Thursday, June 29, 2006

It's all good

Growing up, I didn't enjoy being the daughter of a writer. Beginning at around age 10, I became my mom's editor. She picked me out of her four children. I didn't volunteer. It wasn't very cool to have everything we did written about or to spend so much time editing. Sometimes I'd write, "Boring. Who cares," in red ink across her typed pages--because at times, it was. She didn't care what my comments were, as long as I'd read her articles and be honest.

But even though it didn't seem fair and I got sick of being her editor, God had a plan. Over the years, I developed a love for the rhythm of words, ideas, and creative thoughts. She taught me to adore libraries and books. Without meaning to, my mother taught me to write.♥

There are probably things with your parents that don't thrill you. Maybe hard things. Maybe things that don't make sense. Maybe things you want to change. Problems you wish you didn't have at home.

Hang in there. If you're in a difficult or dangerous situation and need help, of course, tell someone you trust. Let this truth soak in...Everything we experience, with God's help, can eventually be used for good. No matter what.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."

My love,
Julie

Monday, June 26, 2006

Was Jesus Funny?

To take care of stress when I can't justify another spa splurge, I prefer a good dose of chuckles and guffaws. That's probably why one of my favorite scenes in Mel Gibson's Passion is extra-biblical -- the brief clip of Jesus and Mary having a water fight. Our Lord had to be the kind of person you could tease, because nothing shatters barriers between cultures, generations, and genders more effectively than self-deprecatory, intimacy-building wit.

In fact, I'd like to see a comedian like Jerry Seinfeld or Billy Crystal do a stand-up routine using only the words in the Sermon on the Mount. Why? Because I have a sneaking suspicion that Jesus had the chutzpah to be a riot and probably used slapstick-ish non-verbals to lure laughter out of his listeners.

But when you're a Christ-follower, even your humor has to walk the narrow road. Here are three guidelines I impose on myself:
I can't get mean. Even when certain people started calling me "Mom-Deeza" after I got choked up at the booting of American Idol's one voluptuous woman of color.

I can't be coarse. Some moviemakers go for a cheap laugh by resorting to bathroom humor or unsavory innuendo. But true wit requires the creativity of wordplay and timing, and elicits delight that's not tainted by disgust.

I can't manipulate. I try not to use joking or teasing as a way to control, delivering imperative messages masquerading as humor. People see through that trick every time.
What about you? Do you think Jesus was funny? Do you see laughter as a lasting gift or something that will disappear with tears once we're in heaven?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Just Thinking . . .

Growing up, my dad was a police officer. Maybe that's the reason I've always wanted to stick to the rules. I'm a people-pleaser through and through. I love it when I get kudos for a job well done. I hate it when I feel I've disappointed someone.

Too often I find myself treating God as if He too were a police officer--hanging around, waiting to catch me crossing the line. Every morning, as I journal my prayers, I write out my confessions of ways I'd messed up. Then I end with prayers seeking God's strength to help me be good.

Then, this morning, as I read my Bible, I came across Pslam 40:5:

"Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count."

The part that stopped me in my tracks was "Many . . . are Your thoughts toward us." So I paused, and pondered this for a while. God thinking about us a lot. God thinking about me. Loving me. Caring for me. It brought tears to my eyes.

All around us we have people tell us we need to be good, to do the right thing, to follow the right path, to care for others more than ourselves. That is all fine and good, but sometimes we need to just be okay with the fact that God loves us--at this moment, how we are. He is thinking about me TONS. He is thinking about you.

And instead of the police uniform that causes us to keep our distance, we need to think of the Daddy who welcomes us with open arms.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A new baby in the Eller house


No, it's not an infant. It's my new book and I'm so pumped.

Last week she arrived and was placed on my doorstep. She was all alone, but beautiful.

I took my new book to church to share with a friend. This was the hardest book I've ever written, possibly the hardest I will ever write. It was about my dysfunctional childhood, and yet it was more than that. It was a celebration of what God can do even when you grow up in chaos.

It's a healing book for moms who want to give their children something much greater than what they lived through as a child.

As I wrote this book, I struggled on a lot of different levels. I didn't want to minister to 100,000 moms and destroy my own mom. I prayed for wisdom. You know, God says he'll give us that when we ask, and he did.

