“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Saturday, January 31, 2009

While You Were Talking...

I will answer them

before they even call to me.

While they are still talking

about their needs,

I will go ahead and

answer their prayers!

~ Isaiah 65:24, NLT

Friday, January 23, 2009

Lousy Timing

You see,

at just the right time,
when we were still powerless,

Christ died for the ungodly.

Very rarely will anyone die
for a righteous man,
though for a good man
someone might possibly dare to die.

But God demonstrates
his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

I'm trying to get my brain around these verses (from my Daily Bible Reading). "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, God died for the ungodly…" So, the right timing was when we were still powerless. Not when we had it all together. Gained perfection. Stopped messing things up... No! When we were still powerless.

How is it possible that my powerlessness is just the right time? That just doesn't seem right to me. But it does to Him.

Dear Lord, forgive me for the times that I think your timing is lousy. When I think... if only God had done something sooner. And for the times when I think that you are unaffected by my current imposition... Lord, You are the God of "Just The Right Time"! Praise You! In Jesus' name, Amen

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Truth - For the 2nd Time!

My dear beloved natural-born Sister (yes, with a capital S!) is on a plane at this very minute to visit me whilst dearest hubby is in Africa. As I plan for her arrival, I started getting a little frantic.. and then it made me think about all my piles around the house... there is just NOT enough time to put them all away... what to do?!

This post from August 21st came to mind!


Disclaimer: This post is not for the faint of heart. If you intend to keep me on a pedestal, please read no further!

I don't make my bed everyday. Okay, I maybe make my bed once a week. Well, the truth is that it might not really officially be called "making" my bed... It is more like straightening the covers.

I don't do the dishes every day. I like to let them pile up and then put them into the dishwasher at one time because I have a whole logical schematic as to which items go where.

I have piles of clutter around my house at this very moment. When-am-I-going-to-read-these-books pile. Where-do-I-file-these-papers pile. Need-to-put-this-stuff-in-the-car pile.

But if I knew you were coming over... I would most likely do the dishes. I would definitely throw all my piles of clutter into a laundry basket and shove it in the laundry room. And I might... just might... on a good day... straighten my bed, but most likely... well, the plain truth is... I would just shut the bedroom door.

I had some darling ladies over my home a couple months back. After having visited my home, one of my precious ladies told me that she saw my piles! She actually went looking for them. It relieved her to know that I had piles. Because she has her own piles, and she wondered what other people did with their piles.

Now, mind you, I don't always have piles. I'm pretty organized by most standards. Most of the time I have piles because I want to make sure everything ends up where I can find it at a later date.

I don't hide my piles because I want to impress you. I hide them because I don't want to be distracted by them while you are here. I don't want you to be distracted by them either. It's not that I'm trying to be someone that I'm not... It's just that when you are in my home... I want it to be a haven to you.

I guess I do this in other areas of my life. I may not always greet you with my piles in tow... I may appear to have things together... but I do this because... I want to be a haven to you... whether in my home or in my heart.

I want you to feel free to come over and peek in the laundry room and see my piles. I encourage you to do so. You can even take a peek into the sink... if you must. But in all honesty, when you peek into my bedroom... you'll find the bed unmade... because... well, isn't that what matching bed sheets were made for?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Heart is in Ethiopia

Today, Anthony leaves Addis Ababa and heads to Asosa. He arrived in Ethiopia yesterday for a missions trip with 6 other men from our church including our lead pastor.

As I asked him what it was like to take a 4-mile run at 7,700 feet in Africa... what was the countryside like? He brushed off my question and went into his feelings about the poverty, persecution, and imminent death all around him. How unbelievably humbling the visit has been. How we may think we know poverty... but we truly have no concept at all.

He had been asked to be prepared to give a sermon at a church on Sunday. But he tells me that... words from his mouth mean nothing. What would he have to say to these people? "Inadequacy is one thing, but this is... well, I got nothing. The words alone must come from God because I cannot relate. It is mind boggling."

And then he answers my question about the countryside... He says everything else is just stuff. Inconsequential. All he can think of is the wrestling within himself. Wondering who he is... why he would be there...

And so, the change has begun. Anthony will be different when he returns. He will have memories and experiences that he will be unable to describe because mere mortal words will fail him. I will only taste these memories and experiences through the change that has taken place in him.

And so I pray, "Dear Lord, please.... guard my HEART... in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 NIV

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In Honor of January 15th
(The 3-year Anniversary)

In Honor of January 15th, 2006. (For background you can visit last year's post.)

