Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yes. No. Maybe.

At the front of the sanctuary of our church stands a locked, small, dark brown trunk. In this trunk, as has been every year since December 31, 2006, the top prayer requests for people in our church. Specific requests that we are asking God to answer in 2009. The prayers are placed in there on the last Sunday of the year and are left there until November 1st when the trunk is opened and the prayer requests are sent back to each person. I have not seen them, but for some people it is the salvation of a loved one. For others it is a new job or a raise in their current job. Some are asking to find a spouse. All are requests that are near and dear to each person's heart.

I am no exception. On the last Sunday of 2008, I wrote down the top 8 or 9 requests that I had for 2009. In the past I had made them somewhat generic and not necessarily measurable. Requests like that my daughters grow closer to God or my husband and I grow closer together and to God. This year, however, I asked for some distinctive requests that it would be easy for me to see a yes or a no.

Now, I confess, I forgot to write them someplace other than the card, so I have to wait another 5 weeks before I can see them, but there are a couple that I remember and. Because I work at the church office, I have the distinct pleasure of writing down prayer requests and praises that come in for our prayer team, and I hear or see that God is answering request after request in the Time Capsule. I proceeded to get a tad melancholy (just call me Eeyore) and wondered why God had not answered, but one of mine.

That's when it hit me. The fundamental truth that I have known, probably as long as I have been a Christian, some 28 years, but consistently forget. The one God had to hit me upside the head with a 2x4 to remember. He has answered. He has not forgotten me or ignored me. He has answered, but some of His answers happen to be no.

How many times do we cry and lament that God has not heard me? We tear our sackcloth and wail as though we were King David in the Psalms that the Almighty God has forgotten poor, little ol' me. When He hasn't. He answered, but for some reason we think that the only answer that is truly an answer from God is a yes. However, like any loving parent, sometimes He has to say no to protect us, to correct us, to grow us in His image.

It's so nice to know that I have not been forgotten. I am still a loved and cherished child of the King. He loves me enough to not give me things that are not good for me. He loves me so much He is willing to incur my all-knowing human temper tantrum when I don't get my way, so that He can gently shape and refine my character so I can become even more like Him. How absolutely, unequivocally awesome is that! He loves me enough to say NO!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Book Review Beautiful Mess - The Story of Diamond Rio by Diamond Rio with Tom Roland

"It's the journey, not the destination". This saying by country music group, Diamond Rio's Jimmy Olander, is the summation of their book, Beautiful Mess. The book takes you through the formation of the group as the Tennessee River Boys, a performing group in the Opryland theme park, through 20 years of metamorphosis. Author, Tom Roland, a Nashville-based entertainment writer, introduces you to each of the Diamond Rio band members individually,and shares their history with you. He also takes you step by step through the formation of the band into where they are today.

The book, Beautiful Mess, The Story of Diamond Rio, is a well-written and thoughtfully laid out book. I do not know if it is something that will attract people who are not avid followers of the band or of the country music genre. There were parts of the book where I could feel the emotion and the pain of the band members, such as when the lead singer, Marty Roe, was having vocal difficulties and was having night after night of horrible performances. I think there were a couple of times I actually winced at the descriptions being able to picture them in my mind. Likewise, when the book talked about their song, "One More Day", and I started seeing everywhere it was used during 2001 including post 9/11, there were actually tears in my eyes.

I will admit, there were parts of this book that were extremely slow for me, not being a huge fan of biographies. However, for the country music aficionados out there, this book will show you a side of Diamond Rio that you probably have not seen before. They are a good group of guys that have worked together, played together, and served together in their community. There is a humanitarian side of them that I did not know, but was impressed to read about.

Although this is not a book that I gained great Biblical knowledge from, it was a book that I was glad to have read. I have liked Diamond Rio's songs and will continue to enjoy them even more in the future knowing what stand-up guys are behind the songs.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Words of the Godly

Today was what I would classify as a rough day. I got some unexpected news that I really didn't like. I called my husband and commiserated with him. He let me vent, but for some reason that didn't make me feel better. I don't understand it (tongue in cheek). From that point on, I was melancholy in mood (think Eeyore), which in turn colored the way I looked at the rest of my day.

My daughters came home from school and my oldest asked me what was wrong. I told her nothing, but she has learned to read me and knew that I wasn't telling the truth. I couldn't tell her what had happened earlier because I knew she wouldn't understand, so I just brushed off her inquiry jumping to a different subject.

After work I took my girls to go get hair cuts. I walked in the door, saw our children's pastor and immediately told him what happened. He let me vent and I went on my way still not feeling better. I saw his wife and though I wanted to tell her what had happened, I couldn't because my girls were in the room and I didn't want them to hear. So I sulked and mourned about the fact that I couldn't really vent to her about what was going on.

I came home and continued being melancholy in mood. Being melancholy is not a good state of mind because it is really just a selfish poor me state. So fast forward a couple of hours and I was lying in bed thinking how horrible this day had been when I got the idea I should have gotten about 8 hours ago. Pick up the Bible and read it to see what God had to say for my situation. Sometimes I really hate it when I do this because I don't always want to hear what God has to say. I wanted a good, old-fashioned, vengeance is mine, kind of scripture.

"The words of the godly encourage many..." What were my words today? Were they at all encouraging? No. I made sure the people around me knew how miserable I was. If I was living in Bible times, I would have put on my sackcloth and gone to sit in my ashes, so everyone would take pity on me.

I am resolving, right here and now, amidst such a great cloud of witnesses (okay, all 3 of you who subscribe to my blog right now), that I am going to strive to implement this verse above. The words of the godly encourage many. How can I do this? When I have a bad day I go to my source of joy and let Him turn my attitude around, painful though it might be. I choose to encourage others around me so that in turn I will be encouraged.

Another mile marker in this pryzr's journey. "The words of the godly encourage many..."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Book Review: Love & Respect

Love and Respect
by Dr. Emerson Eggerich

"What if your son grew up and married someone like you?"

A wife has one driving need – to feel loved.

A husband has one driving need – to feel respect.

When either of these needs is not met, the Crazy Cycle will begin.

Love and Respect is a book by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, a former pastor, and a marriage counselor with over 30 years experience that explains a simple, but revolutionary message that will profoundly change the way you look at and respond to your mate. Backed by scientific and biblical research, Dr. Eggerichs and his wife, Sarah, have been taking this message across the country since 1999 and are changing the way spouses are reacting to each other.

I had heard Dr. Eggerichs speak at a marriage conference I attended several years ago, and I figured this book would be mainly review for me. I confess, the first few chapters were a little hard for me to get into, but the sentence above caught my attention and from there I was hooked. Love and Respect was definitely not merely a review of what I had previously heard or been taught. Dr. Eggerichs plainly explained the three cycles that every marriage can go through and how to go from Crazy to Energizing to Rewarding to make your marriage the best it's ever been. This book explains the best ways to react to your spouse (love for women/respect for men), why they work, and gives the scriptures to back it up. My favorite part of the book was during his explanation of the final cycle where Dr. Eggerichs stated that our ultimate goal in giving love and respect to our spouse is not just to please our spouse, but to be in obedience to God. This is the crucial key that is so easily forgotten.