The Greatest Is

And now abides faith, hope and love, these three. But the greatest of these is love.

There are really only three change-agents in the lives of people. Only three abiding motivators, only three forces at work of any effectiveness.

Faith can move mountains. It shall be (or not be) to you according to your faith.

Hope is what enables us to persevere. Michael Card sang it thusly, "Hope is the helmet of each noble soldier, for only a warrior who hopes can be brave. Hope you in the Lord and renew your strength! Soar you up on eagle's wings! Tirelessly run the long race that's set before you - your life's a song the Father sings!"

Oh, but the Lord would say: the greatest of these is loving relationships. "Love" is a moot point, without relationships. Without a person to be kind to, without a person to believe the best in, love is just a word.

Love never fails.

Keeping relationships right is always right.

Love never fails.

Love. Gifts of the Spirit will be done away with, and the law already has been. Love never fails.

Be Strong

Finally, my sisters and brothers, be being strong in the Lord (be in an ever present state of depending on His strength) and always be operating entirely in the exceeding might of His ability. (Eph. 6:10)

I was talking to a dear one today about the liberating truth of "Christ in me."

Forget about "my personal best". That is limited thinking, fraught with attaining one good thing, at the terrible expense of two better things. When the exceeding might of His ability moves me, a certain level of personal "performance" (for lack of a better word) is attained in perfect peace,and without my hurting the people I live with. Jesus Christ is made unto me a never ending source of wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

And I don't have to wait to feel emotionally whole to depend on His strength, because His strength shows up in my weakness. And I don't have to wait until I feel able, to love others and be about the business of the kingdom of God, because I am complete in Him already.

He'll do His job through me, "as me". Christ loves to express His strength and lovely nature through my rather unique vessel.

A Cup of Coffee and a Friend

A cup of toffee coffee, and a friend. A soulful, comforting, blessed combination! Kim-from-Texas and I finally met face to face today, after knowing one another for a decade. She is camping with her family, coming through Knoxville to Boston.
We've home schooled children "together", she's got graduates and I've got graduates, and we've both used the same philosophy and methodology to get the job done. That's how we met - on an online home education forum.

But the common ground goes deeper than that. So much deeper.

She's beautiful, intelligent, funny. The best conversationalist you'll ever meet. We rambled over verbal fields of flowers, ranging on every topic from adolescence to Zen. And something about motorcycles. And grace. And church. And Boticelli and the Burning of the Vanities. Um, coffee and coffee gadgetry, too, of course. (After all, her blog IS "Books and Coffee"!) We spoke of BBQ and salsa, antiphonal singing and Ikea furniture. We shared about things light and easy, and things heart-rending.

Typical home schooling mother-conversation.

We plan on lunch, two years from now.


I was talking to my oldest boy yesterday, after church. He was telling me about how he went fishing one night this past week. He went night fishing, so it was dark, and he didn't have a lantern. He cast his hook, and sat down to fish and pray.

Soon, the Lord spoke to him and said, "Reel in. I've given you a fish." He replied, "I can't see the float." The Lord said to him, "Don't be moved by what you see." He then said, "I don't feel a thing on the line...I have not felt a nibble or a tug...nothing!" God said, "Don't be moved by what you feel."

He reeled in his hook, feeling foolish.

On the end of that line, was a small mouth bass.

When a boy's relationship with God is the emphasis, God is so much more able to train a boy than even his parents are. May he respond to the voice of God, more and more! There is always that turn aside and "see this thing", as did Moses, or to blindly continue walking in your own way.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen."

Two Brags Today

Two blogs yesterday, two brags today. Here is the first brag -a picture I took, just now:

Yesterday, the sliding door on this van fell off. I mean, it just dropped off! I was in a panic. I bragging because we drive an older model car, with about 250,000 miles on it? That it was side doorless yesterday? No, of course not. Unless the discipline of frugality is something to cheer for.

The "brag" here is that my man (already stressed, with his patience severely tested and tried in many other areas) got out there, scratched his head, and patiently began the long process of taking the whole back quarter panel off the van, and with a hammer and some sockets and other tools I don't know the names of, he pounded this and that back into shape, fabricated a necessary small part, then manhandled the door back into place, put it all back together, and it works better than it ever did.

Not only that! This make and model of van was notorious for losing every stitch of paint on the front hood. Ours somehow survived a long time, but this past did. Oh. It did. The paint suddenly bubbled, blistered, and every square inch of paint flaked off the hood, down to the gray, flat, discolored underside.

