Friday, July 31, 2015

Last Day

I've been very blessed to have been working these past few years with DaySpring on Roy Lessin's devotional blog, Meet Me in the Meadow, as a part-time temporary, and then a contracted employee.

Today is my last day. Meet Me in the Meadow will not have new content posted on it, and there is no need for my services. The last post will go "live" at 4 am, and I'll respond to comments and notices on the website and through Facebook through the day, and then I'm done.


There's a number of other things going on in my life right now, but none of them are anything I'm ready to share yet. Some have surprised me. Others were expected. God was aware of all of them, and could have changed the course of these things long before we knew of them... but He didn't. Only we were surprised; He has always known.

Several months ago God gave me an epiphany moment during a difficult decision. He told me to choose the hardest way, make the hardest decision possible, because it would insure that I would be leaning in harder on Him, and it would bring new growth in my spiritual life with Him.

I didn't get to make this choice, but I'm remembering these words He whispered in my ear. He is with me. He is not surprised. He invites me to press in hard to Him, and there I will wait for Him to unfold the "what's next" of my life. I will cling to Him today, so close that I can hear His heart beat...


A heart-felt "Thank YOU!" to all of you that have supported Meet Me in the Meadow all these years. As much as you will miss reading Roy's words, I will miss "seeing you" online. We will meet again, in heaven's meadow...

-marina

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tired.

I just wanted to read a little bit, to get my focus off of being so tired. But tired I was... I've driven from my home in Kentucky, through Tennessee (yesterday); across Arkansas, and laid down in my hotel bed in Dallas. I'm beat. Exhausted. I'm ready to sleep after these 2 days of driving! 

Then I read Sarah Thebarge's newest post on "Sunday Mornings and Friday Nights”...and then read Proverbs 30... And I knew I had my verse for today... 

http://sarahthebarge.com/2015/07/sunday-mornings-and-friday-nights/

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Proverb a Day - Proverbs 28

So true! 


There's a sweet simplicity in living without excess, no matter the reason why. We don't get tangled in our pride. We learn to be content with what we have. Our heads, hearts, and homes, can be clearer and cleaner. 

Don't ever despise a low income! Learn to embrace it, to live on less and give generously if you can.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Rip Tides

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Romans 8:26-30

It's been a week of letting the Spirit intercede in my prayers. Tough situations, leading to uncertainty, landing in a spot that I don't know if it's a blessing or a trial.

But God knows. I don't need to struggle with the circumstances because I know that as much as I don't know - He knows.

It feels a bit like swimming in the ocean and being caught up in a rip tide. All I see is that I'm being pulled out to sea. All I need to remember is that at some point, if I rest in it and pay attention, I will be released from its grip drawing me away from shore, and I'll be able to swim parallel to the shore. Once I'm outside that force I can swim back to shore safely.

The key things are to rest in it and pay attention to where I am. Don't struggle, or panic. If I do I will be spent of energy and can drown from the exhaustion of the struggle.

There's a pattern to it that I can't see from where I am in the water, but you can see it from above, it can be seen from the shore.

So I need to rest in this. Let the Spirit intercede.

God's got this.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Proverb a Day: Proverbs 21, Spiritual Naps, and being a Complaining Wife...

"Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap." - Unknown

I don't know who said that first, but I have used that quote a lot since hearing it from a mommy-friend a few years ago. It was actually said to a ministry partner who skipped the church service on Sunday, needing badly to catch up on rest after a profoundly busy week... he had permission from that mom (a church staff person) to stay home and practice the Sabbath.

This week I'm caring for 4 of my grandkids, aged 2-7, while their parents are on a trip alone. I'm having fun with their silly antics, though I admit, I'm much out of practice at cooking 3 meals a day (and cleaning up afterwards!) and keeping them moving in one direction with clean faces and all.

To compound the week being out of sorts, my husband is having a particularly difficult season at work, with additional issues and problems that have put him back to a 7 day work week... and LONG days at that!

