Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Catching my breath...

This time of year we hear that a lot..."if I could only stop for a moment to catch my breath..." - and I wish mine was JUST that easy!

My Oct. sinus infection, November respiratory cold that threw my asthma so off, now has me welcoming December with something a bit more daunting...but I don't know what to call it - since the Dr. yesterday didn't give me a name to call it....well, not exactly.

(it's the ONE thing I don't like about our dr. office - no receipt at the end of a visit that's coded with the diagnosis...grrr...why does that bring me so much comfort??)

But I really like the doctor and staff, and feel thankful that God took my HUGE medical phobia and put me in one place that has done a great job in the 2 months I've known them...and the first medical help we've needed since we made our move... I had been so healthy!!

So this appt yesterday, the one with no diagnosis, has a list of doctor's orders, and i learned a lot...like my 3 day old headache was being caused by not getting enough oxygen...because I couldn't catch my breath. What I have might be pleurisy - since I'm wheezing on one side, it hurts to breathe on that side, and I'm relieved when I lay on that side; or it might just be pneumonia. My cough is nasty. I'm exhausted from it.

So bedrest, yes - permission to sleep 12+ hours a day all week long, 3 weeks on Prednisone (please pray for my husband as this makes me just a teensy tiny bit emotional...like PMS emotions...which we haven't had to deal with in a while...), 3 days of powerful antibiotics, and a lot of other meds that I take all the time now for my recently found asthma....singulair, inhaler, thyroid med, etc.

And in the midst of all this, I slept through Thanksgiving Day - allowing my daughter and husband to do all the cooking without passing a recipe or making a decision. It was easier than I expected to withdraw from that role, but it helped that I didn't care at all! (Thanks Mark and Jessica for doing such a great job!!)

I missed visiting with the kids, and getting to know Jason's new girlfriend, and walking the 5k Turkey Trot that we had spoken about since spring, but I'm so glad I didn't go and walk in the pouring rain, and am so proud of Mark, Becky, Jessica and Joshua for taking it on! Maybe next year I can join in...as long as it's not raining, or snowing....

Now my home is lacking any evidence of "Christmastime is Near"... except if I play the song from my playlist - it IS my favorite Christmas song ever. If it's not a familiar title to you, think Charley Brown Christmas...the song that plays in the background that's sort of slow and melancholy - even though the lyrics are special and sincere.

I WANT to have my house decorated, but just thinking of it wears me down....just like sitting on the couch as I type on my laptop - WHO KNEW it would wear me out just to type?? Just to breathe?? But it does....I can hardly keep my eyes open now...so I should go work on putting in my 12 hours for today...

No matter what your home looks like, may you feel His Spirit of Christmas there...and may your heart feel the nearness of Him as we celebrate Jesus' birth....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Praying for our Adult Children...

The National Missionary Convention was, again, an amazing opportunity to hear some great teaching, be encouraged in my walk with God, and to be inspired to engage in missions in my own life. 


Before leaving for the convention, I had purchased a book for Mark and I to "do" together - "The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children" by Stormie Omartian. Often I'll pick up a book, and it will take us months, even years, to get started on it (or through it!). But the overwhelming, resounding cry of "PRAY!!" that I heard over and over again at the NMC compelled me to sit down with Mark tonight, and we began to read this book together. 


I realize that no book, besides the Bible, holds all the answers, but for parents that have stopped praying for our adult children, this book is a great resource of scripture to set us on a path to begin to pray again. Not only does it direct us TO DO it, but gives a good foundation of how to tear down spiritual strongholds to free us to pray effectively for them, ridding ourselves of the guilt of parenting errors, the bondage of unforgiveness and allowing us to resume our Biblical right to speak truth and light into their lives. 


Our job as parents never ends, and I'm grateful that Mrs. Omartian has reminded me of this! Although we have prayed continually for our children's needs, for God's direction for their lives and ministries, and of course when trouble prevailed - this book is an effective guide to lead us to pray again as parents - not for our little kids - but for our adult children. 


I recognize that some parents are living in fear for their children's lives, for their ministries, and I recommend that they allow themselves to delve into the Word, to use this book as a prayer guide to pray for their kids, and to put it into practice. To read it, and PRAY it with your spouse, will bring you closer together, closer to God, and you will feel the peace of God settle your spirit.


Be blessed...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This week...

After being sick in bed for a week plus, and on meds that were making me sicker - I'm actually feeling a bit better...although I don't sound better...

So, I'm in Lexington, KY at the National Missionary Convention. Love it here. I'll write more in a few days once I'm back home...

Thanks for the prayers...healing, God moving, for me to listen 2x more than I talk...He is faithful (even if He has to take my voice away to accomplish the last...  ; )

blessings,
marina

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Right Now DOES Matter!!

(This was written in response to Bonnie Gray's Faith Barrista Blog, entitled "Right Now Matters And So Do You; Surviving the In Between Times" which was posted at http://www.incourage.me this morning)


First off, LOVE your thoughts, stories, and spiritual truths. Thanks for sharing and inspiring us.

Second: recipes girl…you told us how to make the bad chicken…how about some “real” good Chinese recipes! (My daughter and son in law just returned from 3 years of school there, I’d love to surprise them with a real authentic meal!!)


Third: my first response was that I’m too busy to be “in between” right now…but that’s my bigger picture. My calendar this week says I have a conference tomorrow (which is now TODAY) from 9-4, church at 5:45 PM, and will be at a convention from Wednesday – Sunday for missions. In my spare time I’m preparing for the workshop I’m leading (“Help! My child wants to go into missions!”) and preparing the menu for cooking for 25 Missions Ministers while they meet off sight. I’m busy!!

