{RD} I Own Three Bibles.

Three!!

And that’s just me.Β  We have (at my most conservative estimate) 10 other Bibles in our house.

I thought I didn’t take this blessing for granted. I thought I was grateful for having so many Bibles so readily available– in my language.

And then I started talking to Michiko. Her sister Yuko was our neighbor (and is our friend, though now she lives a little farther away.) and Michiko was visiting from Japan. We’d met Michiko before, on a previous visit. On that visit, she became interested somewhat in Christianity: she saw the difference it had made in her sister’s life, and she wondered what had happened. Yuko did her best to explain things to her, and purchased a Japanese/English Bible for Michiko to read.

Now, I learned a wee bit of Japanese, but none of it really comes in handy for this sort of thing… πŸ˜› Thankfully, Michiko knows a great deal more English than I know of Japanese, so we were able to understand each other fairly well. (Though we did keep the dictionaries handy. :D)

Michiko didn’t know anything about the Bible. Nothing! Imagine that. But she was intensely interested in learning more: more about the Bible, more about Christ… and, in broken English, she attempted to ask us questions–and, in simple English, we attempted to explain things.

Wow, what an experience. I can’t even explain the blessing it was… I’m sure it’s always exciting when someone is interested in learning more about Christ–but someone from a whole ‘nother country!

It made me really value something I had only occasionally thought about: the fact that I’ve grown up learning about the Bible. I have a great deal of the history in my mind: when I read about Elijah in John, I know who that is–and I can find the place where it talks about him in the Old Testament. Seems obvious, I know: but that was one of the questions Michiko asked me after reading in John a little.

I felt so… inadequate. There is SO much to tell! And I only had a small amount of words to use! Somehow, though (Which translates to: with the help of the Holy Spirit), I/we were able to explain many of the major things to her… like the fact that Jesus is a mediator between us and God. I used the example of a translator, since that was a word and concept she knew very well (haha). It is so cool when God uses you in cases like that… and when motions and/or easily understood examples come to mind just as you need them. πŸ™‚

So… all of that has left me with a greater appreciation for the Bible… and for all of the years of hearing it and reading it.

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Every Morning

Recently, early in the morning, I walked outside to find this marvelous artwork:

(Of course it was much better in real life, but you can get the general idea.)

It was as if God was saying how much He loves me, reminding me that He works through trials (through the rainbow, especially)–and showing me that His mercy is new every morning. It stopped me right there–as I gazed at it, my heart overflowed with praise and thanks.

I had been thinking about how wonderful it is that His mercy is new every morning, and this rare and beautiful sight was a delightful confirmation.

22It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

23They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

24The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Lamentations 3:22-24

A while back, as I was pondering this wonderful truth, I mentioned it to my friend Rebeka–and she added another astounding thought: it is always morning somewhere! So His mercy is continuously being renewed. Wow.

Oh, the Things You Hear…

… when you’re the oldest in a family of eight children. πŸ˜€ I thought it would be fun to share a few of the funnies (and a few more serious ones as well) I’ve collected from over the past few years… primarily from William and Matthew.

William: Carissa, WHEN are you going to get married?? (He had this belief that when you turned twenty, you got married. Well, I turned twenty, and I still wasn’t married!!)

Carissa: I don’t know…

William: Are you going to talk to someone? Are you going to ask them something?

Carissa: Like what?

William: Like, “what is your name?”… “Oh, I like that name! Do you want to marry me?”

(William knows how to do these things–just get straight to the point.)

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Matthew: Are the Duggars in heaven?

Carissa: no, they live in Arkansas

Matthew: I don’t know where that is

Carissa: we can look on a map…

Matthew: Are there dragons in Arkansas?

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Papa: (After reading a Bible story) What is praying?

Matthew: Talking to God

Papa: Have you ever fasted?

Matthew: Yes

Papa: What is fasting?

Matthew: I don’t know… it’s fast!

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Carissa: Won’t it be fun when I have children?