I went to my mom and told her about the project. I let her know that I wouldn't do it unless she gave me permission, and that it wouldn't be an expose (a tell-all book), but rather a book that shows what God can do in a family that is hurting.

She not only gave me permission, but helped me write it as she shared bits and pieces from her own childhood. The parts that my mom shared are the most beautiful to me.

As I wrote I asked God to show me grace.

Last week when I brought my book to church to show a friend, I noticed several women sitting in front of me. Most are in their 20's and early 30's. They are from a local residential drug rehab center and are growing in their faith. They are awesome.

During prayer time I went up and prayed with one of the women. She was in her early 20's and named Sarah. She told me her story and how that she wanted me to pray that her child would grow up safe and loved and happy. She took both of my hands and placed them on her stomach. I felt the child move inside.

"Her name is Grace," she said.

Suddenly I saw God's hand in all of this. He showed me "grace" just like I asked, but in a way that was truly amazing.

That's why he asked me to write the book, and I pray that this book is a resource and a healing tool for moms and their beautiful children--no matter what their age--all over the nation.

Isn't God cool?

Suzie
http://realteenfaith.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

When I Grow Up


About the time a small child learns to talk, people start asking, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" When you think about it, life is a series of goals. On my seventh birthday I set two goals: learn to ride my bike without training wheels and learn to whistle. I mastered the bike that year. I still can't whistle.

Here's the thing about goals. Once they're attained, they inevitably lead to more goals. A first grader looks at the "big kids" in sixth grade with awe and longs for the day when she'll walk in their shoes. By the time she's in sixth grade, she's looking ahead to junior high. Then it's high school. Then that magical milestone of senior year. But even before we reach our senior year, parents and counselors urge us to consider our next step. College? Career?

Many girls start dreaming of their wedding day before they lose their first baby tooth. And, indeed, saying "yes" to a life partner is one of the most significant decisions we make in life. But the goals don't end there. We want children. We want a better job. We want a bigger house.

Simply put, we never get to the end of the road this side of heaven. One goal leads to the next leads to the next leads to the next. And this isn't a bad thing. God designed life to be a journey. If we ever fully "arrived" we'd quit growing and stagnate like a scum-covered pond. How much nicer to be a laughing, dancing brook, reaching the milestones and then continuing on our way to one ultimate goal--falling into the almighty ocean's embrace at the end of the journey.

Do you have goals? Dreams you long to make into realities? As long as they honor Christ, go for them. Make choices today that take you one step closer to the prize you've set before you. As J.R.R. Tolkien said, "Little by little, one travels far."

And here's another quote I love. Songwriter Rich Mullins wrote, "If I ever really do grow up, I want to grow up and be just like You."

Me, too.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

DragonKnight

I almost forgot to blog today! Seriously. Today is the release of my third fantasy and I have been visiting blogs that are doing a feature on me and the book for three days. Finally, a light bulb came on over my head. Today is MY blog day.
If you would like to visit and see what all the hoopla is about, here is the link for the first http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/
You can link to 15 others from there. I would appreciate if you would zip by since these people are being so very kind to me.

Now, I have a story to tell you, and you mustn't accuse me of bragging too loudly after you read it.
DragonKnight released today and for two days has been at the number one spot at Christianbook.com fantasy/sci-fi bestseller list. Today it is number three.

For this week I will feel like a "real" author. I have booksignings and internet interviews and yesterday a reader recognized me while I was shopping at Walmart.
In the produce aisle, next to the organic veggies, I heard a gasp. "You're that author, aren't you?"
Never quick to acknowledge I am "that" author, I answered, "I am an author."
"You spoke at the classical academy, right?"
Since I did speak at the classical academy, I relaxed. Perhaps I am "that" author.
I smiled a gracious, author-being-recognized smile. "Yes,"
Another gasp. (Really this is equal parts embarrassing and great for my ego.) "You were great. The kid's even listened to you."
A look of bewilderment crosses the face of this fantastic fan. She placed both hands to her face, flat palms squeezing her cheeks. "I don't remember your name."
*sigh* That's all right. One can expect only so much awe and admiration at Walmart's. I told her my name, gave her my bookmark (The shiny new one of the book that came out today), and picked out a head of lettuce.
Guess I'm not forced to shop in sunglasses, scarved, and disguised yet.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Just call Me "Trouble"

When I was sixteen, this guy named John approached his mom--who happened to be the pastor's wife at the church I occassionally attended.

