord with.  The kids knew it too.  They got in the car this evening just a bubblin' with talk about the pictures and description of the place where the retreat was to be held. 

They quieted up when they mentioned to me the cost… but that they really wanted to go and how sad they were but that they understand.  What came to mind next was a song we sang at church growing up, maybe you've heard of it:

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
The wealth in every mine.
He owns the rivers and the rocks and reels,
The sun and the stars that shine. 
Wonderful riches– more than tongue can tell
He is my Father so they're mine as well…
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
I know that He will care for me! 

I just challenged them to commit it to prayer.  That their Heavenly Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills and that if He desires for them to go to this retreat, then He will provide for them.  I really wanted them to go.   I knew it would be great memories and fun with good friends, but I also know there is just a "small" group of less than 40 (including chaperones!) going so they would be able to really be challenged by the Bible study and time away. 

They silently and probably somewhat doubtfully agreed to this and they went to bed that night. 

Not long after they went to bed, I got a phone call.  A friend had a job she needed help with, could she use Jojo for a few days work?  The pay would be… the exact amount of the retreat!   I said of course he would be willing and we talked details. 

After I got off the phone I went up to my groggy son and asked him if he had been praying for God's provisions.  He, sleepily, said yes.  I said, "Did you believe when you prayed?" and he answered yes.   I was then privileged to share with him God's provision, as he tearily replied, "I can NOT believe that!"  He was shocked, and it was my privilege to share the news with him. 

As I left his room, before I shut his door and turned out his light I told him, "NEVER forget that your Heavenly Father CARES for you."   

I can't wait to see how He makes the rest of this crooked path straight! 

“I can’t get no…”
July 20, 2008, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Faith, Family, Life

I have a new past-time that entertains me on nights when my beloved is out and away, whether at school or at a friend’s enjoying his favorite past-time

I go to a website for a familiar seminary, and go to the “jobs posted” page where there are hundreds of open ministerial positions posted.  Some are for Senior Pastors, some are for Assistant Pastors.  Some for Youth Pastors; some for Worship Leaders.  Listings for Ministerial Administrative.  And so on, and so forth.  I look over the listings and where they are… and I wonder. 

I wonder where we will be.  I wonder what we will be doing.  I wonder if we will be far from home.  I wonder if we will love it– or hate it.  I think about what our home will be like there. 

Which leads me to the next thing I do.  I open a new window on my computer and go to a realty website and type in the zip code of a job that sounds “interesting” and I see what houses we could afford there.  It’s been very… enlightening.  Some places I get really excited about, and some make me cringe and think it would never happen.  (Those will be the ones God leads us to, I’m sure.  He’s funny that way with me.) 

Last night, I “found” a job in an area of Texas that was near a large city and VERY close to the Gulf (because I LOVE the beach.)  They had a classical Christian school, which was a HUGE plus.  I looked up and houses that were significantly within our price range were considerably larger than the house we are in now– and have pools, and yards that don’t need napalm, and playrooms in addition to 5 bedrooms and “Texas basements” (a storage attic, LOL). 

And I began to get ready to move. 

One problem.  We are still about 2 years out from finishing school (I say “we” like a man who says “we” about having a baby) and then another year for ordination.  Three years.  Did I mention “we” have been in school for 6 years already?  That means we are only 2/3 of the way there.  Lately my beloved has been talking more and more about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  (Our pastor would say, “And I don’t think it’s a train!”)  I want to be expectant, but I’m having a hard time being patient.  I know that this “adventure” could take us anywhere and we could be doing anything.  My personality makes me see all this as “an adventure.”  Adventures, I have learned however, aren’t always what they are cracked up to be. 

At the beginning of the summer, we were wanting to get away for a long weekend.  I love to fly– that’s how I feel like I’m REALLY getting away!– and so in planning I decided to find the cheapest flight to anywhere and that’s where we’d get away to.  Turns out, that place was New Orleans.  It was exciting to look forward to it and plan.  We’d romanticize and dream about what this adventure would bring us.  We had every expectation of sipping cold drinks as we sat and leisurely and chatted at restaurants that would bring us plate after plate of everything we could stand to eat.  We’d go to movies; eat dessert; sleep in; stay out late.  And relax. 

Now I am definitely not complaining about our trip– it was a lot of fun and we enjoyed getting away together.   But let me tell you, it was HOT.  And we walked 95% of the time everywhere we went.  And for whatever reason, I felt exhausted and wanted to fall in bed by 9 PM into a deep, dark slumber.  And I had no appetite.  And like I mentioned earlier, I never found ice cream the whole time I was there outside of an Arby’s Jamocha Shake.  And the people there made me sad– from the beggars, the homeless, the gamblers, and those that were taken advantage of.  It wasn’t like I thought it was going to be.  It was hard.  And hot.  And… different

Going away– whether for the night with your husband or indefinitely with your family– in search of a respite from life through the adventure of just going, is really not satisfying.  Well, that is to say it’s not satisfying if you aren’t already satisfied where you are.   When will I learn that?  Years ago at a Bible study Caroline and I went to, the author of the study said that when you set something in front of you and say, “THIS will make me happy” whether it’s a certain car, achieving a certain financial status, time away, food, or whatever… when you set something in front of you as that which will bring happiness or joy, you make it more important that God in your life; in actuality, you are idolizing it.  I hope that scares you as much as it scares me!  I don’t want to waste worship on anything that is not worthy! 

My reaction to this is to attempt to be satisfied.  And for me, that requires patience.  The grass truly isn’t greener than the grass under my feet.   As a sheep, I can be sure of this.  Because my Shepherd has led me to the greenest of pastures.  What could be more satisfying than this?