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I think it’s time

I’ve been debating whether to do this for a while now, and I’ve held out against it for as long as I could, but I think it’s finally time.  For a while now, I’ve been maintaining two blogs that are identical in content except for the fact that one contains my photography work and the other (this one) does not.  There are several reasons for that, but the most important is that I didn’t want this blog, which has always been very personal in nature, to become commercial.  But it’s been increasingly difficult to keep up with two blogs and I think that when it comes down to it, my work as a photographer is a big part of who I am, and to invite people in on that isn’t commercialism.  So, I’d like to direct you over to my new site, www.RinaMarie.wordpress.com.  There you’ll find the same content as you’ve always found here, along with pictures of my beautiful friends, family, and clients (many of who have become friends!)  I’m sorry to let this blog go, but I think it’s time to open up a new chapter and move on.  Thank you to all who have been faithful readers, and I look forward to seeing you at the new spot!

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(Once again, it’s not Thursday.)

Found this while reading the archives at Conversion Diary

Affability is the virtue of maturity and not of youth. It requires the discipline and strength of character to be even-keeled in one’s demeanor, regardless of how one is feeling. It is that rare species of charity, the heroic strength that does not inflict one’s fluctuating moods upon others.

Despite not knowing what the word “affability” meant, this little quote struck a chord with me, because, unfortunately, I’m all about inflicting my fluctuating moods upon others.  (Just ask my husband.)  For anyone else who doesn’t know what it means:

“the state or quality of having a pleasant or agreeable manner in socializing.”

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Category: Thursday’s Thought

With the thoughts rolling around in my head lately, regarding finances and provision, this statement by Mrs. Parunak was a beautiful thing to read:

There’s a strange thing about contentment. You can lose it in a heartbeat the instant you start looking hard at what isn’t yours. Contentment can’t live with lust. You let lust into your heart, and contentment quietly leaves. Lust is more than the oft discussed, “man wants woman who isn’t his wife.” It’s lust just the same when a woman wants a house the Lord hasn’t given her. Lust is just a strong desire for anything, a hunger. And, as we all know, you can’t be full and hungry at the same time.

Read the full article here: But I was Content, Yesterday

For a long time, my husband and I have lived in such a way that we don’t have a savings account or a lot of money for “extras.”  Several years ago, we adopted a statement by George Muller’s biographer as our own personal philosophy regarding money:

“If few men have ever been permitted so to trace in the smallest matters God’s care over His children, it is partly because few have so completely abandoned themselves to that care” 

But lately, this financial dependance on God has been chaffing at me.  There is this part of me that wants a huge house and horses and a swimming pool and nice clothes and… and… and…  There is a part of me that, to be honest, is tired of having to rely on God for everything.  Which is sad, because we’ve quite literally seen miracles in our lives regarding financial needs, and yet I find in myself a part of me that doesn’t want to HAVE to see financial miracles.  Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to rely on God?  This part of my heart answers yes, yes it would.

Last night, I was sitting and thinking about these things when I felt God speak to my heart and ask me a question.  He asked: “What is it that bothers you about your financial situation?  What would you gain, if you had so much money that you never again struggled?”

I decided to answer by making a list, and as I wrote each “benefit” down, God was quick to reply:

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– My needs would be met immediately, (instead of going weeks without, while waiting on God.)

Your needs are met in God’s timing.

– I wouldn’t have to struggle with having the faith to pray for my needs to be met.

Faith and struggle are a part of God’s refining fire

– I wouldn’t be a financial burden to others, who have helped us during our times of need

You won’t be a burden if no one knows your need… If God chooses to meet a need through the hand of a brother or sister in Christ, who is unaware of my need, then I can have peace in the knowledge that it is not my need that moved them to help, but God Himself.

– I would be able to give people anything they need.

You can pray that God give them everything they need.

– I wouldn’t be ashamed to invite people over

Be a good steward of what you have, and have so much love pouring all over your home that it becomes beautiful to all who visit.

– I could have horses

Be a good friend to someone who has horses (that sounds very utilitarian, but it’s not meant that way.  The point that God was speaking to me is that the more love I have for others, the more opportunities will be available for God to show His love for me.)

– I wouldn’t have to worry about food or clothes

(Besides the obvious scripture answer here [Matthew 6:25-34]), Start ASKING for the things you need (James 4:2-3.)

