Archive for August, 2009

Shining Like Stars

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

God did a beautiful thing for me today.

I was feeling down, shaken at the core of my being, who I am.  Let’s just say that some hurtful words in a letter, coming from someone I love, essentially accused me of being a bad mother and a bad person.  No matter how much my mind knows that’s not true, my heart was wounded, and I needed reassurance.  I was also tempted to answer the letter, but knew I probably shouldn’t.  Still, I asked God about it…

Anyway, Saturday night I was choosing clothes to wear to church.  I wanted to wear something pretty — I feel like God’s telling me He’s giving me beauty for ashes, and the truth is that He’s making me more beautiful during this trial, and I wanted to wear something to symbolize that.

My eye fell on a v-neck t-shirt with little stars embroidered across it, and I thought of the verse in Philippians 2, “… you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…”  I thought I’d wear that shirt as a symbol of shining like a star through God’s light.  To go with the symbolism, I chose underwear with stars all over them, too!  🙂

As I put the clothes aside, I thought how neat it would be if God had that verse come up in the sermon in the morning.  I prayed and asked for it.  I knew that would be symbol from God that He is indeed making me shine like a star in the universe, by His grace. 

I had trouble getting to sleep that night, so I thought about the phrase, “you shine like stars in the universe…”

Well, the verse did not come up in the sermon.  It was a good sermon, about living your Christianity in your job.  I got to thinking, well, it was a silly little whim.  God certainly didn’t have to do that.  What are the chances that that particular verse would come up anyway?

Then they did the closing song:

We are the peple of God
The sons and daughters of love
Forgiven, restored and redeemed
Living our lives to the praise of our King
We are the ones who will shine
His light in the darkness of night
The hopeless, the broken, the poor
They will be hopeless and broken no more

You are the light
The light of the world
And we shine You, Lord
You are the light
The light of the world
And we shine You, Lord

Okay, that specific verse wasn’t there.  But I was getting the idea…

Then came the third verse:

We shine like stars in the universe
Proclaiming the hope of our God
And to the sons and daughters in all the earth
We shine You, Lord

Now there was no doubt — “shine like stars in the universe” is exactly quoting the verse.  By this time, my eyes were streaming with tears!

By doing that little thing for me, I felt that God was telling me He loves me.  He cares about the little things of my life.  He cares about my emotional pain.  And He is indeed making me shine like a star.

Wow!

Then came the punchline.  When I got home, I looked up the verse.  I had forgotten how the sentence begins, in the previous verse, Philippians 2:14 —

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life. . .

I had asked God if I should defend myself and answer the letter that hurt me?  Well, in His loving and wonderful way (with His sense of humor), He gently led me to the answer:  “Do everything without. . . arguing”!  And, in fact, my answer is my life, in which God is making me shine like a star.

Praise Him.

Here’s a link to a site that plays the song:  http://www.imeem.com/mattxiong/music/FB9viSRq/steve-fee-you-are-the-light/

Vacation

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

My intention, when I began this blog, was to post pictures of my travels.  Funny thing, though, I’m not traveling like I did when I lived in Europe.  I’ve been using Facebook to post pictures.

Right now, my earlier posts have pictures that I didn’t cut down in size — so the blog takes too long to load.  I think I’m going to try to post several picture-less posts to get it past that.  Mind you, the best way would probably be to change the earlier posts to smaller file sizes, but I am too lazy for that!

This week, I’m on vacation.  My main goal has been to finish unpacking boxes from our move in April and May.  It is not easy to get that done when working full-time.  My week is half over, and I think the task is still doable.  I have most of the boxes unpacked, especially in the living room, which is most important.  A big job will be putting up pictures and deciding what goes where.

It’s funny how I feel guilty taking time off but not going anywhere.  After all, I used up Spring Break with the actual move.  But I don’t have any disposable income, anyway, so it does seem prudent to get this big task DONE.

Still, on Monday, we did go for a hike.  I drove my son to Manassas National Battlefield Park, and it turned out to be only 5 minutes away from my house!  I took lots and lots of pictures.  It was a beautiful day, and just a lovely walk along Bull Run.

I got a thrill out of being there — because when I was in 6th grade and my brother was in 8th grade, he did a diorama of the 2nd Battle of Bull Run for his semester project in US History.  It had the bridge and the river, but now I don’t think he put in enough trees!  He bought toy soldiers and painted them in Union and Confederate colors.  Anyway, it was strange to be at a place I’d heard about in childhood — almost like being at a place in a book!

Yesterday, I took the opportunity to sleep late and stay in bed and read a novel until Noon!  If you can’t do that on vacation, when can you?  It was lovely and luxurious. 

Today I decided to practice getting up early and focus on the unpacking.  And I did get lots done.  Go me!

Tomorrow I will again get up early (well, before noon!), and hope to go hiking again with Tim — this time a bit further away.  A book of hikes in the area lists a hike past a few waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park.  That should make for a special trip.  I hope it works out!