Monthly Archives: December 2013

“Then Do It.”

Hullo again. (I hope you aren’t getting tired of listening to me.) Today I would like to share an excerpt from my sister’s book. (You remember, the one I ranted about a couple weeks ago.) To set the stage a little, Galoof (that is, by the way, a nickname for Galondrophil, but nobody calls him that because he is much too impudent to fit that name) has had an accident that basically paralyzed his legs, and he is struggling with coming to grips with it.

“Confound it! Everything I ever wanted to do, wanted to be, involves walking, running, riding. Now what shall I do? Just sit here? I don’t want to just sit around all my life, with people waiting on me for everything! I want to do something, I want to be something! Why should a king’s son be crippled?”

The tension was finally surfacing with greater force. It was not surprising – perhaps it was even to be desired, for in that way it would be easier for others to help Galoof with his fears, assuming whatever persons happened to be present could find words of wisdom to speak, and in that Diantha felt she was sadly deficient. Yet, though she knew she had no words to offer, she was honestly aghast at Rodwin’s response. He laughed.

“What? A king’s son?” he seemed amused, “Does your lineage then constitute your claim to health and prosperity?” Galoof only stared at him with a blank look, so Rodwin went on. “I will be the first to tell you, Galoof, that such does not constitute invulnerability. Maybe you do not wish to be waited on for everything, but at least you can turn and repay those who wait on you.”

“But that is the trouble! I can’t do anything but talk.” Galoof protested.

“Well, then do it.” was Rodwin’s matter-of-fact response.

~ Royalty in Disguise, by Camille Esther

What I really want to focus on is that last part, because Galoof is doing something that I am very bad about – he’s focusing on the negative, namely, all the things he can’t do. And it’s making him depressed, as well as crippling his ability to do the things he can still do. Which, if you really think about it, is kind of a stupid thing to do, and yet I do it all the time. What’s with that? God gave me plenty of things I can do, so why should I worry about the ones I can’t?

The devil has been using this tactic since the world began. In the Garden of Eden he got Eve to focus on what God hadn’t given her rather than what He had. The result was that she ate the forbidden fruit, gave some to her husband to eat, sin entered the world, and so on and so forth. It’s called discontentment, and I think pretty much everybody has had to deal with it at some point. I know I have, especially when I watch the people around me get in relationships and then get married and leave and all that fun stuff. It’s easy to let myself think I’m missing out, and that I deserve to get married too. (Even though I’m not 18 yet… I’m not sure how that works out.)

Well, I was thinking about discontentment, and one of my memory verses from STEP came to mind. [free advertisement] If you don’t remember what that is, it’s a month-long camp in June that I went to this year. An amazing experience! [/free advertisement] The passage is from Philippians. Chapter four, verses 11 through 13.

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Whoops. I forget so easily! God is calling me to be content right here where I am, and with the things He has already given me. So the things that I can’t do? They shouldn’t matter. What matters are the things I can do. I can encourage others. I can honor God with the talents He entrusted in me. I can be a blessing right where I am, through Him who strengthens me. And I can be content. So if you’re feeling like Galoof, like you can’t do anything but talk… Then do it.

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Soldiers

So, recently I’ve been mulling over Jeremiah 48:10, which says,

“Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord with slackness, and cursed is he who keeps back his sword from bloodshed.”

The first part made pretty good sense to me, but the second half took me aback for a while. Wait, what about “you shall not kill”? But after I read it a couple times I realized this verse is painting a picture here. It’s painting a picture of a soldier who is hanging back from the battle. He is refusing to do what his very job is.

So it seems to me that Christians can’t take their role in the church lightly. Each one of us has been given a special gift, something we can do to build up fellow believers and touch those who are outside the church. It is, you might say, our spiritual job description. And like any job, we are expected to work hard, to give it everything we’ve got. God has no need for a servant who’s not serving, a teacher who’s not teaching, or a soldier who’s not fighting. So this is becoming a challenge for me, and I hope it will be for you too. Am I – are we – giving God everything in the furtherance of His will? Something to chew on.

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Tell a Tale of Royalty in Disguise by Camille Esther

And now it’s time for adoring rants with Calista, the part of the show (blog) where Calista comes out and gives an adoring rant. *Wink* (And for those who haven’t picked this up, Camille is my sister – hence the adoration.)

War doesn’t seem too imminent to princess Diantha as she deals with the daily troubles of keeping herself in check. But war seems much closer when a new servant is accused of spying. Or is the real peril to be found in a single spy? As the truth emerges, the real threat manages to strike the first blow, and Diantha finds herself masquerading as a maid in the quest to free her brother from the malevolent mastermind behind the growing conflict. Will this man’s bid for a kingdom be struck down? And, just as importantly, will he ever be caught?

This is Camille’s first published work, and I can proudly say that I was the first to read it (besides herself…) Yes, I devoured each chapter as she finished typing it out. And loved every bit of it. And it’s not just because I’m her proven faithful little fan, either. Camille has some serious writing talents. She creates loveable characters, detestable characters, sly, sneaky, slippery characters…You get the idea. 😉 She made me laugh out loud countless times, and cry, and then laugh again. And I’m completely serious – I’ve read that book three times and it still moves me. (I made the mistake of reading it during finals week. It’s very hard to study when you can’t tear yourself away from a book.)

While there are a few things I noticed that could have used some improvement, this book is definitely a worth-while read. I highly recommend it. Oh, and by the way, in case you haven’t noticed, see that link up at the top right of the page? Yes, that one. The one that says ‘Tell a Tale of…’ Click on it. (You know you want to!) Just in case people didn’t notice, that is a page where I will be putting Camille’s books as they get published. It has a link to the amazon page. So go buy her book. 😉

(There now, Camille, have I fulfilled my duty as your adoring little sister?)

