Monday, October 1

Ahhhhh, woke up to a chilly morning in the Salinas Wal-Mart parking lot!! It’s good to be home! (giggle)

We are on the 101 headed north! Yippee!!! Tomorrow is Tuesday, we are going to stop for a quickie hello with my sister and her family in the Bay Area, before continuing on our way towards Oregon and Washington.

Yesterday was a wonderful day for the family. We drove and drove and drove. The kids were in great spirits, having fun entertaining themselves as we drove with music, books and computer games! It was a marvelous day.

AND… we got another egg from Chicken! My, my, my… Isn’t God good!!!

Afternoon

I vacillate between joy of being on the road again and sadness at our reduced circumstances. While staying at Mom and Dad’s house, although we contributed to the grocery purchasing, our costs were greatly reduced as there were no fuel bills, no laundry matte costs. Once again, we are living and traveling totally on God’s providence, and I fear failure.

It isn’t that I fear God will fail us, only that I will not have enough faith to accomplish what He desires of us. And of course, being a good “90’s” gal, I have it stuck in my head that if I fail God, He will have restraint in providing for our needs.

I know, it is not by works that He loves me or that I am saved. But that “world” attitude of doing, doing, doing wears at my soul.

“… Jesus took … them up on a high mountain apart by themselves …”      (Mark 9:2)

Oh for the moments on the mountaintop. Our souls do exalt at those splendid times, times of knowing God is with us. And then there are these moments in the valley, in the ordinariness of our lives… these are the toughest part of the Christian life, the times that build character.

I long for the moment at the mountaintop but my heart knows that I must abide in this unsettling time of frustration, concern, boredom and lack of God “moments“. Life is so much more exciting when things are near the summit! Arrgh!!!

I recall when I wrote this summer of my lack of fulfillment at the “boring” aspects of wife and motherhood. These are the exact times I am sure God puts into our lives to develop the character He desires His servant’s to possess.

Man oh man, I must have character by now!!!! <grin>

I believe I am in a character building time… oh goody!

Tuesday, October 2

“For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”                           (Mark 9:49-50)

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.                                     (Mark 5:13)

I was reading my devotional for the day, which of course is about the dullness of the Valleys in our lives, and the usefulness of these times for living out our relationship with Jesus based on FAITH.

Jesus admonishes us to be the salt of the earth, so I looked up the word salt in the original Greek and found something very interesting. Salt is a compound used to preserve food in its natural state without putrefaction. Okay, I get that.

Salt is also used to fertilize arable land. Huh???

Jesus is not just telling us to be the seasoning of the world, and commanding us to be the agent of preservation. We are also to be an fertilizer. Whoa! Think about that! Our lives are to be used to help make the world a more fertile place for the Spirit of Jesus, His Word, His Grace.

We are not told to step aside and watch Him operate. We are commanded to be the Salt of the Earth. To feed the earth with our spirit, our selves. Not just to be a seasoning to the soup, but to fertilize and preserve the earth.

Wow.

Wednesday, October 3

HOT, HOT, HOT, HOT, HOT!!!

We are in Davis, California and it is HOT!!! I was born here several years ago! (Okay 42 and ½ years ago!) The kids can’t believe that I was born and lived somewhere other than Orange County, California! What a hoot! Their mom is a mystery!!!! Wow!

 

Thursday, October 4

The question is, how do we put aside our carnal nature? How do we rise above the worldly wants and exist only for Him while traveling in the spiritual valley? Man, these are hard things!

After having spent three months with my extended family, visiting with my sisters, I find myself wanting the “things” that I had previously left behind. Perhaps this is just part of the normal process of getting back on the road, relinquishing control of my life and handing it back to Jesus.

There is a little voice in my head that says, “Poor Eve, she will never get to attend Pre-school or attend Ballet Classes as a little tyke! Poor Gracie, she can’t sign up for soccer season. Poor Kurt, he…. (nope, no poor Kurt in my mind!!)”

As the Mommy, I “want” all kinds of things for my kids. Both our living situation as full-time travelers and our financial situation precludes the girls doing any of these things. Part of me is soooooo sad, then the voice of reason enters my heart and reminds me of the benefits of this wacky lifestyle for all the kids.

Of course, visiting with my siblings just makes it worse somehow. They “have” all the things I no longer “have”. Funny thing is, there are millions of Americans that don’t “have” all those things either. I know that I am not alone in the not “having”. My life experience thus far, however, has always been of the “having”.

A quandary no doubt!

So, again the question is how to deny the carnal nature and focus my being on Jesus. Again, it is a walk in the valley… the mountaintop is sooooo distant.

I read in my Oswald Chambers devotional today that Paul said;

... I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me ...                                  (Philippians 4:13)

It is only through Christ that I can overcome my carnal nature. It is only through His example, His love and His GRACE that I can conquer all my “wants” and “have-nots” to focus my desires on Him and Him alone.

