Friday, April 15, 2011

(Un)Wanted Passover

I was surprised somewhat recently when I was told that my child was unwanted in a particular activity.  I was shocked.  I felt hurt and betrayed, and though I sought restitution after some time had passed, the apology I was hoping for was not offered.  I forgave anyway, as Christ forgave me, and went back to my daily activities.  In the best interest of another, my kid was passed over.

For some reason, it came to my mind again today.  This time, I thought what if...  What if my child had special needs?  What if I or Daniel was suffering from severe depression?  What if we had been broken inside and this thing had thrown us over the edge?  What if my child knew that someone did not want him/her?  Even preschool kids know something about these things.

In the Old Testament, back when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, Moses went to the king at the time, called the Pharaoh, and asked him to let the Israelites go.  The Pharaoh was stubborn and hard-hearted, and God had to send plagues upon the land to get the Pharaoh to do what He wanted for the Israelites.  One of the plagues was the plague of the first born son, which included both men and animals.  The only way to be saved was for the Israelites to take the blood of a year old lamb with no defect and place it on their doorway.  If God saw the blood, He would pass over the house and none of the firstborn sons inside that house would be killed.  According to the Bible, all the firstborn sons died that night except those who'd marked their door, God's chosen people, the Israelites, or Jews.  Even Pharaoh's firstborn died that night causing him to tell the people to go and that's how the Israelites ultimately escaped their slavery in Egypt.  After this happened, God told them to continue to observe the Passover annually and the Jewish holiday Passover began.  Passover has great significance to the Christian faith as well.

This Sunday is the day that marks the anniversary of the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem.  Maundy Thursday, or the day before Good Friday, is the day that Jesus celebrated the Passover Supper with his disciples.  As they ate together, he told them that He Himself was represented in the bread and in the wine, and now Christians celebrate the Lord's Supper as a result - the bread being His body and the wine representing His blood and the forgiveness of sins.  Traditionally a lamb was killed and eaten.  The following day on Good Friday, Christ was crucified.  He Himself was the unblemished Lamb and no other sacrifice is now needed. 

When we believe that Christ was that spotless Lamb that died for our salvation, we partake in the new Passover.  We are no longer dead in our own sins but have been given new life.  Just as Pharaoh was hard-hearted, so were many Jews.  They were and are God's chosen people still to this day.  But because of their stubborn and hard heart, you and I were chosen to partake in all that Christ offers as well.

There are so many people out there who feel unwanted, rejected, unloved, unforgiven, unable, unimportant, hurt, broken, lonely, afraid, used, and abused.  We pass over them every single day.  They look like us sometimes with smiles on their faces.  And sometimes, they look unlike us, sad, mopey, dreary-eyed and hopeless.  Everywhere you go, they are there - hidden or not.  Some are hopelessly lost and have never heard the message of Christ, which is hope.  Some have heard the message but are still lost and have never been helped to the truth that brings freedom. 

Hurting people want to hurt.  Sometimes, they want to hurt themselves.  Sometimes, they want to hurt someone else.  They do it to numb the pain or to showcase the pain they feel.  They need desperately for someone else to know the pain that they feel.  They feel that it is too great for them to bear alone.  And indeed it is.  As believers we have a communal responsibility to be Christ to the hurting - every day in every way possible.  On the other hand, the hurting in the church have a responsibility to share their pain so that the body of Christ can do its job.  We are called to bring Passover to the hurting and lost - life to the dying.

If you feel unwanted, unloved, or hopeless, You need to know that Jesus came to seek and save the lost.  He came for the unwanted, and it was because He WANTED You.  Not only did He want You, He still WANTS you.  He longs for you.  He WANTS PASSOVER for you too.

How might you share His Passover with someone today?

More on interesting Passover facts coming soon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Place to Be...Still and Know I AM.

At the church where Princess plays soccer, there is this cool little spot in the trees for spending time with God.

A place to be still and know I AM.

