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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gomer's Getting Ready.

We have been home for about a week. It has been nice to be home. It's our mid-summer time to get everything done that we need to. We had two dental visits, two OB visits, one Family Practitioner visit, and one Optometrist visit. We've had guests and have been fixing things here and there. We have one big window in the landing yet to be fixed before we go. Denbigh is leaving Friday to lead worship in Lubbock and will return late Saturday. Then we leave on Sunday. Then it's five weeks of leading worship four times a day, practice, Bible study, and counseling. Whew. At the end of this, I'm going to have a baby. Anybody else need a nap? 
Some of the knobs were missing from our original kitchen order. They came in while we were away. Denbigh installed them. The ones pictured belong to the buffet in the dining room. I loved them because they looked like sea glass and they looked antique. All the knobs are in place, friends. Come open a door! You'll fall madly in love. My husband also did something amazing in the kitchen. He cleaned the oven...with oven cleaner and a scrub pad. The whole nine yards. I thought it was fantastically romantic. 
We had to make a trip to the Outlet mall for a few things, so of course they girls had to ride in one of the rides. I got in the grown up version and hit the massage chair.
This is on the road behind our house.
Another view. Does anyone else sing "amber waves of grain" when you drive by a wheat field?
A picture I did. I'm going to keep a copy of this for myself too. I love the simplicity of it.
Say a little prayer for us as we are out on the road. Pray for my little car to keep on going. I'd also ask for spiritual protection and the stamina and reliance to finish with great joy. Much love to you all.

*Mark your calendar for October 20th. We are going to have a big Fish Fry/ Art Sale/ All Day Music fundraiser. We would be blessed to raise funds to operate here for the coming year. Thank you!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

Don't base your love for others on their performance. The trivial things you concentrate your righteousness are not helping anyone. Do away with your critical spirit and love someone. Love them through thick and thin. Love them through the messy parts of life and learn how you can become more like Me yourself. These petty differences are a way that you build walls so that you do not have to love and minister to others. Give more of yourself. Don't get distracted by the symptoms of a broken heart. Walk through them to the depths. I am in there. I am close to the broken hearted. Be there with Me.

"The LORD is near the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, June 25, 2012

For The Children's Sake

This is one of the most excellent books I have read on the art of being a mother. Susan takes the expert advice of educator Charlotte Mason and cultivates it for the home and the home educator. Truthfully, this book could be used as a guide for every mother. There is rich wisdom contained in it. She adresses authority without aggression, how to guide your children into a love of learning, and how to live in a world that is contrary to God's teaching.
Susan addresses our Christian preoccupation with dividing the secular and the spiritual. She explains that math isn't anymore holy because we only measure the ark. There is rich creativity to be seen in great works of literature and composers. She helpfully walks the reader through how to plan out the a day that sparks creativity and helps the child engage in the world around them.

One thing that I am clinging to is how she teaches to let the Holy Spirit do His work in our children. We often attempt to expound on them some forced morality without letting them come to Christ on their own and build a relationship with Him. Much of the time, they have to get to Him in spite of us. 
From, cooking, fitness, arts, math, grammar, and much more, Susan shows us how to get the child to engage and enjoy. This is truly a life we give them and not some dull material they memorize and forget. Let them learn early and play in the afternoon. This is engaging. Read it.

"Our task it to provide nourishment. We provide a personal relationship, the source material, and the framework for this growth. He does his own learning, living, and responding."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gomer's Got Boundaries

To be completely candid with you, doing what we do is hard. It's a daily battle to overcome the valley of discouragement and persevere to do the greater work. We watch people in ministry relentlessly choose sin over sanctification. We try our hardest to feed and love and give though our resources are quite meager. We give counseling and shelter for free over and over. People are rude to us. People take advantage of us. We figure out what boundaries we need to put in place as we go. We keep going. Don't think there are not days when we want to sell this place and move into a two room bungalow and fade into obscurity. This happens to me several times a week. I get overwhelmed by small things that constantly come at us. My windshield cracking sent me into tears a few weeks ago. We came home to a window that had fallen out and a leak. After weeks of constant activity and "gimme gimme gimme" on the road, I had a little break down.
So, I sat down and whispered, "come, Abba, hold me." He never leaves us alone, you know. God is faithful even when we are on a marathon away from Him. He has reminded me of His love and faithfulness countless times in the last few weeks. "Don't give up," He says. I find countless beautiful words that He has shared with me and I await the flood of refreshing to come. Little things come as a blessing to me. As we went through our stack of mail, I had a box from Amazon. Someone had sent me 5 Corrie ten Boom books. My husband got a card from a family member with money and was able to buy an air compressor and nail gun that we needed for our work here at Gomer. I went to the dentist and was reminded of how God provided for all my dental work. Mostly, I am thankful for a simple life where I get to enjoy my family and remind weary people of the beauty of the Gospel every day. I get to rest and leave the Holy Spirit to do the work. Sufferings are no comparison to glory(Romans 8:18).

