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STASI'S BLOG

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Oct 29,2010

A good friend of mine's son (let's call him Andy) is an excellent soccer player.  He's gifted, he's talented and he works really, really hard at it.  He began playing on local leagues as soon as he could run and boy howdy can this young man run!  Andy's on the high school team now - a key player leading their team to play stronger and more consistently than in several years.  You get the picture.  This guy is good.

 

At a recent game, the opponent (on Team B, for bad guys) directly facing Andy had a brilliant strategy to discourage him. Though Team B was losing and losing badly (9- 1), the player was hurling taunts endlessly at Andy.  "You're not playing very well."  "You're an embarrassment to your team."  "Your coach is mad at you." "Your coach is going to take you out."  On and on it went.  Andy's response?  He would say, "Scoreboard."  That was his only reply to his opponent.  Scoreboard.  Look at the scoreboard.  We are winning.  Your words don't change that reality and they won't change that reality.  I've got nothing to say to you.

 

Andy had to stay strong in the game.  He later confessed that staying in the truth was a battle. Rejecting the opponent's accusation and focusing on what was before him required both determination and stamina.

 

Sound familiar?

 

Our opponent is tireless at hurling accusations at us; at taunting us.  "You're not doing this very well." "You're an embarrassment to the Body of Christ." "God is mad at you."  "You're disqualified."  On and on it can go.  Our response is not to take in the accusation or even engage in the dialogue but just to say, "Look at the Cross".  Jesus has won it all.  For me.  I am in Him.  I am loved.  I am secure.  I am forgiven.  Always.  (THANK YOU,GOD!)

 

Or else, maybe the next time the enemy's accusation comes our way, we can just say, "Scoreboard!".

11 AM
(29)
Oct 11,2010

Last weekend was a Captivating retreat up at Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista, Colorado.  It was, in every possible and impossible way, simply beautiful.  God is SO faithful!  Oh, how he loves it when his women pay such a cost in time, money, effort, battle...to gather to seek his heart.  And he comes!  He came gently, powerfully, heavily.  And he came intimately.

 

I'm just getting some stories in now...one woman whose favorite breakfast is french toast asked God if he would give her a special love gift of french toast for breakfast.  How she smiled Sunday morning when she came in to the dining room to plates overflowing with french toast.

 

Another woman was being wooed by Jesus to remember how close they had once been - how sweet their relationship - and inviting her back to his heart when we played her all time favorite worship song that held memories dear to her heart of her Lord.  A song she hadn't heard in years.  She wept. 

 

Actually, there are hundreds of stories.  Literally.  Women who so deeply longed to hear the voice of God in their spirit - and did.  Felt his deep affection.  Encountered his love.  Worshipped him with a passion, intimacy and sweetness they had never experienced before.  Will never be the same.

 

He came for me in heart rocks.  He's been wonderfully extravagant with them!  He even gave me a heart cloud with wings on either side of it!  I love how personal, how sweet his gifts to us are.

 

How is he coming to you?  Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to see and receive his loving pursuit - his intimate gifts, just for you.  He is a God of details.  :-)

02 PM
(33)
Sep 16,2010

My husband’s father is in a convalescent hospital.  He believes he is at home.  Believing this puts his heart at rest. 

 

I just got back from spending a week visiting Bob.  John’s mom was on a much needed respite and well, it’s a long story but for part of the time, to put her own heart at ease, she needed me to come.  Visit Bob.  Play cards.  Water her plants.  Bring in her paper.  Make sure he was okay.

 

I was so happy to be able to do a little something for her but honestly, a bit apprehensive about my time with Bob; aka Robert, Papa, Mr. Eldredge.  Would he know who I was?  This man who has greeted me for the last thirty years with “Hello Gorgeous!” regardless of my appearance?  Probably not.

 

My time was hard, good, painful, exhausting, poignant and holy.  We did play cards.  We did puzzles.  One day I fed him lunch and on another day he knew who I was.  There were some tricky moments involving the toilet.  There were times when he asked, “What do I do now?” and times when he winked at me mischievously over a good poker hand.

