Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Epic Battle of Dad and Shelob

It's Wednesday night, about 6:48.
We were supposed to leave for church approximately 3 minutes ago.
I'm rushing through my drawers looking for something when I see a little flash of black streak across my dresser and into my slightly adjar underwear drawer. (HAHA! "Streak" into the underwear drawer? Funny.)

I froze. It was a spider. A disgusting black jumping spider, the kind that has a teeny bit of yellow and red on him. I HATE those. Some distant relative, do doubt, of the evil and crafty giant spider Shelob from Lord of the Rings. How dare, how DARE he venture into my room OR go into my drawer.

The moment of decision:
A.) I'm going to be late for church if I deal with this beast!
B.) If I don't deal with the beast I won't be able to sleep in this room peacefully tonight or ever reach for my—ehem—'unmentionables' in this drawer again!

What to do!?

In such situations I'd say the lesser of two evils would be to be late for church. So this I chose.

I screeched for my dad, who came running.
"What, Dani!?"
"A spider!"
*Sigh* "I thought it had something to do with a bug because of the sound of your voice."
"It's in THAT DRAWER!" (Pointing frantically)
"What!? Where?"
"I think it's between those black pantyhose but you can't see it because it blends in. Can you just like...squish them together and hope to get it in between them? I don't care about the hose."

This he does, unsuccessfully, and the spider is briefly revealed as it scurries further into the depths of my unmentionables. This is accompanied by shrieks of "There he is there he is ahhh there he is!!!" 

The long and short of this story is that finally, at my encouragement, Dad dumped the contents of my drawer into the middle of my room and began shaking out the pieces therein one by one. Since I didn't feel I'd be much help with that task I did a motivational sort of cheer for him by hopping from one foot to another and making high pitched squeaking noises.

Eventually the evil arachnid was exposed and, before it had gotten very far—and accompanied by my new level of frenzied cheer which involved jumping on both feet and shouting— Dad ground him with his foot into my carpet and the beastie died. Dad, in that moment, was not unlike the heroic Samwise Gamgee wielding his sword to defeat the wicked Shelob and rescue a very defenseless Frodo!!!

We were late for church.
There was a slight black smudge on my carpet.
My underwear lay strewn about my room.

But dad didn't once tease or get annoyed at me like I was expecting.
He just smirked his adorable smirk when I threw my arms around him and told him he was my hero.

My dad is amazing!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Wounded Brother

Steve Saint is the son of Nate Saint, the missionary who was killed with Jim Elliot in 1956. When I was living with Elisabeth I heard a little more about Steve's ministry and life... it's a pretty awesome thing he's doing, trying to use the incredible gift with airplanes, passed on to him by his daddy, to see the gospel furthered in the farthest corners of the earth!

Last week he had an accident which left him almost completely paralyzed.
Watch this video.
It absolutely blows my mind.
I am so convicted because I wonder if my attitude would be very different from his if I were in this situation.

His sweet, surrendered spirit and passion for God's work completely overrides the usual anger and questions and grieving that most people would battle in a "tragedy" like this. It's proof that the power of the Gospel is able to completely transform our lives and give us peace that makes UTTERLY NO SENSE to a watching world!

Part of me absolutely grieves about this accident but another part of me just wants to give this brother a standing ovation because of the incredible, beautiful surrender he's displaying under horrific circumstances! If there was EVER a time that we'd excuse a pity party or crisis of faith or depression it would be now: and yet this man is committing himself to the arms of God and using his pain to reach out and motivate others. And this is a knee-jerk reaction! It's not a attitude that took him a process of weeks or years or months to attain. Something Elisabeth Elliot was wont to say is, why is it that we say we're 'struggling' with something when what we really mean is that we 'won't surrender' it? When our lives are surrendered to God, what He chooses to do with us—whether it's through a seeming blessing or curse—will not cause a crisis or a struggle. It will cause us to JUMP to the opportunity to glorify our King through our circumstances.

God bless you Steve! 

