Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mighty Waters

Good morning! How are you today? Are you doing well? :)

As most of you precious friends know, Kenn and I were planning on spending about five months in Oregon; God's been working in Kenn's heart, however, and he is SUPER homesick. I'm home for a couple of weeks because of needing insulin.

God was speaking to me the day I took this photo, but I didn't clearly hear what He was saying until I was at church Sunday, and Pastor Barbie was speaking about dehydration. (If you want to hear the teaching, please click here!) It was a wonderful teaching - and while she was explaining the way God teaches us about spiritual things is through His creation many times, things CLICKED in my brain. :D

So. His Word is water - water for our souls, for our cleansing, to drench our thirst. We know it, but is it still just in our brains, or has it made its way to our HEART knowledge, too? I'm afraid it hasn't for many of us - or it keeps going back and forth. :)

That's the way I am. I thirst for His Word, then life happens - and I allow it to distract me. And then it takes a LOT of discipline to get back to where I'm thirsty again. And I really hate that cycle.

Now, on to what God showed me! :) If you can stand to watch this wiggly home video (I think the first couple of seconds are the worst!) I shot on the beach, it shows pretty well what I'm trying to explain:

Ocean erosion

See, I'm the rock. I'm very set in my ways, not going anywhere, resisting everything - even if I don't realize it. My heart is seemingly made of stone.

What can change me? The water.

As you can see, the waves are never-ending. They continually beat on the shore - and if that's rock, that's fine. They crash in places, sending up great BOOMS as the water disperses into the air. And it doesn't look like anything happens to the rock.

But it does! And although I may not be able to see the change taking place in a day, or even a week, I can tell you from my many times visiting this place (This is our favorite place we've ever found together, Yachats, OR.) that the breaking up of the rocks, the changing of the landscape, is really happening quickly. It's surprised me how quickly, actually; the volcanic rock looks and feels SO solid, but in only 15 years, I've seen HUGE rocks reduced to small chunks by the ocean.

The water is relentless. It is steady. And it is altering everything in its path in one way or another.

This new cave formation simply fascinated me. SO much energy is being created in its formation.

I have more to share. But I think this is enough to chew on for a bit. :)

Please let me know if you have comments, questions, or prayer requests!! I miss you guys! :) BE BLESSED, dear ones!!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Permissible? Yes. But is it BENEFICIAL?

Hello, dear friends! How is your new year going? Can you believe this is the last full week of January?

There's something weighing heavily on my heart that I need to share. I'm going to share briefly how I feel about a specific subject, then give you two things I really hope you'll read.

There's yet another subject that has caused people to have knee-jerk reactions in our country: gun control. Now, I'm not taking sides. I'm sharing what I feel, in my heart. But I want to share something that I recently experienced....

Some of you know that Kenn and I did a show a couple of weeks ago; it was written by a friend, Frank Fox, as a follow-up to another show he'd written. The first show was call PHISH CAMP, and the second GIL'S GIFT. Fun, lighthearted stuff. But I wasn't associated with the first play.

GIL'S GIFT had two different characters who had to use firearms. And because we couldn't find realistic-looking props in such a short amount of time, the director got the two grown men real firearms to use.

As stage manager, it was my job to make sure all the props got to where they needed to be. This SHOULD have included these firearms. But when I tried the first time we had them, I couldn't carry one of them twenty yards. When I picked it up, not only could I feel the physical weight of it, but also the responsibility weight associated with it. I mean, think about it: for what end purpose would you use a gun? You might go to the range to practice, but practice to do what? Use that deadly force against someone. Even though I had no intention of doing anything but carrying that firearm, in its holster, to another place to be given to someone else, I couldn't do it. I had to allow the firearms guy to be in charge of them completely - and he was fine with that. It's the first time I've not been able to do a part of my job. But it wasn't that I wouldn't. It was, indeed, that I could not.

My dad had a rifle in the house while I was growing up. He might still have it upstairs in his closet; I really don't know. Nor do I want to. If he feels he wants it, just in case, it's his RIGHT.

Yes. It is a RIGHT. But I'll stick with this Scripture:
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
~I Corinthians 10:23-24

The Message puts it this way:
Looking at it one way, you could say, “Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster.” But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.

Please truly think about and pray about your stance. Don't just say what I've heard too many say - "It's my right, and no one's gonna stop me." We're supposed to do EVERYTHING for God's glory, dear friend. EVERYTHING. Please don't make an exception here. And if you feel led differently than I, then you follow what the Holy Spirit is telling YOU!

