We've had a few things going on lately...
Friday, October 15, 2010
We've had a few things going on lately...
Friday, April 2, 2010
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Happy Easter, friends.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Journeying through Holy Week, I was brought back to these thoughts I wrote many months ago.
Today would probably have to qualify as one of the most beautiful days of the year. Taking full advantage of the clear skies, light breeze, and radiant sunshine, I was outside walking and playing fetch with Lady, my puppy. There is a large grassy area with a big hill right behind where I live, and it is one of Lady’s favorite spots to run and play. Several days ago, Lady found a dried up dead lizard in her "play yard," and proudly brought it to me clenched in her tiny jaws. Disgusted, I made her drop it and took her to another part of the hill to play. The next day as we were out walking, Lady found her lizard friend again, and smugly brought it once more to my feet. Still grossed out at this stiff, desiccated reptile, I once again let out an "Eeeewww!" and we promptly retreated to another part of the field, leaving behind her dead and shriveled friend.
Well, Lady is a persistent little girl. She is 5 pounds of pure energy and determination. So, of course, when we went out to play today (hundreds of yards from the last spotting of her reptile friend, mind you), Lady once again made her way to her lizard. Shocked that she found this one tiny little lizard in the midst of the huge field, all I could think was "For the love of God, how do you keep finding this guy?!"
As gross as that lizard is to me, I got to thinking that for Lady, it is just in her nature to hunt and sniff out things like that. That is what she will always do. It is her instinct to sniff out and track down things that are dead, that are dirty, and she will for the rest of her life bring those dead and dirty things to my feet in pride.
Perhaps each of us could learn a lesson from Miss Lady. As Christians, isn’t it supposed to be a part of our nature to go seeking out the spiritually dead and wounded? It is far too often that we stumble upon people who desperately need the forgiveness and love of Christ, and instead of proudly taking them to the feet of God, we grimace and cry out a prideful "Eeeewww!" as we leave their desperate and withered souls in the dust.
Even around such holidays as Easter, THE resurrection celebration, how quickly we forget that God is in the business of bringing life into dead things. May we always take the dried up and dead, the wounded and missing, to His feet.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Sweet Jesus, how is it that tears of joy come with such freedom at the thought of this miracle who I don’t even know yet? How is it that there is such profound love swelling inside of my heart with each passing day as I anticipate his arrival? How will I ever be able to contain my love for him when I finally meet him face to face?
And then it occurs to me: Lord, you already KNOW him. (Lucky you).
If I love him so much, even before knowing his face, how much more must our Creator love and adore this tiny miracle growing inside me? He already knows him. He has already assigned his future and his purpose.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
For 14 more weeks, I will wait to meet my son. But Jesus already knows him well.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Monday, March 15, 2010
The man wanted to know what he must do to inherit an eternity with God. Apparently, he was a man who obeyed the Law and also possessed great wealth. This is important because riches in that day were thought to be an indicator of God’s favor. Wealth was said to be an index of a person’s spiritual state. Therefore, the man had probably until this time bore his wealth quite proudly as an assurance of his salvation.
And then came the unexpected announcement of Christ: Sell it. It’s worthless. It’s not what I’m looking for.
In fact, Jesus went so far as to say that a camel could more easily pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter his Kingdom.
There is much debate about this analogy, but I find it quite interesting that the “Eye of the Needle” was also a phrase used to describe a small entrance in large gates for passengers on foot. The large gates were opened only for pack-bearing animals (i.e. camels carrying a large load). For one of these animals to even have a hope of fitting through this small, single-person entrance, it would have to remove all of its packs.
The Rich Young Man had loaded his life with his own idea of “spiritual indicators.” He was like a camel, bearing his hefty load with pride. Much like him, we often stack our backs high with good deeds, the “right” words, and dutiful devotion times—packing for our self-navigated trip into the Kingdom of Heaven. We compose man-made indications of our spiritual relationship to God, and we follow them like a script. We put on our suits and ties and our best Sunday dress, we set our timer and pray until it dings, memorize our bible verses, and promise to save one more soul. With our checklist, we dutifully pack our bags for eternity.
