Thursday, August 2

We are back in Oceanside, Ca again. There are a few details here at the Calvary that Jeff would like to wrap up (so to speak… cable joke!). All three kids are with us this time, I pray we don’t overwhelm them <grin>…

I have had a difficult time writing on a regular basis while staying at my parents home. I don’t know if it is just the break in routine or what, I just know that I find it very hard to write each morning. My mornings there are different.

We are staying in the RV, which is parked in front of their home. I know they would be pleased and happy to have us inside, it’s just that I sleep so much better in my own bed. We also preserve some of our autonomy as a family as well as give Mom and Dad some space. In any event, since we are staying in the front of their house, we are unable to put out the slide on our coach. As a result our living space is very cramped (especially with all five of us inside!).

Thus, each morning rather than sit at our little desk, I wander inside, make coffee and check my email on their computer … cable modem … what a treat! Then the day just gets away from me. As a result, I just don’t write.

It’s weird but I feel as though I am in a bit of a waiting place. I am expectant of something, what… I do not know. I am sure that God is using this in some way, he just hasn’t filled me in yet.

We have a few things that need tying up while we are still in Orange County. Jeff and I feel that it will probably be quite awhile before we are back here again. One of the items to get off our plate is the darn storage. Again, God is giving me an opportunity to learn patience.

I just want to barrel in and take care of the storage issues, I don’t know exactly what I would do, just… well, something! Jeff is moving so slowly. Not that I can blame him, he is unsure of what to do either! This storage issue is a burden. We must decrease our costs for storage. If we could only find something for about $220 per month. That would do it. Right now we are paying nearly $700 per month and have eaten up all our resources.

I spoke to a friend last night about selling some of our bigger furniture. She suggested consignment. I have put this before the Lord on many occasions and still do not feel reconciled to a direction. Someday we will need furniture again. Why not keep this stuff and be prepared. Yet, there is a very good reason to sell some of the stuff, reducing our overhead.

I think I am leaning towards selling the non-essential things like, dining room table and chairs, china hutches, coffee table and maybe Kurt’s bunk bed, I doubt he’s going to fit into the bunks anymore! Although Eve might be able to use them. Arrgh. What a quandary.

There is another part of me that just wants to never look at any of it again. Just walk away.

Finally, there are the issues regarding the sale of the business. It just won’t go away. It is almost as if it remains to tempt Jeff back into that world of compromise and unhappiness. The employees that are purchasing the company are having some personal problems, one is under some relational stresses at home. Thus, the attention to the details of running a business have been put aside.

I know. These are not my issues to think about. Jeff will certainly remind me that these are his burdens and not mine. I just so much want it all to be gone, so that Jeff (and I) can move on with this life.

I also want to get back on the road… NOW! We have to wait here in Orange County until Kurt returns from Boy Scout Summer Camp (praise God, they gave him a full scholarship!!). He returns on August 19. I will keep praying that we will be ready to leave on the 20th. I am really excited about going to Oregon and Washington next.

Oh, a funny thing happened the other morning. We were having coffee with a Pastor in Orange County that needs some help with his sound system, and he suddenly said he had a word from the Lord, that he hoped was for us. This pastor said that someday we will settle in Sioux Falls and pastor there. Huh? Jeff a pastor…. No way! Sioux Falls…. No way!

I shared this with a friend, her response was… why no way? Don’t you want to be in God’s will? Oh no! She’s right. I do want to be in His will, I just hope it isn’t His will for us to be in South Dakota…. I tell you, wouldn’t it be funny if that is where we end up? God does have a wonderful sense of humor and you know… it would be just His style!!

Life with Jesus is like reading a really good book. The story is so good and fun to read and you just can’t wait to get to the next page to see what is going to happen.

I am so enjoying this book!

Friday, August 3

It has been one year, as of today, that we have been on the road.

Monday, August 6

We spent most of last week in Oceanside again. What a terrific group of people there! The Pastor, Ralph Wood, is a generous and kind man. We were very blessed by our time there. The Lord used Oceanside Calvary Chapel to confirm that we are within His will. It was very comforting to know that what we are doing is exactly what God has in mind for us at this juncture.