But then this still, small voice reminded me that I’ve been sick and in bed all week, and that the new medication added to my regiment is not allowing me to sleep….not a wink. I’m sorta stuck in one of those spots now.

My attendance at the conference is canceled and I’ll likely skip church…though if I feel better Sunday I’ll go then. For now, being able to heal, rest, and sleep if/when it comes is paramount. In my sleepless time tonight I lay awake listening to God, praying about today’s activities and the week ahead. Twice He spoke clearly enough to force me to pull the laptop on the bed and write out new notes in my outline. He’s using my season of waiting to prepare for the season of harvest. That’s good enough for me!


Several years ago, while working at a Christian Camp, God changed my idea of “retreat participation.” I had only been exposed to spiritual retreats, great speakers, late nights, and worship with the angels. What God showed me was that He use these times to prepare us like a military unit readying for war on a spiritual battleground; He is stocking our supplies, readying our focus, and giving us rest and nourishment to go back into the spiritual frontlines. I think we mistake the quiet times of life, those waiting situations between the trials, as missed opportunities to retreat.


I pray that we will use our time wisely, the day of His return IS drawing near, and although we do not know the day or time we need to continue to be salt and light to a hurting world here, near, and far away.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Faith Barrista Jam, Shaking off feelings of guilt...

(hello friends! for some reason, i'm writing from the "amen corner" of life this morning. it's a good place to be! i can only think that my heart is prepared to participate in a FULL weekend of learning and growing through Jennifer Rothschild and the Fresh Grown Faith Conference for our women, and a series at church called "Here, Near, and Far Away" where Dr. Mark Moore from Ozark Christian College is blessing us with 3 sermons - 3 DIFFERENT sermons - this weekend. You can find out more at http://crossroadschristian.com, and even listen to them, should God lead.)


Now back to our regular scheduled blogging...


When I came to Jesus, as a young adult with a VERY colorful past, I had to reckon with how to deal with all the forgiveness God was willing to give me. 


"REALLY? 
ALL my sins, just washed away??"


I'd find myself saying over and over, wondering what the catch was...surely this was one of those "too good to be true" deals...but I never found any fine print at the bottom of the page - and the footnotes in my Bible never proved it was a conditional deal.


Then the truth of the matter was the realization that I could accept HIS forgiveness...but could I forgive myself??


THAT TOOK TIME


and 30-some years later, I still have to pick myself off, dust off the pride, and ask for forgiveness again - 


BECAUSE I DON'T ALWAYS LET ME BE FORGIVEN.


He HAS separated me from my sins, and the shadow of His cross casts long between them. (amen!)


I know I'm still a sinner. I still hold that bread that is His body, cup that is His blood, and allow my heart to break over the things that I could have done differently. done better. or just shouldn't have done at all


And if I do it right, IF i do it right, then the forgiveness comes easy - from Him, me accepting it from Him, and walking away with that...moving forward on this journey with Him. I'm learning.


Yes, I'm learning - to not look back. Like the pillar of salt that He so graciously put in the Bible to remind me to not even glance at what I used to be (well, only for the edification of the Body - so He can be glorified in how far He's brought me - and still bringing me - amen?). But not to look, not to long, not to desire, not to wonder "what if...". 


Because, come down to it - heart and soul of it - straight up shoot from the hip - it could, LIFE could, 


NEVER BE BETTER THAN THIS.


And it's easy to remember that 
NOTHING I CAN DO WILL MAKE HIM LOVE ME MORE
and
NOTHING I CAN DO WILL MAKE HIM LOVE ME LESS
(amen)


So guilt, this guilt, THIS GUILT, that Satan tries to stir up in me - won't stick. It's useless.


BECAUSE I'M FORGIVEN
and that's THAT.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

On parenting your adult children....or mine at least...

I'm surprised sometimes, how the "mom" doesn't leave me....it really IS a hard thing to NOT do!

My youngest, Jason, will be graduating from college in December...gosh, I can say "next month" and count the weeks on my hands (not quite yet ONE hand...). His degree, Construction Management, is pretty well rounded, and although the construction industry is still affected by the recession I have no doubt that God can (and will) open the door to a good job for him. (OK - disclaimer here - "good job" in God's way of blessing, not necessarily meant to measure what man judges from the pay check stub, benefits, or what kind of place he'll live in...but that he will be used by God and keep his bills paid and make a difference in the world for Jesus!)

A few times now, he's mentioned wanting to go to CA to visit his "best friend" who attends college there, and even has tried to line up work out there for the past summer (which fell through). Now he's again praying and seeking work there...and it puts me in this place of being grown.

On one hand, I know what life in CA is like - I was born in Southern California, and lived there until my husband was transferred to a new job in GA - as a matter of fact - I was 8 months pregnant with Jason then, and he was the only one of my kids to NOT be born in CA!

I actually am a little (unnecessarily) stressed about him moving there. Part of me thinks that it's too dangerous (yes, that's a part of it) and part of me thinks he'll love it so much that he won't ever want to leave. Part of me thinks that it will rock his spiritual foundation (duh, like college didn't already do that?) and part of me sees that it's such a mission field, and a bit of refiner's fire too.

I KNOW that he has to make this decision on his own. I threw out my .02 worth this morning, and willed to pray "change my heart, Lord; change Jason's mind; or change the circumstances that would lead him there". So now all I do is pray, wait, and listen to every word that Jason says...what he's thinking...what's going on in the job search...and that he'll be wise enough to not believe everything he hears in the process, and that he'll figure out how much more it is to live in some places around the U.S. than in others...whether it's in CA, or KY, GA, or MO...or anywhere - cost of living affects wages and rent, gasoline and bread...and a paycheck is reflective of it all.

So...I was surprised today by how much a mom I can be sometimes. And I'm still expecting God to change me, and for my faith to grow, as I learn to REALLY let go...