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I think, ultimately, what it comes down to is faith.  I want more faith, but am not always willing to go through the trials God wants to take me through to grow it inside of me.  The hard truth is that it’s easier to live in such a way that I really don’t need God.  It’s easier to be secure in my own ability and provision than it is to throw caution to the wind and step into a place where I could get hurt -badly.  Often, I feel like the one of the Israelites… though God parted the red sea for them, provided manna from heaven, provided water when there was none, the Israelites continued to struggle.  “What if He doesn’t, this time?”

I don’t know what God is going to do in the years ahead.  Perhaps He will have a new lesson for us – perhaps He will someday walk us through prosperity, and teach us how to be prosperous in faith.  I certainly don’t think that there is anything wrong with being wealthy (Deut 8:18, Psalm 35:27, Ecc 5:19, Job 41:13-15, 2 Chron 2:11-12)  But for now, I see that there are still lessons for me here, and I’m thankful.

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Category: Stewardship

Related Articles:

Daily Bread

Let Him Give – Not Grudgingly or of Necessity

Testimony of Providence

A Request to my Friends

I have had the privilege of being gently rebuked by several of my friends lately, for various reasons, and I am thankful for their loving honesty.  For different reasons, there has been a lot of hurt that has either been caused by me, or by misunderstandings surrounding us, and I am thankful that my friends have been willing to share how these things have hurt them, and have been willing to work through them with me.  The “wounds of a friend” are wounds that I treasure.  Today, I was reminded of something Corrie Ten Boom wrote in her book, Tramp For the Lord:

One afternoon Connie and I were sitting in the garden… when we were interrupted by [William] walking toward our hill… After we exchanged greetings [with him], he said, “When I saw you sitting here together a question came to my mind, ‘Do they walk in the light together?'”

We answered almost simultaneously, “Oh, yes, we do walk in the light together.  We are a team.”

Just at that moment a boy from the house called that there was a telephone message for me.  I excused myself while Conny and William remained behind to talk.

“I have something to confess to you,” Connie said to William.

“And what is that?” he answered gently.

“Your question gripped my heart.  I must tell you that I do not really walk in the light with Tante Corrie.”

Williams face broke into a wide grin and his eyes began to sparkle.  “So, that is why God had me ask that strange question.”

Conny was serious.  “Tante Corrie is so much more mature than I,” she continued.  “She has walked with Jesus for so many years.  She has suffered much for Him in many ways.  Thus when I see things in her life that are not right, I hesitate to speak them out to her.”

“Oh,” William said, startled.  “That is not right.  The Lord wants you to be very honest with Tante Corrie.  That is one reason He has put you with her.  Since she is walking in the light when you also walk in the light, you will help shed light for her path as well as yours.”

That night, after we had gone to our room together, Conny sat on the side of the bed and said, “Tante Corrie, this is very difficult for me to say, but I now realize I must walk in the light.”

I turned and looked at her.  Her face was drawn and solemn.  One by one she began listing the things in my life which bothered her – the things I did which she did not believe glorified God.  It was not easy for me to hear the things which I had done wrong – things which had caused a shadow to come in Conny’s heart.  But how wonderful it was that Conny was being completely honest with me.  I apologized for the things she had listed and then thanked her for bringing them into the light.  “Let us always walk in the light together,” I said seriously.

But it was still hard for Conny.  She was much younger than I and felt she was still learning.  Even though I wanted her to continue to correct me, she found it very difficult.  The final breakthrough came after we left Africa and flew to Brazil.

We had been in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautiful cities of the world, for a few weeks.  As we prepared to leave – to fly south to Buenos Aires – we discovered our suitcases were overweight.  The kind people in Rio had given us so many presents we were more than twenty kilograms overweight.  It was going to cost us a great deal of extra money to go on to Argentina.

I unpacked my luggage and made three piles: one to send to Holland by sea, one to give away to the poor in Rio, and the smallest one to go back in my suitcase to carry on to our next destination.  Finishing my repacking I hurried next door into Conny’s room and unpacked her suitcase also.  I went through the same procedure, sorting her belongings into three heaps and then repacking only her necessary items.  I was in too much of a hurry to notice that Conny said nothing.

A week later, after a beautiful time in Buenos Aires, we were walking along a lonely stretch of beach near our cabin,  I was enjoying the beautiful view over a quiet bay when Conny began to talk.  Her voice was strained, “I promised God I would walk in the light,” she said, “and that means that I must get something settled with you.  When you repacked my suitcase and decided what things to send to Holland and what to leave with me, I was not happy about it,”

How stupid and tactless I had been to rush in and interfere with Conny’s life!  I reached out and took her hand. “How thoughtless I have been,” I said.  “Forgive me for not leaving it up to you.”

