Hope Rising

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Second causes are God's just as much as first...

 Two thoughts worth pondering...I'm still learning to accept this and lean into what God is doing.

"...My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." 
Is. 55:9 (NKJV)

Second causes are God's just as much as first.  We are always disbelieving in him because things do not go as we intend and desire them to go.  We forget that God has larger ends for us than we can see; so his plans do not fit ours.  If God were to always answer our prayers as we want them answered, he would not be God our Savior, but the ministering genius of our destruction.
George MacDonald

God’s out to do something grand in your life—I know you can’t see it right now, but He’s really out to do something marvelous in your life.  He’s out to bring you to the place where the only real source of confidence and trust in your life is Christ alone.  Where the only thing you’ve got and the only thing you’re relying on is Christ alone. So He’s stripping all this other stuff away, so you’ve got to trust Him, and you’ve got to stick with Him through the process. 
 Lon Solomon (heard here)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blessings on thee, little man...

4 weeks old...and who's the young girl holding him?:)
My little man will be 6 in a few days...and, as usual, when his birthday rolls around, I begin reflecting over the years of his precious life.

What a blessing he has been. What a blessing he is!

Allow me a little indulgence as I highlight some things I love about him.

This was a video taken when he was 3 years old.  It is such a special moment...watching it now, I can't believe my boy was ever that little. (Disclaimer: At the beginning, Drew mentions that a crab bit my toe--which has nothing to do w/ the point of the video. :)  I do not have video editing tools, and I didn't know that my camera couldn't switch the way I wanted it to, and I get a little tongue-tied at the end, but all in all it's definitely worth showing... :)) 

He has a heart for God, and I love hearing his mind process those things.  One of my favorite memories is when he was only 2 years old.  As I rocked him to sleep each night, I would pray over him and sing to him.  His little eyes would get heavy, and his hand would stroke my hair.

One night, as I was putting him to bed, he said, "Pray, Mama!"  So, as usual, I started praying.  I prayed that he would become a man of God.  Usually, I would add "and a man of integrity", but for some reason, I skipped the integrity part that night.  He interrupted me and said, "Pray turkey, Mama!"  I tried to keep praying, but he became more insistent. "Pray turkey, Mama!!"

"Turkey? What do you mean?" I finally replied.

"Turkey, Mama!"

Suddenly, I realized what he must mean.  "Integrity?" I asked.

"Yes, Mama, turkey!" he sighed happily. So I prayed again that he would become a man of God and a man of integrity (or "turkey" in his 2 year old language)...I loved, though, that it was important to him that I pray the same things over him every day. Especially something as crucial as integrity. :)

A few weeks ago, he told me that when his class was singing the song, Here I am to Worship, he got "happy tears" in his eyes.  I told him that it was the Holy Spirit speaking to his heart, and he got very quiet and reverent...it was such a sweet moment--I pray his heart is always so tender.
A boy after my own heart, he has a fascination with nature, as evidenced by one of my favorite photos of him when he was only 3...

Love his expression :)

My son is creative.  He loves anything to do with working with his hands, which right now means Legos, coloring, drawing, etc.  Below are some of his recent drawings--he's quite proud of them, obviously, as am I.

I enjoy his sense of humor immensely.  We laugh a lot...he helps me to remember that laughter is important. 

I simply told him to hang up his clothes... :)

Here's a joke from the little comedian:

Anyway...these are just some random thoughts from a mother's heart for her son.

"Blessings on thee, little man, 
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan..."
John Greenleaf Whittier 

Happy (almost) Birthday to a precious boy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


 This guy got a little too close for comfort, but made a great picture as he flew away. :)

Thankful for some time of reflection and prayer at the beach...couldn't get this verse off of my mind:

The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

Love this exposition on the verse (emphasis mine):
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. All his course of life is graciously ordained, and in lovingkindness all is fixed, settled, and maintained. No reckless fate, no fickle chance rules us; our every step is the subject of divine decree. He delighteth in his way. As parents are pleased with the tottering footsteps of their babes. All that concerns a saint is interesting to his heavenly Father. God loves to view the holy strivings of a soul pressing forward to the skies. In the trials and the joys of the faithful, Jesus has fellowship with them, and delights to be their sympathising companion."
~Charles Spurgeon in The Treasury of David

Friday, February 11, 2011

A prayer on my heart this morning...

