Led, Not Driven in 2018

Great things can happen when you wake up at 2:00 AM. But only if you go with it, getting past the thoughts of the next day’s demands and schedule.  Asking why none of my sleep-ensurers worked is not “going with it”.  I didn’t drink any coffee, I exercised, I accomplished so much, I drank herbal tea and read my Bible before bedtime. Why? 

Giving up on going back to sleep, at 3:20 I got up and read beautiful scriptures from my new Passion Bible, and I prayed and sang psalms and got a drink of water. I made myself a cozy nest on the couch and when my eyes began burning I settled down to try again for sleep, pushing away those nagging thoughts about the 6:00 a.m. alarm.

Didn’t work. “What is it you want, Lord,” I asked.  No writing on the wall in letters of fire, but I did begin thinking of people needing prayer and one by one prayed for them.  And I began remembering the greatness of His love for me, as evidenced by the endless blessings of my life.

Suddenly I went from wishing I could go to sleep to realizing that I could just get up and get ready and be to the coffee shop by the time it opened, at 6:00. I asked God for supernatural restoration of sleep, and quietly got ready to go to town, where I would meet first my lovely daughter at the coffee shop, and later a dear friend at Young’s Vietnamese restaurant for lunch.

Bindle’s Coffee Shop (the above photo was taken at Bev’s coffee shop) in Fort Collins has a little back cozy nook and I snagged it, then made the choice (always a mistake) of ordering decaf. Shoulda gone for the herbal tea. I settled in to read “motivational” books full of great wisdom and powerful ideas, and always there was this nagging thought, this heretical idea that . . . maybe . . . “success” as defined by the experts is for those living on a plebian plane, one those of us who live at the highest place, answering the greatest of callings, must resist.

Resistance is required to rise above a drive to “success” and unto a call to world-building. I am not here to “reach my destiny” or to “make use of my talents.”  Not even in pursuit of God’s call on my life.  I am not here to be driven, by my thankless self, to performance.  I am here to be led in Love to love.

And so, as I hear these voices telling me what I should do, how I should go for my dreams, how I must be passionate, something seems amiss. How bizarre to think you can manufacture passion for that about which you have no passion!

“To whom much has been given, much is required.” OK.  But might it be that those two muches aren’t the same?  Much has been given to me in many areas.  But the Much required of me is faith – the faith to simply follow, simply be led, simply get on board with God and go wherever He says, without any regard whatsoever to what it looks like to other people.

So, while the programming, the ever-insidious programming, says that the kids are raised and it’s time to do something else, circumstances say otherwise. I am still the Queen of the Castle, and there are still residents of the castle, and residents without the castle, who need my time and my attention.

I am daily made aware of yet another person who covets my prayers, who appreciates my listening ear, who wears an invisible sign reading: PLEASE MAKE ME FEEL LIKE I MEAN SOMETHING TO YOU.

Even as I write these words, I am reminded of someone who awaits my call; I am troubled by news of a friend’s child who has lost his way, and is trying to make everyone else feel as awful about him as does he himself. Pray.

The conversations around me in the coffee shop pierce my heart – a mother crying out to a friend for advice and help regarding her very unhappy little girl, who comes home from school more and more withdrawn, harder and harder to reach and to understand. Stories from both moms about untenable situations at school, about teachers with harmful attitudes, about the difficulties for introverts, etc.

I wanted to talk to them about homeschooling, but there was no opening or leading. And it seems to me that the Holy Spirit is telling me to hone in with laser focus on those closest to me.  The queen must not lose her inner circle in looking over the heads and hearts of those right in front of her.

I teach a class at church with an attendance of one. One special person entrusted to me via the Holy Spirit’s leading of my pastor and his wife.  I do a radio show once a week to an audience of I know not how many or how few.  What I know is God put the show in my lap, he put this one special young woman in my class, and most of all, he gave me a Queendom of husband and children.  Family.

It is pride, it is insecurity, IT IS FEAR, it is grief to God, for me to be driven to go after more, at the expense of all parties.

I have a husband and children and grandchildren who need prayer and love and a listening ear and an attentive heart. I have friends and the children of friends who seek my support and love.  There and beloved neighbors and friends who know they’re loved via my hospitality.  My church family is full of brave and uncomplaining souls whose smiles hide a multitude of troubles, whose hearts cry out for true fellowship.  There is an entire radio audience in need of prayer, and of wisdom from God via my lips.

Also, I have myself to nurture and rest and refresh. But again, the programming.  Deep down when it comes right down to it, I am “just” a homemaker.  John Seymour says in Forgotten Household Crafts, “In the great ages of the world the home was held sacred and so it must be again or we have no future on this earth.”  I know this is true, and yet . . .

