Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quote of the Day

" So then death worketh in us, but life in you." (II Cor. 4:12)

" You ask... how you can be used to minister life to others. Not by setting out to do a lot of things, nor yet by going into retirement and doing nothing at all, but simply by letting the power of His death and resurrection operate in the course of your walk with God." (Watchman Nee)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Spiritual Lessons 

Below are some thoughts that a dear friend of mine wrote on her struggle as a single woman. She remained single until her early thirties (please read "A Love Story"). These thoughts were such a blessing to me I had to share them with you!

I will speak about some of the things that God showed me in my struggle as a single woman;
Was it worth it? Yes!! Why? Because I learned about a God that I had not known before! And it was for Him that it was worth it! Did the struggles make me perfect…NOPE. :) But it taught of a God who IS perfect and still loves me… In fact, in Psalms 37:23, 24 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. THOUGH HE FALL, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with this hand”


LONELINESS IS OKAY – But do not let it make you bitter or draw you away from God but rather TO Him…
While being alone is different from loneliness… it is something that God has used throughout history and is common to all mankind! It works at the core of man to find fellowship in God…He is a jealous God and wants us to enter into an intimate relationship with Him.
While attending a study in which an elderly lady gave her testimony, my heart was instantly struck by her godly testimony. She had remained single for 39 years before God gave her a husband with whom she only had the privilege of being with for 10 years, at which point he died, and then she spent the rest of her days alone raising her children. This is a very short version of the many details that filled in the space but the essence of her testimony was the grace and joy with which she told it. To my curious and troubled soul at the present time, I was convinced that she would have had to experience some loneliness in her lifetime and so after the study had ended, I approached her and inquired regarding this matter. Her answer will remain in my heart until the end of time, “No. I can honestly say I have never experienced loneliness.” Rather in shock, I hardly knew what to ask next and she graciously continued saying, “I was saved young and I knew that God was with me.”
My heart was challenged and I thought to myself that if she can know that God is with her and have such contented peace regarding His presence with her, than I too can have such an understanding. If God is God, than surely this must be true!
Shortly after this, I was brought to attention to Elisabeth Elliot’s definition of loneliness. She astutely defines loneliness as something experienced when one desires something that one doesn’t have or when one has something they do not desire.

Bearing “Singleness”

There are FEW people in the world OR the church that can handle people being single…BUT Christ can…He was single Himself. Yet…he was without the camp…despised… and so singleness is despised in some essence….
  • You appear ‘forsaken’ to some degree…undesirable, etc.
  • All the music is geared towards lovers, or breakups…couples….etc. To be alone is a frightening thing for most people
  • You can see by the world and the church that there is GREAT desire for relationship and for everyone to have this…is this wrong? – NO… because this is the desire that God put IN US to be drawn into union with HIM!! He desires that relationship and He is a jealous God… Will we give Him ourselves first?
  • So singleness is not really a threat but it is when you do not KNOW HIM… and so we begin to make plans, and use language that denotes marriage is the ‘only answer’ … i.e. “You will make a good wife”….”That baby looks good on you”… etc. No. The language should be such…”You must have such a sweet relationship with the LORD”… “God must be keeping you as a gem in His crown”… etc…

Run from temptations

DO NOT give it heed…it will suck you in….we are NOT strong enough to stand against them when we have already entertained the thought of them…or giving our heart to them… God knows we are ‘but flesh’ but do you?
In my particular experience there was not necessarily a shortage of 'men' so to speak but it was having the courage to realize that God was not in them and to say "No" even though it seemed in the looming horizons that there was never going to be the 'perfect' man of God for me.


I realized that I need not talk about all my problems….that by doing so I was living the philosophy of humanism… saying, “I have a right to struggle and can you not see that I have more compassion than God…” and it gives permission for others to do the same…
Matthew 10:27: What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. There is a difference between speaking IN darkness and speaking IN the light…
It does say to confess your faults and to allow others to mourn with you when you mourn…etc…BUT find a lady…an older lady who will PRAY for you…and I mean REALLY pray for you and tell them!!
Keep a journal… not of your sorrows but of what you have learned of God!!! It will encourage your soul.

