Thursday, February 4, 2010
Catching up on the latest...
Wow I haven't had a new posting for February yet.....time got away from me. I'm putting together the highlights from the past several days to share.
On Sunday we finished a sermon series on the Holy Spirit that was powerful and encouraging. It was a four part series and this last part was one that I could very much relate to. It was titled "pain filled prayer" looking at Romans 8:18-27. I will share verse 26 since that captures how the Holy Spirit is at work. 26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. How powerful! When I'm in those times I feel like I can't pray or am so far from God I can't connect, the Holy Spirit in my knows exactly what to pray for me and intercedes on my behalf! That is powerful.
Our speaker focused on the work of the Holy Spirit when you are suffering or in pain. He shared that during times of suffering there may come a point where God seems absent or we feel furthest away from him and it's at those times he said, that the Holy Spirit is doing his greatest work in you. This took me back to the days of my depression, when I was in that place of separation. I felt so far from God, I couldn't "find" him anymore or even hear his voice. I had no idea at the time, since this was the first time I had experienced any type of depression or suffering on this level, I had no idea this was when the Lord was doing his greatest work in me. The time I finally got better happened after I went into the hospital a 2nd time and then was living with my son at my sister's home for a month. My meds had been changed which I think was a big help and I began working through the things that brought me tons of anxiety until the anxiety started going away. That part (the anxiety going away) I credit to the Lord's hand since it came about so quickly and I was able to return home to Wisconsin and only got better once I was home. So I'm grateful for this sermon and how it reminds me of all the work the Lord did even when I couldn't feel his presence. I praise him for never leaving me like his promise in Deuteronomy 31:6...For the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Thank you Lord.
The highlight for me on Monday was during a time I was making (or trying to make) homemade bread. The bread turned out to be a flop since it never did rise (the yeast was probably a year old but I didn't realize until after). The neat thing was while working on the bread Julian wanted to be in the kitchen with me. I continue to introduce things in the kitchen to him like talking about what I'm doing and what I'm making, letting him hold the spoon with me as I stir, so I tried to think of something fun for him. I ended up getting out a big soup pot and putting a little water in it and then I let him hold the spoon as we sprinkled some flour into the pot. I called it "flour soup" and gave him a wire whisk and showed him how to stir. He went from standing over the pot and stirring to getting intensely involved, sitting on the floor with the pot between his legs just stirring and stirring. Apparently he was having too much fun because I starting seeing a little puddle on the floor and caught him sticking his hands down into the pot, then I noticed his clothes both top and pants were soaked! He was wet through to his onesie and yet he loved every minute of it.
On Tuesday we started a new class, Toddler Time at the library. They sing songs, do rhymes and finger play for 20 minutes in a small group. I was a little nervous since Julian tends to wander a bit when we aren't carrying him around so I didn't know what he'd be like but he was great. He did really well sitting on his little carpet square and was very intent on watching everyone. He didn't join in with the clapping or wiggling of his feet, and things but I think that was more because he was entranced watching everyone else. Afterward we had fun hanging out at the library where he was drawing with crayons, going in and out of a little crawl space building and I was picking out books for him. He just loves books. When we're hanging out at home he will pick out and bring book after book and say "sit?", "read?" and he can be read to for hours. What I love most is watching him stand with a book open on the couch and he's "reading" it to himself! I have to get that on video so he can watch himself someday.
Later that night we had our small group meeting (a group of people from our church) yet only 1 person could come so she came to our house and we had a good time of sharing about what God's been doing in our lives, sharing areas that we need prayer and places we were reading in the Bible and what we're learning about.
On Wednesday we went to our play group called "Pal Zone" which meets at a local church. I'm starting to get to know a few of the moms there. It's been intense for me since there is some refereeing I end up doing as the kids interact with one another and some crying or squabbling comes up. That's helping to stretch me in patience and discerning when I need to step in and help. A neat part of the group time is doing a craft after story time and since the story was about a bear they had a bear mask that each of the children were given to color and put on a stick. At times Julian's attention span isn't quite long enough to focus on the craft the entire time but today he was focused. He had such intensity about him as he was coloring that our leader "Birch" was commenting on it. We came home with a nice scribbly brown & red mask. I really see how he's learning and growing from watching him in circle time. Today was the first time he went to the front of the room when they called his name and he picked up his name tag and put it on the board by himself. I was so proud of him. In the past he's gone up there but not really known what to do so I directed him. It's so neat to see him get things on his own.
Another fun thing was our field trip to the pet store. I got him (yet another) fish today. This is after going through TWELVE of them already. I was talked into getting the tropical fish but this time got the 27 cent goldfish and I think he's going to be around a while. He's actually very pretty, gold/orange with a black stripe down is back with a black tail. We named him George. So we have a goldfish and a shrimp (algae eater) as the shrimp was the only thing to survive all those rounds of fish.
Today we had our Titus group which is our mom's group at our church. The pastor's wife was speaking today about safeguarding our marriage. This was really good information which was practical and down to earth ways to take steps of keeping your marriage relationship a priority.
Finally, I again see another theme that the Lord is bringing out through my life. I think I said before I always pay attention when I see or hear the same verse or subject in different ways like it's God's way of speaking to me that something is important. Lately this theme is about prayer. A little story about that is that I've wanted to do something where I'm serving in ministry, sharing my gifts/talents to help others yet it's been hard to think of something to do that won't cost money like having to hire a babysitter to do it. Then I remembered a place I volunteered before and that's Carenet Pregnancy Center. They help women in crisis pregnancies as their main ministry but also help women who have gone through an abortion and are struggling about it afterward. I began to pray if this was where the Lord wanted me to be serving as I remembered they had prayer volunteers who were sent information weekly on how to pray for the various ministries. It was neat to see God's hand in this as I emailed my friend who is the director and she said this has been a burden on her heart for a while, to gather a team to pray for Whole Heart which is there post-abortion ministry. I remember thinking how easy it would be to think praying on a weekly basis isn't really "doing" much for sharing gifts or serving. But deep in my heart I felt the Lord saying and showing me how important the ministry of prayer is. How he is deeply moved by prayer. Then there were two different places that I saw prayer as the focus. One was on a newsletter I am getting, they were actually offering a free CD entitled "Life-Changing Prayer" and another place was a Christian woman speaker's website (Nancy Leigh DeMoss) about the importance of prayer. I see the room for growth I have since my prayer life has dwindled of late and now the last couple days I've had times of rich prayer where I give myself open time just to let the Lord lead and my mind goes to many different people, family, friends, situations and it's been very fulfilling. So again I thank the Lord for his continuing work in my life and what he reveals to me.