Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

8.28.2012

The Myth of the No Man’s Land Between Childhood and Marriage

big storm no-man's land (definitive version)


I’m 22, which means I’m old enough to be an adult, but young enough to still have stubborn weeds of foolishness, insert-foot-directly-in-mouth moments (“When I was young…”), and general lack of perspective.  I’m also single, which status means that I’m stuck in our culture’s stereotype of an awkward no-man’s land: not a carefree kid, but (especially according to insurance companies) not a responsible adult.
 
If you’ve seen War Horse, you know what kind of a no man’s land I’m talking about: a gray place of vulnerability, purposelessness, and despair.  You’re a walking target and landmines and traps and barbed wire abound. 
                                                                                     
But do I have to be relegated there?  Hold the bus, or the horses, or your pigtails—whatever happen to be handy, ladies, because don’t you agree with me that an entire paradigm shift is in order?  What if the culture has it wrong about me only becoming truly responsible once I’m married?  What if I’m not in a no-man’s land between childhood and adulthood?  What if God tailored this season in my life for me as the way I could best glorify Him right now? 
 
Since I know He did {Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”}, I’m going to rephrase that emphatically: God did tailor this season in my life for me as the way I could best glorify Him right now. 
 
And since my season is that of a single daughter at home, and I am positive there are more than a few of you out there in a similar role (hello, lurkers!), then I propose that we stop wandering around aimlessly in our self-imposed no man’s land and realize that we are vital to God’s kingdom right now. 
 

1. Know that you are VITAL to

unifying your family. 

 
Vital, essential, indispensable, and pivotal.


“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style.” {Psalm 144:12}


This verse literally says, “Our daughters like corner columns (beautifully) carved.*”  And Matthew Henry comments, “By daughters families are united and connected, to their mutual strength, as the parts of a building are by the corner-stones.**”  Christ is the chief corner-stone, but the fact that God calls us corner columns triggers the explosion of a million fireworks in my head. 
 
Therefore:

If I am contentious, my family will be lacking unity.
If I am weak, my family will be missing a force of power for God’s kingdom that He intended to aid in my family’s kingdom work. 
If I walk away from my role as a corner column in my family, this may affect my relationship with Christ the cornerstone as well as the relationship of other members in my family with Him. 
 
Which brings me to the next point in dispelling this myth...all about the mighty and impactful Kingdom work God has for us girls in this special season.  That will be next week, when I share what the Lord has been teaching me about how His plan meshes with our culture’s myth of a no man’s land! 

What has the Lord been teaching you on this topic lately?



Photo Credit: filtran
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
*Gesenius's Lexicon. Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for zaviyth (Strong's 2106)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 28 Aug 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
Strongs=H2106&t=KJV >
 
**Henry, Matthew. "Commentary on Psalms 144." . Blue Letter Bible. 1 Mar 1996. 2012. 28 Aug 2012.
AuthorID=4&contentID=1267&commInfo=5&topic=Psalms&
ar=Psa_144_12 >


8.21.2012

Don't Go Back!

September 2nd 2008 - the Night Shift

Moment of Truth

This was the moment of decision. I had committed myself to God's ways. I had cried out in repentance to Him. I had purposed "never again." And yet, all of a sudden, it looked so good. Denying myself seemed so cruel--impossible even. And so, in rebellion, I turned my back on God to enjoy my sin. The moment of delight was fleeting, and it turned to gravel in my mouth before it was completed. And then horror and sorrow and guilt flooded over me, and pride shamed me before God, like Adam and Eve hiding naked from God. I repented in that instant, but I do not forget: I delighted in sin.

My story reminds me of another story, when once upon a time, an entire nation was subdued and shackled by another country. They struggled and groaned and wept and bled and cried and starved and died gruesome deaths. Every day, their twenty-four hours were not their own, but those of a cruel taskmaster. There was no purpose, no joy, no vision--only death, darkness, and disease, eating away at their souls. One day, their plight came to the attention of a great king. He was so stricken by their struggle that he called up a servant to go in His name and free the people. And, through a series of miraculous (if this was a fairy tale, one might call them magical) events, the powerful country was brought to its knees in fear of the great king, and the enslaved nation was freed.