 

My heart broke.  I don’t think you can visit a convalescent hospital and not have your heart break.  I was in awe of the care givers…of the friends and relatives of other patients that were there when I came and still there when I left.  I was grieved by the loss…of vitality, communication, health, memory.

 

And I was keenly aware of what was not lost.  Dignity.  In Bob’s most vulnerable moments, he possessed his dignity.  The same dignity I saw and felt in every single person there – patient and health worker and visitor alike.  Regardless of their state.  There is something precious about being in need.  Something intangibly good about serving one who is in need. 

 

My father in law lives for now in a little hospital in a quiet neighborhood filled with sparsely decorated rooms furnished with hospital beds and wheelchairs, where most of the “tenants” will never leave.  It is a home turned hospital where confusion resides next to suffering and soft food is served with mercy.

 

I am so thankful to have had the time with him.  I am utterly spent from it.  And I was only there 8 days. Now I know a bit better how to pray.

07 PM
(48)
Aug 30,2010

“Love to you as you embrace and mourn your changes today.”

 

This was the closing sentence to a little note I received via email today.  It caught me.  Yes.  That is what I want and need to do.  I can’t pretend the changes aren’t happening.  I don’t want to refuse them and lose what God has for me.  But I do mourn them.

 

I am both sad and grateful.

 

The end of summer brings with it not only back to school sales, an abundance of grasshoppers and the final burst of glory via the prolific sunflowers that fill every open space but many goodbyes.

 

I do not like goodbyes.  Not at all.  I like hellos.  To me, one of the pleasures of Heaven is that it will be one big HELLO!  No separations of any kind ever again.

 

I just returned home from driving our second son, Blaine, off to college.   Our oldest, Sam, left a few weeks ago as he is a senior now and a Resident Assistant this year and had training to attend.  An earlier goodbye.  I didn’t even cry.  I’m getting better at this (I thought).

 

I didn’t cry when I said goodbye to Blaine either!  I think it helped both of them to be free from feeling that their growing up is causing their mother pain.  But I will confess that when I left him and went inside my hotel room, I collapsed on the floor and sobbed.  For quite a while.  Pictures flashed through my mind of my sons in elementary school – in class photos – during family hikes – laughing – even some hard moments.  Tow headed.  Curly headed.  Little boys.

 

I am not the mother of little boys any more.  My sons are young men.  All three of them.  And I love them.  And I am grateful to God both for who they are and for who they are becoming.  I am actually glad for them and the season of life that they are in.

 

But dang.

 

Oh just to be able to hold on to a moment for longer than a moment.

 

I was intentional this summer to be present to the moment.  To be here.  To be here now and to drink it all in.  That was a good choice.  Even so, I am increasingly looking forward to Heaven…to time out of time, to no separation, no misunderstanding, no disunity, and no more goodbyes.

 

But for now, I bless my sons.  And I’m going to cry a little bit more.  And yes, embrace and mourn my changes today.

08 AM
(21)
Jul 04,2010

"I will sing of your love and justice;

  to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.

I will be careful to lead a blameless life -

 when will you come to me?

I will walk in my house

 with a blameless heart."  Psalm 101:1,2

I want to lead a blameless life.  I want to live a life of love.  I want Jesus.  I want to love him and carry his love to every single person in my life.  In my house.  In my work.  In my grocery store.  But guess what? I'm not.

Dang.

I was pondering the above verses the other morning and feeling hopeless.  Helpless.  Even when I try to live well and walk with God, I don't do it perfectly.  (What?  You, too?)  I fail people.  They get hurt.  So then what? Beyond asking for forgiveness and accepting the reality that I have clay feet...then what? What do I do with the sorrow inside?

The answer once again is found in Jesus.  The hope of Jesus Christ.  He is blameless.  He is perfect.  He loves well and perfectly and with cunning and wisdom and untold magnificence one hundred percent of the time.  100%.  Holy.  Always!  And he is the only one.

