Tuesday, August 31, 2010


My best friend's mom passed away three years ago today. She fought pancreatic cancer for over a year (if I'm remembering correctly) before she got really sick and died. I've been aware that today was coming up, but I didn't look at the date until just now, when I read Althea's blog.

Margot was a really wonderful person. She always welcomed her kids' friends into their home. I remember playing various card games at their kitchen table. Racko and Taboo (especially Taboo) were games that we played often at the Babler house.

I remember vividly a conversation I had with her during one of my early years of college. I was home for a visit, and I had gone to see my friends at the high school and I had given Joe a ride home. I sat and talked with Margot in the living room. I remember talking about my desire to be a stay at home mom, and how a lot of people in high school had asked me why I would waste my intellect doing something like that. Margot told me how much work it takes to run a household well. She was really supportive of my dream.

I was always welcome at the Babler house. Margot wasn't the best at keeping the house clean, but it was always a welcoming home. I knew it was a safe place that I was always welcome if I needed somewhere to go. I loved the way she changed the outfits of the American dolls to fit the season. I loved sitting on the couch watching The Simpsons with Maretta, Joe, and Craig.

I'm sad that Margot is gone, but I'm glad I have such wonderful memories of her. She treated me as if I was one of her kids, and that still means so much to me. I'm so honored to have known her.

I'm praying for my Babler friends today. Because as much as I miss her, I know they miss her a million times more.

Saul and the Holy Spirit

Right now I'm working my way through the Old Testament. I started with Genesis, and I'm pretty much just reading straight through. I'm in 1 Samuel right now, and I'm seeing some awesome things I hadn't noticed before.

Saul was an answer to prayer for the Israelites. They had been asking for a king, and even though God wanted them to be happy having him as their king, he granted their request. God gave all kinds of warnings to the Israelites about what having a king would mean, but they didn't really care. I think it's so interesting that God would answer the prayer of his people even when he knew it wasn't necessarily what was best for them. It makes me want to be a lot more deliberate in saying, "Here's what I want, God, but I really want your will for me, so help me to want what you want." It's also another good reminder that we tend to be so short-sighted, and God sees the big picture.

I'm starting to get the connection between the prophets of the OT and the prophecies of the NT. The Old and New Testaments have always seemed so disjointed to me, so separate. When I think of the Holy Spirit, I mostly think of Paul. It took me by surprise when I read about Saul and Samuel encountering the spirit of God. I guess I've always assumed that when God spoke to his OT prophets that it was with an audible voice. I'm not really sure why. In 1 Sam 9, Samuel is told by God that a man was coming who was to be anointed king. That man was Saul. The thing I really love about this is that Samuel didn't just know there was going to be a man, he knew specifics. When Saul met Samuel, Samuel said, "Go on up the hill ahead of me to the place of sacrifice and we'll eat there together. In the morning I will tell you what you want to know and send you on your way. And don't worry about those donkeys that were lost three days ago, for they have been found. And I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel's hopes." (1 Sam 9:19-20 NLT) The reason Saul was where Samuel was in the first place was because Saul was looking for his father's lost donkeys. Samuel had that specific word from the Lord, and I'm sure Saul had a hard time wrapping his head around that. Saul didn't even have the chance to ask Samuel about the donkeys, but Samuel was able to tell Saul what he wanted to know. Crazy.

After Samuel anoints Saul to be king, he says this: "At that time the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you with power [Acts 1:8, anyone?], and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person. After these signs take place, do whatever you think is best, for God will be with you." (1 Sam 10: 6-7) That is such an amazing thing. The Holy Spirit changes people. It's so amazing to read about this all over scripture. And I don't know about you, but I want to be so full of the Holy Spirit that God is in whatever I do. I also want to be paying close attention to Saul, because he was totally filled with the Spirit of God, yet he totally screwed up in the end. Saul is not the only one in the Bible to do this. I want to learn to recognize the pitfalls in my own life in the hopes that I won't have that kind of 180 in my own life. I tend to be really good at seeing the sin in other people, but having a hard time being so honest and blunt about myself (plank and speck syndrome for sure). It's also good, though, to be reminded that even the Bible superheroes were human and screwed up. I feel more connected to people when I know they're not perfect, and I feel more hope that God will love me despite my mistakes because he loves others despite their mistakes.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What about Isaac?

