Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tick Tock... Thus Move the Hands on this Earthly Clock



Every now and then I have this really weird realization...
I am not a child anymore.

It hits me at random times.

Walking through security at an airport in another state, (or country) without my parents.

When I'm stopped at a red light, anxiously checking my clock to see if I will make it to work on time.

When I'm sitting by myself in a coffee shop working on a paper for school; rushing to meet the upcoming deadline.

When I am washing dishes, and smile at the cheery laughter of the girls that I nanny.

When I fill up my car with gas, and realize how many dollars it really takes to feed a mini van.

I am going to be 18 in a matter of weeks... I know that it is just a number, but numbers have always felt important to me.

I remember my seventh birthday, I felt so grownup sitting cross legged on the floor listening to the grown ups talk. I couldn't wait to be ten.
Ten came, thirteen was only three years away! (and in 8 years I could be... married!)
I remember turning thirteen, counting down the years until I would be sixteen.
Sixteen came and went, I was waiting for my eighteenth.
Seventeen was of no use to me. The number was an odd number, I preferred even numbers. Seventeen wasn't special like sixteen or eighteen. It just was a number.
They are all just numbers.

Someday I wonder if when I'm in heaven, I will think back to my life on earth and laugh about how obsessed with time I was. Or maybe I'll cry...

Time is important on earth, but is it really as important as I make it?
I am not promised tomorrow. I am only promised the moments that I have been given.

So often I waste my time dreaming, worrying or planning for tomorrow that I don't seek to glorify God in the moment that He has given me.

Matthew 6:34
"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." 

James 4:13-15,17

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

1 Corinthians 10:31

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Proverbs 3:5-6 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Matthew 6:19-21

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Are the moments in my life devoted to storing up treasure on earth, or in heaven?

Loving the world, or loving God?
must be loving God and storing up treasure in heaven.
I am commanded to.
How often I fall short. Indeed, always in my own strength do I fall short, BUT GOD, great in mercy and abounding with steadfast love for the thousands saw fit to call me as His child.

Titus 3:4-7
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

God is the active in this passage. I am the passive. I am being acted upon, for assuredly, that which is dead must be made alive; it can not awaken itself. 

Ezekiel 37:3-6

And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.  Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

When I become so obsessed with time on this earth, and the things that I hope for in the years to come, (like a family of my own, or knowledge of what my "next step" in life is.) I am not pointing to the name of the Living One who has breathed life into my dry bones for His purpose and glory. 

Praise God for His patience and gentle mercy that rebukes and teaches those that He has redeemed instead of condemning us. 

Romans 8:1-2

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Colossians 3:1-4

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Revelation 22:20

He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 


Monday, January 30, 2017

An Update on my Life

I don't think that I have posted much about my life lately...


    My mom got married in January 2016 to an amazing man who I am honored to call my dad. His two youngest daughters live with us. One I begrudgingly admit, is three months older than me. The other is nine.
    The first few months it was hard for everyone. I learned a lot about my own sin that was brought to the surface with having new people and new authority in the house. God was teaching me slowly but surely, but it still was hard at times. During that time I graduated and went to Montana for training. Then I left for Ukraine.
    After returning from Ukraine I felt like I was back at the place that I had started in January but thankfully God faithfully taught me and opened my eyes so that I could see my sin in it. I also was extremely emotional... I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I had assumed that God would reveal to me while I was in Ukraine, what I was to do with the rest of my life. That didn't happen.
    I arrived home. Tired. With no vehicle. No source of income. No plans for life. No paperwork filed to go to school. No idea what I would do with myself in school if I did go.

A couple days after getting back I told my mom that I was going to babysit for someone the next day. She looked at me with surprise.
    "Do you want to ask me about that first?" She said. "How about asking about using my van?"

I blushed as I realized two things;

    One: how, in a sense, I had been rather independent in Ukraine. (I suppose that living in another country without your parents you kind of have to be.)
    Two: I had briefly forgotten that in America you can't just hop onto a marshutka and be on your happy way. In America, I would have to ask about using my parents' vehicles!

I was in tears almost every day and borderline "depressed"* (*or darkly emotional... Take your pick.)

    What did I do? (The natural response... of course....)
    I decided that my family should move into a completely different state.
   We should live in a log cabin on a farm.
   Have no electricity and live off the land.

I even started looking at property in other states that would be affordable.
God was probably shaking His head as He watched my emotional rampage.

   In a little, farming town of no significance to any but those that live there He helped me to find a vehicle.  To be honest, my "dream car"... It is a blue/green mini van. Ever since I was little I had dreamed of getting a mini van. I also got two regular babysitting/nanny type job offers.

