Thursday, July 24, 2008

Family Friends

When I was growing up in California, we had these really good family friends, the Jameses (their last name was James, and I still to this day am not sure how to pluralize that). They were my parents' best friends in high school and had actually been responsible for the blind date on which my parents met each other. They had two boys close to the same ages of my sister and me. We were very close, like sisters and brothers almost. In fact, many of my childhood memories include them. Family vacations. Summer days. Playing after school. Going to church. As I said, we were very close. Family friends.

I've always thought that the meaning of that phrase "family friends" meant "friends of the family", which it does. But now that I'm grown and have a family of my own along with family friends of our own, I'm starting to find a better meaning. Friends as well as Family. I have a plaque that says "friends are the family we choose for ourselves." It was intended to be a gift for a good friend who moved away, but I never actually sent it (unfortunately this happens way more than I would like to admit -- a card, a note, whatever, that is never sent -- sorry to those of you who have been victimized by this major shortcoming of mine). Anyway - after spending a day with some good family friends from Indiana on Tuesday, I found myself treasuring this new meaning. Loving that my young family has such friends. Such family. And very, very thankful that, even though we moved "home" to be close to our family, we still have "family" in Indiana. And I believe we always will

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Number Two

(note: if you haven't read the post "To Pray Or Not To Pray", you might want to read that one before you read this one)

So -- my youngest will be four in about three weeks. And we've been working on potty-training for about, oh, say seven or eight months. Not diligently or vigilantly, mind you. Subtly. And sometimes frustratedly (is that even a word?). But last week, after we had seriously run out of diapers (with the exception of one), we decided to try again. Only this time, we added prayer. My husband said, "you know, we've never really prayed about it." So we both decided that was a good idea.

And God got my almost-four-year-old to keep her panties clean and dry in oh, say about one day. (With the exception, of course, of the one time she forgot to pull down her panties while she sat on the potty and peed. Isn't she hilarious?!)

So, to sum up my week last week, from Monday to Sunday -- God saved my grandma's life and taught my little girl to pee and poop in the potty all in the same week!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

To Pray or Not To Pray

I dont' t know why, but I am so amazed at God's willingness to answer prayer.

Since I was a young child, I have believed that He does actually want us to ask Him for things. My whole life long, I have been learning what that means, searching for His desires, reconciling the words that He spoke with the reality of seemingly unanswered prayers. I mean, He said that He will give us the desires of our heart. And that whatever we ask for in His name He would gladly give. "Ask and it will be given to you ... For everyone who ask receives..." (Matthew 7:7-8)

So I have prayed for lots and lots and lots of different things. When I was about six or seven years old, I remember praying that our firefighter friend, Jimmy, would get to go and help fight the forest fires in California, because that's what he really wanted (though his wife was not so thankful for my prayers, I think). And praying that I wouldn't have any bad dreams or spiders crawling on me while I slept. When we lived in Paris, I remember realizing that prayer was just about the only effective thing I could do to help the homeless man and the beggar woman that I saw frequently, since I wasn't fluent enough to explain anything to them.

And so, when I grew closer to my grandma last summer after moving close enough to see her more frequently, I started praying for her joy. And, as I spent more time with her and realized that she was really struggling with all the changes she had experienced in moving across the country, I started praying that God would show her why He still has her here and that He would give her a true sense of purpose.

Well, yesterday, she almost died from carbon monoxide poisoning. And as we waited for news of her condition, expecting the worse but seriously hoping for the better, I didn't even know if I should ask for the best. I didn't have a clue what to pray. I wondered if He had heard my prayers for her over the last months. I tried to figure out how her dying would be an answer to that prayer for her renewed sense of purpose. I asked friends to pray for her. I begged God for what He knew to be best. And I seriously did not expect her healing.

BUT GOD HEALED HER!!! I expected the worst. But He performed a miracle. He even made her brain scan clear. NO negative effects after 17 hours of carbon monoxide poisoning! I am still in wonder! I didn't know what to ask yesterday. But He answered my prayers from months ago. He saved her life. Clearly. Unabashedly. He absolutely wants her here still. No doubt.

This week, we have seen God work in amazing ways. Two clear answers to prayer. Two more reasons to keep praying and trusting that in fact God's got it taken care of. I'll tell you about the second one next time . . .

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