1.28.2012

Dancing with the Avatar



This fictionalized account of a young woman's religious adventures in India will grip you with its sight into the unseen forces that surround us. Her first book opened my eyes to the reality that is more real than what we see, the epic battle between God's will for our lives and Satan's intent for our destruction. Maya is living in an ashram in India and reaching toward enlightenment completely unaware of the struggle for her soul. Her parents are sending their prayers up and activating the angels of God as her eternity hinges on the brink. I loved it, and can't wait for the last book in the series!

Writing My Own Story



Many moons ago, when Josh and I were youth pastors, I was in charge of a group of teenage girls at an Encounter Retreat. In this weekend, the girls were going to come face to face with their past, present, and future; kind of an Ebenezer Scrooge meets Jesus experience. Each night before bed the counselors were given a question to ask the girls. One night I asked them, "If your life were made into a movie, what kind of movie would it be?"

In his newest book, Donald Miller is posed with that very same question. Two guys approach him to make his book, Blue Like Jazz, into a movie and Donald has to rewrite his own memoir for the big screen. The problem is that his life hasn't followed the guidelines of what makes a good story, so he sets out to change all that.

The book, as is customary of all of Miller's books, pulls me into myself, examining my own story and what impact I'm making on the people I encounter each and every day. If my life ever made it to film, would the moviegoers leave before it was over? Would they walk out hating my character or crying and laughing with her? When I get to heaven and get to the Inside the Actors' Studio in the sky, the words I want to hear are, "I knew you had it in you!"

Cannonball!

I did the unspeakable yesterday and walked my kids up to the neighborhood park. Its pretty far on foot, farther than I realized, so I had plenty of time to think about stuff. Taylor came along with me riding her bike and Zi and Mars were in the double stroller. Now somehow since we came off of the mission field our family has expanded and I don't me in family members but in the size of each of our members, do you get my drift??? We work hard for God and come home and eat pasta late at night and don't have time to play outside and run around the yard and stuff. Anyway, we are working on that. So back to the walk. Taylor knows how to ride a bike, but our neighborhood is really hilly and she's not really confident. She will come to a hill and walk her bike down it slowly. I asked her why and she told me she's scared of losing control and a car coming around a corner and hitting her or something. My heart cringed. I flashed back to my own childhood when my sister and I would sneak off to ride our bike down the biggest hill in the neighborhood. It was so steep you had to walk your bike up and burn you brakes on the way down. We would wear ourselves out climbing up and streaking down with our long hair streaming wildly behind us. My mom hated it and would tell us of all the things that could go wrong and we didn't care. It was fun! Or how about jumping into the pool first thing in the morning, I mean as soon as you woke up and the water being so cold you just knew the only way you could get your body in there was to jump in. Run jump cannonball, ice cold water enveloping your whole being and it was breathtaking! What had I done to my child in raising her to think of all the contingencies? I want them to be smart and cautious but not afraid.

Jump ahead to the park that we finally arrived at and I'm brooding over this entire parenting dilemma and how I've ruined my child forever through my poor life coaching skills. But then I catch Emari pushing some kid out of her way on the slide and she's jumping off the dangerous parts of the equipment and screaming in delight and a big kid runs into and sends her sprawling in the dirt and she gets up, shakes the wood chips out of her hair and keeps going. I'm worried for an instant that she might get hurt or some parent will get upset with her and I realize that my heart has reached an equilibrium. Two children, same parents, same environment, different responses.

We are going to work on both of the extremes here in our house of course, but applying this concept to my own life I realize I need to find my own equilibrium. Considerate but not overly cautious to the point of not doing anything at all. I read somewhere recently that a clenched fist can hold onto what it has but not receive anything else. So simple but true.

1.15.2012

Sacred Marriage


Seems like everybody's reading this book. I read it after it was recommended to me and I'm so glad I picked it up. A little skeptical at first glance, being that I've read just about every book known to bookstores about marriage, but I was pleasantly surprised. It never fails to amaze me how I get to the point of prideful resignation on a topic thinking that I've learned all there is and then God shows me more. And He's polite about it. "Here, Amber, read this book. It might help."

The author, Gary Thomas, dares to provoke us by stating that maybe marriage isn't about our happiness but about our holiness. That explains a lot. Those things that even after almost 17 years of marriage, I just get so irritated about, they are pushing me closer to God, not further from my husband. Once more, look at my inconsistencies, not my spouse's. My sins, not his. How can I better serve my family, not my own devices. Marriage isn't so much about finding the one who will make me happy, but the one that I can make happy. Service to others is service to God and He loves me so much that He will use any instrument at his disposal to draw me closer to His presence and likeness.
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