Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You Are Sixteen...

On the nineteenth my phenomenal brother (we'll refer to him as "Fetche-Boy") turned sixteen.

In the Jewish culture, it's traditional for a boy to have his Bar Mitzvah, or "coming of age," at thirteen. However, I've asked my dad that we have some form of Bar Mitzvah for my brother this year.

Why? Well, this year, my brother has really come into "his own."

God created, deep down, underneath the tenderness and compassion and deep love for life, a mighty warrior, a lion of a man, a rock and a faithful friend.

Before October (or more specifically, before the house-fire and my aunt passed away) Fetche Boy was just that, a boy. A young person becoming a young man. I can't say "he was a child," in good conscious, because he's always carried a lot of weight on his young, yet strong and broad, shoulders. But he dreamed child-like dreams (with potential, please don't get me wrong), and lacked the solid stability that a god-fearing young man provides for others. He was not yet the buffer between the ladies in his life and the world.

Since the fire, however, much has been required of him, and he has fulfilled, above and beyond, what the world ever expects of their boys.

My brother surprises even me!

Two days ago, my dad and brother were hauling furniture and heavy objects from the trailer to the front yard; from the front yard to the basement, or the front porch.

My brother, my "little" brother, has begun a mans-work. He put in a ten-hour-work day, and never complained. Yes, he got tired. Yes, his body ached, yes he became irritable, but even a fully-grown man becomes irritable and tired after using every muscle in his body to help care for their family, protecting the ladies of the house by carrying the heaviest objects and giving them less physically strenuous things to do.

I certainly don't believe that heavy lifting is solely "man's work." I believe that Adam was given Eve to help him, and Eve was given Adam to help her. They worked together, helpers, help-meets, care takers for one another; they were put together to watch each others' backs...

Me and my bro!
We've got each others' backs!

We have always done a lot of talking together. But this year, our conversations have become deeper. We ask each other for advice, confide in each other, protect each others confidence, ask for support from one another, seek perspective from the other. If we need to be frustrated, there is enough trust and grace for each other that we know we can vent without a problem (just be sure to communicate that that's all your doing :). If we need to be sad, this is perfectly acceptable! When we need someone to say, "look, Jack, get your act together..." well... we do that too... we don't always accept it graciously, when it's offered... or given without being offered ;) but there is a bridge between us, a connection, a friendship, a relationship.

My brother, Fetche "Boy," is becoming Young-Fetche-Man.

He still absolutely loves spending as much time as he can wandering the great outdoors, discovering God's beauty and mysteries; pondering life in all it's magnificence, and day-dreaming about becoming Alexander the Great. He still nearly-breaks, at times, but our Lord created my brother to have a strong spirit, one that "never gives up! Never surrenders!"

I could go on and on and on, for quite some time, talking about all the joy and blessings I find in being my brother, Fetche-Boy's, sister... But it's enough for me to say to him, "I love you. I respect you. You're my best friend! Thanks for being there!!" And then making him a PB&J.

Gotta love a guy like that! ;)

Love ya, bro!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Want to Be Like Mommy When I Grow Up!

Yesterday was my mothers' birthday. She is forty-eight, and I don't think would be ashamed to tell you (as she posted in her blog http://www.goldengrasses.blogspot.com/)

In honor of her I have written this small piece.

Mothers are an absolute necessity to every child's life

As a baby, the little girl turns to her mother for that tender, nurturing and gentle love that mothers offer: a soft, snuggly blanket, my mother and her sweet, sweet singing voice.
Mommy holds her toddlers little hand, as they take their first step, smiling with pride: that's her baby girl who's walking!

When babe grows to child, one will find that she needs her mommy to, not only, kiss a wound and then gently and caringly wrap it up in a band-aid, but also to answer life changing questions:
"Who is God? How does one build a relationship with Him?
Why is it important to pray the sinners prayer? How do you pray it?
Will you pray with me?"

Mommy is someone to look up to because she's... well... a mommy! And there is no greater teacher and care-taker, helper and counselor on earth than your mommy!!
So the little girl pretends she is her mommy:
Bringing two Barbies together (Ken and Barbie, herself)
they argue...
Barbie: "Ken! I told you I wanted you to mow the lawn!!"
Ken: "Now, Barbie, don't fuss. It's OK. I was playing with the baby while you were working,
and am now going to mow the long. Just child out a little, I'm taking care of it. :)"
They hug and make up...
Barbie: "Okay, dear..."
Ken: "I love you, darling..."
They work together:
Barbie: "Should we fix the car, today, dear?"
Ken: "Of course! You need to go grocery shopping!"

Then the little one takes a baby-doll in her arms, wraps it in a blanket, "just so," and feeds it with a bottle... "Mommy, it's crying! It WANTS you!!!"
"Mommy, how do I wrap a baby in it's blanket!"

