Monday, November 13, 2006

I Can't Say I Told You So

I have prayed that somewhat dangerous prayer that God would either change my heart or change my husband's heart. It seems that the conversations that have occurred between my husband and I the past couple of weeks have been the beginning of the answer to that prayer. For me, it means letting go and letting God take control of these situations. No amount of my arguing and complaining is going to change his mind. Rather those things have just made him more stubborn! I am learning that I can best serve and submit to Christ when I serve and submit to my husband-rather than defy him. This is not an easy thing for me to grasp, let alone practice.

What Would I Want in My Eulogy?

I am taking a course called Perspectives on Death and Dying. For this class, we were required to journal about how we want to live our lives (i.e. what do I want people to remember about me?). The following is what I wrote.

Most importantly, I would want to have served Christ with my whole life—recklessly and wholeheartedly. I think it would be awesome to get to die for the gospel (if I am even worthy of that honor). I don’t want Christ to be ashamed of me, but rather that I would faithfully serve him.

I want to love my husband, and I want to love my children in a way that I am willing to make great sacrifices for them. If I go before my husband, I want to have loved him in such a way that a second wife would never compare (though, I freely give my full permission for him to remarry)! I want to raise my children so that they can never say their mother didn’t spend enough time with them or that she didn’t answer their “why” questions.

I hope people will say that I wasn’t afraid of anything, that I wasn’t afraid to take risks and try new things. I want to live my life in a way that everyone I encounter can honestly know I didn’t gossip or cheat or lie while I was alive. I want to share wise advice whenever I can, never watering things down just to make people feel better; but I hope I never think of myself as wise.

I want them to say I was multi-talented. I hope that I do not use all my resources in a single dead-end job for the rest of my life, but rather that I experience the whole gamut of what my talents will let me do. I hope I allow myself to be real with people and experience relationships—experience the bad and the good. I hope I let myself get hurt and that I see the positive when I do get hurt. I hope I’ll be remembered as a happy woman. Something I have already instituted in my everyday life is constant smiling in an attempt to make everyone else’s day better, everyday.

What I want to leave behind…
I want to travel all over the world, if I can. Being remembered as a world-traveler would make me seem mysterious and exciting to my grandchildren! I want to leave behind a gazillion photos for them to dig through along with my artwork, journals and souvenirs from my world travels. And finally, over the years, as I try recipes I want to make them my own and leave them behind for others to enjoy and remember: “Man, could that woman cook!”

Monday, October 09, 2006

Today has been very emotionally taxing. I feel as though I have been crying for a week. I attended the funeral of the father of two dear friends. He was killed in Iraq by small arms fire while leading a convoy across the desert. In addition to what I estimated to be around 1000 friends and family members, there were some unwelcome guests. A group of people from Nebraska came to protest his funeral and stood outside the church during the visitation last night. They believe that God is letting our soldiers die because of homosexuals in the army and because they fight for a country which allows homosexuality. What those crazy beliefs even have to do with the man who died I can't understand. They were outnumbered by far by a group called the patriot riders. They are a biker gang with chapters all over the country that goes to these funerals to protect the family peacefully. They believe it is the right thing to do, because we all know how our men in uniform were treated when they returned from Vietnam. They wan't to make sure that doesn't happen again.
I believe this man, like Christ, died for people who hated him. People in the US and Iraq that hate American soldiers. What greater love could there be?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

Right now I am sitting in the library contemplating people who claim to follow Christ, but as soon as they are tempted by sin they will try to justify it to the world. They twist God's word to say what they want it to say. Some Pastors even avoid these subjects. I am most disgusted when I realize it is me who is doing this. We lie to ourselves and lie to people's faces so we will not have to face the truth we know in our hearts...because no one wants to 'fess up to their sin. There is something in the human condition that makes it unnatural for us examine our own misgivings and tell God that He was right. We were wrong. We cannot even do right without his help.

But, there is something really wrong when the church as a whole allows it to go on. We say nothing to our pewmate who is getting a divorce. They are doing damage to their own hearts and souls and we stand by...hoping someone else is counseling them...praying for them.