Then, last March, the whole van broke down. Price to have the mechanic repair it? Over $300. So we let it sit, while I drove our equally old Previa.

Because we also had a wedding to pay for. Once the wedding was behind us, we also priced "cheap" paint jobs. Price to paint? Cheaply? $400. (That's a good deal, I know.)

My hero...finally had a little time, post-wedding, to crawl under the van. He said the magic words, "Maybe I can fix it." He has managed to keep every other older car we've driven on the road, almost singlehandedly, with only a few trips to the mechanic.

He. Did. It. Price to fix it? $70

Then, he pulled the codes for the color of paint, and he painted it. He. Did. It. Price to paint it? $40 for the paint, another $20 for a few supplies he can use again. It is not a perfect paint job, but for a van as old as this one, it was the frugal, creative, and utterly talented manly thing to do to "do it himself." I am so stinkin' proud of the guy. He can also play the guitar, the drums, he sings like a dream, preaches, pastors, and he builds me whole additions to my house. I'm unsufferably and startlingly in love with him. I love a man who can do way more than one or two things.

Here's the other brag:

See the brunette beauty on the right? That's one of my twin daughters, Sarah. She's the one I spoke of in yesterday's blog. The man on the left? That's her birthday present for 2009. That's Jonathan. Precious man of God, summa cum laude graduate, artist, and her new best friend, other than her twin sister and me.

Goodness and mercy follow me. My life is a trophy of grace, a testimony to what only God can do. These two small "brags" are actually just the harvest....the result...of my Great Foundational Boast: Christ alone. Neither Tim nor Sarah nor I possess a single gift we have not been first given.

Two Blogs Today

Hmmm. Something I nearly never do: type two blogs in a day. But this is irresistable, and I have to share it.

I've been sitting here in my robe, lolling around my own blog this night. My blog is a digital journal of sorts, full of my heart in words and pictures. I marvel at the prophetic nature of a bunch of my posts, and I do not consider myself a "prophetess"!

Get this entry, around New Year's Eve:

"...first of all, a happy and prosperous New Year to my church family - of whom my own dear parents are now, as of one month ago, new members. My life can't get much more blessed and full and complete. I can die a happy woman.Well, I can die happy after we find my other twin daughter a fi - i - ne (hear the southern drawl) man of God.

Of course, her heavenly Father will do the finding. I'm just kidding when I say "we'll have to find him".

I do know this: nothing short of an on-fire, brutally handsome, leader-of-a-man, who is already about the business of the Kingdom of God, who knows exactly what he wants and pursues it, will make that daughter of mine happy. She deserves nothing short of the best...he's out there somewhere! How exciting! Will 2009 be the year? (She's so gonna kill me.)

She's in no hurry; she's fiesty and happy and picky and can afford to be picky. I'm the one who needs to know that I can die happy...just in case. Nobody is guaranteed to be on planet earth, this time next year.

And no one should get married until they find the one whom they can fulfill their divine destiny better WITH that person, than without them. No one should get married until the time is right - when what needs to be done in God's kingdom requires the talents and gifts of BOTH to accomplish. Marriage is so much more than sanctified sex, or a comfortable, expected, and socially acceptable arrangement.

No one should get married until they find the one who can make them laugh; until they find the one who is so very easy to be with. The one who leaves happiness in his or her wake. Few things are more important.

But that's another blog for another day. I'll let this one be about soup and the New Year

Gentle Reader, I sit here in a heavy, fluffy robe with chill bumps on my arms. I am venturing to say that 2009 is INDEED the year. Aw man, has this been the acceptable year of the Lord, so far, or what?? One daughter married a fiiiiiiiine man of God in May: unbearably handsome, loves my daughter unselfishly and unconditionally, a man soon to have his Master's degree, but more importantly, a man with a pastor's heart and an apostle's call on his life.

And ya' other girl most likely has her man as well, and honey...he too is "all that." Sarah is dating an accomplished artist. Recognized leader in the church he comes from. College graduate. But more importantly, a man with a missions call, and a pastor's heart and a burden for....guess where? Cambodia and China. A man who walks around this house unconsciously singing God's praises, when he visits my daughter. A man who unabashedly pursues and loves my daughter. A man who makes her laugh. No....howl. Well. Laugh really loud and long.

goodgrief, I hope this does not mean I'm gonna die soon!