Saturday, April 27, 2013

Worth it

The teenager who battles depression and pushes everyone away and needs someone to love her.
The young man who is homeless, orphaned, and needs a place to stay.
The elderly woman whose life is coming to a close and needs to share.
The committed Christian mother whose family is wayward, sick, and broken.
The drug addict who never recovered from a trip 30 years ago.

I know these people.  I have been placed in each of their lives at one point or another, and I have done my best.  I have prayed for them and fasted for them.  I have listened to them, cooked for them, shared God's love with them to the fullest extent that I could.  But in the end I feel like I failed all of them.  The teenager is still depressed, the young man is still a mess, the elderly woman died without me making it to her bedside before her passing, the mother's family is still wayward and sick, the drug addict is still wandering aimlessly.  And when that happens over and over and over again, it becomes difficult to still believe.
I remember a time when I believed - really expected - that God changed lives.  I remember praying that a person would be healed, being fully convinced that it would happen.  It is still relatively easy for me to believe that God would physically heal a person's body.  When it comes to a person's life, though, "realism" reaches out to suck me in.

"Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.  Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, 'Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.'  And instantly the woman was made well."  Mt 9:20-22

These people need someone to believe that Jesus can heal them, that they can be better, that it is worth it to fight for them, that there is something that can be done for their situations.  I know I certainly need people to believe this about me!  Because I am the woman in Mt 9:20-22 who needs to be healed by touching the hem of Jesus' garment.  My hardening heart that wants to protect itself, that wants to turn in upon its own well-being - this needs to be healed.  My self-centered faithlessness truly worthy of being cast aside - this needs to be healed.  And over and over and over again, Jesus heals me.  Over and over again Jesus believes in me, fights for me, sends me relief, holds my hand, gives enough grace to make it, draws me to himself, smiles upon me with radiant beams of love that tells me that to him I am worth it. 

And so I have to keep fighting for these people and the countless others like them, loving them, praying for them, giving them what God has given me to give, trusting the rest to him, because whether or not "it is worth it," they are worth it.  And I really, really want them to know that.

And so are you.  I hope you know, whoever you are, that you are worth fighting for, that the cross says that plainly.


Saturday, March 16, 2013


One by one He took them from me,
All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty-handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.
And I walked the earth's highways, grieving,
In my rags and poverty.
Till I heard His voice inviting,
"Lift your empty hands to me!"

So I held my hands toward Heaven,
And he filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches
Till they could contain no more.
And at last I comprehended
With my mind stupid and dull,
That God could not pour His riches
Into hands already full.

- Treasures by Martha Snell Nicholson

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"Grandmother Says...
Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee; "Which are you?"

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft.She then asked her to take an egg and break it.

After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. "What's the point,grandmother?"

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity--boiling water--but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her granddaughter.

"When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?

Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?"


Saturday, September 29, 2012


Daily sufficient Grace...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Does your bitter load of grief, tears and pain,
Seem too great for you to bear?
Don't complain. You are only being made fit to reign;
Fit to reign, with Christ our Lord.
Surely we are all unfit, all untaught;
And if wise and lively lore, knowing naught,
All the gold of Uphoe could not have bought,
Private lessons from a King.
Precious pain to teach His child, used of God,
Taught by very God Himself, and we complain.
-- "Pain" by Martha Snell Nicholson

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Maternal Idolatry

"The journey of discovering what we're born for seems first to lead us to death. That is not a hopeless place, though. I suspect from it will emerge some clue about what - or whom -we'd be willing to die for." (-Jo Kadlecek, Woman Overboard, p.79). I want to be a good mother. I love my children. But would I die for them? There was a time I thought I had done so. I gave up a very promising career at the top of my field to stay at home and be mommy for them. I gave up physical necessities - I gladly accepted the physical tax of pregnancy and labor, even without medication with my youngest. For years I did not sleep through the night. I breastfed until my oldest was almost 4, and my 2 year old still nurses. I gave up any sense of doing something in the world that would interfere with these little ones. People have hated me for bringing them to worship at church. I have a new life, new friends, new activities, an entirely new way of being in the world. Surely I would die for them. I have already done so...

