Archive for December, 2007

Keeping a Record

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness, therefore you are feared. — Psalm 130: 3-4

Love keeps no record of wrongs. — I Corinthians 13:5

Praise God that He doesn’t keep track of my sins, or my failings.  How easy it is to keep track of how many times other people do us wrong, rather than how many times they do good things.  There’s a feeling that after someone does bad enough things, enough times, you are completely justified in cutting them out of your life.

You might say, “You said such and such a terrible thing three times.  I can never love you again.”

What if we stood that on its head?  What if we kept a record of goods instead of a record of wrongs?  What if we kept track of kindnesses instead of offenses?

I might say to my husband, “You told me you love me 3,473 times.  I can never hate you.”

You stood by me and helped me through the birth of our sons 2 times.  I can never forget you.

You asked me to marry you and shared your life and your income with me.  I can never despise you.

You soothed me when I was sick and in pain 1,023 times.  I can never stop caring about you.

You opened your heart to me 5,471 times.  I can never stop loving you.

You love our boys and take good care of them.  I can never stop respecting you.

My friend talks about a well of good will that her husband built up that couldn’t be emptied when he had an emotional affair.  The well was too deep.

It’s our choice.  We can let the bad outweigh all the good in our minds.  Or we can decide to let the good outweigh any bad that might come along.  It’s not like there isn’t a whole lot of good there to do the job.

And funny thing, keeping a record of the good and thinking about that is a far, far happier and more peaceful result than obsessing over wrongs done.

Praise God!  He looks at the good He placed in us and never, ever gives us up as failures or hopeless cases.

Faith

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Today I had an opportunity to tell someone that I believe God is asking me to pray for my husband and stand for my marriage.  And I believe that God is telling me my husband will come back to God and back to me and be a leader and a witness.

Why, when I tell someone about this, do people feel compelled to say something along the lines of, “You know that sometimes God doesn’t work in the way we expect Him to.”?

It’s as if people need to apologize for God.  They don’t want me angry with God if He doesn’t do what I expect.

Instead of making allowances for God, I need to make allowances for those well-meaning people.  God is speaking to me, not them.  I know what He has said to me, and I can’t expect to be able to explain it.  Even my stories of amazing ways God spoke to me through circumstances may not convince them — because they were not there in my heart.  They did not experience the question asked of God — which God immediately and clearly answered. 

When I tell someone about this, they probably don’t realize that the process has taken years.  One of the first clear answers was years ago, when my husband was first leaving, and I asked God, “Lord, can’t you change his heart and stop this situation NOW?”  From that day for the next full week, every time I picked up a Bible or Christian book, I’d read something about waiting on the Lord.

But God keeps speaking, and He keeps confirming that:

— God is going to do magnificent things in my husband’s heart and life.

— If I will wait for it, God will restore our marriage to something beautiful.

— There will be great joy.

All I need to do?  I need to be willing to forgive my husband and take him back freely when he is ready to come back.  I need to refuse to look for someone else to satisfy my desires while I am waiting.  I need to pray for him, as my wedding vows declared I would do.  And I need to seek the Lord to work on my character to be a better wife when that day comes.

Not that I am some wonderful, spiritual person.  But that God forgives us, and God loves us, and He can teach us to forgive each other.

Is God asking a great sacrifice of me?  Is God cruel to expect me to wait for this man?

Certainly not!  In the first place, I love this guy.  Yes, there have been some hard things, but there were so many wonderful things, over the years.  He’s the father of my sons.  There are too many good memories over too many years.  My heart still yearns for him.

But God is also giving me a chance to pursue some things I wouldn’t have time for if I were also trying to “please my husband.”  As Paul mentions in Corinthians, now I am free to focus on my relationship with God.  And some other things as well.  I was able to get a Master’s in Library Science.  I can work on my writing, my website, and my blogs.  I confess there are some nice things about not sharing my home with another adult!

We married right after college.  I never lived on my own as an adult.  There are some fun things about it.  This is only a stage in my life, but it can be a beautiful, vibrant, joyful one.  And I’m thankful for this stage, even if I wish it hadn’t happened.  God can bring great good out of anything.

At Christmas, the verse said of Mary comes frequently to mind:  “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.”  The Lord has spoken to me.  It’s my choice to believe that He will do what He has promised. 

Shelves made from Books! Too Delightful!

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Okay, from a Library list, I just discovered the website www.thisintothat.com.

Click on “Gallery” and then go to “Funniest Shelves.”  Or use this link:  http://www.thisintothat.com/gallery/funniest.html

This artist makes bookshelves–from books!  The titles are part of the fun.  The first “funny” one has a shelf made with “Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty” supported by “All the King’s Men” and “Anatomy of a Murder”–with an eggbeater through it.

This does seem to be a good use for old books that have outlived their traditional usefulness.  He has an entire bookshelf built with an outdated Encyclopedia Britannica set.  I wish I had discovered this site a few weeks ago, when I was still taking Collection Development class.  I would have offered this as a solution for what to do with weeded books!

I did get a pang when I saw a shelf with a carpentry theme.  One of the books, Sawdust in His Shoes, was a children’s book that I loved when I was a kid.  It’s about a circus performer kid who has to leave the circus and can’t stand it–he ends up finding his way back to the circus.  I had forgotten all about that book, but I read it so many times.  I can think of quotations from it even as I write this.  Hmm.  I will get the author off of the picture and see if I can find a used copy.  Or maybe I should buy the shelf!

Thing 18: Zoho Writer

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

I’m writing this post using Zoho writer.Since I have Microsoft Office on my home computer — I got a discounted program through work — I doubt I will use this a lot.  However, if I should get a new computer and need to upgrade — or if I had heard about this before I got Microsoft office — Zoho looks like a wonderful alternative.

