Every experience God gives us, every person that He puts into our lives, is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see.
- Corrie Ten Boom

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Grasp

This week has been a monumentous one for me, for both my husband and I. On Wednesday, my husband, who has been out of work since June, was offered a new job about an hour from where we live, which means at least it will be a short move, rather than a long, drawn-out state to state move that we have had in the past. The other news in even better, though, and something only God could orchestrate. I'm pregnant! This is often a great piece of news for a married couple, but if you know our story, it's even more amazing. If you go back and read http://nlpowers.blogspot.com/2012/05/infertility.html you'll see why. So, for now, I am just trying to grasp the concept that this is real and deny Satan the pleasure of stealing the joy of it with the worries of a first time mom who has longed for this time for so long.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Power

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” -Acts 1:8 NKJV

This was not the actual text of this morning's sermon, however, it was a part of it. Since the content and sentiment of my post on Friday was along the same lines, I'll take it as the Holy Spirit's leading in MY life that something is about to change (or should, at least). If you read my post from Five Minute Friday a few weeks ago you know that change is nothing new for me; it happens more frequently for me than some others, it seems. That doesn't always mean I like it, but I probably tolerate it better than some. 

Anyway, I am pretty sure that I memorized this particular verse at some point before I was a Christian, so perhaps it didn't have the same impact on me when I would read it afterwards. Maybe you are in the same place? 

Think about it, we will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. God's power, the power to do what HE wants us to do; the POWER to do what Jesus did in human form. That's pretty awesome, isn't it? Often times, at first, we are a lot more upfront about our faith, I know I was. But then, it's also pretty scary to see what a little fear, a little doubt, a little self-consciousness reduces us to. "What will they say/think/do if I ___?" 

Sometimes, I believe wholeheartedly that the Holy Spirit does have us hold back, because the time is not right. Sometimes it is our actions and not our words that does the most talking. Many times we are called to plant or water seeds and someone else will have the pleasure of harvesting. Other times, we are called to do that end part, or even the more special and sometimes more difficult part of discipling a new believer. 

Most of the time, all of those things need to take place and you never know where in that process any one person is, so keep your heart open to the Holy Spirit's still small voice this week and see if He doesn't use you to reach someone else. 



Friday, September 21, 2012

Wide

"Deep and wide, deep and wide, there's a fountain flowing deep and wide..." You may or may not remember that song as a Sunday School favorite. I've sometimes learned that songs that I sang ALL THE TIME in SS, others did not, and vice-versa. So, I guess this word will force me to take a look at my own spiritual life and examine whether or not it truly is deep and wide? Does my faith permeate every decision that I make, and then take wings and reach out to others? If I am honest with myself, not as much as it should, I don't think.

I am comfortable talking about my faith, my co-workers know that I go to church, where I go to church, and that I help teach a kid's SS school class. I am comfortable practicing my faith, in small ways, at least. Most of the time this is recognized as simply "kindness." Not a bad thing, but anyone can be kind. And I don't want to be pushy, so I often wait for the right time, the right words, the right way to say, "You need Christ." Maybe that's a good thing. A Pastor friend of mine wrote on facebook this week, "Saying to a pre-Christian that they need Jesus is like saying to someone who doesn't yet know that they are diabetic that they need insulin." So, what do you think, is that an excuse, or a valid statement?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Change

Wow. If one words defines my life right now, it's change. But then, that's the word that defines my life every couple of years, it seems. I just got promoted at my job, so that's a change. My husband lost his, that's a change. The Senior and Worship Pastors at our church left for other ministry opportunities, that's a change. We are looking to move again, once my husband finds a new job, so that'll be a change. Yes, change is prevalent in my life; and while that is often on the forefront of my mind, I'm still mostly OK with it. There is only one reason for that: the God that I serve is unchanging. Everything around me, all of my circumstances may change, but God is still there, still guiding, still loving, and I still understand that although there is uncertainty, there is also hope.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Join

Have you ever been asked to join something you didn't think that you wanted to, only to find out that it made a profound, positive change in your life? Have you ever said yes to doing something, without even thinking about it? I have. Over 20 years ago, I said, "yes" to going to camp, the night before I was to leave. I didn't think about it, not even for a second, I was asked and before I knew what I was saying the word had left my mouth. Little did I know that that week I would join together not only with people of my own age and denomination for a week, but a much greater body that spans the world and time itself. I joined with the Body of Christ, not just for a week, but for my lifetime. God changed my heart, my mind, and gave me something more to live for, something more to be. For that I am ever thankful.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Here

