Thursday, January 27, 2011

Loving One Another

Winter Hydrangea

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 13:34

It is out of love, devotion, deference, and obedience to our Saviour that we must always strive to love one another. And maybe more importantly, the question is whether or not we are willing.

Being quick to encourage and show mercy when our flesh/sin nature dictates being critical and self-righteous.

Often, I am quick to be critical, unmerciful, and treat someone shabby when they are at their most vulnerable instead of allowing myself to be used of Him to encourage, edify, and simply without conditions...and pour myself out as He poured Himself out for me.

Mountain Mint (Seedhead) in Winter

Too much of the time I am puffed up with my own righteousness (as if I had any), my own view of how it all should be and put up walls between those that I feel don't deserve my love.

Winter Walk

In my refusing to love and serve others, I am refusing to be used of Him, refusing the blessing of enlarging my spiritual heart, refusing to line up with Him, and instead isolating myself which does nothing but cause my world to be smaller, my heart smaller.

Pasture and a Dusting of Snow

It is easy (most of the time) to love our children, our spouses, our friends, but we are called to love the rest of the family of Christ also.
This includes those that irritate us, are difficult, may be puffed-up with their own self-importance, and those that are living in iniquity.
We are not the Judge, but the vessels that are to tactfully and lovingly direct our brothers and sisters back to the one that can heal and bring about restoration. Yet, I find myself avoiding these people as I don't want to feel uncomfortable. 

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At times there is a chip on my shoulder against those that appear to have more, may have had the ideal childhood, the ideal parents, and I judge them harshly, foolishly believing they have no idea of what poverty, and abandonment really feel like.

Corral Fence Needs a'Fixin

Sadly, the walls are put up by me and many times I hold these people at arm's length justifying my behaviour and believing that these particular people are probably ungrateful and truly cannot understand the depth of love of those that have been brought out of great sin and pain.
This of course is deception.
Has the evil one so completely deceived me that I walk, talk, and carry on daily so utterly duped into believing that others can't possibly be as grateful to Him as I?
What conceit on my part and how my heart breaks to think that in all my silly thoughts the focus has truly been on me, not my King, not His purposes, not His will be done, but my will be done.
Tragically sad!

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:18

Recently, I posted an entry here that told of a confrontation between myself and a fellow brother in Christ.
He attempted to "correct" me in front of my children and I took offense.
Boy, did I take offense. But at the time I truly believed I was right to do so.
The Lord would let me know otherwise and faithfully He grieved my heart until I approached this man and apologized.
No, it wasn't easy, but I had to be obedient.
I apologized for my angry outburst and told him that I had already forgiven him for correcting me in front of my children. I went on to explain that my apology didn't mean that I was admitting he was right in the matter, but that I should have handled the whole situation in love and gentleness, not with angry words and showing obvious offense. The relationship has been mended and I can go on... progressing prayerfully, and with my Lord's help, faithful when I'm called to "love" again.
This "loving one another" is not easy...not for me anyway.
But wonderfully my Savior is Love, the creator and fullest expression of Love!
He will continue to guide me and show me His way, transforming me as I search and study His Word.
And it is that...His perfect and unfailing love, that I'm counting on.
Love one another, Julie


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Our Days Are Numbered

Honey Locust in the Pasture

Strange, lately I've been a bit more melancholy than usual.
Maybe it's due to my being forty-six and female which really screams, "hormonal!" at many different levels.
It could also be this head cold (are there any other kind?) that seems to keep me in a chronic daze.

I've also considered that it may be caused by my mothers needing me more than usual of late. And her overall condition being one of dependency on me.
This past visit, where we tried to have her knee replacement surgery done, I was acutely aware of how old she's really frail...and feeble, her body worn out.
I became more aware of her mortality.
And in becoming more aware of her mortality, I became more aware of my own.

Days of climbing stairs to the children's bedrooms remind me that these knees are not new.
I'm reminded of many years ago, sitting in my grandparents living room, and watching Barnaby Jones, my grandmother complained about her knees.
Not much later, she would have surgery on both of them and the picture is still crystal clear in my mind of her scarred knees, the walker, and the sighing, groaning, and moaning.
Our days are numbered. Not to say that with sadness but to alert me to the fact that I have little time to make a difference, a positive difference in the lives that He has entrusted me with.
I take so much for granted and blindly walk through life at times begrudging the housework, the responsibilities, even so sadly the time I must give to my family.
Selfish, selfish I.
The time will not be is precious and fleeting.
My days are numbered, my time measured.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Figuring Life Out - One Thousand Gifts

Her words haunt, inspire, and encourage.
Her words make me weep with regret and want to attack life with a gusto that I haven't experienced in so long.
Her words are poetic, gentle, stirring, and profound.
Open your eyes and see the gifts He has so abundantly and generously given us!

