Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Writing Thaw


Merry Christmas, one and all!

I know it's been forever, but I feel the writing juices slowly thawing, and hopefully it will prove to be a productive year for Spiritual Ingenue. This blog has been the neglected stepchild of my blog family, so to speak, in that I have been giving all of my attention to another of my offspring. For the last 5 months or so, I have been writing a bible study on Psalms 23, over at Sacred Space For Women. I have loved it, and have had over 40 women participate at one time or another. If you get a moment, pop over to read what God has been laying on my heart.

How was your holiday? Mine was wonderful, stressful, overextended and beautiful, all at the same time. We spent the holiday with my husband’s family in South Carolina, which could have been an experiment in torture had God not been on the scene. It was a season to celebrate miracles, from my father in law’s continued state of healing from his cancer to my sister in law’s ability to get along with her mother. God led the sequence of events down a path I did not anticipate, and it was an overwhelming display of His ability to restore. Quite the birthing season it was, I must say. Here are a few of the highlights:

-My father in law is still healthy and cancer-free after a bout with stage III colon cancer. Mom shared with us that usually, 80% of patients with his kind of cancer are dead by this point. What a gift to listen to him preach on Sunday morning, and to see God’s fingerprints on his life has he shared the Gospel in that sweet and simple way that he has.


-My sister in law left her emotional baggage at home and came to visit with no chip on her shoulder. Wonder of wonders, miracles of miracles, she didn’t pick a fight and get her feelings hurt over the way Mom asked her to pass the mashed potatoes. We had a secret code word that I would whisper if I saw her getting worked up: “ice cube”. I didn’t have to use it once!


-My father in law asked me to read the account of Jesus’ birth from Luke during his message on Sunday morning. I got to read it from my mother in law’s bible, which made it extra special. It was hard getting it out, but I managed. Another miracle there for you; I’m usually a huge crybaby when it comes to that stuff.


-My sister and brother in law got to have time away from the Katrina ravaged area they live in. Their lives were completely uprooted by the hurricane, so after moving into a new place, getting their children adjusted to a new school, and trying to reclaim some sense of normalcy, they were ready to get outta Dodge for a while.


-My father in law said he never once thought that the visit needed to end, and asked the three women of the family to solidify plans for next Christmas so we could do it all again. Now that is proof that God does indeed exist- no one was counting the minutes until it was time to leave!

That’s just a taste of what God did over our Christmas visit. I still haven’t shared the amazing story of what happened after we opened our gifts, so I will do that next.

Thanks for reading, and I pray you had a beautiful holiday.

Love,
s.i.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ashamed To Be A Blogger

Tap Tap... is this thing on??

I know it's been like 5 year since I've written. Things have been crazy for me, the most recent craziness being that my best friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It's been a terrible time filled with the fingerprints of God.

Is anyone out there? Do you all hate me and have me listed on a the "Blog Loser List Of Aught 5"? Because I would totally win the Grand Prize at that.

I miss all of you and hope to connect here soon. I've been suffering from linguistic constipation, but things finally seem to be moving along.

Love,
si

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I Am His, And He Is Mine





This is the first installment of the online bible study I am leading over at Sacred Space For Women. Stop by and join in the discussion. -s.i.






Our study begins in the book of Psalms, a beautiful tapestry of poetry, prayer, and praise. Written by many authors over a period of many years, it is a collective uplifting of honesty and love to a God who delights in hearing it.

Reading through this treasury of wisdom can evoke many different emotions in the reader, and for this reason we are drawn to it again and again throughout our lifetime. We seek its familiarity in good times and bad, and draw comfort and strength from its prose. Often, we enter the verses in one condition and leave in quite another, having had our fill of Living Water to carry us over a few more miles of the journey.

We begin our study in the well-worn 23rd chapter of Psalms. In its simplest form it is comforting, yet as we peel back the layers we find a depth and richness that can easily be missed. For this reason, we will be studying this chapter precept upon precept, in order to spend time soaking into our spirits what the Lord is saying to us as women.

As we rest together beside still waters, may our hearts be fertile ground and our ears be open to what God wants us to hear. He is waiting for us now with new insight and a fresh Word, so be blessed as you spend time in His presence.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
“The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.” Psalm 23:1-2

IN THE FIRST CHAPTER of Psalm 23, David finds himself weary after battle. He is examining his broken state while declaring, perhaps in a worn and ragged voice, that Jehovah is His Shepherd and he doesn’t need anything else. Whether David finds himself strong or weak, rested or weary, God is an eternally stable and unchanging force of guidance in his life.

In this declaration, there is no question of belief. There is no undercurrent of “I hope He is my Shepherd”, or (as we girls are fond of saying) “I KNOW He’s my Shepherd, but…” Instead, we find a powerful statement of faith and fact that sets the authority of God firmly in its rightful place. Simply put, He is in charge and we are not. Friend, there is much liberty and freedom in that realization!

Not only is He Shepherd, He is your Shepherd. What beauty and sweetness we find in the word “my”. Dwell on this for a moment: The Holy and Living God Of All Time is YOURS. He is your Emmanuel, your God With You!! He dwells in you and around you and through you and over you! You are your Beloved’s and He is yours!

In “The Treasury of David”, 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon writes:



“(David) does not say, “The LORD is the Shepherd of the world at large, and leadeth forth the multitude as His flock,” but “The LORD is MY Shepherd; if He be a shepherd to no one else, He is a Shepherd to ME; He cares for ME, watches over ME, and preserves ME. The words are in the present tense. Whatever be the believer’s position, he is even now under the pastoral care of JEHOVAH.” (p 399, vol 1)


There is something powerful about belonging to someone or something. As little girls, we try to fit in with others on the playground. As teenagers, our insecurities can drive us to drastic measures so that we feel accepted by our peers. As women, we are pulled in so many directions that half the time we don’t know what we belong to or what belongs to us. Yet all the while, there is a God who wants to dwell in relationship with us, and who is waiting for us to lay our needs in His hands.