"Who is that Tricia? I'd like to get to know her better," John asked his mom.

"Stay away from her, she's TROUBLE," his mom answered.

I love telling this story, because John is now my husband. And yes, that pastor's wife, is my mother-in-law. If she only had a clue at the time!

At age sixteen I WAS trouble.

At age seventeen I got pregnant and had a son, Cory.

At age eighteen I gave my heart to the Lord and my life totally changed. So much, in fact, that John's mom worked with my mom to match us up.

I'm a testimony that God can transform lives. And because of it, my life isn't the only one affected. John's life has been touched by a godly wife. Cory's life is different because he had a god-loving mom who raised him. The lives of my other two kids, my family, in-laws, church friends, readers . . . are all different because I chose to submit my life to God.

I love teasing my mother-in-law about calling me trouble. But I love it even more that my own teens/preteens have chosen to live lives dedicated to God. My transformation is one thing God used to bring my kids to Him.

This is a photo of Cory with his friends at a recent Young Life camp. He's the tall, dark and handsome one on the left.

Oh, yes, and now that I'm at the place my mother-in-law was seventeen years ago, I'm praying for a godly wife for my son . . . in a few years, of course, but applications are being accepted!

Tricia Goyer
www.triciagoyer.com

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Picture Perfect

When we compare ourselves to a magazine cover, we will always feel INADEQUATE—an ordinary person cannot compete.
The fashion industry is lying to us and setting a standard that we CANNOT meet. The average woman does NOT look like a model and does NOT have the same advantages.
Look at a magazine cover. Do you realize it took three to four months to complete?
First, the photographer and his assistants spent hours setting up the studio and working on perfect lighting. The model looked good to start with. Perhaps she had plastic surgery. Maybe she spends four hours a day at the gym.
Next, she has an artist with a make-up kit spend hours painting her face and accentuating every feature.
The hairdresser brushes, teases, and curls the model’s hair into the latest style—making sure every strand of hair is in place.
The fashion stylist takes over and does everything she can to make the model look perfect in the outfit. She uses tape to lift the breast and provides undergarments to mold and enhance the model’s figure. Then the clothes are clamped up, pinned in, tied back, and sometimes even duct taped—from behind—so they fit perfectly.
The picture perfect model finally stands before the camera and the photographer shoots hundreds of pictures to ensure that he has the right shot.
The photographs are checked for flaws, fed into a computer and electronically retouched from top to bottom. Airbrushing is used to soften lines, shadows, skin tones, and erase wrinkles. Inches can be removed from thighs, arms, and waist. They do not stop until the picture is perfect. Viola! The illusion is complete.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

worry wart

If I could instantly change one thing about myself it would be this bad habit I have. I've done it since I was a little girl. I worry. Maybe it's more of a female thing. My husband doesn't do it.

I'm like an alcoholic when it comes to worry or fear. I've discovered I can't allow one drink of worry. One worry connects to another and pretty soon my brain is like a spider web covered in fear. Maybe cuz I'm a writer, my mind works overtime. Who knows.

It's been said we have about seven seconds to refuse a thought. We don't have to play around with every thought that tries to enter. I'm learning to fight back and say, "Get outta here. I don't have to think like that."

The thought can start out something simple like, you're never going to learn to use that new laptop you just bought. Or, What if nobody listens to you when you teach? You don't have anything worth saying.

Usually, if a thought starts out with "What if..." for me, it's not a good one.

I call it my stinkin' thinkin'. Change doesn't come quickly for me. It's not easy. But I'm learning to "bring every thought into captivity into the obedience of Christ." 2 Cor. 10:5. God doesn't force me to change. He lets me live my own stubborn way, if I choose to. But I know what happens when I let the fear/worry monster get ahold of me.

For today, I'm paying close attention to my thoughts. Every single one. I'm gonna think on the good stuff. When tomorrow comes, I'll do the same thing.

Much love♥♥
Julie

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

One simple man

I called my niece yesterday, excited to share with her the details of the past week spent in Chicago.

"I taught at Wheaton College," I said. "It's so amazing to see what one man has done in one lifetime."