God will make you even more productive and fufilled in these latter years of your life than you've ever been before. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Help Wanted :)

God's been giving me a vision, and I'm not sure how to run with it.
Since the first day I cracked open the cover of the book "Red Moon Rising" I felt like He wanted to open up a prayer room in my area of the world. A "Boiler Room" as it's called by some. Have you heard of the 24/7 prayer movement? Have you had ANY experience setting up a prayer room or a boiler room? I feel overwhelmed but SUPER excited about this task. God's moving in the world and I think the power is beginning in these places of prayer and seeping through communities and then throughout the world. My pastor has asked me to begin a prayer room in my church and I'm just not exactly sure how to start. If you have ideas or any experience with something like this, could you contact me? I've found the web site for an awesome boiler room in Michigan (here) and I'd love to go visit it. Maybe I could get some ideas. At any rate if you've got any thoughts, dialogue, or guidance, please let me know.
I know I said this before, but I'm pretty excited. :) Thanks!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Behold me, here I am

Thy little handmaiden Acceptance-with-Joy... 
 ...and all that is in my heart is Thine.” 

― Hannah Hurnard, Hinds' Feet on High Places

Saturday, June 09, 2012

No Compromise

I'd been wanting this book for a long time.

Visiting friends about 5 years ago, I found it on their bookshelf. Immediately I picked it up with great interest.  When I was a little girl I can remember looking at my parent's record (yes, record) cover of Keith Green's worship album, Songs For The Shepherd. There was Keith Green on the front, larger than life with a thick mop of curly dark hair, the most serene and almost loving look in his clear blue eyes as he gazed out at me from the cover, and a lamb draped around his shoulders. (Totally '80's. :) If I remember right, due to the lamb and Keith's thick beard I vaguely wondered if that was Jesus; so the picture fascinated me. My parents had been deeply influenced by Keith's music during the early years of their Christian life. In fact they still talk about the time Keith came to our town to do a concert at the invite of their pastor, and parked his camper on some friend's property. They got to meet him! I've pumped them for info on what he was like but they said it was only a brief meeting for them and they don't remember it that well. (Still, no fair, right?)

At any rate, after a brief perusal of the book years ago, it jumped on my "to buy" list, and not too long thereafter I bought an album of songs from one of his concerts off of iTunes. I listen to it all the time. Truth be told, it's not his voice that I like so much as the passion with which he sings and the intense lyrics of his songs. It's powerful stuff.

I never did buy the book, but finally my mom got it for me last Christmas. I was pretty thrilled. I've  kept it in my locker at work to read on my lunch breaks, so it's taken a while for me to get through it. Yesterday at work I got to the part of the book where Keith was killed with his two young children in a plane crash. He was 28 years old—one year older than me. As I sat in the sun at the picnic table behind the nursing home and read that chapter, tears streamed down my cheeks. I couldn't see the pages because my eyes were swimming. I wanted to bury my face in my hands and just sob. It felt like I was grieving the fresh loss of a friend. My lunch break finished and I clocked back in, frantically trying to wipe the smudged mascara from my eyes and pull myself together (because a weeping nurse aid walking the halls doesn't really give our nursing home the cheery persona it's going what do I tell my co-workers when they ask what's wrong, "Oh I'm morning the loss of a man who died three years before I was born"?)

This morning I finished the rest of the chapter and was surprised that the tears came out in full force again. I can remember only two other times when a book made me weep like that. The first was Brutchko by Bruce Olson and the second was Safely Home by Randy Alcorn.  Both times I just buried by head in a pillow and sobbed my eyes out!

Okay this post is not about my weeping tendencies. To be honest I don't even know how to articulate what I feel burdened to say. This book has started a lot of thoughts whirring in my head and I want to take the time to process them. Mostly I just want to totally recommend this book to anybody who might read this post. I am planning on giving this and Shadow Of The Almighty to any guys I know graduating from High School because Jim Elliot and Keith Green are definitely two men to pattern one's life after. They lived short lives and they made them COUNT. They lived with passion. They lived imperfectly. But they lived with the deepest desire of their hearts to know God.

