Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas On 34th Street 2014

Instead of printing out a letter to family and friends, I decided to post my summary of 2014 and allow those who want to know what's up to read it.  The others can give a big sigh of relief that they don't have to worry about not caring about us here.

2014 started out shaky.  I had to have foot surgery at the beginning of February, which meant I was limping until then.  Surgery went well, but recover was ... bothersome.  Six weeks on crutches and in a wheel chair with no weight on that foot was exasperating, to say the least.

Yet in the healing, the waiting, God came down and "tabernacled" with me.  He was my constant companion during that time, more so than He usually is.  For just as the Baby Jesus came as Emmanuel, God with Us, God's Spirit will come and dwell in you if you believe.  So for me it was a time of closeness with God.

About a week after surgery, Wayne's father died.  We were kind of expecting it, but it is still difficult to realize we are both parent-less.  Orphans.  God claims that He will be a Father to the father-less, and I take Him at His word.

Memorial weekend brought the graduation of our 3rd grandchild up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Caleb Smith.  We had a wonderful "vacation" sharing a townhouse with 2 daughters and 2 granddaughters.  We walked, a lot, and road bicycles and scooters (age appropriate there).  Wayne grilled our meals and Tasha did laundry each day.  We celebrated Caleb's pass into adulthood with camp fires and food and fun.  And FAMILY.

On the church-front, we both found some new ways to serve our Lord and Savior through Faith Bible Church.  Wayne became a greeter at the front door before the EARLY service.  A perfect place for one who loves to chat and joke, and can't sleep past 6.

I was able to wheel myself to rehearsals for a Good Friday skit.  The Youth Drama did an awesome job!  Then we were right into Vacation Bible School drama practices as the kids were Secret Agents to the Kingdom of God.  Presently I'm directing a bunch of animals, I mean children, as they get ready for Dec. 14th worship with a drama called The Manger Mystery.  It should be hilarious. (Note:  I missed the performance due to a stomach bug, but I heard they did great.)

Through all of this our grandkids grew one year older.  We enjoy watching Drew (7) & London (2) a few days a week.  I love having Liza come over with Evelyn(3) and Isaac(18 mos) once a week.  We are looking forward to another grand-girl graduating next May, Madelyn Ausenbaugh.  Sydney Smith transferred to a college in Riverside Christian College (not sure why she wanted to leave cold and snowy Michigan for sunny Cali), while her brothers Corbin and Caleb started classes at schools in Grand Rapids.  Elijah Ausenbaugh is an entepenuer in high-end atheletic shoes while he enjoys High School.

Jenn & Patrick purchased a new home and Jenn moved from Grand Rapids to Missoula, MT.  The rest of my girls continue on in good health:  Jeff & Tammy remain in Omaha, while Tasha & Jeremy and Liza & Nick live here in Lincoln.

Christmas on 34th Street is rather quiet.  Wayne and I will head to the Christmas Eve service to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.  And Christmas Day will be spent at his sister Sharon's, a long-standing family tradition.

God has been a close Friend this year, even through the trials and pain.  I find great comfort in going into my prayer room and sharing my heart's burdens.  Does He always give me my requests?  No.  But in the praying I am acknowledging that He is God and I am not.  I humble myself to Him and accept all His answers, good and bad, slow or quick.

My prayer for each one of you is that You will humble yourself before our God Almighty and realize that you can't save yourself out of sin.

That's why Jesus came.  That's why Emmanuel (God with Us) was born that Christmas day.  We needed a Savior, so God gave us His Son.  When Jesus died He took away our sins and the guilt from them.  God did everything that HE required from us.  We need do nothing to earn His salvation.  But, just like in prayer, we must become humble and acknowledge that we can't do it alone, by ourselves.  We need God's help.

So may the true Spirit of Christmas come to "tabernacle" in each of your hearts, now and into the New Year.

Blessings,  Wayne and Peggy Schafer

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Getting back to fellowship

It's been awhile since I wrote.  I've been mulling over the thoughts that have been stirring my soul lately.  I'm praying I can make them coherent.  So....

"In the beginning God" is how the Bible, His-Story, begins.

There was God.  Elohim.  Creator God.

He was alone, but not alone as He is 3-in-1.  But that is not the topic of this post.

Fellowship with Him is the topic I see as a thread woven into the fabric of His-Story.

You see, it finally dawned on me the other day, more like week.  No, probably last month!  Time flies when you are pondering the deep, deep, things of God.  Anyway, it dawned on me that God is all about fellowship.

In the beginning was God.  Father, Son and Spirit.  Fellowship in one.  Then, for a reason only He can truly understand, He decided to create us.  You.  Me.  A new kind of fellowship.

We all know the story of creation.  Each day reserved for some new majestic creation that Elohim deemed "Good".

Then the not good:  Man, Adam, alone.

So the Whoa, Whoa, Whoa Woman was made.  And she was all that.  And more.

And God placed those first 2 in a Garden.  He didn't just place them there and let them evolve on their own into whatever.

No.  Genesis 3:8 reads "And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day...."

Now I will confess that I am not a Biblical scholar, but I remember someone teaching on this.  And what I remember is that this was a daily activity, God walking in the garden.  God in fellowship with man.

Think of it.  You've been enjoying the foliage, snapping pics of the most beautiful plants and flowers and posting them for everyone to, well, ah, Adam to see.  And you hear the rustle of the bushes and you aren't afraid.  You are excited.  For you know that God, Elohim, the Creator is coming to see you.