When I was in college, one of the required classes was technical writing.  One of the assignments for the course was to write a "How to" paper.  I wrote on how to have a quiet time.  Now I realize that some of you reading this do not know the lingo for "quiet time."  A quiet time is what Christians call the time they spend with God - a designated time to be still and know that he is God - a time to pray, to read His Word, and to listen for His voice.  Growing up going to church, we counted who attended, who gave, and whether or not they read their bible each day.  As part of our Sunday school class, we had to fill out an envelope with boxes to check if you completed each thing listed.  One the the boxes to check was "daily bible reading."  Check.  Read it.  Did it.  They wanted to know if you read your bible every day.  Not that you did a daily bible reading once that week, but that you did it every single day that week.  It was tempting to check it off for a checkmark's sake.  But a quiet time really is more than being able to check off that box that says I read my bible for the day every day.  A quiet time is time devoted solely to God.  Quiet time represents relationship.

Some get up and have coffee with God, like my friend, Nikol.  I would love for you to hear her story on how God began speaking to her just by doing that.  Another friend has a chair at her home in which she sits with God.  She even has a verse posted on the wall in front of her to remind her that God is speaking and that she should listen.  When I was younger, my place was my bedroom.  Then when I went to college, I added being outside to my list of places to listen.  Currently, my place is my bedroom sometimes before I get up in the morning.  If I don't get my time with Him finished before one of my children gets up, then it is usually the couch in the living room.  Sometimes, my blog is my place to hear from God and process what He is trying to say.

There is a freedom in knowing that during this busy phase of life in which my children are always interrupting me, that my quiet time can be as I go about my day with them - the place - my heart.  A more mature sister in Christ reminded me early in this motherhood journey that I could have a quiet time while I read the Bible to the children.  I was a little bit disappointed in that thought because I treasure my time with Him and reading a children's story is short and not lengthy or deep, but if you are a mom of young children, I want you to know that His Word still speaks even in the Toddler Bible, if that's what you are reading.

If you want to dig deeper, to know Him better, however, you need to be intentional to find the time to spend just with Him.  I was reminded on a video testimony of Rachel Barkey (that you should definitely go watch) that you cannot know someone unless you spend quality time with them.  You can know about them, but to know them intimately, you must study them, spend time with them, and listen to them.  God already knows you more intimately than you know yourself.  Wouldn't you like to spend time learning to know who He is?  If you need help knowing where to start, email me, and I will give you suggestions.

Where is the place you most like to spend with God?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Princess recently started playing Upward Soccer. Check out information about the Upward program here.  Daniel has been involved in Upward Basketball for as long as we've been married, so it is neat to finally have a kid involved in one of the Upward programs.

She has no idea what she's doing out there, and she is in typical Princess mode - which means her head is in the clouds most of the time, but nonetheless, she is confident, and I love that about her.  I am a proud soccer mom!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dogwood Blooms

I think my all time favorite thing about spring is the dogwood blooms.  Out of the blue, there is a splash of color usually white, sometimes cream, sometimes pink, in the most unexpected of places.  Dogwoods are unique (at least in my eyes) in the way they hide themselves amongst other trees - small and unassuming.  But then their flowers display their full glory and presence.  I love them best before their leaves appear to hide the full glory of the flower.  The glory is only displayed for a short time - a week at their finest and most glorifying, and then the leaves appear.  By the time this is posted all of the dogwoods around me will be leafy.  The dogwood blooms remind me of God - appearing in the most unexpected of places, humble, yet magnificent.  The dogwood reminds me to worship Him, and I hope now they will remind you to do the same.

My photos are usually landscapes and close-ups.  I love the detail of the close-up and the big picture view of a landscape.