I don't remember when all the timing of this fell into place, it felt like it went on for months but it was probably between 2-4 weeks.

God showed me that He has me where I am for His purpose. For His glory was I formed and made.
I am not glorifying Him if I am caught up in my own emotions
I am not going to be joyful in following my Savior
I am not going to be trusting the One who knit me together in my mother's womb,

Joy, (like love) isn't always a feeling; it's a choice.
I could choose to be miserable and bask in the hazy light of my own desires; or, I could choose to trust my Redeemer who loved me and gave Himself for me.
   The first choice, I realized,  is making my own feelings an idol over the God of heaven and earth. He has said "You shall have no other gods before me." and, "I am a jealous God." and, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength."

That was a helpful thing to realize... and repent of.... and by God's grace to attempt at implementation.

God also provided a way for me to go to the community college. I'm taking English 110 and American History up to 1877.  I love it! Especially my history class.

    I also got to meet some other Christians! I met three while I was having my bible time in the cafeteria... (Which was kind of humorous how it all happened.) and more in a CRU bible study- I only got to stay for the introduction time and then I headed off to pick up the other kids from my grandma's house, which turned out to be unnecessary so I went to work.

    I love my job! I babysit/nanny for a family from my church. I go to their house, do laundry, sweep floors, tidy rooms, do dishes, play with kids, etc. It is the best. They are a very sweet family and they love the Lord.

    I still have no idea what I am going to do with my life but I know that God does...
That still can really bother me at times. This past week or so, I have been reading books about missionaries again. Cameron Townsend, Count Zinzendorf, George Muller, Brother Andrew.
    Is my interest purely a prideful desire to be doing something "grand" and looking good? Or is it genuinely something that God is calling me to/preparing me for? That has been my question.
I love languages, so I am still trying to work on my Russian and Spanish. I wonder if I will ever be able to do anything with them.
For now my answer is, yet again, trust and wait. 
It seems like something He is trying to drill into me, apparently I am a hard nut to crack because He keeps having to tell me to trust Him and wait on Him and on His timing.

                                                    Anyway. That is my life right now.
Off to the Blend (the most amazing coffee shop in the world!) with Emily. She has been begging me to work on a story with her for months and I kept putting her off. Now we shall finally do it!


In Christ,
Susannah



Saturday, January 28, 2017

I Wrote a Book


Serving Lois

It isn't very long, almost 100 pages. But it is a book and it took me a long time to write. And I like it. (Which is a miracle. Usually I get sick of reading something over and over again, especially if it is my own writing.)

The description is this:
Erin Wheeler knows heartache first hand when her husband is tragically killed by a drunk driver. Deciding to make a new start, with her mother-in-law and her grief, she sets out to begin a new life.
With the help of family and a new friend, Chase Ashby, Erin learns of the God that she can call 'daddy'. Through a series of events Erin finds her newfound faith being put to the test.
Can she find joy again?
                    Can God really heal the hurt in her life?
Can forgiveness really free her?


Thought I'd share that tidbit. 
I actually self published it before Christmas but had a lot more editing to do once I got the hard copy. I finally re-finished it tonight. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Snow Pictures

















These snow pictures are LONG over due... They were from the very first snow in early December or late November.
We were just being silly and had a great time, the flakes of snow were big and fluffy and the weather was just cold enough, but not too cold. 



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Come Let us Worship and Bow Down

"Indeed. Come worship and bow down." The flesh simpers seductively. "Worship what mankind thinks of how you responded in that situation. Think of how highly they will think of you."

"Come worship and bow down." Begs the heart. "Find love. Find happiness. If someone offends you be bitter. They deserve it. No one should have to deal with such a person." 


"Come worship and bow down." Shouts the world. "See how smart you are? Think of what you could do! The houses and clothes and cars you could buy."

"Come worship and bow down." Says materialism. "Prove to everyone that you aren't a burden, that you can make enough money on your own and don't need anyone."

"Come worship and bow down." Cries the internet. "Think how much time you can be entertained by me, I won't argue with you or annoy you, just worship me."

"Come worship and bow down." Pleads sleep. "Just a little longer. You can do your Bible time later."

"Come worship and bow down." Persuades false knowledge. "No one knows what they are talking about. They have no claim on your time or affections. Worship me and I will give you what you want."

"Come worship and bow down." Satan said to my Lord. "Worship me, and all of this I will give you."
“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only." Commanded my Lord, and the devil fled. 

"Only in my presence is fullness of joy." Says my King quietly. "I made you and redeemed you, I named you 'my child' and love you completely. I am the one, true God. People will hurt you and situations will tempt you but stronger is He who is living in you, than he that is in the world." 

