Today I read chapter 4 in Lessons I Learned in the Dark by Jennifer Rothschild. She wrote about rejoicing in your God-given gifts; especially the difficult ones. If most people wrote that, it would not be as powerful as when she, a blind woman, writes it. If she can rejoice in her God-given difficult gift, then I should be able to rejoice in mine, too. Here are some of my favorite parts of this chapter.

The only difference between becoming bitter and becoming better is the letter I. Approaching our difficulties from the standpoint of what I want, what I have lost, or what I think is fair will embitter us. Bitter eyes can perceive only the injustice and the sorrow in our situation. Grateful eyes, however, will always see the grace of God, regardless of how difficult our circumstances might be. Grateful eyes allow us to see “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). (more…)

EDIT: (11/1/07) These were my initial thoughts on the subject of tithing in the New Testament and I have written a new post clarifying these thoughts. Please read it as well. It really does clarify my jumbled thoughts!

Last night, I had quite an interesting conversation with my mom about tithes and how much our district officials get paid. Then I read this post by Travis Seitler. He has done research on tithing. His post shook me. I’ve grown up with the focus always being, “give your ten percent.” I knew, of course, that more is better, but still the focus is on that tithe. In his post, Travis tells that what he has found is that the tithe was Old Testament law and therefore not applicable to us today. Now before anyone cries, “heresy,” he is NOT saying that you should not give. He says we should give more and sometimes less than 10%. His post is very well thought out and backed by scripture. I tend to believe that he is correct. He also wrote that the tithe was in food, not money. Therefore, we should be giving food if we are going to follow the Old Testament law; we should be creating food banks to help feed the poor.

The last important point I found that he made, was that tithe, since it was always given as food, was not created to support the priests’ pockets (ministers in our day) or church buildings and bills. If this is so, I wondered how would these be supported? Well, basically he believes that we should cut down on these expenses and focus on the poor. The remaining should be paid for by offerings. That makes some sense to me. That post has shaken me in changing the beliefs that I have held for so long, but after talking it out with my hubby, it makes sense to me never to preach on tithing the same again. It makes sense to me to never use that word again. The New Testament requires much more of us than the Old Testament. Jesus tells the rich man to sell everything and follow me.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22 NIV (more…)

This morning I started reading two different books. They are: Lessons I Learned in the Dark by Jennifer Rothschild and In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen. I started by reading the introduction and chapter 1 of Lessons I Learned in the Dark. Then I read some of In the Name of Jesus. Later I returned to Lessons I Learned and then went back to In the Name of Jesus again. I really don’t know why I did it that way, but I was amazed at the common theme between both books.

In her book, Jennifer Rothschild tells how she was diagnosed as being legally blind at the age of 15 due to a degenerative disorder. She had to learn to trust God or despair. The subtitle to her book is Steps to Walking by Faith, Not by Sight. She tells of her journey with God. She did trust God and became a wonderful Christian woman because of it. She had to learn to walk with God through her darkness.

Lately I have been wondering where my place in the ministry is. I have some hopes and dreams, but I don’t know if they will ever happen. I’m a very practical person and if they aren’t going to happen, I really don’t want to dream them. I don’t see the point. I know many people would disagree with me; even my husband. I am at the place where I know I am called to something, but I am not sure what. I don’t really know my short or long-term destinations. I need to trust God and walk with Him. I need to not concern myself with where I am going, but just focus on who I am going with. With all the talk of women in ministry at General Council this past week, I’ve been wondering where my place is and how far I can get. (more…)

Anne Marie is going to keep me on my toes. So here is my recent life. This post is a little more private in nature, but here it goes. A while back, my hubby and I made sure that more children were impossible. Now there should only be a 1 in 5000 chance of my getting pregnant. The reason for this is that I get post-partum depression that never goes away. My youngest is almost three and I still take meds in order to control it daily. Well, my period is late! I took a test and it’s negative, but I am totally having pregnancy symptoms. It really should be impossible, but it’s driving me crazy not knowing what is wrong with me. If it’s not pregnancy, what is it? I’ve never been this late unless I was pregnant. The latest I’ve ever been is a week. It’s now been 48 days since my last period. That’s 20 days late! What is up??? So, i’m freaking out. I have a doctor appointment next Thursday for other reasons and if there is nothing by then I’ll talk to the doctor, but I doubt he’ll give me any reasonable explanation. He’s just like that. He’ll make my fears seem silly and I won’t actually get any answers. I’m just really frustrated. I’m trying to leave the situation in God’s hands, but it sure is hard.

On another note, I am preaching this Sunday again. Maybe I’ll learn something really great as I study. Well, I know I will, but maybe it will help me to leave things in God’s hands. I think I’ll be preaching on being called again, but from Luke 10 where Jesus sends out the 70 (or 72).

Well, at least I feel better having written all this down. Now that the world knows my personal struggles against pregnancy. 🙂

UPDATE: It finally started! Hallelujah! What a relief!

Two different people have requested a new post. I have such a hard time deciding what to write! I guess I will write about last week. At the beginning of the week my husband and I were at the Credential Prep School. It was a requirement for getting our Ordination, which we hope to get next May.

I was really frustrated the week before that because we could not bring our kids with us and I always have a terrible time finding people to watch the kids overnight. I was so frustrated I told Chris that he should just go alone and I would just stay at home and be the pastor’s wife. That is not like me AT ALL. I am not a pastor’s wife. I am a pastor. I don’t fit the normal mold, though. It’s frustrating sometimes.

Anyways, I had to preach that Sunday and I was looking for scripture on the Triune God. I found Ephesians 4:1-6. The translation I read talked about your vocation. Here is the quote:

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
KJV

That first verse really hit me hard. Vocation here means calling. We are all called to be Christ-like. Of course I could go on for 20 minutes about this (I did preach on it), but, basically, I am called to be a pastor and I need to walk worthy of that calling. That does not leave room for feeling sorry for myself or worrying about something God will take care of. I needed to trust that God was going to provide my need for a babysitter and I needed to trust that God had my best interests in mind when He called me. I needed to trust that He knew what He was doing and I needed to stop doubting my call simply because I was having difficulties.

The day after I read that, God did provide my need. Thank you God! I went to the Prep School and had a great time. I finally had some alone time with my dear hubby and my dear God. It was refreshing and enlightening. I thank God that He did call me. My life would be empty without Him and His purposes.