Lord, search my heart, and see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me. Ps. 139:23,24

Guard my heart, lead my heart, change my heart. May I reflect only You from the core of my being. Prov. 4:23

Guide my thoughts, my mind, help me to focus on what is true, and pure, and lovely. Phil.4:8

Guide my words, help me to speak only what you want me to speak. Ps. 19:14

Forgive me for where I have fallen short of these things. Luke 11:4

Search me, Lord.

Guard me, Lord.

Lead me, Lord.

Change me, Lord.
I need You, Lord.
Glorify Yourself in me. 2 Thes. 1:12


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It is Well with My Soul...

A few months ago, I took one of my regular walks at the local beach.  I've lived near this beach all my life, and I had never seen it in the state it was in that day.  As I walked down the steps from the pavilion, I realized that the ocean was extremely rough.  Then I saw the waves crashing over and over each other...so relentlessly that the tide was coming up to within 50 feet of the pavilion and pouring into the sea grass.   I watched the waves as they toppled over each other-each larger than the last-each pushing the tide closer and closer to areas that would usually not be touched by the waves.  It reminded me of the line, "When sorrows like sea billows roll..." from the hymn It is Well With My Soul (by Horatio Spafford), and of a time in my life when I felt that sorrow.

On the day I stood before a judge and he pronounced my marriage over,  I stood alone, a fitting picture of how I felt.  I slowly walked out of the courtroom, got in the elevator, and was amazed to find that everyone was still scurrying around, going on with their business.

My life had just changed forever, but I was vaguely aware that it would somehow go on.  I drove to a  dock near the courthouse.  Something about being near water always calms me.  As I walked down the long boardwalk, I asked God to forgive me for any contribution that I had made to the demise of my marriage.  As I spoke those words of repentance, that same old hymn just swept over my soul:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

As I go through different difficulties in my life, even as recently as last week, God brings this hymn to mind...it seems to play constantly in the background of my life.  Ultimately, to know that it is well with MY soul is the only thing within my control.  God is sovereign, and has given me a free will, so what I will do is make sure that my actions and my reactions are in tune with what He wants. I will make sure that I'm placing my trust only in Him, and be faithful.  

Then I can say, no matter what I face: "Even so, it is well with my soul!"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Getting ready for a Super Bowl Party...

Here's a recipe that one of my friends requested I make for my Super Bowl Party tonight...they are always a hit.  The recipe is originally from Cottage Living magazine.

Oatmeal Cream Pies

1 1/4 c. butter
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
3 c. uncooked quick cooking oats
Cream Filling (recipe follows)

1.  Preheat oven to 375
2. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.Add egg and vanilla, beating well.
3.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well.  Add oats, stir well.  Add to butter mixture, stir until well blended.  Drop by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.   Cool  on pan for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.
4.  Spread 1 T. Cream Filling over each bottom side of half of cookies.  Top with remaining cookies, right side up.

Cream Filling:

1/2. c. butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1-2 T. whipping cream
1 t. vanilla

Combine all ingredients, beat until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Makes 18 cookies

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This did my mother's heart good... :)

I had him re-write the message on the window so I wouldn't forget the moment...

Yesterday, as I was getting ready to take my son to school, he noticed the condensation on the windows of the car.  "Mom, can I write a message on the window?" he asked.   Since we were ahead of schedule, and my car was already dirty :),  I told him he could.  

"i [heart] u," he wrote.  This is a little message we write each other often, so I assumed immediately he was writing it to me.  But he continued to write: "G-O-D."

His message: "i [heart] u GOD."

My prayer: may it always be so.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It is Your hand I hold...

"O Maker of me, go on making me, and let me help You.  Come, O Father! Here I am.  Let us go on.  I know that my words are those of a child, but it is Your own child who prays to You.  It is Your dark I walk in. It is Your hand I hold."  
George MacDonald