The meaning behind the name

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Many times you will see a name and wonder what the meaning is behind it. Today I thought I would share the meaning behind the name of my blog, though I'm sure most of you have already figured it out. I don't know how to explain my uncanny obsession, but I LOVE the process of transformation. I don't care if it's a room, a flower bed, or a person, I am fascinated when I observe something change from "in need of work" to "eye-pleasing and beautiful". It's not just the new and improved part that I enjoy, but the entire process that is required -- the understanding of the problem, the willingness to change, the hard work and effort, and finally, the new result. Maybe that's why I watch all those make-over shows on TV! But I know that above all else, God is in the transforming business of our lives. I am proof of that! When I look back to where I was 11 years ago I am amazed at the transforming work God has done in me. It overwhelms me to think of what I used to be like. I am definitely NOT the same woman. But even more than that I am excited to see what He will do in me in the upcoming years. As one of my favorite Bible teachers, Joyce Meyers, always says, "I'm not where I need to be, but thank heavens I'm not where I used to be". When I accepted Christ, God loved me just the way I was, but He loved me even more not to leave me that way. That is why I cling to 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" I am so grateful that by the grace of God I am a work in progress, a transformed woman in the making.

Desire to Communicate

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Like most of you, I've had a busy week - 3 school meetings, 4 workouts, celebrated my daughters 9th birthday, hosted Bible study at my home and had intensive Chinese lessons. All of those things were necessary but as I look back over the week, I would have to say my Chinese lessons were at the top of my list of HAVE TO DO for two reasons. First, I am in survival mode here in China and the more Chinese I learn, the easier it is to live. As I write I realize the same thing can be said of God's Word in our lives. We have been placed on this earth and as long as we inhabit it, we are in survival mode. We are foreigners in this land. However, the more of God's Word we know and learn, the easier it is to live amongst the confusion, the chaos, the temptations, and the warfare. May we all make God's Word a priority in our lives! My second reason for wanting to speak Chinese is because I have learned the difficulties that occur when language barriers keep me from communicating with others. Let me share an example with you. As part of our housing allowance we are given a car and driver (trust me, you wouldn't want to drive here even if you could) and household help 5 days a week. These 2 people play a significant role in our lives on a daily basis, and we have come to love them dearly. For the most part, however, I can not communicate with them. The impact of this communication problem hit me one day while I was eating lunch at home. My maid, Ayi (pronounced I - E), came to sit with me at the table to eat her lunch and there was nothing but silence penetrating the room. This eerie quiet saddened me because I realized that I know nothing about this woman who cleans my home, does my laundry, and babysits my children. Even worse, I have no way of finding out these things because I don't speak her language, nor she does speak mine. I know if we could communicate I could ask her about her family, when her birthday is, how she is feeling, and what she thinks of us! The same goes for our driver. I want to know if he likes his job, how he knows where everything is, and how he is able to concentrate on driving when my kids are fighting in the backseat! I want so badly to speak the language!! Then the thought occurred to me, did I have the same desire to get to know people when I could communicate with them? How many people served alongside me in ministry at church or volunteered with me at school and though I could talk to them and get to know them, I didn't take the opportunity? Sometimes I think it takes us being in a situation where we aren't able to do something to realize how fortunate we are when we can do something. Unfortunately my situation isn't going to change anytime soon - Chinese is a difficult language, and it may be awhile before I am considered "fluent" enough to ask those personal questions. But I want to encourage you today to take advantage of your situation - you have no language barriers keeping you from getting to know someone in your circle of influence and activity. Don't let an opportunity pass you by to get to know someone a little better today -- just do it!