Living Daily Life

THE COMMON drudgery of daily life can be a Divine Calling. We often speak of a young man as "being called to the Ministry"; but it is as fitting to speak of a carpenter being called to the bench, the blacksmith to the forge, and the shoemaker to his last. "Brethren," said the Apostle, "let every man wherein he is called, therein abide with God."
Remember that your life has been appointed by God's wise providence. God as much sent Joseph to the drudgery and discipline of the prison as to the glory and responsibility of the palace. Nothing happens to us which is not included in His plan for us; and the incidents which seem most tiresome are often contrived to give us opportunities to become nobler, stronger characters.
We are called to be faithful in performing our assigned duties. Not brilliance, not success, not notoriety which attracts the world's notice, but the regular, quiet, and careful performance of trivial and common duties; faithfulness in that which is least is as great an attainment in God's sight as in the greatest.

Take up your work, then, you who seem to be the nobodies, the drudges, the maid-of-all-work, the clerk, or shop assistant. Do it with a brave heart, looking up to Him who for many "years toiled at the carpenter's bench”. Amid the many scenes and actions of life, set the Lord always before your face. Do all as in His presence, and to win His smile; and be sure to cultivate a spirit of love to God and man. Look out for opportunities of cheering your fellow-workers. Do not murmur or grumble, but let your heart rise from your toil to God your Maker, Saviour, and Friend. So the lowliest service will glisten, as grass-blades do when sun and dewdrops garnish them.

A Summary

I have a very stubborn nature and it seems that God has had to take me around the same struggles many times to teach me, but one of the things that has been so invaluable was simply remaining in God's school. Dying to self is never easy... and sometimes I felt like giving up because I would become so horrified at my "self" and then discouraged because I figured I would just never learn, but by and by repentance became a gift and not a shame. I learned to fall on my Saviour even in the darkest moments and thereby learned to have a very sweet union with Him as I learned to give Him my 'self' and surrender my life in a true sense (not just figuratively). These have been some of the most valuable lessons for our marriage. (And would have been even if I had remained single for other areas in life.)
Prepare for the every day... get dressed, be clean, make your bed, be obedient to your authorities, work, sing in the light and in the night, be a blessing to someone other than yourself...being single can produce much selfishness but seek someone out to be a blessing is needful for the single person to take their eyes off of themselves!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

"It is bad enough to wait in hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence -- that is the grandest patience in the universe.
...There is no patience so hard as that which endures, "as seeing him who is invisible.", it is the waiting for hope.
...Thou has made waiting beautiful...Thou has taught us that the Father's will may be received just because it is His will.  Thou hast revealed to us that a soul may see nothing but sorrow in the cup and yet may refuse to let it go, convinced that the eye of the Father sees further than its own.
...Give me this divine power to wait for hope itself, to look out from the casement where there are no stars.  ...I shall reach the climax of strength when I have learned to wait for hope."
~ George Matheson (Streams 235)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Planted in a Wilderness

Spiritual Lessons 

Refuse to let it go
This cup for me to drink
Though filled with sorrow's silt
Convinced He knows my need

Though hard to wait in hope
It can be harder still
In calm to wait for hope
Accept a silent will

Though a vacant place
Because He's taken all
I'm filled with nothing less
And ready when He calls

Planted in a wilderness
I chose to say goodbye
He is my inheritance
I'd rather have Him mine

Last night I gave up a dream I've held onto for almost a year and a half. When I told Jesus I wanted Him to have all of me, I meant it. And He has taken me at my own word. And He has taken over every part of my life.

I hold no expectations. I have been planted in an uncharted wilderness. I could shrink from it...but to simply and cheerfully take it from Him is much sweeter. If we are to count it all joy when given tribulation, how could I respond less when taken to a little wasteland of unknowns? My wilderness cannot even be labeled “tribulation”. He is my everything and that is joy!

To cry and complain would be to claim that I have no caring Father who directs my life. My life holds no compromise and my heart is totally His. What a beautiful place to be. He has given me peace through acceptance. I don't need to be promised health or marriage or any dreams come true. All I need is Him. Every part of me is captivated by Christ...and yet there is such liberty and security in this.

I wish I could shout it from the roof-tops! I wish I could convey the sweetness of being totally taken over by Christ. There is pain when heart strings are severed – but it's worth it. You know the glowing joy you see in newly weds? That's how I feel.

I've been denied so much, separated from my desires, given trial after trial, shut doors everywhere I turn.....and then when left crying I looked up and there was Jesus. I have Someone who loves me without selfish motivation. He denies what would sully His best plan for me...I am being protected and cherished...set apart for a purpose. Suddenly I see myself as He sees me – a treasure. How could anyone not be thrilled and head over heels in love with such a One as Jesus?

Suddenly it doesn't matter where He takes me, if I ever heal, if my future man comes in the next twenty years, if I am left alone in my convictions, or if all my ambitious fall away.

I have Jesus.