Today, we spit on the Bible by letting people who are OPENLY, UNREPENTANTLY living a life contrary to what God commands us to do stay in our churches every Sunday without so much as a word of reproach. We will even allow them to be our leaders and pastors. We condone their lives of sin by biting our tongues. 1Timothy gives us guidelines for what an elder or a deacon ought or ought not be. Does anyone care? Does anyone care if Sally is gossiping about everything and anything? Does anyone care if Jim is destroying his family with his alcohol addiction? Does anyone care if Annie sleeps around or leaves her husband? Does anyone care if Jack marries Joe?

We don't dare tell them to repent, but I say how dare we not show the love of Christ by trying to reach out to their souls!??! Yes, I have done this. I've ignored the elephant in the room, too. I am admitting to it. Too often I have been a mere passerby in the lives of people I call "my brothers and sisters in Christ." I keep our conversations on the surface level, never daring to delve deeper into REAL relationship.

So, let us pray that this generation will be one that seeks out the things that are difficult. Let us seek higher things. Let us give up on being "proper" and may God call us to dance like David. Let us not be ashamed of God's law, whether it be proclaiming or obeying.

title from 1Corinthians 6:10 NKJ

1Timothy 1:19 says, "Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked."

...and 1Timothy chapter 3 says, "It is a true saying that if someone wants to be an elder, he desires an honorable responsibility. For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exhibit self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, peace loving, and not one who loves money. He must manage his own family well, with children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God's church? An elder must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall. Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not fall into the Devil's trap and be disgraced. In the same way, deacons must be people who are respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers and must not be greedy for money. They must be committed to the revealed truths of the Christian faith and must live with a clear conscience. Before they are appointed as deacons, they should be given other responsibilities in the church as a test of their character and ability. If they do well, then they may serve as deacons. In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not speak evil of others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do.
A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well. Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus."
-New Living Translation

Friday, August 11, 2006


It has been quite some time since I posted anything here, but here goes. I have had a very lazy, boring summer...which was exactly what I needed. I am now way pumped that it is August again and time to go back to school (I will totally miss UNI when I am done in December). It has also been a very poor summer. The width of my pinky finger is how far away we have been from being completely broke all summer long. I do not regret it though. It is just one more thing God has used to teach me countless lessons--like empathy for the poor. It is amaing how little you need to get by. I find myself thinking There isn't anything I am really in need of.
Yeah, there have been a lot of days when I had to eat something I didn't want to, but I haven't gone hungry. It has been so good for me to have had to make adjustments to discipline my lifestyle. This summer I got to connect with a coworker who, like myself, has been keeping her head just above water. She also has just one vehicle between her husband and herself. She lives in a small space and certainly can't afford many things she'd like to have. These are all things we have in common.

One more thing we have in common is that, despite our circumstances, we are generally happy. A lot of the people in my life are still convinced that a person's happiness correlates directly with the number of figures in one's bank account. If that is true, why are so many rich people in therapy?

On a different note, I would like to talk about something very dear to my heart. I want my brothers and sisters in Christ to be aware of why my husband and I have decided to stop using the pill or any other form of hormonal birth control such as an IUD, the patch etc. While the mainline of defense against pregnancy that these birth controls use is to keep a woman from ovulating, it is still possible for her egg to be fertilized. Because these forms of birth control alter the lining of the uteris so that the fertilized egg cannot attach itself to the uteris (this usually happens around 2 weeks after conception), this small life is just flushed out of the body during her monthly cycle. Now, the FDA defines "conception" as the point when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of he uteris, not simply the fertilization of the egg. For consumers, that means the package label can be very misleading. Also, these hormonal birth controls can do crazy things to women's bodies.

On a moral level I consider this to be abortion. I urge you all to consider this very seriously. Also, know that before the 1930s, all Christian churches rejected any type of birth control. For nearly all of Christian history "Be fruitful and multiply" was the rule.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

God hasn't let me down yet...and NO, time is not money

I have lost control of my spending. I used to keep track of every cent amazingly well. I saved pretty much everything I earned. Now, I rely on a lot of guesswork and trust.
I always tithed 10% and I wrote everything down in my check register.

A lot has changed since I married Ivan. We have one joint checking account--no savings. I gave up on keeping track of what I spent when I realized Ivan never once wrote anything down. Everything we earn gets spent immediately. We are always less than a payckeck away from being flat broke. It seems I have lost all control of my financial situation. The only way we made it through the last school year was through our financial aid.

