Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Beautiful Adventure

I used to feel like I was trying to get my life to the point where I didn’t need to “bother” God anymore.  My problems were tiny and irritating to Him, like mosquitos buzzing in the ears of the King of the Universe.  Have you ever felt like you are simply too much trouble and God is waiting for the day when you can finally take care of yourself?  For men: be a good boy, grow up to be “a nice guy”, live a safe life and do what you’re supposed to do.  For women: be a good girl, be helpful, kind and don’t do anything stupid.

Thankfully, I no longer think that God feels that way.  I believe we were made for something greater:

“Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”
― John Eldredge, Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul

“We think you’ll find that every woman in her heart of hearts longs for three things: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty. That’s what makes a woman come alive.”
― John & Stasi Eldredge, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul

I’m not a man, so I can’t speak to the first quote, but as a female, the quote from “Captivating” resonates with me.  But it certainly puts a lot of pressure on my husband, doesn’t it?  And what about single women?  Do they have to wait for Mr Right to fulfill the longing of their hearts?  And what if he doesn’t?

Thankfully, I don’t think that was the point the Eldredge’s were getting at when they wrote those books.  More on that below.  But first, I need to go on a tangent.  The morning I read those quotes, I was in an emotional “funk”, looking for something to pull me out.  Even though God saved my mind back in September, He didn’t change my personality.  I still have emotional ups and downs, a Melancholy through and through.

But is that a bad thing?  I know I don’t appreciate sunshine without clouds, summer without winter, food without hunger, company without loneliness, up without down, good without bad.  Opposite sides of the same coin.

And I also find that the best questions come during the darkest times.  Those questions haunt me until I find answers.  And it is those answers that bring me out of the darkness and into the light.  If I stayed “up” all the time, I don’t think I would ever ask those questions.  And if I never asked those questions and got those answers, how could I be an encouragement to you?  No, I believe my Melancholy state is a thorn in my flesh that is there for a reason.

Rather like the Apostle Paul’s thorn in his flesh that he asked God to remove (2 Corinthians 12:7), I too have asked God to remove the feelings that drag me into a ditch of despair and a pit of self-pity.  I may scream at God, “I can’t do this!”, but He calmly and confidently, with a warm, loving smile on His face, responds, “I know, Beth.  You weren’t meant to do this alone.  I gave you feelings for a reason.  They were meant to draw you to Me.”  I understand what the Apostle Paul meant when he went on to say, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

So, in that emotional funk, with my mind focused on the quote from “Captivating”, here is what I believe God said to me about every woman’s desire 1) to be romanced, 2) to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and 3) to unveil beauty:

1) God is the one doing the romancing
2) I am playing an irreplaceable role in God’s great adventure
3) God calls me to unveil the beauty all around me, as seen through my eyes.  That’s this blog

I could make the same assumptions for men in their longings for 1) a battle to fight, 2) an adventure to live, and 3) a beauty to rescue.  What if that were:

1) The battle of this world, good against evil, fighting for good
2) The adventure of following God where He leads, not necessarily where life is safe, comfortable and secure
3) Rescuing the beauty, the “bride of Christ”: brothers and sisters who desperately need to know that there is a God who loves them so much that He sent His son to die for them

So, do you think that God wants us to get our lives to the point where we don’t need to bother Him anymore?  Or do you think He wants us to join Him on the adventure of a lifetime?  I believe that we each have a unique purpose.  Something we were put on this planet to accomplish.  Something only we can do – no one else.  The Apostle Paul tells is that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV).

What is the role you were designed for?  If you don’t know yet, let Jesus be your example, as he “went around doing good” (Acts 10:38).  Do good.  Don’t be a “bucket”, trying to fill yourself up.  Be a pipeline – a conduit of God’s love.  The only way that a pipe is “filled” is when something is flowing through it.  Let God love you and then give that love away.  Let good flow through you today, be an encouragement to someone else, be a blessing, and guess what?  You’ll be filled too.

And if you know what your role is, then go for it!  Joyce Meyer says that “God won’t do for you what you can do yourself.  You must do what you can do, and then trust God to do what you can’t.”  Maybe He’s simply waiting for you to take a step.  Maybe that step is to turn around and take His hand.  Join Him in the beautiful adventure He has prepared for you.  “Trust in the Lord and do good.” Psalm 37:3 (NIV)

Having trouble hearing from God?  Check this out:  Hearing Aids

 

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Hearing Aids

When is the last time you’ve heard from God?  It’s hard to hear Him with all of the noise around us, but I believe that God still speaks today.