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Looking at the Sky

Recently I overheard someone say they didn’t think I “ever stopped to look at the sky”. I was miffed at first, and made sure it was known that I did indeed look at the sky. Watching the sky is one of my favorite things to do, and how dare she think I didn’t do it?

Aaaand then I got time to think about it. (Just for the record, seriously considering people’s accusations is a really bad habit if you’re trying to harbor resentment. XD I’m just saying.) As I contemplated, I remembered that it wasn’t so very many weeks ago that I went out with Noelle to do chores and I rushed her because I had something I wanted to do – completely bypassing the fact that she was being slow because the sky was clear and bright and every star had shown up for the occasion. The Milky Way arched through them like a highway in the sky, perhaps to pave the way for the moon. She wanted to take her sweet time and enjoy the beauty of the night, and there I was with my petty plans trying to hurry her up.

Yes, I get so focused on what I’m doing that I forget to appreciate life. Sometimes I just need to back away and stop. Homework, drawing, and writing will probably always follow close on my trail (at least the homework feels that way), but what’s really important? I only have one chance to live on this earth, and the last thing I want is to look back and realize I lived it wrong. Yes, the homework is important (finals are next week!) but there’s life all around me that is even more important. Indeed, it often barges into my room wielding a scimitar or a gun and asking to be played with. (The penalty for refusing, is of course decapitation or being turned into a piece of Swiss cheese.) Heaven forbid my school should become more important than my brother!

Sometimes I have to decide that life matters more than schedules. Sometimes it’s okay to give up studies for the antsy eight-year-old waiting for me beside the Lego box. And sometimes I just need to slow down and look at the sky.

Categories: Ponderizations | 4 Comments

Of Birthdays and Journeys

Soooo…Today is my birthday. Yep. It’s kind of funny how just adding one to my age makes it sound a whole lot older. Because of course seventeen is so much more mature than sixteen. [Note: that was completely sarcastic.] ANYWAYS! I thought that for my birthday I’d share a little bit about what I’ve learned over the past several years.

I grew up in a Christian home (as most of you most likely already knew), but I didn’t really know what I was doing. When I was baptized at about 11 years old (in a hotel swimming pool, no less), I did so because I was afraid I was getting too old to be baptized. It was, however, at about that age that I began to consider that my ‘faith’ was missing something. I was terrified that if I died, I would not end up in the place I thought I would, and because I was too afraid to ask anyone else for help, I set about to try and figure this faith thing out myself.

I did the only things I knew to do, the things they always say you’re supposed to do – read your Bible, pray. I tried and tried, but nothing seemed to work. No matter how hard I strained my brain, no matter how many verses I copied into my notebook, I couldn’t understand what I was reading. And all my attempts to follow prayer lists and such failed just as miserably. I got bored with them, and soon abandoned them, feeling more than ever like a horrible Christian. Sometimes I doubted that I was a Christian. Weren’t Christians able to trust, whether or not they felt God’s presence? And wasn’t I the one who regularly begged God to show Himself to me so that I could know He loved me?

Well, things kept on like that for a few years. By the time 2011 rolled around not much had changed, and I couldn’t look back and say that I had grown spiritually in any significant way. Well, three things happened that year that began to change things. My great grandmother went home to be with the Lord in January or February (don’t ask me which…I don’t remember these things well), as did our dear neighbor and friend the following November. And smack in between the two, we had a lovely drought, a thing I couldn’t remember ever happening before. I found myself becoming bitter towards the clouds that thundered enticingly but gave no rain, and also at God, who had not answered my pleas that He give us rain. As the year dragged on, in my young heart I despaired of ever being really happy. It was a very dry year, not only for the ground, but for me as well. And yet I continued to refuse to seek help, because I was afraid of admitting I was anything but the funny, hyper little girl people took me for.

And then came 2012. In spite of the continuing drought, my spirits revived, because the trees panicked and produced massive amounts of fruit to make up for the lack thereof the year before. Somehow that gave me the hope that this year would not be so bad. Then some friends from church started a summer Bible study. I attended with my sisters with the vague hope that it would show me what I was missing. At the same time I was afraid, because it meant I would have to open up to the other girls; a thing I hadn’t yet dared to do.

I can’t believe that was only a year and a half ago! The Bible study stretched me and my relationships in ways I had never imagined. We prayed for each other’s struggles, shared our own, told stories, laughed, and learned so much. For the first time I actually felt close to God, to my friends and…my sisters too. Thanks to the discussions in the Bible study, we dared to talk about things on the way home that we (or at least I) would never have shared beforehand.

And that is where I found myself the morning after our last Bible study meeting…the morning Noelle had her wreck. Suddenly we were launched into a whole new world, one with hospitals and rehab centers, and brain injuries. I felt a fear I had never felt before – that I might lose a family member – and then watched miracles happen right before my eyes. And suddenly, God answered the prayer that I had sobbed out so many years ago, “Please, I need You to show me that You’re here!” I could almost feel Him wrap His arms around me and carry me when I wanted to do nothing more than hide and cry. He gave me the Peace that Passes Understanding, and helped me to let go of what I wanted to happen and accept His will as best. He taught me to trust Him on a whole new level. And then He kept that trust.

I’ve never been the same since. In the (just over a) year since Noelle came home, God has continued to teach and show me new things, many of which I’ve already written about on here. One thing He is constantly reminding me of is how good He is, and how much He loves me, and how He will never let me down. He will never forget what I’m going through. He will always provide what I need to get through the tough times. He will always love me. It’s been an incredible journey, and there is so much more I could say, but to keep from becoming overly wordy, I’ll stop there. *Smiles* So yeah. That’s my life in a very abbreviated summary. God is so good! How has He blessed you?

Categories: Ponderizations | 2 Comments

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