Monthly Archives: March 2007

The Wilderness

I was just randomly reading my bible this morning, and was reminded of something our assistant pastor said last night during his message. So I went to a scripture he mentioned last night, remembering that it was somewhere in Isaiah 35. The chapter talks about how God was going to cause streams to spring up in the desert, and make it blossom like a rose. (Among other things, it is a great chapter full of promises and one of my favorites in the bible… I encourage you to read it!)

It reminded me of another passage, in Hosea 4:

 Hos 2:14
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.

Hos 2:15 And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

Hos 2:16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.

I looked up the word ‘wilderness’, it means pasture , or desert, and comes from a root word that gives the idea of being driven into that pasture like cattle. The root word means to arrange, appoint, subdue, commune, promise, speak…

I think that God arranges or appoints our wilderness experiences. He knows that we are more likely to turn our hearts toward him when we are in need, than when we are in a relaxed state of prosperity. (Sad, but true.) It is when we are aware that we are  poor and needy that he can speak ‘comfortably to us’ and we will be attuned to listen. King David, who had all the riches he could wish for, knew this, and called himself poor and needy, a beggar on a dunghill. Jesus said: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.

‘Achor’ means ‘trouble’. The bible says that God has given us the valley of ‘trouble’ to be a door (an entrance way)  of hope. The word hope there literally means a cord, in the sense of being bound together, figuratively, it speaks of expectancy, hope for the thing that I long for.

The thing that I, Sumi, long for is probably best expressed by the words of Paul, in Phillipians: ‘That I may know him…’  I believe this cry is in the heart of every believer…this is what we were created for, to know God intimately and to be known by Him.

I interpret this passage to mean that God will use my troubles as a doorway to greater intimacy with Him!

This passage closes by saying we will no longer call the Lord ‘Baali’ (which means ‘my master’) but we will call him ‘Ishi’ (which means ‘my husband’.) In the wilderness, if we want it to be so, and allow God to do this, our relationship with Him takes on new meaning. He is no longer the hard taskmaster that we follow out of duty, he becomes the husband whom we are bound together with in love.

At the end of Song of Solomon, the bride comes up from out of the wilderness, leaning upon the arm of her beloved. I pray that my wilderness experiences will teach me to lean upon the arm of my beloved too.

I thought it interesting that most of the major people in the Bible spent time in the wilderness… Abraham, Moses, God led the Israelites through the wilderness, feeding them with manna, Joseph was cast in a pit in the wilderness, David kept sheep in the wilderness, and hid from Saul there, Isaiah was fed by ravens in the wilderness, Jesus was tempted there (and came out in the power of the Holy Spirit!) , John the baptist was there until the day of his showing to Israel…the list goes on and on…

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Conversation

Jenna and I have this tradition that sometimes, I will be the mommy-monster and chase her around the house. I must have been a bit more ferocious than usual this morning because I detected a little note of concern in her laughter. So I stopped and said, “Look, Jenna, I am not a mommy-monster, I am a sweet mommy.” She told me I am not sweet. Wanting to bring my point across, and using a word she knows very well, I told her I am cute.
( Somebody has to say it 😀 )

“Naaaaah,” she retorted, “you are not cute, I am cute!”

“I am cute too,” I said.

“Naaaah,” said Jenna, “You are not two, you are forty.”

There you have it. I am not cute, and I am old. 😀

Happy to be me

Something Joyce Meyer said this morning on her tv broadcast got me thinking. She was talking about being at peace with yourself.

I tend to be really honest and transparent about my shortcomings. Even to the extent that sometimes I think that other people think I am really down on myself when all I am really trying to do is be real. I really don’t go about beating myself up all the time but I do seek change in certain areas of my life. I realise though that it is time to speak positively and call those things which are not (yet) as though they are.

Lately I have been hankering for a normal life. You know, the kind of life where your hubby works a 9 to 5 job, and is home in the evenings, where your house is always in order, there is time to do all the little things that need to get done, and your kids are little angels. I look at friends around me and from the outside, it is always easy to see something in their lives that they have, but I don’t.

One dear friend’s house is always spotless, she pours a lot into her kids and it shows, her hubby is always home (and ready to be a helpful father) at 5pm. They do a lot of things together as a family, my family in contrast seems so fragmented. I look at her, and I want those things. But when I look again, at the big picture, and see the things she deals with, the terrible secret she hides, her own compulsive personality, I realise that I just want the good stuff in her life. I do not want to have the whole package.

I took a good mental look at several friends’ lives this morning. Sometimes my own deals seem so unsurmountable and others seem like they have it so much easier. But would I want to swop out my life for theirs, the whole package, including all of their issues, personality flaws, and personal struggles? I think I would not. I have lived long enough to know that even those people who seem like they have it all together, have mountains in their lives.

I am so aware of God’s grace covering all of my life. I know he is working a thing in me through everything I am, and everything I deal with. I know nothing is impossible with him. I am excited and ready to “stand, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exo 14:13, 1 Sam 12:16, 2 Chron 20:17) in the midst of my troubles.

Drawing Turbo

We had a good school day today. Hubby’s tag is out of date on his car and he asked me to drive him to work (not far) today until his car is roadworthy again. So we did some car-schooling. Boy#2 read the first Captain Underpants book to me as hubby drove, and he was having a great time doing it. Why did I stick with making him read the Abeka readers for so long? The boys breezed through their English (in contrast to yesterday, that was a pull-your-hair-out kind of day).