You can go here, to read more about Ann Voskamp's Book, "One Thousand Gifts."

This is definitely on my future reading list.
Blessings, Julie

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Video

A good friend posted this on my wall at facebook.
He also posted it at his blog, Timothy Matters .
It's definitely worth a look.
And I must add...seriously convicting.

 "Holiness" by Micah Stampley

Holiness, holiness is what I long for

Holiness is what I need

Holiness, holiness is what You

want from me

Holiness, holiness is what I long for

Holiness is what I need

Holiness, holiness is what You

want from me

So, take my heart and form it

Take my mind and transform it

Take my will and conform it

To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord

Faithfulness, faithfulness is what I long for

Faithfulness is what I need

Faithfulness, faithfulness is what

You want from me

Brokenness, brokenness is what I long for

Brokenness is what I need

Brokenness, brokenness is what

You want from me

Prayerfully, Julie

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brrrr! This Post Is Not About The Weather

Frozen Forsythia
This past Sunday, I left my kids, Tim, and the bucolic farm life to drive down to Southwest Oklahoma.

On my way, I sashayed through the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge to see how the wildlife were faring.

"You guys faring okay?"
"Huh, what?! Faring...what's that supposed to mean?
Deer @ The Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge

Then I made my way further South and onto my husband's parent's house...where I spent the night.
The next morning, I was up dark and early at 3:50 AM.
I drove the forty miles on slick, icy (this is not a post about the weather) roads to Frederick to pick up my mom as she had knee replacement surgery scheduled thirty-five miles away at Altus at 7:00AM.
We arrived at the hospital in Altus at 6:30.

Frozen Forsythia II

A nurse came in to take her vitals and start prepping her for surgery. She glanced at Mom's ankles and lower legs and noticed a considerable amount of swelling.
The surgeon was in Mom's room within fifteen minutes examining her ankles and legs.

Frozen Forsythia III

Tests were ordered and to make a long story short, the surgery was canceled.
I drove Mom back to Frederick and then proceeded home encountering snow three fourths of the way home.
A wasted trip? No, I don't think so.
We're taking all of this one day at a time and trusting the Lord in it.

Gonna throw a fact out there. This AM it was 9 degrees with a windchill of -5.
Just a fact, a seriously cold hard fact.
Thanks for clickin' over,
In The Deep Freeze, Julie 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Visions of Spring Dancin' in My Head


Wonderfully, I've found that many of you presently are of likemind out there in the real world, the cold winter world. We're dreaming of Spring and all its offerings, blessings, and warmth.
I've been enjoying all the Spring gardening planning posts that I've been reading at some of my favorite blogs...and dreamin' and plannin' my own garden.


This year, one of my goals is that the children and I join one of our local farmers markets and sell eggs, produce, and flowers. I don't know that it will be wholly accomplished. We'll see.


But forgive me for being a weather whiner, long awaited projects are beginning to take shape during these frigid days, also.
Tim's parents came this past weekend to celebrate Christmas and his dad lent his muscles and building expertise to a play structure that Tim has been planning for quite some time.
He found the plans here


A friend of the family came over to help and brought his whole family (wife and all five kiddos). We had a blast! And the guys got so much done.


With two tractors and plenty of muscle, the largest part of the project was completed...getting the six large poles in the ground.

The kids are excited and looking forward to the finished product as am I!
Tim's mother surprised the girls with sweatshirts and now they're the "Christian Chicks."


My mother has knee replacement surgery next Monday. I'm really desiring your prayers in this area as I've heard so many discouraging accounts of how hard it is to recuperate from this particular type of surgery. Please pray her knee would heal quickly without incident and that the Lord would continue to provide all that she needs. She's had such a tough time in this life and admittedly so much of it is due to unwise decisions and her mental health issues, but God is merciful and she's precious to Him, too.

A good blogging friend of mine, Sally, is having a fun and creative contest at her blog, Diamonds in the Rough. Recently, she posted a picture of her girls "getting into the Word" at her site. I commented, "P31's in progress." To which she commented back here that this was every morning before breakfast. In fact the motto at their house is, "No Bible, no breakfast."
I loved it!!! And I was challenged...really. So for the past two mornings we've all read our Bibles and then had Bible study and prayer afterward before breakfast. I am determined to keep it up. Keep me accountable and ask me sometime if we're continuing to read our Bibles every morning before breakfast, please.
Thanks for clicking over and God bless!