Thee Angel Project

A year of writing a little bit of everything. Writers Write, Right?


Leave a comment

anonymous

Near the end of our son’s time in the hospital just one short week ago, (We had a little burst appendix incident here. He is now recovering nicely.) when his stay there was reaching 7, 8, 9, 10 days, one of the things Seth and I enjoyed with him was worship together in that tiny space. It was during that time that we heard and thought about why we were in fact still there. God’s ways are not my ways. I know that well. If I had my say in the matter, we wouldn’t have been there at all. I have no doubt however that the God of intricacies and foundations had many reasons for our time in that place.

Perhaps it had to do with a staff member there, or the man across the hall who sat with his ailing wife, our current congregation, or our first.
Perhaps it was all of the above…from the God of intricacies and foundations, I would expect nothing else.

Perhaps too it was an opportunity for people to care for us. Just the writing of that strikes me as odd, uncomfortable. That’s not usually what I think of when I consider what my husband does. I think it should be the other way around. And it is. Except for when it isn’t. Except for when it’s both.

We got an anonymous gift today. One of those gifts that make me ask, why. One of those gifts that confuse me because I honestly don’t get it. I don’t get how He could love us through you so well, in spite of our sinfulness and selfishness and mess. One of those gifts that remind me of all the other days and of all the other gifts.

Thoughtfulness too great to measure.

Gifts that have helped me to know His people better and because of that know Him just a little bit better.

I could scan back through the cards and letters we’ve saved looking for a handwriting match (totally something I would do… :)) or I could just let it be anonymous. A gift from Him. One that shows love for His children that is truly beyond comprehension.

To God be the glory.

Advertisements


10 Comments

of failure and forgiveness and fight

I love living in this place. Not this house, not this town, but this country. I do. I love it. I am beyond thankful for all my mind and body do not have to endure thanks to the country into which I was born. I am beyond thankful for the families that came before mine that fought selflessly, sacrificially, valiantly. I am living the good life. Truly.

But while this country does many things very well, there is one area in particular where we fail miserably. More than that. So much so that no word could adequately describe our…failure.

I was reminded of this yesterday as we walked downtown to meet others like us. To stand quietly by the side of the road. To have a hushed conversation with my eight year old. One that no two people should ever have to have with one another. Ever. To explain the inexplicable. To mourn.

I was surprised by the effect it had on me. I went in knowing exactly what this meeting meant, but was completely undone when my eyes met hers. This little one. The eyes of my four year old standing there holding the sign she chose, all smiley and completely unaware of what those words said or meant, and I knew.

Life Chain
I knew that the words she held, though I shared some with her sister, (notice, I said some, certainly not all, not even close) were beyond what I could bear to share with her. I was so thankful she didn’t ask, because I knew.

I knew that I could never adequately explain some expectant mothers’ fear or despair.

I knew that I could never give a reason she could accept as to why some we know and love think that it would have been good and right, if I had chosen for her to not be here.

I knew that I could not convey how much I want her to never even come close to feeling that there is any choice to be made.

I was thankful she didn’t ask, because I knew.

I knew that if she did, and if I did, she would understand. She would. My four year old. And it would forever change her. Knowing what we do. Knowing how we fail.

Failure. It has a synonym that you will no doubt recognize. Look it up. Do you see it? It’s there. Abortion.

It can be different.

It can change. I think so anyway. I’ll admit, I do have doubts. We’re in pretty deep.

It starts here though. With the message our ten year old got to share. It was one of hope and promise. It is one that reminds us that the One who created us, also restores.

It reminds us that although what we have done is atrocious, forgiveness is ours. God does heal, and we can live in a world where life is honored and precious.

Yesterday it began in my house, well, continued really, but began in a new way. Prayerfully, someday the same will be true in my town and in my country.

DSCF7906

I love this country…and at the same time I hate it. Because even with all of the technology and information we possess, we still don’t get it.

They’re worth it. You’re worth it.

Fight.

Selflessly. Sacrificially. Valiantly.


8 Comments

wonderfully made

“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” Psalm 139:11-17

Not my words, but His.

Not my hands, but His.

Not my creation, but His.

DSCF7783

My birthday present from my mom and dad. Those of you who know me, know that before Youngest Daughter was born we called her Wonderfully Made. She was. She is. You are too.


4 Comments

it feels good to be here

This past weekend we were privileged to be invited to the wedding of a beautiful young woman who Seth had the honor of confirming just yesterday…or so it seems. I remember thinking during the whole cutting of the cake ceremony and the obligatory (although you don’t ever see the bride and groom protest) smooching, “How can she possibly be old enough to kiss a boy?” I do not know. I do know though that she was stunning and happy and all of the things a new bride should be.