The throne of our heart is the place for our King.
He alone is worthy of honor and glory. 
He alone is worthy of praise. 
He alone is King.

Come let us worship and bow down at the feet of the Lord our God our Maker. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas

                        Jesus is the reason for the season

The saying is proclaimed often in the Christian communities around America. 
But do we really believe it?


It is so easy to get caught up in the decorations, the gifts, running hither and thither and trying not to slip on ice. 
Thanksgiving night we set up our Christmas tree. I usually love that occasion. This year? I was a grinch about it. 

It makes a mess.
Everyone is grouchy tonight anyway.
What's the point? We'll just take it down December 26.

I was convicted of my attitude and realized- Joy isn't always a feeling, just like love. It's a choice. 

So we blared the Christmas music and danced all about. My baby brother even waltzed me around the kitchen.  (Okay, he is 8 now. He'll always be my "baby brother" though. ;) ) 

So yes. I had a much better evening with my family. 

But is that it? 

Through out this month as I have been reading through the gospels, I have been struck again and again by the overwhelming beauty of Christmas

The humility and beauty of the Creator becoming like the created in every respect and yet without sin.
The overwhelming love of the Lover of our Souls calling the filthy sinners of this world, His brothers and sisters.
The unfathomable grace of the Savior and Redeemer in clothing His beloved in His wedding garments of righteousness that can never be earned. 

Truly, He is the Son of God. 
Sent to redeem our souls. 
In His great mercy,
 at the right time, 
He died for the ungodly
and makes us His own. 

  Jesus is the reason for this season; and every season. 
     Let us come and worship and bow down before the Lord our God, our Maker.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.


Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Purpose

What is my purpose?
It is a question that haunts probably everyone at some point in their life.
For some they say it is happiness, love, family, wealth, make a difference, even as believers we can tend to have- in some shape or form, have the same ideas.

The Bible tells us that our purpose is to glorify God.

If that isn't even a purpose that is within our radar, not to mention our main desire- we should raise the question- what is occupying my heart and mind more than my Savior?

We are human.
We are created to be worshipers.
If we are not worshiping God we will be worshiping something or someone else.
The first two commandments are 'You shall have no other gods before me" and "You shall not make for yourself an idol"
When I place my own pride before following God's ways, or before being content where He has me I am making myself my idol and god. That is sin and idolatry!!!

Too often I want to change the world 'for God' (and thus, earn "brownie points" with God and man) instead of being content to let God change me and use me where He has me for His glory.

God can speak in thunderous roars, dreams and miraculous signs if He chooses; but more often He speaks in quiet whispers. Dare I reason that He works the same way through us?

More often does He work in the secret prayer of a faithful saint, a caring ear listening to a friend's struggle and offering them truth from His word, a smile and a kind word spoken in His love- than giving us a huge stage, an audience, solving world hunger, adopting a bazillion children and being interviewed on national television.

How often do I sit at home and pout, even cry to God saying, "I want to do something for you!"
and really my heart is saying, "I want to make you love me." "I want people to see what a good christian I am."

God shakes His head and says, "Child! I have given you a mission field, from the time you wake up in the morning to the time that you go to bed at night. To love your family, friends, strangers. To pray with and for them. To encourage them in whatever way you are able to."
He loves me unconditionally. No matter how good I think they look, my good deeds are still offerings of mud pies made in the field where cows graze to the esteemed guest for dessert.

His love is more than I could imagine.
His grace covers all my failings.
His righteous life clothes my sinful life.
His ways are not my ways.

I am not to spend today worrying about my future and purpose but to worship Him for who He is and show that truth to everyone and anyone I come in contact with.

His will for me today is right where I am. I am not promised tomorrow. My job is to live each day as if it is my last for His glory.
When I fail and fall back into self pity, self glorification, pride, etc His mercies are new every morning.

My purpose is to be His servant, in fulfilling that purpose I can find perfect joy and contentment. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What America Will Look Like Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning America will look similar to today- but not the same.

In the Midwest a few more leaves will have fallen, grass may have grown a bit longer, colors may have deepened, a tree may have been cut down.

On the coasts the breeze might blow the waves a little higher than they were today, or possibly not blow as hard.

It might rain or the sun might shine brightly.

People will be bustling about as always, discussing the newly elected candidate.

It will be in many ways the same, but in many ways very different.
People will die and people will be born.
Someone will get a divorce and someone will get married.

Everything changes but God stays the same.
Throughout time.
Throughout the pages of history.

God never changes. He is the same yesterday and today and tomorrow and forever.

