Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A man’s heart plans his way..

...but the LORD directs his steps."

So says Proverbs 16:9. I planned my steps before the summer began, but the LORD redirected them... And re-directed them again.

Since I didn't get hired at Summit East I ended up visiting friends in IN, OH, and MI. I began volunteering at the local Pregnancy Care Center. I offered my help for Bible school at church. I had time to read books. I had time to hear God.

Then I received a few re-directions in my steps. One call offered me a staff position at Summit's brand new session in WI (Aug 8-20), another was a last minute plea for help for Session II in TN.

As of today, most of the Summit prep homework is done; the laundry is in the dryer. The windshield wipers, headlight, oil, and spark plugs on my car have been changed, mostly by me, dad coached me through and had to change the back spark plugs. Volunteering for the Pregnancy Care Center wrapped up today, as did my time volunteering at Bible school. One more day to pack (for TN and my move back to Colorado - yikes!) and finish homework - then off I head to Tennessee early Thursday morning!

You know, if I had arrived in Indiana planning to work Summit East, I probably wouldn't have volunteered at the Pregnancy Care Center. I may not have visited some of the people that I did. I wouldn't have gotten involved with my Indiana church very much. My reading time would have been redirected, which would have been terrible - trust me, I needed to read all of those Elisabeth Elliot books! I would have finished my homework sooner (hm, that would have been good). God knew what it would take for me to accomplish those things and to go to Summit.

The LORD re-directed my way, then led me back to the path I originally thought I would be walking. Isn't He kind? He would still be just as kind if I hadn't been offered a position at Summit this summer. He is so Wonderful, I can hardly begin to describe it. His generosity, graciousness, tough love, and kindness to even me are all so overwhelming that I want to cry. He is so good to us. Let us not forget that.

~ Johanna


P. S. If you would like to send me mail before July 30th, my address is:

My Name
C/O the Summit at Bryan College
721 Bryan Drive
Box 7812
Dayton, TN 37321

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The best things in life...

...Are learned, not bought.

New spark plugs (1st change in 104,000 mi), new oil and filtre = less than $50.

Being able to change the spark plugs and oil = priceless. Thanks Dad!
New windshield wipers and a replacement headlight for the cracked one, then TN and CO here I come!

Friday, July 9, 2010

To be Redeemed from Fire by Fire


LITTLE GIDDING - IV

T. S. Eliot

The dove descending breaks the air

With flame of incandescent terror

Of which the tongues declare

The one discharge from sin and error.

The only hope, or else despair

Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre—

To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.

Love is the unfamiliar Name

Behind the hands that wove

The intolerable shirt of flame

Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
*
Consumed by either fire or fire.

(
*Suspire: to draw a long deep breath; to sigh.)


I have a confession: I have never liked T. S. Eliot. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock spoiled Eliot for me. C. S. Lewis's dislike for his work doomed him. Thus, I have never read what many consider some of Eliot's best works: the Four Quartets.

Tonight I was browsing books at Barnes and Nobel. How I managed to not buy at least three books is beyond me. I'm a cheapskate, I guess. The inscription page of one of the books had the above section of Little Gidding neatly typed there.

No, I didn't fall in love with Eliot. But something burned in my imagination. I saw a picture painted by those words. I saw a dove, tongues of fire, God's purifying fire saving one from hell fire. It occurred to me: God uses fire, satan uses fire. God uses the right amounts for testing, for burning off our impurities. Satan uses fire as torment, pain for the sake of pain. It is the same thing -fire- but wielded very differently based on the attitude of the one holding it.

Who then devised the torment? Love. Oooh, haven't I just written about this very thing? It is Love Who puts us in the fires of purification for our good and His glory. It is Love Who allows pain - if it makes us like His dear Son. It is Love Who cannot bear to leave us as we are, but prunes us, redeems us by His very blood.

Interestingly, I was out with two amazing ladies when I discovered this poem. Our conversation in the "Spirituality/Religion" section at Barnes and Nobel centered on, "This is where I am in life, but I don't like it." Sparks are flying, embers glowing. Mhmm, you are in the Master's furnace. He's making you better than you were. He's forging you into something you couldn't possibly be if you weren't hardened (strengthened) by the fire. Though it hurts will you let God's fire consume you?

We only live, only suspire

Consumed by either fire or fire.


~ Johanna


AND since it is of thy mercy, O gracious Father, that another day is added to our lives; We here dedicate both our souls and our bodies to thee and thy service, in a sober, righteous, and godly life: in which resolution, do thou, O merciful God, confirm and strengthen us; that, as we grow in age, we may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

BUT, O God, who knowest the weakness and corruption of our nature, and the manifold temptations which we daily meet with; We humbly beseech thee to have compassion on our infirmities, and to give us the constant assistance of thy Holy Spirit; that we may be effectually restrained from sin, and incited to our duty. Imprint upon our hearts such a dread of thy judgments, and such a grateful sense of thy goodness to us, as may make us both afraid and ashamed to offend thee. And, above all, keep in our minds a lively remembrance of that great day, in which we must give a strict account of our thoughts, words, and actions to him whom thou hast appointed the Judge of quick and dead, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Monday, July 5, 2010

New Owl City Album!

*Sigh* I really want the new (old) Owl City album: Sky Sailing. Anyone want to pre-buy it on iTunes for me? Please and thank you.





Friday, July 2, 2010

Friendship

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. "
~ C. S. Lewis


I quote Lewis on this particular point after yet another phone call with my best friend. She has been in on her fair share of phone calls from me in her lifetime. To count such calls would be like numbering the stars or the ever changing number of hairs on our red heads.

Brittany and I have known one another for at least 11 years. That means we've seen each other through our worst moments - also known as high school. We've seen the good, the bad, and the bed-head after sleepovers. (Oy, and those wretched plaid shirts I used to sport!)

Without Brittany my understanding of the LORD would be quite different. I might miss His grace and compassion. I might not understand what Scripture means when it says "A friend loveth at all times..." or "Forgive as God in Christ forgave you."

"Friendship is an obstetric art; it draws out our richest and deepest resources; it unfolds the wings of our dreams and hidden indeterminate thoughts; it serves as a check on our judgments, tries out our new ideas, keeps up our ardor, and inflames our enthusiasm."
~ A. G. Sertillanges


There have been graduations, commissionings, Summit days, Steak and Shake hats at midnight, fireworks, book conventions, awkward statements (those would be mine, oops), hysterical laughs, bitter tears, disappointments, hopes, fears, let downs, inspirations, on-line chats for hours, and of course, those aforementioned phone calls.

Sometimes it can be easy to forget what you have until it's gone. I have discovered that too many times in my life. This time I'm thankful for what I have: a best friend through thick and thin.

Today I praise the LORD for Brittany.

Love,
Jody