Tuesday, August 31, 2010

peace for her journey

Praying for Elaine

"The daughters of our time are not interested in watching us as we pretend to be perfect.   
Every human alive has made acquaintance with failure.   
These daughters look for something a bit more intimate than perfection.   
They want to know what we learn when we failed.    

They hope we will be 
brave enough to be honest, authentic, and 
wise with our words and life lessons.   
They hope we will strain the bitterness from our stories and 
present them as wine, laced with promised." 
~Lisa Bevere, Nurture

She's going in for surgery tomorrow.  And yet, she took the time to write a word of encouragement... not for herself, but for those she has bonded with in the blogosphere.  She's having a double mastectomy tomorrow.  And she is facing it beyond bravely.  She is running into it.  I encourage you to read her post, tomorrow...

"Whether you 'signed up' to be an example or not, you are one." 

When we look for mentors... we want to "find women who presently live where you want to go." And here she is.  And I have never met her face to face.  Just heart to heart.  Blog to blog.  Comment to comment.  E-mail to e-mail.  Facebook to Facebook.

"God can turn around our issues and then take what blesses and heals us on an individual basis and magnify it for the healing of many--sometimes even for the healing of nations."

She's living it.   Tomorrow.  1pm Eastern time.  

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, 
God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. 
If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. 
He does our praying in and for us, 
making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. 
He knows us far better than we know ourselves, 
knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. 
That's why we can be so sure that 
every detail 
in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.  
Romans 8:25-27 The Message

"You have incredible potential to influence for good and godliness 
because you are being watched."

All italics in this post are quotes from the book Nurture by Lisa Bevere.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nurture: Bridging The Gap

Burnside Bridge, Antietam Battlefield
Sharpsburg, Maryland

We are heartsick and in need of intimate, safe connections so we can in turn heal and help others. 
~ Nurture by Lisa Bevere 

"Why me?  Why would two precious young moms ask me to mentor them? And what exactly does that mean?  Is a mentor like a coach?  Is there a class I could take to learn how to be a mentor?  What about a book?"

These were my thoughts last summer.  I had shared my home and heart with these two sisters through Bible Study.  They were anxious to have a deeper walk with the Lord... and there was something they saw in me that might help them along that path.  I was clueless about mentoring, but I knew I wanted this opportunity to be used by the Lord, so I accepted their invitation.

Stumbling along without help from a book or class, I began meeting with them one-on-one.  Learning more about who they are... how I could come alongside them... and basically just listening and encouraging.  I noticed that a lot of my mentoring had to do with affirmation or offering perspective.  And love and sharing life and hugs.

It is an honor to see these women grow in the Lord.  As they touch the lives of those around them.  As they dig deeper into the Word.  As they love and pray for their families.  They have so much God-given potential... it is a gift to be part of their inner circle and to be called their friend and mentor.

Still, I wanted a formula.  Perhaps a workbook.  I wanted to make sure I was doing it right.  I didn't want to let them down.  So, one of my goals this year was to learn more about mentoring.  And God was faithful to bring a resource into my life... through a woman who I consider to be my blogging mentor, Elaine Olsen at peace for the journey.

As I was passing through Elaine's profile page back in May to get to her blog (although I normally get there through bloglines), I saw a list of her favorite books.  Nurture by Lisa Bevere caught my eye. I had just minutes before been on my local public library's website looking for mentoring books.  I saw the cover of Nurture on the library's website but flew right past it. I about fell over when I clicked on her profile... saw Nurture... searched for it... and saw the exact SAME cover. I immediately went back to the library website and reserved it.  I contacted Elaine and told her the story and she said...
I'll one up you on this one... I have a spare copy of Nurture that I was saving for the right moment... that moment has come. It will be in the mail to you tomorrow! I LOVE that book. I think there's also a study to go with...
So I have been reading Nurture by Lisa Bevere over the summer.  Lisa Bevere focuses on mentors who nurture... almost more like a spiritual mother.  And as I read through the book, I realized that through my nurturing I had been mentoring all along.  In the meanwhile, God had brought me alongside a friend this summer who had been asked to oversee an upcoming mentoring program at our church.  Through prayer it was confirmed that I should join her as she begins this new adventure!  It is just a confirmation of how important it is to pray and then watch.  Looking to see where and how God is working.  He always seems to answer prayers abundantly more than I even ask.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord... 
Jeremiah 29:11a

Dear friends, would you please keep Elaine in your prayers?  She has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Quite a shock to her and her family.  And in her words, “It doesn’t matter how long God chooses to preserve my earthly life. What matters is how I choose to preserve him in the earthly life I’ve been given.”

Friday, August 27, 2010

A friendship that began 25 years ago.