His will was confirmed, by the Pastor giving us a check to be used for our support. Pastor Ralph was absolutely firm and very direct about this part of their gift. We are to use the money as support for our family. Wow. God provided for our family so perfectly through this gift. It was amazing! Ralph was also very firm about us giving him an invoice for the equipment Jeff had installed. Our intention was to leave the equipment as a gift, but Ralph was very firm… NO. And quoted from the scripture:

“You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,”                          1 Timothy 5:18

Again, it was more confirmation that Jesus will provide for our temporal needs as well as provide funding for the equipment for the ministry work. Jesus is so very good and His timing is so incredibly perfect. I think both Jeff and I were beginning to wonder if we were on the right path.

God seems to know just when you need a little reminder from Him.

~~~~~

I feel as though I am still in a little funk. Things are so quiet. I feel a bit distant form Jesus, almost as if I am in a resting stage. I am restless to move on, to see what else He has in store for us. I am waiting expectantly to get on with our life, move on from California and see what other wonderful things the Lord has ahead.

I have become accustomed to God working in our lives on a daily basis. Sometimes it isn’t so good, like when He is stretching me, making me into a better wife and mother. Sometimes it is miraculous, like when He sends us places to help others and we can see His hand in the pot, stirring things up!

As much as I enjoy being here in Southern California, soaking up these gentle times with my parents, I do so want to get going to work the mission God has given to us. We will be here at least two more weeks. Kurt leaves for Boy Scout camp next weekend, then we are free to leave.

Mom and Dad have been so kind in allowing us to stay for so long. I know it is difficult to have houseguests (even if they sleep outside in an RV) so very long, yet Mom and Dad have been exceedingly generous to us, never once asking when we are leaving or requiring anything from Jeff or me.

I am blessed to have parents that have such generous hearts.

It must be a bit disconcerting to have your daughter or sister and her family sell their beautiful home - symbolic of wealth and prestige - and take off across the country in a motor home. I can imagine that my family thinks… oh, just another one of Christa’s wild hairs!

I am sure that they are worrying that we will be stuck somewhere in some Podunk town without money or gas or food. After all, we are depending on Jesus to provide for the family. That is bewildering to anyone who is not a believer. For sure!

I know that there are some born-again Christians out there, whose family is downright mean and provoking. I am so blessed that no matter what…. My mother, father, sisters and brother love me… no matter whether they agree with my choices or not, they love without compunction. That is an amazing blessing that can only come from our Lords hand in all our lives.

My mother taught us, as we were growing up, that your family is always there to love you. No matter what choices you make, be you an axe murderer or a saint, they will always have love for you in their hearts. She has demonstrated this axiom even now, as she watches Jeff and I make choices she does not agree with or understand.

Thank you Father for giving me this woman as my mother.

Her children rise up and call her blessed

Proverbs 31:28

Monday Evening

Testimony time!!

Over the weekend, God provided money to our family through Calvary Oceanside. Today, I went to the doctor for two issues; one is that my persistent cough will not go away after several courses of antibiotics and steroids. The second reason is that I have a very hurt knee. The doctor recommended physical therapy for my knee several weeks ago, but since we did not plan on staying too long in Orange County, I declined.

Well the pain just go so bad this last week, that I made an appointment with the physical therapist in my doctor’s office. She evaluated the knee, taped it (my, I look so sweet in tape!!) and iced it. Then she scheduled another appointment for tomorrow. After looking at my knee and evaluating it, she labeled me as “very disabled“. If the physical therapy doesn’t work, my next step is an orthopedic surgeon. Arrgh.

Well, tonight Jeff told me that our insurance will not cover the physical therapy (haven’t met our deductible of $2500 per person at this point!), so we would be paying for the physical therapy out of pocket. Today cost $150 and tomorrow is $75. AND the therapist wants to see me several more times before we leave town again.

PRAISE GOD…. He provided the money BEFORE we needed it for the physical therapist!! WOW. Isn’t God incredible??? Isn’t He the most amazing and faithful God! What a testimony about His provision for our lives!! I am absolutely awed by His power and goodness.

And another thing….

Jeff shared with me that we have exhausted our ministry funds (the tithe money from the sale of our home last year). We have spent it all providing sound equipment for fellowships that had nothing or were needy in some way.