Fellowship.  True fellowship comes from being with God.  True fellowship is a consensual meeting of 2, or more, people to enjoy each other's company.  No more perfect enjoyment than to be a friend of God's.

When I experience fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, we laugh, we talk, we listen.  Sometimes we cry or pray together.  And almost always there is food!

Adam and Eve were privileged to fellowship each day with God.  They didn't fear Him.  They loved Him and enjoyed being with Him.  Laughing, crying, talking, listening, hugging.  Oh, yeah, I forgot hugging.

And then sin happened.  It came in, and this perfect fellowship was broken.  In fact, God moved the 2 out of the Garden and put a guard at its entrance to keep them out.

Broken fellowship.  No more sweet times of conversation with He who knows all things, who loves us, who understands exactly what we mean.


"In the beginning God" created man to be with Him in perfect fellowship.

Move with me down the road, through the years, to Moses and God's people Israel being led out of their slavery to Egypt.  God has once again come down to fellowship with man.

It is not as sweet a fellowship as before.  Sin has put a rift between God and His creation.  So He remains aloof, a pillar of fire or smoke set before them.  No hugging this time.

And the only one who can come near enough to truly fellowship with God is His servant Moses.

It seems though that God yearns to return to that true fellowship between Himself and mankind.  So He gives His one friend, Moses, the instructions to make Him a home where He can dwell among men.  And the Tabernacle is born.

But the rift remains.  Sin has tarnished our fellowship, and sin keeps rearing its ugly head in our lives, in our hearts, pushing God further away.

Then came David, a "man after God's own heart".  A true friend of God's.  So David draws up plans for a permanent home for God among His people.  The Temple.

Yet God said that David could not build that home for David had sinned.  David had killed many men and God could not let David build that home.

What to do?  How about David's son Solomon?  Here is one without bloodshed on his hands.  He could build God a home here on earth.  A permanent dwelling place where God could meet and fellowship with His people.  And it was so.

But sin. . . .that ugly wound festering.

God removes the Temple, not just once, but I believe twice.  Until Herod's Temple is built.  In His desire to be with us, God has had a plan all along, a plan to fellowship again with His creation.

The new Temple is during the time of the New Testament.  In God's perfect timing, His plan unfolds.

If He, a perfect and holy God, can not be around sin, and if the only way to erase sin is by the death of something, then that Something needs to be sinless and perfect.  But a lamb is only a temporary fix.  The Lamb that God provides is complete.

A perfect time.  Christmas, the first Advent of Christ.  The day that God's Son is born as a human and placed among men.

"Behold, the virgin shall be with Child, and shall bear a Son, 
and they shall call His name 
which means, "God with us."
Matthew 1:23

Immanuel.  God with us.  Fellowship!  Sweet and true fellowship is restored.

God wants us in fellowship with Him.  That is why He created us: you and me.  That is why He sent His Son to earth,  to fellowship with us.

Isn't that awesome?  Woohoo!

But sin.  Again sin.  Sin has a way of breaking our fellowship with God.  Why?  Because we are told that God is holy.  Holy, without sin.  Pure.  Perfect.  Unblemished.  Because He is holy, He can't be near sin or sinners.

That's what broke our fellowship the first time.  Adam sinned and God had to break away.

God came to Moses and the Israelites, but Moses and the Israelites sinned.  God stayed awhile, but man kept sinning.  God left.

Then Jesus came.  Immanuel.  God with us. 

But sin.  He could not remain with us because of our sin inherited from Adam.

So, He died.  But in His dying, He reconciled us to God.

For "...without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness"(Hebrews 9:22).  

He shed His perfect, holy, without-sin blood so that our sins, yours, mine can be forgiven.

He died.  He was buried.  He rose to new life.  Away from us.

But not fully gone.  This time He sent His Spirit, God's Spirit, to live not next to us, or near by us, but IN us.

Sweet fellowship!  When my sin was forgiven me I was cleansed of all sin.  I am no longer guilty of the sin in me.  God sees me as holy like Him.

So He comes to live in me.  IN ME!  Fellowship, sweet fellowship, beyond comprehension.

Bear with me and fast forward to Eternity Future.  See there in Revelations that our fellowship within will return to an outward fellowship of perfection with God.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying,
'Behold, the tabernacle of God
is among men,
and He shall dwell among them,
and they shall be His people,
and God Himself shall be among them....'
Revelation 21:3

God's story, His-story, His plan for us was fellowship with us.  It has been working its way all through His-Story.  He has never stopped loving us and wanting to fellowship with us.  And though the fellowship that I presently have with Him, He in me, is nice, I believe that future fellowship will with, seeing Him as He is, will be perfect.

Oh, sweet fellowship!  Come Lord Jesus and restore your Garden of perfection for us.  We wait anxiously to have you dwell among us forever.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Let the words

I did it again!  I must have, for I hear that familiar refrain, "Oh, Peggy."

That is a clue that what I said did not really match what was in my mind and heart.

Like the time I ran into a sweet younger woman in age, but older in faith, at the Post Office.  I had thought to just run in an mail somethings, so I hadn't put on make-up (cause the postal clerks don't mind???) nor did much with my hair.  And what DID I have on for clothes?