Perhaps all those great motivators, all those quotes from the rich and famous about success, are for those who haven’t already been put in the highest and most eternally effective place and calling of all, daily living out battle upon battle, always ultimately victorious. When He’s the author of my life.

Led, not driven. Free to love, not enslaved by a lack consciousness.  On an adventure with my Maker, not worrying about “wasting” time doing things that don’t get me to “my goals.”

His unforced rhythms of grace rather than my stumbling steps to goals I “should” be persuing.

This is a new year. This is a new day.  Let our beginnings and endings be His.  Let every single day be full of Love surprises, adventures, and scary escapades in faith.

Thanks for joining me,

Bev

P.S.  IN LESS THAN TWO HOURS, AT 2:00 PM MOUNTAIN TIME, YOU CAN ALSO JOIN ME ON THE HOMEFRONT SHOW.  SIMPLY GO TO:  WWW.1360AM.CO AND THANKS AGAIN!

Promised Booklist

Last week on The Homefront Show I mentioned a conversation with three of my children wherein we answered the question, “What five books do you think everyone should read?”  On the show I shared what we came up with (more than five each, sorry, but certainly less than an exhaustive list of our favorites) and promised to post the list, along with author’s names (which I didn’t share on the show).

So here goes, in the order, more or less, the titles were called out (with a few added I’ve since recalled and couldn’t possibly leave out, such as Little Joe Otter, The Capricorn Stone, and On the Banks of Plum Creek.

 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Little Joe Otter by Thornton W. Burgess

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein

The Bible

Little Women and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

William Tell by Friedrich Schiller

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Angel at the Fence by Herman Rosenblatt

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Narnia Series by C. S. Lewis

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkein

Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour

Daddy Longlegs by Jean Webster

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

All Sackett books by Louis L’Amour

By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman

George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl

Pilgrim’s Inn by Elizabeth Goudge

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Mutiny on the Bounty by William Bligh

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle

Blessed Child by Ted Dekker and Bill Bright

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Heidi by Joanna Spyri

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

The Capricorn Stone by Madeleine Brent

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

With the Old Breed by E. B. Sledge

Guns Up by Johnnie M. Clark

Medications by Marcus Aurelius

 

So, there you have it.  Maybe you can give yourself the Christmas gift of one of these great books.  Wanna great laugh with a book you can’t put down?  Daddy Longlegs and the sequel, Dear Enemy are unbeatable.  I read both of them aloud as we traveled a few years ago, and EVERYONE in the car begged for more each time I stopped for a rest.

Happy Reading to You!

And . . . REMEMBER TO TUNE IN TOMORROW, DECEMBER 15 AT 2:00 MOUNTAIN TO WWW.1360AM.CO FOR THE HOMEFRONT SHOW!

 

 

Freedom From Fear – Hooray! Today at 2:00 on 1360am.co

Life is once again colorful.  The cloud I’ve been struggling and smothering under has made life as grey and bleak as a cold and cloudy day.  It’s the cloud of fear.

Fear is the world’s currency, as faith is the currency of the Kingdom of God.  After a two-year struggle with fear in a certain area, I am free indeed.

Join us today at 2:00 Mountain Time on The Homefront Show.

Just go to http://www.1360am.co and click on Live Radio.

God is good and His mercies are new every single morning, and you’ll hear lots more about that today when you join me.

Thanks!

Proverbs 31 Truth or Consequences?

beautiful home

We’re all in this together, and no one of us is the others’ slave.  We will serve ourselves as we serve others and God via caring for our home.  Amen!

I used the C.O.D. (Child of the Day) plan as a truth vehicle in raising our kids, and even today, as I am creating yet another variation of it, I marvel at its inherent genius.

little-girl-praying.jpg

Born of necessity when each of the kids chimed in during breakfast prayers, the C.O.D. has become my good buddy through the years.  As we (John and I) repeatedly picked up and put our forks back down to the tune of yet another prayer request, I decided we would simply take turns praying.

“Thank you, Father for this beautiful day and for each other and for this delicious food.  Please bless it to our bodies and protect us from anything harmful in it.  In Jesus Name we pray.  Amen.”

That was the beginning.  Then came, “And please help me find my hungry lizard,” which sparked another creature-in-distress thought in another little mind.  “And pweez help Grandpa’s cow that’s sick.”  Now Grandpa thoughts.  “And please, Jesus, help Grandpa remember to bring gum next time.”  Fork up, fork down.

“And Lord, please . . . .”

“OK, that’s enough.  Let’s eat.”