For me, this means extra-long days too... and even keeping the kids awake later than normal to be able to allow them a little time to see their grandpa before going to bed. It's keeping me awake later than normal to get to connect with him about our days too.

I want to be able to be level-headed and pleasant, not gripy and complaining. I know that his corporate day is way more stressful than anything I can face here. I'm grateful that he sees that it's a blessing for me to be working from home in this season, and to do it all well, I want to be in the best frame of mind to serve him when he gets home.

When I read today's Proverb, it hit me hard to take this to heart AND application.

As I set up my naptime playlist, I realized that I needed a nap too. It was necessary today - for me - and for them, for him, and for our marriage.

It may cut short any writing I'll get done today, but I so desperately need to close my eyes and rest; to awaken anything but a "grumpy grandma" that I am in this moment, which would develop into anything but a pleasant wife by the time he hit the door!

May you have the courage to find the grumpy grandma (or grandpa) in you, and slay her with a good nap!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Proverb a Day: Proverbs 20

Proverbs 20

When my youngest daughter was a child she was attached to my hip, preferred a routine menu for her meals, didn't want to try new things, and was pretty shy. It's just the way she was.

When she felt a call to go into missions early in her life (pre-junior high), people who knew her were surprised, taken aback, and sometimes stunned. This child? How would she survive??

I remember accompanying her as a young college student to a friend's small church to ask for support for her first mission trip. They asked her how she knew that God had prepared her for missions, how did she know that it was His call on her life.

She recounted her story of what God had done to prepare her for the work ahead, how she was when she was younger and how He had completely changed her heart, which affected how she acted outwardly. Not only had He changed her personality, but her pallet and level of curiosity. Seeing the Good News brought to those that hadn't heard was more important than her comfort level.

I wasn't that way when I was born... well, not completely the same. I was a fussy eater (and still can be!), but one of the nicknames I had growing up was "Philadelphia Lawyer."  I liked to argue THAT much! It was said that I'd argue that the grass wasn't green, or the sky wasn't blue, all for the sake of arguing.

Once God got a hold of my heart as a young adult, He began to change my temperament. It took a while, but the verse below was a big part in breaking that arguing person I used to be.


It took a while, but now I hate arguing. It causes anxiety and frustrates me when others do it. I know it goes on... all around me. I know that there are those that argue for the sake of the gospel, that's just not my style. Not my gifting. I'll respectfully disagree, but I won't argue a point. You're entitled to your opinion, and I'm entitled to mine. I might plead with you to consider the gospel, but I won't raise my voice, or insult you, or throw facts and figures around... I want to love you into the kingdom.

This is just one of the many ways God has changed my heart. I'm sure that you have before/after stories of how He has worked in you! Feel free to share one!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Proverb a Day, Proverbs 17

I chose this Proverb for today because it challenged me, and reminded me of where I'm coming from.... where I want to go to.


Negative speaking and thinking WILL leave us "bone-tired" as this translation describes it.

Or as it is in the NLT translation:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine,
    but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength."

Truth!

Not only is it what we think up ourselves (oh, how hard we can be on ourselves!), it's what we make of other's opinions of us, or what they bring to us; either as a gift (a cheerful heart) or as they pile their stress and negative junk upon us.

It's one thing to help a friend carry a burden in prayer, it's another thing when that's all they ever offer you. It gets tiring, it wears us down, and to the point that we can't be effective in friendship or praying.

I have had an issue with this in my own life... people have broken my spirit, knocked me down, kicked me while I was there - and then they get over their circumstances and move along, but don't understand why I'm hesitant to spend time with them. Even when I forgive them for their hurtful words and actions towards me, I have to be careful to not allow them to abuse me this way again.

I've also done that to other people... in a different way. I can get so caught up in the "woe is me" of my day/life, that I rain down gloom and doom like a little black (You can read more about the effects of stress on our body here and here.)

A good remedy: LAUGHTER.