Matthew: Yeah, cause then I’ll be your Grandpa!

(That one still makes me laugh out loud… :D)

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William, about his stomach making noises: “The bugs made a piano in my stomach and it makes music!”

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Matthew: “I’m pretty strong, too– I can chew hard things!” (said like we say “do hard things”)

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Matthew: “I was kidding because I thought they were kids.”

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Matthew: William is a mom

Carissa: No, he is not. Why did you say that?

Matthew: I was kidding. That’s what kidding is like

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Matthew: “Ohayoo Gozimasu! Ohayoo Gozimasu! Ohayoo Gozimasu! That means good night in Spanish!

(um, actually, it means good morning in Japanese. :D)

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Matthew: God’s microscope is called His eyes

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Matthew: We are just moving grains of salt.

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Matthew: They have a short family–only four people!!

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Matthew: we’re going to get out the mustard, and the manatees… (mayonnaise) (He said manatees on purpose, just for fun. πŸ˜› :D)

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Questions:

Why does God want us to be alive on earth so long?

Why is the sun a fiery ball? Why is it so hot?

How does gravity keep an upside down person on the ground?

What would happen if the sun touched the earth?

(And that is just a very small sampling of the sort of questions we have to try to answer… I shall have to record more next time I venture to lay in bed with them as they are “falling asleep”…)

[Editing] Just an Ugly Tadpole…

Washing the dishes several evenings ago, I was (once again) berating myself for all the things I didn’t do that day that I ought to have done, and all of the things that I did do that I shouldn’t have done. Rather depressing and disheartening on the whole.

You see, there’s this gap. It is scary. It’s the gap between where I am now (Carissalike) and where I need to be. (Christlike)

“Um, excuse me, but could we please hurry up sanctification a little? Can you just jump me to… oh, about 81? That is, while leaving my age and energy at 21?”

Why is it taking so long?? Why is it so hard?? Why do I keep falling down and scraping my knees?? Why do I keep knocking other people down with me?? Whine whine, complain complain. I’m horrible. I’m not getting anywhe…

Wait a minute, I thought.

This isn’t true. God has brought me very far. (The very is not because I’m “very” ahead of others, but rather because it’s “very” from what He had to start with. :P) He is constantly showing me more of Himself, developing one aspect or another of my character, teaching me some new lesson…

It is not humility to primarily focus on everything that is wrong with me and all the work yet to be done. It is ungratefulness. It is self-centeredness.

Humility is focusing on GOD. Selfishness is focusing on meeven if it’s what [I think] is wrong with me.

You see… in my self-focus, I had forgotten a few things. Very Important Things, like:

6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6

13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Romans 8:11

18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16

23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

24Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

12Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Hebrews 13:12

I realized something dreadful: fretting about my own shortcomings and worrying that I might not be able to do what God has called me to do is actually doubting the power of God in me to change me and to give me the strength needed to do what He calls me to do.

Not. Good.

Yes, it is necessary and right to examine ourselves. But there is also a time to thank God for what He has done, and to recognize the progress that has been made. There is also a need to rest in God and trust that He is faithful to complete the work He has begun.

I read an article by John Piper while thinking about all of this… it was completely “random” that I should have found it (I don’t normally read his blog… I found the link through another post that I “just happened” to read that day)–aka Providential. This part especially stood out to me:

But God is good. He has his plan and it is not to make this metamorphosis easy. Just certain. There are a thousand lessons to be learned in the process. Nothing is wasted. Life is not on hold waiting for the great coming-out. That’s what larvae do in the cocoon. But frogs are public all the way though the foolishness of change. John Piper

We are called to fight and climb and run, certainly. We cannot simply drift along and expect God to magically float us up the mountain.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

But are we going to make much progress if we are forever focusing on ALL the ground yet to be gained, on ALL the falls and slips, on ALL the times we got lost–and never taking note of how far He has brought us, and (especially) never focusing on our Guide? Not likely.

2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:1-3

Far, far too often, my focus is on ME. What I’ve done wrong. Or what I’ve done right.

