What’s going on?

Last weekend I attended the Women of Faith conference in Dallas. As with all Spirit-filled retreats, the event triggered a time of reflection – “what’s next”. Friday morning I woke up at 4:30am and was out the door by 5:30am, on the road in what proved to be a joyful period of solitude. But not really alone – alone with the Spirit.

During the 10-3:30 portion of the conference I remained “alone” – in fact I didn’t catch up with the women of CEC until just before dinner. For the evening portion, we climbed to the highest possible row in the arena. A nosebleed seat, yes, but we reassured ourselves that we were closer to God.
The praise music was uplifting, but at the end of the day I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be hearing in the message. There was a lot more pushing of WorldVision than I needed to hear. I blame my lack of TV-watching but I felt like I’d paid to be subjected to an infomercial. Sitting as high as we were, it was harder to feel connected and it was challenging to stand up and fully appreciate the music (dizzying vertigo was a constant risk).


The evening ended with a performance by Steven Curtis Chapman, which counts as a high note. He was joined by his teen sons and his wife sent tweets – a wonderful family affair. Following @womenoffaith on Twitter definitely added to my experience.

Day 2 included a Tweet-up experience. During the lunch break there was a gathering of Tweeters. I met and added “followers”, Jeanette was able to visit with Sheila Walsh (the only speaker who joined the Twitter crowd), I met Michael Hyatt (publisher) and I won the door prize (a bag of books & 1 CD):
Guys Are Waffles, Girls Are Spaghetti by Chad Eastham
Redefining Beautiful by Jenna Lucado
Take Your Best Shot by Austin Gutwein
Knockout Entrepreneur by George Foreman
Beautiful Mess The Story of Diamond Rio
Relentless CD by Natalie Grant

Since the conference, I’ve been wading in the warm introspective waters of prayerful consideration. I’m feeling more liberated than I have in a long time. I’m focusing on freeing myself from anxiety. Every time I sense that knotting in my stomach I remind myself that anxiety is a reflection of faithlessness. I trust God and I’m ready to make a move. Nothing dramatic, mind you, but I have to keep stepping out in faith or I’m stagnant.

Before the conference I submitted an article that was published in the August issue of the Trumpet. The editor liked it, but suggested a different angle. Last week I submitted the rewrite and the changes were well-received (praise God!). I’ll know more next week.

Meanwhile, I’m writing with renewed commitment and vigor. I *must* not let work take over my life. I have to set boundaries and respect those boundaries. I have to let some things (and some people) fail as I limit my time and energy to what falls within my boundaries.

In a week I’ll be leaving for a 2-week trip to China. I hope & pray for this to be an opportunity for massive progress on writing projects.

Meanwhile, my blogs may remain a little neglected. I’ll post as inspiration strikes, but mostly I’m jotting notes in a long-hand journal. Very old school but very rewarding.

Peace,

Thanks for stopping by

I recently enjoyed a visit from a blogger friend (Barbara) who was passing through town. I’m delighted that she and her daughter were able to stop by, even if I wish they could have stayed longer.

I feel that way about visitors to my blog, as well. I’d like to invite everyone to stop in and stay awhile. And if this site doesn’t suit you, come visit the oasis. I wish I could spend time getting to know each of you. To offer you a drink (coffee? tea? cocktail?) and maybe a nosh. To hang out for a bit swapping stories about how we got here, wherever here may be.

Bless you all on your journeys. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday’s Study: Judges 12 – Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon and Abdon

Today’s study wraps up Jephthah’s time as judge and his successors Ibzan, Elon and Abdon. It is noteworthy that the text shifts from referring to times of peace under the leadership of the blessed judges, to just highlighting the years of leadership (Jephthah, 6; Ibzan, 7; Elon, 10; & Abdon, 8). Jephthah’s time was not peaceful but he was clearly blessed by God.

Next, we’ll dive into the story of Samson.

Café Chat August 14th

Today’s topic: Operating outside of your “spiritual comfort zone.”

As I thought about this topic, it occurred to me that each individual’s “walk of faith” is the progressive result of continually stepping out of their spiritual comfort zone. If we stay in our comfort zone, we are stagnant, unchanging, not growing as Christians and probably not fulfilling our calls or our purpose. God has a purpose for each of us and we can’t fulfill it if we’re hiding from our destiny.