Last night we had dinner with a very old (not aged!!) friend in Davis, California. She asked all kinds of questions about our life and our choices. It was so easy to talk about why we are doing this, why we gave up everything for our Lord. I felt my faith being strengthened as I shared about our lives.

It has been so long since we were in contact with people outside our extended family. Perhaps part of the process of overcoming the carnal nature is in the fellowship with other believers. Perhaps the act of sharing our love for Jesus verbally, that public proclamation of our life commitment to Him, helps remind us where our focus and our lives are located.

I don’t know.

I do know that I am having trouble getting used to being on the road again. I keep getting mad at Jeff, angry at our situation and lack of resources. I feel bouts of fear, how will we pay for the fuel, the food. I worry about the ministry that Jeff began in March, where is it going, will he follow through and keep his focus?

Funny, just two months ago I was on cloud nine, Jeff had done an awesome work for the Body, God had provided for our needs (in Oceanside) and I was full of praise for the Lord’s name.

Here I am mere weeks later feeling fear again. When Jesus was so saddened by his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, as they kept falling asleep, well, that’s me!! I keep falling asleep and away from Him.

And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.                          (Matthew 26:43)

That’s me.

Afternoon

What’s wrong with this picture….

We’re headed down the highway - direction north. Whizzing by us, going in the OPPOSITE direction are tons and tons of Rv’s pulling tow-cars. Hmmmm. It’s October - soon to be winter and we are heading NORTH.

Something seems wacky here!

Saturday, October 6

We are in the City of Lake Shasta. After passing Redding, California, we looked for the next town for an overnight stop and … it just happens to have a Calvary Chapel. Hmmmmm. The fellowship here is starting a new coffee shop outreach in the community and is having some trouble getting the building finished.

They have an electrician, but not many worker bees. Jeff volunteered to stay awhile and help get the place ready for opening! It’s a nice little town. Quiet. Apparently the churches here haven’t done so well in the past as it is a town of non-conformists, drug users and old-line denominational types.  The churches are dying here. That’s why it is so amazing (according to locals) that the Calvary Chapel is growing. God is at work here.

Kurt attended the youth group bible study last night and had a great time. He came home very energized and on-fire. It is amazing to watch him grow in his knowledge and understanding of the Word.

On the home front. I tell you, I keep learning the same old lesson. Obedience. It cracks me up, I can’t seem to consistently be a submitted wife. Consistency seems to be my stumbling block! The other night I offered Jeff and the kids chicken for dinner. Cold or Hot. Jeff answered that he would like his sliced.

Boy did I get mad! That wasn’t one of the options I offered. So I stomped around a bit and eventually realized that I had the ability to fulfill his request. Too late, he had already eaten the chicken. Arrgh!

The experience gave me a kick in the rear! The relationship with my husband is the model for the relationship I have with God. If I cannot submit to my earthly husband and the leader of my family. How on earth could I possibly submit to my heavenly Father? The earthly relationship is physical. I can touch, see and feel Jeff. Should be easy to be obedient to someone right in front of my face! Sounds simple.

Nope!!!!!

So, if I cannot obey Jeff in a simple request like slicing his darned chicken, how could I possibly be obedient to God? I mean gosh, when God finally does ask me to do something for Him, am I going to let Him - the King of Kings - know what His options are?

Ridiculous!!!

Oh Lord, you certainly do know how to make your point!!!

Monday, October 8

Well, we are staying in Shasta Lake until Wednesday. Jeff is helping with the Coffee House, running electrical. I have met some wonderful women here. The Pastor’s wife, Victoria is a hoot!!! They have a little girl the same age as Eve, so today we are having a play-date!! What fun!

It is so wonderful to fellowship with a woman who understands so completely about the trials and rewards of living according to God’s design for marriage. One woman at church yesterday was describing the peace she enjoys when she is fully submitted to God’s plan. I know that peace and though it is fleeting at times, covet those interludes.

That peace only comes when I am completely submitted to God’s will for my life, which involves the submission to my husband, the death of self and the surrender to the Love of Christ.

Great peace have those who love Your law,

And nothing causes them to stumble.

Psalm 119:165

Grace is really wanting us to take her to a fabric store.  She wants me to sew her a costume for "Halloween".  Although we are not participating in the Halloween thing, we will be looking for some sort of Harvest Festival or something else for the kids to do on October 31.  Funny, but Grace really wants some dress-up clothing like Eve.  My ten year-old is still just a little girl.  Sweet. 

I am not sure how I am going to do this for Grace.  I hope I can find some fabric she likes on super dooper sale!  It's going to take a lot of it to do the job as she wants me to make her a medieval style dress.  Arrgh!  I have never sewn something like this! 

Meanwhile we are still debating on the Christmas plan.  We may end up going to Sioux Falls to spend Christmas with Jeff's Mom.  It is her first Christmas alone and Jeff thinks she might welcome some company for the holiday.  We are also discussing the gift giving plan.  One idea is to give each member in the family a gift you have either made, found or already own.  Grace has already started working on Barbie clothing for Eve.