"What man?" she asked.

"Billy Graham," I said.

"Who?"

Wow.

That threw me. Yes, Billy Graham is 90 years old, but I never stopped to think that a whole generation might not know who this guy is.

And if they do know, he's the dude who preaches in stadiums and thousands of people respond to his message about knowing God.

But there's more to the story. When he was young he felt like God wanted him to tell people about Jesus. For the last seven decades he's done just that.

No "anointed hankies". No purple hair. No fancy clothes.

No body guards. No celebrity status.

Just one simple man sharing one simple message of hope.

All week long I saw the results of his obedience. While I was at Wheaton University there were students there from all over the world. Some came to study archeology. Others studied medicine. There were future teachers, preachers, missionaries, art students. . .

And the whole basis of their study was to honor God in whatever gifts they had and to live out their life of faith as they pursued their talents and education.

I marveled at the simplicity, but the excellence I saw in the university and the students.

This one man, who very rarely talks about himself or his accomplishments, is responsible for thousands upon thousands of people not only knowing God, but taking his message and sharing it creatively all over the world.

Wow.

So, I hope don't you mind if I talk about a 90-year-old guy today that you might or might not know. His life is an awesome example of what God can do through ordinary people who obey God and follow him one day at a time.

To think that he started young. To think that he's still going.

To think that God wants to be just as powerful in your life and in mine. . .

Wow.


Suzie

Monday, June 12, 2006

Turning thirty


When you're a teen, thirty sounds pretty old. Three decades is a long time. But get this. I just returned from my thirty-year high school reunion. Yep. Graduated in 1976.

If you're still in high school, I want to let you in on a little secret. Some of the people you see in the halls--the quiet, shy types who perhaps don't have many friends, don't seem to have the best fashion sense, don't go to the cool parties or hang with the cool kids--some of those people will be the most interesting, accomplished folks thirty years from now. Perhaps they will have traveled all over the world as a journalist, or played trumpet in a famous jazz band, or built a wildly successful business like Microsoft from the ground up. (No, Bill Gates wasn't in my graduating class.)

There will also be some people who have followed very unusual, even bizarre paths. Like the girl I've known since elementary school who is now a belly dancer. Never would have predicted that one in a million years.

So, why am I telling you this? Because as teens we can get pretty short sighted and exclusive in our views of friendship. Cliques form. Labels abound. And we shut out the nerdy guy with thick glasses, never realizing he's so funny he'll be a celebrity comedian someday. Or we ignore the geeky kid on the debate team who is going to be President of the USA someday.

If you're still in high school I have a challenge for you. When classes start back up in the fall, think less about how you look and who you're going to impress, and branch out a little. Meet new people. Maybe become a columnist for your school paper and interview some lesser known students about their interests and hobbies and dreams.

God made everyone uniquely interesting, and He placed some of them in your world. Make it a goal to discover God's handiwork in the people all around you. Maybe then when you attend your reunion thirty years from now, you won't be surprised.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Black Again

Why is it when I look up black on the internet, I get involved in tangents that have nothing to do with the color?
I am resisting this time, but found several wonderful sites that I could have explored for hours.

Black is the absence of all color. I knew that from a science class probably as far back as elementary school. So is black a "non-color"?

Black can lend elegance and sophistication to a room or an outfit. Or it can easily overwhelm and look cheap, depressing, or lend an air of restriction. In other words, in a room, black shrinks the visual size of the space.

Black represents death and mourning. In churches, black is used only before the Easter Vigil, with no other decorations or colors. Makes me think of the absence of all hope. Thank God for Resurrection Day!

In our language, black can emphasize good or bad. Black tie means wear your best to a formal party. Black belt means an expert, especially in martial arts. But blackmail is getting something by threat. A black sheep is a disgrace to the family.

Black, set next to other colors, clarifies the quality of the second color. Yellow pops out at you. The brightness of red is emphasized. Green vibrates.

So what can we take-away from this observation of the "non-color"? I see a thread of perception running through the commentary on black. By itself, black is neither good nor bad. A nonenity. But as a contrasting element, it enhances. Used in great quantity, it overwhelms.

Black is useful in helping us see beauty. But black was never meant to be the way of life.

