Wednesday, November 30, 2005
it was in the midst of that dark valley that this thought hit her: she had yet to thank God for her cancer. what?? (i thought as my heart sank in my chest) she had actually expressed gratitude to our Creator for this awful disease that had ravaged her physically and emotionally for almost a year. she was grateful. and she meant it. incredible
Paul's words in Ephesians to always give thanks to God for everything had struck a cord with her. (easier said than done, right). but she was serious, and you could see it her face. she let us know that she and her husband were closer than they had ever been. that her 25 year old daughter had matured greatly in the past year. that because of her cancer extended members of her family, who in the past had been distant from one another, had been brought together and talk on a daily basis. she said she had experienced true friendship like never before. her faith has been stretched and her prayer life awakened. every morning she wakes up and thanks God for this horrible affliction and for the ways he is working through it. what an amazing story of faith.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ.
i pray for faith like hers. to see all my circumstances as yes's. to always trust and continually give thanks for everything. everything.
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pic of the day, our HS kids at Zenith last summer:
Monday, November 28, 2005
--laying on my parent's couch for hours at a time
--hugging my mom and dad
--watching hours upon hours of football with dad, kyle, and matty
--playing old school wheel of fortune with madison and rosalyn (i was vanna white)
--listening to the sweet comotion of laughter and stories produced by 20+ family members in one house
--playing on the floor with 1 and 2 year old cousins i haven't seen in a year
--rebuilding madison's swing set in the backyard...not
--UT's escape of the aggies (we won't mention the cowboys)
--box office, little panda, university church, cahoot's
--watching 5 back to back episodes of the OC season 1 (it's addicting)
--driving home from the a-high game (a.k.a. southlake practice) with kyle, jessica, zach, and rosalyn
--being humbly reminded of my age as i played...er, participated in basketball with kyle and his college friends
--more dump cake
--being with people i love
what a wonderful holiday. the Lord is SO good--bring on Christmas!
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pic of the day (my little friends EJ, Xavier, and Cameron who are returning to a brand new home in New Orleans this week):
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Everything I do it just comes apart
Everything is torn apart
And that's the hardest part --Chris Martin's The Hardest Part
These are the closing lines from my new favorite Coldplay song that got me thinking.
I am unspiritual. --the Apostle Paul, who wrote half the New Testament
Then those three words hit me hard when I read them in Romans 7. Partly because of who wrote them (maybe the most passionate follower of Jesus ever), but also because that is how I often feel. Unspiritual, inadequate, lacking, deficient, defective, poor, incompetent, not perfect. But don't you love God--of course I do. Aren't you a "minister"--yes, last I checked. Haven't you been spiritually and materially blessed--for sure. But I don't at all think that means I can't feel like this. After all I'm human, just as Paul was. Everyone has to feel this way sometimes. Admitting this isn't easy, but the perspective it brings is healthy.
And I've found that out of this acknowledgement comes freedom and life. Freedom from fear and isolation and life the way Christ intended it to be, full and satisfying. What I mean is, when I recognize that I am weak, completely and utterly weak, only then I can truly understand the enormouse scope of what Christ has done for me. How he has rescued my life from the pit of death, one that is too deep for me to begin to crawl out of. Jesus is my superhero: he's heard my damsel's helpless cry, defeated the enemy, and saved my life. His power is demonstrated (and made perfect) in my weakness. So why would I deny that I am terribly weak. Why would I refute the truth that sets his wonderful working grace in motion. I hate that so much is made in the world of what I am capable of; individualism, me me me, be all that you can be, all mark our culture. How great it is though to know that my worth is found in him; that my future depends on his faithfulness; that in spite of my flaws God can use me for the extraordinary. For what I am not, Christ is. Thank you Lord for the amazing story and power that is Jesus.