It's a quandary.  We really want to spend Christmas (a made-up holiday anyway) doing something to honor Christ, and not get involved in the commercial and paganistic aspects of the holiday.  Yet, the children are still just that.... children.  And they still want the "stuff".  Changing our Christmas traditions (no tree, focusing on our Savior, no Santa, etc.) is really their request - I'm gonna miss all those decorations - but they are still children enough to want to preserve some of the gift giving aspects of the season.

We are going to have to take this slowly and learn new traditions.  I have to remind myself (and the kids) that it doesn't have to change overnight, and it doesn't have to be perfect right away.  We can enjoy the process of discovering what works best for our little family.  (But, I am still going to get Evie a Barbie Doll, no matter what!!!!).

One thing is definitely going to be a change, and that is to be away from our extended family in California.  This will be the first year we have ever done that!  I will miss the family, but not the pressures of the season!  Additionally, being in a motor home in someone's driveway was not great last year.  I think being on our own will make all of us feel a little more successful, less guest-like.

For my part, I will make everyone gifts this year.  I think a dress-up for Eve and quilts for Kurt and Grace.  Jeff... don't know yet.

Oh my gosh... it's only October.

Tuesday, October 9

Do I put God in a box? Do I put human limitations on His Love?

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord.

Isaiah 55:8

Yes, I think I do.

Wednesday, October 10

I took Grace and Kurt to the Skate Park here in town this morning. Grace fell. Thank goodness she was wearing wrist guards. Even so, she either sprained her wrist or has a hairline fracture. Jeff wants to wait until tomorrow to see how she is doing before taking her for an x-ray.

Kurt is such a teen-ager. We went to the supermarket this afternoon, he won’t walk next to me anywhere… always a few steps behind, slouching as we go… Arrgh!

Eve is just so… Eve. I just adore this child. What a happy-go-lucky attitude. She is just loving the game of dress-up right now. I made her a few “evening” dresses with some fabric remnants and she is just having a fine old time!

We are camped in the parking lot between the Ace Hardware and the building that the church is remodeling into a Christian Coffeehouse. Jeff is helping with the electrical, as the fellow in charge of the electrical can only work on the job about eight hours a week after his regular workday.

We have all the bikes in the empty coffeehouse and the kids go inside to rollerblade, bike and play when school is finished for the day. There is also an empty dirt lot next to the parking lot that someone has made into a dirt bike course. Kurt has spent hours riding it, with a few skinned elbows to speak for his attempts as “trick riding”.

I seem to spend all my time at the laundry-matte. Where do all these dirty clothes come from????

We did go out to the Dam the first night we were here and saw a HUGE buck. BIG, big antler rack on it’s head. Cool! The Shasta Dam is guarded by LOTS of armed Park Rangers. It is a strategic dam and if damaged by terrorists would impact the economy of much of California’s agriculture. Kids got a good lesson in economics from the Ranger.

I had a chance this morning to talk to Grace about her “costume”. I explained that the cost of making such an item would be prohibitive. She was very grown-up and agreed. This whole Halloween thing upsets me. I really dislike this holiday… it is difficult to live in the world, but not “of” the world.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

Okey Dokey!

Thursday, October 11

Jeff told us that we would be leaving Lake Shasta City today. I am not sure yet if that is the case. Yesterday, while discussing our immediate future, Jeff suggested the possibility that we might need to stay to help the fellowship here get the coffee shop open for business.   I found myself mourning my situation. “Why, oh why, are we without a plan, why, oh why does it keep changing. waaaaa”

It is better to trust in the Lord

Than to put confidence in man.

Psalm 118:8

If I trust in the Lord, then I trust in the Lord. Do I not trust the Lord enough to give Jeff the discernment and wisdom to make the best choice for our family? When I lose my temper at Jeff over these issues, what am I saying to God?

It is loud and clear… LORD, I don’t trust you to have my best interest at heart. That is the message that I send to Him. It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man (or husband, or father, or friend, or employer…).

Look at Sarah. When her husband Abraham told the King that Sarah was his sister (and Sarah affirmed this at the direction of her husband), she was placed in the Kings harem. Yet, rather than freaking out at her husband’s poor choice and incredibly bad judgement, Sarah had faith in God that He had her best interest at heart and would deliver her from this bad, bad situation.

And He did!

The model of Sarah and Abraham (who was a decent guy, despite a few bad choices!), is a great model for marriage even in this time. Trust in God, not in your husband. God ultimately has my best interest at heart.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God….

Romans 8:28

Eyes on Jesus, no where else… That’s my motto!

Afternoon

Okay... my husband is a hero! Not only are we leaving Lake Shasta City today.... on time, but he is also emptying our Gray and BLACK water ... ONE BUCKET AT A TIME....

This is it, the true testimony of a wonderful guy... dumping the black water tank, one five gallon bucket at a time....

Friday, October 12

It is 7:45am and I am enjoying some peaceful quiet-time before the day gets going full tilt! We camped overnight in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in… well, I am not sure where we are. Either we are in Weed or Yreka. In any event, we are in Northern California just a little south of the Oregon Border!