When you wish, and by every means, endeavor, to be well, and yet remain ill – then say, 'Thy will be done.' When you undertake something, and your undertaking does not succeed, say, 'Thy will be done'. When you do good to others, and they repay you with evil, say, 'Thy will be done'. ...Do not become irritated when anything is not done in accordance with your will, but learn to submit in everything to the Will of the Heavenly Father.” - Father John (Joy and Strength, 203)  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Quote of the Day 

"Peace of heart lies in perfect resignation to the will of God.  What you need is true simplicity, a certain calmness of spirit which comes from entire surrender to all that God wills...the trouble you feel about so many things comes from your not accepting everything which may happen to you, with sufficient resignation to God.  Put all things, then, in His hands, and offer them beforehand to Him in your heart, as a sacrifice.  From the moment when you cease to want things to be according to your own judgement, and accept unconditionally whatever He sends, you will be free from all your uneasy retrospects and anxieties about your own concerns."  Fenelon (Joy and Strength, 202)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lemon and Garlic Shrimp

Practical Homemaking

 A Lemon and Garlic Shrimp Recipe 

Tonight, I made dinner. I love to cook. I also really like shrimp. There's almost nothing better than garlic... not to mention butter. And while I like to try new recipes, there's nothing better than "making it yourself". So, try mixing all of these together...and what do you have? A little peace of  heaven. :) So, I thought I'd share the recipe. 

What will you need? 

White Rice
Small package of shrimp
1/2 Cup Butter
Lemon Pepper 
Clove of Garlic
      (App.) 1/2 a head of cabbage 
   A cucumber
   A carrot
    Rice Vinegar 

I usually begin with making a coleslaw side. I, personally, hate mayonnaise. I've never met a "coleslaw" I've liked, because of this. This however has a nice zesty vinegar taste and goes great with the lemon shrimp and rice. Cut up cabbage, cucumber, and carrot. Mix in a bowl, while adding rice vinegar to taste. I also added salt and pepper. Let chill in the refrigerator. Then, I make the rice.

While the rice is cooking, melt butter in skillet. Add garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon pepper to taste. After peeling the shrimp, saute in skillet. You'll know the shrimp is fully cooked when it turns pink and feels slightly stiff. 

Place the lemon and garlic shrimp over the white rice with your coleslaw side. And enjoy. :) 

Monday, July 21, 2014

A True Love Story

Spiritual Lessons 

And this is the other side of the story.  This is my friend's husband writing his version of how it all went.  I thought maybe you'd enjoy it as well.  :) 