And therein lies The Problem.

My focus must shift–firstly, to Christ and eternity (Though… as we read John 17:3, knowing Him and eternity are… the same thing, in a sense.) and secondly, to others.

1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philippians 2:3

12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13

How? Good question: that’s exactly what my dad challenged me with when we were discussing things of this nature…

Well, to be quite honest– I’m still not entirely sure. But (as usual) I have ideas. πŸ˜‰

1. Pray, lots. (I bet that suggestion shocked you, didn’t it. (Yes, that is supposed to be sarcastic))

2. Do things for others. As I talked about in my post about gardening, activity is very important in getting the mind right.

3. Read and study and memorize the Bible

Any other ideas?

So yes… for now, I am just an ugly tadpole. But my God is transforming me, and someday I will be a frog.

Ahem, that doesn’t sound right. Someday I will be… the woman He designed me to be.

And until then, I will climb, and struggle, and pray: and He will hold my hand– Comforting, pulling and guiding me until I am home.

P.S. I actually do like tadpoles, by the way. And I don’t really think they are ugly, exactly. Just… a little awkward, especially when they only have little back legs sticking out. The whole tadpole thing will make more sense if you read the article… hint hint. (Please note that I do not entirely agree with his theology, but, regardless, there is much to be learned from him, and this article.)

My Life is Terrible

Seriously, it is. I have had chronic and rather severe acne for the past seven plus years. I have struggled with low energy, a low immune system, and various other maladies over the years. I have a difficult personality to deal with.

My parents often make mistakes, misjudge me, set a poor example, and so on.

I have seven younger siblings: I barely ever get a chance to have quiet for longer than… oh, about two minutes. I have to share a room with three sisters. I don’t even have a normal bed– I have to sleep on a bunk bed. And every single night I have to climb all the way up the ladder. And every single morning I have to climb all the way down the ladder. My siblings are constantly annoying me–why on earth do they want me to read books to them?? And can’t someone else help them with their school?? And why must I constantly hear of this book or that book?

I have many more chores than most people my age– I have to clean the WHOLE kitchen (which is a lot harder with 10 people messing it up), do the painting, mop, cook, help with homeschooling, and too many other things to list.

I am not married yet. I have no idea how my future will go; only that it will be hard. Many people that I love are far away.

My life is terrible.

[Okay, I’m running out of “My life is terrible” stuff… :P]

My Life is Wonderful!!

Seriously, it is! I have all of my limbs (and they work, too! [Um, we’re reading a book in which one boy gets his leg amputated, and another is lame. So yes, I have been thinking about the blessing my working limbs are lately.]), my eyes see wonderfully, I am strong, I have long hair and I am getting healthier. My acne has taught me much, and is actually a blessing. Low energy causes me to rely more on my God for strength. I hardly ever get sick any more! My personality is actually an asset, and God has been very gracious in helping me to shape it.

My parents are doing a many, many times better than their backgrounds would predict. They have been married for 22 years! They both love me very much and are doing their best to guide me in this new and strange stage: adulthood. They are both very caring, helpful people… much respected and liked in the community.

I have SEVEN younger siblings!! πŸ˜€ I am never lonely, always have someone to talk to or play with. My character is constantly being developed in one way or another: I’m sure I am much more patient than I would otherwise be. I am very good at climbing down ladders now! Who knows– maybe that skill will come in handy someday. πŸ˜€ I have plenty of chances to practice being a mother–and a homeschooling mother at that. I have loved having babies in the house so often. πŸ˜€ They bless me in many ways, and I’m grateful for each one.

I have many more opportunities than most young people to learn valuable skills and help my family. As a result of things being harder for me now, it will be easier for me later. (Haha, we joke sometimes about how when we get married and only have TWO people to cook and clean for, it will seem like a break. :D) I actually like cleaning the kitchen, painting, mopping, helping with school… and so on.

