Friday, August 31, 2012

A message pertinent to Labor Day

 This is what my Silverado Sage looks like after I have carefully
fertilized,
watered,
and
weeded.
April 2012
This is what my Silverado Sage looks like when I have neglected to
fertilize,
water,
or
weed.
August 2012
Uncannily similar, yes?

My conclusion:
Sometimes, God does not require my help.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Linking with Sandra and Deidra.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Husband is Awesome

Sometimes I just can't resist a link up, especially when it focuses on building up my husband (his love language IS words of affirmation, after all).  You can click over to Bohemian Bowmans to find out how to link up your post about your awesome husband.

My husband is awesome because...
          {1}  he is not afraid to get silly.
What is a daddy to do with 2 little girls?  Play dress up and babies of course!  He is multidimensional, though -- currently he's teaching Abby to play chess.  Oh, and what are some of the girls' favorite movies?  Star Wars.  He's not afraid to enter their world, but he also loves to entertain them with his!

 {2}  he takes me to a winery instead of the Egyptian Museum.
It's true.  Even the kids had been on board with the museum, in hopes that they might see a real mummy.  But, I mean, if one is in California, one must visit a real vineyard, yes?

{3}  he is strong.
And I'm not just talking physically.  I mean emotionally and spiritually.  Who else partners with his wife to write a book about marriage, a brutally honest one at that?  Yep.  He's a keeper for sure.

{4}  he lets me run. literally.
He gladly watches the kids if I have a long run on the weekend.  He brings them to all my races, even when it involves multiple cheering stations.  He enjoys seeing my joy (even if he doesn't want to run with me.  Hey, nobody's perfect.)

i could go on and on...but i don't want to seem like i'm bragging... :)

so glad you found me, Craig Ferguson.  I love you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Break the Tape: Shouldn't I Be Done by Now?

Welcome, friends, for today's edition of Break the Tape.  Essentially, our goal is to identify the lies that repeat themselves over and over again in our minds, break the tape that automatically begins plays when ever we feel we've fallen short, and learn a new song to sing in its place.  
Meet Jody.   I wish this woman lived closer to me.  She is one that takes you under her wing and loves you.  She writes at Three Way Light and her passion for encouraging women is God-breathed!  She writes authentically and from the heart in a way that you can find yourself in her words, too.

"Nothing is ever over.
You thread things on your life
and think you've finished with them
but you haven't because it's like beads on a string
and they come around again.
"When it comes around again then if it is possible,
give what you failed to give before to someone else.
You will have made reparation, for we are all one person."
Elizabeth Goudge, 'The Scent of Water', c. 1963

My eyes were closed in the back seat of the car as we drove home in the dark from our days' excursion to the mountains. I was having a silent conversation with Jesus, "Forgive me, Lord, for my short attitude today with my husband. For my sarcasm and biting words. Forgive me for my selfishness with my sister, my mother-in-law, my disrespect..."
I worked through this confession and felt His forgiveness and peace. I kept my eyes closed for a while, relishing the release.

The self-talk started, 'God, how many times are we going to have these conversations about my shortcomings? I thought I was DONE WITH THIS.....' I gave my life to Jesus 40 years ago....you think by now I'd be well, more Jesus-like.

And I was reminded of my reading project--I decided this summer to read through all my journals and number them, sort of in a cataloguing kind of way. (I've been writing and keeping journals since 1983, so there are many volumes.)

At first I was disheartened by how many times I read about the same exact thing over and over. The themes of selfishness and pride and a short tongue kept coming up.
Then I noticed that the periods of time between the complaints and repentance were becoming longer.

In February of 2010 I wrote this:

"God is always changing us one challenge, trial at a time.
Life is NOT LINE, IT IS A CIRCLE.
Here is what it looks like.'
I had drawn a spiral/vortex kind of picture,
with dots along the lines of each curve.
I can't reproduce it here, so I'll share this life picture I created with beach rocks a few weeks ago:
My journal entry continued, "Each dot represents a new start, a new surrender.
Notice the dots are farther apart on the circle,
(do-overs are not so frequent) and the circle just keeps getting bigger and bigger
as God adds things to your life, layer upon layer.
Like the 'territory' we've been given, our 'Promised Land' enlarging our borders."

There is more grace between the spaces.