I had a t-shirt that my best friend from high school's mom gave me that said, "Bloom where you're planted." It's sort of funny, because when I was in high school, and for the first two years afterward, I lived in the same small town that I had always lived in; a blue-collar city located on the Hudson River. However, since that time I've moved what sometimes seems like a hundred times (really it's been about 8). However, I have always tried to see the reason why I am here. What God has for me to both learn and contribute to the community that I am in. I try to always be content wherever here is, because I know there is a reason for it. God is good, and I am happy to be of His service, however He sees fit in the here and now.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beyond

Everywhere I have ever lived has been called home, some of them still are, in a sense. I have a home in Kansas, a home in New York, and a home in Minnesota. They say home is where your heart is, or alternately, where you hang your hat. I'm not so sure about the hat thing, I don't tend to wear them, but I find my heart divided and I wonder why God can't let us settle someplace here on earth. I know that my home, really, truly, is not on this earth, but somewhere beyond here, in heaven. But I still wish, upon the same stars I have seen in every night sky, that we could be somewhere, nearly anywhere, for a long enough period of time to put down roots.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Forgiveness

This was our Sunday School lesson this past week, for the 3rd and 4th graders I teach. It's one that a lot of adults struggle with, too. Some people will say that to forgive too soon, or too easily, or without being asked often means that the offending person won't learn anything from the event. Sometimes, that will probably happen, but most of the time, it doesn't. Why? Because most bad behavior is precipitated by wanting attention. At that point, they don't care whether it's good or bad attention, they just need someone to pay attention to them, to feel like they matter, that they exist. Sad, isn't it? That's not to say that is always the case, but it often is. Other bad behavior is an escape mechanism. My reality stinks, so I want to alter my perspective on it by using alcohol/drugs/sex/whatever to escape. Are there exceptions to these two things? Absolutely! But, the vast majority of bad behavior fits into one or both of those categories.

So, then, where and how does forgiveness come into it? Well, we know that we need to be forgiven, for all of the mistakes, mess ups, and sins we've committed. The Lord's prayer says, "Forgive us our debts/trespasses as we forgive our debtors/those who trespass against us." Ouch; forgive us as we forgive others. Sometimes, harboring hate towards someone else will eat at us, and make us feel like the one who messed up, and that's valid, because we then aren't following out God's will and we are creating a barrier between ourselves and God. 

Look for another blog post later this week, showing how that forgiving can turn a life around. :-) But, for now, I'll leave you this morning with a song from Tenth Avenue North entitled "Losing." 


Friday, July 20, 2012

Enough

My husband was watching Rocky IV tonight, for what had to be the hundreth time. In it, Adrian (Rocky's wife) at one point yells at Rocky, "You can't win!" I have to say, that's a horrible thing for any spouse to say to their mate. I've heard it from mine, well, not that I couldn't win, but that I couldn't do something that I want, have nearly always wanted to do: write. Professionally. I have been through a half dozen of his job changes through the past 10 years we have been married, most of them not his choice, and each of which brought us to a new state. We are even currently looking for the next job, the next new place. But, no matter what the circumstances have been, we have always had enough.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Love: defined

Our text this morning was Romans 12:9-13. Here it is from the Message: "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality."

The Sunday School lessons this month that I am helping to teach are also on love. Last week we talked about the three Greek words for love: eros, phileo, and agape, as well as briefly about loving our enemies. This week it was about showing others love by putting them first. They both go along the same lines, yes?

So, what does it mean in today's society to truly love others? What does it look like? More importantly, how can I go about loving others in the way that Christ calls me to, even in this time of transition and turmoil for my husband and I?

There was a homeless couple outside the store I work at a couple of days last week, at first I thought there was only one person, but it turns out there were two. When I thought that there was only one, I was willing to share my lunch with them, but when I went out there were two, and I didn't feel I had enough for three, so I turned around and went back inside. When I got out of work that night, they were gone. Hopefully, someone with more means helped them out, but I can't guarantee that. I do wonder what I lost out on by not helping, though.