Maybe we’re afraid to hear what He has to say and we’d rather tune Him out.  Maybe we think He’s mad at us; that He’s going to lecture us about all the things we’ve done wrong.  Or maybe we think He’s going to tell us to become a missionary in Africa.  Or He’ll tell us to forgive someone we could never, ever forgive.  So we crank up the radio, turn on the TV,  check our Facebook status, go shopping, volunteer at church, anything to stay distracted and busy, busy, busy.

Or maybe we want to hear from God, but we’re not sure how.  How does He speak?  In the 20 years I’ve been following Jesus, I’ve heard from God in many different ways.  I’ve never seen or spoken to Jesus directly, but I know someone who has.  Check out Jaya Sankar’s Story to read, and hear directly from Jaya, about his encounter with the Living God.  Here are some ways that I hear from God.  I hope they act as “hearing aids” for you:

1) The Bible

God speaks when I read the Bible.  Not every time.  Sometimes I’m just reading words, but other times the Word truly is living and active, penetrating, dividing soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:13).  Those times are well worth waiting for.  Energizing, exhilarating, mysterious, thrilling to the core.  If we’re going to recognize someone’s voice, we need to get to know them.  What better way to get to know God than to read the love letter He wrote to us?

The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the exact representation of God’s being (Hebrews 1:3), so if we want to know God, we need to get to know Jesus.  The best way I’ve found to get to know Jesus is by reading the gospels, which are the first 4 books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  You can start with just one, you can read them all start to finish, or you can read one over and over until it feels like an old friend (thanks to Dan Kopp for that great suggestion).  John is a great book to start with, as John goes into great detail about who Jesus is and why he came.  But if you love a good action movie, start with the book of Mark.  You won’t be disappointed.

The most important thing to keep in mind when reading the Bible is that it is not an ordinary book.  The best way to read it is in humility, asking God Himself to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  If we ask for understanding, He is faithful to answer our prayer.  Jesus tells us over and over again that those who ask will receive, and James 4:3 clarifies further regarding asking with right motives.  I can ask for a BMW, but I really don’t think I’ll receive one.  🙂

2) Circumstances

I’ve heard God speak through circumstances in my life over and over again, and I love to write about those times.  If hearing how God has spoken to me helps you recognize His voice in your life, then I have done my job.  When I categorize a post under “miracles”, it’s probably a story of how God spoke through a particular circumstance.  This is one of my favorites, about how I knew I couldn’t giving up on having another child:  Fresh Eyes.

3) Music

I love to hear from God through music.  Sometimes it’s through the words of the song, like MercyMe’s Greater.  Other times it’s the music itself that makes my soul fly.  I fell in love with Switchfoot’s Fading West album after watching their documentary of the same name twice within 48 hours in late August.  I bought the album a few days later and couldn’t get enough of it.

Even though I didn’t see Swtichfoot in concert, DTE Energy Music Theater chose to play that album in between every set on Saturday night, September 13th.  All night long, in between Ellie Holcomb, Colton Dixon, MercyMe and Third Day, Switchfoot’s Fading West album played over the loudspeakers while the stage was being set for the next act.  As each song came on, my heart was being romanced by the God of the universe.  He chose the perfect background music for the mood He was creating between the two of us.  You can read more about that evening here:  Redeemed – Part 1.

4) Nature, 5) People & 6) the Holy Spirit

God speaks through nature, through people and through His Holy Spirit.  Instead of telling you about each one separately, here’s a little story that combines all three:

In May 2014, at the SMASH women’s retreat, we were given a morning devotional booklet to go off by ourselves to complete.  There was a question that I was supposed to talk to God about, but I also needed to eat breakfast, so I brought the booklet with me to the cafeteria.  I grabbed my breakfast, found a table and set down the booklet.  I went about my morning, chatting with lots of different women at breakfast, outside the cafeteria and on the long trail leading back to my cabin.  Walking through those gorgeous woods, with my cabin just ahead of me, I gasped and thought, “Lord, I forgot to talk to you!”  He quickly, but calmly, responded, “No, you didn’t.  You’ve been talking to Me all morning through all of those women.”

May 2014 SMASH Women's Retreat at SpringHill CampsMay 2014 SMASH Women’s Retreat at SpringHill Camp in Evart, MI, ready to go on the zip-line

Sometimes it takes “getting away from it all” to really hear His voice clearly.  Please join us at the SMASH Women’s Retreat at SpringHill Camp May 15-17, 2015.  Registration opens March 27th – click here: Events.  You won’t want to miss it!  And if you’re not female, Kensington puts on a retreat just for you each Fall.  Check the same link in Summer 2015 for the “Man Up” retreat, which is normally held at SpringHill Camp each October.