I don't remember that part.  But I do remember her telling me about coming from the gym.  And though I did not see evidence that she wasn't all put together as usual, I blurted out, "Oh, good.  I'm not the only one who looks like this!"

Really.  Truly.  That popped out of my mouth.  I hang my head in shame.

At the moment I was worried that I looked horrible and I found some kind of commeraderie in thinking that maybe she didn't feel all put together either....

Then she laughed and said that refrain, "Oh, Peggy." And gracefully, yes fully of grace, hugged me and hurried out the door.

Why is it that we can't seem to not say the stupid things that pop into our heads?  Or did I just do it again?  I lumped you into my suffering, foolish mind.

Of course YOU don't say everything that is on your mind.  YOU don't feel that bile taste of foot-in-mouth syndrome like I do.

Or do you?  (Kind of looking for someone who understands and suffers like I do, people.)

That's what is on my mind today.  And this verse:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight, 
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
 Psalm 19:14

This brings me up short.  This puts the emphasis not only on what I allow out of my mouth, but also what I am allowing into my thoughts.

And what had I been thinking before speaking it?  I was thinking about ME!  How do I look if I run into someone I know?  What will she think of me?

In wasting time thinking about myself, I miss opportunities to hear how she is and what God is doing in her life at the moment.

Thus I need to repeat this verse often to myself.  And this one,

Search me, O God, and know my heart; 
Try me and know my [foolish, selfish] thoughts; 
And see if there be any hurtful way in me, 
And lead me in the everlasting way" (Psalm 139:23-24)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What I learned in September

I'm joining my other blogger friends in seeing IF I learned anything this month.  No wait, they did for sure.  Me?  We'll see.

1.  I definitely prefer to be comfortable rather than fashionable.  Don't believe me?  Check out the denim capris I've been rocking (Oh, I wish) this cooler days.

2.  Okay, taking a pic of myself in a mirror when its cloudy out doesn't really work.  All for the best.  From this selfie you can't really see that these are elastic waist jeans capris.  Totally grandma 101, right?  But at least I can breath.

3.  Prayer is awesome.  I did already know this, but sometimes I am reminded of it again.  Awesome!

4.  I can clean my house in a few hours on an off day (I normally do cleaning on Mondays) to be ready for Bible study hosting.  Toilet and sink clean.  Floors scrubbing or swept.  Living room vacuumed.  Thankfully my flock members don't notice its still dusty or that there are a few stray toys under things.

5.  Don't lock the screen door during a night football game when Hubby is gone.  Learned this the hard way.  I know I debated whether to lock the screen door at all as the evening wore on and the lights came up in the house, but I do feel a little safer with it locked.  Until I get 2 phone calls back to back (I didn't answer the first one.) at 12:07 a.m.  I answer worried that Hubby is in the hospital or something, "What's wrong?"  I hear "the door's locked" and think (say?) "Yeah.  So."  When I open the door Hubby waits.  I wait.  Why is he not coming in?  Then he rattles the screen door.  Oh.  I unlock it and turn around and head back to sweet sleep.

6.  If grandgirls watch you do something, like turn the computer monitor back on or off, they will never forget and you won't be able to keep them out of the computer.  (If the screen is black they think, or used to, that the computer is off.)  Now what?

7.  If you get WiFi at your house you will never, ever know the password.  I mean, come on, that was months if not years ago that we set it up!  Am I to remember everything?

8.  On a more serious note, The Pain loves the change in the weather.  This has been a particularly rough Summer to Fall transition.  The Pain has raised its ugly head and I am nearly defeated.

9.  Did I mention that prayer is awesome!  And The Pain does not like it.  awesome.

Okay, so I can't come up with ten things.  I hope these things that I've realized are things I've learned, otherwise I may be repeating them in a list yet to come.

How about you?  Have you learned anything lately?

Monday, September 22, 2014

And this is worship.

My heart was soaring.  Truly flying over this earth and hoovering just there, below the Heaven I long for.

It was a Saturday night.  Normally I would have been secure on the couch doing something with my hands as Hubby watched football.

But the game this week was in town.  And at night.  (Not a good combination.  Fans can't seem to figure out what to do until that kick-off time.)

I found myself alone.

So I wandered about the house, tried to watch a movie and do some busy work for Tiny Hands International, a ministry I work for that is stopping sex trafficking in Nepal, Bangladesh and India for thousands of girls.

And when my forearm ached from flexing it, stapler barely held in check, I wandered into my room where I pray.

That's when it happened.

It was almost as if the veil of Heaven, the one Jacob saw angels coming out of, opened up and I joined the choruses of angel songs praising my Father.

I didn't just come out of me spontaneously.  First I had to be still.

I know in this hectic world, stillness, that not moving not listening to anything, is the most difficult place to find and stay in.  My mind tends to wander, to go to those things I haven't done yet.  Or to counting those carbs that overwhelm me in this new eating I'm in.

But this night I pulled out my Bible and the study book of the names of God my women's study is going through, and I began to read passages that turned my thoughts, and my mind, to my awesome Dad, Yahweh.