No, life is NOT a straight line, like tearing the pages from a calendar, marking off the days in a manageable sequence. Life is a continual turning, growing in an ever-widening circle, a process of
picking things up
putting things down
trying things out
trying things on
throwing things away

One of my favorite old hymns is
(this recording is Yo Yo Ma and Allison Krauss)
that so beautifully sings this truth:
"Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free
Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be
And when we are in a place just right
Til by turning, turning, we come 'round right."

The markers in the path of my life are becoming fewer and farther apart--the signs that more of the old me is dying and that God's life is being released in me. There are memorial stones in the path, altars that say, "I died here. I gave up here. I want to remember this."
II Corinthians 3:18 says we are ALL being changed into His likeness from 'glory to glory.'
But it will be an ongoing, life long process. 
John Piper says (in '50 Reasons Jesus Came to Die'):


"One of the greatest heartaches in the Christian life is the slowness of our change.
We are becoming holy--but are not yet fully holy.
And it is precisely these--and only these--
who are already perfected.
The joyful encouragement here is that
the evidence of our perfection before God is not our experienced perfection, but our experienced progress.
The good news is that being on the way is the proof that we have arrived."

Jesus has made us his own; we are the jewels in His crown.
There are stones, pearls, beads
along the way stringing together our lives.
Beautiful markers, with grace between the spaces,
reminding us of how far we've come and what He has done.

"Father, keep us continually turning towards you,
letting You make us into your Bride,
adorned with the jewels you have made of our lives. Amen."

Want to visit Jody on a regular basis?  Click here to read her blog, Three Way Light.




Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer Snapshot and the Soli Deo Gloria Party


It's time to pull up your chair.  Do you know you have one here in this space we call Soli Deo Gloria?  You do.  It's reserved every week only for you.  This place would be different if you weren't here and we miss you when you are gone.  This is a place filled with women who seek to honor your words, you heart, your tears, and your laughter.  Scooch in close.  You won't want to miss a word.
To read more about the Soli Deo Gloria community, please click here.

Also, SDG retreat registration is still open!!  Click here to find out more information and learn how to register.  Hotel reservations must be made by September 7th.  Registration for conference closes on September 23rd.
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We have a little theme going on the next few weeks that I would love for you to be a part of with us.  There is no pressure, but I thought it would be fun if we did a "summer snapshot" since many of our kids have started school again.  The summer snapshot would give us a glimpse into your summer -- would you share with us a few pictures?  What you learned?  What you saw?  How God moved in your life?  I can't wait to read!
This summer I was actually accused of acting like a little kid.

Riding in the car from San Jose to Monterey in California, I kept a running commentary as we made our way to see the Pacific Ocean for the very first time.

"Look at how the dark green of the trees contrasts with the yellow hillside!"

"Horses!  Garlic!  An artichoke farm!"

"Fog covering the mountain!"

"Look!  A rock formation!"
My daughters in the backseat were not as impressed as I was, but I was giddy and couldn't help it.  I was in new land and simply amazed by what I saw (and the fact that it was 60 degrees outside).  Eyes wide open, taking everything in, undistracted by anything that was not part of the natural world.  Pointing out what could have been mundane to some, but to me was fresh and awe-inspiring.

Guilty as charged, I was bubbling over and fascinated like a little child with a new toy.  I was expectant and eager to see how God had created this side of the country and I was so enthralled, not wanting to miss any bit of strange land where people wear jackets in August.
Even though we are back in Texas now, I've stored up a bit of this giddiness in my heart.  The truth is that there is an abundance of amazing things happening around me.  It is my mindset, though, that enables me to see them.

Am I expectant?
Do I trust that God is good and that therefore, He will give me good things?
Am I opened to being amazed or do I only accept things that happen within my timetable or parameters?
Do I have faith like a child or do I get muddled down in logic and logistics?

I want to be giddy with excitement at every point along the adventure and not just when I reach the final destination.  What about you?  Ready for your adventure and the wonders that God will show you on each leg of the journey?
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I am so happy to see your face here at Soli Deo Gloria.  Did you know we have small groups?  As SDG has grown, it started to lose a bit of the small community feel.  As such, we have groups that visit each other and leave comments for each other on SDG days so that you don't feel lost in this big blog world.  Would you like to be a part?  If so, please email me at jenfergie2000@me.com.  Also, if you are new here, please put "I am new" as your caption so that we might give you a proper welcome.