I'm reading a book called Rebekah: Women of Genesis by Orson Scott Card. I know that it's technically fiction, although it's based on Biblical events and people. It's still a great story, so far. I'm at the point where Rebekah has just gotten married to Isaac, and the next section (I'm assuming) is about their life together with their family.

It's given me some things to think about. We are our experiences. We make choices based on how we do not want things to turn out. Despite our best efforts, sometimes we do things that hurt others. Do you think that Rebekah really wanted to cause division in her family, to create a situation that drove Jacob away for years?

What about Isaac? He probably grew up knowing of God's promise that Sarah would have a son. But did he also know the whole time that Abraham doubted God and that's why Ishmael was born? What did Isaac think, knowing that he was an answer to Abraham and Sarah's prayer, when Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac to God? I think that generally we think about the great sacrifice that Abraham made, and how merciful God was to spare Abraham losing his beloved son. But what about Isaac? How did it affect him for the rest of his life knowing that his father was capable of killing him? Did he constantly doubt his worth? I know I would have. I would have been angry and bitter and I think I would have been very angry at God. God knew the effects this could have on Isaac, the potential that Isaac's relationship with his father would forever be altered, and yet he chose that particular situation.

I don't really know how to react to that. Part of me dislikes the realization that sometimes God could clearly choose that we go through a situation that causes us pain. I mean, I know that. I've experienced things like that, and I've never understood them. But suddenly seeing the situation from another angle just gives me a lot to think about. How did Isaac, how do we, really trust God? He sees the big picture, and we don't. And sometimes, he causes things to happen that are difficult or awful for individuals, but an amazing part of the big picture. Jesus got a pretty raw deal. But it was an AMAZING part of the big picture of all humanity. How do we find the kind of faith that allows us to trust God no matter what, even if our lives seem terrible for years and years?

I'm a little afraid to trust God sometimes. Or a lot of the time. Because in the back of my mind, I think I really get that my best interest isn't the only thing God's concerned with. And he might ask me to make some big sacrifices. That's scary. That's hard. But I do want to be the kind of person who will still praise God no matter what. I know God is love, but that doesn't always mean my circumstances will feel that way, or that I will feel that way. And I wrestle with that.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this, to create some dialogue about this. I love when people help stretch my concept of God and who he is beyond my own limited understanding.

First Blog

I have a journal. I write in it pretty regularly. I like writing with a pen on pages and seeing the book fill up. I love starting a brand-new journal. It's so helpful in getting my thoughts and feelings sorted out, and it's a safe place to vent anything and everything.

This is not my journal.

I used to have an online journal. I only let one or two people read the deep stuff. Most of it was about my day to day life. In high school. Honestly, not all that interesting. It's cool that I can go back and read about it if I want to, but it's really not the sort of thing anyone cares about reading.

I sometimes share notes on Facebook, but because it shows up on my friends' Newsfeed, I sometimes feel like I'm being overeager in sharing. I don't post all that often, so I didn't think it made sense to start a blog. But last night, as I was reading my Bible, I saw some really cool stuff that I hadn't noticed before. And I wanted to share it with someone, but it was late and I live alone and I needed to get to bed so I could wake up this morning and babysit. I remembered how this happened to me a few days ago when I was reading a book about Rebekah, and I thought it would be nice to have a place where I can continuously post thoughts.

So here it is. My blog.

I'm going to repost my FB note on Isaac to start off. For now, my goal is to use this blog to share thoughts that can spark dialogue. Honestly, I'll probably end up posting about myself, too, but I hope that I'll be discerning enough not to have too many boring, selfish posts.

Welcome to my blog. I hope this'll be fun!