Have you ever noticed?

John and I have committed to once every other month making a large batch of soup for a ministry that serves the homeless in downtown Portland.

It’s not much.

The need is so great.

But, it’s something that we can do – and do joyfully.

Honestly – it’s kind of fun – I get to experiment with all kinds of fun soups that the boys would NEVER in a million years eat – and are all sorts of fabulous – and someone will actually enjoy and appreciate them. I love that.

Today it’s white chili.

I’ve never made it before. What with being allergic to chicken and the boys being opposed to any form of bean – yeah, not high on the menu planning priority list. It smells great, and was – frankly – really easy to throw together. Now it will just simmer while we wait for the very nice lady from church to come pick it up and deliver it to where it needs to go.

John and I have mentioned to one another countless times how ironic it is that whenever it is our turn to make soup for this ministry some event or the other – or just the fact that I’ve worked less than 40 hours since the last of September – these are the times when we find ourselves in our most dire financial need.

Isn’t it funny how that happens?

And it’s not like it’s once or twice it’s happened.

It happens every single time we’re scheduled to make soup.

Yes, the rent is paid. Some of the bills will have to wait. There’s not much gas in the cars. No, there’s no money for groceries.

We’re not likely to starve to death any time soon – ha! If things got really scary, the boys may well break down and actually want to eat beans! I’ve been canning – and beans we have!

It used to really stress us out – “Ugh! Time to make soup! What are we going to do?” And we’d go through the pantry looking for things that could be pulled together to make a nutritious and delicious soup.

Nowadays – we just kind of smile and look at each other and say, “Time to make soup.” It’s almost a challenge to see who can spot what God has or will provide (just in the nick of time, of course) to make that big old pot of soup possible.

Have you noticed that in your own life?

That God asks you to trust – even when it doesn’t seem like the practical thing to do?

There are things we could do.

We could back out – not follow through with the commitment. But then we’d miss out on getting to see the amazing things that we get to see God do each time.

We could freak out. Been there, done that – doesn’t accomplish much.

Lots of options of responses.

But there’s one thing we choose to do…

Only You
by David Crowder Band

Take my heart, I Lay it down
At the feet of you whose crowned
Take my life, I’m letting go
I lift it up to You who’s throned

And I will worship You, Lord
Only You, Lord
And I will bow down before You
Only You Lord

Take my fret, take my fear
All I have, I’m leaving here
Be all my hopes, be all my dreams
Be all my delights, be my everything

And It’s just you and me here now
Only you and me here now

You should see the view
When it’s only You
© 2003 Six Step Records

Ever notice how much better it is when you choose to stop – acknowledge that God is HERE – right now… No matter what the circumstances are? In the midst of it all – whatever it all is. No matter how afraid you could or should be? No matter how great the need or perceived need?

…that He does what only He can do…

He shows up.

Without fail.

To envelop with His incredible peace.

His unmatched love.

His beautiful mercy.

His matchless grace.

Ready to do just what needs done.

Ever notice what a delight it is to just step out and obey?

…feeling pretty honored to be a child of the King this afternoon.

Refuge

Hear my cry, O God;
Give heed to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a refuge for me,
A tower of strength against the enemy.
Let me dwell in Your tent forever;
Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.

Ps 61:1-4

I’m not one much for resolutions.

Pretty much, I tend to fail at them somewhat spectacularly.

Nothing like substantial failure to really boost your self esteem, you know?

I’ve found the most effective changes have been just to choose to do something – and then :gasp: – do it.

I know – wild, right?

For years I tried to give up Coke. Tried and tried and tried – failed and failed and failed. One day – May 29, 2007 to be exact – I did. Without much fanfare or fancy footwork – just being prepared – having a plan, and saying out loud that I was gonna do it – well – it worked. I haven’t had a single Coke since – or any other soda. Not saying I don’t want one now and then – but not going there.

Literal MONTHS ago I starting to have this nagging persistent longing to do something that I began doing as a teenager – and a new creation. A very wise, very loving, truly incredible woman (Roberta Wollen) dared me to commit to memorizing scripture. You know – the Bible. You know what? I actually did it. Lots and lots of it.

Without fail – not one second of the time, effort, or resources required to do so has ever been anything but an investment that has returned about a bazillion fold blessing in my life.

One summer, when I was on staff at Sambica, a friend decided to use the Topical Memory System and invited me to join in. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Super – phenomenally – amazing.

Then, when I was in Bible School, one of our professors required us to memorize whole chapters – each week! – for his class. My first thought was IMPOSSIBLE! I was carrying 18 credit hours, working nearly full-time, was volunteering at church, and taking care of my Dad who was terminally ill. Funny thing how that impossible requirement was not only possible – but clearly remembered – all of these years later. Can you recite Psalm 103 from memory. I can – and only thanks to that professor!

So… I’d been thinking thoughts like, “I really ought to start memorizing again.” and “It would be so good for me to memorize more!” and “If I had an ounce of discipline in my body, you’d think I could devote it to at least memorizing some scripture!”

In short – feeling pretty much like it was unattainable – and maybe – well – okay, I’ll say it out loud – like all of the physical crap I’d been through since my stupid ibuprofen fiasco may well have affected my ability to memorize. And so much easier to just assume that – than to actually break down and do it.

Lazy, lazy girl.

So – one day at the library I came across a book – and much contrary to the method I normally employ (research online, decide if I will commit the time to read it, if I’ll like it, know something about the author) to choose books to read – just grabbed it off the shelf.

God’s kinda sneaky sometimes.

Sometimes he takes away your carefully constructed methodology to give you a chance to look up long enough to meet His loving eyes and remind you of His love…

and Faithfulness.

And why He calls you me to do stuff to start with.

I should maybe interject here I didn’t get into this book to start with. But I trudged through a couple more chapters and then – whammo – yeah – got sucked in. Enough so that I promptly got online and ordered the two follow up books in the series through the library!

Long story short – the theme of this book was God’s way of reminding me that His Word is nothing short of living breath in a life that so has no strength to draw breath on it’s own – and so desperately needs His.

So – I’m gonna do it.

I’m gonna start memorizing again.

And I’m gonna start with the verses up there at the top in Psalm 61. I was reminded of them in an old recording (How the West was One double album) and it really spoke to my soul. So I’m starting there.

I wish I had a more organized plan – but I’ll be honest – I don’t.

I’m typing up the verses, printing them out on a 3 x 5 index card, putting them on the window sill above the kitchen sink, and until I’ve got them down word for word, there the card will stay.

That I can – and will do.

So – not a New Year’s resolution – as a return to a healthy practice of my youth – that I should never have stopped with!

Join me, if you’d like.

This is the day…

 

This is the day that the

Lord has made

,
I will rejoice and

be glad in it!

Ps 118:24
 

I was born at 11:59 am on December 31, 1963.

47 years ago.

Dang, time flies.

I’m gonna be honest here – 2010 will not ring in as one of my all time fave years. I would not choose to go through a lot of the stuff that I went through this year – given the choice.

But here I am – by the grace of God. (If you were around during this past year – you know that there was more than one occasion that there was no given that I would, indeed, be here!)

Do you ever stop and think about that? The grace of God?

This year – if nothing else – has taught me to do just that.

And so – for that reason – I will thank God for it.

Today I choose to say: “Lord, this day is yours – as am I.”

I want that to be my goal for each day of the coming year.

Thank You God, for seeing me through.

Thank You for the year that is to come.

May You – my God and my King – be glorified.