And then God says, “Unload the camel.”
It’s not the way in. The loads we attempt to bear are often endured in vain, and to get through the eye of that needle, we have to let it all go.
I am not discounting the relevance of spiritual discipline, nor the importance of intentional sacrifice for the Kingdom. But I have to wonder at times if we have mistaken these things as a means to an end. When we unpack our camels, what is left? What are we without the things we do? To be more clear, what is in our hearts? What is our heart’s attitude towards God? What is our heart's attitude towards the ones we love... and even those we don't?
Do we love from the deepest corners of our heart... or do we spend our time looking for more self-serving novelties to pack away in the luggage of our soul?
God has really challenged me to unload my camel and examine my heart underneath. More than anything else, I want my heart to be pure before Him. And even if it means stripping my devotion to everything else, I want to be able to fit through that door.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Reposted from my original blog: http://betsywhitsitt.blogspot.com
Thursday, February 25, 2010
L . I . F . E .
I was whisked away from my colorful kingdom of hooks and yarn and lured into the world of busy-ness that so consumes us all. This world battled against the kingdom of crocheting, and in as much, my “scarf” was left behind. Too long in length to be considered a “dish cloth,” but not long enough to claim the title of “scarf,” I deemed my creation a gerbil blanket. And if I had a gerbil, I am certain he would snuggle up under it with pride.
I still have my gerbil blanket, and in the last year or so, I have thought occasionally about retrieving it from its pit of abandonment to continue toward its original purpose of being a proud and cozy scarf. Isn’t that, after all, what all little gerbil blankets want- to grow up to be a scarf?
Well, ironically enough, I have suddenly been forced to find the time for such things as crocheting.
One small stint in the hospital with this darling little one, and I’m off my feet and chugging water like there’s no tomorrow. A few hours spent (re-)teaching myself, and I'm in yarn heaven. I must admit, however, that at this point, my crocheting hopes and dreams are leaning more towards a soft turquoise-blue baby blanket than a gerbil blanket-turned-scarf.
Maybe someday little gerbil blanket… Someday your day will come, and I will rescue you from your lonely, tucked away demise.
Until then, my little gerbil blanket reminds me that it’s never too late to grow in purpose, to do the right thing, to make changes that need to be made. That’s the joy of life in Christ. Grace is on our lives to enable us to be who we were created to be, whether we stopped in the middle and took another route, or we got all tangled up in the ever-weaving yarn of our lives. It’s never too late to seek after your God-ordained purpose. It’s never too late to rekindle a friendship that has been left behind. It’s never too late to speak the words “I’m sorry.” And it’s never too late to try again.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Those words pierced my heart like an arrow.
It was something we shared. You might share it with us too. Not good enough.
The journey to be good enough in my own mind was a long one for me, and it reached its peak when I was about 18 years old. I had given up life as I knew it to study ballet, and I struggled to fight toe to toe with other long-legged, stick thin figures to win the prize of a starring role under glistening lights before sold out crowds. I was darkly compelled by the searing blisters on my feet and the gurlgling empty belly of a body that longed to be fed, but was neglected in favor of losing a pound and gaining accolades. But no matter how much of a beating my body and soul took from its master, there was always the continuous nagging of not being good enough. It was relentless. And it was about SO much more than my body or snug fitting pointe shoes and tutus.
For some time, even years after I evaded the world of ballet, the quest to be good enough followed me around like a dark shadow, etching away at my heart and chiseling away any remaining fragments of the Truth that I had left behind so many years ago…
The young girl I met a few months ago left Truth behind too. The demands of her grief and the pain of her world rendered the Truth meaningless in her heart. It was a stark reality that shook me to the core of my being.
"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10
Oh, that this young, courageous girl would find hope in the Truth again.
May it be a treasure we all clutch close to our hearts and protect for eternity.
Monday, January 25, 2010
So when you're challenged to stay put instead of moving forward with God, find a stir. You'll probably find it in relationship, if they're Godly.