As a final touch to their embryology notebook, I decided to let them hang out with Turbo and really observe him, then draw him as realistically as they could. The middle boy tackled his drawing with enthusiasm, (and just a little observation), the youngest observed faithfully for a long time before starting. He threw his pencil down and crumpled his paper in disgust soon afterwards though. His duck just didn’t look right.

I explained to him that it takes some practise before your hand can listen to your brain and draw what you see.  I pointed out how well he had observed the curve of the duck’s neck, but that the beak didn’t taper enough. (It looked like a spoonbill. 🙂 ) He decided to give it another go, and ran inside for another piece of paper.

This time around he persevered and made a fine drawing. He was obviously proud of it and commented that the reason his picture was so good was because he had believed in himself. 🙂

Don’t you just love moments like that?  When kids do something they thought they couldn’t and feel good about it? We do a lot of boyish things in this house and not a lot of art. It was good to see the two boys get a confidence boost in this area.

My own trick

Yesterday on the way to get the boy #1 from school, the youngest boy was examining my cell phone. He compared the time on my cell phone to the time in my car and noticed that the time on the car was several minutes fast.

So he asked me about it. I told him I do that on purpose, so that when I see the time, I will think I am late and make haste to get to where I am going. “So you fall for your own trick,” he replied. 😀 He went on to say that he would never fall for that, he would remember that the time is not correct and live his life accordingly.

I like my little trick. If I am on time according to the car clock, it turns me into a highly efficient person who gets to where I am going with time to spare. If I am slightly late according to the car clock, I get to find out that I am actually on time. If I am more than just a little bit late, I can always conveniently remember that the time is set a little fast and take comfort in the fact that I am not as late as it seems.

Great logic, huh? I can fall for my own trick any time.

Next year

Hubby and I have reached the point where we are so fed up with the boys’ school that we would pull him out right now, if we were sure it was the right thing to do. They have really messed him up in his math. It was his strongest subject so they pushed him up a whole level, without bothering to fill up the gaps in between. The boy now has a D in math instead of an A+. We have been to two meetings with the school, the last one was 3 weeks ago, and some promised changes have not been made yet.

We have a friend who is a biomedical engineer, a regular math whizz, AND a great communicator/teacher. He also happens to be the boy’s youth pastor. Hubby asked him this morning if he would be willing to tutor the boy and he can do it for us.

Hubby wants to pull the boy out of school, have the friend do math with him, and me do the rest. With about 9 weeks of the school year left, I do not feel much pressure to push him very hard, he is a great student and I know if I gave him an achievement test today he would do well. We would probably only do lots of reading, some light grammar and creative writing, and some student-led science and history. (The boy loves watching the Discovery channel and History channel. 🙂 )  

It is still up in the air because the boy wants to see the year out with his friends. (I think he secretly likes a girl in his class.)  For hubby and I though, the long drive to school and back is becoming an increasing burden. It cuts into my time and now that we are so disillusioned with the school the motivation to keep it up is wearing very thin.

Our choices are either to grin and bear the status quo, or to make a change.  I worry that bringing him home will add to my responsibilities here, and I am already overwhelmed. On the other hand, it will save at least an hour and a half of driving time for me in the afternoons alone. It would cut out the same amount of time for hubby in the mornings.

The middle boy and I have been having some math issues and I realise it is partly due to my tendency to over-explain until the boy gets confused. Hubby said he can try to teach the boy during that hour and a half instead. He is really better at it than I am.

I am not sure what we are going to do yet.

We are also looking at schools for the oldest for next year, which is a whole ‘nother topic for another day.

A ‘good’ tired.

Boy, I am tired. But it is a tired that comes from having fun so I am not complaining. We took the kids and a friend to Wild Adventures for 2 days to celebrate the youngest boy’s birthday. We had some moments where it was hard to please everybody. It is obvious that the oldest is a teen with all the emotions and self-absorption that comes with it. He is a honey and I adore him but he is definitely going through a ‘phase’. The youngest was very cautious about everything and only warmed up to the park about 3 hours before closing on the second day. 🙂 Next time he should enjoy the activities more.

We all learned a lot about how we will go about it next time, soon we will be seasoned theme park visitors! My only lament was that the park is so far away and the food there costs so much money! I thought that since we have year-long tickets our visits there will be ‘free’ but with the price of gas and food it still will cost us a pretty penny every time we go.  

My best moment was the fireworks show at the end. It was nothing spectacular in comparison to my favorite fireworks show. At the end of November our city has a fireworks display to celebrate the annual lighting of the christmas tree. The show is flanked by two bridges and at one point in the show, waterfalls of white sparks cascade over the bridges, framing the fireworks in the center. The christmas music just adds to it.

Anyway, back to last nights’ fireworks. It wasn’t spectacular, but it moved me deeply. They played that song: ‘I can only imagine…’ I  cried listening to it.  It felt like Jesus was right there while everyone huddled together watching the beautiful display of color in the night sky and listening to that song about his glory. They followed the song with ‘God bless America’ and it brought a real lump to my throat.

Yes. amen God, bless America. I really have come to love my adopted country.