Friday, August 28, 2009

Nee on Surrender

I've started reading The Normal Christian Life, a book written by the Chinese preacher, writer, and martyr Watchman Nee. This paragraph is one that I think God wants me to pause and "absorb" a bit. A bad habit of mine is to read these things, sense God prompting my heart to stop and listen to His Spirit speak through the author, but move on too quickly.

"If we give ourselves unreservedly to God, many adjustments may have to be made: in family, or business, or church relationships, or in the matter of our personal views. God will not let anything of ourselves remain. His finger will touch, point by point, everything that is not of Him, and will say "This must go." Are you willing? It is foolish to resist God, and always wise to submit to Him. We admit that many of us still have controversies with the Lord. He wants something, while we want something else. Many things we dare not look into, dare not pray about, dare not even think about, lest we lose our peace. We can evade the issue in that way, but to do so will bring us out of the will of God. It is always an easy matter to get out of His will, but it is a blessed thing just to hand ourselves over to Him and let Him have His way with us.
How good it is to have the consciousness that we belong to the Lord and are not our own! There is nothing more precious in the world. It is that which brings the awareness of His continual presence, and the reason is obvious. I must first have the sense of God's possession of me before I can have the sense of His presence with me."

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Leaving for Alaska in less than a week!? Where on earth did August go?

Thursday, August 20, 2009


One of the reasons I call Jim Elliot my "hero" (-sounds like such a childish word, so I use it cautiously-) is that when I read the things he wrote in his journals, I am jolted from my complacency. His passion is like a breath that blows on the smoldering embers in my heart and re-ignites my own flame. As iron sharpens iron, the Proverb says, so one man sharpens another. I looked up these quotes (below) tonight and was so stirred by not just his eloquence, but his beautiful heart of surrender. I often read them slowly, and make his prayers my own; because he said it so much better than I could have.
Are there any Jim Elliots left?
He wrote about blood and fire; surrender and glory. His mind was so fixed on Christ that these things poured from his lips and his pen in a natural overflow; he didn't "turn on" spirituality. He was a spiritual man in his core. He was murdered as a young man on the banks of the Curaray river for the sake of the gospel before I was even born, but his life impacts mine today. I wonder; will my life impact anyone to that extent after it's extinguished? It's not how I die that will matter as much as how I lived. I'm not willing to live a life anchored to this earth when I claim citizenship in heaven. Through a restless (but sweet) yearning inside, God is pulling me farther upwards and I'm not sure exactly how to cut more ropes that are holding me to the ground, but I know it's by surrender and so I've given Him my everything ....again.... tonight.

“God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus.”

“Father, let me be weak that I might loose my clutch on everything temporal. My life, my reputation, my possessions, Lord, let me loose the tension of the grasping hand.”

“I covenanted with the Father that He would do either of two things: either glorify Himself to the utmost in me or slay me. By His grace I shall not have His second best.”

“O Christ, let me know Thee--let me catch glimpses of Thyself, seated and expectant in glory, let me rest there despite all wrong surging round me. Lead me in the right path, I pray.”

“Father, take my life, yea, my blood if Thou wilt, and consume it with Thine enveloping fire. I would not save it, for it is not mine to save. Have it Lord, have it all. Pour out my life as an oblation for that world. Blood is only of value as it flows before Thine altar.”

“God deliver me from the dread asbestos of ‘other things.’ Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame for you.”

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In next week's paper...

"Sadly selling my babies! Two gorgeous cockatiels full of quirky personality, plus beautiful cage, books, and accessories $175.00. 330-336-6568"

*sigh!* I'll miss them.

"An Auspicious Hindu Wedding"

First, I want to thank those of you so much who are praying for Grandpa. He cam through surgery alright yesterday, though he's still in a lot of discomfort and very weak. We feel a *LOT* better knowing there's a filter in place to protect his lungs from rogue blood clots.

