I promise I'm not obsessed with the topic of the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. My good friend, Rachelle, left a wonderful link I didn't want any of you to miss. I actually read the article this summer in Christianity Today and completely forgot about it. It gives a good summary of the pros and cons concerning this controversial vaccine. You owe it to yourself and your daughters to click here and check it out. Thanks, Rachelle!
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I've posted before about the controversial Gardasil vaccine that claims to prevent cervical cancer. I've been distrustful of this from the get go when the advertisements were so vague--"I didn't know. I didn't know cervical cancer can be caused by a virus." What they didn't say was that the virus was a sexually transmitted one. They make it sound like it's as easy to catch as a cold. Anyway, I ran across another post about it this week and thought I'd pass it along. Click on this link to hear things the commercials neglect to say.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Even though I was a little late picking him up, he smiled as he got in the van. A good sign from the son who has caused me to hold my breath many days anticipating his mood.
"Hey," he said in his slightly lower school voice.
"Hey. How was your day?"
"Good." He tried to be cool about it, but the smirk peeked through and he blurted, "It was the best day ever of middle school. We got an A on our karaoke project for music. She said it was one of the best she's seen." Then he looked at the ceiling, clenched his fists and whispered an emphatic "Thank You!"
I couldn't help but smile and thank the Lord myself. He has come so far. This is the kid we literally drug to school for weeks in first grade, the one who assumes the worst and is sure he can't do it, the one we've had tons of stressful mornings with, the one who worried all summer about starting middle school.
To be honest, I worried about it too. He kept bringing it up, sure he would fail, wondering how he'd ever get through. Though I was somewhat anxious about it myself, I put on a happy face and kept telling him it would be a good change for him, a fresh start. We prayed about it. I promised I would sit with him every day if necessary to help with homework and we instituted some new family rules for after school time. And this momma prayed and prayed and prayed.
And now. . .he is coming into his own. He may still complain about homework and how he's never going to get it all done, but come 4:00 he gets it out and gets started on his own, not quitting until it is finished. He's been conscientious and is even starting to mellow out some, realizing every assignment will not take an hour. I've been proud of him and hoped his effort was translating in class. We found out in parent-teacher conferences this week he is doing as great as I thought. Praise the Lord!
On the way home from school today he recounted his "best day ever" class period by class period, telling me all the good things that happened, never losing his school voice. I saw in him a sense of accomplishment, of satisfaction and comfort that he indeed WAS going to make it through middle school and make it through well. When I dropped him off, he sort of strutted to the back door and gave me the same charming Boesiger grin I've seen in his grandpa, dad and brother.
He's growing up. He's finding his way. And his mom couldn't be happier.
For more Thankful Thursday posts, visit our guest host at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
A mind jolts awake with worry. A heart beats too fast to sleep. Unexplained tension sets in and the tossing and turning begin.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Past mistakes, old hurts weigh down. Disappointments, failures, weakness condemn.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Concern for others takes over. What can be done? What SHOULD be done? Prayers are offered, but no relief comes.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Fear of the future takes away from now and sucks energy out of tomorrow. Satan robs the joy, steals the peace, deceives.
God asks, "Why don't you trust Me?"
There is nothing to say. The anxiety is proof.
In the stillness, whispers are barely audible, "Jesus. . ."
And again, "Jesus. . ."
"Jesus. . ."
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. . .Come near to God and he will come near to you. . .Humble yourself before the Lord and he will lift you up.
"Jesus. . ."
"Jesus. . ."
With each utterance the tension subsides.
"Jesus. . ."
"Jesus. . ."
Eyelids become heavy.
"Jesus. . ."
"Jesus. . ."
Photo Credit: Mr November
Friday, September 21, 2007
As I think about all I'm NOT and all I want to be this morning, God whispers gently in my ear.
The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
Amen, Lord, amen. Be with me. Save me. Take delight in me and mostly, quiet me with your love.
Thanks to Amhere for the beautiful photo.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
What he said irked me, but it really didn't hurt. It felt the same as following a putzy driver when I'm in a hurry. I wanted to mutter, "C'mon."