You thought I was telling you the story of the Israelites coming out of Egypt? So I was, but this is also my story--is it yours? Has God unlocked your shackles and led you out of Egypt?

The Passing Pleasures of Sin

I am out of Egypt, but there are times when I look back with a longing gaze. Here is what I say to God at those times, in the most complaining voice possible: "Oh, that I had died by Your hand in the land of Egypt, when I sat by the pots of meat and when I ate bread to the full! For You have brought me out into this wilderness to kill  me with hunger (see Exodus 16:2-3)." Oh, I can feel that rumble in my tummy, and all of a sudden, nothing matters but satisfying my voracious fleshly appetite. My heart turns back to Egypt (Acts 7:39), and the battle is lost.Egypt and Beyond!

Now listen to me! Has God done miraculous and unexplainable things in your life? Has He freed you and led you out of bondage to sin and into His marvelous freedom? (Read about what He has done in my life in "I Didn't Buy My Ticket Out of Egypt.") Then why are you hardening your heart like the Israelites (Hebrews 3:8)? Why are you worshipping your pet idol in the hot desert sands? Why are you looking back to Egypt when there is a Promised Land in front of you? Egypt is all that is carnal and ugly: "And their dead bodies [will lie] in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified (Revelation 11:8)."

This battle with sin is not our pastor's battle, our parents' battle, our mentor's battle--it is our battle. "By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:24-27)."

Refuse fame, reject the passing pleasures of sin, and renounce the treasures of the world. By faith, I am not going back to Egypt, and it matters not to me how the principalities of the world rail against me. I beg of you--don't go back either.




Picture Credits:
#1: Stephen Poff
#2: Michael Thompson

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

8.14.2012

I Walk Among Heroes

The Widow
Each morning we rise to greet a world of people all too like ourselves: mortally flawed, intrinsically selfish, and tenaciously bitter.  But those daily acts of blatant selfishness recede as all the smoke and flames once did around the World Trade Center and become just a black backdrop for the noblest acts of heroism Americans have ever seen. 

And lest you doubt those heroes exist, I tell you that I know without a doubt that I walk among heroes every day of my life, for I have seen them:

I have seen my great-aunt sitting tall and regal while a military officer presented our flag to her in honor of her late husband's service to his country as a young man.

I have seen my little brother have the forethought to gather the shells from the twenty-one gun salute at the funeral.  Though they were his prized treasures, he lovingly held them out in his palm to give to each family member for remembrance.

I have seen the woman who brought my grandparents to the Lord sparking a generational heritage she could not have known, and in her eighties make sharing the Gospel to telemarketers one of her life callings.

I have seen my mother endure more pain in the past few years than I ever knew was possible and yet still smile sunnily and make the coffee each morning and dinner at night and give a thousand hours of serving in between. 

I have seen my friend choose to honor her Lord and her parents rather than give into deep temptation. 

I have seen my father hold his silence in an argument he could easily win, stalwartly keeping his temper. 

I have seen the divorced man who lovingly and faithfully woos his unbelieving and hard-hearted wife. 

I  have seen the couple who adopted needy children, some of whom may otherwise have been another abortion statistic, and have spent their retirement years in selfless sacrifice, throwing themselves into raising this second family.

I have seen a dear friend, now in her sixties, who chose a personal relationship with the Lord despite the entreaties and disapproval of her mother. 

I have seen the friend who knows she may be going blind and yet carries a joyous smile and can't stop talking about how good the Lord is, and it is then that I realize that all these people, they are heroes. 