While I am not yet married, my life is very full and blessed. I have a father (and mother) to help. I have siblings to talk to and be with. I am learning more and more to be content with where I am right now, and not pine away after the mysterious “future”. I am learning to make Jesus my all in all, my rock, my comforter. It’s true: I don’t know what the future holds, and I do know it will be hard one way or another. But! I also know the One who holds the future. And I further know that He is good, and that He uses trials to draw us closer to Him. And yes, many people I love are far away. But guess what?? Regardless of location, I have people to love–and I am loved! And for that I am thankful. And not only that, but there are also people here to love, and be loved by. I am blessed.

I know Jesus Christ: the One who created me, died for me, rose for me, and now lives for me. And not only do I know Him, but I am also known by Him!! I have a relationship with the Creator God! And He loves me. I deserved death; but He has given me life. And such life!!

My life is wonderful!

It’s all a matter of focus, folks.

Gardening: Final Draft

I have dirt under my nails. I promise, I did try to clean them. But there’s still some left. And contrary to what you may think, I actually rather like that fact. You see, it has been many moons since last I had the pleasure of very dirty hands and feet, and it has done me wonders to enter, once again, the marvelous world of gardening.

I had forgotten the thrill of sticking a shovel into the ground and jumping up on it to force it deeper into the ground. (And no, you don’t have to jump on it. It’s just more fun that way.) I had forgotten how good it feels to hold a living plant in your hands and transplant it into the hole you just made. I had forgotten the fun of hacking away violently at weeds, and of pulling out clumps of grass and shaking the extra sand off. (It doesn’t quite deserve the title of dirt…) I had forgotten the wonder of transforming an weedy area of ground into something more orderly and beautiful. I had forgotten that wonderful capable, pioneer-lady-ish feeling.

I was sweaty. I was dirty. My back hurt. My arms grew tired. My hair was a mess.

And you know what? I felt happier and more whole than I have in veritable ages.

There is something incredible about gardening (and just about hard work in general.) I felt closer to God; like I was doing something He created me to do, something He loves. And I was. He himself planted the very first garden!

8And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

9And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9

Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Genesis 2:15

A few days ago I was having what I call a “Crying Talk” with my mama… I was saying how I feel (and have felt, to some degree, since I was probably… 12 or so) “stuck in my head”, like I am not engaged enough with the world around me. And I didn’t know what to do.

But after working in the garden… something changed. I think it has to do with physically demanding work… with closer communion with God… and with prayer. (Mine and others.) Last night I felt more thoroughly, truly joyful than I have in what seems like a long time… and my mind felt much freer and open: more easily engaged with the people and things around me. For so many reasons, it was incredibly fulfilling: a real blessing.

For one, I was being obedient, to both of my fathers–earthly and heavenly. For another, I was doing something I had been “nagging” myself about, something that I had needed to do for a long time. I was doing something significant: something that challenged me, something that benefited our family. I was doing one of the things I’ve been designed to do. And I would’ve missed the sunset if I wasn’t out there working!!

Here is how it happened:

Early yesterday morning, when my dad was leaving for work, we were outside together and he mentioned that it would be nice to have a little garden where we were currently growing a lovely, tangled crop of weeds.

{Confession: normally when we have such talks, we all think it’s a great idea, and then [it seems] no one ever does anything about it. Except maybe Hannah.}

Later on in the day, I was praying and feeling… I don’t know, somewhat depressed and introspective. And I had one of those awesome prayers in which it’s actually a conversation.

I said: I don’t want to focus on me anymore!! I want to focus on You and know you more.

He said: Walk in my ways, and then you will know Me.

And I said: How?

And He said: Love. And specifically, love your papa by working on the school/office/craft/miscellaneous room and the garden.

(As usual, those aren’t exact quotes, and no, I didn’t hear an audible voice. Why do we always feel we must clarify that it wasn’t audible??)

So I did. I got up and walked into the “cave” (our “affectionate” term for the office) and spent roughly an hour tidying it up. (Now the path is wider!) That felt really good, and I started cheering up just from that.