We are heading to Jacksonville, Oregon for the weekend. Pastor Jon Courson has a fellowship there (Applegate Christian Fellowship), another Calvary Chapel affiliate. Although this fellowship is HUGE! I believe there are upwards of 8,000 members.

We met Pastor Jon last February at the Pastor’s Conference in Arizona, he generously and invited us to visit and stay in the parking lot of the church. I called yesterday, unfortunately the zoning rules (or something like that) have changed in his town and we are unable to stay in the parking lot. We will look for a Wal-Mart or somewhere close to camp tonight and Saturday night.

I am sure that they do not need our audio ministry, it is such a big place and they have sound people on staff. However we are really excited to go hear Jon teach… he is an awesome bible teacher!

Well, Gracie finally did it!! She worked hard and saved her money all summer so that she could pay for a pet (to replace the bunny she lost in Albuquerque!). We went to the pound in Shasta Lake City and she decided on a cat! It is the sweetest little thing. She named it Marble.

It was really cool to watch her as she paid for the cat at the pound. She was so confident. Then when we went to the veterinarian, she was so calm and purposeful in her manner as she paid the bill for the cat’s check-up and shots. Grace listened carefully to all the Vet had to say, asking very good questions. It was so awesome!!

Jeff had required her this summer to investigate the details of owning a pet. She researched on the internet, interviewed a Veterinarian and read lots of materials on animals. I believe this research gave her the confidence to ask questions when the time came for her to get the animal. It is as if she learned that asking questions is okay and important! Homeschooling is the greatest thing since sliced bread!!

Well, it is mighty cold here (wherever here is!!). Must be about fifty degrees!! The cat is climbing everywhere and the chicken is pecking at the bars of her cage… I live in a menagerie! I am so looking forward to being in Oregon and Washington. I have wanted to visit these states since college!

Update: Grace’s wrist still hurts, but I don’t think it is broken. She is wearing an ace bandage.

I look at my little daughters face as she sleeps… such peace.

Time to wake up the gang….

Friday, October 12

We drove to Applegate Christian Fellowship just outside Medford, Oregon today. Although Jon Courson, the Pastor offered to let us stay in the parking lot when we met him last February (at the SW Pastor’s conference), we are unable to stay there as a result of problems the fellowship is having with the city.

Hmmmm, what to do.

Now, here’s an odd bit… when we were in Menlo Park, CA visiting my sister, we met an older couple in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart. They asked us if we had stayed in the parking lot there in Menlo Park. Yes, we replied. Well, they were told it was against city laws and needed to find a campground. We loaned them our campground book to help find a place to stay.

At the time we thought it odd that we had been able to stay there, but they were not. In any event we had a pleasant conversation and shared quilting stories, camping stories and whatnot. The fellow was a retired Mennonite Pastor.

We told them we were heading north and were really excited about stopping in Jacksonville, Oregon to hear Jon Courson teach. What a coincidence… (hmmm, this is beginning to smell like God’s handiwork), both their son and their son-in-law are elders at the Applegate Fellowship. They gave us the phone numbers of their kids.

We are given lots of phone numbers, rarely… in fact NEVER do I keep them or use them if we haven’t met the person directly. But somehow… (God, are your fingers in this??) I kept the slip of paper in my drawer.

In any event, when we arrived at Applegate and found ourselves a bit unsure what to do, I called first the son… no answer, then the daughter of these folks. I asked the daughter… Kathy, if she knew of a Wal-Mart of somewhere else close to the fellowship where we could park until Sunday service was over.

Kathy insisted we come park in front of her house in Medford.

Hmmmm, well, we have never done that before… we don’t even know her. Amazingly, Jeff said sure, and we both felt okay about it, so off we went in search of her house. We arrived and both of us felt that we had been called here… this was in God’s plan for sure!!!

Kathy called me on our cell phone as we were driving towards Medford and generously offered to feed us tonight. WOW.

Evening

We had a WONDERFUL evening with Kathy. Her husband is out of town fishing with some of the men from the church, so it was just Kathy tonight. Her teenaged son is working and her little girl is spending the night with Grandma.

Kathy has had an incredible journey with Jesus and the lessons of submission to share, her life is a great testament to the love of our Savior and our King. I am so honored to call her friend. Kathy is also a worship leader (although not at Calvary as there are few women leading worship) and has a great heart for Jesus.

After a late night of talking and sharing our stories, I toddled off to bed so very comforted by the love of my Jesus.

Saturday, October 13

I got up verrrrry earrrrrrly this morning to go garage sale shopping with Kathy. What a hoot! She has a little craft booth in town and finds things at garage sales that she then fixes up to sell. We found a beautiful solid hardwood end table that we ended up painting white and then Kathy will distress it and sell it in her booth. This is one creative woman!!

After a wonderful morning at the garage sales and then helping Kathy with some of her crafting, our little family went off in search of fruit and vegetable stands. This is the place for fruit… Harry and David’s Catalog company are headquartered here!!