After reaching about eleven, it becomes apparent to the little girl that she is doomed to motherhood. She's addicted to Biddy Babies, would honestly just like to collect every single one of 'em, and pretend she's a busy mother who has adopted a slough of children.
The spiritual journey that the girl started when she prayed with that vassal of the Lord, her mother, has begun to deepen, take root, sink into levels of her life that she didn't even know existed.
Purity before the Lord being one of them. So she asks her mom what God expects of her as a young lady, how she can walk that out, and pursue it.

By twelve, there have been a few conversations where the little girl asks her mother about experience with boys, how one interacts with them, and how to remain platonic friends with them.
These discussions sometimes take a turn to that of purity, holiness and righteousness before God. How one is to remain and cultivate purity: becoming more pure in Christ; guarding your heart and those of your brothers, and encouraging her daughter to always feel free to, and then pushing her to discuss these things with her father.
During this time, mom notices the love for art that's harbored in the girls' heart, and encourages the girl. Although mom won't she her herself, the girl gets her daddy to show her mom's art-work to her. As soon as she is able to look at the beautiful masterpieces her mother created, from gorgeously designed and painted pots, to colorful and life-giving paintings, the girl is let into a whole new world that was formerly unknown to her, about her mother; and mom becomes that much more of a hero to the child.

Transitioning from little-girl-hood into young-womanhood, mother is more needed than ever. Her wisdom, counsel, and life-experiences are vital and a necessity for the little girl to grow into a young lady.
Mommy will be there, always. She's feminine, lovely, gracious and kind; yet firm, decided and opinionated. These characteristics, the child finds, are most helpful in life, and things she strives to attain.
Watching, the girl will observe that mommy-hood isn't solely about being a mommy, but about being a home-maker, a care-taker, a helper and best friend to her father, and friend to each of her children.
Mom is about leadership, new beginnings, creating, nurturing and cultivating, and then sending out into the world that which you have poured your entire being into.
Mom is about doing your best, completing the task before you, it's about,
"Stick to it! No matter the squalls!"
Mom is about the pouring out of yourself for the sake of others, even when it hurts an awful lot; selflessness, Christ-likeness... And mom exemplifies this.
Mom is about supporting the godly man God has called you to be with; being used as a vassal by the Creator of the Universe, to create a new - life; pouring yourself into that new - life; investing in that young being; continuing the legacy God has given her; passing on the baton of the Lord's call to His children, "go, and make fishers of men! Until the whole earth hears!"
It's about preparing new individuals for life, for eternal life... Teaching them that life doesn't end at death, but begins when their soul meets the Creator of souls....
Teaching them that life isn't "all you've got, so live while you can," but rather, that this small piece of eternity, this life, dictates the rest of your eternity! ("Where will you go? Who will you meet on the other side of Heaven? Live with no regrets! Who is God? Who has He created you to be? What does He expect of you?")

As a young women, the little girl is a little more aware of all that her mother has poured into her: her very life. Twenty years, nine months and six days of it!
A twenty-year investment into another sinful-human-being...
Growing-up, even just a little, over the past few years, but especially this year, I see and realize and know that when I grow up, I wanna be just like my mommy!

For more on my incredible, wonderful, amazing mother, please visit her blog: http://www.goldengrasses.blogspot.com/

God richly bless and keep all you mothers who have poured yourselves into your families!
~ Miss Elisabeth

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Take the Coal: Purify My Heart

"Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of
unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the
LORD of hosts."
Then one of the Seraphim flew to me with burning coal in his hand..."
"Take me past the outer courts, into the HOLY place; Past the Braizen Alter,
"Lord, I want to see your face!"
Pass me by the crowds of people, the Priests who sing your praise;
But... it's only found in one place...
Take me into the HOLY of HOLIES;
Take me in by the BLOOD of the LAMB;
Take me into the HOLY of HOLIES
"Take the COAL touch MY LIPS..
Lord, here I am!"
Isaiah six one through eleven is my absolute favorite piece of the Bible. Really, the best part of the whole thing, I think. Well, to be quite honest, any piece of the Bible is incredible, but those small bits, those pure-gold-nuggets, worth more than all the earth and it's treasure, are those pieces which open up the LORD's glory, purity and righteousness to us.

Isaiah six, especially, speaks to me personally, in a very special way. My hearts dearly longs, cries out... nearly physically painfully at times, to be righteous, pure and holy before the Holy of Holies. By Christ's blood we're washed clean, by God's guidance we're growing in righteousness; by the Almighty's grace, we're created new, and by Jesus' payment, washed pure... But God is calling deeper, wanting more, beckoning me further.
And I want to go!
Lord, call me! Summon me! Extend your scepter to me!

