Just a Scribe

Random homilies of a woman, wife, and mother who loves Jesus

Be a Copycat April 16, 2014

My nephew put up as his post on facebook this morning: “Jesus isn’t looking for faithful churchgoers. He’s looking for copycats.”

I was stumped for a few moments. What could he possibly mean? Isn’t one of the problems with churches today the fact that everyone seems to copycat everyone else? Follow the culture? Let someone else set a lowered “norm” and then everyone else jump on the bandwagon?

But then my SIL (his mom) chimed in: ” I have never heard it put quite that way before. Imitators/copycats.” Ohhhhh…the light in my dim mind switched on.

Copycats of GOD! Doing exactly what He does. It didn’t take long before I remembered the old “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy “mirrors” Harpo Marx. It takes effort and focus to truly mirror someone else–even with practice! You have to keep your eyes fixed and not allow the smallest thing to distract you from doing exactly what the other person is doing.

images

Obviously the copyright for this photo belongs to someone way more cooler than me.

The thing with the mirror game is that eventually the person being mirrored wants to trip up the one mirroring. But not so with our God. He delights to take it slow enough that we can learn to faithfully follow Him and become true imitators.

My thoughts then meandered over to Ephesians 5:1-2.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

Keep your focus on Christ. Look into His eyes and His heart, and then do what He does: walk in love and sacrifice.

 

 

Just a Blip on the Screen

Filed under: Christian Lifestyle,ME/CFS — bradzbrenda @ 12:07 am
Tags: , ,

On April 23 of this year, I will have spent twenty-seven months in relapse. Twenty-seven months. That’s a whole lot of time to spend in bed or on the couch. That’s a whole lot of time to spend in the seclusion of the weary. However–and here’s the odd thing–it doesn’t feel like twenty-seven months! Not even by a long shot.

Sure! I can look back and calculate the amount of time I’ve missed. I can recall the events that have passed me by–the sweet memories of life that never had a chance to come alive in my heart in mind. I can pull up the disappointments I faced and felt…the moments that grieved my spirit and left me with tears streaming down my face. The cultivation of one’s inner being does not come without nicks and bruises.

Imagine my surprise, however, when I realized that my twenty-seven months passed no more slowly than anyone else’s. You, as well as I, can look back with vivid recall to a remembrance or a special occasion only to become aware that the time has slipped by since that moment or timeframe.

What? My daughter graduated Bible college and now attends a local community college? My son went from tenth grade to almost graduating–and I taught him? How did these things happen? Birthdays. Anniversaries. Driver’s license. Moving away. Moving home. New jobs. Life went on.

And, just like any other mother, I rejoiced over each triumph and wept over each loss.

And I learned to not carry burdens that God didn’t design me to carry.

So I prayed.

And in the praying, I learned joy.

And in the joy, I grew to understand how God carries His children “on eagle’s wings.”

My God has delighted to carry me from January 23, 2012 to this very day, just as He has delighted to carry me every other day in every other way. His nearness–His presence–makes this leg of my journey not unbearable, but enjoyable and satisfying! The knowledge that, just like everyone else, I live to accomplish HIS goals for my life not His goals for anyone else’s life frees me to live this day–just this one day–this one small blip on the screen–for His glory.

blip

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing in us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

 

Choose Mercy April 5, 2014

Filed under: Christian Lifestyle,Marriage — bradzbrenda @ 10:37 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I have been married twenty-seven years. You know what that means, don’t you? I have had ample time to realize that Prince Charming has imperfections.

He makes mistakes.

Not only that, but he can make the same mistake a whole slew of times.

Twenty-seven years has also given me enough time to realize that I have periods of embracing “pet” mistakes. What I mean is that during a certain phase of our marriage I might have one mistake that I deem a “cardinal” sin against me.

You never knew I had such a brutal side, did you?

The current cardinal sin–one which I am certain has had prominence before–happens when my darling husband makes a plan that affects me…but he doesn’t communicate it to me. This certain breakdown in dialogue impacts me so strongly at this point in time–I am sure–because the debilitation from my relapse of ME/CFS allows me so few choices. Thus, when a small decision is “stripped” from me, I hurt.

Take today for example.

I awakened with hopes of spending some much needed time with my husband. I’ve been point-blank exhausted for two weeks straight, hitting some pretty low lows. However, I had noticed that I’ve had some moments of clarity shortly after I get up, and today I had anticipated sharing those with my beloved. Unfortunately, he had another game plan for his day of which I remained unaware…until he popped into our bedroom to say good-bye…an hour and a half before expected.

Sure, I knew about his need to serve at our church’s Ladies’ Spring Tea, but I had no idea that he intended to go to our son’s track meet beforehand. I understood he would spend his afternoon away from me, but I entertained no conception that he would likewise spend those imagined, dearly-held moments away from me as well.

Oh, the places my mind and heart wanted to travel!

“Does he not remember me?”

“Does he think I don’t need his time, too?”

“Doesn’t he remember how we talked about my need for his communication?”

“Sigh.”

Then the most ludicrous image popped into my mind: my husband and my son tip-toeing across the floor, trying to sneak out, and, with smirks smeared across their faces, whispering to each other, “Don’t tell mom!”