We had great fun stopping along the road for tomatoes, red peppers and potatoes! Then we spied the mother lode!! There are zillions and zillions of blackberry bushes along the road, so we stopped at the little league field and picked berries for over an hour.

All of us got in the act. Our fingers and our lips were stained from the berries, but we had a marvelous time. Jeff and Kurt picked the high, out of reach berries. Grace and I did the middle and Evie picked the berries at the bottoms of the bushes!!

We had such a great time.

This evening I made a blackberry pie and chicken for dinner. We cooked inside Kathy’s house and had another evening of fantastic fellowship. Eve had an opportunity to play with Sophie (Kathy’s five year-old). It is now time for bed and we all have very full bellies and very warm hearts.

This was a great day!!!!

Monday, October 15

I LOVE Oregon!!!

It feels as though we just spent a weekend with dear friends, Kathy and her family are likened to us as though we have known each other for years. The family of God… amazing.

Yesterday we went church at Applegate Fellowship and heard Jon Courson teach. This was the last Sunday of the year where they held service outside in the amphitheatre. It was awesome!!!

Everyone sits on grassy steps dug into the hill. The worship music was fabulous and the teaching was amazing (the book of Ruth). At the end of the service there was an altar call, apparently there are tons of people saved every Sunday here, and then… most amazing, Jon gets into the water and baptizes the people after the service.

The fellowship has a barbeque after church, and for $2.50 each you get a great meal. We took our food and went back into the amphitheatre with the rest of the church and we all ate, had great fellowship and watched as at least fifty people were baptized and brought into the family of God. It was AMAZING.

I felt as though we were witnessing the church as it was in the first century. This is what Jesus intended for us, as believers, to do when we meet. Oh, it was amazing. The food, fellowship and baptisms were as edifying as Jon’s teaching.

We all left floating on a cloud of God’s love that was a million miles high!!!

Afterwards, we said our goodbye’s to Kathy and Sophie and headed to Grant’s Pass, Oregon. We are now in Grant’s Pass to help the Calvary fellowship here. We arrived around three in the afternoon and Jeff went right to work, helping the Worship Pastor get the kinks worked out of their system.

Again, God is amazing.

The fellowship here had a special meeting last night to discuss end time events and the relationship of bible prophecy with world events today. It was great. Pastor Carlos gave a great teaching and again… people were saved!!

We are going to stay several days here while Jeff works on the sound system. Pastor Carols and his wife Gina are leaving town today but have nonetheless offered us a place to stay in their driveway.

Isn’t it awesome to be a part of the family of God!!!

I am so excited to see what He has in store for us next…

Tuesday, October 16

We are in Grant’s Pass, Oregon. The fellowship here has blessed us by hosting us in a local RV campground!! Running water!! WOW. I can actually do laundry in the RV, wash dishes and take showers without worrying about water consumption!! It is marvelous!!!

Jeff is working on the system here, while I have had an amazing time in fellowship with the women of the church! The Pastor’s wife, Gina is incredible. She is an amazing teacher of the Word and a spiritual bulwark! I feel so blessed to have had time with her. Gina and Carol have an incredible story, I hope they publish it someday!

It is really, really cold here in the mornings. I can only imagine what it will be like as we head north to Everett, Washington.

Yesterday I took the kids to the visitor information center… it was closed! We still had a great time trying to outreach each other to push the buttons on the information kiosk in the lobby. We looked like a bunch of five year-olds. Which would be okay, except that I am forty-two!!!

Good thing no one saw us!!! <grin>

Wednesday, October 17

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.

 Colossians 3:18 - 19

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

As in all marriages, ours also has its moments of difficulty (really????). Last night I was woken by Jeff in the middle of the night, it scared me and I asked what was going on. My questioning style (at three in the morning), irritated Jeff and he responded in a critical manner. I slept fitfully the rest of the night.

In the morning, I just could not get over the exchange between Jeff and I. I tried to express how I was feeling, but once again, I just succeeded in irritating my husband. It grew. And grew, and grew. Until I could hardly keep the tears from flowing down my cheeks.

Now, from my perspective I feel as though I am unable to honestly share with Jeff my innermost thoughts when they relate to either a dissatisfaction or fear in our marriage. I always end up being the bad guy. But that is just my perspective and Jeff most certainly has a different (not wrong, just different) perspective.

I realize that Jeff is struggling with learning how to be a godly leader in our home. That he is still learning and growing into becoming the Christ-like head of our home. He too is a work in progress, clay in our Potter’s hands. So… I gave it to him with both barrels… and asked him to find in the bible where it says that he must rule with such sternness and hardness.

This is good. Let’s go to the scriptures!

And my Jeff did!

He found Colossians 3:18 and 3:19, although I am not sure if he was trying to get me to look at 3:18 mostly!!

Submitting does NOT mean that I am to be a cowed little thing, unable to express my fears, uncertainties and dissatisfactions to my husband. It DOES mean that ultimately I must submit or obey my husbands decisions for our lives and in our lives.

