Thursday, January 27, 2011

Soothing Repetition and a Whole Lot More

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 
Hebrews 13:5

Really quick: this is my Project 52 photo. The theme is Soothing Repetition. I find it soothing to pour not just one cup of tea, but several, so here's my shot. If I had more cups, I'd have put many in the photo. BB had the best idea, though: a photo of the teapot between two mirrors, capturing the endless reflections. Fun! But, no time, no mirrors to use. He's got great ideas.
When we went to Canada a couple of summers ago for our big tenth anniversary trip, we met a wonderful couple who are from Michigan. It was so exciting to learn that they are Christ-followers, who are serving the Lord through medical missions in their retirement years. C is such a tender heart, a kindred-spirit. We have kept in touch this year and half or so since our trip.

Recently in an email exchange, she gave me some wonderful thoughts about the scripture at the beginning of this post, which I'll repeat here, because it never hurts to read these things more than once!

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 
Hebrews 13:5

She quoted the following from Catherine Marshall's book Something More:

When we praise God for (in) trouble, we're giving up something. For sacrifice means "the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim".  What we're sacrificing is the right to the blessings we think are due us...and also our human desire to understand everything.  So when we bypass our "right" to understand and offer up suffering to God in praise, the Bible is right in calling this a sacrifice of praise.

The past week has not been easy or comfortable (but it has been good). There is the continual call from Jesus to praise, to trust, and to submit, to worship Him in all things. It is hard. But it feeds a right process. It feeds my faith in the reality that the way He is doing things is The Right Way, regardless of my not understanding the finer details of His workings.

The quote and thoughts that C shared gave sacrifice of praise deeper shades of meaning to me. Thank you, C!

I praise God for the refining work He is doing. I thank Him for our family, friends, my sisters in Christ and even people I don't know who love, and pray, and teach me by their lives and words and their love for Jesus. An amazing thing it is, this Body of Christ, His church!

And, I cannot wait to share our story. In His time.
Now, I think that it is time for some Here's How Things Really Are in My House Lately sharing. The teapot photo is so nice and cheerful and neat. Ahh. One square foot of set-up order.

Let me just say that the house situation really does get me down from time to time. It's dawning on me lately that we are in more of a survival mode than I realized. And the Lord whispers to me change is coming. But, at the moment, I have no real methods or schedules for dealing with the housework and such. Right now, it's all about What Has to Get Done Today. The most basic and true answer to that is something like this: we all need our time with the Lord in His Word; we need food, clean underwear, and educating. Some days anything else is gravy. But I am also praying and researching a little for a good plan/schedule to help me/us stay more on top of housework.

But, if you were to have popped in the other morning, and I would've happily welcomed such a surprise, here is a little tour of my not-favorite messes from that day:

{Note: I struggled over whether to post these. I'm doing it because I hope it will encourage someone else that yes, we all have our messes, piles, etc, and that yes, the Unseen Things really are so much more important}

Well, thankfully, it's nothing that 30 minutes or so of dedicated work won't fix! And I was able to do just that around 5pm. In the end it took two dishwasher loads and one pile of hand-washed stuff. Oh, and you can see here my habit of writing scriptures or quotes or ideas on papers and sticking them to, well, surfaces. Can't help it. I need the thoughts in front of me! The big paper on the window is our attempt at formulating a Family Mission's a cloud of ideas, at this point.

Moving on to the island. An island of clutter. Sigh. But, again, pretty quickly dealt with in a few spare moments.

This is an awful photo, for so many reasons, but I had to include it. See that yellow square on the microwave? In the middle of all the household disorder, my husband left me a sticky note of encouragement. Basically, he is the most understanding man on the face of the earth, and his note reminded me that the things that Really Matter are not the ones we can see, such as the dishes. His note made me think of this verse:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 
2 Corinthians 4:18

Twelve feet or so of books and binders stacked up in a row. This is because of the fabulous shelves BB added in our book closet. I've not been able to get it all loaded back onto the fresh shelves yet.

One last shot - I'm on a roll!
The tub of winter jackets...never fully dealt with after our Thanksgiving trip to the mountains. And an abandoned Jenga building project - guess I should be more disciplined about putting away my Jenga blocks after I've played with them.... Signs of life, signs of life. And I'll miss all those signs one day, I know it...

Recent Mercies...

670 all of us having a good breakfast together of biscuits, eggs, and bacon on a weekday! 

671 Mrs. M's listening ear and understanding heart

672 getting to see a sweet friend of mine quite unexpectedly, all because she let me drop in on her with very short notice

673 hearing BB play guitar and sing on his breaks the days he works from home

674 cutting an apple for EG, and learning, by His grace, more and more to do these things with a heart of service and tenderness and gratitude

675 from last week: getting a verbal warning when I got pulled over the other day for not signaling a lane change

676 from a while back: organic, grass fed beef, uncured hotdogs on clearance for $1.50 a pack...blessing to have on hand in the freezer for a quick fix meal now and then

677 the big girls BIG surprise to me this morning: they had made their lunches while I was showering! and then they tricked me into thinking it wasn't done yet..."hey mom, why are our lunchboxes on top of the fridge?" Oh, I said, because daddy must have put them there. I go to get them down and make lunches, only to feel that they are full and heavy and ready to go...oh, the girls had a laugh over that, and I did too! Sweet, sweet...

678 Perspective. I've been praying for this family. Their story has me cherishing each moment more and more, and the mother's faith and hope in Christ are...Beautiful.


  1. I don't know what it is about your posts, but I always come away challenged and hopeful. (And a little tearful this morning...emotional over the unsearchable grace and sovereignty of our God!) And your mess photos did the trick--I'm encouraged! :) Thanks for the reminder that what is unseen is more important.


  2. Thank you so much for your inspiring post! And I do have to admit it was nice to see your messiness!

    I have been thinking of that sweet family all day! They are in my prayers as well.

  3. you are brave to post your messes! I have these very similar messes too, but I try to dispatch them and not remember them :)

    You seem to be a wonderful mother - I think you have your priorities straight - and I'm sure you'll get the housekeeping thing figured out. Bless you!