So David blessed the LORD in the sight of all the assembly;
and David said, 
"Blessed art Thou, O LORD God of Israel
our Father,
forever and ever.
Thine, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the 
glory and the victory and the majesty,
indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth;
Thine is the dominion, O LORD,
and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all.
--1 Chronicles 29:10-11
Ryrie Study Bible

And then David's prayer to Adonai Yahweh:
Be gracious to me, O God,
be gracious to me,
For my soul takes refuge in Thee;
And in the shadow of Thy wings I will take refuge,
Until destruction passes by.
I will cry to 
To God who accomplishes all things for me.
--Psalm 57:1-2

Do you feel it?  Is your heart growing lighter?  No?  Then how about:

He who dwells in the shelter of 
will abide in the shadow of 
I will say to the LORD,
"My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!'
--Psalm 91:1-2
How about now?

Shout joyfully to God, all the earth;
Sing the glory of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
Say to God, "How awesome are Thy works!
Because of the greatness of Thy power 
Thine enemies will give feigned obedience to Thee.
All the earth will worship Thee,
And will sing praises to Thee;
They will sing praises to Thy name." [Selah.
--Psalm 66:1-4

Speaking of singing, let's add some really good music, like Mystery by Charlie Hall (I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this song) and Creed by Rick Mullins.

If this doesn't get your soul dancing and singing and praising God with Psalms and songs of praise, I'm not sure what will.  Check your pulse.

I wept as I prayed.  I sang really loud (and probably off key).  And I sat quiet as I contemplated who I am (which is not important, except for), Whose I am.

I believe that we must be broken to be of any use to God.  Broken in heart, broken in soul.  Busted up, like crashing a vase to the cement and having it shatter.  Little tiny pieces that can't be put back together, or can they?

God is the Great Re-cycler.  A re-Purposer of the highest degree.  He not only sweeps up every last tiny dust particle that used to be me, but he breathes new life into it.  

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, 
he is a new creature; 
the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 
--1 Corinthians 5:17

God takes our shattered lives and He vacuums up the pieces.  Then He mixes those dust particles with His Son's blood, forming a new me, a new you.  Then to top it off, He breaths new life into us.  His life.  His very Spirit.  Breathed into me?!


And this, my friend, is worship.

Friday, August 29, 2014

What I learned this summer, hopefully.

Prompted by Lori Harris over at http://loriharris.me/2014/08/29/10-things-i-learned-this-summer/ I'm going to give you a few things that I THINK I've learned.  Sometimes the lessons don't take and I have to learn them all over again :-)

1.  You CAN find a kindred spirit right here in blog-a-sphere.

2.  A summer with low humidity is so much easier to tolerate than the opposite.  I know this because normally southeastern Nebraska is humid, though we seldom say you can cut it with a knife.  This summer was so much drier in the air that I could handle even the 90's without complaint.  (Right now the humidity is heavy and my lungs seem to struggle to get oxygen out the the wetness.)

3.  God's precious Word is alive.  True, I already knew this, but it has been so very alive again this summer.

4.  A "God bless you" from the other room from the lips of a near 2 year old is so very precious after a sneeze.

5.  I do not like clutter.  My daughters may scoff at that because I seem to always have clutter.  And its EVERY where!  But it's getting on my nerves lately.  Too much stuff or too little house?  The first I'm sure.

6.  Being artistic requires a certain amount of clutter.  I know, I don't like it, but I find that my artsy Ggirl, aka photographer, works best when she can lay out a few supplies and really get down and dirty with her art.  (See the T-shirt she made above.)

7.  When the word gets out that you are a prayer warrior, satan tries to rob you of your time.  It took me awhile to accept that one of my spiritual gifts is prayer.  Its so not me!  In my "closet" with no one around, alone, oh, except for God.  But now that I love being one, communing with God alone, just He and I, I get a little covetous of my prayer time.  (Where do my mornings go?)

8.  God cares for the girls being sold, often by their parents, into a life of sex slavery.  I praise Him for rescuing over 6,000 girls through the work of Tiny Hands International.  (Check us out at  http://www.tinyhandsinternational.org/ )

9.  For me, memorizing a psalm is harder than the whole book of Philippians was!

Psalm 139:1-2
for the choir master, a psalm of David
Thou hast searched me and known me.
Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up;
Thou dost understand my thought from afar.

I love that last line.  It fits in so well with my prayer life.

So much for the what I learned this summer.  It was not too busy here in Huskerville.  Just the right mixture of sun, water, family and church.  And the weather was AW-some!

How was your summer?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

apples of gold

It probably only took a few minutes.

You thought about it off and on, then finally sat down and wrote it.

You chose a card (it was so perfect).  You picked up a pen.

Maybe you took a few moments to gather your thoughts.  Then again, maybe it was just there in your heart, each word lined up, ready to be written.

You wrote.  You penned.  You scrawled.

Then you folded it.  Tucked it into an envelope.  Addressed it quickly because other things were calling.

You stamped it.  And, if you are like me, you placed it in your mailbox and raised that flag that calls the mailman to stop at your box.

Then...you probably didn't think much else about it.

I know the steps.  I've done them hundreds, maybe thousands, of times in my life.

But the effect at this end, the giver becoming the receiver, well, I'm not sure you understand.

Your words reminded me of this:

"Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken (written) in right circumstances" (Proverbs 25:11).

I'm not sure I truly understand that saying.  But I've seen some artsy depictions of it.  And let me tell you, they are B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L!!

And that is what your kind words mean to me.

Perhaps I DID do something to merit your thoughts.  I'm not sure, maybe.

But I think that God did something through me that touched you and thus you responded in my heart-language.  Snail mail.  (Love it!)

