Saturday, August 27, 2011

Before I Go

Imagine that you were going to fast from sugar for one month. Would you spend the last few days before the fast weaning yourself off of sweets or over-indulging in them?

I hoped I'd be a wean-er. It turns out I'm an over-indulge-er. Lapping up literature. Wallowing in words. Packing in the paper-backs.

I am (comme habitude) currently in the middle of three different books. In addition, I just joined a book club on Facebook, and even though I won't be able to participate in their on-line discussions during the month of September, I 'd really like to read the September book selection BEFORE I start my fast. So that makes four books that I want to finish in four days. Which, actually, would not be a problem except for the fact that we are just about to move. So seeing as we have to pack up all of our belongings and put them into storage during those same four days, I  may not finish reading all these books that I have started. But I'm sure gonna try!

(Out of curiosity, not to split hairs or anything, but do knitting pattern books and cook books count as "reading"? What about the backs of cereal boxes?)

I can't imagine what it will be like to NOT read or write for a month. It may be one of the oddest things I ever done, and that is coming from a woman who has had her nose pierced! Yet, I am excited to do it. Excited to see how God shows Himself to me when I spend a greater part of my day actually looking for Him.

In one of my favorite episodes of M*A*S*H, Hawkeye, a surgeon,  temporarily loses his sight. While his eyes are bandaged, he gains a whole new consciousness. For example, he spends an entire morning just listening to rainstorm, delighting in the experience.  He discovers that while being blind has its obvious limitations, it also has many surprising advantages.

I suppose that I, too, hope to gain a new consciousness--or maybe a deeper awareness--of the Lord. He often reveals Himself to me through both reading and writing, but perhaps I have become so dependent on those venues that I am missing out on others. I wonder what He will show me.

How does the Lord show Himself to you?

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Verbal Fast

Alternatively Titled: Why I Will not be Blogging in September

I just finished reading Humility by Andrew Murray.

There is much in the book that resonated with me, particularly in regards to my journey towards "nothingness." During the past year I have been stripped of myself. I am certain that this was God's intent, as He is teaching me what it really means to be humble. I resisted His efforts at times, but of late I have been more willing to surrender to His work in my life. Surrender gets easier as I accept the reality of my own ineptness.

Anyways, at the end of his book, Murray presents this challenge:

"I will here give you an infallible touchstone, that will try all to the truth. It is this: retire from the world and all conversation, only for one month; neither write, nor read, nor debate anything with yourself; stop all the former workings of your heart and mind: and, with all the strength of your heart, stand all this month, as continually as you can, in ...prayer to God...."

Because I so want the Lord to take EVERY degree of pride from me, with the full support of my husband and children, I am going to do this very thing for the month of September.


"...retire from the world and all conversation...."  means that I will abstain from using Facebook and Skype and I will only check e-mail once a week.


"...neither write...," means that I will abstain from blogging.


"...nor read..." means that I will abstain from reading anything but the Bible.


For a girl who loves all things having to do with words, a verbal fast will be quite a challenge. But because I am so obsessed with reading and writing, in abstaining from these things God will have a lot more of my attention. My fast from the aforementioned media will take place during the entire month of September. It is my heart's desire and my intent (unless the Lord leads otherwise) to resume all of these activities on October 1, 2011.

While I am away from Facebook, Blogger, and all things Literature, our family will have a lot going on! We will be moving to a different village, my sons will be starting a new school, and I will be seeking resolution for a minor health issue. We will be in need of your prayers! (David will be sending out regular prayer requests, so if you would like to be kept up to date during my blogging hiatus, please send us an e-mail at fourforfrance@gmail.com and David will add you to his prayer team mailing list.)

And if you need something to read in September, why not read Humility by Andrew Murray? It's available for 99 cents for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Monday, August 22, 2011

By the Numbers


19

(the number of years that I have been married to David, as of today)

3

(the number of miles I ran this morning)

7000+

(the amount of money (in dollars) pledged towards our boys' tuition--THANKS, dear friends!)