Where to begin? Our love story, for me, started in August of 2000 at a church meeting in Missoula, MT. I remember I was standing in the foyer of the church right after an evening service. I happened to glance over to my left, and a gorgeous blonde caught my eye! I knew she was a visitor, but had no idea from where? This was the first time I had ever seen her. I will never forget the thought in my mind, that maybe she was the one for me to be with someday?! I do remember something telling me that the feeling in my heart and thought of my mind was different this time. I had never experienced this before. I never forgot that moment and tucked it away in my mind for years to come. I was informed by her best friend that I paid for their meal when a group of us went out to eat later that week. Her friend says she could tell, then, that I liked her. I guess she was oblivious to me at the time. I am unable to recollect that moment, but will never forget the first time I saw my future wife.
Fast forward to February of 2001. I and 2 friends of mine decided to take a trip to Lacombe, AB. We needed to get away, and were intrigued by a Pastor who lived there. By this time I knew that my future wife lived in Lacombe, and that she was living with this Pastor and his wife. So, of course, I had in the back of my mind that I hoped I would get to see and, possibly, meet her on our trip. We went to a prayer breakfast on a Saturday morning, and low and behold there she was!!! She greeted us at the door and immediately my heart returned to the feeling I had the first time I saw her! She was very formal, but a bit giddy. She asked who we were staying with and retreated to the back room. I would like to say that we both locked eyes and she was just as interested in me as I was in her, but that was not the case!  :( We seemed to her as just a few more young guys that couldn’t turn her eye. We attended church the next day (Sunday), and I found myself taking quick glances at her, perhaps hoping she was taking glances at me. Unfortunately, once again, there seemed nothing there for her. I tried to say hi after the service, but seemed that I made her nervous or bothersome. I went away from that trip a little disappointed, but was able to joke about it with my friends, that I had been rejected! I was also able to just let it go…. for now…
I lived the next 10 yrs wondering if I would ever be married. Opportunities arose, but I never once felt like it was right for me. I struggled at times if I had missed my opportunity to be married somewhere along the road. I eventually resigned to remain single and live the best way I could. I was now an Assistant Pastor in Helena, Mt. It was the spring of 2010, and I was talking to my best friend, and made the comment; “I wonder if she ever got married”. He did some detective work and found out, to my surprise, that she was still single! This obviously perked my interest again and reignited my heart as before. I planned a trip with a friend for May. I phoned Pastor ahead of time to see if it was ok, and he gave the go ahead to come up. I was a bit nervous and anxious driving up. I had thought of her periodically over the years and sometimes told others of the thoughts in my heart about her. I was taking one last chance. We attended a church service that Sunday, and there she was sitting in the first row! She looked just as beautiful as the first time I saw her! I prayed that God would give me a chance to meet her after the service, and he did. I was now talking to her for the first time ever. It was 10 yrs from the first time I first saw her. We had a great conversation and traded stories of our lives and families. I reminded her of the meeting in August of 2000, but she had little recollection. Oh well, we were finally talking now! We went out for coffee with a group that night which was pleasant. We made small talk, and I could sense that there may be a slight interest on her part, but I didn’t push it. We left with a cordial ‘goodbye’ and a parting smile only to wonder what would come of it. 4 months had passed, and it was now September. I had been invited to an October church meeting that her church was putting on, back in May. I had thought and prayed about her over those 4 months and wondered if it was time to visit again to see if our previous meeting was just that or something to pursue. I shockingly was able to get work off at the church and my part-time job at Costco. I decided to go for it. I knew this was all or nothing! The meeting lasted 5 days. She and I were able to spend some good quality time after the services talking. It became evident over those 5 days that we were both interested! So, on the last night, I was able to get the guts to ask her if she would be interested in continuing to communicate after I would leave. To my joy, she said YES!!! I then received permission from her Pastor/“Dad”. All those years of waiting were finally paying off. I was now 36, and she was 32. Neither of us had been married previously and neither of us had children. A miracle and anomaly to most people! We both sensed that this was what we wanted and that we were going to take it slow and do it right!

She and I agreed to start by writing letters first, which became evident that it was too hard given the length of time waiting for the mail across the border. So we began emailing daily and sometimes nightly filling in all the details of our childhood, and the last 12 yrs. It became apparent that this was a match made in Heaven! I made a trip up to Lacombe again in November. We were able to get to know one another quickly and get comfortable with what we wanted to do with our lives in the future. She then made a trip down to Helena, MT in December over Christmas for 10 days. By now, we had exchanged over 100 emails and a couple of letters. Things had accelerated fast, but comfortably. I now knew it was time to propose. My sister had helped me pick a ring out previously, so I was ready and committed to ‘pop the question’! Christmas day 2010, would be the day. I chose a beautiful, remote place on Canyon Ferry Lake, outside of Helena. I went out earlier that morning and tied a dozen roses to a lone tree on a peninsula that jetted out into the lake. Later on that day I told my wife -to- be that we were going to take some pictures at the lake with my Mom and Sister. She had no idea, and was oblivious to what was going on. But, I had a good idea from previous conversations that she would say ‘Yes’ to marriage. I led her to the tip of the peninsula where the tree and flowers were. She was amazed, but still unaware of my intentions. I then turned to her and said “I’m not finished yet”! She was shocked to say the least, but very happy!!! I bowed the knee and nervously asked the question. She gave an ecstatic….YES! We would spend the next 3 months emailing and talking frequently on the phone. I made visits in January and February to spend some time together. Both our families were made aware of our relationship by now and were very excited for both of us! We decided that a short engagement made sense, and felt comfortable that we knew each other well enough. So we would have the ceremony on March 19th 2011. We truly are living ‘Happily ever after’!!! 

Quote of the Day

"Is not this steadfastness to mark, to make, the character of your lives? Is it not God's will that we should press steadily on to our goal in obedience to Him, in channels of His choosing, whether in sunshine or shadow, in the cheer of spring or in the chill of winter, neither detained by pleasure nor deterred by pain?" Mrs. Charles E. Cowman 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Every contradiction of our will, every little ailment, every petty disappointment, will, if we take it patiently, become a blessing.  So, walking on earth, we may be in heaven.  the ill-tempers of others, the slights and rudeness of the world, ill health, the daily accidents with which God has mercifully strewed our paths, instead of ruffling or disturbing our peace, may cause His peace to be shed abroad in our hearts abundantly."  ~ E.B. Pusey  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Love Story

Spiritual Lessons 

Below is the story of a sweet friend of mine.  It's a beautiful story worth sharing...  She and her husband wouldn't hesitate to tell you that keeping your heart pure and waiting for the right one is worth it.  