Wedding Day
August 27, 1988
Hagerstown, Maryland

We met in 1985.  I was 17 and Anthony was 19.  We were attending the same church and ended up on a youth choir tour together that ended up at Nigara Falls.  It was love at first sight, but we were both dating other people.  We decided to stay friends which only seemed to fuel the fire, so we began dating six months later with our first kiss on New Years Eve.  Two years later on New Years Eve, Anthony proposed and within nine months we were married.

Happy Anniversary, honey!  And thanks, again, for not slopping wedding cake all over my face!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Say The Name...

Light Painting
Trillium Lake, Mt. Hood, Oregon

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. 

On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, 

and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  

2 Corinthians 10: 4-5

As if by speaking the words... the fog has lifted. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

God's Chronic Love and Comfort and Mercy

Star Trails at Mt. Hood
(see if you can find the shooting star)

Okay... okay... so I admit it.  I am struggling.  There.  I said it.  Maybe I will start to feel better now.

It has been sunny and beautiful here.  Even a heat wave which I relished.  I have been in my garden.  I have been visiting with friends.  I have been doing my Bible Study.  I have even been seeing God at work.  I have been getting to bed at a decent hour.  Christopher is enjoying his lazy summer.  Anthony has been leading us on hikes and new adventures (like watching meteorites flash through the sky)... and within a week we will be celebrating our 22nd anniversary. 

I have nothing to complain about.  Yes, there are stresses in my life, but I am confident in the One who is able to walk on water.  I am being obedient in a task that God has assigned me that will require Him to show up in a big way... and He already has.  I have even been enjoying the birth of a new friendship. (She brings me licorice flavored black jelly bellies knowing they are my favorite flavor!)  There is nothing I lack.

But here I am.  Not even wanting to type the word.  Depressed.  Lately, a malaise that I wake up with and visits me frequently throughout the day.  An uncertainty.  Bewilderment.

Most of you who are able to interact with me would even be surprised.  Of course, I hide it.  Keep it secret.  I want to be used by God to be your encourager.  So, I do my best to keep my depression in my back pocket.

Okay... and the other truth is that... I don't want you to feel sorry for me.  Or feel like you have to make it better.  And I'm not sure why that is... because I would want you to tell me, so I could be there for you.

And sometimes I think that I should be healed of this by now.  Considering all of the counseling and medication.  But here I am.  With my thorn

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! 

He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. 

When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. 

If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. 

Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times,
we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it. 

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (The Message)

Because here is the thing...  I know what it is like to depend upon the Lord daily for my depression.  It is not something that I have dealt with and now have moved on.  It is something that is chronic for me.  But so is His love and comfort and mercy.  And it is all very real to me... and so each time I encounter someone who is struggling with depression... or have a loved one who is struggling with depression, I am able to come alongside and offer hope and comfort that God has given me.

My struggle gives me authenticity and credence when I am speaking to someone else who is struggling.  I find my vulnerability offers me many opportunities to reach out to those who suffer from depression.  It may not be the most glamorous ministry, but  it is a necessary one.

And perhaps... just perhaps... I needed to write this post just for me.  So that I would be reminded of how faithful God is to fulfill His Word.   But if you needed to hear this today, I just wanted to let you know that... I "know you're going to make it, no doubt about it."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

As of Late - August 19th, 2010

The Milky Way
August 15, 2010

Lately I have been looking at the stars... and meteorites.  (Thanks, honey.)

Lately I have been distracted from my focus on the Lord by mindless activities. 

Lately I have been experiencing 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.  (Comforting others through their depression.)

Lately I have been preparing to be a mother of a middle school tweenager. 

Lately Christopher has begun redecorating his room. (From barn/cowboy to the Dallas Cowboys.)

Lately I have been keeping secrets. 

Lately I made a huge blunder, but God turned my bad... into His good.  (Thank you, God!)

Lately I have been staring at my tomato plants in hopes that they will ripen before Christmas.

Lately I have been learning about the necessity of each member in the body of Christ.

Lately I have been studying about mentoring.  Nurture by Lisa Bevere.

Lately I am attempting a God-sized task.

Lately I have forgotten how to say the word no.

And I’ve been wondering, what have you been up to as of late?

Feel free to link up or comment with what you’ve been loving, learning and listening to as of late.  Thanks to Kristen for hosting this meme.  Details can be found here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

1st & 15th Scripture Memory 2010: Verse 16
Passing The Torch

Christopher and Jackson
Young Champions 2010
photograph courtesy of Tiffany Diggs

Our church family sponsors Young Champions, a track and field camp, every summer.   The camp is held at a local high school and is open to the public as an outreach to our community.  Children, ranging from preschool to 6th grade, have the opportunity to receive instruction for each event and compete... with each child receiving colorful ribbons... and the opportunity to learn about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Christopher has participated in this camp multiple times and even carried the opening torch in his younger days.   But this year Christopher decided to be a volunteer as opposed to a participant.  And he was asked to assist our young friend, Jackson, with carrying the opening torch.