Next I walked outside into the front yard and examined the plants we had that still needed planting: a blackberry bush, an elderberry plant, a magnolia tree, a Cassava/tapioca plant, a Mystery Plant, mystery flowers, and peppers. (Yes, I know, lots. I have procrastinated planting them for a long time. :P)

I thought I should at least figure out where to plant them, since I really didn’t want them to die (most of them were given to us for helping out at a pioneer days.), so took a few of them in hand, and went to scout out the yard. I quickly found places for the magnolia, blackberry and elderberry, and planted them all. I was enjoying myself and my energy was up– I was on a “roll”–so I figured I had better keep going while everything was out and I was excited about it.

I thought it would be challenging to dig out the large, flat, round stepping stones that were in the area I was going to transform, but it ended up being quite easy. Especially when my strong little brothers came to the rescue. πŸ˜‰ (Namely William and Matthew.) We laughed as we watched them roll when we put them on the ground. πŸ˜€

Hacking weeds out of the ground with a hoe is very fun. And tiring. William and Matthew helped me some, which was very nice of them. πŸ™‚ They also helped with getting the grass and weeds out of the dirt once I had loosened them.

Soon, however, they tired of this amusement, and decided to move on to bigger things: digging a hole. Of course. Isn’t that what all little boys do?

I continued working for quite a while, getting all the grass and weeds cleared away and softening up the ground

The hole was becoming quite impressive by this time, and I pondered whether or not I should halt excavation– decided against it. They are boys. They dig holes. It’s good for them. And furthermore, holes are not permanent. We can fill them back up: We have the technology. πŸ˜‰

The next step was to make a path. I happen to be the daughter of a tile installer, and we have plenty of path material around… I found some nice reddish pavers, and set about making a path.

By this time, the hole had become a future underground house. “Like in Prince Caspian!”, they told me, eyes shining.

I’ve never made a path like that before… and I don’t think anyone else has ever done it the way I did. πŸ˜€ I’m afraid I am not a very professional path maker: I just came up with a pattern out of my head and started digging with my hands and flattening the ground a little at a time, adding another row of pavers when the ground seemed ready, and whacking them against some other concrete in order to break them when I needed a smaller piece.

The boys learned that they couldn’t dig an underground house. “You’ll get to the water”, said Emily. (You only need dig 15′-30′ to get water in Florida… less in some places. :P) The boys pondered this for a bit…

It actually turned out pretty decently, to my surprise. Though several of them did break when I walked across it. Wimps. πŸ˜› I’ll have to fix that tomorrow.

“Okay, then let’s make a well!!”, said William. I have very visionary little brothers, it would appear. πŸ˜€

For some odd reason, the mosquitoes decided that my left elbow was The Most Delicious Thing, and I felt as though I incurred at least 17 bites. However, I was Busy, and didn’t have time to bother about paltry annoyances such as mosquitoes. Though I did kill at least one… I am not very merciful towards the creatures. Hannah kindly brought me some tea tree oil after watching me absentmindedly attempt to slap one, which helped with the itching. πŸ˜›

Matthew was in the hole, and they were concerned about whether or not he could get out. He could. But it was a struggle. Emily made “a ladder”– a few holes on one side. It was actually deep enough to come up to Matthew’s chest, and both the boys could fit in together!

By this time it was dark, so I tidied things up and set a few potted plants where I thought they might work… I also put a solar light from the back yard near the path.

“Jump in, jump in!”, they said, as I stood on the edge. I did. Bad idea. πŸ˜› I jolted my side awfully… but I lived, and the hole was very cool.

We went in, and washed up… I was really dirty/sandy, as were the boys. πŸ˜€

And thus ended our gardening adventures.