This blog was, at one time, a place where I operated outside of my comfort zone, but that is no longer true. I am very comfortable talking about my faith here. Twitter (I’m aka “yougottawonder“) is often a place where I step out in faith – posting status updates based on scripture or based on my faith. But, alas, nothing dire ever happens as a result so it’s becoming more and more comfortable to be open there, too.

Now I’m pushing new boundaries, and I’ve been flirting with ways and means to continue to grow and challenge myself – stepping outside of my comfort zone. A biggy has been the video blogs. Last week I took another step, telling an OT bible story from my heart.

I believe that if we’re comfortable, we’re not serving Him. It’s when we grow uncomfortable that our faith is most likely to be tested and rewarded.

Sunday’s Study: Judges 11 – The Story of Jephthah

Today’s study is a “redo” of last week’s story, only this is a free-form telling of the tale. Watching myself on video is a good exercise. In the future, I will try to reduce the number of “and’s,” “so’s,” “basically’s,” etc. when I’m retelling these stories.

I swear, the Old Testament is better than anything on television. I want to do these stories justice.

About this blog

Maybe every blogger comes to a time when they feel compelled to explain why they blog. Here’s my story:

“A Mother’s Angst” began (in September ’08) as a means to share the things I’ve learned about parenting. I’m the first to admit – most of what I’ve learned, I’ve learned through mistakes I’ve made. Occasionally (praise God) I’m able to share something that works well for us without identifying a painful path we took to get to the revelation. This post from March might be the best summary of my evolution as a parent, my transition from cool parent of young ‘uns to uptight parent of teens to a reasonably moderate parent of one teen. The points that I make in my posts and the stories I tell should not be considered a reflection of who I’ve always been (I’m not that stagnant) or even who I am today (I often call on history to make a point). I don’t spend a lot of time bragging about my children, not because they’re not praiseworthy, but because those stories rarely yield a lesson.

If instead of writing about parenting, I chose to write about quitting smoking, naming the blog “A Smoker’s Angst,” telling stories of failed efforts and the ultimate success story, occasionally highlighting the joys of life as an ex-smoker, I would not expect you to assume that I smoked my entire life (started when I was ~15) or that I still smoke (quit over 5 years ago). But you might. You might judge me a smoker, that’s the risk I’d run by talking about smoking. I probably wouldn’t spend a lot of time elaborating on the joys of not smoking. I can much more readily talk about cigarette burns on leather car seats, losing a burning cherry while driving down the interstate with an open window, overflowing nasty ashtrays, cigarette breath, stinky clothes, etc. Giving me advice on how to quit smoking might be interesting, but not necessarily relevant (unless you wanted to host a post about your personal experience). You see, I’m already past those days. But given the opportunity I will gladly talk about quitting (even though I’ve already quit).

Although this blog began as a place for me to wail and moan on occasion, to confess some tales that might be less than flattering, to share in my experiences so that others might learn, it’s evolved into a place where I worship and glorify God. I express here what God moves me to express (exegesis). Where you see His light shine, that’s where I’ve successfully gotten out of the way of His message. Where you don’t, that’s where I’ve gotten in the way and muddied His word.

The banner has also evolved . Initially it was a plain blue wrapper. Then the weeping eye. Now the eye has grown smaller and the message from Jeremiah 31 has been added. Another change is coming and the weeping eye may disappear for good. These changes reflect my evolution, this blog’s evolution, and maybe the changing interest of those who stop by. I’ve learned not to question, but to obey and respond accordingly.

Now, if you’ll bear with me…I’ll soon be posting a revised version of Judges 11, the story of Jephthah. I’m evolving my skills as a v-blogger. Your feedback is welcome.

Peace,

Happy Anniversary, Baby!

Yesterday my darling husband & I celebrated our 24th anniversary. We went to dinner (TGIF’s) and a movie. The movie (A Perfect Getaway) was not great but it provided a great opportunity for 2 hours of hand-holding.

When we got home, there was a note from our 15 year old taped on the door that asked us to not turn on any lights. Hmmmm.

Throughout the house he had placed several notes in places we were not likely to miss; each note illuminated by flashlight. The notes all pointed us to the whiteboard in the kitchen. And in the kitchen? The biggest of the flashlights aiming its beam at the whiteboard, shown here. Isn’t he sweet?