Last weekend I traveled with my Grandparents to a second cousin's wedding in Kalamazoo, Michigan. David married Shweta, a lovely Indian-American girl, and their wedding was fascinating! On the invitation it was called an "auspicious Hindu wedding". It was the most interesting wedding I've ever attended; it felt as if I had walked through a door and entered India! Most of the women were dressed in gorgeous Saris from every color of the rainbow with glittering beads and sequins, and even some of the men had beautiful robes on. On the way home, I drove with the groom's mom (my aunt Rosie) and we stopped at Shweta's parent's house. It was another cultural experience! :) Her brother showed me their beautiful python and I enjoyed another fantastic Indian meal (there is absolutely NOTHING like Indian food. Perhaps it even beats Italian, but don't tell Grandpa I said that)... and the fantastic part; Shweta's cousin dyed the palm of my hand in a beautiful henna design. I had a blast. :) Here are a few pictures from the wedding, courtesy of my cousin Toni (thanks Toni!)

Part of he wedding ceremony: Shweta and David offer puffed rice into a fire pit while a priest chants. Both sets of parents look on. The fringe of David and Shweta's robes are tied together during this part of the ceremony by David's sisters.

Toni, David, and Shweta (look at her beautiful sari!!)

Toni and I. I enjoyed spending a little time with my long-lost second cousin. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My handsom Marine

Please keep my Grandpa Sobie in your prayers. We miss him around here! We're used to having him live right next door adjoining our house, and it's quiet without him. He's landed himself back in the hospital with blood clots in his lungs (4 of them) and it looks like there are a few more in his leg. Tomorrow he will have surgery, placing a filter of sorts i nhis body to hopefully keep clots from entering where they shouldn't. He's in a lot of danger right now. I held his hand in the hospital tonite, and noticed that for the first time Grandpa felt frail and vulnerable. He's lost a lot of weight; maybe that's one reason. It made me cry. He is such a dear, wonderful man. I wrote the following for the local newspaper three years ago, around the Christmas season.

Leonard “Len” Sobie is an unassuming man of 83, with gray, thinning hair, smile lines lingering about his mouth and eyes, and a slight limp left behind from his double knee surgery. One can easily imagine what he looked like as a 21 year old Marine tanker in the South Pacific theater during WW2. He’s still tall and handsome; a dapper dresser with an easy laugh and quick whit. To most of the people who see him around town in Wadsworth (whether at Steiner’s swimming several times a week, at his usual post in Sacred Heart’s pew each Sunday, or hunting the grocery stores for his much loved Kielbasa,) Len looks like your average, still-independent senior American. But to those who know him, Len is much more than a jovial WW2 veteran who has passed his prime. He’s a Christmas hero.

When you see the large, white Toys for Tots boxes filled with toys for Medina County’s underprivileged children, you may not stop and think about the men and women who take the time to set them up, retrieve the contents, sort, and deliver the toys. Len is one of them. And because I’m privileged to see him on an almost daily basis, I know that the Toys for Tot season is his delight. Just this morning, after a long evening last night of sorting toys and carrying boxes, I gave him a hug and asked how he felt. His eyes sparkled. “I’ve got a little rip in my rotator cuff, so it bothered the arm to carry those boxes…” he admitted, “…but it’s so rewarding!” He proceeded to tell me stories about the children he was helping and the workers who put in long hours beside him. I tried to bring the conversation back to him: “I just want you to know how proud I am of you. When you were younger you risked your life on the fields of Guam and Iwo for us, and now you’re still making America a beautiful place by your…” He waved me off, embarrassed, and began to walk away. He turned back to me, though, when he remembered to tell about one last co worker in the Toys for Tots campaign who had put in a hard week of work for the cause.

I really don’t think Leonard realizes he’s one of America’s heroes. He probably thinks his days of glory are a bygone, forgotten season of life. When he came home from the battlefront with a few metals and a few scars, the whole nation rose up to greet him and thank him for his service. Star struck girls hung about him, the men who hadn’t gone envied him, and young boys wanted to be just like him when they grew up. Now he comes home after a long day of aching joints, battling to get boxes in the trunk of his car, standing honour guard at a funeral, or quietly being Santa to a bunch of children who won’t even know to thank him. There’s no spotlight for him now. No cheering crowds and no metals like he deserves. But in my eyes, he’s just as much a hero as he ever was… and this Christmas season, I want to thank all of you who make Christmas beautiful for Wadsworth and for America. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have Leonard Sobie as my Christmas hero; and my Grandpa.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thank you, my Dorys.

(Sometimes God sends people across your path to remind you to "just keep swimming" when you'd rather not).