We were only in our old stomping grounds for two days but tried with all our might to cram everything we possibly could into that time. I could narrate the whole weekend for you, but how about a few highlights instead?

Our lovely young at heart German neighbor upon hearing we were going to be in the area, baked some “healthy” oatmeal cookies for us just in case we stopped by. We did and enjoyed much too short a visit that included seeing how my girls’ adopted of the heart kittens have grown and of course a few rides on the zip line.

Oldest daughter had a chance to spend the night with a friend from our home school group. They went to the rodeo, milked the cows, and exchanged diaries until the next time they see one another. These two could be sisters. I love my children’s friends. Truly.

Our son got to swim with some of his own friends from our home school group. It was too short of a time, but I’m not sure that an entire weekend would have been enough for him.

I got to see my Haiti friend and talk Haiti children and adoption and anticipation with her. If you were praying with us for these children, know this, there are still a couple of them who are feeling the effects of the virus, and Josie is still really hurting. God is choosing to say, “Yes” to some and, “Wait” to others. Please continue to keep them all in your prayers!

We had lunch at a friend’s house. It’s always a joy to sit and relax and just be comfortable with God’s gift of friendship.

We got to worship with our first congregation. It was so good to see everyone and it was only a little weird. We left. It was God’s call, but we did have a choice, so it’s bound to be a tough transition and a shift in relationships for us all. We were once again loved upon and it made me all the more anxious to see who their new pastor will be, who they will get to love all over next. They are really good at it. They are just beginning the call process, but we are praying fervently for them and for whomever God is preparing for them. I’m so excited for them both.

As we were sitting, having lunch at one of our favorite restaurants before getting dressed for the wedding, Oldest Middle looked at me and said, “Mom, it feels good to be here.”

Wise beyond her years, she was right.

It was indeed good to be there.


2 Comments

why i love my church

I very much appreciate your answers from yesterday’s question. They were both thoughtful and thought provoking.

I have two answers. The first is a little bit longer. It’s the, I have a blog without a limit on word count, answer. The second is my garage sale answer.

The first.

When I bring my sinful self along with my little sinners into the worship space on Sunday morning and we place our sinful bottoms in the pew, there are some things that I can count on every single time.

My empty vessel, tattered and torn, weary and worn from all the world took from me throughout the previous week, is about to be filled. I know without a doubt, I’m going to hear the word of God. From the welcome to the sharing of the peace to the invocation and at every single moment up and through the benediction, I am going to hear the word of God. Worship is rooted in scripture, every word, and by the time I leave, I am filled. (Even on those days when I don’t feel it.)

Side note: A very nice couple came into our home last night. They are from the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. We had spoken with them before, and now had the opportunity to make an appointment and invite them in. Before they arrived, I was a little apprehensive. My husband was there and I knew he had the reins, but still I was uncertain about how the evening would go. Until these words came as melody in my head, “Jesus said, take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid, do not be afraid.” (Thank you VBS musicians.) And then, soon after, these words sung by my husband, “These things are written that you may believe, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Alleluia.” Those words specifically are just a small part of our liturgy for Sunday morning worship. The rest of the verse from John 20 says this, “and that by believing you may have life in His name.” Life. That’s what I know I will hear.

Back to worship. Soon, very soon after I enter, I get the opportunity to ask for forgiveness. I don’t have to sit brewing in the ugliness of my sin in the presence of my Heavenly Father for very long before He says, “Bring it,” and I do and He says, “You’re forgiven of all of it. All. of. it.” It’s balm for the soul.

The pastor preaches Jesus. I’ve heard of more than one pastor, my husband included, being asked in exasperation, “Why do you have to talk about Jesus every week?” He better. Remember, I’m sitting in the pew and I need desperately to hear about Jesus. So do my children.

Our larger church body is quite incredible. Not only are God’s good gifts offered in my home congregation, but when I’m traveling, I know that I can be treated to the same feast in a congregation just like mine. I know that even though our friends and family across the world are thousands of miles apart, we’re all singing the same words and hearing the same promises. I know that we’re praying earnestly for one another. I’ve seen our church body work in times of trial and tribulation and while we mess it up more often than any of us would like, there are traces of brilliance in how we care for one another, because Jesus is always, always there.

Being new members in a new congregation has been difficult. For me. I cannot speak for my husband. He has a different relationship with the congregation and a different opportunity to know them than I do. But, I know under all the unfamiliarity of the people, is our God, the one true God whom I know and who better still, knows me. So while I fumble around in my new environment, I know that I can walk into worship and hear words like, “I know that my Redeemer lives,” and I am home.