OK. I got that off my chest. :)

Now, then. To the two resources I'd LOVE you to check out:
My friend, Keith Giles.
 I think you'll love what he has to say. It will at LEAST make you think.
Prodigal Magazine
I absolutely LOVE this article. And it's what made me post this blog post; too many times, I throw up my hands because I don't believe people listen when it's a huge issue. But I have to still TRY. :)

OK, my friend. I hope you can hear my heart in this post. Even if you disagree with my position, the thing that I believe in more than anything in this post is that there's NO reason we can't agree to disagree, that unity in His Bride is more important than we realize and that we need to be able to love each other through anything! And if you want to dialogue, I'm here. And I love you. :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Brokenness and Imperfections

Happy New Year, dear friend! How are you? How's your 2013 so far? I don't know why, but this week has DRAGGED. It's not like I'm not doing stuff, but oh, well. :D

If you're my friend on Facebook, you probably know all about what I've been up to. (If you're not, and you'd like to be, send me a request! LORI STILGER. :) ) But let me share a bit, anyway. I mean, that's why I started this blog, right? :D

I spent two weeks in College Station, Texas, taking care of my then-three-month-old niece. This is my baby sister's baby. You know there are VERY few people in the entire world I'd take two weeks out of my December to do something like that for. :D But it was an honor. And hard work! LOL! Fortunately, the baby is SO easy to care for, not fussy at all, and such a beautiful baby. Here, I'll put a picture of us from that visit here!Isn't she beautiful?


While I was there, Baby and I made some presents for the rest of the family; they were salt dough ornaments, and we used ONE hand and ONE foot to mark the dough, then let them dry.

Well, as you can see from my photo at the top of this post, mine is the imperfect one. When we first made this one, I thought, "Oh, no! It's ruined! Man, if only I'd gotten her hand straighter before we put pressure on the dough!"

But you know what? The more I watched it dry, the more I started to cherish this plaque in particular. the rest might have been more "perfect", but THIS one, I understood. THIS one, her delight in the texture and feel of the dough are made evident in the way she wanted to FEEL it - first with her hand, then with her big toe!

And it tied itself right into a lesson God's been developing in my heart over the last few months.

See, many times we come to a place in our lives where we have to fight despising the brokenness and imperfections in our past (or current) lives. The cracks and chips that happen when we choose to go our own ways, to live how WE think we want to. When we allow God to put us back together, those aren't glossed over. They're still there; we may be held together by His grace, but we can still see every crack, still feel where the chips are glued back together.

Dear friend, what He's been teaching me is that our brokenness and imperfections are SO useable by Him! Think about a candle holder (there's a really special one that I cannot find the info on, so I'll have to explain!!!) that's been cracked and broken. The owner puts it back together, and puts a candle into it. The light of the candle shines through the cracks, shedding light and warmth through where it couldn't shine through before.

God's the One Who puts us back together again. The candle is the Holy Spirit, shining the light of Jesus through us to the world. What a MIRACLE that is. So, I try not to despise those things in my life anymore, but turn them over to the Father, so He can use them to shed His light into others' lives. And to not give Satan something to hold over me. If it's out in the open, he can't torment me with feelings of guilt and condemnation!

I've been learning a lot. It takes a while to solidify into words, but I hope these words help you in some way. :) Be BLESSED, dear one. Know you are loved with an everlasting love, and that God does ALL things well! That includes creating YOU.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Life and Death

 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
 a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
  a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Hello, dear friends. My heart is full of "stuff" to share with you. Some of you know what my week has been like, and some of you will have no clue at all.

First, I have to tell you - and proclaim it from the rooftops! - GOD IS GOOD. He has plans for all of us. And He works ALL things for His glory, for the good of those who love Him and are called, according to His purposes.

A week ago today, my youngest nephew, Elijah David (right), died. It was a stunning blow for our family; his family had been here a week before! It was my time to meet him. So it was incredibly difficult to think he was gone

But God had gone before us, and given us that time with him. We have wonderful, precious memories of him. And every one of us in my family has thanked God for the time we had with Elijah. No one has asked, "WHY?" I am so blessed to be a part of this family, who all have faith in the One Who holds it *all* in His hands.

Let me tell you about God's timing. On Tuesday, the day that Elijah's temporary, earthly vessel was put into the ground, my other sister had her first baby, Naomi Faith (left, obviously!). My middle sister was so excited for our baby sister; she said she'd be able to remember the 22nd as a day of joy.

It's been a difficult week, full of emotion - but also full of healing, of faith, of blessing, and of love.

And I'm sharing this with you for several reasons. First, because I must. My heart is still hurting, and it helps to talk about it. :) Second, because I know some of you have experienced a loss of some kind, also. And I want you to know that God knows your hurt. He sees the pain you still feel. And He loves you. He wants to help you grieve. Not "get over it", but turn it over to Him and let the grief be what He wants it to be, not become bitterness in your heart.

And third, because pain and loss are part of walking on this Earth. If you've not experienced a close loss yet, you will. And I want to encourage you: love Him now. Let Him grow you now. Experience how BIG God is now - and when something happens, you'll be able to trust His goodness, mercy, grace, and love without trying. You'll know He has plans for you, and that He will work it ALL for good.

Thank you for reading this. :) Thank you for your love, and for your encouragement and support. I am SO blessed to have each one of you in my life. Please continue to pray for our family, as we continue to walk through this loss together. And REJOICE with us, in the birth of Naomi!!!!