“I do forgive you,” Conny said.  Like myself, she had learned not to play lightly with sin, but to hear another’s apology and then, instead of passing it off, to forgive it.  We walked on for a long time in silence and then Conny spoke again.

“Are you unhappy, Tante Corri?  You are so quiet.”

Now it was my time to walk in the light. “There is something hindering me,” I said.  “Why did you not tell me immediately that you were disturbed?  That way it could have been settled on the spot and you would not have had to carry this darkness for all these days.  From now on let us both ‘speak the truth in love’ and lever let the sun go down on our misunderstandings.”

It was a good lesson.  From then until Conny married in 1967 and went to live with her husband, we walked all over the world – always trying to walk in the light.

These words speak to my heart today, not only because I write them as a request to my friends to “walk in the light” with me, but also because I see there are things that I, also, need to speak to some people about.  Please, friends, whether we are close or mostly acquaintances, whether you are past clients or current blog readers or future family members (now would be a good time to mention that my brother has [FINALLY] asked his love to marry him!), please “walk in the light” with me, and never hesitate to tell me if you feel I am in error.  Will it hurt?  Yea, it will.  It may be painful for both of us, but God will shine His light and His love on us, and it will be more than worth it.  I will do the same, and in so doing we will have fellowship with one another and grow together in love.

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” – John 1:17

Killing Me Softly

I’ve never thought about this song in a spiritual context, but I imagine this must have been what it felt like to meet Jesus…

I heard He sang a good song
I heard He had a style
And so I came to see Him
And listen for a while
And there He was, this young boy
A stranger to my eyes

Strumming my pain with His fingers
Singing my life with His words
Killing me softly with His song
Killing me softly with His song
Telling my whole life with His words
Killing me softly with His song

I felt all flushed with fever
Embarrassed by the crowd
I felt He found my letters
And read each one out loud
I prayed that He would finish
But He just kept right on

Strumming my pain with His fingers
Singing my life with His words
Killing me softly with His song
Killing me softly with His song
Telling my whole life with His words
Killing me softly with His song.

This may be a completely goofy concept to everyone else, but I’ve always felt kinda bad when I would turn to one friend rather than another for a certain type of support.  If one kind of thing happened, I’d find myself reaching for the phone to call my friend Michelle, but if another thing happened, I’d be more likely to dial Manuela’s number.  If I needed prayer about this, I’d ask Amy but if I needed prayer about that, I’d sooner talk to Angela.  Of all my friends, there are some with whom I share practically everything, and some who almost seem reserved for the really special things.  There are some I speak with every day, while with others weeks may lapse between our conversations.

I’ve often felt disloyal to some of my friends because I may not talk with them about everything, or because I’ll choose to mention this to that friend, but that to this friend.

Tonight*, I was pondering the nature of these different types of friendships when it occurred to me that God has placed different people in my life for different reasons.  Why do I ask one friend to pray with me about something, but not another?  It’s not that some of my friends are more trustworthy, or others less so, it’s that God has knitted my heart together with each of them in a different way.  When I find myself in need of prayer or support or companionship, or just someone to share a funny story with, my heart seeks out the one whom God has appointed for that situation, for that need.

I think that for a long time, I’ve been looking at my marriage in a very wrong and unhealthy way.  I have expected my husband to meet all of my emotional needs, to be to me all that Michelle and Manuela and Amy and Angela are, all wrapped up in one big “Jon” package.  My poor husband!  Who could ever meet that kind of expectation?  How could he ever be all the things I thought he should be to me?

I am beginning to understand more of what it means to be a “body in Christ.”  I’m coming to understand that there is no ONE person out there (including and especially my husband) who will meet all of my needs.  God didn’t set me on an island with only my husband for support and companionship, He gave me a network of wonderful people to share my life with.

I’m looking forward to experiencing a deeper kind of friendship with my husband.  Rather than expecting him to be what others are for me, I’m looking forward to finding out who HE is to me – loving him for who he is, rather than who I wish him to be, or think he should be.  I’m looking forward letting others fill the positions God has given them in my life, rather than expecting my husband to be the hand and the foot and the eye (and the big toe, and the pinky finger, and the third tooth on the bottom left.)

I am SO INCREDIBLY blessed to have the friendships that I have, and so blessed to have not one, but several amazing people in my life to share and laugh and cry with.  I’m so blessed to be “knitted together” with such a diverse group of people – so thankful that I have so many people in my life to love, and love me in return.  I’m so thankful that God has placed each of them on my heart in a different way.

I have lots of “best” friends.

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*I wrote this on 7/20

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Category: Marriage

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