“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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Year of The Wedding

 White Wedding Rose Petals
photography by Anthony Kaetzel

We arrived home yesterday from my sister's wedding.  What a day of joy!  Just a month ago we were in Santa Barbara at the wedding of our dear friends, Dalen & Melissa.  And today we received an invitation to the wedding of the daughter of another of our beloved friends.  All of these couples love each other... and even more so love the Lord.  Their union is a celebration of what the Lord has done in their lives.

I will remember 2011 as the year of the wedding.

I have to admit that going to weddings is a lot of fun.  I like them a lot!  But after the wedding... comes the marriage.  And then for some... after the marriage comes the divorce.  How does a couple get from the wedding altar to the divorce court?  How do they get from promising their forever love to hating one another more than they have hated any other person?  What happens between a husband and a wife that causes them to hurt one another to the core?  When is it that we forget that this person used to be our best friend... the one we cherished... the one deserving of our grace and forgiveness?

Anthony and I are currently going through a series at our church called Love and Respect.  It is centered on the verse found in Ephesians 5:33 NIV

“However, each one of you also 
must love his wife as he loves himself, 
and the wife must respect her husband.”

The series (and book/workbook) focuses on the premise that women want to be unconditionally loved by their husband.   And men want to be unconditionally respected by their wives.  Here's where most wives say, but he hasn't earned my respect!  We have a lot to learn about one another.

This is the third... or maybe fourth time I have been through the material.  It is life-changing... marriage-changing... relationship-changing.  And so I picked my 12th Siesta Scripture Memory Verse to remind me of all the information and application strategies that I am learning during this go around.  Why not join me?  Remember... 'til death do us part?  Might as well have fun in the meantime!


Siesta Scripture Memory Verse # 12 “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33 NIV

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs.

Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs.
June 25, 2011

4 Delight yourself in the LORD
   and he will give you the desires of your heart. 

 5 Commit your way to the LORD;
   trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
   the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. 

 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him...

Psalm 37:4-7a NIV

My precious sister married an amazing man yesterday.  The wedding was beautiful, the bride gorgeous, and celebration overflowing.  But more than that... I was honored to have the privilege of being part of their marriage covenant.  I was able to give my sister's hand in marriage to a man who adores her... believes in her... is dedicated to her.  This is a man that she had been praying for... seeking the Lord for... committing herself to the Lord for... 

She delighted herself in the Lord... and He gave her the desires of her heart.   

Congratulations, Sissy!  I love you! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Post-script:  I decided to make this my

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse # 13 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."  Psalm 37:4 NIV

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Depression from the Other Side
by elizabeth embracing God

Leaking Window at The Portland Lan Su Chinese Garden

I unintentionally made my darling friend, Elizabeth of elizabeth embracing God, a bit uncomfortable yesterday.  She wrote a post about it on her blog.  I have re-posted it here because I feel it is valuable for me to remember how difficult depression can be to understand for those looking in from the outside.

I have never actually seen her depressed. She blogs about it. It’s her ministry to many women.  Heart heavy with the emotions and distress of how this disease has effected her life. She shares so openly and I have learned from her what I know nothing about.  Our paths don’t cross much in day to day life. Now that I think about it, not much at all.  We share a few emails and important phone calls. We read each other’s blogs. She is my go to person with my heart, my prayer concerns and I am hers on many levels too. She comes to sit with me when I am sick and brings me coffee.  I can sense when her heart might be heavy with an issue about life and marriage or even parenting.  Together we can share those burdens of our hearts and pray for each other. Help hold each other up.

Our friendship grows from a distance because our lives are on separate parts of town. We go to different churches and we don’t share a lot of the same friends.  Even so we both know we can trust the other with the deepest parts of our hearts and we have.  Then there is today, which was a different kind of day. Today I did not know her. I was uncomfortable around her. I felt distant and then I asked her. “Are you okay?”


She had already shared earlier her need for the sun. Her need to feel the sun and how she felt down about the weather. She said she was down and was glad that she could be "this way" around friends who know her. But I did not know her today.  I did not know this kind of her. A some what depressed her.  She could explain this disease to me beautifully. Sitting at her counter drinking coffee on her good days.  She could blog about this disease with eloquent words of her heart.  I can read and learn and see first hand in written word how this disease effects this person I love, how it effects her.

Today she looked cute. All during Bible study I wanted to take my pen and flip her cute hair cut. It has that bounce that makes you want flip it. I am growing my hair out and have worn the style she is wearing and was slightly thinking to cut my hair because hers looks so cute.  Does depression have flippy cute hair?  The color of her shirt was bright and cheery. I noticed it right away because I just bought new p.j.’s with those same colors.  The weather has been so gray and dreary I needed something to brighten things up around here. She shared she was feeling down and needed to brighten things up too. We both had the same colors in mind. Does depression look bright and cheery and fashionable?  Every time I have come into her home she is chatty.  She offers a special coffee and drink and cozies into conversation.  Today she just was kind of there and not very cozy or excited to chat about any at all.  Is depression masked like this?  Is this her on her down days?