Why Waiting Is Worth It

I had just turned 32 years old and unknown to myself, my life was about to change. But before I dive into the exciting story of how our relationship began, I must back up just briefly. I had been nearing my 30’s when I became convinced that God was not going to bring me a husband. As any ordinary young lady, I had always dreamed that I would be married someday and henceforth had spent my years working as a Unit Clerk in a hospital and waited to be married. Going on to further education had come up as an option but I had time and time again refused as I didn’t want to burden my ‘husband’ with debt from my schooling. But as this ‘husband’ did not show up into my life, I realized that if I was going to ‘make it’ on my own, that I would need to go on to further education. This led to a few of my most exciting years in a Psychiatric Nursing Program through Grant MacEwan University. And as it happened, I was just nearing the completion of my schooling when he walks into my life.   

It was May 2010 when Pastor (whom I cal 'Pastor'...though the term encompasses more his role as 'Dad' in my life as I had lived with {Pastor and his wife for 9 years)  told me one evening that this certain young man had called and was going to be visiting at the end of the month.  I was aware of who he was as he had emailed through the church website a few times asking for material from Pastor etc.  And while I had met him way back in August of 2000, I hardly remembered him.  However my good friend, who had accompanied me at that time tells me that she remembered him well and was concinced from back then that he had always liked me.  This did not thrill me as I had been dead set for years that I was not going to marry an American.  (Note from Toni:  This particular lady is Canadian.  :) )   Pastor continued,  "I think he is coming to check you out."  Shocked, I replied,  "To bad for him.  He's American."  The conversation was short, but of course this was not too far from my mind. 
 Sunday, May 30th, 2010 rolled around and sure enough, he was along with a friend.  Determined not to pay attention to him, I mostly stayed out of his line of attention and even when a few girls and I got up to sing that morning I made sure as to not look in his direction, though I was aware of his presence.  Only a handshake and 'hello' were exchanged that morning, however, after the evening service that day, he had asked another man in the church who he could pay for the books that he had bought from the bookshelf.  As Pastor was not there, he was directed to give the money to me.  This ended up in a length conversation.  We exchanged a little history  and he told me what he remembered from our meeting in 2000 and 2002 of which I could remember very little.   Though I had to admit I was shocked at how many details he could remember.  After the first conversation, I went home.  Almost home, I remembered that he had not given me the check and so I returned to church to find him there sitting in a pew listening to some of the young people having a 'music jam session'.  While retrieving the check, he then began to ask me more questions and henceforth ended up having another lengthy conversation.  After the young people finished we joined them and went to coffee and visited some more there.  While the conversations were mostly 'surface', I could feel my heart 'turn' and I didn't know what to make of it.   Prior to him and his friend leaving tat evening, he had mentioned that he had hoped to come up more often that following summer yet.  
Well, after that even , my heart was vulnerable and ready to ensure a possible relationship with him. however fear set in and I could not see how this would work as he is American.  And so, I began to pray fervently, asking God to keep him away if this was not the man that I should perhaps marry.  Seeing as I was the only girl he spoke to that day, I somewhat presumed that there was potentially some interest and so I knew that I would need to keep my eyes focused if he was to pursue.  So, June rolls around and he does not come.  July rolls around and he has still not come.  By this time, I am beginning to relax and believe that God is answering my prayer and keeping him away.  Well, a preacher came through and he preached on not holding our own will and desires higher than God's will and desires.  My mind goes back to this 'possible' situation with 'him'  and I can sense God working in my heart to give up my demands that I was not ever going to marry an American.  Over the course of the rest of that summer and through various events, I could sense God working in my heart to fully surrender my life to God and not try to always control my own life.  
September rolls around and I am doing well.  I and excited about single life and with the annual upcoming October Christian Life Conference, my mind is occupied and settled.  My schooling is now also just 3 months short of being finished and I am ready to start a 'career'.    The week before the church meeting rolls around, Pastor infomrs me that 'he' has written and tells him that he will be here for the meeting.  'OH NO!'.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  Serious!?  I had just settled for what I thought God wanted as a single life?  My heart went into absolute chaos. I was 32 years old but suddenly I felt like a 13 year old wondering if he was coming to pursue a relationship or was he just coming for the meeting.  Halfway desiring to hope that he would and halfway desiring to simply just have a mind at rest, no matter the circumstances.  
My friends still laugh at the whole beginnings as a group of us had gotten together just prior to the meetings and I had expressed to them this whole dilemma in my heart!  A few nights prior to everything happening, Pastor prayed with me and something he prayed changed my heart  rest.  He had said, "God help her to open her heart to love again" and this changed it all for me.  