No matter where you are today, no matter the darkness that surrounds you, don't give up. Grace abounds and refreshment comes.

 Please pray for us as we try to figure out how to fix a few things around here before we leave again and how to fundraise for the coming year. Thank you for your love and support.

"Therefore we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you are enduring." 
2 Thessalonians 1:4

"When one of us suffers for you, we all suffer, Lord, for we are all one in the body of Christ. We share pain as we share glory." -Corrie ten Boom

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hidden In My Heart: Scripture Lullabies

I stumbled across this album somehow and it quickly escalated to one of my very favorites. To my knowledge, no one has combined scripture and gorgeous lullaby music before this group. They have brought this project together masterfully. To be completely candid, I abhor most all music geared for children. It's whiny, incessantly peppy, and poorly made. I can make it through one or two songs and then, I need some music therapy. This is completely different.

Each night we signal the transition to bed time with soft music. We listen to classical, to Jewel's lullaby cd, etc. I have been long searching for music that would be soothing and sing scripture over them. The artists who put this album together have written hundreds of songs for people like Trace Adkins, Marc Broussard, Francesca Batistelli, Mandisa, Clay Walker, Brandon Heath, and many more. I think the genius here is undeniable. My husband and I love it just as much as our girls do. We have both volumes.

You can listen for yourself on their website.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

When you go through valleys of discouragement and fear, remind yourself of My presence with you. I am there with you bringing hope into everything you encounter and endure. Linger in the grace of my accompaniment. I am with you. Believe that I am near.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for you are with me."
Psalm 23:4

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I often pray for common ground and ways to bring healing and intimacy in my family. I prayed for something my step-mom and I could share to grow our relationship. Last summer, I sent her a copy of The Help and it ignited a love affair for reading and sharing books. We have been buying each other books ever since. I grabbed this at Target the other day because I thought she might like to read it. I ended up reading it myself since I wouldn't see her for 2 weeks. 

Maya Angelou can write. I found myself lost in the lyricism of her remembrance. Her life was a crazy twisted mess riddled with abandonment and abuse. Deep in her honesty about confusion and tragedy, I found some simple solace. The way that she transcribed her emotions and lack there of were a balm to me. Her abuse and the death of her abuser left her refusing to talk for five years of her life. She read countless books and a woman led her to read great works and recite poetry out loud. This is something I did and still do as an adult. 

The weaving of all of the experience in this book is really profound. The choices she and her brother made were mind boggling, but no doubt shaped her soul. I really enjoyed her candor in sharing her struggles amidst her story. The raw reality was salve to a woman who is constantly reading things that have been made to have a super Christian spin. She made no excuse for her actions. She made no flowery speech about it all. She stated how she honestly felt in the moment. 

Perhaps, you know Maya presented one of her works at Bill Clinton's inauguration or that she has thirty honorary doctorate degrees. The amazing part is that this woman had been attacked, abused, and abandoned. She has been a pimp and a prostitute. She bore a son upon finishing high school. She is a fiery, richly gifted woman who experienced the depths of degradation, the undaunted pursuit of a white man's job, the civil rights movement as a friend of MLK and Malcolm X. She has truly lived an amazing adventure. This book was fascinating.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Jesus, I Come To Thee by Shelly Moore Band

I recently read In My Father's House by Corrie ten Boom. In it she tells of the beautiful receptivity of the mentally handicapped people she led Bible studies for and visited with. One was of a young boy that attended her Bible study. She went to visit him at his home and found him in his room kneeling in front of a chair singing the lyrics to this powerful hymn. She also saw the same lines repeated by a dying child in a hospital. May we all experience such trust and deliverance in our personal worship.


"Out of my bondage, sorrow & night, Jesus, I come; 

Into Thy freedom, gladness & light, Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the depths of ruin untold, into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,

Ever Thy glorious face to behold, Jesus, I come to Thee."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

Don't judge others witha heart of contempt. Though we are to judge the false and the wicked, we are not meant to condemn others. Purify your hearts and slay the tongue that seeks to do harm. You must walk into some hard areas. There are many times when you will need to practice a love that will tear at you. You must confront the sin that is waiting at your brother's door. Don't leave them writhing in pain. Have compassion enough to do the hard thing for them. Prepare for backlash, answer with grace, leave room for the Holy Spirit to do the true work. Keep asking Me to do the work until you see freedom.

"Cease striving and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, June 11, 2012

In My Father's House by Corrie ten Boom

I came upon a few books belonging to my great-grandmother in my mom's closet. I had never met this woman and knew very little about her. It touched my heart to see the things she was reading. One book I came across was a fifty year old copy of Corrie ten Boom's "In My Father's House." I read it with great peace this week (even as it fell apart as I read it). I was overwhelmed and comforted by her simple, tender love of Jesus. It felt like a home I have never known. 

