Experiencing Jesus’s Touch

“Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If you are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”

As I read the Bible, I am amazed at how many times Jesus was willing to touch the unclean. To touch a person with leprosy meant that you – yourself became unclean and had to go through a ceremonial purification, which was a huge inconvenience. Yet, He was willing.

We see in Mark 5;21-42 that Jesus was even willing to touch the dead. Again, making himself unclean. As I ponder these thoughts I think about this past week. We have been dealing with many sick people in our own home. My son, Aaron had the stomach flu and the rest of us have been fighting off a head cold. My husband’s cold turned into a sinus infection, making him all the more miserable.

When our son was sick, I thought how reluctantly I wanted to clean up the bathroom after him. Yet, when I weighed the outcome of cleaning up the germs so no one else would get the stomach flu, to potentially making myself sick because I was the one cleaning, I decided it was worth the risk. I was willing to expose myself to the germs on the off-chance that everyone else would stay healthy.

I realized that’s exactly what Christ did for us. He took on all our sin, Who had no sin, to die on a tree for us, so that we would be without sin, to live eternally with Him forever. What an amazing thought!

Lord, thank you for your ultimate sacrifice. I pray that as I go throughout my day I will not get caught up in the things that are tedious for me, but that I would have a mind of Christ and be willing to do the unclean things. Help me to touch the untouchable and love the unlovable just like you did.   -Amen

 

 

Let there be Light

I will never forget the day when we got light switches installed in our little cabin. We had been using kerosene lanterns to light our dark nights with. Which, was romantic for awhile but soon the small light that the lanterns enabled us to see by were not enough. Especially if we had just had a long day in town and came home to a cold, dark house. Having to use a flashlight to find the matches to light up the kerosene lanterns was a chore all in itself and with the glass lamps not giving off much light and moving them from one place to another, we risked them breaking or spilling the oil and causing a bigger problem.

Finally we decided it was time to set up our electricity. My husband had been working all day with the electrical wiring and I couldn’t wait to be able to see if the lights were actually going to work. Our son, Aaron had been watching him intently and my husband was explaining the process with him. Showing him the negative, positive, and neutral wires.

At last the task was done and we fired up the generator. Mark (my husband) called me over and said, “Christine, check out your new lights!” He pointed to the switch and indicated that he wanted me to be the first one to turn the light switch on. I quickly flipped the switch and low and behold we had light! No fumbling for a flashlight. No worrying about batteries being drained. No risk of knocking over a lamp of oil. Just a perfect switch that gave off light immediately.

I spent the next few moments in awe…flicking the switch on and off. Amazed that the light worked properly each time. Appreciative that we had a way to light up our humble home. It was such a small blessing, but it was huge in my eyes.

I imagined God when He created the universe and created light. The Bible says, “The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep…Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light! And God saw the light, that it was good. – Genesis 1:2,3

Light is good…very, very good.

To read more about our off-grid living please order my book, Beautiful Dependence at our website.sunlight

 

“For Such a Time as This”

“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise, And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:14-16

As I read these verses I was overwhelmed with how Esther handled the situation. Her people were going to be killed. She wasn’t sure what her role was in all of this. Mordecai had said, “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Those words are so meaningful. Esther didn’t ask to become queen. She knew that God had opened a door for her, not knowing exactly why. Now it seems that everything was falling into place and I can just picture her mind reeling with thoughts of, “Wow, maybe this is the reason I am the queen. I am in a position where I can help my people.” Of course, this is just speculation, but you can almost feel what she was thinking because her reply was amazing.

She didn’t get upset and go immediately into the king’s chambers. She asked all the Jews in Shushan to fast and pray along with her maids and herself; fasting and praying for three days and three nights. She was bathing the situation in prayer. The ramifications of going before the king without being called, possibly meant death. Esther understood what going before the king could mean for her. Life or death. She reconciled this and had peace about what she was to do. She fasted and prayed. After doing this, she fully understood that her life would be in God’s hands. If He willed her to live – then it would be so. If He willed her to die – then He would allow it.

This spoke to me in such a spiritual way. If I go before our Lord and Savior and He asks me to do something that will “make waves” or even be illegal in our country, would I respond the way Esther did? Would I first fast and pray, seeking His will for the situation? I would hope that my response would be just as godly as Esther’s.