The following week is almost history after that.   He came that week and was just as handsome as ever along with a tender gentleness of a true gentleman.  We conversed every day that week for hours at a time and it was apparent to my heart that I truly had found my 'match'.  We just fit.  Opposite and yet similar.  We could talk comfortably.  I felt safe and secure in his presence.  And so at the end of the week when he formally asked Pastor (my dad) whether he could pursue further communication with me and whether I would be interested in writing, there was no hesitation.  Our communication began with writing snail mail letters.  But that only lasted a couple of rounds.  The delays across  the border made the mail go far too slowly; hence we began emailing daily and sometimes 2-3 times a day.  He also began calling weekly and we talked about all kinds of serious things in life.  We had determined we were going to talk about things that mattered to us in the way of knowing that we had a mind of unity.  both of us being older we had seen many couples get married on romance alone and then not make it several years down the road.  We did not want to make this same mistake.   And while he was incredibly romantic, sending flowers, compassionate and was also done with seriousness.  
He also visited monthly except for in December of 2010 when I went to go visit him for 10 days.  It was the greatest time of my life and I knew that I could live with him in the USA.  December 25th, 2010 rolled around and he planned a most romantic proposal.  The morning we spent together with his half sister and biological mother opening presents.  We had a great time.  While he seemed a little anxious to get all of this out of the way, I did not know that anything was up.  I did not think that he would propose until Spring sometime.  He had mentioned that he wanted to take his mom and sister out to Canyon Ferry (where I was staying with an elderly lady) and look around at the lake there.  And lo and behold we get there and they are all in on this proposal.  I got out of the car and began taking pictures of everything around me, enjoying the scenery. And he starts to kind of 'walk off',  So I followed him...well we get up on the knoll of a rock and here is a dozen flowers tied to a tree...I thought he had just been hiss  romantic self and gone out of his way to make my Christmas special and get me more flowers.  But then he began to say, "And that's not all....I talked to  Pastor this morning and he had given me permission to ask you to marry me."  And he got on one knee and proposed a very sweet and romantic engagement.  I had no hesitation.   

And while we have been married since March 19, 2011… I continue to have no hesitation. He is truly my match! I never dreamed it could happen this wonderfully even when I had hoped for marriage in my youth!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Sufferings arising from anxiety, in which the soul adds, to the cross imposed by the hand of God, an agitated resistance, and a sort of unwillingness to suffer, - such troubles arise only because we live to ourselves." (Francis De La Mothe Fenelon)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Spiritual Lessons                                                  

                                         Adultery of the Heart

Did you know that we “singles” are able to commit adultery?

God has chosen our future husbands, and one day we will give ourselves – our whole heart – to that man. Or will we? As Christians, many of us have decided to save our bodies for our man, but what about the rest of who we are? It is possible to have an emotional affair without any physical relationship. If we believe that God has already chosen our future spouse, then to have a relationship with someone other than our man is to render ourselves unfaithful, which in essence is the definition of adultery; whether it's physical or emotional.

I am seeing it happen to many Christian girls who hold a standard of no physical relations before marriage....but unfortunately the enemy has besieged the heart – the emotions.

If your experiences are anything like mine, the subtle “attack” normally comes in many different ways. Sometimes it comes through well meaning people, who want to see me happily involved in a relationship. They question why a “nice girl” could possibly still be single. I don't know if twenty-two is the magical age of match-making...but it seems like this summer I've been matched with every eligible young man (and sometimes not so young!) in Northern Idaho.

Sometimes it comes in the form of an actual someone that we can't help but feel attracted to. Feeling attracted towards someone is not a sin. But how we behave is crucial. Suddenly there are endless opportunities to catch this guy's attention. You know....laugh at a certain time, say something, sit somewhere, tease... Or there are plenty of people who suddenly pop into our life to let us know that maybe this guy “is it”. As if it isn't hard enough to keep our own thoughts pure and not to give in to daydreaming, let alone THEIR added thoughts and dreams.

Sometimes it can be media. Romance novels. Romance They can become mental escapes where the emotions run wild in our imagination.

All of these can lead to emotional adultery. And they all share a similar process that I would like to share. I am seeing it over and over again in the lives of Christian young women around me.