It is easy to read, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want” as two separate declarations. Instead, it is important to know that BECAUSE the Lord is your shepherd, you shall not want. When you fully permit Him to guide, direct, and lead you, you will find yourself in a valley of Eden-esque proportions where there is perfect provision and contentment.

More importantly, you will find yourself sensitive to the leading of His Spirit, and there you will experience the fullness of the passionate love He has for you. Living under the umbrella of God's authority is the most beautiful example of “His Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” It can also be the most difficult for us to employ.

As we sojourn together, may you come to a new and transforming knowledge of God as your Shepherd and Perfect Provider. You are not alone, dear one, and there is nothing that you need that God is incapable of giving you. Be blessed this week as you carry forth His Word in your spirit, and know that you are loved and prayed for.

PONDERINGS
1. Is God yours? Are you His?
2. What do you want that you are not allowing God to supply? Do you think He would if you asked Him to?

PRAYER
My God, You are my Shepherd. As a woman, I am called to lead and guide in so many things, yet I forget that the Creator of the Universe tenderly leads me. You are my defender, protector, provider, and sanctuary. Because I dwell in this place, I shall want for nothing. Help me to remember that there is no need I have that You will not supply. May all that I do and all that I am bring You glory and make you proud. In Jesus’ strong Name I pray. Amen and Amen.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

School Has Started...

And I'm doing ok! It was hard sending my daughter to Kindergarten, but now everyone is doing well. We're in the routine and rhythm of fall, and I think that's exactly what I needed to get me out of my funk. I've also been writing like crazy, and wish I could stay home and write write write. Someday...

I HAVE been busy with something the last few weeks, and I'm inviting all of my wonderful female readers to check it out. I am writing an online bible study for women from Psalms 23, and God is doing amazing things! He has grown our community to over 40 women, and it's only just begun. It's incredible to see how God is moving, and we're only two weeks old.

Click on the link below to check it out.

Sacred Space For Women

I pray that it blesses you and ministers to you as you spend time at Sacred Space For Women.

Blessings Friends,

s.i.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

My little girl starts Kindergarten tomorrow. Say a prayer for me, won't you? Say one for her too, while you're at it. And my son, who will be starting 3rd grade.

Thanks.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Trading Darkness For Light


My brother, the lone male in a clan of 8, has had a rough life. He has endured a lot of heartbreak and sadness, and my heart has always been sad for him. Last year, my sadness turned to worry and brokenness as we realized that he was getting involved in the occult.

He turned to this lifestyle because he was desperate for answers and relief from his emotional pain. A newly divorced father of a toddler and a baby and in need of healing and hope, he found himself under the mentorship of a "spiritual guide" who led him in different spiritual practices that promised enlightenment and peace. Instead of finding relief, he found himself in a downward spiral of darkness he didn't like but couldn't stop. Soon, the pull proved to be too much and he found himself headed towards full on satanism. This is something I'd heard about at youth retreats and on TBN. I never thought it would affect my family.

Needless to say, we were praying like crazy that God would break though the darkness and shed light on my brother's broken heart. We prayed for him and with him, begging God to break him free of this destructive lifestyle. My sister, an incredible warrior for the Lord, confronted him time and again with the reality of his choices, and for a while our words fell on deaf ears. We were sick in our spirits as we watched him fall away.

Soon however, my brother made a choice. He decided to follow God. It was as simple as that- he turned from the dark and chose the Light. Although we had prayed fervently for God to break him free, the final choice ultimately rested in the hands of my brother. How we rejoiced that he abandoned that hopeless lifestyle! How we praised God that our precious brother was no longer a slave to the evil one!! Little did we know what the future held for him- we had not yet begun to praise. :)

Today, my brother is a man of God who loves the Lord and is working hard to bring his children up in a Godly home. He is a single dad who works long hours but spends time with his kids, being faithful to take them to church every week. He is following hard after the things of God, and he is literally a new creation!!

Not only is he new on the inside, he has been transformed on the outside. My brother is now surrounded with light, whereas before he carried a dark countenance that was like a black shroud over his soul. It is awesomely frightening to witness that much of a change in a person, and I wish that Nicodemus was still around because I would drag him to my brother and shout "THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BORN AGAIN!!" The Kingdom of God is stronger today because of my brother's presence within its ranks, and I am so proud of him. He is a brilliant man, regularly challenging me in my walk and in my faith and although I am older, he has truly become a big brother to me.

He walks in the light today because he chose to do so, and he now passes down a Godly heritage to his children. They will pass it on to their children, and their children, and it will be passed on for a thousand generations should the Lord tarry. Because one man made a choice, only eternity will tell how many lives will be touched with the Gospel of Christ.

Choose to walk in His Light today.

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined." Isaiah 9:2


Sunday, July 31, 2005

Take Me Out To The Ball Game


We had such a fun time last night. My hubby got tickets to a baseball game, so we got to see our local minor league team whup up the competition. The night was good on so many levels, but it was especially so because our kids did so well. At almost 9 and almost 6, they made for pleasant company and were fun to watch. I admit that I spent more time watching them than I did the field.

I especially loved listening to them belt out "Take Me Out To The Ball Game", and to see their faces shine by the light of the fireworks at the end of the game. It was one of those moments you wish you could bottle up and set on your mantle.

Hope you all are having a great weekend.

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