Keith struggled with a lot of the things that I struggle with. He couldn't quite grasp the grace of God until the final year or two of his life. He had a hard time with his personality which was so black-and-white, and sometimes it caused him to react harshly to other Christians who he felt were compromising. Sometimes he felt like he didn't know how to just rest and let God LOVE him. The last year of his life, it's like God started purging that stuff from him and he was brought to such a place of maturity, peace, love and joy in God. I know God will bring me there too. Maybe that's why I feel like I lost a friend when I came to the end of this book. Thank you, God, for my brother's life and testimony.

I feel a little jealous of Keith too. Do you ever just wish that God would take you home so the barriers in your relationship with Him would be gone and you could just bask in His presence and really KNOW Him apart from all the junk that being tied to a body entails? Keith got to leave an awesome, lasting legacy behind on earth and yet be with the Savior he wanted to be with so badly.
I do envy that...I really do. I love the joys of earth but I increasingly long for heaven so much. I want to KNOW GOD. To see Him. To touch Him, even. To understand Him and I think most of all, to finally be able to hear Him perfectly.

Look how I ramble when my heart is full. It's funny, really. There's too much going on inside of me to say so I just bounce from one thing to another.

Long story short, you really oughtta' read this book.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

From Psalm 42. Amen.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Wistful and melancholy and sad, today. 
No definable reason. 
Days like this puzzle me and I wonder if the answer has something to do with the fact that I'm not Home yet. 
I'm an eternal soul inhabiting time; a citizen of heaven bound to earth by chains which WILL break, but when or how I have no clue. 
A wistful heart, then, shouldn't be all that surprising sometimes I guess.
Beauty does it, often. Does beauty ever make you ache? I've been longing to just get out and sit on a canoe in a lake, or hike the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee to waterfalls like my family did often when I was young, or lie in a green field with the sky above me for a whole afternoon, or sit by a fire in the woods until late at night. There's a beauty in creation that whispers of the creator and it makes me long for Him, I think, and perhaps that's why sometimes it makes me ache. It's hard to understand, harder to explain, and makes me feel silly when I try.  John Eldredge expressed it this way: 
“Beauty is transcendent. It is our most immediate experience of the eternal. Think of what it’s like to behold a gorgeous sunset, or the ocean at dawn. Remember the ending of a great story. We yearn to linger, to experience it all our days. Sometimes the beauty is so deep it pierces us with longing. For what? For life as it was meant to be. Beauty reminds us of an Eden we have never known, but somehow know our hearts were created for. Beauty speaks of heaven to come, when all shall be beautiful. It haunts us with eternity. Beauty says, There is a glory calling to you.”
Another thing that makes me feel melancholy; love. :) Sometimes when I hear a love story, no matter how predictable or sappy, it just makes me ache with the beauty and wonder of it. I've never been in love, so I don't suppose I can really understand and maybe that's why it's such a fascinating mystery to me. But the ache? Oh sometimes I think it's just because God hasn't brought me a love of my own yet but then other times I think it's because human love whispers to us of something far, far deeper: the whole reason God invented it was to give us the picture of His relationship with us, His people. And so the passion a man and woman feel towards each other is but a foretaste of the passion and ecstasy we will feel in the presence of God. It makes me anticipate marriage, because I think it will help me understand God's heart towards me better. I think when I experience that kind of love it will make me feel great awe, great worshipfulness, at the love of the heavenly Groom for his earthly Bride. Jim Elliot understood this. He wrote in his journal:
‎"Kiss me, Heavenly Lover, in the morning.
Be Thou the first to sweeten
This whole day's speech with that warm, honeyed touch
Of Thy caress.
And tenderly, while yet each eye lies unawaked,
Come lightly and impart to them
For day's long hour a heavenly set
To see all things as through a lover's eyes,
By soft caresses from the lips of Him
Who lives in Paradise.
Kiss me, Christ of Beauty, here alone
The two of us, while dawn
Steals down the slopes and
Wakens day's bright eye to smile on me.
Let not its luring draw me from the sense
That I belong to the One
Whose first embrace full ravishes
Who has kissed the son." 
So, I guess the wistfulness inside is just the result that occurs when things I experience on earth--things like love or beauty--stir in my heart a longing for the Invisible Realities.

He has set eternity in my heart, and though it aches, I'm glad of it.