March 21, 2010

New Projects

I have been knitting almost every evening.....I find it very relaxing and fulfilling. There is a sense of accomplishment each time I finish a project and know that I am able to gift it to someone.  I have made several new projects over the past few weeks and I wanted to share pictures of them with you:

Here is my first baby blanket.  It was very easy to knit and it ended up being very soft and comfy. My kids love it!!
Here are a few new dishcloths I knitted for my MIL's birthday:

And on this dishcloth (I already posted a picture of it previously) I had a friend add a crocheted border:     
Next, I learned how to make these cute little scrubby thingies to use when washing dishes:
And I finished up another scarf:       
Finally, the latest project to be completed in our house was not completed by was Cole's.  A few weeks ago Cole drew a picture and entered it in a contest at school. The contest was for this: 3 music stands were going to be donated to the school for a fundraiser. One 6th, one 7th, and one 8th grade student would be chosen to paint a music stand for the fundraiser. Cole's picture was chosen.  He was very excited until it came down to the actual painting of the stand! He never thought far enough ahead to realize that he had never painted anything and we had no idea where to start!  We have a friend from church who is a professional painter and he got us started with primer, paints and brushes.  Cole finished up the stand tonight, and it will be raffled off at the fundraiser on Tuesday night. Here are a couple of pictures of the finished project:
I think he did a really good job!

March 10, 2010

Who Am I, By the Grace of God?

I have joined a ladies bible study with a few other women from our church, and we meet on Wednesday mornings.  We are going to study Ephesians, but after 3 weeks of meetings we have only read the 1st half of verse 1 so far!  This isn't because we aren't focused.....the first week we talked and got to know each other a little better, and the past two weeks we have watched a video with speaker John Lynch. I really enjoyed the video and gleaned a lot out of it, but what I have been thinking on the most is the question that was asked of us the first week....."Who are you, by the grace of God?"
This question was prompted after our reading of the 1st half of the 1st verse of Ephesians, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the grace of God..."  some versions read, "by the will of God".  Our leader told us about how she gets so excited about those words.....Paul knew who he was by the grace/will of God, so she asked us who we are by the grace/will of God.  The first thing I said I am is a princess!  That's right!! I am a child of the KING and that makes me a princess. I talked about how we (the children of God) don't often live like we are children of a KING.  We often live like we are the peasants in the street begging for acceptance and the forgiveness that we have ALREADY BEEN GIVEN!!!  I told her about how when we are young girls we play like we are princesses all day long, and then once we really, truly become one we don't even accept it as fully as we should.
The other ladies talked about how they are wives, mothers, day care workers, teachers, soccer moms, bill payers, cooks, maids....etc.  Our leader said that she wasn't going to let them get away that easily.....those are roles we play but that isn't who we are.  So, they said they were going to have to think about it more to see if they could figure out who they are.
The more I thought about it the more I thought that at this point in my life I am a learner by the grace/will of God. 
I am learning to be a mother to a 6 month old and a middle schooler.  It isn't that I have never been the mother to a 6 month old before, but I have never been the mother of a middle schooler before....and definitely not at the same time as being the mother of a 6 month old!
I am learning to knit!  I think that the craftiness that God has put in me is allowing me to learn new things at this point in my life.
I am learning to teach my kids how to be godly young men and women.
I am learning to be a stay-at-home mom again after having worked outside of the home for the past 6 years.
I am learning to be more relaxed about things that seem important to me but can really wait until another day.
I am learning to be a better wife.....Ben and I have been married 14 years, and I am finally learning not to take things personally and to let him be who he is by the grace of God.
I am learning to be the wife of a worship pastor.....because of this I am looked at and watched more closely than ever before.
I am learning that God isn't keeping tally of how many times per day I start a prayer and never "finish" it, or how many times I sit down to do bible study only to be interrupted by a child, or even how many minutes I spend in bible study every day.....He cares about my heart and the time that I DO spend with Him even if it is at 3 a.m. while I am nursing a baby.
Yes, at this time in my life I am a learner and I really don't think I will ever stop learning. I look forward to a time that I can take the things I learn and someday use them to teach others......because another thing I am by the grace/will of God is a teacher.  I pray now that I can practice and change because of the things I am learning and for the opportunity to use them to teach others.

March 5, 2010

Finding God in Forrest Gump

Last week was "you can't get enough of Gump" week on the television. It had been a while since we last watched Forrest Gump--we used to own the movie, but apparently loaned   gave it out  to someone and never got it back--so we decided to turn it on for the evening.  I was enjoying some knitting while watching, but I put down my knitting to watch the scene where Forrest is speaking at the mall in D.C.  At the end of his speech, Jenny runs across the water screaming, "Forrest! Forrest!" and Forrest runs after her screaming, "Jenny!"  As this scene played out, I said to Ben, "This part always makes me cry." He looked at me as if to say, "Typical female.....crying for no reason."  I then went on to say, "Forrest loves her so much. Jenny has not been nice to him, she has rejected his attempts to have a relationship with her, she has returned (unopened) all of his letters, and yet when she runs after him he runs right back with arms open wide and no condemnation in his heart."  I told Ben that Forrest loves Jenny like God loves us.....unconditionally.
Ben was a little surprised at what I had said and as he began to think about it, he agreed that  Forrest shows Jenny the agape love that God shows to us. 
Agape love is best defined in I Corinthians 13--the familiar chapter on love.  What we rarely focus on from this chapter is that the love that is defined in all these verses is agape....not eros or philos.  This chapter is read at weddings, for husbands and wives, but we never mention that it is impossible for us to truly agape each other without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  It is very clear that agape is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, is not rude, is never obscene, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, never fails!  I don't know about you, but I know that I cannot truly agape someone without God in my life.  Our human nature goes against it. Take for example Forrest Gump many of us would have kept a record of wrongs [just one characteristic from the list] with Jenny?  We would have said, "You didn't write back, you didn't even read my letters, you returned them must not care about ME, so I am just going to forget about you."  Isn't that how we treat people?  And isn't it true  that most people would say Forrest was "weak" or a "wimp" because he didn't treat Jenny like that? When I watched Forrest run to Jenny with just about every characteristic of agape, I thought about how wonderful it would be for us to totally surrender our hearts to God so that we too would agape the people in our lives.  If we would just surrender to the empowerment and temperament of the Holy Spirit He will fill us! 
Oswald Chambers said, "Love is the sovereign preference of my person for another person, and when the Holy Spirit is in you, that other person is Jesus. The only lover of the Lord Jesus Christ is the Holy Ghost."  

Beth Moore explained it by saying, "Do you realize that even the capacity to love God is completely divine and supernatural? Upon your constant request and deepest heart's desire, God will supply you with a divine, ever-growing love for Himself."   If we truly love God, then we will love as God loves.....which means we will then be able to love the people that we thought we couldn't love.  How exciting is that?  It isn't up to us to "make" ourselves love others! It isn't because we aren't patient or kind enough [on our own]! It isn't because of any "fault" of our own because we didn't "try" hard enough.  We can't do it on our own!! It is simply because we haven't surrendered to the Holy Spirit in that area.  HE does the rest!!

Think on this and ask God to give you the ability to truly love Him and  in turn show that love to others through agape [love].