But there is a problem. No matter what I give up, no matter how hard I try, no matter how many books I read on good parenting or how determined I might be when I wake up in the morning, I get tired and fussy, myself. When my child has to be disciplined for the same behavior for the eighth time in one morning, when the almost 5 year old throws a temper tantrum, when the potty-trained toddler pees on the carpet four times one day, when the two year old wakes up and needs me to put him back to sleep twice in the small time I am taking to write this blog, when I'm just physically drained and in need of rest but cannot have it... I see that I have not died for them. Worse, I see that it doesn't matter if I did, because my death wouldn't even be enough for them. No matter what I do, I cannot FORCE them into an image I have created, no matter how good that image is, even if the image is of Christ. I cannot force them to receive the lesson that temper tantrums only make things worse. I cannot make them to be genuinely loving, humble, kind, and gentle. They are sinners in the need of a savior, just like me. There will be sins they struggle with well into adulthood, just like me. And because we are all in the same boat, I cannot be their savior, no matter how much I might want to do it, no matter how much I may give up for them, no matter how much effort I exert. If I really die, all that would really do is deprive them of a mother. They do not need me to die for them, and I do them a great injustice if I do.

BUT, when I begin and end my day in prayer, when I take 3 minutes to hide and give my feelings to God, when I focus myself with a centering prayer while pushing the grocery cart, when I saturate my mind with Scripture, when I trust in HIS death for my sake and my children's sake and I LOSE MY LIFE FOR HIM instead of for my children, then I have peace. Then I am suddenly effective again at being a mom. Then I have hope and strength.

Its funny - the outer actions of losing my life for my children and losing my life for God do not look that different. God has called me to be a mother. I have prayed over my calling, and I know that this is where God wants me at this point in my life (probably as much for my own sanctification as for my children's!). The decision to leave my career, that was for God. The decision to go without sleep, that was for God. The decision to give up activities, even at church, for the sake of mothering these little ones, that was for God. And when a decision has not been for God, I have not been able to sustain it with joy and conviction. I was not created for my children. I was created for God. And I do my children no favors where I confuse the two.

I think this is true for any calling. A pastor cannot MAKE a person or a church see the light. And a pastor does his congregants and community no good if he just up and dies for them - either physically or in the slow, daily grind of serving them for their sake. The activity might not look different, but doing it for God yields peace, joy and love for those we serve. Doing it for them yields frustration, despair, and hatred.

"The journey of discovering what we're born for seems first to lead us to death. That is not a hopeless place, though. I suspect from it will emerge some clue about what - or whom - we'd be willing to die for." I will die daily for Christ.

Monday, September 13, 2010

1 Corinthians 13 for Homeschool Moms

1 Corinthians 13 for Homeschool Moms
by Misty Krasawski

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and teach my children Latin conjugations, Chinese, and Portuguese, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal, and no matter what I say, they will not hear me.

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know my children’s bents and God’s plan for their lives, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and am the keeper of the teacher’s editions and solutions manuals, and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, and even keep up with my giant piles of laundry and dishes, but do not have love, I am nothing, even if all the people at church think I’m Supermom.

And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and my formal dining room gets turned into a schoolroom, and our family vacations look more like educational fieldtrips, and if I surrender my body to be burned, never having time to get my nails done, put makeup on, or even take a bath, but do not have love, it profits me nothing because all my family cares about is the expression on my face, anyway.

Love is patient with the child who still can’t get double-digit subtraction with borrowing, and kind to the one who hasn’t turned in his research paper. It is not jealous of moms with more, fewer, neater, more self-directed, better-behaved, or smarter children.

Love does not brag about homemade bread, book lists, or scholarships, and is not arrogant about her lifestyle or curriculum choices. It does not act unbecomingly or correct the children in front of their friends. It does not seek its own, trying to squeeze in alone time when someone still needs help; it is not provoked when interrupted for the nineteenth time by a child, the phone, the doorbell, or the dog; does not take into account a wrong suffered, even when no one compliments the dinner that took hours to make or the house that took so long to clean.

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness or pointing out everyone else’s flaws, but rejoices with the truth and with every small step her children take in becoming more like Jesus, knowing it’s only by the grace of God when that occurs.

Love bears all things even while running on no sleep; believes all things, especially God’s promise to indwell and empower her; hopes all things, such as that she’ll actually complete the English curriculum this year and the kids will eventually graduate; endures all things, even questioning from strangers, worried relatives, and most of all, herself.

Love never fails. And neither will she. As long as she never, never, never gives up.

Misty Krasawski is the overly-blessed mom of eight children whom she homeschools in sunshine-y Florida. She has been clinging to Jesus since 1975, homeschooling since 1997, and if the Lord tarries, will apparently continue doing so until 2026. Her wonderful husband Rob has much treasure laid up for him in heaven.

- From the September 2010 ENOCH newsletter