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Sunday, July 22, 2012

What Makes a Good Friend?


There are many things a good friend will tell you.  Things like when you have food stuck in your teeth, if the jeans you are wearing really do make you look fat and that you really aren't crazy like the "real" crazy people in this world.  Friends can make us laugh, cry and talk way into the middle of the night.  There are seasons to friendships.  With the ebb and flow of life and the constant life changes we all go through our circle of friends changes too.  When we were elementary age we called them  all "best friends." In reality we had no idea what this really meant because one day Suzie was my best friend then she didn't pick me to play four-square so Angela was my best friend.  Then the next day Angela didn't want to play freeze tag with me but Suzie and now Linda wanted to swing from the Monkey bars.  It was all very confusing.  Friendships were only based on what the other person would do for me.  As I grew up and friends moved away I discovered it wasn't so much about them wanting to be with me, but how much I wanted to be with them.  This is a God given need created in each of us - to have friendship or fellowship. 

Today I don't consider myself to have a "best friend."  I have  lots of good friends.  It's hard to stay connected in a culture as ours.  We are more electronically connected than ever before. Truly we aren't really connected. Neighbors wave and then drive on by, no stopping for sun tea.  Garage doors open and then close.  The days of running next door for a cup of sugar are long gone.  I post my status updates, being sure my pictures match. It's all fake. It's not real.  It's just a front.  What I really want is a friend to see me for who I really am.  That I too leave dishes piled high in the sink, that laundry sits on my floor for days not folded and tucked away in drawers, and that mail clutters my kitchen counter-tops. But I post the homemade pie all Martha Stewart like. Why do we continue to pretend? Deep down we really do want a good friend.  We just go about it all wrong.  It's not a competition to see who has the best vacations, newest clothes or cutest kids.  No we just want to be accepted for who we really are. 

Many of my friends don't even live in the same city or for that matter the same state as me.  We can have a phone conversation today and then not speak for months.  When we do speak we pick up right where we left off.  There is no expectation that this other person has to do certain things for me in order for me to be their friend. A good friend listens to your heart.  They can stand with you as you weather the storms of life.  They pray with out ceasing on your behalf. A good friend will understand when you need to apologize for careless words.  They forgive you when you mess up.  They will gladly bring you another meal, wash your toilets and buy you another mocha in spite of your short comings.

We can't measure our skill level of aquiring or keeping friends based on the number of friends we have on Facebook. Remember it's just a click: click to accept, click to reject. No, this is not a number that can be measured.  To be called a friend is a high honor.  It is a noble thing.  It has to do with love.

A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17

It takes love to be a friend.  With out love we are merley clanging cymbals blowing in the wind. I must remember this each time I go to update my status.  For if we are called to love others, especially those we call friends and we fail at this, what hope then is there for those who we consider our enemies?  We are told to love our enemies also. For they themselves show love to others. (Mather 5:46-47)

A good friend of mine just came to visit. We spent time reminiscing.  We spent time catching up. We spent time listening,  We spent time crying.  We spent time praying.  This is what makes a good friend.

Love you T!


Monday, July 16, 2012

June Joy Dare

Join me in counting the gifts: June Joy Dare
451. New toothbrush
452. Pencil
453. Fruit smoothie
454. Dustin waking up early to go farming with Daddy
455. Swallows trying to find a place to build a nest
456. Happy Meal Toys
457. Who created everything? Kids respond: God did!
458. Worship time: sweet
459. Dustin telling me how he helps dad watch the dancing lollipops on the baler. (Knotter system on the baler)
460. Joy - Always possible in Him alone!
461. Perfection (Hebrews 6:1)
462. Patience - Love is patient
463. Worshiping the Lord
464. Devotional
465. A kiss
466. Practicing thanksgiving - always practicing
467. Choosing joy
468. Wrestling God - again
469. Hebrews Chapter 6
470. Chapter 7 of One Thousand Gifts (again) Seeing through the glass
471. A. W. Tozer - A Disruptive Faith
472. Cookie Jar
473. The house - all quiet
474. Mailbox - no bills
475. Homemade sugar cookies
476. Hearing the choir sing: God is good all the time at a sweet sister's memorial service.
477. Watching Cars 2 for the ??? time
478. Clean bathroom
479. Bike ride
480. Children's artwork at church this morning
481. Grandpa Rink's mountain paintings
482. Half painted trim in my bathroom
483. Toy bin
484. Dog water bowl
485. Milk gallons in fridge
486. A rose
487. Fresh Cilantro
488. Rain
489. Clean towels
490. News of a cancer patient
491. a note from a friend
492. patience in waiting
493. Stories of encouragement & hope
494. The path to forgiveness
495. Everlasting love of the Father
496. Bike
497. Boy child
498. Fan
499. Brains
500. Fixer
501. Listener
502. Safety
503. Confidence
504. My knight in shinning armor
505. Humble
506. Fragrance pouring out
507. A testimony to God's faithfulness
508. Cattle panels
509. Wedding ring
510. Dogs
511. Shadow reflecting the window panes in a cross shape
512. Plants growing
513. Warmth
514. Family members
515. Manure of life
516. Leadership
517. Food
518. Family - old friends & new friends
519. Piles of papers, mail & toys
520. My reflection
521. Power of words: testimony
522. Journal pages yet to be written on
523. Wisdom
524. Integrity
525. Life experience
526. Fleece pull over
527. Cotton Pj's
528. Baby blankets
529. Bubpa's painting's
530. family photos
531. Front window of house
532. Hot dogs on the campfire
533. Frosted sugar cookies
534. Graham crackers
535. Flowers all around
536. Watching boys catch fish
537. A day with the family (no cell service PTL)
538. My heart to Abba once again
539. Time with little D to bike ride
540. Laughter - Birthday Boy