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pic of the day, from Mize:
Monday, November 14, 2005
but then i read Naaman's story from 2 Kings and am completely humbled. when Elisha told him washing in the Jordan river would heal his leporsy he stubbornly offered an alternative suggestion. here before him stood God's messenger offering something incredible and life changing, and he had the audacity to hesitate. to say, "hold on God. i know this is your way...but how about my way?" what?! yeah right naaman...why don't you have some freakin appreciation. oh...wait a minute...
what naaman and i forget is that God's way is more superior than my way. God's way is satisfying and complete. who am i to even think that i might know better than him. thank you Lord for humbling me today. thank you for excusing my selfish (and silly) tendencies to worry and think i know best. thank you for replacing my fear and isolation with your peace. and thank you for not promising a life that is easy, but a life in which i am never alone.
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pic of the day, from Mize: Frank and Erika
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
for years an Abilene staple stood at the corner of South 1st and highland. Crystal's Pizza Palace was a place where dreams came true. i practically grew up at Crystal's and have many fond memories of that fine establishment. their menu was superb and i bet every kid in abilene can remember getting a mini pizza for just 99cents with a good report card. but Crystal's wasn't just pizza. they also had the best breadsticks ever served with cheese dipping sauce (don't knock it until you try it). their ice cream sundaes were heavenly. i can remember me and my buddies making "suicide" drinks at the soda foutain everytime we were there--we were crazy. the movie room, showing only Looney Tunes, was classic. the game room tough to beat (original ski ball--not ice ball, basketball shoot, Street Fighter, Galaga, and more). they had a piano and magic man there several nights a week. it was a must for team parties and youth group lock-ins. Crystal's was incredible.
then Mr. Gatti's supersized and took over Abilene. sure they had more games, bumper cars, better prizes, laser tag (which was originally an indoor roller coaster). but it didn't have the magic like Crystal's. still, Gatti's ruled and Crystal's was forced to close it's doors several years ago. a little piece of my childhood died that day. but last night...i was resurrected.
last night, thanks to Chad and Sheri, i was able to experience the magic all over again. there's only one Crystal's left, and who knew it was in Irving?! i sure didn't.
from the minute i saw that sparkling sign i was overwhelmed with feelings of nostalgia from my childhood. everything inside--the breadsticks, the tokens, the movie room, the greasy kitchen help--was the same as my youth. last night i was 8 years old again...and it truly was magical.
so if anyone out there shares my love for this childhood wonder, next time you're in the dfw area call me and we'll go.
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pic of the day (from Mize), Rosaly and her dad:
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
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And wonder is that feeling we get when we let go of our silly answers, our mapped out rules that we want God to follow. I don't think there is any better worship than wonder. --Donald Miller
one thing i love about God/faith/being a Christian is no matter how much i "know" there is still an element of mystery. i love that my Creator is so much bigger than his creation. that it is impossible to know everything about Him. now this is very ironic because by nature i'm a person who likes to know things, to have certainty. i don't like being left in the dark or unsure of the way. but with faith a sense of mystery is necessary, otherwise you don't have faith. you only have answers, and that is not God's intention.
wonder is incredible. it is getting lost in the presence of God. it is forgetting who/where/how i am and realizing all that He is. it is stepping into a moment, a story, that is bigger than myself. wonder is where my cares are buried and my heart is transformed. i pray today that we will all respond to the Lord with wonder.
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pic of the day, from Mize:
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
1. the best way to make an impact on someone's life is to love them. to love them completely and unconditionally. Deborah and the other ladies who pour their lives into this project serve as a shining example of the second greatest command. what a joy to witness the way these women are restoring lives in the Kingdom.
2. my parents are incredible. i was reminded of this as one of the residents asked me, "what did your parents think of you going into the ministry?" i told her my parents do nothing but cover me with love and support. their constant prayers and encouragement have carried me through many of the ups and downs of this field. i deal with kids everyday whose parents don't show them they're loved, much less give a flying flip about what they do, and it makes me terribly sad. i'm tremendously blessed by my parents, and i thank God for the positive influence they have on our (mine and cayce's and kyle's) lives.
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pic of the day: Mize and "Potato"