Sunday, September 29, 2013

Adventures in Faith - {Washed}

I hate this. I’m sitting at my computer again begging God to change His mind. He’s been clear and I keep pushing, arguing, bartering, and asking for another way.

Unlike Jesus, who bowed before His Father and said, “Your will be done,” I keep dancing around the issue and asking for my will be done. Even as I type these words, disobedience flares in sparks of the heart. I’m tiptoeing around the line He’s drawn in the sand, wondering if He really means it.

But He’s drawn the line and I’m fixated on it.  I’m trying to hold his hand and walk away at the same time. I want to cross the line, blur it, change it, make it optional. I want my will be done.

But I yield. 

Once again, as I submerse myself in the soothing waters of our old tub, He speaks. It's here I’m baptized in repentance and submission.  In my tiny echoing bathroom, He speaks the loudest, breaking through the chaos of my desires and the pushes of my heart. 

It’s my cleft in the rock, like the man named Moses who saw the back of God: this simple bathroom where the Holy One passes by.
Or maybe, like Elijah who heard the Lord in a still small whisper, it is here in this humble place that I really listen.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13

I am standing before a Holy God who is asking me what I’m doing there and I want to have an answer that is BIG and mighty, like the grandeur of the elements, but I can barely choke out a response and I can only cover my face. My little rebellion seems so petty in light of all He is.

I’m here to follow You. I'll give it all if it means having You. It's not what I say, but it is what I want. Truth be told, I'm still arguing with God there in that ancient fiberglass bathtub. I'm struggling to hang on to what I want; grasping at the dreams and plans I've built for myself.

But He's come not seeking what is mine, but me. He isn’t settling for my “good deeds” or my pathetic offerings, He is asking for it all. And I know I can’t hold it back, not for a second nor a year.

As I plunge beneath the waters in our old tub, I’m washing away resistance and the grime of my stubborn rebellion - an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ - and I pull myself up and out, washed in the water of His word.

This cleansing is just the beginning, so I towel off, get ready, and start the day. Because after the washing, the work begins.

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.”  Titus 2:11-14

© Elisha Catts - Willamette Christian Church Baptism

(Scripture quoted/paraphrased/referenced: Luke 22:42 - Your will be done, Exodus 33 - Moses sees God's back, 1 Kings 19 - Elijah hears God whisper, 1 Peter 3:21 - "...appeal to God for a good conscience...", 2nd Corinthians 2:14 - " not what is yours, but you...", Titus 2:11-14)

Friday, September 27, 2013

5 Things I've Learned From Becca

Everyone wants your advice.

Or so the unstated philosophy of my family goes.  They have a catch phrase that precedes any tidbits of advice that they will push on you, solicited or not.  It goes: If there is one thing I've learned in my life...

In honor of them [and unsolicited advice everywhere], I've created the Five Things I've Learned... series on this blog.

Be prepared to be amazed by the unsolicited tidbits of life-learning I will pass on to you.

5 Things I've Learned...

From Becca

1. Nail care is an art. 

Seriously, guys, Becca has mastered the art of nails. It baffles me. I can count the number of times I've painted my nails on one hand. Courtesy of Becca, I'm currently sporting these colors. Well, the green at least. A certain newborn prevented us from finishing with the lovely sparkles.

2. How to talk your way into discounts.

If you don't believe me, hang out with Becca and you'll stand in awe of her skills. I'm pretty sure she could convince anyone into just about anything.  She has perfected garage sale-ing into a work of genius that would amaze the best dealers-and-wheelers. Not lying, she's had stores pay her to take their product. Now that is just impressive.

3. How to quilt.

I've never been a girly-girl. And generally speaking, I loathe all things domestic. Yet, somehow, Becca with her amazing talk-anyone-into-anything skills convinced me to learn to quilt. And I have. And I love it. I'm officially WAY more obsessed with quilting than she has ever been.

4. How to take an awesome selfie.

This photo speaks for itself. Who can best this?

5. That laughter can be found in the most unexpected places.

Being around Becca means discovering humor anywhere. She has such a sharp mind and wit that she'll leave you rolling and your eyes balling from the funny and the whimsy and the comical and the brilliant  that she finds in the world.

This girl rocks.

Who knew?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pinterest is a Liar: {Toddler Hair Side-Twist}

You guys, let's be honest, I love pinterest. I probably am your annoying friend who over pins.

There are just so many amazing inspiring brilliant ideas on pinterest and, as my memory is practically useless, I pin things. So I can find them later. And make them. And eat them. And build them. And....

And then I looked the other day and realized, I have 2,160 pins.

