Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thoughts on Anguish and Praise

I read Psalm 22 this morning and was struck by where the meditation on this scripture led me. David is so real! He's so like me. He goes back and forth with his faith and perception of God. "Why have You forsaken me God?" he asks, and catches himself with what he knows to be true - "Yet, You are holy; You are enthroned upon the praises of Israel; our father's trusted you, so should I; You delivered them, You do not disappoint" These are all thoughts that were likely running through David's mind, heart and pen as He honestly conversed with His God. Then, so like me, he turns again, to focus back on himself. Yes, God is all those things, He was all those things to those people, but "I am a worm". Those truths of God don't apply to me. I am in despair, I am discouraged beyond comfort, I...I...I... and suddenly the truths of our great God get buried under our pain and hurt and feelings of loneliness and we're sure we've been forgotten.
This is where it is imperative that we know and understand the character of God. He IS faithful, He can be trusted as or fathers have trusted Him before us. He is always the same and therefore true to Himself and His promises to those who love Him. In Isaiah 49 God promises to faithfully bring His people back to their promised land and He promises them that He could never forget them, for they are inscribed on His hands. Our hope in Him will never be put to shame.
How do we come out of the place of despair, the dark recesses of our hearts where we live; and the more we focus on them the darker they become? Both David and Isaiah tell us how to turn from our anguish - it is through praise. Psalm 22 verse 22 says "I will tell of Your name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You." And Isaiah 49:13 says "Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people and will have compassion on His afflicted." The remedy for discouragement? Praise! Oh that I would put my eyes, heart and mind on God and allow His light to shine into my soul, chasing away the darkness of discouragement. When we praise God, we can no longer feel discouraged for our eyes have been taken off of ourselves and lifted to the heavens to see His glory. And David adds a little insight into it - not only does he praise but he tells others about God's greatness and he praises God in the midst of the assembly. Try speaking of God's greatness to others and see if it doesn't lift your eyes to Him. We can't speak of Him without it lifting our hearts because it is out of our hearts that we are able to speak. And speaking it aloud also speaks to our own hearts as we hear for ourselves the greatness of our God. Praising God in the midst of others who love Him can also lift the clouds from our hearts, if we will allow for them to be lifted and not choose to dwell in the dimness of our circumstances. Hearing voices raised in praise and joyfully joining in replaces the anguish with rejoicing.
So, I seek to have a greater heart of praise that I might sing the goodness of my God, remember the truths of who He is and encourage others to do the same!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

At home in Hurst

Well, we've been here for about 4 weeks or so. We've hung our hat in Hurst, Texas for now, staying with some very lovely people, Pam and Randy Buster, while we wait to get into our apartment in Grapevine. We were a little like Abraham when we left California. I say a little because we did know where we were going generally, but details for where we would land had not been worked out. We knew God had called us out of Southern Cal. into a land that He had shown us but just not exactly where in that "land". The Busters graciously offered us their home as a resting place while we searched for our own home since searching from California was a little tricky. We thankfully took them up on their offer and were grateful to have a place to arrive at when we got here four weeks ago. We put our belongings in a storage unit and have made ourselves at home in the upstairs of the Busters' home. Our kids have quickly fallen in love with Mr. and Mrs. Buster and look forward daily to when they get home from work. Pam is a generous with her home and kitchen, willingly sharing all with me. And to make all things great, Randy let the girls play some of his instruments last night. It can't get any better.
While we love them and their hospitality, we can't stay with them forever and we have reserved an apartment in Grapevine, just blocks from the church offices and school where we meet. That move will come in May. Until then we are loving our home in Hurst and the Busters will always be special in our hearts as people who made our move to Texas welcoming and pleasant.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cowboy James

My dear, sweet Jamesy was playing Cowboy today. While riding his pretend horse, holstering a squirt gun in his pocket and using a jump rope as a lasso he turned to me and said "Good cowboys live in Texas!" So there you have it. We had just had a discussion about playing good cowboy instead of bad cowboy and as James says "Good cowboys live in Texas".

Saturday, April 3, 2010


This morning at the breakfast table Isabel declared to Jason that she loves living in Texas. Why? For no other reason than that there is a mall and Red Robin. We chuckled at this but realized for our kids it's these little things that help a transition from California to Texas to be a little easier. It's different here, but not that different, after all we can still go to the mall and eat at our favorite restaurant. Those little things are important.
Transition is never an easy process and there are days where it's no big deal and then days when the entire family shuts down. On those days we go to our Great God for strength and then put the kids to bed. In their case it's usually a culmination of new places, new people, new schedules and too many late nights. We have enjoyed dinner with a number of families in our new church and the kids have made some new friends. We have spaced out our evenings away from home but it doesn't get past the girls' perception. "Why do people keep having us over to their house Mom?" Isabel asked last week. She loves to go to people's houses and has enjoyed each evening out but noticed that it's been happening rather frequently. I explained to her how people want to get to know us and we hope to return the favor when we get into our apartment next month.
Acacia has always been very observant and from an early age was able to recognize where we were, where we were going and if we were taking an alternate route, which bothered her greatly. With that type of mind, it took Jason taking her once to his office for her to be able to recognize the street and know where we are. Even driving through downtown Grapevine at night Acacia (and Isabel both) were able to spot the church offices before Jason and I even saw them and shouted out "Daddy's office". So, they're starting to know where we are a little more and I am incredibly grateful for my GPS system that tells me where to go as I learn my way around Hurst, the city we currently live in, Grapevine, the city where the church is and where we will be living next month, and Dallas, the city where the zoo is, as well as a number of our new friends.
The girls have also taken to home-schooling fairly well. We began talking about Texas a little last week as an introduction to their new state. We've done the basics like a map of Texas and the state flag. In discussing the state flag we talked about what the colors symbolize and what the lone star means. It is not difficult to find the Texas state flag around here. It's flown from many buildings, is used as part of companies signs and labels and painted on sidewalks and door fronts of people's homes as well as flown on their front porches. So I now hear as we walk or drive around town "The Lone Star Mom!" Even James joins in, excited every time he spots it. Unity for God and Country - that's what the lone star stands for. Well, we are here to help people learn more about having a heart after God and are excited for any way in which He wants to use us for His glory at Grace Bible Church. If you think of us, please pray that our transition will continue and that our move to our apartment in May would be smooth. We are still adjusting to the time difference, the weather and driving the speed limit but enjoying our time here in Texas.