Adultery (physical and emotional) always starts out with a friendship. We let our guard down with friends. It's so important who our friends are! Also, it's beneficial to realize that guys and girls really are unable to become close friends without forming some sort of relationship beyond casual friendship. Even if it's one sided, it always happens. And outside of God's timing it's always unhealthy. Our best friend should not be a guy. It will lead us down a path we really didn't intend.

I admit it is sad not to be able to share my heart with guys sometimes. There are sweet young men out there that would make great friends. But, as girls, our hearts are made to be given. It's natural to give our hearts away. But our heart is meant only to be given to one man, and at marriage. Anything outside of this God-given plan is detrimental. Not to mention that the reward to following this plan is also incomparable.

My family is really close to another family that lives near us and goes to our church. We do EVERYTHING together. We might as well be one family (almost!). :) We even have people meeting us for the first time who think we are all one family. This family is one of those rare families that can come over uninvited...and no one cares that the house happens to be a just add some plates to the dinner table and call it good. Anyway, I consider the “boys” of this family to be like brothers. And I know they consider me like a sister. But, there have been times where I could tell they were hurting...having a hard time....and I knew I couldn't go have a one-on-one with them and ask what was wrong and talk it over. Why? Because a heart to heart is deeply's what best friends's a sharing of the heart..a deeply personal part of me that is to be saved for only one man.

Is it sad to have to guard my heart in this? Even to where I render myself unable to “be there” for my brother in Christ? Honestly, yes. I have felt twinges of remorse. But is it worth it? Yes! I can pray for that brother and be just as “helpful” to them. I don't need to know what is hurting them...we share a Father who already knows. I will be able to be my man's best friend, without having previously given that part of my heart away to another guy. Even those guys that feel like brothers.

Friends....we have to be extra careful with friends. Communication is a way of expressing our heart. Girls, we've got to be careful. Who do we text, email, call, write? How often? What's our motive? Really, motive actually has very little to do with it....because our intentions may be innocent, but we don't know what emotions we may be stirring in the other person. Many affairs start with “just” texting a friend. Relating, sharing, expressing through words.

Do I sound radical? Are you thinking, “This girl is actually encouraging me to limit my time of communication with guys!”. Yes, I guess I am radical in this day and age. But I'm not the only one. Have you ever heard of Joshua Harris (author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye) or Eric and Leslie Ludy (co-authors of “When God Writes Your Love Story). These young christian men and women took a radical stand and were later rewarded with a spouse who had kept their heart as equally pure. I have met young couples who waited until their wedding day to share their hearts. They have all encouraged me and others to keep it all for “the one”. The more you have to give, the better! It goes beyond physical purity.

Time we spend with someone, words we express, feelings we share, are all investments. We are actually withdrawing from our love account and investing in that other person. A guy friend must be on a totally different level than our girl friends or our family members.

Our best friend ought to be Christ. Who do we run to with our little dilemmas in life? Who comforts us when we're hurting? Some girls escape to their fantasy world of romance. Whether that means in a novel or over the phone or on the computer with someone.

We don't have to be giving ourselves physically in order to be giving our heart away.

Some girls already know they are in the wrong. They tell themselves that it isn't right. But when the guy comes around, they give in again. Adultery is addicting. How many times can we tell ourselves, or even promise God, “Never again”?

If you have sincerely decided you won't give in to these temptations and attacks; if you've moved on from admitting it's only a “struggle”, then let me encourage you. It is good that you have determined to win this war, but you must rely on His provided grace for every battle.

It's work to be separate, to be different than the world. But He makes it worthwhile. We won't regret it when our man comes.

Some people will see us as a prude. It's inevitable. But you might be pleasantly surprised. A lot of people that I have had to “stand my ground” with have actually respected my convictions. I recently had to do this very thing with my employer. I felt a little awkward explaining to this innocent match-maker where I stood. Mostly because she is my elder. But I was amazed that she actually agreed with me and told me that she admired my stand. And it has opened up so many good edifying conversations, even opportunities to share Christ, and I also found out that we could encourage each other in this area since she is “single” as well.

Having others know our convictions will also help us keep them. It holds us accountable. If we keep our convictions secret we will be easily tempted to give in. But if our friends know where God has convicted us to stand, we won't be able to back down. That includes that guy that is attracted to us or vice versa. If he really cares about us, he will respect our convictions. Our convictions will honestly do a lot of weeding out of the worthless guys. If we take the time to think about it, a guy that doesn't respect our convictions isn't going to be the guy we hope to marry someday, right?