(At least, the ones we had last night– I had more this morning

and will have more in the next few days. :))

P.S. Further progress:

Josiah kindly saved me from those thin pavers and showed me some pretty, thick ones–and helped me make the path. πŸ˜€ This one does not break when you walk on it!! He also helped me mulch it. πŸ™‚ Emily swept the dirt into the cracks between the pavers… and then got inspired and weeded her little garden too. πŸ˜€

Lesson: just get started and work enthusiastically on a project, and people will join you eventually. Works ever so much better than trying to drag people out to help. πŸ˜›

Just an Ugly Tadpole…

Washing the dishes several evenings ago, I was (again) berating myself for all the things I didn’t do that day that I ought to have done, and all of the things that I did do that I shouldn’t have done. Rather depressing and disheartening on the whole. Might as well give up.

You see, there’s this gap. It’s gaping gap. It’s scary. It is between where I am now (Carissalike) and where I need to be. (Christlike)

“Um, excuse me, but could we please hurry up sanctification a little? Can you just jump me to… oh, about 81? That is, while leaving my age and energy at 21?”

Why is it taking so long?? Why is it so hard?? Why do I keep falling down and scraping my knees?? Why do I keep knocking other people down with me?? Whine whine, complain complain. I’m horrible. I’m not getting anywhe…

Wait a minute, I thought.

This isn’t true. God has brought me very far. (The very is not because I’m very ahead of others, but rather because it’s very from what He had to start with. :P) He is constantly showing me more of Himself, developing one aspect or another of my character, teaching me some new lesson…

It is not humility to primarily focus on everything that is wrong with me and all the work yet to be done. It is ungratefulness. It is self-centeredness.

Humility is focusing on GOD (To greatly simplify it… but that is what it boils down to, from what I’ve learned.). Selfishness is focusing on meeven if it’s what [I think] is wrong with me.

You see… I had forgotten a few things. Things like:

6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6

13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Romans 8:11

18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16

23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Β 24Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

12Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Hebrews 13:12

I realized something dreadful: fretting about my own shortcomings and worrying that I might not be able to do what God has called me to do is actually doubting the power of God in me to change me and to give me the strength needed to do what He calls me to do. Not. Good.Β 

Yes, it is necessary and good to examine ourselves. But there is also a time to thank God for what He has done, and to recognize the progress that has been made. There is also a need to rest in God and trust that He is faithful to complete the work He has begun.

But God is good. He has his plan and it is not to make this metamorphosis easy. Just certain. There are a thousand lessons to be learned in the process. Nothing is wasted. Life is not on hold waiting for the great coming-out. That’s what larvae do in the cocoon. But frogs are public all the way though the foolishness of change. John Piper

We are called to fight and climb and run, certainly. We cannot simply drift along and expect God to magically float us up the mountain.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

But are we going to make much progress if we are forever focusing on ALL the ground yet to be gained, on ALL the falls and slips, on ALL the times we got lost–and never taking note of how far He has brought us, and (especially) never focusing on our Guide? Not likely.

2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:1-3

Far, far too often, my focus is on ME. What I’ve done wrong. Or what I’ve done right.

And therein lies The Problem.

My focus must shift–firstly, to Christ and eternity (Though… as we readΒ John 17:3, knowing Him and eternity are… the same thing, in a sense.) and secondly, to others.

1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philippians 2:3

12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13

How? Good question, that’s exactly what my dad challenged me with when we were discussing things of this nature…

Well, to be quite honest, I’m still not entirely sure. But, as usual, I have ideas. πŸ˜‰

1. Pray, lots. (I bet that suggestion shocked you, didn’t it. (Yes, that is supposed to be sarcastic))

2. Do things for others. As I talked about in my post about gardening, activity is very important in getting the mind right.

3. Read and study and memorize the Bible

Any other ideas?

So yes… for now, I am just an ugly tadpole. But my God is transforming me, and someday I will be a frog.

Ahem, that doesn’t sound right. Someday I will be… the woman He designed me to be.

And until then, I will climb, and struggle, and pray: and He will hold my hand– Comforting, pulling and guiding me until I am home.

P.S. I actually do like tadpoles, by the way. And I don’t really think they are ugly, exactly. Just… a little awkward, especially when they only have little back legs sticking out.