How much I enjoy the sight of the mountains when for days I have dwelt in the caves.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Thought life

Hi friends,
Just let me say that I am no expert with anorexia. I'm a mom who saw it nearly destroy my daughter. She was dying because she believed lies about herself. If my post triggers something that makes you think you might be dealing with this, GET HELP NOW.

What I learned from our experience is how powerful our thoughts are. They can tear down or they can build up. Thoughts create emotions. One tiny idea, one suggestion of a thought, can destroy us if we allow it to. For 16 months Katie believed lies about herself. Not one good thought went through her head.

Let me tell you some lies we sometimes fall for:
You've screwed up so bad nobody (especially God) can ever love you.
You're a loser.
You have no friends.
Nobody cares about you.
Don't ever trust anybody again.
You're damaged goods.
Give up.
You'll never amount to anything.

Pain. Getting hurt. Life. They can trigger some pretty rough lies that we can start to believe about ourselves. But the Bible tells us to guard our thoughts. Guard our minds. The evil one is always working to pull us down. But he can't change how God sees us. I remember praying for Katie that day. As soon as I said the words, "Katie, you're a child of God. You belong to Him," I felt it deep within me. I knew I was speaking truth over her. Probably the first words from God she'd heard in a long time.

We gottta begin to believe truth, speak truth, out loud if we have to, about who we are in Christ. We are dearly loved. We are beautiful in His sight. He died for us. We are beatifully and wonderfully made. We are forgiven. We can be made whole.

Fighting negative thoughts is a daily thing for me. It has to be. I know what I'm like when I start to believe lies about myself....(more later on that).

Thank you, Lord. TRUTH , YOUR SWEET TRUTH SETS US FREE.

Much love,
♥♥Julie

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Why?

I'm sure many of you have heard the tragic story about Whitney Cerak and Laura VanRyn. An article ran in People magazine this week giving some more of the story and referred to the blog Laura's family set up to communicate about what was happening as she recovered. Of course, now we know that it wasn't "Laura" at all.

This tragedy has inspired some fierce reactions in the news. If you read about it, some are outraged, some are sad, some are simply sick of hearing about it.

These families have been weighing heavily on my heart since this happened because it was just such a horrible thing. You'd think with all of our technology and now-how that this kind of stuff wouldn't happen. And perhaps, in my own way, it reminds me of losing a dear friend on a car accident during college at the age of 19.

But it also brings up a rather difficult question - one that we don't have an answer for.

Why did God let this happen?

This entire series of events, from the tractor-trailer driver who fell asleep at the wheel, to the mix-up of victims, was never out from under God's watchful eye. There is a subtle difference between saying God "caused" something to happen, and God "allowing" something to happen but I think it's an important distinction. I think it's the question I hear most from unbelievers: If God is good, why do bad things happen?

It's a valid question with no easy answer. People have written dozens of books trying to answer that question. I have wrestled with it myself as I have faced personal tragedies. And I think the one I always come back to is this: God knows more than I do. I cannot - at this point - bound by time and humanity - understand all that God is orchestrating in this universe. I cannot see the beginning from the end. And that is where I must trust that 1- He is good and 2 - He is in control.

There is a wonderful line in The Chronicles of Narnia when Lucy is asking Mr. Beaver about Aslan.

"Is - is he a man?" asked Lucy.

"Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is king of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion - the Lion, the great Lion."

"Ohhh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he - quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."

"That you will dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver; "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."

"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But He's good. He's the King, I tell you."

He isn't safe - but He is good. Something about tragedy, when the rug is pulled out from underneath of us, reveals what we really think about lots of things - especially God. We live in a culture that has made God out to be some kind grandfather in the sky. Something safe. But God is anything but safe - He is the King of the Universe, much grander, much holier, much more than we can imagine. And being much more than us, we cannot grasp all of His ways. We get precious glimpses, we get Holy comfort, we get Divine guidance - but we don't always get the answers.

Someone said that tragedy can make us bitter or better. It draws us closer to the One we long to know, or it drives us away in frustration of not knowing who it is we really long for.

I guess perhaps today, I ask you to remember the VanRyns, and all of the families touched by this particular tragedy. That God may comfort them - and that they will know His presence in their sorrow. And that while God is our friend and our always present companion, He is also the King of Kings.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Art of Good Questions

"Your mother sure asks a lot of personal questions."