Faithful is He that calleth us to purity. He also will do it, if we allow Him to. We are to do our man good ALL the days of his life. (Proverbs 31). That includes right now. Let's not only save our bodies but also our emotions. Someday we will be glad we did....and so will our man.  


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Quote of the Day

"...When every prop is gone- all else but God- then He knows your heart cry is one of utter dependence upon Him. You can also experience the 'hardest place in life' as being the sweetest. It is there one makes a fresh discovery of God."
(Mrs. Charles E. Cowman) Taken from Streams in the Desert V. II

Friday, July 11, 2014

Silence and a Blank Canvas

Spiritual Lessons

"Why is it that we are so busy with the future?  It is not our province.  Is there not a criminal interference with Him to who it belongs, in our feverish, anxious attempts to dispose of it, filling it with shadows of good and evil shaped by our own wild imaginations?  To do God's will as fast as it is made known to us, to inquire hourly...what He requires of us, and to leave ourselves, our friends, and every interest at His control with a cheerful trust that the path which He marks out leads to our perfection and to Himself, this is at once our duty and happiness.  Why will we not walk in the plain, simple way?"  ~  William E. Channing 

Silence and a Blank Canvas

My family recently came home from our annual "Family Camp".  We spend a week with our church family at a local camp where we eat together, sleep in cabins, and listen to preaching every morning and evening.  It's great.  This year many of my family and friends were able to "give up" burdens or even dreams to the Lord...and He in response showed them some things about their future.  I am excited for them, overjoyed for them, and thankful for them.  

But my experience this year was entirely different.  Several days before Camp, actually one week precisely,  I laid before Him all my little worries, wants, life.  And so at Camp, after preaching, I was able to go to the alter with a free heart, ask Him to search me, and He would...and there was nothing but a simply surrendered heart.  I was over-joyed.  But then, He didn't show me anything about my future.  Instead, He had taken my every expectation and held onto them.  He didn't give them back.  My future was one large blank canvas.

  I went to Him willing to be a missionary.  He didn't ask me to do that.  I told Him I would stay in the United States and serve him in simple normal fashion.  He didn't tell me that was my ministry.  I told Him I would suffer willingly.  He didn't say anything.  I told Him I would give up my little desire to remain near my family and friends....that I didn't need the education that I desired if He didn't want me to....I would give up publishing my book, dancing, desire for health, my dream of future children....ALL of it.  And He remained silent. 

Jesus showed me no hint of His future for me.  Maybe I couldn't handle knowing it?  Whatever His reason, I was shown nothing.  Even when others all around me were.  I had to learn that Silence isn't proof that nothing exists, but only that it isn't time for me to know.  Silence isn't something to fear.  A question mark only means endless possibilities.  I have come to realize He is silent on purpose.  He knows my heart.  It was time for other's to know His will.  I am not supposed to know right now.  My duty is to remain willing, and to obey what is already given me to do.  How simple.  Details don't matter when your Master is the Omniscient.  Doubts are no concern when your life's pilot is Jesus.  In acceptance lieth peace.  Surrendering to the unknown is just as "spiritual" as surrendering your life to be a missionary.  Remaining faithful in what He has already given us is just as important as choosing to be faithful in the future.  

Having no expectations other than that He will guide me is liberating.  It is lovely being totally given up to Christ.  It's the easiest, most natural, restful thing I've ever done.  If my old dreams came true -- Hallelujah!  If He decides to change them -- Hallelujah!  Either way it is good.  As long as He goes with me, I'm content.  And I already have that guaranteed.  He said He will never leave me nor forsake me.  It doesn't matter where others go, what they've been asked to do, what missions they've been given to accomplish.  I'm willing and He has given me no new orders.  So here is where I am, and here is where He must want me.  A long stretch of white canvas suddenly doesn't look so bare and ugly.  It's beautiful...clean, ready to be used.  Excitement thrills my soul....He has been given permission to paint any color.  Whatever He chooses will be best.  So whatever color is chosen will be perfect.  Little me...a white canvas....ready to be used perfectly.  Knowing that, I can dwell in silence.  

"Let us then think only of the present, and not even permit our minds to wander with curiosity into the future.  The future is not yet ours; perhaps it never will be.  It is exposing ourselves to temptation to wish to anticipate God, and to prepare ourselves for thing which He may not destine for us.  If such things should come to pass, He will give us light and strength according to the need.  Why should we desire to meet difficulties prematurely, when we have neither strength nor light as yet provided for them?  Let us give heed to the present which duties are pressing.  It is fidelity to the present which prepares us for fidelity in the future."  ~ Fenelon