All I know is that the day before my mailman dropped those cards in my box, I had told God I was weary.  Or was it frustrated?  Lost maybe?  Not sure that I was doing what He wanted me to be doing at this stage in my story.  So why bother.

I'll admit it, I was low.  (Stinkin' thinkin'!!)

I battle with depression.  Unfortunately, or not, it IS a symptom of being a creative person.  I'm not sure why.  Perhaps I need the deep down blues in order to be motivated to write.  All I know is that statistically artists and writers (even actors and musicians) struggle with depression.

I haven't been really down, you know that down-downness where even brushing my teeth seems futile, I've not been there for many years.

But I've been on the edge, finding my feet beginning to slip down that slippery slope of stinkin' thinkin'.

I was there just the other day. I could see the ground beginning to teeter.

So I cried out to my Father in Heaven, the One who, even though He is the Creator of all things, still lifts me to His lap and bends His ear down to hear my whispers.

I love the LORD, because He hears 
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
Psalm 116:1-2

And what was His response?

He, in His omnipresent way, saw me those days before I was slipping.  He saw me on Monday, and He knew exactly what I needed.

So He moved in your heart, whispered in your ear, "Write that note to her!  She needs it."

And you heard.  And you heeded.

And all I can say is...what an awesome God we both serve.

(I am a prayer warrior by God's gifting.  And with it I've used my writing gift to encourage others with snail mail.  I encourage you to take that minute or too and just write a simple note to that woman that God has been nudging you about.  Just write "I prayed for you today."  I can tell you it will make her day AND glorify God in the giving.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

His Plans

This is an open letter to a friend who is in a transition time in her life.  She's feeling a little down and lonely and "unused" by God.  As I began to write to her I thought that maybe there are others of you out there who are also going through a sabbatical time and could use these thoughts on the subject.

Dear sister-in-Christ,

I heard what you were saying last night at our study, how you are feeling kind of left-out because you are not preparing for youth ministry this year, and I wanted to encourage you if I could.

So I was praying and trying to find just the perfect edifying words from The Word that would encourage you in this season of your life, but I just kept coming back to the old familiar words of Jeremiah 29:11.

I know you know them too.  "'For I know the plans that I have for you (dear friend),' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'"

Familiar words.

Fresh thoughts (I hope).

I looked up the key words and this is what I found.

welfare is the Hebrew word shalom.  Yes that word.  Meaning peace.  I had never connected this verse to receiving His peace before.  I like that.

calamity literally means "friend, friend of the king".  Strange thought.  This did not seem quite right, but then I see it is often translated "adversary."  Better.

Adversary.  Someone who tries to undermine my faith, to pull me down, to work against me.  How thankful I am that God's plans for me are not to tear at me, burdening me to go where I do not want to go.

future literally means "after part; end."  So God's plan will take me right up to the end.  To that moment when I breath my last gasp and wake in His arms.

Can you see what I see here?  That we are to view God's plans for us as bringing us peace, the absence of fret and worry, that they are not adversarial making us pull back, but they will see us through to the end (He'll never leave us!)

hope means "expectation".

We should be at peace with all seasons knowing that God has a plan for us that is peace-filled, not heavy-laden, expecting the best from Him right up until the end.

And in this spirit, His Spirit, I am praying for you.

I totally understand the transitional times, how they can seem lonely and empty.

I urge you to spend more time drawing closer to our Lord in prayer and in meditation on His Word.  For I have found these down times to be times when He is trying to break through my striving, my serving, my doing to get closer to me.

Sometimes He needs to wipe my slate clean so He can begin writing the "rest of the story," as Paul Harvey always said.  The rest of His-story through me.  Through you.

Be of good courage, dear sister.  He is not through with you yet.  This is merely a pause in the action.

For HE knows the plans He has for you.  Plans that you can stake your life on, that you can hope in.  He is still moving you toward the end of those plans.  And He is still walking with you, even now.

On bended knee, Peggy

Monday, July 21, 2014

God's Calling to Ministry is Not Based on My Abilities.

I love to teach.  I LOVE to teach.  Truly, I love to teach.


Of late I have fretted and fumed each time I have offered to teach.  Especially when faced with being the "older" woman to newly-wed, hope-filled brides.

I DO love to teach.  Especially God's word to the pre-prepared soil of the hearts of tween girls.  And love it, I do, when I learn so much more than I'm going to teach.

Because for me teaching is all about the preparation.


I have struggled of late to try and change my demographics.  You know, I AM older now.  (Don't laugh!  Sure YOU knew I was old, but my heart remains slightly older than a tween.  Wish my body knew that.)

I tried to teach the young women's study, but it was a fiasco.  I couldn't get myself behind me, away from me, out of the way, so that God's Self, His Spirit, His leading could fill me and use me.

So I gave up.  Don't judge me.  It's not that I gave up, caved in, ducked under the covers and never poked my head out again.

If I had, we wouldn't be here now.

No, I gave up trying to "mature" my Spiritual gifts along with my age.

(I downloaded my camera pics and found over 100 mostly taken by Drew!  She's my little artist.  And these were all in July!  Yes, we needed jackets in that last pic!  In JULY!)

You see, I've been working with the tween girls for . . . about . . . well now, its been over 30 years now!  Yikes!  I was called late to God's salvation.  I wasn't a youth when I was hauled (no lovingly slow and easy adoption here), I was HAULED kicking and screaming into God's family.

