Wednesday, February 15, 2012

When I Listen to Michael Buble...

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, which included many romantic additions to my day. My husband began my morning with a cinnamelt from McDonald's, which doesn't sound like much until you take into consideration the fact that the trip to and from McDonald's is thirty minutes or more. I also received 3 Hershey's Cookies and Cream bars at the end of the day.

In between those treats, the Valentine's Day party at DeLaynie's school, and getting pulled over by Border Patrol for accidentally making a U-turn just before a check point (oops!), I went for a walk. Seeing as it was Valentine's Day, I chose Michael Buble's album, "Crazy Love: Hollywood Edition" as my walking accompaniment. Whenever I listen to Mr. Buble, I imagine what I would be doing if not a Christian. If not for Christ, I am absolutely positive that I would be a lounge singer, with loose ties to non-violent crime, and I would be wearing these shoes:
Product Image

And allow me to say, my rendition of "Baby (You've Got What it Takes)" would rock your world. Then, of course, I am reminded of the bazillions of reasons that I'm not a lounge singer. At the top of that list is the fact that I am, in fact, a Christian, and I think it would be pretty difficult to glorify Christ to the greatest measure if I were a lounge singer. (To all of you Christian lounge singers out there, allow me to encourage you to use your career to the glory of Christ, just as long as it doesn't lead you into sin, because I know just how common of a struggle that is.)

And that's what happens when I listen to Michael Buble.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Speaking Up and Shutting Up

This is an excerpt from "The Feast," the Bible Study that I'm organizing for the Sunday School class that I teach. I know that I don't write nearly as many posts as I used to, but it isn't because I'm not writing. I wanted to give you a look at what I've been up to. If you are looking for more information about "The Feast," click here.

I have a difficult time knowing when to speak and when to keep my mouth shut.  I remember being at the hair salon when I was thirteen. I don’t know how we got there, but I felt the need to tell everyone in the room that, “My dad is completely different guy when he isn’t behind the pulpit.” What I meant was that my dad is at his most interesting when he is preaching. It’s almost like there’s some dormant part of his personality that wakes up as he preaches. As my mother later informed me, it sounded like I was saying that my father is giant hypocrite who doesn’t live the way that he teaches others to live. Oops! Though I’ve learned many lessons in inter-personal communication since I was thirteen, I still spend large amounts of time debating when to speak and what to say, and I often get it wrong.

          Maybe that’s why the story of Abigail is one of my favorites. In 1 Samuel 25, we see a woman who speaks up with boldness and grace, and earns a position as queen. As I re-read her story this week, I suddenly realized that I had never understood the full impact that Abigail had on David.

          Just as a reminder, Abigail is a beautiful and intelligent woman who is married to a “harsh and evil” man named Nabal. David protected Nabal’s shepherds as they sheared Nabal’s flock, but the rich Nabal refuses to share his food and wine with David and his men on a feast day. David reacts violently when his servants return with word of Nabal’s stinginess. David takes 400 of his men to attack Nabal, with the intention of killing every man in his household. That’s when Abigail enters the scene. She takes food and wine and rides out to David, just as he is speaking of his violent intentions toward the house of Nabal. She gets off of her donkey, bows with her face to the ground, and says,

"The guilt is mine, my lord, but please let your servant speak to you directly. Listen to the words of your servant.  25 My lord should pay no attention to this worthless man Nabal, for he lives up to his name: His name is Nabal, and stupidity is all he knows. I, your servant, didn't see my lord's young men whom you sent. 26 Now my lord, as surely as the LORD lives and as you yourself live, it is the LORD who kept you from participating in bloodshed and avenging yourself by your own hand. May your enemies and those who want trouble for my lord be like Nabal. 27 Accept this gift your servant has brought to my lord, and let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive your servant's offense, for the LORD is certain to make a lasting dynasty for my lord because he fights the LORD's battles. Throughout your life, may evil not be found in you…” 1Samuel 25:24-28 CSB

           David blesses Abigail for her discernment and refrains from killing Nabal. When Abigail tells her husband what happened, he becomes paralyzed, and he dies ten days later. When David hears about Nabal, he blesses the LORD for restraining him from doing evil, and he sends for Abigail to take her as his wife.