With technology today, it's easy to get a dose of laughter. Watching  or listening to comedians online is easy and free! I like anything from Jeanne Robertson and some of Brian Regan's humor and I'm a fan of Bored Shorts TV. Some people like to watch one of the funniest home video shows out there, while others like to watch stupid pet tricks... it really doesn't matter what makes you laugh... JUST DO IT! You'll find yourself renewed and energized!

I love to spend time with my grandkids! They bring me JOY in some of the purest ways. I love the silly things they say and do, and it renews my spirit, even if it wears me out physically! If I can't sleep well, a good remedy is to watch my grandkids for a few hours in the afternoon - they lift my spirits and leave me EXHAUSTED!!

Even "fake laughing" will trick our bodies into creating the healthy, positive hormones that we need to make us happier! Laughter truly IS the best medicine!

**********
Please share what makes you laugh!!
Did you choose a different verse from today's Proverb? Please tell me which one, and why...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Proverb a Day: Proverb 16

When I posted the Proverbs verses I chose for the day over on Marina's Kitchen Table on Facebook, I didn't know how much truth they held for me TODAY.
Proverbs 16:9 rang true TWICE!

Example #1: I'd planned on running a few errands, making a friend tag along so we could spend some time together. After we parted, on my way home, I turned around and headed back to her town - I'd forgotten to pay a bill that was best paid in person. After doing that, I remembered I had a question for our insurance company, and he had suggested stopping in and speaking to someone over the specifics... who WANTS to do that?? (Sorry Al)
Well... I got to the office, and SURPRISE - it's "customer appreciation day" (he does it once a month! - love this guy!!) and as I'm asking my question, the kind woman behind the desk is suggesting I stick around a few minutes and get a free chair massage! REALLY?? Who DOESN'T WANT that?? smile emoticon(I could have had lunch too, but I was still full from brunch with my friend!)
Example #2: I got home, rushing to get to work (because my few hour errand run turned into a few more hours, but included precious time with that dear friend, prayer, and laughter!). I sit down at the kitchen table and pop open the laptop, and go to sign in to all the places I need to sign in to monitor social media for Meet Me in the Meadow... and everything goes well and good, except I can't sign in to my email. My WORK email. ACK. Bummer.
I try a few different browsers, then my phone (which got through on it earlier) and my other laptop in the office... none of them let me even open the website to sign in. OH well. I've tried several other times, but nothing has worked... I trust it will all be there whenever it is that I get into it again... God's got this!
Crank up the worship music, work where I can, and rejoice in the steps He has determined were for me today...




Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Proverbs 15...

So often I've read, "It takes 30 days to create a new habit." Whether it's making the bed, or putting more exercise into your routine (both things I need help with), it seems 30 days of repetition will help it to stick.

When it comes to the wisdom of Solomon, I think that the same holds true. I love the good habit of reading a Proverb a day, even if I can only grasp hold of one nugget of wisdom from that chapter.


Proverbs 15 was chock-full-of-wisdom today... so much to focus on! Here's my favorite verse:

Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 (nlt)

What verse spoke to you today? Please share in the comments!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Welcome!

Welcome to the readers of Roy Lessin's devotional blog, Meet Me in the Meadow! You can subscribe by typing in your email address in the above section!
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Now all of us, with our faces unveiled, reflect the glory of the Lord as if we are mirrors; and so we are being transformed, metamorphosed, into His same image from one radiance of glory to another, just as the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes it. 
2 Corinthians 3:18 (Voice)
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When I was a baby Christian, in the early 80's in Southern California, I first learned about "tracks," Christian cards, and the power of the Word of God. This encouragement in Christ was new to me, and I was hooked.

DaySpring products are still a part of my life today!