I quickly wrote up a COD list:  The Child of the Day gets to ride in the front, stay up 15 minutes late in bed with Mom and Dad, pick the readaloud story at bedtime, and have other privileges as determined by Mom and Dad issue by issue, day by day.

pen and paper

Benjamin would be the C.O.D on Monday, Hannah Tuesday, Rebekah Wednesday, and Seth Thursday.  Rarely has an idea garnered such immediate support and enthusiasm.  Not only were they all about the day for themselves, but they staunchly supported the rights of their siblings.  “It’s your day.  You get to choose.”

And what a blessing for me.  “Mom, can you sew my doll’s arm back on?” went from being another unneeded interruption, to something I enjoyed doing because I said, “Tomorrow is your day.  Bring her to me tomorrow and we’ll have a sewing lesson.”  Meanwhile I could round up the sewing box, determine if I had acceptably colored thread, and simply prepare myself to do that thing that wasn’t on my “want-to-do” list.

The C.O.D. concept would have been a success if it had never evolved, and if it had simply solved who was praying at mealtimes.  I was thinking recently when we had guests over and got ready to pray, how nice it was to hear the kids ask, “Whose day is it?”  The guests were blessed and it blesses me that my kids are absolutely unfazed about leading prayer in front of anyone and everyone.

“Whose day is it?”  The C.O.D. program would have been a success simply for the memory of Seth climbing into his high chair with a big grin as he asked, “Whose days is its to pway?”

Seth’s questions lately are about yet another change in the program, which is now less a program of daily privileges and more of a weekly responsibility list.  Thursday is still Seth’s day to pray, or to say, “Hey, Mom.  There’s one piece of pie left and it’s my day.  Can I have it?”  That’s an easy “yes”.  But other questions of late, such as, “Hey, Mom, I think with Hannah gone and Benjamin working for Dad and Rebekah doing Mary Kay all the time, maybe we could take another look here.”

He didn’t actually say those words, and being Seth, he never actually complained that more and more of the load was coming his way, with little appreciation or remuneration to show for it.  (Aside:  Beware of piling more on that child who doesn’t complain and who will do a good job, just because that’s the easy road.  Not good.  Not fair.  And the biggest losers are the kids who are being taught irresponsibility and laziness).

Because the Proverbs 31 Woman “watches over the ways of her household” I know changes need to be made.  I’ve made a few preliminary steps:  asking other kids to do extra, doing extra myself, getting John’s input.  But this morning as I was reading Laurie Beth Jones’ Jesus, Enrepreneur , I realized that this is a matter of, for starters, two things:  1) making a list; and 2) stewardship.

Laurie Jones says, regarding a confused young man, “Doesn’t he realize that how we handle small matters will determine how and if we handle great ones?”  Stewardship.

I realize as I’m pondering how well things C.O.D. have worked in times past, that it was at least in part because everything was clearly understood, discussed, explained, illustrated, and written out.  Time for a new and improved chore list.

Through the years we’ve gone from one day a week on dish duty, to a week on dish duty, to rotating per month, and then back to weekly stints.  The division of labor went as follows for several fairly harmonious years:  Dishes, Floors, Laundry, Miscellaneous.  Four kids, four categories, continually rotating, per a list on the fridge.

John has always been on board, especially if he sees something that will interfere with my peace, i.e. dirty dishes in the sink right before I’m about to start cooking.  “Who’s on dishes?” he’ll call on a Monday, when everything switches.  If there’s any confusion, we simply look at the list.  “Let’s see.  Benjamin was on dishes last week, so it’s Hannah.”

But then Benjamin went away to college and we consolidated things.  Then Hannah went away to Fort Collins and we came to two categories:  1) /Laundry and Floors; and 2) Dishes and Miscellaneous.

“Dishes” (or Kitchen) has always meant you do the dishes as soon as the meal is over, with each diner bringing their dishes to the sink.  Also included is occasional fridge cleaning, and a weekly checklist (which has somehow been misplaced) including clearing and wiping down all counters, the fridge, cabinet doors, baseboards and walls, and putting every single thing in its place, on the last day of the week (to be modified per interfering events).

“Miscellaneous” includes taking out the trash, building fires and bringing in firewood, running errands, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, straightening, and whatever else needs doing.

“Floors” means sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and once per week cleaning all baseboards.

It’s all pretty straightforward, and except for laundry, everyone seems to clearly understand.  Well, there is that one little thing which in the minds of all parties except myself, seems quite difficult.  And that one thing is this so very often repeated instruction:  Don’t take the trash out before you put a new trash sack in the can.  This is particularly important when I am cooking and you’re off to get on your coat and boots and traipse to the dumpster and leave me trashcan-less for a good ten minutes.  It’s the little things, it surely is.  But I don’t and won’t give up on this one.  Don’t leave me trashcan-less!