And if you need prayer, or to talk, or *anything*, please let me know! Be BLESSED, dear one. You are SO loved by the Father!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sometimes in our lives....

Hello, dear ones! I know I'm very sporadic over here; I'm sorry, but I'm glad you love me enough to come check once in a while. :)

Tonight, I read Beth Moore's blog, and had to come talk to you. :) Actually, to ask you a couple of questions.

If you're over 39, do you have someone younger than you that you kind of mentor, or encourage, or love on? Do you feel like that's an important thing for you?

If you're under 39, do you have someone in your life who does any of the above for you? Do you wish you had someone to do so, if you don't presently? How do you feel about approaching someone if you'd like that kind of relationship?

The older I get, the more I know how important this kind of relationship is - one that allows us to see someone older's walk, to share ours with them. to gain insight into their understanding of God that can only come with walking with Him.

I'm really blessed; I can look back on my life and see that I've almost always had that kind of person. Sometimes, they didn't have much choice - I was best friends with their son or daughter, I was appointed to them at church, I decided I liked them and they needed me to be around. :D

I'd love to hear what you're doing, what you think, how you FEEL. I'd also love to know where God's got you right now. Are you in a place where you really wish you could just let it all out to someone? Or are you in a place where you want to be His arms for someone, to help a younger person get through some of the - well, I'm going to call them "focus" issues. :D It's all where we place our focus, isn't it?

TALK TO ME. :D I love you! I really, really think this is an important issue, just as Beth does. I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Layers of my Heart

Hello, sweet friends! I hope you're still out there. :) If you keep up with me on Facebook, you know that life continues to be interesting. First, we're planning on living in Oregon six months of the year next year; a lot has to do with our health. God continues to open doors, so we'll see what happens! :) Second, I really feel led to go into counseling - and God's been really, really specific about it. GRIEF counseling. I'm excited, because I want Him to use me in His Body, but at the same time, there's a lot of different options to consider, and it's a bit scary. However, I KNOW if He brings me to it, He'll bring me through it! :D

I just felt led today to say that there are layers of me that no one but God knows. There are things I simply cannot share with another human being; not because I've done horrendous things to someone, but because the sharing of those things would be a breach of trust with someone else. And I will never do that. Still, those hidden layers get heavy sometimes.

I cannot tell you how grateful I am that HE hears me. That HE hears my heart cry out when it feels too heavy. When what I'm going through would be so much easier if I could just TELL someone, I CAN. And then, He whispers, blows through with His Holy Spirit, and dusts me off and puts me back on the path in His ability. Not mine; I know better. And when those times are blowing away, I can't help but tell Him, again and again, how grateful I am that He is capable of more than I'll ever need.

If you're there, I encourage you: tell Him. He is steady. he is capable. Everything else is shifting sand. Especially what you can do in your own ability, my friend. Give it to Him.

I love you! You are SO special. Be BLESSED today, dear one! Know He is holding you in His gentle arms!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Days like today make it SO difficult to think about leaving this place. Some people consider the desert to be Heaven-on-Earth; some the mountains, some the cities. For me, THIS is it. It rained and was foggy early this morning; we really thought it was going to be like that all day, which is wonderful here, too. However, Kenn left to get some more wave photos, and it really turned beautiful. I'm sitting about five feet from the door onto the deck, which has a plexiglass insert so all I see is the floor, the top and side railings, and the ocean.

The tide must be on its way in; the waves are hurrying to get to the rocks and cover them. It's got to be in the mid-50s; the door is wide open, so I can hear each crashing wave, the rollin surf, and feel the little bursts of breeze. There's a possible cloud line out on the horizon, but the sky is blue with whisps of clouds. The water is a dark gray-blue underneath the whitecaps and foam.

What IS it that I love so much about the ocean? I didn't exactly grow up on the ocean - the last I looked, Indiana was landlocked. True, Indiana holds a close second in my heart, but here, where the Pacific Ocean meets the coast of the U.S., is where I feel closest to God, to who I *am*, and to where I feel His presence and peace the most.

It's not that I DO much when I'm in that place of His presence and peace. For the most part, I watch as each wave breaks; they're all so different, so unique. It's not that I see anyone special while I'm here; even Kenn is gone. And it's not like the ocean is peaceful; in my lifetime, I've seen it destroy countries, claim land back to itself, and claim countess lives.

So what is it? I keep trying to figure it out. I do think some of it is that the roar of the waves blocks out all other sounds. I have stupid cat hearing, for those of you who aren't around me much. Sounds bother me. I can hear something two blocks away if I don't have the TV on at home. :) So blocking out the everyday noises certainly allows me to hear God's voice better. So I'm sure some of it's that.

But not all.

We only have one week left in this place. It makes me incredibly sad to know that, but I am SO grateful for the time I've had here. For the absolute beauty God has surrounded me with here. For the photos I've been able to use to capture and share a tiny bit of His wonderful heart.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think there's a wave to video.