Tuesday, January 4

Not another New Years resolution

Last week, I enjoyed having dinner with my friend Laura, and we caught up on life. The venue was a restaurant called Preservation Kitchen, tucked behind a busy street North of Seattle. We got to sit by a cozy, warm fireplace, which felt really good on this freezing cold night. I met Laura when I was a Mother's Helper for her several years ago. I was honored to watch two of her kids during the first years of their lives, while attempting to be somewhat "hip" around her oldest son.

During our time, Laura mentioned that she was participating in a challenge by Beth Moore to memorize two scriptures a month. By the end of the year, she will have memorized 24 verses. You can find this on Beth Moore's blog. I immediately dismissed the idea, thinking it would be too hard, since I have never been good at memorizing. The more we talked about it, however, the more I was convinced that I really could do this if I tried. Over the years, I have collected a box of meaningful verses, written out on 3x5 cards. I have seen them enough times that I could relay the gist, however I have told myself many times that I was incapable of memorizing them. Laura and I decided to do this together, so we could keep each other accountable throughout the year.

When I came home that night, I went through my box to see which verse resonated with me. I quickly found the verse I was looking for. The challenge in Beth Moore's blog was to come up with your own scriptures, as opposed to her assigning certain ones, so it would have meaning to each individual. In the comment section of her blog, we would write the verse we chose on the 1st and another on the 15th of every month. So, when the time came, I wrote mine with a great deal of enthusiasm. With a click of a button, I had written my name, where I was from, my verse, and the translation. I then posted it for some 6,000 plus viewers to see.

For some reason, Jeremiah 17:5-8 jumped out at me as I was going through my box. The rules said to keep it brief, so I only posted verse 5. " This is what the Lord says; Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord." Verses 6-8 go on to say "They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in a barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit." I will have memorized all of this by early May :)

I think I chose these verses because of my tendency to rely on people when I should be trusting in God. To take it one step further, I tend to use others as a barometer for how I feel about myself when I am out of balance spiritually. Another word I found in the dictionary to define "cursed" was "burdened." That is exactly how I feel when I look to others to define me. There is anxiety as opposed to peace that comes through knowing God's truth.

Right after I posted my verse, I started reading other verses that people had written, and they were so positive, and had a very different tone than mine. All of a sudden, I felt embarrassed, and wanted to delete it, but it was too late. I couldn't believe I wanted to start the new year learning a scripture that started with the word "cursed!" Right away, I realized what was happening. I was more concerned about what all of these women on this website might think about me (someone they didn't even know!) than I was about learning a verse I knew God had put on my heart. Right then, I had a chance to turn my heart back towards God, and away from people.

I would love to partner up with whoever else might want to do this challenge. It can be done through the website, or I would just enjoy hearing your favorite verse. Filling your mind with God's word is never a waste of time, and you will never be sorry for time spent this way!


Anonymous said...

Love it! Another friend of mine told me about this as well, so I think I'm going to try it too. I appreciate your honesty about your struggle to please people....I live in that camp way too often!
Love you!
: ) Kim

Darlene said...

Thank you, Kim!

Looking forward to catching up with you soon! Praying for you.

Love you too,

jadeejf said...

What a great idea- and a great story to go with it. I don't know if I should even attempt something so ... big! :) But I will think about it!

Darlene said...

Hey Beth!
You could do it! I will be curious to see if you decide whether or not you want to. I know it does sound somewhat daunting, but the payoff is great.




Italy trip

I have been going through my pictures, and have enjoyed looking at this album of Italy. I was able to go over last year to attend a conference. This was the first time I have been back in twenty years. The pictures are made up mostly of places we lived as a family. My brother and I were able to go together, and we were graciously hosted by some friends of ours from language school in Perugia. I feel such a sense of nostalgia when I look at these pictures. I miss Italy so much. It was strange to go back as a tourist knowing I would be returning to the US after such a short time. Tonight I made cookies with Nutella in them, and I remembered how much I enjoyed the simple pleasures. Fortunately, you can find it here! Saturday, we are going up to my brother's house to celebrate a late Thanksgiving, only we will be making homemade tortellini instead of turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!