Well… my Jeff is incredible. He compares himself to Abed-Nego. No matter what, even if God does not provide any more funding for our work, Jeff will continue to PRAISE GOD and worship Him. It is our time of testing now… we are absolutely dependant on the will of God. He will either provide more funding to help other fellowships, or not. Either way…. HE IS KING!

Thursday, August 9

I tell you, God is really wonderful.  Several months ago, God gave me encouragement through a wonderful email pal named Jodi.  After a time, God moved her out of my immediate life.  I loved hearing from Jodi, she exhorted me to stay on track, she encouraged me to continue seeking His will for my life.  It was a valuable friendship and I am grateful to God for the gift of Jodi in my life.

Since we have been in California, I have been needing encouragement again.  It is hard to step back into your "old" life, to be a part, yet...not a part of something.  I have not done much writing while here in California for various reasons, mostly that I don't feel equipped to share what is on my heart these days. 

In any event, early in July, God sent me encouragement again.  This time His encouragement and love was made known to me through another woman I met online, another email pal.  My encourager this time has been Greta.  Praise God.  He sends me word that I am loved and that He is thinking of me, using another wonderful and wise woman.  Isn't He amazing?!!! 

Jodi and Greta.  Thank you Lord.

Sometimes, I write my journal, pretending that it is a private place... but truthfully, I know that many men and women read this, finding encouragement and inspiration as they walk with our Lord.  Some read it for the "joke"... how could anyone be so weird to be doing what Jeff and I are doing!  Some read it to learn more about the Gospel.  Some just read it out of curiosity or as a vicarious way to travel the USA. 

Whatever the reason, I love these people that I call, "our  readers", all of them - whatever their reason for reading.  You see, this journal, although written from my heart, is a piece of Jeff and Kurt and Grace and even of Eve.  I love that our readers find encouragement in their narrow path.  I love the emails I receive, the people who write of their struggles, their questions, their joys, their prayers. 

But... sometimes, I get discouraged.   

When I do, God always sends encouragement in some form.  His love is so faithful, so true.  I am so very, very thankful for the gift of Love and Grace that God has given me, and that sometimes, He reveals himself through "our readers".

I remember when we first started on this journey, one year ago, that I was so anxious to be used by God, so desperate to be His tool.  I did not understand that God moves at His own pace, that His timing is not my timing.  He uses us all, continually preparing the path ahead, faithfully loving us and using us to encourage and love each other.

Our God is an Awesome God.

 Wednesday, August 15

Boy, all this growing in the Lord is hard work. I want so to be the “perfect and scriptural” wife and mother. A difficult, nearly impossible task to be sure! I find that as I grow into my role as an obedient wife and disciple of Jesus, my Jeff is also growing into his role as the leader of our home. We just don’t always grow at the same rate or time.

I know that it is difficult, after nearly twenty years of marriage, to change a lifetime of patterns and expectations. Nothing happens overnight. Darn.

I try to express myself, my needs, wants and fears to Jeff. Sometimes they come out in a way that he understands, sometimes however, Jeff just doesn’t get it! He sees my disagreement with him on issues as not being obedient. It is so hard to express my disagreement without sounding disrespectful or disobedient.

Sometimes, I really need to hear from Jeff what is good about me. So often what I hear is the negative. I was ironing today, and asked for a fan to cool me (it is nearly 100 degrees here!). Jeff’s comment was an offhand remark about choosing a different time to iron. How good I would have felt had he first mentioned that he was grateful that I was ironing his shirts.

I am not sure if Jeff understands how to notice the good first. As I reflect on both of our upbringing, neither one of us came from homes that spent lots of time noticing or honoring the “good stuff”. Of course, perhaps this is typical of most families. Most of us parents probably spend more time telling our kids what they are doing wrong rather than right!

This translates into our marriages problematically, it is probably pretty typical that we focus more on the wrong things that our spouses do, rather than the good things! I probably fall into this same category, just as Jeff does! So, how do we notice the good stuff more often, and let our spouses know that we noticed?

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

1 Peter 3:7

~~~~

In 1 Timothy, Chapter 3, we are told that men of position must have particular characteristics and that he be “one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence”. This chapter also says that another man of position must be “ruling their children and their own houses well”. Nothing specific about ruling their wives, just their children and homes.

So, the word rule…. What does it mean? In this context it is the same as “presiding”. Not having arbitrary judgment. According to Barnes’s Notes on the New Testament, this ruling or presiding is that “he has no prejudices, no partialities, no selfish aims to gratify.”