So that means, 30 plus 20-something, makes me, okay, I can say it.  I'm 58.

I figured I was getting too old to do the middle school thing. It hurts to run now and throw a ball?  No way.   I KNOW I am too old to keep up with the youth.   Especially when it comes to Ultimate Frisbee in the dark with blinkie necklaces and lit-up discs.  (That was SO ultimately fun!  Sorry for knocking down the 6th grader that ran into me!)  Did you hear they want to make Ultimate Frisbee into an Olympic Sport? Yeah!

But I digress.

I thought that I was too old, too mature, too from the we-didn't-even-have-remote-controlled-TVs age group.  It's hard to relate to these techno wizards who are socially connected 24/7.

Too old.  Maybe.

But God's calling to ministry is not based on my ability.  I'll repeat that, not for you, but for me!  God's calling to ministry is not based on MY ability.  (Funny that until I wrote that I hadn't really thought of it before.  Thank you, Father.)

Shortly after becoming a Christian I found myself teaching Sunday school to Kindergartners.  Then a need arose to lead the 6th grade girls and I jumped at the chance.  They know how to read, right?

And what joy I found in allowing God to use me to teach His truths to these up-and-coming adults!

Third times a charm, so I'll repeat myself.  God's calling to ministry is not based on MY ability.  And I thank Him for that truth.

I gave up trying to "grow up" in ministry.  He is not calling me to lead women's ministry.  And I've learned that there is no better place to be than in the center of God's will for you!  And His will for me is to teach and love on middle school kids.

How about you?  Did God call you to rock babies in the nursery on Sundays?  If He did, don't feel guilty that you enjoy it so much.  I confess that I totally dislike it.  Okay, I'll say it honestly.  I HATE working in the nursery.  So, please, please, please continue to love on those wee ones, and rejoice there.

Maybe He called you to mercies and with mercy to cook, really well.  And you LOVE doing it!  Keep at it!  (Yes, another pet peeve on mine, though I do volunteer for funeral food.)

Maybe, just maybe, you haven't found that perfect place to serve yet.  I urge you to keep trying.  Try all of the opportunities at your church.  And pray.

James 1:5 reads "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all (wo)men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him (her)."

If you need some further reading, outside of your Bible, I recommend Radical by David Platt and Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper.

Monday, July 7, 2014


I never would have thought it.  No way.  That I could have something so intensely personal in me that is shown to also be in Jacob, aka Israel.


I have been musing over how to write about the past year.  About what I learned when so much was taken from me.

And then this Sunday the sermon was on Jacob.  And I thought, wow, I know what that feels like.

Now don't jump to conclusions.  I am a truth-teller to a fault.  Just watch me squirm when you ask about your new blouse or hair cut that I'm not to hip on.  They say I wear my feelings on my ...face.  (What happened to my sleeve where I can hide them under a jacket?)

Jacob's name means deceiver.  And that he was.  From fooling the doctor when he acted like he would be born before his twin Esau, to robbing Esau of a blessing from dad (a blessing not worth deception), Jacob became his name.

But when it came to reuniting with Esau after a few decades of separation, he was so scared that he couldn't sleep.  He hatched a plan to give Esau much of what he had:  cattle and herds, family members, etc.

Yet it wasn't until he wrestled with God and refused to let go of God until God blessed him (a blessing worth having), only when he had basically given up everything and finally himself, was he blessed by God.

Okay, now that I've written that, a poor recital of a great sermon, it sounds lame.  But here goes nothing.

I too THOUGHT I had given up everything to God.  First, my health (fibromyalgia).  Then my mom, my ministry, my friends, my ... My, My, My.  (Possession might be 9/10 of the law, but not in a so-called godly life!)

I had not yet given ALL to God.  I thought giving all up to God meant I gave up earthly things like shopping, and parties, gossiping and coffees out.  These losses would make more room for ministry, like working with the youth of my church.  

I didn't know that God wanted it ALL, even the "righteous" things.

Being laid up for 6 weeks, pretty much alone, and feeling very sorry for myself, I finally realized I needed to give it A-L-L up.  I had to turn to Him alone.

"God will orchestrate details of your journey until He has led  you to the place where you come only to Him to be blessed" - Pastor Tom Rempel, Faith Bible Church.  Jacob wanted his earthly father's blessing.  Then his father-in-laws blessing of a wife.  It took him nearly all his life to finally turn to God.

And this:  "If when you wrestle with God about what He should do with you, you will never walk the same again" (Ibid.)

That last part is literally where I am right now--limping.  My foot surgery went well, but recovery can take up to a year.  So I'm still limping.

And my soul-surgery will probably take a life-time to recover from.  Things have been stirred up in my life.  I'm no longer the jump-on-the-band-wagon volunteer-for-every-ministry girl I used to be.  I am learning to be content, to wait on God, to know that He IS enough for me.

For "when you wrestle with God you suddenly discover that when you lose, ultimately you win" (Ibid.)

The Bible seems full of such backward thinking.  You know what I mean.  To be strong you must be weak.  To be first, you must be last.  And to gain everything you must first lose all that you thought was a gain.

Like Paul I am trying to

"... count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith" (from studylight.org) Philippians 3:8-9.

The things I think I have "lost" truly are of no value when compared to God.  I would therefore rather let go of all of them, refuse to accept any more of them, so that I might be completely in the center of His will for me.  For there is no better place to be than in the center of God's will for you.