Right to privacy

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Today was an ordinary day for me in China. Meetings, appointments, errands, daily almost-get-hit by a car, men urinating on the side of the road in plain view. Yep, just your average day. The funny thing about it is that even though it's just an ordinary day it is still an adventure! For example, I had to take Tiger, our cat, to the vet. I should have known this experience would be something to write about later when I show up with the only cat (there may be truth to the rumor that they eat cats), and I was the only one who brought their pet in a pet carrier. After adjusting to all the stares, I am finally called into the exam room. After looking at Tiger they tell me he has a parasite in his eye and that is what is causing all the drainage. They tell me that they will flush it out and then I am to give him eyedrops for a week. OK, no big deal. Once the elderly technician tells me this and leaves the room, at least 2 Chinese people come up and ask him what is wrong with my cat. I know that they are talking about my situation by their hand motions and their constant staring. Did I mention that it was a glass enclosed exam room? After removing one worm they tell me that there are more, but they need to take Tiger to the operation room to finish. This takes about 30 minutes. Each time a doctor or technician comes out of the operation room, ALL the Chinese people in the waiting room rush over and ask the person what is going on -- as if it were their animal! They act as if I am not even in the room, they aren't quiet about it, and the vet people have no problem divulging the information! I wanted to scream at them, "Hello! This is my pet, why do you care? And what about doctor-patient confidentiality? Does that not apply to animals?" It was all so hilarious I just wanted to burst out laughing but thought better of it for fear of looking crazy. Then I began to think to myself, "Do these people have no sense of privacy? This would never happen in the States." The truth is the Chinese have NO privacy issues. They are curious, nosy, and inquisitive to the point of being shameless. Why is it they have no problem with this, yet we do? After much thought I've come to the conclusion that for us, privacy is a right. It is granted to us as law and therefore we demand it in every area of our lives. Though it is a good thing, it is the best thing? To require such privacy and confidentiality must mean that we want things to be kept secret, withdrawn, or hidden. What is it that we are trying so hard to hide? What or who are we afraid of by wanting privacy? Is it others or ourselves? Look at our lives - we want houses with lots of windows then we cover them up with blinds AND curtains; we build fences around our houses; we live in gated communities. We crave privacy and I'll be the first to admit it! But the real question we must face is why do I/we need it so badly? Think about it. Once we discover the answer, the truth of it might just set us free.

The gift of grace

Monday, October 16, 2006

I truly believe that God uses our children to teach us spiritual lessons that we wouldn't get otherwise. Last night was a perfect example of that truth. Abbey was having a rough day and finally hit her melting point when Kayley took her "assigned" seat at the dinner table. Now we really don't have "assigned" seats at the table but Abbey felt like she had a claim to that one particular chair. When Clint and I told her she would have to sit elsewhere, she completely lost it. We told her she could eat or cry, so she chose to cry. When the rest of us finished dinner we left her there to finish hers, which at that point she hadn't even started. We gave her an additional 10 minutes to finish and then we told her dinner time was done. As you can guess she didn't eat anything. Being the compassionate mother I am (NOT!) I said she should go to bed without anything; dad said she could have a small snack before going to bed. Clint had a business dinner and left. When it was time for the small snack that Clint designated Abbey rebelled. She said she did not want the bread with peanut butter she wanted doritos and a cheesestick. I wanted to loose it right there. Instead I found myself saying, "Abbey, you have been given grace in this situation. Grace is a gift, you don't negotiate with it you simply accept it for what it is." The moment the words left my mouth I knew God was trying to teach me something. How many times has God poured out His grace to me and rather than accept it gratefully, have I tried to manipulate it to fit my selfish desires or tried to negotiate with God so it was easier for me? A hard pillow to swallow, but a lesson I no doubt needed. When it was all said and done, Abbey went to bed with the snack. I, however, went to bed with a new perspective on God's grace and with God's Word swimming in my head, "My grace is sufficient for you..."

Blog Beginnings

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Never in a million years would I have thought I would have a blog. Time and technology changes everything doesn't it? My real reason for creating this blog, though, is the desire I have to share with others what I feel God laying on my heart. Sometimes my passion for sharing is so great I feel like I am going to bust! Those times when God pierces my heart I get overwhelmed and I start conveying it to others in my head -- exactly how I would explain it, the words I would use. Then I realize I am taking a shower (sorry for the visual) and no one is really listening! So I thought I would start a blog and go ahead and share my experiences, my lessons, and my mistakes of the journey God is taking me on. Maybe you will read and be touched; maybe you will read and just laugh. My hope is you will read, and like me, be transformed by the truth God is revealing. Let me know what you think....I always love to hear from you.