The glorious dogwood bloom - a gentle reminder of God

See how the dogwood just pops.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Work of the Hands

Princess's hand in mine
 After I let myself get "busy" doing the things that did not matter so much, I made sure to be intentional with my time.  Princess and I got busy working with our hands on her school off day.  We went to Lowe's and bought some soil, herbs, and pretty flowers.  Then we came home and spent the rest of the day diligently working with our hands.  We managed to work the first half of the day just on the herb garden we built.  Then we ate lunch and picked up Speed Racer.  And then all of us, Princess, Speed Racer, Doodle Bug, and me, planted the rest after school.  One of the things I enjoyed about our time that day was seeing my sweet Princess get her hands dirty and in the soil without being afraid of being dirty.  I remember making mud pies when I was little, and I learned to love the soil as a "soil engineer" back when I worked.  Getting my hands dirty and analyzing the soil was important to the work I did as an engineer.  Now my kids are finding worms and are not afraid to hold them.  We even saw a medium earthworm, a large earthworm, and a tee-tiny earthworm.  We explored all of the creation God offered us to see that day and loved it.

All of the playing in the dirt with our hands got me to thinking about how fulfilling it is to work with one's hands.  A few spring times have come and gone without my hands getting to dig in the dirt from being pregnant and not feeling like getting down or simply being busy taking care of a little one.  But I love to plant, to dig my fingers through the soil.  I think that's one reason why I love to bake and play in the flour and dough as well.

Scripture exhorts us to "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands."  1 Thessalonians 4:11  I think I need to meditate on and practice this more.

"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands."  Psalm 90:17

The work of our hands ultimately is to do the will of the Father and believe in the one He has sent.  (John 6:29)

Scriptures calls to praise the Works of His Hands and not to make idols of the works we've done with our own hands.  Lord, may we remain humble and never believe that our work supersedes Your Work.

The work of Happy Harper hands:
 We planted these two new dianthus here and relocated the older one from the back to the front.

We added the carnation to this bed.  This is were we had fun watching and wondering over the worms.

Our herb garden - basil, lemon thyme, stevia, oregano, rosemary, and cilantro.
A baby caterpillar on Princess's hand - not a worm, but similar

Saturday, April 2, 2011

One Contest. Six Words. My Story.

Recently I mentioned that God is calling me to write and to speak. I really wanted to go to the Relevant Conference, but that sold out before I was even able to think about what God was doing and if I should make plans to go.  So this time, I thought I would take a stab at winning a scholarship to the She Speaks Conference before my chances are gone again, but I must tell my story in six words.  Here's my story:

Never alone.  Ever growing scarred beauty.

I would love to hear your six word story.

Lessons from a Stomach Virus

Yesterday I had a stomach virus. It was a rough day for mommy because Doodle Bug also had a cold and I did not feel like getting up off the couch or moving or doing anything, and she was hard to entertain, for lack of a better word. My husband had a deadline at work, and he could not stay at home to help though he stayed home long enough to take Speed Racer to school and then came home when it was time to pick him up and then went back again. My mom was out of pocket going to the doctor and such. It was a little yucky. And while I wanted to be a little mad at my husband, I am just not in that place in my marriage, and I knew that if he could have been at home the whole day he would have been - he's that kind of dad and husband. Thankfully, my mother in law came over after work, but I was beginning to feel a little less yucky at that point.  I also had a very important meeting lined up for the day, but God had another plan, so I had to cancel it.

What could I learn from a stomach virus?

1. that when I am able bodied I do much more than I give myself credit for. I'm a good mom.

2. that I take for granted the things that my husband does for us as a family and me as his wife.

3. that kids get whiny when they need attention. (I already knew this one, but needed to point it out again.)

4. that my day is God's day - He's in charge of what goes down and how I experience things.

5. that I do not wonder enough in the beauty of my own life.  Sometimes I don't marvel in the wonderful blessings I am given such as a great husband and sweet baby cries and a mother in law to come help.  That I need to remember that others don't have husbands to come help.  Homes to live in.  Babies to comfort.  Bodies to use.  I often think about the material blessings I have but "forget" the immaterial blessings.  Today I count them too.


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