As I drove away I started to cry. I cried really hard. I cried because I love her so much. I cried because today she had to be “on” and she did a really good job of it. I cried because I have a gift in knowing her enough to know that I could ask if she was okay and she told me she was not. I cried because for the first time in my life I think I am beginning to understand what depression looks like from the outside looking in.  I have known a few people who have suffered from “situational” depression who could shake it off. I think I could raise my hand on that one.  I have never understood, like I did today what it truly looks like. Looking into the face of my sweet sister Sheri and crying my eyes out. Not knowing who to be, or what to say. Only to love her and pray and paint that banner of sunshine on a canvas. I was uncomfortable and stupid and actually said that. Like that would help her.  “I will just paint you a canvas with a big bold sunshine that you can roll out when the sun is not shining.” I know she knows I mean well. But I did not know what else to say.

Depression is like a mask on a beautiful face.  I have only ever seen this face without the mask so I know first hand how beautiful she is. Today I saw that face with the mask on and was confused. I love you Sheri and know that I am learning how to love you in all ways. 
Depression.  I am thanking God that this is not an obstacle in life I have had to overcome or live with. Yet for some reason today she showed me a clearer picture of what depression looks like. 

Thank you Sheri, my dear sweet friend for not getting mad at me for being silly and stupid around your today.  Did you notice I was fidgety?  I get that way when I am a little nervous.  I also talk a little too much.  I did both. Perhaps you did not notice, but then we make a great team.  Now off to go and start that sunshine canvas for you.  Love and Blessings, Elizabeth

Thank you, Elizabeth. Yes, depression can have flippy cute hair. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Because The Almighty Has Made My Life Very Bitter

Canola Fields near Banks, Oregon

I've been working on Day 1 of Week 2 of the Ruth Bible Study this morning.  And I was so moved by the raw honesty of the Bible verses that I read, that I thought to share them with you.  Oftentimes, we think when we approach God that we aren't allowed to be honest with Him.  That we should pretend like everything is okay... and we don't have any questions of Him... and that we aren't bitter for the lot that has been dealt to us.  But we find in the Bible numerous examples of when those who loved God deeply, questioned God's love for them.  Felt crushed by Him.  Abandoned by Him.  And they told Him about it.  

Why don't we tell God how we really feel?  We will tell those around us.  But not God.  For some reason, we don't feel like we can talk to God about how we are really feeling.  But I have found that when I come to Him with my raw emotions and all, that I have opened my heart to allowing Him to comfort me.  To speak to me.  To get down to what are the desires of my heart.

So as you read these verses today... think about what you would truly want to say to God.  Do you feel like He has forsaken you?  Crushed you?  Left you to fend for yourself?  These are real feelings.  Share them with the Father today.  And then ask Him to help you work through the questions and feelings you have.  He is faithful. (2 Timothy 2:13)  


Ruth 1:20-21
20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”


Job 9:16-19
16 Even if I summoned him and he responded,
   I do not believe he would give me a hearing.
17 He would crush me with a storm
   and multiply my wounds for no reason.
18 He would not let me regain my breath
   but would overwhelm me with misery.
19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty!
   And if it is a matter of justice, who will summon him?


Job 10:8-9
8 Your hands shaped me and made me.
   Will you now turn and destroy me?
9 Remember that you molded me like clay.
   Will you now turn me to dust again?


Job 19:8-10
8 He has blocked my way so I cannot pass;
   he has shrouded my paths in darkness.
9 He has stripped me of my honor
   and removed the crown from my head.
10 He tears me down on every side till I am gone;
   he uproots my hope like a tree.


Psalm 22:1-2
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
   Why are you so far from saving me,
   so far from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
   by night, and am not silent.


Psalm 88:6-8
6 You have put me in the lowest pit,
   in the darkest depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavily upon me;
   you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.
8 You have taken from me my closest friends
   and have made me repulsive to them.
   I am confined and cannot escape.


1 Samuel 1:10-11
10 In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”


1 Samuel 1:15-16
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”


"I believe many Christian women are not nearly this honest with God or themselves.  We feel forsaken by God or deep down we are angry or bitter with Him, but we never let ourselves stop long enough to address our feelings with Him.
Perhaps we're afraid of what we'll experience when we get there.  Maybe we're fearful that we won't hear anything from God, that He'll require something of us we don't want to give, or that we'll learn something about ourselves we don't want to know.  Perhaps it's too much work. "     ~ Kelly Minter, Ruth Bible Study (page 41)

Let me know how I can be praying for you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Is God Waiting For Us To Win The Lottery?

 Darling Ethiopian Princess with Her Treasured Toy
November 2010


Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.