I also have to believe that part of the message that God is sending me today, through these lessons as well as other things that I have seen and heard today, is that I am not to give up. Things might be hard today, but there is work still to be done. While I don't know what or where our next mission field will be, I can rest assured that God is already at work there, preparing it for us, while He is also preparing us for it. :-)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Infertility


I originally wrote this for someone else's blog, actually, for a blog that I don't regularly read, though a friend of mine does and often posts them to facebook. This morning, I read another blog, one that I do read frequently, on the subject of loneliness in the sight of God's plans. Having written the following just 6 hours prior, I knew I wanted to share it with the author of that blog, who shares my struggle with infertility and thus knows the intense isolation and insecurity that can result from it. I figured others might benefit from it as well, and so for the first time in months, I am posting a blog. Maybe, I'll get better at it and write more often. :-)

I have never actually been told that I cannot have children. However, after nearly ten years of marriage, I am beginning to think that it will just never happen for me, for us. For my husband, who told me five years into our marriage that he didn’t want to have children, this is somewhat a victory. For me, who has always longed for child to hold in my arms, it is a bitter defeat. The fact that this is the case, makes it all the harder for me, because he doesn’t understand my struggle. Despite the fact that he doesn’t want to have children, my husband, to his credit, said that we could “try” six and a half years into our marriage. His version of trying was more like not doing anything to prevent, but being young and na├»ve, I figured I’d be pregnant inside of a year. After all, how many unplanned pregnancies are there in a year?

When month after month came and went with not even so much as a serious thought of “I might be pregnant” I went to the doctor. Despite annual exams since I was a teenager, a new doctor discovered during a regular pap smear that I have two cervices and uteri. While this may not altogether prevent me from conceiving and carrying a child to term, it definitely won’t make it any easier. I also have had issues with out of control periods since I was a teenager, with no explanation or found medical answer. My doctors’ answer was to put me on birth control pills. I started doing that a full eight years before I’d ever have sex for the first time, on our wedding night. I continued on afterwards, for two reasons: 1) to prevent a pregnancy before we had time to get used to living with one another, and 2) to attempt to control my out of control cycle. I even had an episode where my period lasted for three months, despite the use of the pill; the solution was to switch me to a different one. There were three strikes against me, in baseball, that means you’re out. But life isn’t a baseball game, and the rollercoaster didn’t stop there.

After two years of “trying,” my younger sister offered to surrogate for us.  She has four children now, but at the time had three. At first, I saw this as hope, and my husband even agreed to consider and pray about it. And pray we did, together and separately. At the end of a week, we both clearly had an answer, the same answer: no. God used the story of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac to say no to the surrogacy, because He had a better plan, for them; and I hope, for us. My husband was apologetic, I felt like I might die from grief, even as I recognized the hope that ought to come from His answer. Gradually, I began to accept this answer from God, I wanted to be obedient, even if it seemed like my heart would break in the process.

Nearly two more years have passed since then and most days I am okay, but there are just some days, where the mention of a child, especially an unwanted one, will tear open old wounds and the tears will flow uncontrollably. I do not yet know if the second part of the “no” answer was also for me, or not, but I silently hold out hope and know that even if I never hold a child of my own in my arms, my obedience to His perfect plan, will, in the end, garner much more joy than a child conceived in disobedience, even if I can’t even type that without those uncontrollable tears. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

An Apology and Recent Thoughts

It's been a long time since I last blogged. To my few readers, I am sorry. During the month of November I was working on a novel and well, life got in the way. I have a different job, again, and also have a job interview on Wednesday for yet another job. I am excited about the new job possibility, but I feel as though I have yet to accomplish what God has for me to do where I am at now. The job that I am at now is in no way one that I want to stay at forever, but I believe that God has me there for at least one specific reason.

I have continually been complimented on my positive attitude and demeanor, even when people are rude or confrontational to me, often about things that are out of my control. One co-worker has commented, several times, that I am "always joyful." I am not, but he hasn't yet seen me in an alternate state of mind. He once asked me why and I didn't really answer him. I am not really sure why. I know the source of my joy, it is God. It is the relationship that I have with Him that colors every part of my life. Galatians 5:22-23 says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Most of the time, I think I exhibit these traits. However, like all people, I have moments when I forget what is truly important in favor of some selfish ambition. It's something I am often ashamed of quickly after it happens. It hurts me that I hurt Him and yet it happens more often than I'd care to admit.

So, to those who think that I am perfect, I am not. I am, however, trying to serve God with all of my heart, mind and soul.