Thursday, July 2, 2015

Faithful...


Number 7 of 100 of exploring cruciform - I have so many partially complete, waiting for that last little touch of symbology...in this piece I was thinking how the intersecting parts of a trellis form a cross of sorts.  I could "see" dogwoods climbing the wood, and found that one of the meanings of this flower was "faithfulness". 

And have I mentioned that Sweet Teen and I are taking Japanese language lessons?  Sweet Teen's interest in all things Japanese continues to influence me!  Their written language is a combination of Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji.  Even foreign words make their way into the written work.  Kanji is borrowed from the Chinese characters and may sometimes have variations.  Thus, I needed to add the character for faithfulness.  This character also can mean honesty, fidelity, honor, personal integrity, constancy and faith.

Several  years ago I was introduced to the concept that the story of Creation found in Genesis is embedded in the Chinese language - and the study is fascinating!  In the case of the above character, it is developed from combining two pictographs into one ideograph:


 





If we analyze the character , meaning sincere [trustful, etc.], we find that it is formed by the combination of the characters of a man and words, a collocation of ideas which speaks well for the honourable truthfulness of the ancient Chinese.” *
(There are about 600 pictographs, from which the 214 radicals are formed, and about 700 ideographs.)












 * Nelson, Ethel R. (1979-08-01). The Discovery of Genesis (Kindle Locations 553-556). Concordia Publishing House. 
     Kindle Edition.



Friday, June 12, 2015

What says "summer" for you?




For me, 

there is a certain smell in the air, 

the occasional whiff of blossoms, 

the sun warmed oxygen,

a playful breeze - 

the lazy drone of bees and insects assuring me that somewhere, something is 
hearing the promise of peace...

 
For Miss Sweet Teen it is the opening of the neighborhood sno-cone trailer, on the corner of Academy and White Settlement Road - the best sno-cones in the Metroplex!

Join me over on facebook to share YOUR "this is summer" favorite...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

7 Things Parents Need To Navigate the Teen Years {and 7 Promises God Makes to Meet Those Needs}


  
I look into her eyes, marveling at the nuances in color, at the glowing golden tans mixed with deeper browns that finally melt into the infinity of the pupil.  The human eye is an incredible miracle!  I am standing nose to nose with her – another astounding fact.  This child in adult skin is a phenomenon, a marvel, a sensation, a wonder, a “non-pariel”…a sweet teenager with blue bangs.  A “Warrior Woman” in the making.  And after a rough stretch with friend issues, God has provided a small, solid band of like- minded “warrior women in the making”. 

But this post isn’t about middle school friend angst or what God meant when He called her a “Warrior Woman” during my prayer time two years ago.   Neither is it a post where I share tips for parents struggling with their teens based on my own current counseling work, as it started to be. 

Why, you might ask? Because.  Last. Week.  Happened.

You’ve heard that when you are preparing to teach a lesson, God walks you through it first?  He did.  I did.  Sweet Teen lived through it too! I have a degree and some experience, but what I truly am is a fellow traveler with you, imperfectly leading a teen through the forest of adolescence and to the mountain top of adulthood.   Every one of my imperfections I continue to have  is an indication and an invitation.   They are an indication that I have a need that can lead me to His provision.  They are an invitation to the Lord to intervene according to His promises. 


Monday, May 11, 2015

Having a "Different Spirit"

One of my favorite Old Testament heroes, Caleb, was said to have a "different spirit" - 

 "But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it."
Numbers 14:24 

 
He was one of the two spies that didn't just follow the crowd {Numbers 14}.
He had a warrior's heart...{Joshua 14}
He wanted the hill country of Hebron because there were giants there {Joshua 14}
Hebron is derived from a word that means "to unite, to be joined to" {Hebron}

What can these brief snapshots teach us?

Here is what my heart says:

To be called a Christian means to follow God, and Him alone.  Sometimes "the crowd" wants to be comfortable, and I must be so tied to God, so united with Him, that He is more important to me than the will of "the crowd".  In that by itself, a warrior heart is needed!  But a warrior heart also longs to conquer the giants in the land - all of them!  A warrior heart doesn't shrink back, but takes the fight to the giants...in my own history - hiding, shrinking back, fitting in - was how I coped and survived...but God seeks to invade my history and nurture that warrior's heart!  I recognize it and follow it most of the time...but sometimes I don't, when those of my immediate family don't recognize the leading of the Spirit in me.  That's the hard place.  My warrior's heart is intact everywhere else:  the world, our church family, my friends.  But my immediate family takes a different approach.  And that is one of the giants as well!  When family can take the place of God, when family can become an idol...that is a giant that needs to be slain!  As a wife, as a mother, as a Daughter of God, I need to find the path to being a "tendor warrior" with them, and truly with everyone else as well.  Yes, to be joined to, united with, the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit means I am united with the ultimate "tender warrior".  Where I am struggling, when I am struggling - that could mean I have walked away from Him unawares...

Lord, forgive me for my self-sufficiency...I turn my heart back to You, and You alone.  Guard me and help me use both weakness and strength to abide in You, and enjoy the flow of life from Your in-exhaustible source!  Amen.


Another resource on the sin of "self-sufficiency" here: The One Thing That Shuts Out God

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Open Your Eyes to Beauty -


I took this photo at the Japanese Gardens in fort Worth this spring....

“Every created beauty was created by God to lead our affections to Him. That’s why He made the pleasures of earthly beauty so fleeting — so that on the other side of the pleasure we might experience either wonder and worship and ultimate satisfaction in God or the pursuit of the pleasure that beauty provides for its own sake. If we choose the latter, we will only be disappointed again.”
                                                                                          — Steve DeWitt, "Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God In Everything" 

A foot bridge at the Japanese Gardens...