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…)

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…)

Last Sunday I preached on The Lord’s Prayer. It was a rather hard subject for me. This is mostly because I don’t pray enough and I know it. God helped me to write a very good sermon, but through it I felt compelled to commit to pray more. I pledged to God that I would read a chapter of a book, that makes me think more about God, every night for a year. I also pledged that I would do this reading before I read my nightly fiction. So, I started reading “Listening for God”, by Marilyn Hontz again. I started reading it a while back, but never finished it. I like the book. Through reading that, I pledged to also read the Bible at the same time and pray. Now I don’t really have time for the fiction at night! Somehow, that doesn’t bother me. Which makes me very happy.

I have a new friend who is struggling to read the Bible. She has a hard time understanding it. (Any ideas or suggestions for her are appreciated.) But I found something in Marilyn’s book that might have helped some. She wrote, “Since the Bible was written under inspiration, I need to ask the Lord to help me read it by that same inspiration.” Doesn’t that make a LOT of sense? I had never thought about it exactly like that before. I hope it helped her. I enjoyed being used by God to show someone else something.

I think I will grow a lot because of my pledge. I’m ashamed at my lack of having done these things regularly before, but I know God is continually working in me. And as long as I am willing to learn and be molded, I don’t need to feel ashamed. Thank you God for molding me!