Back to laundry.  It’s my favorite job.  I won’t call it a chore because I simply love throwing nasty whites into a lovely machine, filling it with wonder ingredients, pushing buttons, and then walking away while its wonders are performed.  Now it’s time to throw bright and lovely-smelling whites into the dryer with a lavender sachet, and again, to walk away!

And then for the putting away.  I only do my and John’s laundry, and when I hear the beep I make every effort, especially now that it’s chilly weather, to get in there and snuggle my face into the towels and get them folded and put away while they’re still warm.  I would happily do all the laundry, time permitting, but time does not permit, and it’s important that everyone contributes.  People need to know they’re needed (those helping) and people need to know they’re appreciated (those being helped).

Kids, such as Seth, who are getting plenty of chances to help, need to know they’re appreciated, both by parents who see and take action, and by siblings who step up to the plate.

This is all truth.  If I don’t teach the truth- it’s important to know how to do basic life tasks; it’s important to do your part and then some; it’s important to live in a nice, clean, orderly home – then I’m teaching lies, and I’m leaving them to a life of unpleasant consequences.

————————————————————————

I have to get off here and make a new C.O.D. list.  Benjamin (Lt. Parker) is here for a very short while, as he changes from the Montana National Guard to the Kansas Guard and then deployment in March.  So, for that time, I must make changes.

Maybe I’ll combine Dishes with more cooking (I don’t need any cooking lessons and they do!); put Miscellaneous with Floors, and let Laundry stand alone.  We’ll have a family meeting tonight to discuss all these things.  I’ll make the most coveted and begged-for of cookies:  chocolate peanut butter no-bakes (make with heavy whipping cream and half-n-half and salt as well as vanilla and almond flavorings).  I’ll encourage input after I set out some reminder truths:  We’re all in this together, and no one of us is the others’ slave.  We will serve ourselves as we serve others and God via caring for our home.  Amen!

 

What was the highlight?

mountains

This past weekend my daughters Hannah and Rebekah joined me and nine other ladies from our church at a women’s conference entitled “Women Arise!” held at Charis Bible College (Andrew Wommack Ministries) in Woodland Park, Colorado.

We arrived home Sunday just before my husband, John, arrived from the airport with my mother-in-law.  We all unpacked, chatted and chattered, and it wasn’t until this morning at breakfast that John got a word in edgewise, saying, “What was the highlight?”

Hard question, but I’d given it some thought.  The spiritual highlight was perhaps the final teaching from Audrey Mack, which lit a fire under me that seems to be getting hotter by the minute.

flame

The setting, the weather, the thousand small favors of God on each minute – these were all highlights.  Maybe, as I said to Hannah last night, “Maybe the most important thing was the bonding between the hearts of the women of our church, and no doubt between all the women there.  The revelation of sisterhood in Christ, the shared hilarity and heartache, the love..

John asked me a few more questions this morning, then turned to Rebekah.  “What was the highlight to you, Rebekah?”  Rebekah said she “got new dreams and remembered forgotten ones.”  She didn’t mention that we got to the conference early and feasted on Brat Kolaches and amazing pastries at Woodland Park’s Donut Mill, but perhaps we’d already said enough about that, and about the other culinary delights experienced by all.  If Rebekah was reticent, Hannah could regale her dad on that account at a later date.

Hannah was already gone to work when John asked his question, but she would have had so much to say, so much to praise.

I could say the praise was the highlight, the worship of our good Father.  I could say bringing home a heart full of praise and thanksgiving and joy was the highlight.

But how do you describe the highlights of God?  It’s all highlight.

Certainty.  I came home with certainty.  With peace and power and a new and greater level of dominion, a new revelation of authority in Christ.  More humility, more surrender, greater power.

More.  Always more.  Because His depths are unfathomable, endless, and marvelous.  I marvel at the question, and so enjoy exploring the answer.

How to choose one highlight?  Would it help to eliminate those things that weren’t my favorite parts?  There was a workshop time slated Saturday afternoon that I skipped out on, in favor of walking around the sparkling lake, crossing the high wooden bridge, and making tracks to sit under a pine in the sun, where I whispered to God and He heard me.  That was definitely a highlight.  So, even the parts that weren’t looking like the best parts, became highlights.

“It’s all highlight in Jesus,” I could say to John.  And I remember what I told Rebekah, and then repeated to John last night.  “You know what’s really great,” I said to Rebekah as we ate lunch on the way home yesterday.  “What’s really great is to go somewhere so astoundingly beautiful and have such a wonderfully blessed time, and yet the best part of it all is going home.

english cottage

And so, dearest husband, the highlight of the entire beyond-all-I-asked-or-imagined weekend, was coming home to you.