Monday, June 30, 2014

When things get slow in the summertime.

Sometimes my 7 year old g-girl Drew snatches up my camera and goes looking for some art.  And surprisingly her snaps are more creative than not.  These are just a few.

We've had a fun filled month of summer vacation.  She had swimming lessons for 2 weeks and did awesome. We had VBS at church where she reconnected with Kolia a kindred spirit in energy.  And this week is the 4th of July, so we'll stay up late and do the fireworks thing.

Here is her sister caught by her lens:
That's her mean-girl look.

Now to try and keep the fun going for the last month and a half of this summer.  Maybe we'll do some more creative snap shots.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Five Minute Fridays: Release

Well, here it is another Friday.  I've only linked up once before, I think, cuz I can't seem to remember how and EVERY Friday is too much for this old gal.  But today it is release.

Release.  I am surprised that this is the theme this week.  But really I shouldn't be.  I simply LOVE to see God work things together in my heart before I realize He is there working.

You see, just today, as I was praying over many things, and many people I try to remind Him to take notice of, I was moved to release.

Release the worry about whether the VBS drama I am in charge of will work out okay or not.

Release the fear that the grumpies I experienced yesterday with my fussy ggirl will raise its ugly head next week when I'm trying to be an example to my ggirls and my actors.

Release the fear that The Pain will raise its ugly head and try to thwart God through me!

For all these things have come in the past.  All these things have come and God has always shown up.  And all has been as He desires it to be.

I know I love when He pushes me to my limits, physically, emotional and spiritually, then when I can't hold on any longer, He pries my fingers loose.  And when I free-fall, He is there beneath me (above me, around me, and always IN ME!) to carry the weight.

Release.  It does my soul good.

So join me with your 5 minutes of from the hip writing!

Five Minute Friday


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

All of Me?

"Here I am, Lord.  Send me!"

I have shouted those words over and over in my heart.  Missionaries come to share what they are doing out there in the world of the lost, and I beg God to send me.

Teens with such awesome faith travel to foreign lands and come home to share it with me.  And I beg God, "Please!  Send me!"

Then in His own time, in that still small voice, He shakes His head and says, "Not this time."

Have you ever wanted to serve God so fully that you shout to Him to use you, but He quietly refuses.  Or so it seems.

I have always believed Isaiah 40:31.

"Those who wait upon the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary."

I have believed these precious words.  I have waited.  And waited.  And waited.

But I have not waited unproductively.  I once heard a lesson on this waiting, that it is an anxious-for-the- arrival kind of waiting.  A running to the window every few seconds to see if it (they) have arrived.  Like waiting for company.

And that is the definition of the word waiting here in Isaiah 40:31.  The Hebrew word is qavah.  And the definition of it is "to wait, look for, hope, expect" (Stong's).

I know this kind of waiting.  Whenever guests are expected at our home, I clean and cook and clean some more.  I pace, I sit, I check the driveway.  Impatience personified.

I would be in trouble if the verse said to wait patiently for the Lord.  Patience.  Not so much.

One year ago I felt a tugging at my heart about my "service" to the Lord.  He was saying it was time to stop striving, to stop doing for Him, and just wait.  So I, more like we, hubby and I, resigned from youth work and began a period of waiting.

Again, remember, I am not good at patience.  But He kept reminding me that it is not my service He wanted, but me.

I figured okay I'll pray and wait and wonder.  In the mean time, I better have my foot looked at since I could no longer walk a block without pain.  I figured it was some type of strain and that I needed different walking shoes.

X-rays revealed nothing.  Confining my foot in one of those bulky, ortho, walking boots was my next step.

Okay.  I'm waiting.  Guess I can limp around in that.  

Ortho boots are not easy to get on and off, and since it was my right foot, that is exactly what I had to do if I wanted to drive anywhere alone.

Guess what?  I decided not to run errands during the week.  It was so much easier to stay put.

So I waited.  And waited.  6 weeks turned into 8 by the time I got an MRI (because the boot didn't help!).  Patience wearing very thin as the holidays came.  Passed.

Then the results of all the waiting.  A torn tendon in my foot.  Treatment:  surgery.

Now, I'm not new to surgery.  I've had a number of them, mostly simple, 2 rather intense.  And I know my body, the one with fibromyalgia.  The one that does not handle pain well.

Surgery.  This is not the type of service I had had in mind when I said, "Here I am, Lord.  Send me!"  I had meant, here I am, healthy and strong and raring to go and move mountains for You!  

And He is saying, "All of you?  You give me all of you?"  yes.  "Then this is what I'm calling for now."

So I wait.  I wait for the date of the surgery.  I wait to deal with crutches and some scooter thingy and pain and not seeing my ggirls as often.

Did I really expect His work for me to be fun and games?  Well, I had come from youth ministry with wild games of chase, over-night laser questing, and motivating summer camps.  Not to mention FOOD!

And now?  

I truly believe that there is no better place to be than in the center of God's will for you.  Someone said that once and I've thought of it often.

So I truly believe that strength will come as I wait.  I'll do the next thing, as Elisabeth Elliot wrote.

And I'll remind God--I'm not much of a patient. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014



Strong's Dictionary uses words like abandoned, secluded, alone.

This is the truth that God amped up for me this past Easter.