And I do like the idea of having the documents be web-based.  You can access them from anywhere.  This would have been nice for some of my class projects in online classes.  You can give other users the ability to edit.

So–I’m happy to learn about Zoho writer (and other Zoho products) and will keep my eye on it.

Thing 17: PBWiki

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

On Monday, during Storytime, I read The Cat in the Hat.  So now, talking about the 23 Things of this Learning 2.0 program makes me think of Thing 1 and Thing 2!

PBWiki is great.  In my Resources for Youth class, we used PBWiki to do our group project and make a website of resources for young adults.  It’s nice when all group members can edit the same site.

I wasn’t as impressed with the Learning 2.0 PBwiki, because it’s fairly unorganized and full of clutter.  Maybe someone being in charge to keep things looking alike would help.  Still, it’s an easy way to have lots of people contributing to a finished product.

My co-worker, who started a month later than me, has finished her 23 things.  I need to get busy!  I just finished my Master’s coursework, so now why don’t I finish this up!

The Golden Compass

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

I went to see The Golden Compass movie last night.  I enjoyed the book, and there has been some controversy about the movie, particularly on library lists.  I did have reservations about the trilogy.  The author is an atheist, and did put that mind-set in his books.  In the third book, there’s a scene where “The Authority”–what the people of that world think of as God– is portrayed as a senile old man and dies.

Some of the internet rumors say that the movie is against the Catholic church.  I thought the Magisterium portrayed in the movie sounded more like a totalitarian government of our world than like the church of our world.  It wanted to control everyone and squelch independent thought.

But the Magisterium in the movie didn’t strike me as at all scary.  They say it’s trying to control everyone, but it seems to be failing miserably.  All the characters the movie follows are not giving in to the Magisterium’s wishes.

I brought my thirteen-year-old son to the movie, though he has not read the book.  He was not impressed.  I think the movie is more likely to keep him from reading the books than the other way around.  My personal opinion was that they tried to pack an epic book into the much shorter format of a movie–and it simply didn’t work.  The issues and plot points that seem important and earth-shaking in the book seem trivial and minor in the movie.

My son pointed out that Lyra says, “I thought I would lose you” to the armored bear–but that didn’t mean anything to him, because in the movie she had only just met the bear.  Condensing the timeline in the movie takes away much of the story’s impact.  I had to explain several things to him that weren’t clear in the movie, as well.

All in all, I think it’s kind of ironic that anyone protested against the movie, because I think that will be responsible for most of the attention it gets.  An excellent, well-done movie might influence people’s thinking–but I don’t think this particular movie would have a lot of impact on its own.

It was interesting.  I think the main point against the Magisterium was made that they were trying to “tell people what to do.”  Phillip Pullman seems to exalt free will as the ultimate value.  (Adam and Eve were noble for deciding to act how they wanted to act.)  This came out in both Lyra and Mrs. Coulter saying, “I don’t let anyone tell me what to do.”

Well, in Lyra, she came across as a bit of a spoiled brat.  As for Mrs. Coulter, what she was choosing to do was some pretty evil things.  Those things were sanctioned by the Magisterium, but they were clearly supposed to be horrific.

So instead of illustrating how wonderful it is to have free will, I felt like the movie illustrated that SOME rules are good, that everybody doing what’s right in his own eyes will facilitate chaos.

Just today, I read the line, “We looked at our pain and struggles, even our terror, and recognized God’s patience and his amazing gift of free will.”  (Patty Kirk, Confessions of an Amateur Believer.)

I’m not sure what religions Philip Pullman has encountered.  But I believe that free will is a gift of God.  I do believe that God has given us laws as guidelines–the designer telling us the best way to run our lives.  (Is an auto manufacturer impinging on our free will by telling us to keep oil in the engine?)  You can ignore Him and bring a lot of pain and suffering into your own life and the lives of those around you.

Even in the story, Lyra has a strong sense of justice–trying to restore stolen children, trying to restore a rightful king to his throne, and trying to keep her father from being killed.

But all told, the movie wasn’t nearly as thought-provoking or memorable as the book.  Kind of fun to watch the computerized creatures, but not the sort of movie that sticks with you.

Grounds Against God? Never!

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

My husband and I invited God into our marriage, right from the start.  Steve looked for a wedding band for me with two diamonds, to represent us, with the larger diamond on the engagement ring to represent God.

Right now, I’m wearing a necklace Steve gave me for Christmas right before we married, a braid of three strands of gold.  Steve told me this was to represent God, him, and me, our lives entwined together in the marriage we were beginning.

So, God was invited into our marriage, right from the start.

And God uses the language of marriage when He describes His relationship with us.  Isaiah 54:5 says, “For your Maker is your husband — the Lord Almighty is his name — the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.”

I got to wondering.  If you wanted out of a marriage with God, how could you do it?

Could you claim that God had abandoned you?  That can never be, “because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you'” (Hebrews 13:5).

How about Cruelty?  Again ludicrous.  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Of course, God cannot be accused of Adultery or a Felony.

However, in Virginia, you’d be able to get no-fault grounds.  Even if your spouse does not want a divorce, if you leave them and are separated for one year, you can get a divorce.

So–do you think that would work on God?  God, Who has “loved you with an everlasting love” definitely would not agree to a separation.  You would have to leave on your own.  After a year of staying away from Him, a Virginia court would grant you a divorce.

But would that dissolve your marriage in God’s eyes?  I don’t think so.

If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

So how can you possibly dissolve a marriage when God is one of the participants in the marriage?  Legally, maybe you can do it.  But morally, how can you ask God to renege on his part of the covenant?  And even if you ask Him to, what makes you think He ever would?