So I muttered. . .too much. I deceived myself, thinking it was a good opportunity to make a point, but no justification made it right. When I had a hard time looking at him a few days later I realized I was out of line, WAY out of line. My words caused uncomfortable attention for both of us. What I said was completely petty and stupid and down right ugly. As hard as it was, I had to own up to and apologize for my inane behavior. I was wrong. And insensitive. And hurtful.
He and his wife listened quietly and attentively. They patiently let me get it all out as I struggled to talk through my crying. There was no lashing back, no accusations, no sharp words. Instead he looked me in the eye and said softly,
"Tami, if I hurt you in any way, I am so sorry."
I still tear up thinking about it. I was the idiot, yet he cared enough to acknowledge my feelings.
There were many tough times in the following days and months. I was so ashamed and unsure of myself I wanted to crawl under the covers and forget about life for awhile. This man and his wife nudged me along when I wanted to quit. They were quick to bring hugs and encouraging words and, I suspect, many prayers. They helped me heal.
How do you say thank you for such undeserved grace, such mercy in the flesh?
Jesus said, "Go and do likewise."
Go to Sting My Heart for more Thankful Thursday posts.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
It's gonna happen.
Things will not go as planned. We'll be disappointed. We'll wonder where God is and what He is thinking. We'll cry and hurt and scream and pound our fists. We'll ask God to take it away or heal it. We'll feel let down and forgotten and alone.
This is life in a fallen world.
We'd like life to be easy. I mean, c'mon, our God is the Master and Creator of the Universe. Shouldn't being His children give us some perks? Our Father is the Supreme Being, the all-knowing, all-powerful, completely in control God. He could spare us heartbreak and disappointment if He wanted to, right?
Except He didn't even do it for His own Son.
~ Martin Luther ~
Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble," and He wasn't kidding. Every day, good, God-fearing people experience pain and tragedy, trauma and trial. None of us are immune. If we are true followers of Christ, we can expect it, maybe more so since Satan will do anything possible to destroy our confidence in our Lord.
But before you slip into depression and despondency, don't forget this is not all there is. Remember Jesus finished His statement by adding, "But take heart! I have overcome the world." This life is temporary. A world exists beyond where our eyes can see. We'll get our crown eventually, but when we do we'll be so overwhelmed with gratefulness to God for all He is that we'll be compelled to give it back, humbly laying it at His feet.
Let's stop asking God, "Why me, Lord? What did I do wrong?" when hard times hit. He always answers the same way.
"Why NOT you?"
If Jesus wasn't spared, why should we be? We don't have to understand why. We don't have to have any answers. He is God. Period. Our job is to press on, knowing it will be worth it all when we see Jesus. Make it so, Lord, make it so.
Check out Sting My Heart for more In "Other" Words.
Friday, September 14, 2007
I know this apathy and barely-under-the-radar anxiety I feel this morning is the result of too many late nights and early mornings. I know that my hormones being out of whack contributes to the uneasiness. I know when the coffee kicks in and the sun comes up I'll feel better, but right now is an important moment. Right now I sense acutely my need for a Comforter so I turn to His unfailing Word and find light for my day.
I thank You for this peace, Lord Jesus, and ask for Your touch on this day, a gift from You. I put my hand in Yours.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
A year ago she could hardly look at me.
I did something stupid and hurt her. . .deeply. The pain lingered in her eyes for months. It nearly did me in.
But thankfully, God ordained a little something called unity. My friend and I, despite our differences, serve and love the same God and because of it, we were compelled to obey Him. It was no easy task. For a long time the sight of me seemed to rip her wound open again, but she pushed through, was pleasant and engaged in conversation with me anyway. Though sometimes it felt like I didn't have it in me, I forced myself to approach her, ignoring the pit in my stomach and lump in my throat as I saw what my presence did to her. All this effort despite our feelings, all for the love of God. It would have been much easier to avoid each other, but neither of us could ignore God's gentle words.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)
I wish I could say the year has flown by, but honestly it hasn't. It's been tough and confusing and full of tears, no doubt for both of us, but things are better, much better. Though at first we were only going through the motions because it was right, our injured hearts have come along and now seem to be mending. My friend no longer cringes inside when she sees me. We are talking more easily and she seems genuinely interested in what's going on in my life. She has given me an incredible gift, setting aside her pain to show me true forgiveness and mercy. We have experienced the miraculous healing that could only come from God.