Life isn't meant to be done alone. And you never know, your journey may be clearing the path for someone else.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Olive was born at the end of September 2009 to her missionary parents in Chaing Rai, Thailand, at only 28 weeks, and suffered a severe intracranial brain hemorrhage. When we heard of the need for prayer for her life, something captured both Jason and I and latched onto our hearts... Perhaps it was the leading of the Holy Spirit, perhaps it was our sensitivity to these friends and new parents in need as we were desperate to become parents ourselves... probably both. And so we committed ourselves to fasting and prayer for tiny Olive Hope Polinder, oceans away but tied to our hearts in a way that only the love of God can explain.
About a year ago, I was diagnosed with a tumor in my brain that (among other things) the doctors said could keep us from having children. We were devastated. We stated our faith, sought the prayers of friends and family and our church, and kept moving on with life, but in all honesty, it was a battle we sincerely struggled with very privately. Especially me. There were many days that my faith grew weak and my hope diminished, and I angrily stormed the gates of heaven with demands to understand the unfair anguish that had been cast upon us.
And then Fall blew into our lives with its swift, cool winds, and one day we heard the desperate cry for prayer from the Polinder family. We watched our Savior perform miracle after miracle in Olive's body and our faith was strengthened... We were reminded that God can do the impossible. We were reminded of His goodness in all things, even when circumstances cast their dark and eerie shadows. Little did we know that in the very days that we first committed ourselves to prayer and fasting for little Olive Hope, a new life was being conceived within us.
We consider Olive to be such an integral part of our journey over these recent months. Today the words are hard to find and the tears come freely as we celebrate what her life meant to so many. When I meet her in heaven, I can't wait to find out if she knows that she restored faith in my soul and hope for my heart. I can't wait to see her dancing in the streets of heaven next to the life that I am carrying within me.
Olive's life was the perfect example of the very purpose of human creation: She brought glory and honor to God. We will never stop telling her story.
Monday, January 18, 2010
July 6, 2006
I was driving home late tonight in the middle of one of the most amazing storms I have seen in quite some time. The lightning was spectacular. Huge raindrops were beating against my windshield and the road had that slick, wet glisten on it that makes it hard to see when it rains at night. But I didn’t mind driving slow—I was enjoying the lightning.
The lightning made me think about God, about the way he shows up in our lives sometimes. As I watched the jet black sky abruptly being lit up by bolts of electricity, I remembered all of the times that God has broken into my world—completely out of nowhere, when everything was dark and the rains poured all around me—unannounced, He was there.
With God, things have the potential to turn around in an instant. As I heard one pastor put it, "Trusting in God changes all the possibilities." I have come to realize that I never know just when an answer to my prayers is going to come. Time and time again, God sweeps in and lights up my world without warning.
I wrote this back in 2006, and while it’s been a while since I’ve seen a good lightning storm, I remember that night vividly. And almost four years later, the simple truth hasn’t changed (and it never will): God is waiting at every turn to break into our world.
So if the rains are pouring down, be encouraged. When the sky is dark, and your journey is slowed by the blinding downpour of life around you, turn on your headlights, watch carefully for glimpses of your Savior, and keep going forward. Trusting in God changes all the possibilities.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
I couldn't get this verse off my mind today. Much of the reasoning is due to some difficult conversations Jason and I have been having about the struggles of leading a church and dedicating our lives to the calling of God to shepard His sheep. I had never thought before about the fact that shepards live their lives alone with their sheep.
It's such a scary word. We've all been alone before.
As I think about this verse, I think about what it is to be alone, and what it is to be the community of Christ - the Church, to one another. To love, to share, to remember, to encourage. Maybe it's just to BE with someone. To help one another to not grow weary.
I think about Rusty, Lynette, and little Olive, and how they need our prayers just as much today as they did in the first struggling moments of Olive's life (you can read the beginning of Olive's story here).
Let us not become weary in doing good...
Olive, Lynette, and Rusty need us to not grow weary... We must press on. We must pray. Like the lone shepard, let us- the Church- tend to the flock given to us.
(You can read more updates about Olive at http://rustylynette.blogspot.com/)