Still sitting by the bathroom mirror is a precious sheet of crumpled paper. It has these verses printed on it... and I had circled the words I have put in bold.

A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery:

15 But what can I say?
He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.
I will walk humbly all my years
because of this anguish of my soul.

16 Lord, by such things men live;
and my spirit finds life in them too.
You restored me to health
and let me live.

17 Surely it was for my benefit
that I suffered such anguish.
In your love you kept me
from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins
behind your back.

Isaiah 38:15-17

These were not words that I could believe on January 15, 2006. And probably not even January 15, 2007. But there became a time that I could print them out and put them by the mirror. At first they were just words... but now, they are words I live by... It is who I am...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Enticed to Bloom Early


It's too early, I thought. These bulbs should not be pushing their way up yet. It's only January and there will be another frost. I wanted to tell them... "Not yet, dear friend." But the warmth enticed them. They were past the point of no return... and they are mush now. Their beauty will not be enjoyed this year.

Some things you just don't need to know yet, I thought. Christopher asked why we hadn't told him about R and X rated movies. He said he felt silly having to ask his friends what they were because some of the other boys were talking about them. I told him that one day he would need to know about these types of movies, but for now, we didn't want him to have to be burdened with the knowledge that there are types of entertainment that would go beyond what we would ever need to see or experience... and some... at any age. But, now, he knows they exist... and I cannot take that knowledge away from him.

"You don't need to know everything about this yet," God said. But I persisted..."Just tell me how this situation will turn out. I want to know. Please!" But He says that it is for my benefit to not divulge all the information too soon... because I just might not be able to handle it or I might try to force the outcome. He gently says, "Trust me, Sheri... there are things you just don't need to know yet... It's too early."

And so, I choose to stick myself back into the warm soil... and not be enticed to rush too quickly... to force myself into a bloom... when all along God knows, another frost is coming.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Special Olympics Scarf

And let us consider how
we may spur one another on
toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews 10:24 NIV

My knitting buddy, Lisa D., sent me an e-mail a couple months ago suggesting that we make scarves for the Special Olympics. See Special Olympics Scarves. I have never made a beloved knitted gift for someone I do not know. I have to admit that it is not quite as fulfilling as knitting for someone I love. But that was not the point.

Still, I took the finished project and wrapped it around my neck one day and wore it. Partly to pray for the Special Olympian who will don it. And partly for me to have a moment alone to say good-bye to my hand-knitted creation.

And so, I learned a couple things while completing this project.
  • Acrylic yarn is not forgiving.
  • Acrylic yarn is not appealing to the touch.
  • Finding Red Heart Saver Yarn in the color Delft in Portland is impossible.
  • I like the look of scarves knit lengthwise.
  • I'd rather knit for a beloved one.
  • I like working on service projects with friends.
A little encouragement: Next time you have a service project or ministry, why not spur someone to come alongside you? You might just cultivate a friendship... or create a deeper connection with a sister!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thinking about My Heavenly Father's Heart

Therefore encourage one another and
build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Christopher's first Upward Basketball practice was tonight. As I watched the coach and his son get acquainted with Christopher, I was amazed at their responsiveness. They saw areas that needed help and they quickly and kindly gave him the attention and instruction he needed. How my heart was filled with gratitude. That they would take time to invest in my son.

And then... it made me think... How the Lord's heart must be so tender towards those who reach out to His children in need. To those who take the time to fill in the gap, or come alongside, or teach... or encourage... that it would make our Heavenly Father... happy!

"His master replied,
'Well done, good and faithful servant!
You have been faithful with a few things;
I will put you in charge of many things.
Come and share your master's happiness!'
Matthew 25:21

Thursday, January 8, 2009

There are Multiple Ways to Do the Same Thing!

Do not let this Book of the Law
depart from your mouth;
meditate on it day and night,
so that you may be careful
to do everything written in it.
Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Joshua 1:8 NIV

Our Senior Pastor is encouraging us to read through the Bible with him this year. He gave two different daily reading plans. I had tried the first with no success in the past. But I decided to give the second plan a try.

And I am absolutely loving it. I even decided to start a spreadsheet that lists the book, the chapters I read, some thoughts about the reading, and a prayer. It keeps it all cohesive for me.