Okay. So, let’s look at the scripture. First Colossians 3:19 says that the husband should “not be bitter toward them”. What does this “bitter” mean? I looked it up in Strong’s Concordance and Thayers Greek definitions:

Bitter or pikraino (in the Greek) means:

                            1) to make bitter

                            2) to embitter or exasperate,

                                            2a) render angry, indignant

                                            2b) to be embittered, irritated

                                            2c) to visit with bitterness, to grieve

Hmmm. What does this mean? At first glance the passage tells husbands not to be bitter towards there husbands. However, after looking at the meaning of the word bitter and it’s intent in this passage, I almost feel that we are being told that Husbands should not render their wives angry, indignant, not to make them (the wife) bitter.

Then, looking at 1 Peter 3:7 the husband is admonished to “dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife”.

So, what does Understanding mean? Using the same reference materials:

Understanding or gnosis(in the Greek) means:

                1) knowledge signifies in general intelligence, understanding

                        1a) the general knowledge of Christian religion

                        1b) the deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of this religion, such as belongs to the more advanced

                        1c) especially of things lawful and unlawful for Christians

                        1d) moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living

This makes me think that perhaps what the scripture is telling us is that Husbands, as the Priest of the home and having knowledge that is of a deeper understanding, need to live in a state of love and understanding, taking caution not to render their wives embittered. Loving the wife in a way in which she can understand and to which she can respond.

Well, that’s my two cent’s any way! And I feel better now! Funny, how grappling with an issue can lead to understanding. Kinda like marriage.

Evening…

HEY! Wait a minute, it looks like I forgot something….

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

Yep… All things, even those things that make us crazy!

Friday, October 19

Jeff finished at the Calvary Chapel Grants Pass late, late, late last night! We were going to take off to Eugene (another fellowship there has need of Jeff’s expertise) but it was just too late and we were too tired! So where did we end up????

Hmmmm, take one guess… WAL-MART! After three nights in a campground with full hook-ups (thanks to the Grants Pass fellowship), we are “back in the saddle again”. It was a wonderful break from hauling water and being conservation minded. But this is okay too!!!

One of the nice things about staying at a Wal-Mart is that Jeff and I can wander into the store without the kids and have some “quality” adult time! <giggle>

On Wednesday night I had an interesting conversation with the kids.

Grace asked why Dad and I still have arguments and sometimes don’t get along. She and Kurt said it kind of worried them and they wondered why we were still having these spats (i.e., Mom is crying again!!), even after leaving Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

She said that they thought we had so many disagreements this summer because we were at the grandparent’s house (it’s a little difficult to be guests 24/7). But we aren’t there any more... so what gives???

It was really cool!

I tried to explain that Kurt and she had been witnesses to compromised lives and marriage for many years. That now we are trying to bring our marriage into balance, the way God intended marriage to exist. The problem, I explained, is that Daddy and I are still learning how that is supposed to look.

We talked about the need to “die to self” to be a good servant of Jesus, and how after many years of self-centered living, Dad and I are struggling to become self-less. It was cool, to be able to share these things with Kurt and Grace. They were so full of understanding and grace.

I also went on to share that the only way that Dad and I would overcome the problems and struggles in our marriage and in our selves, was through the Word. That if they saw one of us struggling, not to be shy but to go ahead and hand us a bible.

This all neatly lead into a wonderful conversation about the structure and balance of a godly marriage. What Kurt and Grace should be looking for in their mates and in their future marriage relationships.

It was cool, because the kids are seeing us struggle (up close and in person… a 37-foot RV doesn’t provide much privacy!), and they are taking from it very godly lessons on marriage. And as a result of our conversation, Kurt and Grance now understand how Jeff and I are working so diligently to bring our marriage into balance.

And all because of our great love and commitment to Jesus Christ.

Raising godly children is the coolest thing in the world. They have understanding and wisdom beyond their years, and they actively pray for Mom and Dad. How awesome is that??!!!!

This RV thing… it just might turn out to be the best and most wonderful thing we have ever done for our family. It’s hard, I won’t quibble about that, but it is also making us all (Jeff, me, Kurt, Grace and even Eve) into much more effective disciples of our amazing Lord Jesus!!!

God is Good.

Later

I realize that there are those who believe that Jeff and I are irresponsible parents to live without an income, travel the country without a real plan and "deprive" our children of a normal life.  Oh, but what a wonderful and centered life we now lead, compared to our former existence.  Our children's  lives are grounded and rooted in the Word of God, a loving family, and parents who are actively and publicly working to bring their marriage into balance and worship the most high God.

It is unconventional, but then again, so was Jesus.  

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 1:5

Saturday, October 20

Well, we arrived late yesterday evening at the Eugene Calvary Chapel, which is actually located in Coburg, Oregon. We certainly made quite an impression as the first thing we did (while I was directing from behind) was to take out the overhead phone lines for the church with the top of the RV…

Oh goody, the Gefke’s are here!