Okay, not as bad as some I'm sure, but I've pinned a lot more things than I'll ever create or need which caused me to think: I either need to start making things or stop pinning. And, of course, the latter isn't really an option afterall (is it?), so I'm starting the Pinterest is a Liar series (or not!) wherein I start trying pinterest recipes, craft ideas, lesson planning, and inform you, the average normal non-crafty citizen of the world, how possible these gorgeous DIY options actually are.

Toddler Hair Side Twist

I found this amazing video on pinterest a couple weeks ago wherein a mom styles her daughter's hair in about five minutes flat and it looks AMAZING!

So I thought to myself - that looks easy! - and proceeded to try it out on Isabel.

Okay friends, two year olds don't sit still no matter how many lollipops you give them. I wish. 

Our time was spent half wrangling hair and half pinning Isabel between my legs as I unsuccessfully attempted to twist and pull her fine baby hair into a semi decent arrangement.

Still, I was hoping. Since she wouldn't sit still long enough for me to twist hair chunks all the way around her head, I tried various combinations of rubberbanding sections of her hair together. Don't do it. It doesn't work.

Attempt #1:  I could hardly get her to stop moving to take a picture, but the front looked kind of cute while the back was a complete and utter fail. I tried twisting both sides into a V in the back. Not so cute.

Attempt #2:  I started twisting all the way around and when I got half way, I realized I had no idea how Mrs. SuperHairMom was able to keep the hair from falling out on the sides as she went around. I subsequently tried rubberbanding the top right section and begin pulling hair from the left to meet in the back. It stayed in longer than the hair attempt number one, but really didn't look that cute. 

Except from the angle in the photo below. It looks kind of cute from a top view. Kind of. 

If you have hair to play with, I'd love to see if you are able to make it work. I really think this pin has potential and the wiggly two year old thing really mussed me up. 

Please try it and let me know if you have more success than I have and what your secrets are!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Adventures in Writing #1 - {A Mouse in the House}

Tuesday Thoughts is where I pick a topic that’s on my mind, set a timer, start with “Go”, write about it for five minutes, and end with “Done”. Editing is non-existent and I am grateful for that since I can spend hours fine-tuning and agonizing over a post.  Even writing this paragraph, I've written and rewritten it about five times, sent it to my hubby to edit, rewritten it, and am still debating whether it's acceptable.

In this exercise, I am enjoying the freedom to just write, without stressing about perfection or what others might think. This is my lovelimess after all.



A mouse in the house.

Can it be that I'm afraid? My stomach flutters as I grab the broom. It is so small. What if it is carrying diseases? my stomach clenches. Do I touch it?  It could bite me. It could infect me.

It scurries from the bathroom and hides in a small corner of our wall.  We've closed it in.

I'm shaking a little, which doesn't make sense.  I can't be afraid of a small animal... What do I have to fear from such a little mouse?

I grab the broom. Can I sweep it out of the house?   What if it runs at me and touches me? It's small eyes look so terrified. I can't hurt it. A part of me wants to touch its soft fur and comfort it. But the fear wins and I want it out. Now.

Andy grabs a garbage can and we use the broom to corral it in. Andy tips the trash can upwards and takes the small creature back to its world.

And it hits me in the gut. Like the Voice breaking through my barriers and I see the Truth I didn't know.

Fear makes us keep our distance. Fear takes away our compassion. Fear steals our sympathy.

Too often I take my broom and sweep my life clean of the small, the hurting, and the "diseased" because I'm afraid. I'm afraid they'll infect my life with their brokenness. I'm afraid that I won't be able to control where they go in my life and how they'll touch me. I'm afraid they will be unpredictable. I'm afraid to let them in. I'm afraid they'll need me.

So I grab my broom and sweep them out. Back to their world.  Just like the little mouse with the fearful eyes. 

And my heart is stirring now with the Spirit, showing me what fear has kept me from. It's kept me from Jesus. It's kept me from walking through the world that He walks in and loving the people that He loves.

And next time? Next time I might ask that dirty mouse to stay and eat some cheese.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Adventures In Faith: {Satisfied}

A whisper in my ear. Another lie. 

Failure.  I know. I am still failing. At everything.

I can't do this anymore. I'm so tired.  It all feels likes so much work.

My bible lays next my couch, beckoning, promising to fill my empty heart with the things it needs.  I turn away and turn a mindless show on the television.

My bible calls out again. You need me. I get up and do the dishes, pushing away the tears that are threatening to spring up again.

Jesus calls. Come to me. I play with my daughter and put her to bed.

Jesus, help me. I cry in the shower. The tears mingling with the water flowing.

My bible is still there. Next to the couch.

I hear Andy asking questions, What do you want to do tonight?

I can't think. I can't handle this one little innocuous question.

I need to read my bible. I say it in my head before it makes it to my lips, but it does.