          It’s a pretty cool story, but this week I saw something that I hadn’t noticed before. At the end of 1 Samuel 25, we see that David also took Ahinoam as a wife, but we don’t hear her story. Why is this story more significant that Ahinoam’s? I believe that we see the reason in the next chapter.

          David and his follower Abishai go into Saul’s camp, where they find the king asleep. Abishai asks David if may kill Saul with the spear that Saul has stuck in the ground next to his head. David’s response is very interesting to me.

David added, "As the LORD lives, the LORD will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 However, because of the LORD, I will never lift my hand against the LORD's anointed. Instead, take the spear and the water jug by his head, and let's go."

1 Samuel 26:10-11 CSB

           David seems completely confident that the LORD is going to handle Saul. Just last chapter, David intended on taking matters into his own hands with Nabal, but something has changed since then. It appears that the LORD used the incident with Nabal to prove to David that He is going to bring about justice. In many ways, Nabal is very similar to Saul. He is a wicked man who is very powerful and rich, and who doesn’t recognize the kindness that David has shown him. God used this episode of David’s life to intervene before David took matters into his own hands. God saw the temptation that David would face as he stood over King Saul, and God stepped in through a woman named Abigail.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Un-Illustrated Stories of Our Lives

So, here's the deal: I really wanted to give you some photos in this post, but I can't find my card reader for my camera's memory card. I've looked, but it simply does not desire to be found at the moment. You're just going to have to use your imaginations.

DeLaynie has lost two teeth. She actually pulled them out herself! When we went to the dentist, the hygienist told me that one was wiggly. I was a little concerned about how DeLaynie would react. She's so sensitive about so many things that I was afraid that the idea of losing a part of herself would be disturbing. I was incredibly wrong. She pulled out the first one while at school. When she got off the bus that day, she kept yelling, "Look, Mommy! Look!" She was pointing into her mouth, but it still took me a second to figure it out. The bus driver filled me in as to her excitement. On Sunday night I was able to witness the encore. DeLaynie had been rolling on a mattress, and she must have bit down on her other wiggly tooth. As I watched, she stuck her little hands into her mouth and yanked out the offender. I'm very grateful that I was completely passive.

In other news, both DeLaynie and Ella have suddenly become cuddly. They started sleeping in one twin-sized bed last week. We were afraid that one would fall out, so we pushed their beds together. They still end up sleeping in one bed, but they generally pick the one next to the wall, so they should be safe. Ella's always been cuddly, and she adores DeLaynie, so she's positively thrilled that her sister is finally reciprocating her desire to snuggle.

Finally (for now), I am about to start my first job since having kiddos. I have a friend who has worked as a reservation agent, and has now been promoted to human resources. She mentioned that her company is hiring people for her original job, and I was beginning to look for some work. It's a completely work-from-home gig, but we'll still send Ella to a friend's house one extra morning a week because the job requires a distraction-free environment. Although this job will change our lives as little as any job could, I'm still a little nervous about the adjustment. I'm really not concerned about the kids. Ella's life will only change by one morning a week, and DeLaynie will only realize I'm working on Saturdays because I'll work the rest of my hours while she's at school. It's been a long time since I've had a job, and I'm interested to see how it plays out. The whole truth is that I'm more excited than nervous. Although I have hoped for a writing or ministry opportunity to open up, it hasn't. Until it does, I'm grateful for the opportunity to have a structured job that will allow me to bring in some funds.

Trust me that I had an adorable pic of the girls all scrunched up on one twin bed and another cute one of a much less toothed DeLaynie. Sadly, you can't see them, but it isn't because I didn't try. I should definitely get some Mommy points for this post, despite the lack of photographic evidence.