I walk among them every day. Though to you they are strangers in line at the grocery store, to me they are the most noble people in the world, people who live lives of quiet heroism against the backdrop of rampant selfishness.  No one writes magazine articles about them, and no movie rights to their stories have been purchased, but they don't care.  What they do isn't for the world to see but for the world to be changed. 


Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney

8.07.2012

Adventure

On our wonderful ten-day vacation in Central and Eastern Washington and Idaho, Lauren reminded us of a G.K. Chesterton quote: "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered." I don't believe any of us had trouble viewing our time of rest and relaxation as an adventure, because the inconveniences were few and far between!



Our first stop was cousins near Yakima. Look at Cody showing off!

Before we floated the Yakima River together, we sang a few Gospel songs, swimsuits and all!


Some of the group that went floating. Notice our burns...achem...tans in all their red glory! Left to right: Danielle, Cherie, Susanna, Lauren, Peggy, Melanie, Mikaela, Micah, Cody, and Sierra.


Can you tell by the smug looks on our faces that we had bested the guys again at four-on-a-couch (a favorite memory game of ours)?


Okay, okay, so the guys did win twice...victory smiles all around from Delmer to Cody to Papa to Micah.

Mama and Michelle...best friends (and second cousins) since girlhood. 

Third cousins: Trevor, Sierra, Susanna, Jonah, Mikaela, Lauren, Micah, Cody, and Melanie.

Zaniness is definitely a family trait we have in common!

From Yakima, we travelled to Idaho to spend the night with dear family friends. Pastor and Mrs. A. were Mama and Papa's youth pastors way back when, so despite the distance between us, we have definitely kept up a close relationship over the years.


Tony brought out his electric violin for us to try, so we had a duel between electric and acoustic (acoustic won all the way).

Jonah was rather fond of the blue shade of the instrument, however.

Forget that electric thing! I handed over my baby to Tony, and Lauren and I proceeded to give him a whirlwind introduction to violin playing. You know you love your job when you volunteer to do it on vacation (and when everyone involved is all smiles!).



From friends, we travelled to Coeur d'Alene to the funeral of my great-uncle (Mama's uncle) who went to be with the Lord the previous week. It was inspiring to see his whole family sing at the funeral as a testimony of God's mercies and graciousness to many generations, and it was humbling to be a part of the day as we played background music before and after the service, and it was amazing to watch Uncle Don get a hero's burial in honor of his service to our country.

All the family--some of whom I had never met before that day!

Mama with her cousin twice removed (I think I got that right!).

Cousins with Uncle Mel.

From the funeral, we travelled to Grandma and Grandpa's lake house for a few days of bliss!

Jonah and Smokey, a kitty Grandma and Grandpa adopted from us a few weeks ago. My, how she had grown!

Tubing...

Paddle-boating...

A swimming relay inspired by the Olympics...

Fancy water acrobatics also inspired by the Olympics (done by the inimitable Susanna)...

Napping on a boat (that's Great-Uncle Anton on candid camera)...

Sunrises and moonrises...

Jet-skiing...

Bathing beauties...

More water wipe-outs (this time performed by yours truly)...

Whatever we were doing, lake time and family time brought many smiles, that's for sure!

We had a girls' day with aunts and grandma and cousins, and between the pedicures, the amazing lunch, more tubing, and good conversation, it was a fantastic day!


Time spent with our other Grandpa--Mama's dad--was wonderful. It was so good to catch up!

Handsome Jonah

Cousin Jeremiah just opened his own chic coffee shop in Spokane--delish!

We also got to float the St. Joe River with Grandma and Grandpa and their church--Aunt Lisa and Amanda joined us for that sunny and thrilling day, so we got more delightful cousin time!

Now, with fall teaching schedule to figure out, a very messy room, loads of laundry calling my name, school coursework pressing, state primary ballot to turn in (tonight!) and duties left and right, I have to remind myself again of the definition of adventure. Not just tubing and floating and travelling does adventure consist of, but also of duties and responsibilities and commitments--of inconvenience rightly considered. Off to my next adventure!
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