But let me start from, well, the beginning?  No, more like the middle, or even maybe more closer to the end of this revelation.

God the perfect Teacher took me from what I knew to a dive deep into the unknown.  Yet I had not known that I did not know it.

The known:  Jesus, my loving Savior, was one with my Father and His Spirit.  One.  A more one-ness than I have with my hubby of 42 years.  A one-ness so complete that they can be 3 in 1.  Words fail me.

Yet the Father asked the Son to break away, go away, leave.

Go down to earth, Son, and live among these hard-hearted people.  But you will have to give up your special-ness, your deity, not totally, but just so there is room for you to be All-Man and All-God.

The first slice.

Feel what mankind feels.  Be tired, hungry, crabby, joyful, loved, tempted.  All of it.  Experience every single thing that humans experience.  And live it like a human for 30 years.

The second slice.

Then top it off, be obedient to Me, Your Father, and give up all of Your deity.  That part of You that is God, perfect, holy.  Give up  ALL.  OF.  GOD-ness.  All of it. And take on the world's sin, ugliness, unholiness.

As a mom of four girls, I guess I always knew that I would have to give them up to their hubbies, leaving behind family, our family, and making a new one-ness with their hubbies, their children.  New families.

But when the time came to let go, I found some easier to release than others.  The oldest, though it should have been hardest, was easiest because I didn't understand the pain of separation.  How does a woman hold a child in her womb, near her heart, and then rip that child away without leaving scars?

I just didn't see how it would effect me.  Later.

So each daughter-child became woman-child and bride-child and finally mother-to-child herself.  And a mother's heart bleeds tears of loneliness and joy.

Did the God Father feel that same joy mixed with the aloneness?  I know the Son did.  His words have echoed through time, "My God!  My God!  Why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

Jesus sliced up, dished out, emptied:  FORSAKEN.

I can only imagine the pain of that separation.  Forsaken.  No longer 3-in-1, but 1 minus 2 leaving less than 1.   One ripped from the Triune, bleeding and in pain.  And broken and suffering and ... evil.

I wasn't ready to learn this truth before now.  God made it so very real to me this year.  But first He removed all those things I had been clinging to.  He took "my" ministry to youth.  He took my mother.  He took my health.  He left me alone.

But NOT forsaken.  Not abandoned.  At least not by Him.  He was ever with me, filling me, guiding me with a welcoming light into His words for me.

And when I seemed to be at my lowest, He turned His light upon the truth of forsaken-ness, how He HAD to turn away, abandon, forsaken His Son, His other part, His Beloved that I might have life and have it abundantly.

Sisters, our God is holy.  Without sin.  And in His holiness.  He can not be near sin, unholiness.  And so when His Son delivered Himself up for me, for us, Jesus took on our ugliness.  Our sin.  "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf" 2 Cor. 5:21.

What love the Son must have for His Father that He would "deliver Himself up for ME"! (Gal. 2:20).  And what love for me who did not deserve it.

Did He know beforehand what pain there was in being forsaken?  I'm not sure.  But forsaken, left alone, separated from the Father, is what He willing did.

I thank my God for the fact that I have a part of Him in me.  If I did not have His Spirit in me, could I truly learn about being forsaken and endure it?  I think not.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Hello again dear friends

I can't believe that its been 4 months of silence from me!

How did that happen?  Where was I?

As I wonder on those words, I realize that its been "quite a year".  Not a year of busyness, commitments, events.  Rather a year of stepping back, sitting quiet, wondering what's next, waiting.  Waiting.

I've always thought of waiting as an active waiting.  I've heard it compared to waiting for a long unseen relative to arrive.  You know, that anxiousness of trying to focus on my quilting as I check the driveway every second or 2.

But my waiting this past school year has been a quiet, "be still and know that I am Lord" kind of waiting.

I'll let you in on a secret.  I'm not good with that kind of waiting.

The be still waiting does not seem to have a purpose to it.  There is no goal.  No promise of finding treasure in the end.

I know.  I was missing something in the verse.  Something important.

(Oops.  How did those cuties get in there?  My youngest four grandbabies.  I know, so cute!)

And God, in His infinite wisdom, said I needed to be still.  I needed to set aside all the strivings of good things to focus--on Him.  For the verse does say, "and know that I am God".

At first I wasn't ready for it.  It took Him 5 months of preparation before my heart could accept the quiet.  I had ignored His leading and prayed, "but what about this, Lord?"  Each time He countered with a quiet, even a longing for me, "Am I not enough?"

Am I not enough?  The great I AM, is He not enough?  Was I crazy! Did He need to ask?  I guess so.

I have always felt that loving my Lord was an agape love, an active love, an I-will-go-to-the-ends-of-the-world-or-die-trying kind of love.

Instead, He has been teaching me that it is a "I-will-go-to-the-ends-of...ME love".  A give it up, give me up, empty me of me, so He could find room in my heart.

I long to jump in and begin banging the keyboard with all the ways God has been moving in my life in the past year.

But not yet. Some of it is still a little raw, painful, tear-jerking. Right now as I remember this year it seems to be about me and not Him.  And I want it to be all about Him.

Thus, I will wait.  Waiting produces patience--eventually.   Perhaps in future blogs I can slowly, bit by bit, explain how He quieted me and prepared me for a season of just Him.  Perhaps.

But coming soon, in this blog near you, a recounting of death, death, life, death, and a love story.  So stay tuned.