For, truthfully–and my mind fully knew this to be so–that would have to be how the scenario unrolled itself for my husband to have intentionally neglected my feelings and input, and chose instead to make plans with his son. Plans which affected me, but did not include me.

As I sank into my “morning chair” where I usually share my heart with my Lord, and allow Him to share His with me, I whispered, “Please help me choose mercy.”

At that instant I immediately recognized God’s truth: “My hope is in the Lord, not in my husband.”

My hope in in the Lord–not in my husband!

His truths continued to swirl around my heart and mind. Everyone makes a mistake. Everyone makes the same mistake over and over again. Everyone needs forgiveness. I have received forgiveness over and over again. I can offer forgiveness over and over again.

My heart filled with praise to my One True Hope.

Moments later, when the magnitude of this “cardinal sin” had been reduced to its rightful place of “honest mistake,” my husband phoned. I embraced his call with joy rather than the need to share my hurt. Not even one single word.

Guess what happened next? The track meet was running behind, so he came home.

My God knew.

My God tended to the needs and hearts of each of us.

His mercy flowed…both to us and through us.

“Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3).

 

A Bone-Weary Non-Blogger

Filed under: About — bradzbrenda @ 8:22 pm
Tags: , ,

Hey! It’s me? Remember me? The woman, wife and mother who loves Jesus and wants to share how He works Himself out in her life and home? The woman with ME/CFS who gets so tired she doesn’t know her name? The woman who seemingly dropped off the face of the earth almost a year ago–at least as far as blogging goes? Yep. Still me.

I have to confess to you something you already know: I have not been blogging. And what you don’t know: I have no excuse.

I made up excuses in my head. They sounded good at the time. They went something like this:

  • I’m too tired to even try to think. (Sometimes true…and I slept. However pressing myself to think usually makes me come more alive!)
  • I don’t want to rattle off trite truths from my flesh.
  • If I named my blog “Just a Scribe” because I only want to write what God puts on my heart, how can I write if I don’t know for certain that this is from God?
  • And so on…

However, God has shown me loads of wonderful words. My morning times with Him bring delightful nutritious food to my soul most days. (Though I still have mornings where my ME/CFS has such a strong grip on my mind that I just need Him to essentially “bottle-feed” me my daily portion.) In essence, I have allowed myself to “drift.” Not spiritually, mind you, but in my calling. I’ve allowed my health to dictate how I felt and how I allowed God to use me. I never once questioned it. I just asked myself how I felt and went from there.

While it is true that the Bible paints several portraits of trees bearing fruit “in season,” I also comprehend the condition of my own heart and make no excuses for it. Pastor Levi Lusko says something along these lines: “If Satan can’t keep you from your salvation, he will keep you from your calling.” Can someone please say “ouch” for me?

With this in mind, I choose to join the Apostle Paul and write according to God’s call on my life and not on how I feel. Certainly, I understand that gaps will inevitably occur due to my health, but I need to continue past those and “be about my Father’s business.”

So don’t let me get away with slacking off! If you notice I haven’t written in quite a while, drop me a note and tell me to get on the stick!

And thank you for your faithfulness!

In Him,

brenda

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain…” (John 15:16a)

 

The Sweet Joy of Obedience June 24, 2013

Believe it or not, last week I floundered in my desire to follow-through on a commitment I had made. Have you ever done that? Of course you have! Who hasn’t? You see, each week I dedicate some time to do a little behind-the-scenes work on my computer for our church. And last week–guess what?–I didn’t want to do it! I plainly and simply did.not.want.to.do.it.

Yet God, with great faithfulness and kindness, reminded me of a solid, old lesson He had taught me years ago:

Joy doesn’t come with the anticipation of obedience–joy comes with the actual obedience.

Yet in order for true joy to flow, I had to remember one key ingredient: Who was I doing this for anyway? The church secretary? Nope. My sweet husband? Not even. To preen the vanity of my own self? Still no. The only way that true joy–not just happiness–could sweep across my heart and spirit was if I offered this ministration as my own personal drink offering to Jesus. If I was willing to take that which had been given to me and pour it out through my service to my church, but as unto Him.

Another gentle reminder that streamed across my mind came from the example laid out in The Law: God commanded the Israelites to offer only the best of their flocks and vines. Their unblemished animals. Their firstfruits. They were not allowed to toss “any ol’ thing” upon the altar: God required that it cost them their highest as a reflection of His worthiness to receive their worship. And do you know what? I bet that the heart of each Israelite who truly worshiped Jehovah–despite any original balking–ultimately rejoiced to exalt God with such a blessed offering. For only the heart of one who has considered the cost, yet offered his ultimate sacrifice anyway, could fully enter into that joyful place of true worship.

We all have our offerings to surrender. Our sacrifices of service. Our personal drink offerings. We all know what it’s like to make a commitment, then struggle with the desire to follow through. We have all balked when we realized the true cost. Trust me, it’s rare to understand the full cost at the onset of our service. Yet God asks us to adhere to each word of commitment we have made. Not merely because of others–but for the sweet joy of walking in obedience to Him.