18

(the chapter of Luke that our family read today)

86

(the number of days that we have been waiting to receive our visa renewal)

18

(the number of days until our visa expires)

8

(the number of days until we move to Loches)

1

(the number of novels that I have read in French)

5

(the number of guitars in our house)

0

(the number of puppies in our house)

5

(the number of MINUTES we waited in line to get in to the Louvre this week, as a result of using an alternative entrance)

120

(the number of minutes we would have waited in line at the Louvre if we had  used the main entrance)

6

(the number of hours I have spent watching Republican Primary debates and the subsequent commentaries)

1

(the number of books on Obama's "Summer Reading List" that I have already read)

56

(the number of days until we depart on our first European vacation OUTSIDE of France)

97

(the percentage of humidity at our house yesterday)

378

(the number of minutes that it takes for our washer/dryer combo to complete one load)

378

(the number of ways that David blesses me each and every day!)


Friday, August 19, 2011

Friends

We currently have one of my sons' best friends visiting from the States, and it has been SO MUCH FUN!

We are making sure to do all of the tourist-y things, for example, the boys went on a four hour bike tour of Paris on Monday morning. We have been to the top of La Tour Eiffel, to the Louvre, to Notre Dame, and even out to Le Mont Saint Michel. However... 


...my FAVORITE part of this visit has been our "down" days. We spend every other day just hanging out at our place. We have all played card games together. Sometimes the guys watch a soccer match. Often they pick up guitars and make some music. 

The past year we have been a little isolated. While learning the language it was difficult for us and our kids to forge meaningful friendships. This visit from their friend has reminded me how much I LOVE having teen-aged boys in the house. I love their jokes, I love to feed them, I love to be a part of their conversations. 

I am so hopeful that our boys will make good friends when we move to Loches and that once again we will have a house that is OFTEN full of teenagers.Teenagers with whom we can share the Gospel and the love of God. That would be my greatest joy!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Will You Pray for Abnormal People?

Here is a 37 second video that explains what I mean by "abnormal" people:

video

If you are a subscriber and you receive my blog via e-mail. you will have to go to the actual blog to view the video:  fourforfrance.blogspot.com 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Many Thanks

Many thanks to those of you who sent me words of comfort!

Many thanks to those of you who shared your stories with me!

Many thanks to those of you who, like Chandler, pointed me back to the truth!

Many thanks to those of you who reminded me of God's faithfulness!

Many thanks to the one who suggested that I may be suffering from the early stages of menopause!--actually, I really wasn't ready to hear that idea, but I accept it as a very possible explanation for my tears. I am certainly NOT immune to the effects of hormones. 

Many thanks to David, whose patience is beyond my understanding.

Many thanks to Graham and Chandler, who have been exceedingly gentle and kind in the midst of my moodiness.

Many thanks to God, who hears my prayers, picks me up from the miry pit, and sets me back on my feet. He is always worth the wait. 

I'm still a bit wobbly, but I'm standing.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Wait

I've been crying a lot lately. 

I have shed tears of fear, tears of repentance, tears of joy, tears of grief, tears of anger, and tears of exhaustion. Some tears do not even have names, they just appear: uninvited, unintended, and unexplained. 

I am not sure if I am going through another wave of culture shock or if I am battling depression or if I am simply overwhelmed. 

At times like this I find myself asking the question, "What have we done?" I seriously wonder why we left our comfortable life in the States for this uncomfortable life in France. Things that I thought would stay the same have changed. Things like my marriage and how we parent are different here. We have different challenges, and it feels like everything I once knew no longer applies. We are in uncharted waters.

There is a sense of desperation which drives me to my knees. But even my relationship with the Lord has changed. I once felt like a favored child of God, now I struggle to see his face and hear his voice. I want to pray in faith, but my faith fails me.  

Last night Chandler said to me, "Mom, I have three words for you: Isaiah. Forty. Thirty-one."

 But those who wait on the LORD
    will renew their strength.
  They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

My son speaks truth. 

And so I wait. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Auschwitz

"The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again" 
-George Santayana










A friend said to me on our way out of the death camp, "Remember that the evil you saw today did not win."
 
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