When my sons reported this feedback to me, I was appalled. The day before, we had taken a friend of theirs to lunch. Immediately after the food was served, my three companions had fallen into one of those extended, uncomfortable (to me) adolescent guy quiet spells. Seeking respite from the long stretches of silent chewing, I began to do what comes naturally to me -- ask questions. Apparently, though, I'd crossed a line from interested into intrusive, and had made our guest feel uncomfortable and overpowered.

But questions are important, I thought defensively. One of the saddest statements about the human condition comes in John 4:27, after Jesus has engaged in intimate conversation with the woman at the well:
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?
Skimming through the rest of John's gospel, I considered the way Jesus employed questions. How did he build intimacy and connect without overpowering those he encountered? Skipping over the rabbinical-style of Q & A commonly used as a teaching tool, I discovered three dont's about the art of good conversational questions from our Lord:
Don't ask questions because you're uncomfortable with silence. When the conversation stalls at a dinner party, I'm the kind of person who tries to re-stoke the bonhomie by asking a clever or provocative question. I might seem like a good guest to invite to your casual gathering, but this tendency to "save the day" might actually hinder something that God intends to do in the midst of an uncomfortable silence. If I shut up, someone else might steer the conversation in a direction that's more in line with God's purposes. People might actually have the chance to think, reflect, process, or simply enjoy being together in the moment, without the noise of my voice filling the silence.

Jesus knew when to keep quiet. At the Passover dinner, he took the time to wash their feet in what I imagine must have been a silence filled with tension: "He got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him." (John 13:4). Finally, he came to Simon Peter, who (like me) couldn't take it anymore, and burst out with: "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

What if Jesus had chatted away the entire time he was cleansing their feet, asking inconsequential questions? "How DID these feet get so dirty, John? Blah, blah, blah?" Could the discomfort in the room have reached the level it needed to provoke the intimate conversation that followed immediately afterwards? I doubt it.

Don't use questions to ferret out juicy secrets about a person's past. As a writer, I'm naturally curious about the details of others' stories. This means that I can abuse questions to satisfy my own need for intimate information about people's heartaches and struggles. Jesus never did this. "Do you want to be well?" he asked, ushering the paralytic by the pool into a changed future in John 5:6. I might have chosen to ask a more intrusive, past-focused question: "So tell me ... how in the world did you end up like this, dude?" Don't get me wrong -- I'm not dissing the power of therapeutic questions. But our Lord reminds me that they must be asked out of a genuine concern for healing, not motivated by a self-centered hunger for gossipy information.

Don't be afraid to ask questions that reveal your own needs. In an encounter with someone in a less powerful position than yours (i.e., teen with tween or adult with kid), using questions to ask for help or company breaks down barriers. "Will you get me a drink?" Jesus asked the woman at the well in John 4:7, shocking her with a request for her assistance. "You do not want to leave too, do you?" He asked the Twelve in John 6:67, expressing his need for their fidelity when others were giving up on him. (This question evoked a particularly tenderhearted response from Peter: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.")
Realizing that I had violated all three of these guidelines during that ill-fated lunch, I penned a note of apology to the boys' friend on my best stationery. The post-school report was that he read it, smiled, and tucked it into his backpack. We're going out to lunch again, and this time, I plan to employ the art of questions the Jesus way -- (1) sparingly, (2) lovingly, and (3) truthfully.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

"Button Every Button!"

MODESTY is not a word that is very esteemed in today’s culture. Beauty can really be a snare to the opposite sex, and we all should consider that and dress accordingly—so we do not cause men to lust in their hearts.

Do you dress suggestively to draw attention to yourself?

Fisherman buy beautiful, sparkling lures to catch trout. Often, Satan uses enticements to get humans in trouble. Dressing sensuously—can be a lure that can lead to sin (…after sin, after sin…) and all its consequences.

When my girls became teenagers, I told them I wanted to become Amish, so I could dress them in long black dresses with high necks! It is a constant struggle for my daughters to find modest, fashionable clothes they like—that are not revealing, provocative or sensuous. As they leave the house, I am inclined to yell, “Button every button!”

Dress in ways that make you look nice and stylish—without crossing the line.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Totally professional in pajamas!

God cares for me. And He shows me in simple ways, daily.