Many times on the mountain where we lived, I had to seek God’s face and see what he required for the day. Sometimes it was just trusting that he would provide food for our family, or money for gas to get down the mountain, or the words to speak to a tortured soul. Always trusting that he would provide and knowing whatever the outcome – He had a plan and I could rest in His peace.

If you’ve read the story of Esther in the Bible, you know that it worked out very well for her. She was able to go before the king, ask him to dinner, and share what was going to happen to her people. Through her, God saved the Jews from being annihilated.

Lord, my desire is to go before You with everything. Help me to seek Your face, not only when tough times come, but when things are going smoothly as well. I know I was created, “For such a time as this.” You have a plan for my life and I want to be able to trust you completely. Amen.

Homeschooling 101

three-kids-snow

Aaron, Storm, and Sarah taking a break from homeschool.

I was recently asked what it takes to homeschool. A dear friend of mine has decided to homeschool her kids and as with anything new, it can look  a bit overwhelming. These are just a few things that I recommend that have helped me all of these years to stay on track and not become burdened.

First, I would definitely have a scripture from the Bible that is your “key” verse. Ours was Deuteronomy 6:5-9. A key scripture is great to remind you of the big picture when things look bleak at the current moment.

Next, have fun with learning! Remember learning is an adventure and doesn’t have to be dull and boring. One of my favorite memories was reading Sacagawea to our kids in a teepee that we made on our land. We also took a hike and pretended to cross the Platt River re-enacting the journey of Lewis and Clark.

Third, it’s okay to modify curriculum to suit your needs. To some, this seems easy to do. To others (like me), this thought is out of the norm and can be overwhelming. One thing I have learned is that there is no perfect homeschool curriculum. I have spent thousands of dollars on trying to find the perfect curriculum to fit each individual’s need and it doesn’t exist. I finally have created my own ideas and used many free library resources, resulting in lots of saved money.

Slow and Steady is all that is needed. Our human nature tends to compare ourselves to others. This is true in the homeschool world as well. I have seen many parents compare their teaching style, kids academic progress, and how well they keep their house clean to other homeschoolers. God created us different, which is a blessing. Our home school is not going to look and feel like someone else’s home school. That is okay! Some people homeschool year round. Others, school for three months and take a month off; repeating the process throughout the year. For us, we worked hard on school in the fall, winter, and spring. Then in summer, we stopped formal school and worked on the homestead chopping wood, working on the cabin, and repairing chicken fences, etc.

At times if our kids were struggling with a particular subject, I would stop teaching all other subjects and only focus on the subject they needed more practice with. Granted, I was always reading living history stories aloud as a family, so they were constantly getting history and a little geography worked in.

Finally, homeschooling is ultimately about the relationship you are building with your children. Spending so much time one on one with the kids is a wonderful experience and I am seeing the fruit of all the labor that we put in come to fruition. My kids are nearing the end of our homeschool journey and I love the friendship that is growing between us. My 19 year old son, Aaron, gave me a huge hug the other day and looked into my eyes and said, “Mom, I love you so much. Thank you for teaching me the way you did.” Music to a mom’s ears. Especially when we had a rough couple years when he was in 4th to 6th grade.

Please know that these are just suggestions and there are many great resources out there to help with the task of schooling your kids at home. One of my favorites is www.simplycharlottemason.com. Remember have fun! Your kids will learn and what they lack, they can always learn later. I haven’t stopped learning just because I am not in school. I learn something new everyday!

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills-from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2

 

God Cares About the Little Things…

Indeed, the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not fear; You are more valuable than many sparrows. Luke 12:7

I have been collecting a dish set for a while now and almost have all of the pieces. I’ve been looking in thrift stores, antique stores, and online websites. I have found quite a few pieces and was looking for the sugar bowl to go with the creamer that I have. I was becoming quite obsessed. I found myself going to thrift stores even when I had no other reason to go, but just to look for the tiny bowl. I was enjoying the treasure hunt, but it was becoming disappointing and the search was turning into something that I did not intend.