As a believer, I can imagine the arrows of accusation coming against my heart - the accusation that is fueled by the enemy and wholly untrue AND the accusation that may be fueled by the enemy but is founded in reality - and picture them passing by me and going straight into the cross.  Jesus paid for that too.  He knows.  He took care of that.  He is not turning his face away...ever.

There is mercy.  There is grace.  It's so good to offer it to ourselves.  AND to offer it to the people who fail us - or those we love.  To choose to obey Christ and think the best of others.  To pray blessing and favor and more of Jesus for everyone.  Those we hurt.  Those who hurt us or others.  For ourselves.

I am humbled and grateful.  I will get it right one day...perfectly.  When I am transformed perfectly into the image of my King.  That is my destiny and it is yours.  And we are on our way.

Thank you, Jesus.  Please come.

11 AM
(27)
Jun 03,2010

In Colorado Springs, Winter has finally and fully yielded to Summer.  The leaves (and yes, there are leaves) are countless shades of green.  The hillsides are offering up their secrets of wild irises, Indian paintbrush, blooming mustard, wild geraniums, blue bells, cornflowers, snapdragons and wild roses in an explosion of intricate beauty. Oh my.  I am so grateful.  It’s real.  It’s true.  It is not going to last forever but it is going to last for several soul nourishing months!

 

My sons have returned home from college from what was often a grueling year on many levels.  Our youngest son’s last day of high school was yesterday and oh – the relief!  Like Winter giving way to Summer, their lives have breathing room again.  Hope rises.

 

Moments of rest are coming.  Time to listen, really listen to the wind in the trees and maybe even discern animals in the clouds.  Conversations can linger longer outside without the threat of a paper due or a test in the morning.  As much as possible, I too will unplug.  I love summer.  It’s absolutely my favorite season.  A taste of Heaven.  Just a taste, I know but a taste still and one I want to savor.

 

The world does not stop turning though.  A close relative is very ill.  A good friends’ marriage is in worse trouble than anyone could have guessed.  Personally, I received eight crisis calls this past week.  Dear friends.  Different dear friends calling with a dire SOS.  No, the world does not stop turning.  But in the midst of the mess and sadness and trial and grief and difficulty, the world is blooming; reminding us all of what is most true.  I forget.  We all forget.  But may the seasonal grace given to us in the beauty of a summer thunderstorm and the flight of an emerald hummingbird serve to remind us that we are not alone.  That we are LOVED.  That Jesus has made every provision for us.  That he is indeed reaching to each one of us with his mercy and grace and strength and being more than enough for every part of us at every turn and moment of our lives.  That Jesus is present so there is beauty and life and love and joy in the moment.  And immeasurably more – coming.

 

Yesterday I had the supreme pleasure of brushing my friend’s little girl’s long blonde hair.  I took my time and she let me.  While brushing, the song “I Am” by Jill Phillips began to play over the stereo – a personal favorite of mine.  I began to sing as I brushed:

 

Oh gently lay your head

Upon my chest

And I will comfort you as a mother

While you rest…..

For I am constant

I am near

I am peace that comforts

All your secret fears…

 

A song about the mothering heart of God.  Offering rest, grace, understanding and mercy.  As I sang, I flashed to the memory of singing this very song to my friend at her baby shower as we celebrated this coming daughter.  Now six years later, I am singing it to her little girl.  I realized I had stumbled into a holy moment.  The veil became thin as I breathed in the presence of eternity.  The presence of Love.

 

May this summer hold for you and I and ours many moments of beauty and rest and joy.  May the eternal break into all of our mundane.  May we all grow in recognizing the beauty and the presence and the power of Jesus in the midst of our lives while they shower us with fragrant blooms or, as they will, with difficulties.

 

And may you take every opportunity to lay your head upon his chest and allow God to comfort you like a mother while you rest.  Happy Summer.  Happy Summer indeed!

05 AM
(34)
May 18,2010

I realized something today. 