Today, He gave me a wonderful sunrise to gaze at as I read my Bible.

He prodded me to keep reading and praying INSTEAD of going on my typical walk.

He did these things, not only because He loves me, but because I-had-a-radio-interview-I-totally-forgot-about-with-a-national-radio-show-that-surprised-me-with-a-call-at-6:00 a.m.! Whew.

It's so cool that God is watching my back-side, even when I totally mess up.

So, you may ask. How did she do talking to national radio personalities in her pajamas?

You can listen at: (please do!)
http://www.familynetradio.com/mornings/today.asp

At least my fuzzy slippers were cute!

Now, let me ask, how has He cared for you lately?

Tricia
www.triciagoyer.com

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Black ~ DaVinci Code

Before we look at black as a color and what connotations are associated with it, let me digress. I have several websites that I look at to get information about the meaning of colors. This morning, I couldn't find them, so shaking my head at the mysteries of Cyberspace, I did a google search.

OH MY!
I found websites that talked about seven primary colors sent to earth from outerspace from the seven primary planets of our solar system.

OH DEAR!
It reminded me that any time you go searching for truth, you are likely to run into Satan's imitation.

Medical science has documented the affects of colors on humans, noting physiological reactions. There are historical references to cultural traditions regarding colors. That's the kind of information I am looking for. But anyone can post on the internet and claim authority on a subject.

I believe the whole DaVinci Code fiasco reminds Christians to adhere to this verse:
2 Timothy 2:15 (The Amplified Bible) "Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth."

I think Satan is well-pleased with the turmoil this book and movie have made. Can't you just hear him gloating? "If these 'intelligent' creatures made by God just knew their facts, I couldn't have nearly as much fun disturbing them."

Let's save the subject "black" until next time. I think I need some time right now to study the Word of God.

My Katie

Katie, our daughter who just married, went through really bad anorexia. It felt like she was behind a glass wall--I could see her but I couldn't get close to her. She left for college on a softball scholarship. The school called in November her freshman year suggesting she might be anorexia. Katie denied it--said she'd had a stomach virus. By July, I knew she wasn't telling us the truth.

You know how you look into somebody's eyes and they're not home? I couldn't find her. Anywhere. Her legs and arms were like a skinny child's. I'd cook her favorite meals and she'd just play with her food like a toddler. She never smiled. Each time she left the driveway in her white Camaro, I wanted to chase her down the road. But what good would it do? She didn't believe me.

She came home for Christmas break her sophomore year. Only her nose and mouth looked like my Katie. She was disappearing--both her body and spirit. Then at 4 am that December morning, God helped me. I couldn't sleep and picked up one of her magazines lying in the den. As I read an article on date rape, I knew. I just knew. I ran to wake her up. She covered her head with a blanket and said, "I'm never talking about it. Forget it. You're wasting your time. There's a lot you don't know."

"No matter what, it wasn't your fault," I whispered. She turned over and faced the wall.

I didn't know which problem to try and deal with first--the date rape or the anorexia. Tears trickled down my face. She never saw them.

The next day she agreed to go the doctor. By herself. After her appointment she wouldn't talk. Two months later, Valentine's Day, it hurt me to see her. I knew she was dying. She zoomed out of the driveway, again, because I mentioned her weight. But she called me a little later. Here's our unforgettable phone conversation.

"What 'cha doing, Mom."
"Stirring spaghetti. I need to pray for you. If you never speak to me again, I don't care. But you're dying. You can't see it, but you are."
"Whatever. I don't have a problem. Get over it."
"Father, Katie is your child. Something bad happened to her. She's slowly dying. In the name of Jesus, take away any lies and self-destruction. Put her back together again. Make her whole, in Your name."
"Thanks," she whispered.

Two hours later, she called me from the mall. Her old voice had returned. "You weren't lying. I look terrible! I couldn't see it before." She didn't find any clothes to fit and headed to McDonald's. For the first time in 16 months she was hungry. She ate without vomiting.

This May, two years after she saw the truth, she married a wonderful guy. She's never gone back down the anorexia path. Buried secrets can destroy us. Talking helped continue her healing. She shared her story with high schools girls at church.

The evil one comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Truth brings healing. My Katie's back--but even better than before!

Girls, God, and the Good Life

 
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