I grab my bible and drink, deeply.  I feel like I'm quenching a deep gnawing thirst. Each moment more in the Word and the thirst stops aching so deeply. Every word and I feel my emotions gentle, my heart beat more calmly, my tears draw back.

I didn't know I needed it so much. I used to go months without reading the bible. And now? Now three days and I feel myself drying out inside.

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
    the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,    broken cisterns that cannot hold water."

Jeremiah 2:13

Digging their own cisterns.  The metaphor rings deep in my soul and I think of how I have been trying to hold water in my own leaking pool, which has been dug in the dirt of my effort, and finding over and over again that the water there doesn't satisfy and is full of disease and sickness.  Finding myself over and over again hunched in pain as my water makes me ill and poisons me from the inside out. 

"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

Revelation 7:16

And here I find that His word is true and that as I drink from His spring of pure, clean, living water, my tears begin to dry in my eyes.  Even as I am still reading His word, he takes me and satisfies the deep emptiness inside that He was always meant to fill. 

Jesus is enough for me, filling every crack in my heart. Flooding in and washing the broken pieces out while bringing his soul-quenching peace. A soul delighted in God will want for nothing other than God. It knows at the heart of life is Him and, once found, nothing but Him can quench the thirst that He is meant to sate.

Satisfied. I am satisfied. 

“Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives.”  Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Friday, September 20, 2013

5 Things I've Learned From My Husband

Everyone wants your advice.

Or so the unstated philosophy of my family goes.  They have a catch phrase that precedes any tidbits of advice that they will push on you, solicited or not.  It goes: If there is one thing I've learned in my life...

In honor of them [and unsolicited advice everywhere], I've created the Five Things I've Learned... series on this blog.

Be prepared to be amazed by the unsolicited tidbits of life-learning I will pass on to you.

5 Things I've Learned ... 

From My Husband

1. Dancing in the kitchen is better than a ballroom.

I once thought the best dancing happened in ballrooms, with mood lighting, good music, and a variety of skilled dance partners. I was wrong. The best dancing happens at home, after a long day, when your husband turns up the music, grabs your dish-soapy hands, and twirls you onto the kitchen floor and you dance the evening away with just him... and maybe your two year old. That is the best dancing.

2. How to use lightroom and photoshop.

Guys, I really thought I was tech-savy. And then I met Andy. I am daily learning how little I know. The more I learn, the more he seems to know.  I can't catch up. This man is a tech-genius.

3. What true forgiveness looks like.

I mess up. A lot. And in big ways sometimes. And yet this solid rock of a man that I married is gracious, kind, loving, forgiving, and always understanding. How did I get so lucky?  I'm pretty sure I'm getting better at demonstrating some of the godly characteristics that he has shown me, but he constantly impresses me with how he lets God live and love through him.

4. Cars are a hobby.

Can't they just be transportation? Do they really need to be hobby?  I'm waiting for the day when we have the same car for more than a year. It hasn't happened yet...

5. The best advice is a listening ear.

It doesn't make sense, but watching Andy proves it again and again. People don't need your advice. They just need your unconditional love, support, encouragement. They know what is wrong in their life, and they likely know how to fix it. They don't need you to point it out; they just need you to listen and care. And if they want that advice? They'll ask for it.

Who knew?

© Andy and Elisha Catts - our first wedding anniversary in Sunriver, Oregon.

Comment Discussions: What have you learned from your husband?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Two Years and Ten Points

I like blogging.

I actually miss it.

And I'm thinking I will try to make it a habit again.

Let me catch you up on the last two years:

Ready. Set. Go.

1. We had a daughter, her name is Isabel. She is officially two and a half years old. [Seriously?  How is that possible??] She never stops talking. Ever. She must get that from her dad.
2. We moved. To the country. And it is amazing. We have a little 130 year old farmhouse that we call home. It's cozy. For us and the mice.
3. We need a barn cat. For the mice. Coyotes might have eaten our other ones.  The cats that is, not the mice.
4. Our second daughter, Melody, was born in June. She is precious, perfect, and sleeps like an angel. I'm thinking I may be able to handle this whole mom-of-two-kids thing.  Maybe.
5. We no longer have hobbies. We have children. [Did I say that out loud?]
6. Sleep is now a privilege, not a right.
7. I officially appreciate the sound of quiet.
8. My bible may very well be a lifeline in the midst of all the craziness.
9. I will probably be blogging about God a lot. Since He kind of is amazing and all.
10. I love you all. Really, I do. :)

There you go. The last two years summed up in ten bullet points.  And now you know why I've been absent from blogging. I was just able to sum up the last two years in bullet points and I just might have been racking my brain for anything something to say for half of them.

So hi!

© 2007 Elisha Catts