Friday, July 13, 2012

If God

Before the day is over...
Today marks a year ago from when I first started chemotherapy.  It is hard to imagine that this past year has gone by as quickly as it did.  Looking back is bitter sweet.  Chemo is just not one of those things on your bucket list of things to do in life.  I can say now that I am very thankful it is in the past.  Hopeful to never revisit it again. Pondering today brings me back to days of agonizing waiting, patiently praying and constantly hoping in Hope.  He is faithful.  Great is His faithfulness unto me.
Me one year ago! July 13th, 2011

Last year I started chemo in the middle of my church's VBS.  It was a  hot Wednesday morning.  I remember it so vividly.  I can smell it.  It's funny how sounds and smells can bring you back to a previous experience.  Today I stood in the same sanctuary with the VBS crew and kids.  Today we sang songs, danced, played games and listened to Bible lessons.   Last year I sat in the pastor's office sprawled out on his couch.  I pulled myself together to lead the kids in song and direction.  This year I danced with them.  They may not understand why I make a complete idiot of myself dancing around to Jeff Slaughter tunes.  But God knows.  The simple truths we teach at VBS are the simple truths that got me through this last year. 

"Love God and love others" Luke 10:27

Admit
Believe
Confess

Awesome God! Amazing Power!

I wrote this in my journal last year:

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord: He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust."  
Psalm 91:1-2

This is the same place I hide in today.  When life has changed, my health gives way and I have nothing left to cling to, the Shelter is the only place of solace.  I have learned what the words of one of the VBS songs we sang this week really means.

If God by Jeff Slaughter

If God holds my days in His hands,
If God has power over my circumstance,
If God knows the plans he has for me,
Why should I fear? Why should I worry?

If God is for me who can be against me?
Whatever happens I know I can trust He is in control.

Cause God is for me who can be against me?

I have faced the giants.  God is on my side.  The struggle is part of the journey.  It's what makes us into the person God wants us to be.  If we never have to struggle, we wouldn't see the glory in it.  Christ in me the hope of glory.  That is what it is about.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrow, it empties today of it's strength" Corrie Ten Boom
Written by another women who knew how to hide...
Dustin & me July 1, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What Are You Growing?

I can hardly believe how the time has slipped away.  I have neglected my postings.  My disappearance in writing is just a reflection of how over-committed I am and how undisciplined the real me is.  So I apologize to my readers and take up the keyboard once again and make a vow to be diligent to write on a more regular basis.  I have so much too say.  So much to reflect upon.  So much to be thankful for.

I have been working in my garden this summer. I love spending time outside pulling weeds, watering and tilling the soil around healthy plants.  Most of my garden I have gown from seed.  I started my garden the last week of May.  The ground was broke open by the blades of the rototiller and them smoothed out by the combs of the rake. Compost was mixed in to fertilize the ground and recharge it for yet another season of production. Then, tiny seed packets were opened and in faith they found their places in the darkness beneath the earth.  Nothing seemed to be happening. I was waiting. The sun shinned down beating the ground till a crust formed over the rows.  Water sprinkled over top of neat rows, quenching the thirst of dry ground. And then one day, a tiny sign of life poked up through the crevices of earth, reaching for sunlight and air.  It was a glorious day.  I celebrated.  The conversion from seed to sprout to plant had occurred.

"Then he told them many things in parables, saying: A farmer went out to sow his seed.  A he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil.  It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop - a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." Matthew 13: 3-8 



 During the time the seed is hidden a mysterious work is done.  It is the work of the Father. This kind of growth takes place in our own lives. Like that tiny seed, if we are to grow into a mature believers and become new creations in Christ we must undergo a transformation.  This is an unseen process, naked to the human eye.  It is a painful and sometimes lonely process that can last a season.  This is where questions arise and the wrestler inside us grips hard for the fight.  It works because in the end we choose to give up, surrender to the Father's way and trust.

"Somehow God is able to do his best work in the depths of the compost of our lives." Tri Robinson

Only God can take a life stuck in the pit and make something beautiful out of it.  I know this to be true in my own life.  We have to wait paitenly for the seed to sprout.  This is the same in our faith journey.  Only God can transform my life in good soil I have planted myself in. This good soil I speak of is available to all.  It is the Word.  It is the picture of the tree by the river, sinking roots down deep.  One of my most recent favorite passages in scripture is Psalm 1.  When one is planted by the Rivers of Living Water -- fruit will come in season.


"And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God's word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest." Luke 8:15


I am still waiting for the harvest in my garden.  I patiently tend to it knowing in season I will reap what I have sown.  I can't wait to taste the hot tomatoes fresh from off the vine, snap peas right out of the pods and can pickles for another day to savor.  I get asked often what are you growing in your garden?  I smile.  I am growing nothing.  God, He is growing a harvest I have the privilege to watch it come to maturity. In my own life I go through seasons of being stuck in the manure pile to enjoying the fruit of my labor.  It's a constant cycle.  Seasons change.  Lives can be remade.  He does make beautiful things and gardens can grown up out of the soil of my own heart.


"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But death will produce many new kernels - a plentiful harvest of new live." 
John 12:24

"If real maturity and fruitfulness are to be produced in and through our lives, two things must happen.  First, we must die to ourselves; and second, we must submit ourselves to a long, deep, and transforming process that allows God to rebuild us into his creation."  Tri Robinson

What are you growing in your garden (life)? 

Enjoy this song -- Beautiful Things by Gungor