One day, my daughter asked if we could go to the thrift store. She was looking for something specific for her room. As we were walking through the store, I was thinking about various things and if there was anything that I needed to purchase. I was walking through the shoe aisle, when I realized I hadn’t been to the dishes section of the store. I slowly meandered over to where the plates and cups were, but didn’t find any of the dishes that belonged to my set. “Oh well.” I thought. “The only thing I need to complete my set is the sugar bowl.” I then walked through the section where some of the other odd and ends were kept, such as serving platters and crystal vases. I began slowly looking on one of the glass shelves and way in the back, something caught my eye. There before me was the sugar bowl I needed to complete my set! I couldn’t believe it. There it was. All by itself, without the creamer. When I gave up searching, that was when I found the treasure I was looking for.

When I arrived home, I thought about the day more intently and realized how much God loves me. He blessed me with a little blessing that turned out to be a huge reward. He loves me so much that He even cares about sugar bowls. Does God really care about little things like that? You bet He does! This example showed me how much He cares about every detail of my life. Some might say it was just a coincidence. I don’t believe so. I believe God wanted to show me His unfailing love for me that day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your unfailing love and that you know and care about all the details of my life. You are so amazing and I can’t deny who you are. When I doubt, please help me to remember all the little blessings you give me each day…even little sugar bowls.

Candle of Peace?

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22

My husband and I were shopping at a big department store when something interesting caught my eye. Right in front of me was a candle display. Now it being Christmas time, the manufacturer was trying to speak to the masses so that people would buy their candles with catchy candle names. One candle was named, “Peace.” Another candle, “Joy,” another one named, “Comfort.”

The more I thought about these candles, the more saddened I became. The world is trying to seek peace, joy, and comfort; but it won’t come in the form of a candle. Or for that matter, a car, or even a house.

The Bible says in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.” Our peace only comes from the Father, who gives it to us. This world cannot offer peace. Actually, it offers the exact opposite – turmoil and chaos.

The more we abide in Christ, the more we take on the fruit of the spirit and people recognize Christ in us. The candle manufacturer got a portion of their marketing ploy correct. It is a light, but not from a candle. It is Christ’s light living in us that changes us, thus causing the fruit of the spirit to pour out of us for all to see. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, who is in heaven.”

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me, will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) While this world looks to find peace, joy, and comfort, a Savior was born in a lowly manger whose purpose was to come and take away the sin of the world and offer love. Out of love flows peace, joy, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Isaiah 9:6 proclaims, “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince. of Peace.

Thank you Lord for giving Your one and only Son for us. Help me to remember that when strife comes in my life, I can be still and know that your gentle arms are surrounding me, holding me, comforting me and giving me peace that only comes from You. Amen.a-nativity

Three Kisses a Day

If you’ve ever read the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman you know that we show our love via five different ways. Those five ways are touch, acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, and gifts. We also receive love through those same ways.

For me the two that stand out most are quality time and words of affirmation. My husband, on the other hand, is touch, touch, and more touch! Some of you wives know exactly what I am talking about. He thrives on being touched. The love language of touch for me however,  is on the bottom of the spectrum.

Therefore, I have to consciously make an effort to touch my husband. When we were first married, I had to really think about touching him. Now, that we’ve been married over 21 years it has become more natural.

As I was seeking out a way to remind myself to make the effort to touch my beloved husband, I realized I eat three meals a day. I then had the wonderful thought of giving him three kisses a day. At first it wasn’t hard to do, I simply remembered the three meals and would give him a kiss when we woke up in the morning, another one when he left for work and one more when he came home from work. He loved it and began to even speak my love language more. I could see a huge change in him and he seemed so much happier and willing to do things around the house that I wanted done.

But, as is often the case life moved on and so did my excitement for showing my husband I loved him. My three Kids got in the way and drained my desire for kissing or giving a gentle hand-hold to my husband. I felt like I was constantly being touched by everyone around me and being that this was my least favorite love language I began to draw away even more. Our relationship was beginning to suffer.

I knew something had changed but couldn’t figure out what. As I was pondering I suddenly remembered I hadn’t been showing affection to my husband. I knew I had to get back on the band wagon and be consistent in showing my love for him. When I thought of ways to get back on track I thought, “Wow, I can remember to do things that are far worse than showing love to my main man. Like doing dishes and making the bed every morning.” Kissing is way more fun than any of those things! hands

A new thought process began to change in my brain waves. Thus the three kisses a day has been a main stay in our marriage. It has changed everything and I encourage anyone who struggles with showing touch to their spouse (if that’s their love language and not yours) to try the three kisses a day. It works!