The second.

I love my church because I’m reminded that my sinful self has been drowned in the waters of baptism. I’m offered forgiveness, life, and salvation through His body and blood and through His word preached in truth in purity. We hear Christ crucified and raised for us every single week. We hear how He is coming back. I cannot wait.


4 Comments

a little bit of everything…i told you so

We have VBS at our church this week and I have a class of very active preschoolers that are all about motion and will not sit and wait for the story to be told in the manner in which our materials suggest. Yesterday I found a puppet skit that went along with our story. It was from the new One In Christ Lutheran day school curriculum. Have you heard about this stuff? It’s really quite marvelous and some tremendous writers spent a good many months working on it. (Insert little smiley winking icon that I have no idea how to add, here.)

Anyway, my puppet masters did such an awesome job, (my son and one of my favorite college students…thank you!) that I wanted to make sure I got to use them again today.

Internet search, “puppet skit Jesus walks on the water.”

Nothing.

Guess I’ll have to write my own.

I do my best thinking in the shower…I’ll be right back.

And, now, may I present, Jack and Maya and something about trust and Jesus saving us…

Jack: (mumbling under his breath and pacing back and forth)

Maya: Hi Jack. (pauses) Oh, you look worried. What’s wrong?

Jack: I, um, I have to do something today that really scares me!

Maya: What is it? What could possibly be that scary?

Jack: (looks around, then shouts at Maya) SWIMMING LESSONS!

Maya: Swimming lessons? That’s nothing to be afraid of! I took swimming lessons just last week and I loved it. My teacher was silly. She called me a fish!

Jack: But…I’m afraid. What if I can’t swim? What if I sink right to the bottom?

Maya: Oh, Jack, I was a little afraid when I had my first lesson too. That’s why your teachers are there. They keep watch over you and help you to do things you never thought you could do. Be brave Jack. Your teachers will keep you safe!

Teacher: Maya’s right, Jack! You should at least give it a try. Learning to swim means you get to have all kinds of fun in the water. Jesus has given you teachers that will keep you safe. That’s their job. Trust them. They will be right by your side the whole time. Jesus will too.

Jack: (exiting) I will try. But I’m not gonna like it.

Teacher: I think you might be surprised. Hey, come back after class and let us know how your lesson went.

*Story*

Jack: (runs into the room) Wahoo! Wahoo! Wahoo! I had a great time swimming today!

Maya: I knew it!

Teacher: Jack, I’m so glad to hear that! What did you get to do with your teacher?

Jack: Well first we jumped into the water and I was really scared, but you know what? My feet could actually touch the bottom of the pool! Then we blew bubbles and did these things called bobs and then guess what, guess what, guess what!!!

Maya and Teacher: What Jack?

Jack: (slowly and with anticipation) I…floated. I did it! And my teacher kept her hand on my back for a little bit, but then she said she was gonna let me try it on my own, and she took her hand away and…I did it! (singsong voice) I floated and I didn’t even sink!

Maya: I love floating! It’s my favorite thing to do in the pool…besides flutter kicks and glides and just wait until you get to dive for rings!

Jack: I. Cannot. Wait!

Teacher: Jack, I’m so glad you learned so much at the pool today and that you trusted the teacher that God gave you enough that you had a really good time too.

I think it’ll do, and hey, now I have today’s post done.

Here you’ll find a little bit of everything. You were warned. It’s in the tag line. I bet you didn’t expect a puppet show though.

You’re welcome! 🙂

 


Leave a comment

the mission field

The mission field is vast and wide and spans every inch of the globe, from your front porch to the exact same spot on the opposite side of the world. The idea of missions in my own neighborhood can be overwhelming, let alone the thought of reaching out to people that need to hear the word of God way over there.

Last night we got to talk with a family coming right out of the mission field. They are back in the U.S. after a year in Ethiopia and a year and a half in South Africa. We praise God for this family and families like them. The ones that go where I dare not. We ask God too for more of them. With Lutheran Christianity in Africa growing at lightning speed, there is currently one pastor for every 2,000 people.

If that sounds manageable, consider that there are 3,000 men serving 9,000 congregations and that a congregation isn’t what you and I think it to be. One congregation is made up of several groups that worship in various satellite sites within the same general geographic area. One man can only serve one congregation. That leaves 6,000 churches without pastors. We ask God too for men that can train pastors to meet the needs of their people while battling civil unrest and religious extremism.

These men are up against it and still, God’s word remains. God’s people are hearing the news of salvation and the church is growing.

Fascinating stuff.

Listen. Is anyone in your church saying softly, “Here am I. Send me?”

We need them. We need you.