Even though there have been many times in our 1 1/2 years of marriage that we barely squeaked by, God came through at just the right moment every single one of those times. Wether it was through a gift from a friend or family member or even the time we had an accident and came out on top with insurance money, He has been so gracious when we have been so weak. I have prayed and prayed that God would provide for us, but only just enough...just enough that we don't become proud and materialistic. That prayer has been answered again and again. I believe it is good for us to be kept on our toes. We don't get too comfortable that way. We continually rely on God.
While I do think our budgeting habits could use a lot of work, I think our past year or two speaks volumes about God's provision for his flock. It is a wonder to me that my friends must toil at full time jobs and be full time students while recieving help from their parents and still barely be able to make rent, while Ivan and I have gotten by on part-time jobs and a lot of trust. The thing I am ashamed of is not giving God more praise for these miracles.

Monday, May 22, 2006


So I am single for a week...sort of. My husband is spending a week and a half as a homeless person in Colorado. I am staying with my friend Bekah and her new cat. The really pathetic part is that I cried after only 24 hours without him.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

What I got myself into...

Life is hard. Jesus is not a crutch for the weak. Jesus is not religion.

I find there are a lot of things in my life I complain about that I am not in any position to be complaining about. I get myself into these messes and try to place blame. I place blame on my parents or on my husband all the time. I should have known when I decided to follow Christ what I was getting myself into. I take that back--I DID know what I was getting myself into. I counted the cost, becuase I knew I would face rejection from my family. When I took my first missions trip to Turkey, only my in-laws supported me. I was scorned by my family. Following Christ means hardship and getting looked down on and maybe even getting killed. People say that this kind of life is a crutch for the weak, but that is false. This IS the difficult path. I am not allowed to drown my sorrows in alcohol. I have to be selective with what I watch on TV. I have to be wise with my tongue. I have to choose to love people that aren't very loveable. I have to strive toward righteousness daily. Now THAT'S hard.

Make no mistake. It is road filled with more joy and fulfillment than anything else I could imagine...and the Spirit allows me to do whatever needs to be done.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Next Three Years of My Life

So, my husband and I had a discussion today about, basically, the next 3 years of our lives. What I want is to settle down as a mom and maybe do freelance graphic design work for a little extra income. What he wants is to do as many crazy things as possible that spend as much of the money we don't have as possible like: going to China, going to grad school etc.
Okay, maybe I am making this out to be something it's not. I had told him today that he wasn't being considerate of what I want and that he was only thinking about the short term. We talked some more and then I thought about it. It occurred to me that exactly the opposite is closer to the truth. If he stops with the degree he has now, then his option would be to go into the military(and then we'd have a long-distance marriage and possibly leave behind orphans and a widow) or work in some job he hates for an income that would not support the number of children we want. But if he gets his master's of divinity he can work for a church or a ministry and make us both happy while supporting our family. I get my head so full of ideas about what I want that I seldom stop to think that maybe his plan could make sense or maybe it even does match with God's plan.
Who am I to say where either direction would take us? Maybe there's even a third direction that we will go down instead. I promised my husband that I would support him in whatever decision is made. That was something I promised a long time ago. I am bound to that. . . even though I can't see what is coming. . .
In three years will I be a missionary in another country? Will I be ministering in the inner city? Will I be a military wife? What I think is suppoosed to happen has proven unreliable. Even though right now I see myself being called to motherhood as my ministry, that tugging on my heart may have to wait.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

One Hope Left

The name of this blog...

I think that as humans we have innate desires for things like love, joy, something to devote yourself to.....and something to look forward to--to place your hope in. I have found in my short 21 years on this earth that many of the things I looked to for hope and love have let me down. Money leaves a person greedy and unhappy. Empty sexual relationships will leave you empty. Even my husband cannot satisfy that craving in me. As much as he has been a wonderful partner for me, when I put all my hope in him he still let's me down. And this list goes on. It leaves just one thing for me to put my hope in. There is one place I can get a love that will not--cannot fail.
The reason I call this blog "One Hope Left" is because Jesus is the one who gives perfect love and satisfies my heart in a way this world cannot. No matter what happens I still have Heaven to look forward to and absolutely nothing can take that away from me. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39 KJV).