Wednesday, June 29, 2011
My friend Chelsea introduced me to Rachel who lives not too terribly far from my "home" in Massachusetts. (Note! I am incapable of learning how to spell "Massachusetts"! Without fail I misspell it every time even after careful and concerted study of the word.) Mr. Gren kindly drove me part of the way so I could spend four days with Rachel, her brother Daniel, and Chelsea (who flew from FLORIDA to join us!). It was a blast. The backdrop was a picturesque New Hampshire farm, on which Rachel lives and is the main caregiver for her grandparents.
- We took ridiculously goofy (bordering on bizarre) pictures, and then laughed hysterically over them. More happy tummy muscles.
- We hiked until I thought we might keel over and die (9 miles isn't THAT far, but half of it was up a mountain and the other half was shoe-less!)
- We ate copious amounts of ice cream from a dreamy ice cream place called Wade's.
- We spent an afternoon shooting a pistol, rifle, paintball gun, and even a potato gun. Rachel was an unbelievable shot... Annie Oakley type of unbelievable! I was a horrid shot, but I did leave some well-placed marks with the paintball gun on Daniel's car. Teehee!
- I think that by far, the best parts of our time together were the conversations we had. Talking with a friend who really understands you is precious. Talking with a friend who helps you to understand GOD more is priceless.
So thanks guys. :)
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Elisabeth enjoys a moment with Margaret Ashmore, one of the dear Texan friends she and Lars have made over the years. It's been a huge gift for me to get to know Margaret. She's an amazing woman with a heart as vast as the state she calls home. Click here to check out her web site and read her testimony.
On Tuesday some friends of the Grens put on a beautiful tea and invited folks who either know and love Elisabeth and Lars or have wanted to meet them. We stayed up until after 2:00 am baking cheesecakes, cinnamon rolls, and other goodies and it was worth it; the tea was a beautiful time. Lars spoke for a few minutes and, as usual, had the crowd laughing with his engaging stories of life as Elisabeth Elliot's husband. :)
Laura and her husband Trent are another couple I've been privileged to meet through L&E. They've got darling kids, who Laura brought to the tea, and as you see Elisabeth always enjoys a moment with little ones.
Last Saturday I was a bridesmaid in Kendalyn's Houston, TX wedding. :)
Here we are the day before she ties the knot with Robert.
WOW, Kendalyn is married!?!?!? What a beautiful bride my friend was. (Is!)Her mother had handmade this dress for her own wedding over 20 yrs. ago and it is still gorgeous.
We bridesmades had a few dress malfunctions. (B-I-G understatement.)
One of which was the buttons. The little beasties kept popping off. Here we are about 5 minutes before the wedding sewing away. By the end of the evening little blue buttons were littering the ground where we walked and we had ceased to care.
It was pretty funny.
Amy, Kenalyn and I...three friends from the good old days. :)
Amy and I were kinda' crazy bridesmaids, I'm afraid.
Probably had more fun together than should be legal.
Back from our trip to Alabama and Texas, I was laying in bed last night staring into the harsh screen of my laptop when a soft, urgent glimmer out the window caught my eye. Glancing up, I saw a sight that literally took my breath away. Making my way to the window, there was the silver moonlight reflecting on the water, sparkling like a million tiny lights dancing on each ripple in a shimmering path. It was, perhaps, the most magical sight I've ever seen. I saw it another full moon when I first came (pictures above) but somehow this time was even more glorious, I think, and all I could do was pause there, soak it in, gaze at it and whisper my praises to the Author of such beauty! If I am in awe of His work, I can't help but wonder what sort of beauty and awesome wonder awaits me when I see HIM?
So I stood there and I whispered "Thank you, Jesus....thank You, thank You..."
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Starting a new life together with prayer
Yesterday we attended the wedding of Elisabeth's granddaughter, Evangeline, in Alabama. It was a BEAUTIFUL wedding (though--really now--don't we say that about them all?) The ceremony was held outdoors on the groom's family ranch. All eight of Elisabeth's grandchildren were there and I was SO glad to finally meet them all!
The grandmother of the bride and her Official Hairdresser (I bestowed the name upon myself.)
Elisabeth and her daughter Valerie chat for a moment before the wedding
Walter gives his daughter away
The second and third generation of Jim Elliots!
(Valerie's son Jim holds his nephew Jimmy during the ceremony)
The beautiful bride and good lookin' groom
What a joy it's been to get to know Valerie and her husband Walter during my time caring for Elisabeth. Before we left the reception, several of Elisabeth's grandchildren came to me with tears in their eyes to thank me for caring for and specifically LOVING their grandma. That meant more to me than I could ever say. I'm not really sure how to express it, but having had a (VERY) small part in the lives of Jim Elliot's wife, daughter and grandchildren is an amazing experience that I never would have dreamed about when I first read his journals years ago and was dramatically changed by his life story. God does surprise us every once-in-a-while...doesn't He? :)
Saturday, June 04, 2011
This morning I showed annoyance towards the first person I talked to. As they walked away from me, I sighed and hung my head in shame. I realized again how utterly unable I am to do right when I'm not asking Jesus for grace.
Why did I sleep in this morning instead of praying and spending time with Jesus? If I had, I know I wouldn't have responded to an annoyance that way. Questions and condemnations swirl in my head and make me feel almost sick with regret. Words and looks can't be retracted... mistakes can't be rectified... I can't hit the rewind button and do it all over again. Sigh.
Lately is seems as if the thing I struggle most with is condemnation from Satan. I see how very, very far away from being just like Christ, and I feel that I must be frustrating and ugly to Him... I must grieve Him and annoy Him. It makes me feel dirty when I come to pray. It makes me shrink before His presence instead of coming boldly to the throne of... GRACE.
But a few moments ago I listened to this song and I pictured Jesus stooping down and lifting my head, so I can look into His eyes. I'm full of shame and remorse and expecting condemnation but what I see when I look there is love, and tenderness, and forgiveness. Most shockingly, I see that He find me beautiful. He has clothed me in HIS robe of righteousness, because I have none wherewith to clothe myself. Trying to somehow do pennance and make myself prettier before I draw near to Him is an insult and a futile effort.
My Jesus... I accept your acceptance! I will stop confusing guilt with repentance. Guilt drives me from You: repentance drives me TO You. I will stop trying so hard on my own and forgetting that YOU have made me beautiful! YOU are grace, forgiveness, and love! YOU are my Glory, and you and the Lifter of my head!
Oh, You are so kind.