"The Lord has given me a hunger for righteousness and piety
that can alone be of Himself (such hungering He alone can satisfy) yet Satan
would delude and cast up all sorts of other baubles:
social life, a name renowned, a position of importance,
scholastic attainment....
What are these but objects of the 'desire of Gentiles,'
Whose ravings are warped and perverted.
Surely they can mean nothing to the soul who has seen the beauty of Jesus Christ...
... Life is not here,
but hid above with Christ
in God,
and therein I rejoice
and sing
as I think on such exaltation."
Jim Elliot, 1952

I was first introduced to Isaiah 6, probably through Sunday school class, or my parents... but I don't ever remember reading, comprehending, understanding, or even really hearing it.
The first memory I have of genuinely and authentically hearing and listening and sort of comprehending the meaning of Isaiah 6 was about two years ago, singing to myself in the basement doing laundry (where I used do most of my singing and thinking ;),

"I saw the Lord seated on His throne; High and exalted;
and there were angels,
with six mighty wings.
With two they covered their faces,
with two their feet,
and with two they fly...
and I said,
'Woe to me! For I have sinned!
For I am unclean
and so are all my kind!...
But my eyes have seen The King!
The LORD Almighty!"

The mighty picture Isaiah paints before us, with his poetic wording carries a whole lot more weight in it than I first realized.

Coal is generally hot... hot coal... the angel, if you read in verse 6a, picks up the coal with tongs, implying that it's hot, very hot. Too hot to handle.
Throughout the Bible, the metaphor and concept of being purified or refined by fire, as gold, is used. I think this is especially interesting, given the context of this chapter... God's righteousness is so incredibly overpowering, His purity and Holiness so wonderful and overwhelming, that the closer one becomes to the Lord, the more their heart longs, desires, throbs to beat true in His holiness, purity and righteousness. This does not mean perfection, but, rather, a desire to be made into and to desire to long for those things which God desires for them, as Isaiah expresses in "Woe to me!!!" (verse 5)

The heaviness of Isaiah and his plea - the deep calling, never relenting desire humanity has to be Imago Deo (to be picked up out of our sin-filled and fallen state into that holiness that reflects off our Holy of Holy One - Him who is greater than us and all our mistakes combined.)
Kutless reflect this inner-longer in their song 'Take Me In.' Todd Agnew shares his desire in his version of 'Isaiah 6.'
And quite frankly, I would really like to have the words to express this longing without sounding holier than thou.
As Christians we're called to long for and pursue holiness, purity, righteousness; righteousness before our God, and not only long for and pursue it, but also walk and live and talk and think this.

Because third-person words now fail me and cease to come to mind, I'm resorting to writing down this prayer that I've prayed, and continue to pray and will always pray... Please, brothers and sisters, join me in this fight for Purity, RIGHTeousness and Holiness, in the sight of God, and before men (who knows, we could be entertaining angels!).

Take hot coals and touch my unclean lips; my unclean hands;
purify my unclean mind and restore my soul to that of
righteousness, purity and holiness
before you,
O Lord, my God!
take this heart of mine, and make it over;
make me new.
Please, give me the desires of my heart,
because I desire...
I seek...
I deeply, dearly and unrelentingly long for you!
For you alone are God! You are Holy
and Mighty,
and I am nothing before you!
I am an unclean being, saved by grace,
my sins washed away through the blood offering,
the purest sacrifice:
Jesus Christ...
But, Lord, please hear my desire,
listen to my petition,
seek my heart for truthfulness and honesty!
I deeply long to be pure before you, (to be)
and righteous!
My heart cries out for you to say,
"Well done, my good and faithful servant. well done!"

I long for you;
And you alone.
My life,
it is not my own.
I belong to no man,
no human,
no being,
not myself
or any other,
but you, God -
my Rock and my Redeemer.
For you have save my life,
and obviously want my life extended beyond what I thought it would,
or would have chosen for it.
You have made man's mouth!
You have made the deaf,
the mute,
the seeing
and the blind!
You are what I long for,
You are my hearts greatest desire!
I give this all to you -
it is in your control,
in your strong hands...
You own myself,
all that I am...
Make me holy before you;
Make me pure before you;
Please, at least find me righteous, according to who you are...


Warmth for Winter

* Burnt-orange nail polish
*feather-down, fleece-lined blanket
*Hot "English Breakfast" tea, if a tsp. of whipped honey
*Pictures of tropical islands
*knitted scarf
*An adorable puppy to sit on your lap
*blazing fire
* Basic Message Oil
6 tsp. carrier oil of your choice
8 srops of essential/ fragerance oil of your choice
Blend the two together, well. Warm up the oil before using - make sure to message between your fingers and your cuticals.
.... any questions?