So, although there is no specific reference to “ruling” the wife… as a member of his house, she is subject to the husband’s rule, as he is the presiding individual. Then I read in 1 Peter Chapter 3, the duty of the husband is to give all proper and right honor to the wife, living with her as a fellow-heir of salvation, having equality in the grace of life.

What a complicated role for the husband. To rule, yet be equal, to live in understanding, yet be accountable for our actions. So, as a wife I must….

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Hebrews 13:17

It is so VERY, VERY hard to live this life that the Lord has ascribed to us as believers. I know that my salvation does not depend upon being obedient, or upon my “works” either in the world or in my marriage. But…. my growth as a disciple of Jesus impacts the blessings upon this life and eternity. Stagnation is not what Jesus had in mind for our lives.

Oh, sometimes I just want the next twenty years to pass really quickly so that I can already be “growed” up in my life in Jesus. I know, I know…. The goal is not the destination but the journey. It’s just that when the journey is a little bumpy, I just want to get to the smooth parts again. (I am whining here!)

Now, isn’t that funny? When things are smooth, I feel like I am a little separated from the Lord, He isn’t stretching me… so I long for the stretching (bumpy) part, where I draw closer to Him. Then when things are bumpy (like right now), I long for the smoothness again.

Aren’t we humans funny?  Never really satisfied. Silly.

So, poor dear Jeff. I must continue to think of him in terms of his scriptural existence… not just what I want or desire. I bet it is hard to be a man. Thank you God, that I am not one!