I've learned SOOO many things, not the least of which is this: Obeying God's word, even in the hardest of situations brings about His perfect plan. Being obedient to His command to unity was the only thing that salvaged our relationship. Had we not followed God's Word, I doubt we would be where we are today. Our friendship would have ceased entirely.
I am thankful for my friend who gutted it out no matter how difficult it was for her personally. She gives me overwhelming evidence there is a God. How else could we have resolved this peacefully?
Visit Iris at Sting My Heart for more Thankful Thursday posts.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Henry Scougal (The Life of God in the Soul of Man ), quoted by John Piper in The Pleasures of God
This quote has gotten my wheels a spinnin' (of course a break in the clouds can do that to me too, but anyway). Immediately I was reminded of verses about reflecting God's glory and how those of us who love God should do that. Apparently MiPa thought the same thing and I appreciated her impressions that the way we spend our time should point to what we love. Amen, sister!
But there was one thing that stuck in my craw. Perhaps I am missing something by reading the statement out of its context, but on its own it really rubbed me the wrong way. It seems harsh to say someone's worth or excellence is dependent upon what they love. Is the child who adores her alcoholic mother not worthy or excellent because her mother has problems? Do we really want to say an unbeliever is NOT worthy or excellent because they don't love God? Worthy or excellent to who? Didn't Jesus die for ALL, not just the ones who love Him? This can't be God's view. Hasn't He created ALL of us? Does He not think ALL of us have worth whether we love Him or not? If He didn't, we would not exist!
Certainly we can and should reflect the worth and excellency of God if we say we love Him, but this is dangerous territory assigning ourselves worth. I realize the intention of this statement is to cause us all to pause and evaluate whether we display God, but it seems more than a little arrogant and pious to me to claim worth and excellence simply because we love God. None of us are worthy. We are recipients of amazing grace and mercy.
For more impressions of this quote visit Laurel Wreath.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
He lingers in my kitchen.
The house is full of people and he's patrolling a two year old, yet he chooses to snarf down a piece of cake in the room where I am. Conversation does not come easy. I try to ignore the silence, the elephant in the room, by staying busy, but that probably gives him the wrong impression and I kick myself around even as I do it. Though we grew up in the same house, we're ten years apart and I am continually surprised by the differing impressions we have. We have a hard time knowing what to say to each other. He doesn't understand me and I don't get him. I ask a few questions about his work, hoping I don't sound stupid if I ask the wrong thing.
I hate this, this awkwardness. Shouldn't I be able to talk easily with my brother? I carry with me a sense of failure. Is it my responsibility as the older sibling to build this relationship? How do I do that? I try to show I love him and be supportive, but I wonder if it is enough. Though he has always been respectful, I think he finds my faith fanatical and I'm afraid I've made him uncomfortable at times. That bothers me. A lot. Am I giving off some holier-than-thou vibe? Shouldn't he be drawn to Jesus in me, not made squirmy? Those of you in blogdom reading this, please, PLEASE don't start using words like "conviction" and "witness" and don't try to tell me the awkwardness is a good thing. It is no consolation when I turn off my brother.
But his lingering. . .it says a lot. He could be talking to any one of scores of people, yet here he is. In the kitchen. Alone. With me. I notice his effort and it makes me wonder if he feels the same way I do. Does he want a better relationship with me too?
I've loved and prayed for him my whole life. Lord, can You help us make this better?
Thursday, September 06, 2007
WARNING--Those of you who have been reading this blog in the last few weeks may feel the need to refer me to a good psychiatrist after reading this post, fearing a schizophrenic nature in me. I prefer to think of it as growth.