“But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. And you too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me” (Philippians 2:17-18).

 

The Who of the What and the Where June 10, 2013

Filed under: Christian Lifestyle — bradzbrenda @ 10:14 pm
Tags: , , ,

I know. I know. I’ve been sadly MIA. My humblest apologies. I’ve been facing the end of the school-year “stuff” of a homeschooling mom, my daughter graduated from Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta (Road trip!), and we’ve had a church intern move in for the summer (with another one moving in today for a few days). So when I’m not trying to tackle all of these issues, my ME/CFS drives me to bed. I think I’ve spent the past month either rising up to face each event by God’s grace or down for the count, with nothing in between…and definitely no energy combined with coherent thought left to enable me to write. But that does not mean that I haven’t been thinking!

Actually, now that Amanda has graduated and has started to put plans in motion, one subject has arisen which (I think) bears commenting on. You see, she’s been out there hustling: putting in applications, interviewing, volunteering at the church, and applying for community college. (Plus, she helps around the house, adding her simple and sweet touches everywhere.)

As she steps away from her college routine (which she loved!) and returns to her home, she has to keep in mind that, as a Christian, she does not go backward. Although she has come home, God still calls her forward, which means He has a next step–a next purpose–for her life. She moves onward.

But to where?

And how does she know?

Hard questions? Sure. But I can’t help but remember a quote I heard years ago: “It’s easier to steer a moving car.” So, with encouragement and exhortations from her dad and me, off she goes. Applying on-line or in store. Making the rounds. And, without a doubt, praying.

Although her next job will indubitably fall in the entry-level, get-me-through-college, whatever-it-takes-to-pay-the-bills category, God does not treat it as something He will discount. He has a plan and a purpose for this next phase of her life, just as surely as He had a plan and purpose for her years in bible college.

But God’s plans and purposes quite often differ from our own. We tend to think of where and what when it comes to jobs, while He always considers the who, as in, “Who will be your future co-workers?” “Who will need the unique testimony and witness that you alone bring?” “Who needs your distinct light?”

God did not send His one and only Son for whats and wheres; He sent His one and only Son for all the “whosevers” flooding your life. The lost sheep. The one.

And so we pray, not for God to place Amanda at a where doing a what, but that God would place her in the life of a who…a very special who, whom God loves very much.

“For the Son of man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? And if it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. Thus it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish”  (Matthew 18:11-14).

 

Lavish Love May 10, 2013

Filed under: Christian Lifestyle,Marriage — bradzbrenda @ 12:07 am
Tags: , , ,

This past week we celebrated a highlight of the homeschool year: Teacher Appreciation Day. Yep. True. My son just waits and waits to honor me on this day. Okay. Maybe not.

In spite of my mild delusions about its significance, my husband and son did want to do a little something to make me feel special, and to show me that they are grateful for the extended time and painstaking effort I put into educating the heir of the patriarchal throne. Therefore, after a mild brainstorming session, they alighted upon two simple and sweet gifts to make my day and melt my heart: coffee and a potted plant.

Thus, in the middle of the afternoon, my beloved unexpectedly arrives, winsome smile upon his handsome face and delightful gifts cradled in his strong hands. A newly-roasted bag of some delectable beans, accompanied by a freshly brewed pour-over, along with a lovely light-pink argyranthemum plant in a gorgeous sage-green glazed pot. (Not an indoor plant, which I kill with quite regularity, but an outdoor plant which he will tend for me!)

A pot of lavish love

A pot of lavish love

After he left, I lay back in bed fathoming once again just how “spoiled” I am. My husband knows how to bless me with the simple things in life. After all, how can the aroma of a freshly brewed cup of coffee or the gentle smile of a daisy not light the heart of this simple former-farmgirl? In that moment, I realized how much I want my daughter to marry a man who makes her feel “spoiled.” Not spoiled as in indulging her fleshly nature, but rather lavishly and extravagantly loved–for that’s the nature of Christ.

The love of Jesus knows no bounds. It reaches into the inner part of a woman’s heart and woos her with the sweet things that meet the needs of her unique personality. He loves with truth and integrity, not allowing her to bluff her way through with Him or with herself. He’s unexpected and delightful. He calls out of a woman the deepest and richest of her inner treasures. And He sprinkles her life with radiant moonbeams and starlight whispers of joy. In Jesus, a woman will find the fullness of her life.

In like fashion, a man who truly loves and honors God will find himself embodying that fullness of life for his beloved bride. He will learn her inner secrets–and treasure them. He will–to the extent of his finances–pour out lavish riches upon his wife (or future wife) simply to demonstrate how greatly he cherishes the mere thought of her. He will “spoil” her with all the extravagant love of Jesus in his heart.

This is what I want for my daughter. And for all my darling “adopted” daughters.

If you choose, my sweets, a man with lavish love, you will never fail to see the beauty of Christ’s love in your marriage. God’s ability to use this singular man as a conduit to open your heart will allow blessing upon blessing to flow out of the deepest reservoirs of your being into the lives of those around you.

Marry a man who “spoils” you.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy” (Zephaniah 3:17).

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26 other followers