Monday, August 20

We are not leaving Orange County today. Bummer. We had originally planned to be here three weeks, that was extended until August 20, now it looks like we are extended here until August 31... Pray we leave then.

~~~~~

Brokenness is a subject I am constantly examining. How to be broken of the me, to be filled with Christ. How to let the “self” things (-absorption, -want, -pity, -control, -ishness) die and in their place be filled with Jesus. I read last night that the letter C (Christ) is a bent letter I. That is so good.

When I bend to His will, He fills me with His love and grace. The bending part is so hard. I want this…. Or that.. What are My needs in this marriage, in this life. Me, me, me, me. My life is centered on me. Very human… not very Christ-like.

I want more of Christ in my life. I want to bend to His will. Even to say that I will try to be more Christ-like implies that I have control over my life. To release that control is paramount to the filling of Christ.

As wives, our relationship with our husbands is a model of our relationship with God. As we grow in obedience to our godly husbands, we grow in our understanding of what the Lord requires of our lives of our hearts and souls.

To be His bond-servant, as was Paul (Titus 1:1) … and Peter (2 Peter 1:1) … and Jude (Jude 1:1)… and James (James 1:1)… and Epaphras (Colossians 4:12)… and Jesus (Philippians 2:7). All these men identify themselves as bondservants as their first identity. Bondservant. Someone who serves and was purchased at a price.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.             Philippians 2:3-4 (NKJV)

And

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.                     Philippians 2:5-8 (NKJV)

So, the goal is that my first thought of Christa is as a bondservant and not as “me” or “I”. To be a servant, purchased with the blood of Christ, to and for Him. This means I must put aside my frustrations over inconsiderate children and husband. To set my needs for acknowledgement aside, to serve in harmony with the love of my Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

How?

I read last night (in The Road to Calvary, by Roy Hession) that when I have these feelings of angst and anger, frustration and fear, to lift my thoughts to the Lord. To be in constant communication with Him. That whenever I feel the absence of His peace in my life, to go to Him for comfort and release.

Okay.... Constant?

How to keep my thoughts constantly on Him? How to remember to lift my eyes to Him when I feel that peace of God dissipating from my heart.

Practice?

I am gonna try… oops there is that word, try. It is not mine to do this, it is His will for my life and my heart. So, here goes…

Lord Jesus, I lift my eyes to your throne. I beg your forgiveness for my wandering eyes and heart. Lord keep me focused on your throne, your power, your might… your love. Keep me ensconced in your peace - which does pass all understanding - especially mine. Lord Jesus, I love you and I pray for the constant filling of my heart and soul with the power and love of Your Holy Spirit. Father, as I wander in my day, experiencing the momentary hurts and frustrations of motherhood and marriage, please lift me to your hem… keep my mind focused on your amazing and powerful love. And remind me of my role as your bondservant. I love you Lord Jesus… thank you for Your love and grace in my life. In the holy name of Jesus I pray… amen.

Thursday, August 23

I feel that my family, my marriage is disintegrating here. Jeff and I are at each other’s throats. He is a tyrant of a leader and I am of a disobedient spirit. My husband is sleeping late, I am crying constantly and we are not progressing towards leaving this place. The storage issues have not been resolved, the children haven’t started school and we are all staying up until midnight each night.

It is awful.

I feel out of God’s will. My bible studies have suffered and it is likely that Jeff’s have as well. I don’t see either of us spending much time in the Word. We missed church on Sunday and yesterday. It is happening to us, we are disappearing into the business of life in Southern California.

Jeff has been so good to my parents. He has refinished the patio furniture (30 chairs, three tables and an assortment of odd pieces). My Jeff has replaced three televisions and re-wired the satellite system in the house, built furniture for the new television in Mom’s room, installed additional components for the sound system and generally been a great help to them both.

We have cleaned all the bedroom closets for Mother, organized kitchen cabinets and installed shades in the backyard. Later this week Jeff is re-wiring Mom’s office as her furniture is being moved around.

And yet.

We still have not move our storage or done the work out at the canyon church (installing some speakers in the fellowship hall). We cannot leave Orange County until these two things are done.

So, it is not that Jeff is lazy or has not accomplished something this month. It is just that we are so involved with things other than our mission. The argument could be that these items that have kept us so otherwise engaged are to the benefit of those people that have so generously allowed us to stay in front of their home, fed us and been incredibly wonderful to our children.

Oh, this is so confusing.

I want all of it to be done, Mom and Dad to be happy and to head north. We must get back to our journey with the Lord. I will miss my parents. I know that my Dad will miss us. He spends his day involved with Eve, there is not much else going on in his retirement. I will miss that part.

I have become a slug here. At night, I have abdicated my role as parent and have become the child. I sit with Dad, watching television, while my children dutifully toddle outside to the RV, watch movies and stay up late. I should be out there with them, ensuring that they go to sleep at a decent hour. Instead… I sit with Dad. Jeff too.

I realize that Jeff does not want to drive from Orange County to San Bernardino to move our storage… it is a lot of physical work and a really long drive. It will probably take four or more trips out there, and much exertion. I realize that is why he is sleeping late. Yet, rather than being loving and supportive, I just get mad and cry.

So successful!