It was after I stopped moving the three envelopes around on the counter and opened them and in a moment of rare swift decision, paid the three bills.  Wow.  Just like that.  Took care of them.   I was on a role, feeling quite good about myself so bboldly, I went to my bill pile (hidden in the laundry room in a decorative bread basket) and emptied the pile on top of the washing machine.  Man!  What is it with these things?    I think they multiply when I turn off the lights.

But today, I was not dissuaded by the sheer number of them.  I picked up the top envelope, opened it and marched right to the computer and paid it on line.  I even recorded it in the check register and put it in its very own file.  So uncharacteristically organized of me!  Amazing!

But I looked again at the bill pile and realized that they all needed attention.  Again.  There is the utility bill, the phone bill, the cellular phone bill, several mystery medical bills...I just paid them last month and here they are again clamoring for attention.  Unsatisfied.  They want more.  Why is it never enough with these, these, these invasions to my life?

I know.  It's time to reveal my realization.  The way I feel about bills goes way beyond irritation and anxiety.  The truth is, I am personally offended by them.  They  make me feel like I am not doing enough.  I am failing.  I am affronted by them!  Yes, little phone bill, I spent a lot of time with you just recently and what, you're back?!  You want some more from me?  I'm not doing enough?  Why do you keep coming?  Leave me alone!

Two months ago our phone was turned off.  Woops.  I was really, really late in retrieving the pile from the bread basket.  These guys are relentless.  Yah, they sent the colored bills.  Yes, I got the phone message.  But I deleted it without really listening to it.  I did pay attention when I didn't get a dial tone.  Used my cell to call home and got the "temporarily disconnected" message.  Then I hustled to retrieve and open and thank you Jesus that I could, pay the bill.

The thing is, they are not an insult.  Getting a bill in the mail is not the same thing as a nasty letter sent home from a teacher to my parents tattling on me.  They are just an annoying part of life.  I like switching on the light in my room.  I'm tying by it now.  Shoot - I'm typing...plugged in at this very moment.  Little marvelous conveniences that I take for granted and every single month of the year have to pay for.

And they are not a sentence on my life either.  When I can pay them and when I can't.  When I'm on time and when I'm late.  They are just bills. 

And man, is there a big ole huge pile of them on my washing machine right now.  Multiplying I'm sure, at this very moment.   But they lost some of their power today.  Power I didn't even know I had given them.  Because over the silent demand of "pay me now" came the Holy Spirit with his fabulous perception and truth and remembrance; revealing once again where my identity lies and who has the power to tell me who I am and how I'm doing.  And that all is well.  All manner of things are well.  Pile or no pile.

07 PM
(25)
May 08,2010

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The Pastor's Wife by Sabina Wurmbrand:  (speaking of time in a Romanian prison camp)

"So we argued the night away.  The prisoners murmured and grimaced in their sleep.  Names were muttered, or cried aloud; of children, fathers, lovers, friends.  But most often, the word 'Mother!'  Age and class had lost all meaning as they dreamt, and the soul in distress whispered from its depths the old cry.

 It went deeper than a simple appeal to one's own parent.  It was a cry for the eternal female tenderness and motherly care which exists for us in heaven."

  

Happy Mother's Day all.  This is a shout out to women everywhere.  All of you! Being a mother is a glorious, amazing, exhausting thing.  A great gift.  And though not all women are mothers, ALL women are life givers. Really. The look in your eye.  The thoughtful remark. The kind gesture.  The fierce strength on behalf of others.  The heart you carry.  It all brings LIFE.  Life to a needy soul and a weary world.  Life to ministries, creative works, businesses, missions, relationships, and people. Every woman is an image bearer of our Life Giving God.  

I have benefited so much and so many times from the gentle and strong offerings of life from women.  I just returned from the grocery store and while there ran into a neighbor from eight years ago. Such a pleasure to catch up...so happy.  She brought me delight!  Such a simple thing.  Got home to a phone call from a woman friend who's poor health and handicaps keep her shut in for most of her hours.  She's in pain but offers me and others mercy.  Love. Encouragement to be aware and grateful for each moment of our lives.  Two life givers in twenty minutes!  Hooray!