A few years ago, immersed in a thriving Missionary Care ministry at our church, a new relationship was formed with DaySpring. About a year later, my husband's job moved us to NW Arkansas, and those friendships deepened. A few months after moving there, an opportunity to work as a part-time temp while one of the employees took maternity leave opened. Her job spanned many different roles, and I was able to choose the area that I was most comfortable working. I chose to work with Meet Me in the Meadow, helping to manage the blog and post the daily writings of Roy Lessin, a writer I had respected for many years.

I always felt sure that I had made the best choice, for my skill set and my ministry heart. As they learned of my long-learned love of photography (and vast nature photo files to draw from) I was able to include my own photos with each post, and submit photos for special online projects.

When people wrote in with a need, Roy and Mandy encouraged me to interact with the reader via email, writing prayers out - from my heart to God - for their special needs. Sometimes those emails carried on into friendship for a season, sometimes we would get a letter back with an answer as to how God provided. Often we heard nothing else, and that's ok too... because it is ALL about what God can do through us, and not about what we could do on our own.

Today it was announced that new postings for Meet Me in the Meadow will be ending at the first of August. Roy will continue to write for DaySpring Devotionals (a Sunday email with several wonderful writers). The end of the blog will end my contract with DaySpring - which I anticipated would happen some day... I just didn't know when.

It's a bittersweet moment.

I have been SO blessed to have been able to partner with Roy Lessin in the ministry of Meet Me in the Meadow. He and Mandy, and others at the DaySpring offices always treated me with respect and kindness, and I've been baffled if they are bosses, co-workers, or friends. I suppose when you have kindred spirits knit together in Christ, it's easy for those lines to cross.

I've been blogging a long time, and writing longer still. A year ago, almost exactly, I made some major shifts in my personal blog space (here) to do what the popular bloggers were doing. My personal blogging has always been separate from Meet Me in the Meadow (and I'd been doing it a lot longer!). I prayerfully changed my website feel, the direction, the name. It was an experience, something new to me.

Somehow it seemed like I was trying on someone else's shoes for the season... they weren't quite "me." Yet He didn't abandon me, but used it to continue to change me, it opened my life into a season of letting go, being transformed.

About 6 months ago, I heard God whispering "smaller" to me. We had made another move (our 5th move in 5 years, zig-zagging back and forth over 4 states), and I was weary from moving. God's hand led us, directed us, and protected us - but it was still hard when the last move was voluntary, and we ended up leaving a church we loved, a ministry I was embedded in, and so many wonderful friends.

Harder still was that we landed in a place we saw God provide, but we faced a series of personal hardships regarding ministry and relationships within the church.

God was indeed making my life smaller.

Still, the ministry of Meet Me in the Meadow went on, and in addition to working to see that ministry succeed, I became it's biggest advocate.

SO often the words I would work with one week would take on a personal application as I read them online the next week. God's grace abounded, even as I spend day after day, alone at home, in a new neighborhood. In my getting smaller with God, I was being pointed closer and closer to Him.

Meet Me in the Meadow is still one of the only blogs I read daily - not just because I work with it, but because it ALWAYS points me to the Truth of the Word of God. I will miss the new posts in August, as many of you will, but I will be one of the people digging into the archives, via the search box on the blog. There is so much wisdom and encouragement there!!

Since letting go of my "new blog," and praying through the journey that has led us to today, I have felt God turn a corner with me. He's led me to reconfigure the blog of my heart, Marina's Kitchen Table, the spot that I love being at. He has allowed me to walk through a season of difficulty and personal growth in my faith. I am ready to put my photos and words back here again.

My prayer is that you, the reader, will enjoy walking this journey with me - wherever it is that God is leading. I felt early on in my Christian life, that God called me to be a sojourner. Even still, in the smallest of apartments, each place we have lived has had some sort of a kitchen table area; to prepare meals, eat at, share bread over, tell about our journeys and show our photos, share the Gospel, to gather and take hands and pray around.

I'm hoping that through God's power and grace, that He will allow us to do these things around Marina's Kitchen Table. My prayer is that you'll return and join us here, always to encourage each other in our relationships with Him.

Welcome!