This seems to happen every time we are here in Orange County. Is it because this is the place of our failures, our bad habits? Or is it the place that the enemy finds us the weakest? I don’t know. I don’t really care what the reason is, I just want my life in Christ back.

The leader of my home is angry and tired. He needs prayer. And the helpmeet in our home (that would be me!) is angry and tired. I need prayer.

Pray without ceasing

  1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NKJV)

And that is my greatest weapon.....  Prayer.

Monday, August 27

I long to get back onto the road. I anticipate the rumble of our old coach as it strains up and down the highways. Oh, how I desire the monotony of the highway. I so very much covet the coming days ahead as we get back into the cycle of travel.

Our current projected date of departure is next Tuesday, September 4.

Praise God, our storage problems are resolved. We found a storage facility very local to my parents home and cut our monthly bill by nearly five hundred dollars! Hallelujah! Now we can be free of the worry, how to pay the storage bill. Praise God for His faithfulness!

We received an email from the missionary family we sent the sound system to, last spring. They are in need of prayer support. What a life of faith they lead. The presence of God is their companion. I pray for their continued support and that they survive their current bout of oppression. What a gift of God they are to the Romania Gypsy families.

I have so often in the last few weeks wanted to sit down and write. My mind is bubbling with thoughts and insights into my walk with Christ. Something always sets me off the path to write. It is hard to carve out the time to be silent with my keyboard and just think about the gift of grace. As we return to the road, I am sure that I will find the time to write.

I have also gained weight here! Arrgh! I MUST begin to start walking in the mornings. Or at least attempt to push myself away from the table when my tummy begins to get those “full” feelings! God gave us a terrific weight loss and maintenance program…. Our brains!! I know when I am full and yet continue to eat out of gluttony! Arrgh… another area of obedience in my life.

Kurt is having a very difficult time right now. He is having trouble with everyone! Poor dear, he irritates me to no end, and Jeff has not much better experiences with the boy as well! Kurt strolls everywhere… there is no hurry to his gait! He constantly has headphones on (listening to the latest Christian punk bands!), and has trouble remembering directions. Jeff says it is because he is a walking test tube of testosterone right now… Arrgh!

Kurt is also having trouble with being respectful to his dear old mom! He wants to constantly debate me on everything. Afterwards he is consumed with regret, but he just can’t seem to keep his mouth shut! Poor boy. Of course, he pushes all my buttons. Perhaps God is using Kurt to break me a bit…

I keep telling Kurt that God needs us to be broken to be used as vessels. Perhaps I am the vessel being broken!

Funny how that works.

Monday Evening

Ohhhhh. I am so pained right now.

I had an experience this evening that hurt so terribly. A person dear to me, not Jeff or the children, lied by omission. It is odd. I wasn’t hurt by what they lied about, which was that I would not be included in an outing . I was wounded by the omission of information. Rather than telling me they chose to invite someone else, they lied and said nothing when I stupidly inquired who was attending.

It did not occur to me to be hurt or saddened by not being included. That was a non-issue. I was just interested in the occasion and happy that they were fortunate enough to attend the event.   But oh, how I was struck in the heart, by them as they just skirting around the truth.

Lies are bad.

I realize that some people use lies to survive, to get by, to ease the world around them. I certainly lived like that in my old life, my life before Christ. I never counted the pain that those “little white lies” caused. Tonight I was the recipient of a little white lie, surely meant out of love not deceit … and it did hurt, dreadfully.

I looked up the word "lie" in the dictionary tonight:

Lie: something intended or serving to convey a false impression

That is what happened to me, a false impression was created. Why do we lie? What purpose does it really serve? Do we really count the costs? The long term, relational costs?

What is the relational cost? Well, certainly it degrades the intimacy, the trust and the viability of that relationship. It certainly is not a relationship builder!

What does God say about lies?

                                        A faithful witness does not lie,

                                        But a false witness will utter lies.

Proverbs 14:5 (NKJV)

Oh my, that is rather convicting. So, it is utterly imperative that truth is the only thing that falls from our lips, our attitudes and our intentions.

                                        He who speaks truth declares righteousness,

                                        But a false witness, deceit.

Proverbs 12:17 (NKJV)

Now the trick is for me to completely forgive them for the lie. That is so hard when all I want to do is cry, leave this place and never come back! So, what does God tell me about forgiveness?

“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Mark 11:26 (NKJV)

Oh goody!

Tuesday, August 29

Prayer. How often do we truly “pray without ceasing”? I read today in My Utmost for His Highest (Oswald Chambers), that “God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things.” My, my, my… now isn’t that the truth!

When I am angry and frustrated with people in my life, I pray that God would work a change in me, that if only He would change me… the situation that troubles me would evaporate. Generally, this is the case. When my attitude changes and I regain that servant outlook, my problems disintegrate.

This prayer to become a better vessel of the love of Christ, and less the sculpture of Christa.. this is my ultimate prayer. To be available for the filling of the Holy Spirit and less filled up with my"self".  The problem is that my vessel leaks, I must constantly pray for the Holy Spirit to fill me again.

If we could maintain that state of fullness, imagine the possibilities! There would not be anymore interpersonal hurts or anger. We would always be in a state of brotherly love. My… that would be a wonderment!