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Today's true story:

I'm placing the finishing touches on my strawberry-rhubarb pie when Dad comes home from work. He's wearing his plaid button-down shirt untucked, but still has the police uniform shoes and pants on. (For some reason I've always loved seeing that outfit; probably because it means he's home for the day; not just a short break.) He sets his bags wearily on the table and stands in "Dad pose"- head cocked to one side, arms hanging loosely, patiently smiling at me while he surveys the unbelievable mess I've made of the kitchen. Suddenly, a wiry, dark haired man enters the dough-cluttered scene and starts dancing toward dad like a prize fighter- fists under his chin, beating the air around his head, gingerly bouncing towards and away from dad. Dad takes an immediate defensive position. Work-day weariness is forgotten. He must defend his daughter from this intruder.
The first punch to connect with flesh sets Dad yowling indignantly. The dark haired man grins gleefully. He smacked dad's wrist right where the watch was and it hurt. Dad calls a fowl and comes to me so I can kiss it. I oblige, and the dark-haired man jeers. The fight is back on.

"So you're wanting this to hurt, huh?"
"Yeah... to hurt you."
"Ohhhh, it'll hurt alright. Take THAT."
"Yeow! Heeey. Take it easy or I'll..."
"You'll WHAT!?"
"I'll do THIS....." (Thud, smack, stifled laughter.)
"Oooh, he's playing tough!? Didn't know you had it in you."
"Yeah, well you're not so bad yourself... for an old man."

Here I indignantly interject from my safe spot behind the kitchen counter, "Hey, watch it! That was a low blow!"

The two dance apart and then together again in some sort of age-old male bonding ritual, throwing punches and meaningless insults, all the while laughing inwardly. Finally Dad catches the man around his neck and draws him forward in what could be a half-nelson, but instead becomes a hug. The fight is over. Nobody won. The men leave their fighting ring and I place my pie in the oven, smiling broadly to myself. "Nate's home."

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I'm Hooooome sweet home.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Mountains and Crutches

Carlee's life has taken yet another complicating twist. Because of the surgery she had a few weeks ago to remove and biopsy some of her lymph nodes, there's been the worry of lymphedema. This would be irreversible fluid retention and swelling in a her arm caused by the damage to her lymph system. Yesterday her hand and entire arm started to noticeably swell. I can't describe the sinking of our hearts when sings of yet another complication for Carlee start to emerge. There is a helpless feeling when a person you love and would gladly suffer for is enduring a difficulty that even medical doctors are absolutely powerless to change or reverse. Please pray for her. We feel very blessed to be children of the Great Physician who has been known to defy medical odds quite often. :) Carlee needs Him now to stop this lymphedema so it won't restrict and debilitate her for the rest of her life.

Some people call belief in God a "crutch", as if that's an insult. But I have to wonder: how would we retain hope and joy without a Crutch; and why is it so wrong to need a crutch in this pain-filled, fallen world anyhow? A man can use a crutch to support his broken body without being mocked or blamed, but when a person admits their need for Someone greater than himself to lean on for the devastation life brings, he's somehow looked on as weak and simple? How brazenly haughty the human race is! Jesus says, "Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." (Psalm 55:22)

I'm writing a song for Car. The tune is a bit sketchy still, but the words are these:

The mountain is high, and I don't know why I'm climbing it-
I just know jesus sad this was the way for my to take.
My eyes may be dry, but inside my heart is weeping while
I try to keep my eyes fixed on the goal that is at stake.
And a host of silent souls are climbing right along beside me,
In a realm apart from anything my eyes can see...

So my heart takes courage
And my eyes look up,
While my aching feet press onward toward the goal
And my hand grasps His
While I drink from His cup
And find each bitter sip delights my soul.

Verse 2-
I've lost the life I had, but I know I'm truly living,
Because Jesus is the Treasure I have found
And I have His word, that the clouds will break soon farther up,
And I'll be standing then on holy ground
And the view that I'll see when I'm standing on the heights
Won't be shadows or valleys, but a path of light!


Verse 3-
A while ago I looked up, saw the place where I'm at now and thought
"God, I can't walk there; don't ask me to..."
But now that I'm here, I see the beauty all around me,
Because Jesus really does make all things new.
And I trust the Mighty Author Who is writing out my Story
So instead of dark defeat I am shouting glory!