Monday, October 22

I think of you all the time. Often it is difficult to get access to the computer, what with the kids needing it for school, games, amusement and Jeff needing it for ministry related items. But I am oft time writing to you in my thoughts, oh… guess what happened or… you can’t believe what we did… or how I feel about…

So many times thoughts of you run through my brain and my heart. I am always talking to you.

Tuesday, October 23

I went to the women’s bible study today here at Countryside Christian Fellowship (Eugene, OR). When we are in a place where a women’s bible study is offered, I always make a point of attending. Women fellowship in a unique way and I miss that constant in my life. So, I visit all of them that happen across my path.

As a result I get the opportunity to see how women are ministered to (or not!) across the country. As a result I have a little picture developing in my mind about women and the special fellowship that feeds us, that leads us into a deeper and fuller understanding of our Lord.

My heart burns for women across America. They - no, WE are so hungry. Hungry for God’s eternal and uncompromising truth, His Word. Some places we visit, the women’s ministry is a challenge to my mind, a boon to my soul. Other places it is like drivel.

Women need to be fed. In some fellowships the Pastor understands this and actively encourages women’s ministry, other places the Pastor in his lack of understanding sees women more as a HELPmeet and less as a Co-heir in His kingdom.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:28-29

Women need to be fed. And, women have the capacity to understand much. Recently I had the privilege of attending bible study at Calvary Chapel Grants Pass. The teacher was Gina XXXXXX, who is doing a verse by verse study of the book of Philippians.

The evening started of course with awesome worship music. Then after Gina’s teaching there was a break for coffee and cookies (a must with women - food and conversation!!). Finally the women broke in to smaller groups of ten to fourteen, with a leader for each group. During the group break-out there was time for special prayer needs, more intensive examination of the scripture through the homework that the women completed during the week.

It was awesome, there were 170 women there to be fed the Word.

My heart breaks over all the women across this great country that are not getting fed the word, who are either not attending a women’s bible study or who are attending a bible study that offers surface examination of the Word, pretty niceties rather than honest, careful and revealing forays into the heart of the Word… His holy scriptures… the bible!!!!

Now, none of what I am saying should reflect negatively on any one women’s bible study that I have attended, this is only what I have gleaned after visiting a plethora of groups.

My heart just burns for women. For how are we to become that Titus woman???

….the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Titus 2:3-5

In our grandmother’s time this system that God created, to keep marriage in balance and women fed was well established. Women met in sewing circles, quilting bees, jammed together. They met for tea, chatted over the yard fences, had coffee clatches and played bridge. Women had their “clubs” that met for conversation and baked treats in each others homes. Women were connected together.

Then came the great defilement… the women’s movement.

In one fell swoop, man (or in this case woman) destroyed what God had created and had worked so well for so many eons. In the name of equality, we were subjected to the mantra that we were just as good as men (who ever said we weren’t??) and that we deserved (hmmm, there’s that word…) a higher place in this world.

What?????

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” …

Genesis 2:18 (NKJV)

Comparable… not less.

In the original Greek, the word "help meet" is used. Hmmmm, so what does this word really mean???

Again off I go to Thayer’s Greek Dictionary for the word "meet" or in the original Greek "teleiooô" :

1) to make perfect, complete

1a) to carry through completely, to accomplish, finish, bring to an end

2) to complete (perfect)

2a) add what is yet wanting in order to render a thing full

2b) to be found perfect

Oh HO!!!

SO, woman was created to make man complete, to finish him (literally!!!).  We were created to make man PERFECT.

What the heck were those women of the 70’s, the women hell-bent on obtaining equality, thinking of??? We were made perfect, just the way God planned. We are the completion of man. Us… woman!!!

I think it was all about money, and of the enemy… (but that is for another day and another rant!!!)

So, my real question… no my passionate refrain is : HOW do we right what was wronged? HOW do women return to the fulfillment of God’s creative genius? HOW do we balance our lives, our marriages, our homes??

The Word, it’s all there. All the instruction, revelation and power that we need to right this wrong. It is all there waiting to be lovingly gazed upon… It’s all there. The real question is how then do we help the women of our generation and of the next generations return to a loving surrender to the Almighty God, the King of Kings??

Part of the responsibility of those that feed the flock of Jesus is to instruct us, to feed the women the meat of the Word… not to pander to them, but to really sock it to ‘em…

Women’s Ministry… Hmmmmm.

Obedience... Hmmmmm.

LATER...

Oregon is BEAUTIFUL!!! It rained most of yesterday and my feet got WET, but it is sooooo beautiful, so green.  I think I could live here.  One of the coolest parts of Oregon is the lack (thus far) of towns crowded with stores and services that all look the same.  The national chains are here, but primarily in just the bigger cities.  The towns are just amazingly quaint and independent.  Stores and businesses that are so different and unique. 

We have gotten so accustomed to the sameness.  You know, malls and chain stores.  But this place is different.  Oregon is going down as one of my favorite places in America!!