Thanks for the Laugh!

Miller Bros. Creamery, 149 Dickinson St, Mount Clemens, MI
Miller Bros. Creamery, 149 Dickinson St, Mount Clemens, MI

We walked into Miller Brothers’ Creamery last night at 4:55, not realizing that they close at 5 o’clock.  Quickly, we got to the business of ordering ice cream to bring to the tackle shop to share with John.  One more customer snuck in behind us, looking for two scoops of chocolate ice cream.  Irene, the 89-year-old store owner, lifted her right arm with a bright pink cast on it, and politely asked him to wait his turn, as she would not be able to scoop his ice cream.  I smiled at Irene, held up my purple-casted right arm and said, “We’re twins!”

While the gal scooped our ice cream, Irene and I proceeded to commiserate about being right-handed with casted right arms.  Left-handed eating, teeth-brushing, face-washing,  showering, dressing, etc.  We also shared how thankful we are that we have friends and family to help us.

As we left with our ice cream, I said goodbye to Irene, and she said, “Thanks for the laugh!”  Walking out to the car, the kids asked me, “What did she mean by that, Mom?”  I explained that knowing that someone else is going through what you are, and being able to laugh about it together, certainly does ease the burden.  Reminds me of the quote my friend Rita just shared in her blog that I read yesterday:

“Friends multiply our joys and divide our sorrows.”

The last 11 days have been full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows.  Thankfully, there have been a lot more ups than downs, thanks to the wonderful people that God has surrounded me with.  I  apologize in advance if I miss your name, but I specifically want to thank my mom, my dad, John, Joshua, Jordan Rose, my brother Rick, the roller rink manager Cheryl, the doctors and nurses I’ve seen, all of the K-Rock families, our waitress at Louie’s Ham, Rita and her friends, Laura who called and chatted and laughed this morning, and of course Ms. Irene from Miller Brothers’ Creamery.  You have all multiplied my joy and divided my sorrow.  Thanks  for the laughs!

Miller Bros. Creamery's owner, Irene, with a very happy customer on his birthday (courtesy of Facebook)
Miller Bros. Creamery’s owner, Irene, with her young friend on his birthday in August 2014 (courtesy of Facebook)

The One Who Knows

I have to tell you how excited I am.  I am dictating this blog post right now on my Mac.  I can’t believe it!  Thank you so much to Alex McManus for this wonderful tip!

I have been in the process of bringing this computer home for months.  It’s been a really long process.  And even when I brought it home, it wasn’t where it is right now.

You see, we have a bait and tackle store in Harrison Township, Michigan.  The main computer at the store had a cracked screen.   We put it off for as long as we could, but the crack started to travel and it was time to get it repaired.  We had to purchase a new computer to replace it temporarily.

Once the repaired computer was back at the store, we then had an extra computer and I could bring one of them home to replace my very slow, very old home office computer.   But even once it was here, I wasn’t comfortable moving it to where it is right now.  I’m very comfortable with my space and where I work every day.   So, I put it off.

Well, that old computer decided it just didn’t want to work anymore.  So, 11 days ago, John and I tore apart the office and switched the desks.  I now have the newer computer in the spot where I am comfortable.  The old computer had no microphone and no camera, but the new computer has both.

Here’s why that’s so important.  Four days ago I broke my arm.  I broke my radius at my wrist while rollerskating.  Actually, the rollerskating was great.  It was my first time on skates in 30 years and I skated for over an hour.  My problem was standing up after sitting and reading for an hour.  I was down, backwards, before I hardly knew I was up.  My instinct was to reach back and catch myself with my right hand.  Ouch!

I now have a cast on my right arm and typing is very challenging.  I needed to send an email out to let everyone know about the K-Rock performance tonight.  In that email I mentioned my challenges with typing, working, writing my blog, etc.   That’s when I received the tip about using Dictation & Speech on my Mac.   I never knew that feature was there!

Who could have known that I would need a computer with a microphone just one week after setting up this computer?  Who could have known?  Only God.  Thank you!  Thank you!

The last few days have been very challenging on so many levels, but this shows me so clearly that God is watching out for me.  He’s watching out for you too.  

So thankful that God knew about my broken radius before I did
So thankful that God knew about my broken radius before I did