My prayer is that Christopher truly will pass on the torch of volunteerism to those around him.  That he will spur those around him toward love and good deeds.

Memory Verse 16
My memory verse is taken from unit 12 of Experiencing God.

Unit 12:  Experiencing God in Your Daily Life

And let us consider how we may 
spur one another on 
toward love and good deeds. 

Let us not give up meeting together, 
as some are in the habit of doing, 
but let us encourage one another—
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25

Sunday, August 8, 2010

They Are Precious In His Sight

Footprints in the Sand
Cannon Beach, Oregon

I have been praying for what most would consider the impossible.  Praying for a little boy who is lost... to be found.  And praying for a little boy who was expected to die last week... to live.

Often I am asked if I still think Kyron Horman is alive.  After two months, most would assume the worst.  I can't.  Because if I think of him as dead... then I quit praying for him.  For his safe return.  For those involved in all of this to draw closer to Jesus and to know Him as their Savior.  And I wonder what is the benefit in me thinking he is dead?  It doesn't change my day-to-day.  Although I could clean up the loose edges and take his missing poster off my blog... But honestly, if it was my child... I would want you to keep praying.

And then there is John.  He has been in the hospital dying for the last year and a half.  He is fourteen years old now.  He is in pain and... frankly tired of living.  Leukemia... well, that was just the start.  And sometimes I think it would be more kind of me to pray for him to be taken to heaven.  But I don't.  I pray for the Lord's will to be done.  And two weeks ago when I found out that he would be taken off all medications and machines because he just wasn't going to make it... well, we thought... he hasn't died yet, so why not pray for a miracle.  And we did.  Because we know God is in the miracle business. 

And I got a phone call earlier this week... the doctors think John is going to make it.  And my fickle heart thought... for how long?  And then I felt a prompting in my spirit... How long did you ask for, Sheri?

What did I pray?  Did I pray for a miracle that John would be healed... permanently?  And what would that look like?  Would that mean he would never die?  And what if he only lived another year?  Wouldn't that still be sufficient of a miracle?

And I wondered if I should make my prayers more specific.

But ultimately, I realized that God did answer my prayer.  He has done the impossible.  A boy who was destined to die... did not.  And for how long?  Well, that is in the Lord's hands.  But as long as he is alive I will keep praying.

As long as they are alive I will keep praying.

Psalm 139:2-16 The Message 

You know when I leave and when I get back; 
I'm never out of your sight.

You know everything I'm going to say
before I start the first sentence.

I look behind me and you're there,
then up ahead and you're there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.

This is too much, too wonderful—
I can't take it all in!

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you're there!
If I go underground, you're there!
If I flew on morning's wings
to the far western horizon,
You'd find me in a minute—
you're already there waiting!

Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I'm immersed in the light!"
It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!

You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I'd even lived one day. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

He Will Watch Over Your Life

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? 

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; 
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 

The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night. 

The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.  

Psalm 121 

Congratulations to gideonmommasita at a hope and a future. You are the winner of last week's giveaway. Thank you to everyone who participated... I am looking forward to adding your selections to my iPod!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Are God Alone

Mt. Hood Dressed in Pink

I think what we listen to influences what we think about.  I have been sharing songs that have made an impact on me.  I want to know what songs have touched you.  Leave a comment with the name of a song (or songs) that you would encourage me to listen to and you will be entered to win the following three cds:
Freedom by Mandisa featuring the song "He Is With You"

Something to Say by Matthew West featuring the song "All The Broken Pieces"

Let The Worshippers Arise by Phillips, Craig & Dean featuring the song "You Are God Alone"

You Are God Alone (not a god) Lyrics

You are not a God
Created by human hands
You are not a god
Dependant on any mortal man
You are not a god
In need of anything we can give
By Your plan, that’s just the way it is 

You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
Your are God alone
And right now
In the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone
You’re the only God
Whose power none can contend
You’re the only God
Whose name and praise will never end
You’re the only God
Who’s worthy of everything we can give
You are God
And that’s just the way it is 

That’s what You are

PS.  In your comments, please include the name of an influential song... and make sure you indicate whether or not you want to be included in the giveaway. Winner will be drawn with my next post.

Monday, August 2, 2010

1st & 15th Scripture Memory 2010: Verse 15

 Catching a Rainbow at Double Falls
Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

My memory verses are taken from units 10 & 11 of Experiencing God.

Unit 10: God's Will and the Church

"In Christ we who are many form one body, 
and each member belongs to all the others."  
Romans 12:5

Unit 11:  Kingdom People

"If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, 
we have fellowship with one another, 
and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
1 John 1:7

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