I thought I would share an excerpt with you. I don't know how to make this look like a spreadsheet, but you'll get the idea...
  • Date: January 7th
  • Book: Job
  • Chapters: 1-2
  • Thoughts: Job interceded for his children by making sacrifices for them. Job worshipped right after he heard all of the trouble. We see what Job is made of in his grief. It's hard to imagine that satan can have an audience with God. Yet Job kept his integrity. "But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips." Job 2:10
  • Prayer: Lord, help me to accept all that You give. Good… and evil. I need to make adjustments to be in Your will. Not You making adjustments to be in mine.
You can see that it has some random thoughts that really struck me... or that I want to remember... or a Bible verse.

I have never read "through" the Bible before. I've always felt a little like I was supposed to... hasn't every other Christian read through the Bible at least once? What guilt! I would make a resolution to do it... but fail. And, again.

I am so excited that this plan is a fit for me... that I wanted to share it with you, sisters (and brothers!) This plan may not be a "fit" for everyone, but it sure encouraged me that there are multiple ways to do the same thing!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Eyeballs and all.

As directed by the ER physician's assistant (see post), we made a follow-up visit to Christopher's pediatrician here in Oregon. The pediatrician assured us that the antibiotics would completely ward off the potential for Lyme Disease. Nothing at all to worry about... Really? What a relief...

But then... he snickered. He said he felt the whole thing was being a little blown out of proportion. Perhaps superfluous. Extreme. Huh? The potential for Lyme Disease? Really? I know ticks aren't as prevalent around here... but their bite is to be given proper respect.

And then this momma bear thought to herself... Trust me, when it comes to my baby bear... NOTHING is superfluous. We needed to get that whole tick out. Eyeballs and all. And we were not taking any chances... or just assuming that it will all take care of itself. We are being diligent. Complete. Leaving no chance for infection.

And it all made me think about my Heavenly Father... who sometimes requires me to do the extreme. For my own good. And there are people around me... who snicker. Who think they know better or are smarter. And they say that I don't have to be so diligent... or I can let some things go lax... or a little won't hurt anything...

But sometimes our Heavenly Father says... cut it off or pluck it out... not because He is keeping me from having what some may consider fun, but He is keeping me from what may ultimately hurt me. Separation from Him.

So, as I start this New Year, I'm asking... Do you see any ticks, Lord? Are there any little things that are sucking the life out of me? or infecting me? Things that need to be completely removed? Pluck it off me, Lord! Eyeballs and all!

If your hand causes you to sin,
cut it off
It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.

And if your foot causes you to sin,
cut it off
It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.

And if your eye causes you to sin,
pluck it out.
It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell...
Mark 9:43-47 NIV

Friday, January 2, 2009

Welcome to Portland, Oregon
Just South of the North Pole!

No, I am not kidding.

We woke up to a fresh blanket of snow.

Global warming?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Our Trip to Maryland:
A Visit to the Emergency Room
and A Mother's Prayer

We're home. Pretty much all of the snow has been melted by the rains. Back to "normal" weather for Portland.

Maryland has not had "normal" weather, either. Instead of snow... it has been warm. It is so warm that the deer ticks are still prevalent. Not yet killed off by the cold weather. And if you happen to decide to go play with your cousins in the woods... well, you just might find one... unknowingly.

On Sunday, Christopher complained about his ear hurting. We chalked it up to a potential ear infection.

On Tuesday, I just "happened" to sit to the left of Christopher. Realizing that hygiene is difficult for a 9-year old while he is visiting his cousins... I noticed that his left ear needed a really good cleaning.

But what was that? In the upper folds of the outer ear... dirt? No. Well, it looks a little like stitches... wait a minute... and my heart drops to my feet. A tick.

To avoid contracting Lyme disease it is important to remove all of the tick within 36 hours. We try to remove the tick, but it is not letting go. Finally, release... but the head and two arms remain. Even the physician's assistant at the ER cannot get all of it out.

It is a deer tick and we need to begin treatment for Lyme Disease... whether it is present or not. Did treatment begin soon enough?

Christopher is currently on antibiotics for fourteen days and we keep a stringent watch for potential symptoms... rash, fever, fatigue, muscle and joint stiffness, swollen glands, headache, and flu-like symptoms.

Lyme Disease can affect the heart and nervous system and/or motor and sensory nerve damage, brain inflammation and arthritis throughout the rest of your life.

Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything,
by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and
your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! I praise you, Lord! That you revealed to me the little tick in my precious son's ear. What if I had not seen it? What if we did not have the ability to go to the ER? What if treatment had not begun soon enough? We are truly blessed by You.

And now, Lord, I ask that You would heal my precious boy. Any infection that exists would be overcome by the antibiotics. That Your strength would be his strength... and mine, too. And that I would allow your peace to invade my soul. In the name of Jesus, Amen.