~~~~~

Although we have decided not to participate in the traditional family Christmas this year, we still will be sending gifts home to our extended family members. For the last several years, we have drawn names (amongst my siblings and their spouses). This year I have my brother’s wife and one of my sisters.

For my brother’s wife I am making a quilt. I am hoping to finish it prior to leaving Orange County so that I can wrap it and leave it her for Christmas! I have no idea what to do for my sister.  I don’t think she would enjoy a quilt… I don't think it is her style!   I know that she enjoys cooking, perhaps something will come across my path that will inspire me!!

~~~~~

Today we are finishing up the final items of storage! It is so good to have the storage nearly done with! We have just a few more items to accomplish here in Southern California before leaving… I can hardly wait!

One thing is that we must go by the office of the Boy Scouts of America. We had turned in some receipts from last years Day Camp and as yet haven’t seen a reimbursement. The latest is that they lost them! It is over nine hundred dollars… it sure would be nice to get that back! I can’t believe we gave them the original receipts… we NEVER do that!

I guess never is a bad word to use!!!!

So, after the Boy Scouts are done, I can’t think of another thing we must accomplish! We are still vacillating on installing some ceiling speakers at the Silverado Canyon Calvary Chapel. I will pray that God gives Jeff wisdom in this decision.

Jeff is being a doll these days! He is becoming a strong leader of our home (sometimes that is difficult - but it is orderly), and he has begun to extend to me a loving shoulder and a warm embrace. It is probably difficult balancing act - strength in leadership/softness in spirit. Glad I’m not the husband!

Although I sure did spend a lot of years trying to be the “husband”

I heard on a radio program yesterday that more and more men are abdicating their positions as leaders of the family and home. And that more and more women are assuming the role. This is not God’s order of things and it really throws the family out of balance. I know… we were there once!

Although God’s plan for order in the family is difficult to grow into (especially when it is not your training or expectation), it is truly more rewarding and a whole lot more peaceful. The angst that I used to feel - and still do at times I try to take over, Arrgh - that was terrible.

Yesterday, I was helping Jeff with some calls he needed to make for the ministry. After a little bit, I stopped asking what he needed from me and just started making decisions. I got more and more wrapped up in the calls I was making. The girls were in and out of the room, asking this, asking that… I was getting pretty irritated.

Then Jeff interceded.

He kindly asked me to leave and attend to the girls, that he would deal with the items of the ministry that needed resolving (finding some parts for a fellowship). I very easily put the phone down, found the kids and ministered to their needs! It was so simple and so peaceful!

Nothing like the last time, when I felt “fired”.

Isn’t God good! I am learning to accede to Jeff’s leadership and will for our lives. And it feels really great! I am so peaceful when things are in order, Jeff leading the family and me following and helping! Things just get riled up when I (or Jeff) step out of order!

This is a hard thing to explain to others. Most of America does not want to hear about following your husband. No way! If only I could inject that peace into other wives… they would jump at the beauty and sense of the thing!

But I guess that is just like salvation.

If only we could inject the love and peace that salvation through Jesus brings into our unsaved family and friends! They would not reject the wonderment of it all! But, it is something they must find for themselves. It is something that they must want for themselves.

I hear from so many Christians about their worries and fears for unsaved family and friends. I know. But there is always hope. And prayer. God is faithful and He will manage the situation! Just know that He is in control!

God has everything well in hand, just listen and obey.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

Wednesday, August 29

I received an email today from an old college chum, my response to her was long-winded but was from the depths of my heart. Here is part of that response:

I am glad that you are happy in the life you have chosen, that is essential to say the least! You know, there are many gods and many roads to happiness here on this earth. But there is only one God, Creator of the Heavens and Earth, who has revealed himself to us through His word - in the bible. I cannot fathom choosing anything but the God of Eternity for my life, both today and for eternity.

What gives me a cause to giggle is the comment that so many make that it is imperative that we humans, co-habitating here on this earth, must be tolerant of divergent lifestyles and choices. That we must smile and praise one another for choosing an eternity that does not bring peace and unity. What really makes me hoot is that while people say this (and it is mostly directed at Christians - we are soooo narrow-minded), they slander and abuse, ridicule and deride those who have chosen a very narrow path for their journey here on earth.

The life of a disciple of Christ is treacherous. You are not free to discuss your beliefs without being derided as intolerant and narrow-minded, hmmm, isn't that interesting... these same individuals that tout open-mindedness and tolerance will not tolerate a Christian.

Did you know that most places in the world I am not free to share my true nature and immense joy and love for Jesus?! True! Most "born-again" Christians spend time away from the general population. It is just too hard to be the subject of derision and ridicule.

What I do on the web-site is try to give insight into the walk of a Christian woman. It's struggles, pitfalls, joys and great satisfaction. I share myself, in a fairly naked manner in the hope that 1) other Christian women will find comfort and respite from their own journey and that 2) men and women who have not yet heard the news of what God has done for humans (His creation) in the form of His son, Jesus Christ - will know Him and come to dedicate their lives to the King of Kings.

It is funny, the emails that I receive are typically of two types.. 1) Christians who thank me and Jeff for blessing their lives with our story and it's lessons and 2) non-believers who think I am brave but essentially deluded. I mean really, what intelligent woman of the "90's" would give up all her "stuff" and dedicate her life to God and submit to the headship of her husband.... how terrible!!!

My dear friend, my husband is an amazing man. He has lifted himself from the state of apathy that so many American husbands are mired in - albeit not without struggle. I honor him and I tell you, how he can live with a woman like me... intelligent, demanding, spoiled and generally self-centered can only be through an act of God.

I love Jeff. I love Jesus. And, I love you friend...

Christa

Thursday, August 30

I have been doing a lot of thinking on the issue of lying.

After my experience on Tuesday regarding this subject, I have been really trying to evaluate my position on this topic. I started thinking about the commandment God gives us;

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Exodus 20:16 (NKJV)

How far does this go in our lives? When I received a call from the one who hurt me through their lie of omission on Tuesday, and was asked if anything was wrong… My response was “no, I was busy reading at the moment”.

True? Yes and No.

So, I gave a “non-answer” - I was busy… and I really didn’t want to get into anything with this person. I just did not want to revisit the whole episode. But I was still bugged by the episode and unhappy with the person. So… was I bearing false witness when I said no?

Yes and No.

If we are to live by the commands of God, we must be ever vigilant… His commands on the surface are so simple, yet they extend into every corner of our being and our lives. Ahh!

And so, if the ten commandments are impossible to keep, to what end is the law of God?

Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Romans 3:20 (NKJV)

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:17 (NKJV)

Now, how simple is that? We are freed from the Law by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth! By accepting Him into our lives, by dedicating our lives to Him, we are FREED from sin and from the consequences of that sin. Just by the so, so simple act of accepting His gift of Grace… a free gift from Him to us.

And so, to return to the issue of my non-answer, I am freed from the consequence of that sin, by asking God for forgiveness and repenting of my sin to Him, I am freed from the omnipresent guilt that accompanies sin. How glorious is that!!!

Ta-Da!!! Free, free at last.

I am also free to forgive the one who lied to me! By having grace and forgiveness for this person, I am lifted from the smallness of my life and surrounded by the bounty of His love that shines through me, like a lighthouse on the shore!

This is so cool!