Many rich people threw in large amounts. 
But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, 
worth only a fraction of a penny.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, 
“I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 
They all gave out of their wealth; 
but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—
all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:41-44 NIV

Poverty.

I grew up in what I considered poverty. Some nights dinner consisted of cold cereal. No milk. Just cereal. And it was the non-brand kind. Bills would go unpaid. Eviction would be threatened. We would hide from the newspaper delivery boy when he would show up at the door requiring payment.

But in a few days or the next day, it would be pay day. And we would go to the grocery store and eat out for dinner at Gino's and get our hair cut and maybe go to a movie that weekend. And pay our rent. And a couple bills. But not necessarily the newspaper delivery boy.

My sis and I grew up with a single mom. During a time when dads could get away without paying their child support. We didn't have a car. I wore hand me downs. And there were even times we might "borrow" things (like toilet paper rolls) from establishments, but never repay them.

I thought we were poor. And compared to the American dream... we were.

When my mom married my step-father in my junior year of high school. I started receiving allowance. Weekly. $20. (And there was ALWAYS food in the kitchen... and clothes with tags still attached in the closets... and toilet paper. The brand name kind.)

And it was then, that I started tithing. I don't remember ever tithing before that time. $2 every week. Went right into the offering. And when I started working, I would tithe on those paychecks. And when Anthony and I got married and lived on his one paycheck a month... while I finished college (on scholarships and grants and financial aid)... and we would eat boxed Macaroni and Cheese for dinner, we would tithe. We tithed in what we thought was our poverty.

And before we knew it, we were living the American Dream. Paychecks would come twice a month. We could purchase meat to go with the Macaroni and Cheese. And we would tithe. But now our giving was out of our wealth.

Wealth.

We may think we need to be wealthy to be significant givers. We think... when I have money then I will bless those around me. I will be the one doing the blessing. But isn't that kind of the American dream? We think that if we are able to give more that somehow we are more significant. Or beneficial to the kingdom cause. As if God will be more pleased with us, if our gifts are larger than the gifts of others. Than the gifts of those in poverty. But is He?

Here we see Jesus take a seat where he could see (and hear) people dropping their gifts into the temple treasury. And then calls His disciples over to watch... listen... and learn. He didn't even ask them what they thought. He just went on ahead and told them. Wonder why that is? It wasn't even a parable. He just told them flat out... her gift is of more significance. Of more value. Seriously? She put in a fraction of a penny! And they threw in large amounts! Huh?

God is not concerned with the amount that we give. He is concerned with our hearts. Our hearts to give selflessly. Our hearts to give joyfully. Our hearts to give out of obedience and love for Him. He is not waiting for us to get wealthy or win the lottery so that we can give a huge sum of money to starving children or to Ethiopia or to pay off the church debt. He is not waiting.

But He is watching.
Watching His children learn how to trust Him.
In all things.
Whether in perceived poverty... or received wealth.
Will we give what we'll never miss... or will we give our all?


Sitting across from the offering box,
he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection.

Many of the rich were making large contributions.
One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—
a measly two cents.

Jesus called his disciples over and said,
"The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection
than all the others put together.
All the others gave what they'll never miss;
she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford—
she gave her all."

Mark 12:41-44 The Message



Siesta Scripture Memory Verse # 11 "They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on." Mark 12:44 NIV

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Psalm 23

Red Clover Fields near North Plains, Oregon

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters...

 
...he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
  

 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23 NIV
 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

As of Late - June 4th, 2011


Hammock-time!

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time on my hammock.  Okay, well maybe a couple hours yesterday and today that is.

Lately, I organized a Field Day for Christopher's school.  Old-Fashioned with tug-of-war and 3-legged races and sack races... and plenty of Popsicles.  You know, I never thought I would have Field Day Organizer on my resume.

Lately, I have struggled to think of my next Siesta Team Memory Verse... any suggestions?  I'm four days overdue!

Lately, I have begun the Ruth Bible Study by Kelly Minter.  Loving it.
I used to think that my choice to obey in any given situation was a one-time decision, but I now realize that obedience might mean having to make that same choice several times in a week, month, or year. ~ Kelly Minter
Lately, I went to a fairy-tale wedding in Santa Barbara.  Anthony and I shared a house with our youth pastor and his super talented wife and our senior pastor and his amazingly gifted wife.  It was definitely a bit unnerving sharing a house with the senior pastor.  I mean... who knows what could end up coming out of his mouth when he is at the pulpit tomorrow, right?  What happens in Santa Barbara, stays in Santa Barbara!

Lately, my heart has been hurting for someone who is being teased on a daily basis.  All I have to say is that being in middle school is rough business.  So thankful for wonderful teachers who are helping all those involved (including me) to learn how to handle our frustration (read as ANGER) knowing it is a life lesson.

Lately, I realized that I have been blogging for over four years now.  Wow!  I have met so many wonderful friends through blogging.  I am blessed by you!

So, what have you been up to... as of late?