Like most everyone, I had read "The Hiding Place" in junior high and was profoundly impacted by it. What I realized in reading this book was that she and her family didn't just hide Jews. They had always done this. They always had people in their home telling them of the sweet love of Jesus. She shared the gospel with such compassion with everyone. Corrie loved on hundreds of girls in her community. She started clubs for them and made sure they all heard about the Father's love. God used her to prepare the hearts of so many that would die or barely survive concentration camps. They knew who would sustain them in trial. She also befriended and told many mentally handicap people of the love of Christ and led them to salvation. Her father was constantly assuring her that work was greatly esteemed by Jesus even if was not by man. 

"There is blessed money and cursed money. Trust the Lord. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and He will take care of us." -Casper ten Boom

I have been deeply touched by her love and the grace she went to Jesus with. She knew nothing could be accomplished with out God. What beauty. I told my husband I wished I could sit under her tuttalage for a year or so. Then I discovered that she had written dozens of books. Perhaps, I could spend a year with her in her literature. That is what I am going to attempt to do. Spend a year learning what true grace and hospitality looks like in a generation where we do not have this example. 
"There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still."
-Betsie ten Boom, right before she died in Ravensbrook prison

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Wild Times.

Well, friends of Gomer, here we are at "The Wild" waterpark. (Don't worry, Gomer's House is working and we are letting someone live there currently.) Denbigh generally leads worship four times a day starting at 8 a.m. and the last ending around 11 p.m. There are three different camps on this property and we run between them all. Thousands of people come and go constantly. You can really only imagine the insanity, the fun, and the spiritual warfare that abounds here. This last week I came down with some funky illness. This is something that doesn't really happen to me. I guess with all the people it was bound to happen. Denbigh is having a health issue too. Please say a little prayer for him. He is the only uninsured member of our family. Of course, where the Gospel abounds, spiritual warfare cometh. Say a prayer for all the people who work here. Many of them have gone several nights with no sleep to get this water park open for kids to come hear about Jesus. Check out CarolinaCreek.org and come visit us!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

You Can't Tony Robbins the Thing.

I read in Susan Cain's Quiet a few months ago about her experiences at personal development seminars. She described how thousands of people would chant mantras at a Tony Robbins Seminar. At the end, people were given the option to do a firewalk with everyone yelling and chanting these power giving phrases to spur one another on. Later on in the book, Susan visited Saddleback Church. She said how oddly similar it was to the Tony Robbins seminar. I thought about that . . .  alot. 

I started thinking about most of the books and shows available to Christians. Our lives are flooded with Christian self-help. We are taught to overcome everything in 7 easy steps. We act like we are running across a firewalk to overcome our problems while yelling, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 

The problem here is that we are trying to give ourselves a rowdy pep talk to get something done that we are afraid of. We use the latter half of that verse in theory only. What Christ tells us to do is trust Him, to bring things to Him. He wants us to trust Him and that is the most important thing we can ever come to. We can't even do that ourselves. Faith is a gift. We ask for it and we trust Jesus to work things out in. 

When we are hurt, we tell Him. When we are desperate, we lean into Him. May we quit trying to manipulate words and ideas and simply go to Jesus. We could all do this thing on our own and focus on the strength and weaknesses in ourselves and others or we can humbly go to Jesus. We could choose to topically apply all we know and like the Stepford wives of Christendom or we could allow the Holy Spirit to do a work so deep that we could never find our way there. You can do this yourself and slap a Christian tag on the end of it, but you will be fake and of little good to the people around you. Who wants that? Be honest. No matter how you feel, go to Jesus. Enjoy the peace in His presence. Bring others.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Honey For A Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt

This book was included in some home school curriculum I had purchased and I thought I would pass it on to you. This is a book about great literature and the life it can give your children as well as your family. This is an idea that I fully employ at our house. I would rather snuggle up and read some beautiful, whimsical prose over t.v. watching any day. 

This book is an easy read, especially since the last half of the book is a list of books for each age group.  I am excited to check out all of the books on her list and find our family many new favorites. Her insight is challenging. You should read the opening line of the original The Little Mermaid with it's rich poetic tones that make the soul come alive. Then compare it to the dribble that Disney put out about a mergirl meeting a merboy. The beauty and depth vanished. This is a guide to help your children find it again. There is also an excellent chapter about reading the Bible with your family each day.

Of course, books are not to be worshipped and this one had a few books in it that I would not read to my children. You have to use discretion about everything you read to your family. For the greater part, I highly recommend it and encourage you to pick it up. Reading things that are not dumbed down to your children will have life long effects. Happy reading.