~~~~~

Now then… I was reading a book by Nancy Missler last night. It was her story of redemption and grace through Christ. It is a small book, not many pages, easy to complete in one sitting. For such a small book, it gave me a great gift.

Over and over in the scripture we are admonished to obey our husbands, be submissive. We learn what it is to be a good wife in Proverbs 31 and Titus 2:3-5. Again and again, we are given guidelines on the godly life of a wife.

One thing is missing...

Nowhere do I find anything that tells me I am responsible for his actions, his choices or his life. No where. What does this say to me? That I am not responsible for the kind of man that my husband is, my only responsibility is to love him for the man he is. That’s all. Period.

I am not responsible for his actions.

I am not responsible for his choices.

I am not responsible for his life.

I am responsible to love him, just as he is… despite his choices, his actions, his life. I am to love him just as God loves him… Agape.  I am to love him, for who he is, not for who he isn’t.  Now ain’t that interesting! How many times in a marriage (mine included) have we wives thought, “if only he’d…” . How many times have I tried to mold my husband, to change him, to bring him into line with God. That is not my job… that is GOD’s job!!

God has responsibility for Jeff.

Oh my gosh!  I am free to love Jeff for exactly who he is, nothing more and nothing less.

Imagine that!

Agape: Unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the well-being of another (according to Holman's)

I read in Holman’s Bible Dictionary that: “Prior to Paul, in fact, the Greek term agape was little used. Instead of using a word for love already filled with meaning, Paul took the seldom-used term and filled it with Christian meaning. This love of which Paul wrote is somewhat different from the love we normally experience and speak about. Christian love is not simply an emotion which arises because of the character of the one loved. It is not due to the loving quality of the lover. It is a relationship of self-giving which results from God’s activity in Christ. The source of Christian love is God (Rom. 5:8), and the believer’s response of faith makes love a human possibility (Rom. 5:5).”

Therefore, in those times where I become frustrated by Jeff, (his choices, actions and life) I do not have to love him in my own strength, I merely give over my heart to God and HE provides the love(agape). How?

Unto You I lift up my eyes,

O You who dwell in the heavens.

Psalm 123:1 (NKJV)

Praise God for His mercies!!

 

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