Wednesday, October 24

We are leaving Eugene today. The kids are sad as they have made some nice friends in the Pastor’s kids! I am anxious to get back on the road, I haven’t had much contact with the women of the fellowship as they are all busy doing things, all the time.   I have enjoyed the time available to me  here for quilting, writing and reading. The coffee shop that is on the premises has been a nice warm place for retreat.

Jeff has been wonderful to this fellowship, after taking out their phone lines last Friday (oops!!), he has re-wired and repositioned the sound system, built a sound booth (he loves wood!!) and done a few other nifty fixes to the equipment.  I am so amazed at Jeff. He is so unselfish with others. When I complement him on gifting equipment to a fellowship, his reply is that the equipment doesn’t belong to him, it belongs to God. He is very self-less in his work.

I, on the other hand, am not. I worry about things. Not about the sound equipment, that is Jeff’s to deal with, I worry about other things. Like; when I donate beaded necklaces to be sold in the bookstore and instead they are handed out like candy to children. Like; making sure the our family doesn’t “take” of the fellowship too much; you know, food, time, space.

It is so stupid of me. I am always counting the “cost” of things… am I being taken advantage of, or taking advantage of a situation. Stupid. I wish I could have the same unselfish attitude that Jeff has towards these things.

I guess, after all this time, I am still focusing on the things of the world. How do I get beyond this???

Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:2

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, - think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

So, perhaps whenever I have these less than praiseworthy thoughts, I should point my mind towards the Cross at Calvary and the gift of Grace given to us by our Savior. Or as Eve says, “Give me a bible whenever I am mad or sad”.

Okay, I can try that!

Oh… by the way, it is still rainy and cold here in Oregon. I am loosing that fascination with Oregon, the rain may kill it for me!!!

Oh… and another thing, I spoke with our Pastor Skip (from Sioux Falls) yesterday. I could just about die… I spent the whole time asking questions regarding our ministry and talking about the Gefke family. SO SELF-CENTERED!!!! I didn’t ask a thing about his ministry, his family, the body, our friends in the fellowship… nothing at all. Again, I find myself totally self-centered. ARRRGH!!!!!!!

I am going to lick this self-centeredness if it is the last thing I do…

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Philippians 2:3

Thursday, October 25

Well, we finally made it out of Eugene and are heading north all of twelve miles to Junction City for a quick meeting with the Pastor there and then on to Salem, Oregon. However... a twelve mile journey that should take all of fifteen minutes, takes us more than sixty minutes.

What with the refrigerator bursting open - not once but twice! And.. The second time the fridge door escaped it’s latch, out flew the lemonade pitcher… onto my nice clean floor. Sticky, sticky, sticky!!!  (Try cleaning a floor on your hands and knees in a moving motor home!!! - FUN!!)

Oh yes…. And let’s not forget that yesterday we ran out of fresh water in the middle of the night and our grey water and black water tanks were full. The grey water was so full that the bathtub was the auxiliary holding tank (peeyuu). Guess what we used to flush with… GREY WATER. YUCK!

And so it goes ... life in a motor home!!!

Friday, October 26

We arrived in Salem, Oregon yesterday afternoon. The route we took from Junction City was wonderful. Oh, by the way, Junction City is WONDERFUL!!! I could live there in a New York minute!!! It was a sweet town.

Last night after arriving in Salem, and after meeting with one of the assistant Pastors in the church, Jeff was a hero and took us out to dinner!!! We ate Mexican - it was a much needed break from dishes and serving others!! A real treat!

Funny, we used to eat out all the time in our old life in Mission Viejo. It was a commonplace experience. Now, in our current circumstances, we rarely eat out. It is such a treat. It really gives you a better appreciation for the whole event!!! Kinda neat.

Today, we are starting school early. I want to take the kids out in the afternoon and explore the town. Salem is rather large (compared to most the towns we have been in recently!!).

I have spent all morning waiting. Waiting on the kids to finish school (so I can use the computer), waiting on Jeff as he works in the sanctuary, waiting on everything and everybody… ARRRGH.

SO, I randomly opened up my latest read (Keep a Quiet Heart by Elizabeth Elliot) to relieve my impatience. Guess what I open to… ? Yep, you guessed it - the chapter titled “Waiting”. Isn’t God funny!!! How does He do it???? <grin>

Elizabeth is so right on, waiting requires patience and a “willing calmness to accept what we have or have not, where we are or where we wish we were…”. I am learning that waiting is one way that the Lord is constantly breaking me, molding me into His better servant. This is a lesson I learn over and over again.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord

Psalm 27:14

And so I wait.

Saturday, October 27

It's cold and rainy, my fingers and toes are cold, my feet are wet and I can't keep my hair looking decent... waaaaaa!

I might reconsider how I feel about Oregon.

Sunday, October 28

We have met some wonderful members of the body here in Salem . One fellow and his wife invited us to supper this afternoon.

We woke to another situation as well this morning. One of our tires is flat. We will have to call Good Sam Roadside for help, then pray that God provides the finances to take care of the problem. We probably need new tires all the way around pretty soon.

Well, I’d best get started on pancakes (or as Eve calls them, Pant-cakes)…

 

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