God is still on throne, just as He was when He said, "Let there be light."
Just as He was when the only righteous person was Noah.
Just as He was when He led His people to the promised land.
Just like He was when the Light of the World hung His head and said, "It is finished"
Just as He was when His messengers declared, "He is risen!"
Just as He was when 9/11 happened.
Just as He was when you said "I believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that you are Lord"
Just as He is today.
So He will be tomorrow.

The One who directs the heart of kings is seated on His throne, He told us what will happen, even that which has already happened.

"In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world."

Turn to the very last page in Revelation.

God gets the glory.
God preserves His people.
God is in control.
God wins the battle over the powers of darkness in this world.
God sets creation free from it's bondage and groaning,
God is on the throne forever- That includes tomorrow.

No man or woman, government, or religion is capable of fouling the plans of the King of kings and Lord of lords. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Cape Cod

Photos from the Cape.
(I'm staying with Aunt Suzy and Uncle Joe)


The Cranberry Bog 










The beach

Boardwalk to the beach



The harbor





Uncle Joe, Grandma and me

The boardwalk, in high tide the grass is covered in water.





Retired Patrol Boat


Grandma and Me


Aunt Suzy and Me


Mariner Knots


Oh my goodness graciousness, I felt so Ukrainian posing for a picture like this. 


Signal flags, each one stands for a letter in the alphabet and each has an individual message/meaning as well.




Monday, October 24, 2016

Growing Pangs

As a side note- I chose the word 'pangs' instead of 'pains' because 'pangs' is painful emotion, rather than physical pain.

Recently it has come to my attention that I am rather independent.
I like to figure things out and do it on my own instead of asking for help.
I like having a plan, (not that I will always stick with it- I can change it how I like, when I like- but I have a basic idea and control over it.)

In life we can't always have a plan.
 I didn't want to believe that.
From the age of 7-16 I was seemingly always been able to make and maintain some semblance of a plan for my life. Granted, that was when one of the biggest decision I had to make was what I wanted to eat for lunch or make for supper.

Getting/having a job and a phone, traveling across the country to stay with strangers for a week, living in another country, buying a car, paying for gas, coffee, clothes, school; making a budget, planning for school and life.

It is all really crazy and different.

All my life my mom has been preparing me to be a responsible adult and member of society.

However- there is something else that she was equipping me for that can only be learned by experience.

From seven until I graduated I knew exactly what I was going to do with my life. That idea has changed slightly and merged into other dreams but it has always had the same basic outline.

Do missions, get married, have a family

That plan also included getting married by the time I was 18... *crickets*

Sooooo.
I graduated and promptly had no idea what I am going to do with my life,
I went to Ukraine, I hoped I would know more after that.
Still don't know.
I've prayed hoping to hear a different answer than the one I keep getting. Nothing except for this:

                                               "Wait"


I hate waiting. Trusting is hard. Much harder than having a plan.

I am learning to trust and wait and know the God I claim to love and serve. I don't really have any idea what the next phase in my life is... Yes, I am planning to go to school for the spring semester to be an EMT but I have no idea what to do after that! I don't want a different job than the one I have.

It can be overwhelming.
I heard a talk the other day on my dad's radio station (WPEO) about the song 'My Hope is Built on Nothing Less'
Even when I don't know what comes next my Savior does, He has seen my future, He knows the plans He has for me and I need to 'live to the hilt every situation that I am in that I believe to be the will of God' so that on that day when the trumpet sounds I may be found in Him. Clothed in His righteousness following His path that He prepared for me to walk in.

The reason for my existence is not be happy, eradicate poverty, hunger or war, change the world or make a name for myself in any other way.

The reason for my existence is to glorify God and make His name known, right where He has me. 


In the little things. 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31

"Everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made." Isaiah 43:7

"One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much."
Luke 16:10

I am not promised tomorrow. I have a question written on my mirror because I constantly need to be reminded.

"Is this the day I die? -Live as if it is." (Question taken from Randy Alcorn's book, 'Safely Home') 

and,

"Only one life,
Twill soon be past,
Only what's done 
For Christ will last." (and English Poem from John Piper's book 'Don't Waste Your Life' )

So I'm learning. I pray that I am growing. I wish to be able to say with Paul,
"I have learned in every situation to be content."

Not that I like the situation I am in, (and my "trial" is nothing compared to what Paul and countless Christians have and are experiencing) but, that I trust:
The One who holds my tomorrow in the palms of His nail scarred hands.
The One walks beside me all the way, knowing the plan He has for my good and His glory.
That what is unknown to me is known by the Author of creation.
That I am fully known and yet fully loved by the King of kings and Lord of lords.