Thursday, May 29, 2008

My 30 Something Sin

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm returning to a "theme" from the week before our trip to Nicaragua - God's ability to transform lives, using my own story as a testimony of this. Dan and I had been married a few years before he identified a problem I had. He would somewhat jokingly call me "explanation woman" because I had a "good" explanation for everything I did. He also noticed that I did not take criticism well and protected the areas of my life that I did not want to change by making excuses that usually involved blaming others or blaming circumstances which were, of course, out of my control. God began breaking down those walls of pride and I slowly started to receive His insight and open myself up to His conviction. I remember one morning when Dan and I had a conflict before he went to work. He left hurt and angry and I huffed and puffed my way to the table to have some time with God in His Word. The first verse I read was all about pride. I felt instant conviction and later called Dan and asked for forgiveness recognizing that I had refused to take responsibility for hurting him. God also sent many female mentors into my life who taught me what it means to be teachable and open to hearing from God. Eventually, I learned to enjoy when God would convict me of something because when I would respond to His conviction by making adjustments in my life, I would notice how my relationships with people and with God grew richer and deeper.

The book "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" is a book that I read at least once a year because the author spells out so simply, yet profoundly, about how to develop and maintain a close relationship with Christ. Weaver, the author, follows Martha and Mary's life pointing out how their intimate relationship with Christ transformed each of them. Martha's response changed from a demanding response when Mary was at Jesus's feet, to a surrendered response after Lazarus's' death. The author remarks about Martha's interactions with Jesus at the time of Lazarus's death . . "there was a tender vulnerability that wasn't there before. A new faith. A new kind of intimacy with Jesus that only comes when we receive and apply correction from God."

Receiving and applying correction leads to intimacy. I do believe this is true. Since learning how important it has been in my own life to name sin specifically and own up to it, I work hard at instilling this truth into the hearts of our children. Yesterday, Rebekah and Will had a fight. I had them each tell their stories and then talk through how each was hurt by the other while the other one listened without interrupting (not an easy thing for them to do). When they got to a place where they understood how each hurt the other, I asked them to specifically name their offense in a respectful voice and ask the other person to forgive them while also making eye contact. Today, one of them said to the other, "Will you forgive me for "talking loud" to you." This child actually yelled at their sibling. Weaver points out, "Most of us are quick to admit we're not perfect - as long as we don't have to talk specifics." Kids are not the only ones who minimize sin. The thing that is so fascinating to me is how time and time again, as we have gone through this process, I see how relieved they both are after they have gone though the hard work of humbling themselves, letting the other person teach them, and genuinely asking for forgiveness. Often, after these tearful and intense interchanges, they will hug and go off laughing and playing with each other. I feel that same relief after Dan and I have been in conflict and he points something out to me that I didn't want to see, but make the choice to allow him to teach me. Receiving and applying correction leads to intimacy in both our relationships with God and with other people. The question is, "Are we willing to be teachable?"

The below attachment is a "Teachability Inventory" which helps me to determine my level of teachablity. I share it with you as a resource. (From the book I mentioned earlier)


1) Last Sunday, after a family reunion in Kesley, my Mom, Aunt, and I drove to Parkersburg to visit my Great Grandma's grave. My Mom told me tonight that we left town 15 minutes before the tornado hit (previously we thought it was a ½ hour). Quite often we will drive East out of Parkersburg to my parents house which is 15 miles away. However, Mom decided to go the opposite way this day because she thought of another cemetery she wanted to visit. Had she gone the other way, we would have run directly into the path of the tornado. We are praising God for His protection of our family.

2) We will present to a K - Jr. High group of kids at First United Methodist in Marion on Sunday morning - this opportunity came through a conversation with another soccer Mom. Our Kid's presentation at 1st CRC in Wellsburg last Sunday went well. We are so thankful for the opportunity to talk with kids and for the interest people have in our sharing.


1) The people of Parkersburg are very heavy on our hearts. My aunt lost her best friend in the Tornado and we are connected to many other relatives and friends who are hurting. Thank you for your prayers and support for these hurting families.

2) Please pray for our small group dinners this month - that people would be available to host and attend the dinners. And that we would trust God with His time table for our support goal to be reached.

Thank you again for your faithful prayers for us. We appreciate you!


Are You Teachable?

Consider the following statements to give you an idea of your teachability quotient. Answer “U” for Usually; “S” for Sometimes; and “R” for Rarely.

I feel comfortable asking for advice.
I easily admit when I am wrong.
I enjoy reading for information rather than escape.
I’m able to receive criticism without being hurt.
I enjoy listening to other peoples’ thoughts and opinions without feeling the need to express my own.
When I read something in the Bible, I automatically think of ways to apply it.
I enjoy church and Bible classes and usually take notes.
I’m able to disagree with someone without feeling like I have to debate the issue.
I’m willing to look at all sides of a situation before I form an opinion.
I’d rather be righteous than always have to be “right”.

Give yourself 3 points for each U answer, 2 points for each S, and 0 points for every R. Than add the numbers. If you scored 24 – 30 points, you are well on your way to a teachable heart. If you scored 15 – 23, keep at it! You are definitely trainable. If you scored 0 – 14, you may need to make your teachability quotient a matter of prayer, because you’ll find a teachable heart is one of life’s greatest treasures.

Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life. Proverbs 4:13