Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quest For Love

Every girl should read this book.  Apart from the Bible I think that this book has changed my life more than any other book I've ever read.  Elisabeth Elliot not only gives sound counsel but uses examples from the countless letters she has received focusing in on couples who have waited on God's timing and those who have tried to go their own way.  She encourages men to be men, to not say "I love you" unless they are ready to marry you, to be the initiator, and she urges women to be but gentle and quiet spirits who wait on the Lord.  In a time where we are told to flirt, that it's ok to be the one to call, that sharing a bed before marriage is not only ok but perfectly natural it is incredibly refreshing to read her wise words.  God has given me a great deal of peace about relationships through this book and the scripture Elliot uses and I pray that He will create in me the most gentle and quiet spirit who will either one day be a supportive and submissive wife or a soul set apart to serve the kingdom unmarried.  I encourage everyone, men and women, to read this and be encouraged, inspired and I'm very excited to go through it with the Jr. High girls!

Insomnia Update

God is good, even when I don't get any sleep, but I feel so blessed this morning after crashing at midnight last night and sleeping until my alarm went off.  I pray that I praise God whatever sleep I get or don't get and that I continue to learn the lesson of trust.  I am thankful that He's put me in this situation where I don't have parents or roommates to rely on and I have to cling to Him.  It's very difficult sometimes, but if insomnia is my biggest struggle then I think God's being pretty easy on me.  I look back on Paul's struggles and kind of feel like a wimp!  He was beaten, ship wrecked, thrown in jail, and insulted and through all of this God used him in a mighty way to advance His kingdom.  I can only pray that God will use me in such a way, even if that means that I have to face more sever trials in order to do so.  

Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements.  Lord willing the ability to sleep will continue, but if not pray that I will praise Him just the same.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More Insomnia

Can't sleep.  Really need your prayers.  I'm pretty exhausted.  I know God is teaching me something, maybe to rely on Him alone, but I am so tired... I know I don't deserve what could only be considered grace by being allowed to sleep soundly, my mind at peace, but I need it so desperately.  I really need sleep.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Mark That One off the List

It's official, I finally finished The Count of Monte Cristo.  Loved it, but I'm glad to be finished.  I thoroughly plan on waiting until January to start Les Miserables, I need a break.  In the near future I plan to write my thoughts on it, but for now I leave with this:  I finished!  Yay!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Study of Psalm 23 - As written at 3:30 A.M. Friday 2, 2009

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want"
  • A shepherd cares for His sheep, protecting them from danger and providing for them.  Therefore, if the Lord is our shepherd, He will protect, care fore, and guide us.  He sufficient.

"He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters,"
  • Our shepherd provides abundantly for us by leading us to good food (His word) and safe water (Himself).  What's more, we can rest in these provisions because He is faithful. 
"He restores my soul."
  • The purpose of all history is the cross.  Our souls are brought back to what they were supposed to be in the garden - a right relationship with the God of the universe. 
"He guides me in paths of righteousness, for His name's sake."
  • The Lord leads us in His ways, bringing us into His righteousness in order that we may glorify His name.
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
  • While we will go through difficult and potentially dangerous times two things we can be sure of: 1) it is only a shadow, we may suffer but it is only for a little while.  2) We should not fear because our shepherd is with us and He carries a rod and staff that are mighty to save and guide and discipline if necessary.
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies..."
  • He welcomes us as friends, promising protection.
"Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
  • Though I may not always see it, for my view of things is so small and limited, God's goodness, His perfect goodness, and perfect love surround and follow me.  He will never leave nor forsake me though my own heart may grow faint, and in the end I will understand and praise His name.

Final note: this was written at three or four in the morning so forgive the weakness of the writing.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Passion and Purity

"Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living."  Jim Elliott

Being single can be very lonely.  I listen to the serpent who lies in my ear telling me that God's holding back His blessings from me, that I'm single because there is something wrong with me, that being single is some kind of curse.  I get frightened being alone at night and forget that I am just as safe in my apartment than at my parents house because God is the one watching over me, His rod and His staff ready to defend and discipline if necessary.  I over analyze relationships, the things I say, how I react, and wonder if maybe I'm just not acceptable in the eyes of man.  I forget that the only One I need to please is my Father in heaven, and that He is the one sanctifying me, He is the one who created me, He is the one I have to answer to.  I find myself talking to the TV or just to myself.  Sometimes I even resent my friends for getting married and engaged.  Why not me?  What did I do wrong?  

My mom and dad just bought me a book by Elizabeth Elliott called Passion and Purity.  In it, Elliott writes about her relationship with Jim, their struggles, their prayers and decisions, in order to speak to us today not just to encourage us to be pure in our relationships, but more to teach us to bring our love lives under Christ's control.  She talks about wondering whether or not God had called her to be single, about meeting and falling in love with Jim, about his confession that they might never be able to get married due to his commitment to do mission work where single men were required.  Just the thought of falling in love with a man who loved me back but wasn't sure we would ever be able to get married scares me a little.  I know how the story ends of course, they eventually get married; Jim proposes to Elizabeth in Quito where they also get married, they have one daughter, and then Jim is killed by the very tribe he was ministering too.  Three years.  They were married three years.  If I were Elizabeth Elliott I can't imagine how I would have reacted.  I would love to say that after understandable mourning I would have praised God for the three years I had with Jim, I would love to say that I would have jumped at the opportunity to mission to the same tribe that murdered my husband, but I don't know.  God works powerfully but I know I would have struggled with anger, wondering why He took away someone I loved so much and waited for so long, someone who had been doing His work!  The story just baffles me.  Makes me cry.  It also encourages me.

One of my favorite songs in high school, the title of which now escapes me, had a chorus that went something like this: 'There's a bigger picture you can't see, you don't have to change the world just trust in me...'  Those words spoke to me then, reminding me of how small a perspective I have of this world.  I see all events as completely centered around me.  I see only what I imagine I am suffering.  I see only my little sphere forgetting that I am a spec in the grand scheme.  However, though I am a mere speck, God has called me to be His own and therefore I have a purpose.  Right now, that purpose calls me to be single and I need to be reminded that this is a blessing.  Paul urged his readers to remain single because the single man/woman can focus all of their thoughts on God and His work with no spouse or children to distract.  Not to say that falling in love and getting married and having kids isn't a blessing as well, but for right now that's not what God has given me.  I pray that I don't allow my longing to slay the appetite of my living!  I pray that I will not ache for things God has not willed to give me!  I pray that I will see this time of loneliness as an opportunity to serve God with all of me, all of my time, all of my resources.  I pray that I stop listening to Satan when he lies and tries to twist God's word around.  It's not an easy thing, but the life of a Christian isn't supposed to be.  Thankfully, there is rest at the end.  I'll pass from this world into the full realization of what it means to glorify God and rest in Him for eternity.  I'll see the whole picture, taste pure joy, and understand the fullness of His promises.  Oh that I might strive to live fully for the glory of God now as Jesus did.  That I would not waste my time longing, and start living.

"Wherever you are, be all there.  Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."  Jim Elliott