My mother was a life giver.  Oh, I wish I had had the eyes to see and the heart to appreciate all that she did and spent on and for me while she was still alive.  I lay in bed last night just remembering - and thanking God - and looking forward to the day that is coming when I will look her in the eyes again and be able to truly say, "Thank you, Mom".

I ramble.  But I ramble with a grateful heart. Bless you women of God. May you know his pleasure and delight for the myriad and countless ways you are bringing HIM to others.  They may not thank you. Not yet.  But God sees. And on behalf of him and the ones in your life, thank you. Happy Mother's Day.  

 

03 PM
(21)
Apr 27,2010

Hi friends,

Wanted to let you know that our ministry would love to have our faithful allies out there who blog take a few minutes and write a blog and an amazon.com review on Love and War.

Also, we are giving away a FREE copy of Love and War to the first 500 bloggers to respond! If you have interest in receiving a free copy of Love and War, click here!

Some of you have already blogged on it and I want to say THANK YOU! We want to get the word out so marriages can be strengthened and encouraged and become all God and we want them to! Oh, this is a good journey to be on.

So, happy blogging!

10 AM
(19)
Apr 17,2010

 

In a nearby neighborhood, hidden around the corner of the Walgreens and tucked in behind the Methodist church are stables for boarding horses.  I had lived here for fifteen years before knowing they existed.  The stables are old, worn and border the last working cattle ranch inside the city limits of Colorado Springs.  We board two horses there – Kokolo (a beautiful paint) and Whistle (a gorgeous bay).  John grew up spending summers on his grandfather’s ranch and having horses of his own was a lifelong dream.  Our middle son Blaine, entered the world with a love of horses, drawing them repeatedly ever since he could hold a crayon and saving every bit of money earned or given to him since he was five years old to buy one of his own.  Whistle is John’s horse.  Kokolo is Blaine’s.

 

But as goes the way of the world and schedules and growing up and life, the #1 caregiver of these horses is yours truly.  What God has taught me and done in my heart over these last six years with and through horses is the stuff of Heaven.  I will not write of those deep matters now.  But of this…

 

Last week, I was bringing Kokolo in from the field when I saw on the other end of the stables a young child.  The child looked about eight years old and was standing on a log watching me, then moved over to look out at a horse in an adjacent field.  After putting Kokolo in his stall, I walked around to where the child was and saw only another woman, older than myself, standing at the gate, gazing out at her horse grazing.  We greeted each other and then I asked, “Is there a child with you?”  I looked around, seeing and hearing no one else.  “I saw a little person over here.”  She said, “No.  There’s no one else here.”  Oh!  I was confused.  What?  “Well, I guess you are the little person!”  She commented it that it had been quite a while since she had been called that.

 

I went into the tack room to get grain and oats for the horses.  The room is dark and smells of hay, leather and feed.  Everything is covered with a thick layer of dirt.  I adore it.

 

Suddenly, the woman is in the room with me.  There is an eagerness about her.  She’s followed me in there to talk.  Well, this is new, I think.

 

She asks me about church and where I go and tells me where she goes then confesses that recently she was telling God she didn’t think she could do it anymore.  I ask, do what?  Church?  Or life?  Life she said.  I nod.  Say I understand.

 

Then, she begins to tell me of meeting a man through a friend.  A Christian man.  A man slightly older than herself.  A single man.  A potentially good man.  Husband material.  Ah ha! 

 

A light comes into her eyes and there is the little person.  She isn’t 64 years old.  She is 8.  Or 16.  She is hope reborn.  She is the possibility of being loved and loving.  She is beautiful.  She could have done spinning twirls in the field and I would have joined her.  She is giddy and makes me giddy.  I shout my prayers on her behalf up to the clouds and we laugh.

 

I know beauty is ageless.  I know that though our outer man is decaying our inner man is being renewed day by day.  I know God has set eternity in our hearts.  I know that nothing makes a woman blossom like love.  I just forgot.  We are forever young.  It was a joyous thing to remember.

 

07 AM
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