The last of my family shut the door and I sighed a big long "Aaaah." An hour and a half to myself before the next thing. A gift. A huge gift.
Though I was all dressed for the Y, suddenly exercising lost its appeal. There were towels to be folded in the dryer--Nah. The kitchen was clean enough. I could make my phone calls later. I settled down with my journal and Bible and read, "Be still and know that I am God. . ." Feeling a little groggy, being still before God sounded like a good idea. So I sat. Doing nothing. Being still.
Thus began the frittering away of an hour and a half.
At first I felt justified taking it a little easy because we had an especially busy weekend, hosting an open house for my in-laws' 50th anniversary. For the last two weeks I've been bemoaning busyness, feeling overwhelmed by everything to be done, letting tasks weigh down my heart. But I have kept pressing on, crossing things off my list and actually accomplishing a few things. I've had a chance to breathe this week, but I'm not getting as much done. As guilt set in this morning, I actually became wistful for crazy busy because at least in crazy busy I don't even have to think about what to do next.
Of course I would prefer a more leisurely pace, but I realize there is value in busy. While I may not be completely rested or relaxed, I am productive. Today, having a tiny glimpse of how time can be wasted, I am truly grateful for much to do. It forces me to hit it hard and get a lot done. Though it makes me weary, work is a gift I can be thankful for. Oh, that AND caffeine.
Visit Sting My Heart to read other Thankful Thursday posts.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
God is great.
Not great as in good and awesome or dude, really cool, although He is, but great as in huge, amazing, awe-inspiring, ginormous, beyond comprehension.
I know it in my head. I can find all kinds of verses verifying the fact and could maybe even recite a few from memory (as long as you aren't terribly particular about EXACT wording), but it's all head knowledge. I can know God is great just as I know chocolate is great, but why doesn't that excite me and infuse my life with joy like a good piece of chocolate? Why don't I savor His greatness, letting the knowledge melt away the pressures of life?
If I truly grasped how great God is, would I worry about anything? Would I ever be rattled or stressed? Would a high cell phone bill or spot in the carpet or getting too little sleep matter at all?
If I really knew Who I was dealing with, I would never chest butt Him with my own agenda. I would have greater motivation to be in His Word and follow it wholeheartedly. His pure greatness would knock the selfishness right out of me. The only words I could utter would be, "Yes, sir" and that would be a hushed whisper. With Him yielding the reins of my life, I would rest content and secure in His shadow without doubts or any need to know more. Can you see how critical this is? If I can't recognize this crucial attribute of God, will I honor Him as I should? Am I a good servant without this understanding?
How do I foster a correct view of God? How do I gain the right perspective? How do I see His true greatness? I can pray for Him to show me (and I do), but is it fair to expect Him to do all the work? He is GOD after all. What is my responsibility?
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
. . .If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. (1 Chronicles 28:9)
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
If I want to see His greatness, I'll have look for it. I'll have to pray and seek and expect to see it. Will you join me? Will you seek His greatness and let it transform your life? What have you got to lose?
Moses said, "Now show me your glory." God granted his request, but had to shield him from His surpassing greatness to spare him. I pray God will show me His glory too and protect me with His own hand.
Show me Your glory, Lord, and give me the courage to see it. If I only had a glimpse of You, my life would never be the same. Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
~ Henri Nouwen ~
When I prayed for patience, my stress level rose forcing me to endure more.
When I asked Him to take away the trial, He pushed me through it.
When I begged God for a miracle, none came.
When I requested more self-control, the temptations seemed greater.
When I pleaded for humility, it took two weeks for me to lift my head again.
When I cried out for mercy, the tears washed away the sorrow and a glimmer of hope shown through.
When I prayed for decisiveness, the answers became clearer.
When I asked for strength, I made it to the other side.
When I laid awake at night, plagued by worries, I prayed for peace and His words calmed my spirit.
When I commune with the living God, He soothes me, helping me breathe deeply and utter a sigh of relief.
How can I NOT pray?
Join Christine at Fruit in Season for more impressions of this quote.