30 December 2009

Comparison One

James and I camping in CA, 1999,
in the AF, pre-kids, pre-dog,
married maybe a little over a year

I want to begin a series of posts that are comparison stories. A few things have struck me recently that were stark comparisons between my life now and 'before.'

For instance, even 14 years ago, we already knew that one day we would be married to each other. James and I used to go to the grocery store together. Even though we'd just be picking up some stuff for a day at the lake, we'd wink at each other when we passed by the diaper/ baby food aisle, and the dog food aisle, and say "we don't need any of that stuff!" to each other. Now, of course, we have been shopping in the diaper aisle for nearly 9 years (four kids) and the dog food aisle for over 11years (three dogs). So, the winking was short-lived.

Another example is our dates. When we were dating, we used to go to the Wal-Mart toy aisle with a roll or two of pennies. James would drop them while he pretended to shop, and I would linger, watching him, down at the endcap. We would giggle when we heard the scampering of feet rushing toward the sound of money falling on the floor. He would pretend to not notice that he had dropped the pennies and would walk casually away, while unknown delighted children would scoop up the pennies as fast as they could. Now, we tend to use date time to run to Home Depot- if we even have a date. Mostly we spend time together when the kids are all in bed (finally!). We either cook (ok, he cooks) and eat something delicious or curl up and I watch a movie while James snores.

Another example I just thought of is writing. Oh! We used to write to each other! (OK- secret time. I have no less than five 3-ring binders with chronologically stored love letters in page protectors. Three binders for my letters to him, and two for his to me. Labelled as such. I know.) We have poems and "our song" and letters and windshield notes and cards and all of it. Now, it's mostly text messages that quickly get deleted along the lines of "whr r u?" or "whn back?" or "milk asap." *sigh*

Psalm 42:1-4

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long,

"Where is your God?"
These things I remember as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.

It's in the crummy times that we forget the good times... but we should recall them and be thankful for them. Thank you, God, for sustaining me with memories from the past and hope for the future. Teach me to be content in the present. Thank you for being in charge of everything.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear

28 December 2009

Psalm 51

Hey dudes, break's over and I'm baa-aack! Here, pull up another window and listen to this song while you read the lyrics. Jars of Clay wrote it, inspired by Psalm 51. It's on their Redemption Songs CD.

God be merciful to me
on Thy grace, I rest my plea
Plenteous in compassion Thou
Blot out my transgressions now

Wash me, make me pure within
Cleanse, oh, cleanse me from my sin

My transgressions I confess
Grief and guilt my soul oppress
I have sinned against Thy grace
And provoked Thee to Thy face

I confess Thy judgment just
Speechless, I, Thy mercy trust

I am evil, born in sin
Thou desirest truth within
Thou alone my Savior art
Teach Thy wisdom to my heart

Make me pure, Thy grace bestow
Wash me whiter than the snow

Gracious God, my heart renew
Make my spirit right and true
Thy salvation's joy impart
Steadfast make my willing heart
Steadfast make my willing heart!

Broken, humbled to the dust
By Thy wrath and judgment just
Let my contrite heart rejoice
And in gladness hear Thy voice

From my sins, oh, hide Thy face
Blot them out in boundless grace.
(ooh don't you love that banjo! I used to take lessons.)

Here's how Psalm 51 looks in the Bible:

A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.

5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. 14 Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18 In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

I don't necessarily want to apologize for writing so many "just lyrics" or "just scripture" posts lately, but, if you haven't noticed, I'm pretty stressed and distracted. This song/ scripture is SO GOOD at speaking for me because I am so aware of my sin. yuck. Jesus died on the cross for me today. Ok, this weekend. *sigh*

Romans 8:22-27 says

"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

How blessed we are to have the very spirit of God living in us! I mean, read it again! "We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." The spirit lives within us and knows our thoughts and our hearts. We try to reach out to God but in our humanness can't express ourselves, but God knows what we mean, what we need, because he is within us. And his spirit can "translate" for us... God the Spirit can INTERCEDE for us to himself, God the Father! It blows my mind.

I really understand this passage and I know some of you do too. Up late? Crying in the bathroom? Holding it together in front of the kids? Shocked at the spew coming from your own mouth when you told yourself you weren't going to do it again? I know. He knows. When we can't even put words to our sufferings, he knows. He knows!

Thanks be to God, he forgives me for the sins I committed against him this weekend. I have a new slate to scribble on tomorrow.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear

22 December 2009

Taking a Break

I am feeling pretty overwhelmed by stuff so I will be back after the holiday on Monday.

This is my husband's first Christmas without his dad, who passed away in June, and with the bills mounting and his job search essentially being stalled till after the holiday, we're feeling a tad low...

Enjoy your week and your families! I am praying for you and I'm honored that you would read here.

Remember that Jesus was born so that he could die for our sins when he grew up. That's the reason for the season!

21 December 2009

Awe of God

Beth Moore evidentally had a cancer scare and hysterectomy this past week... I'm going to pray for her- what a warrior! From her blog:

"Anyway, by the time I really began to wake up and have clear thoughts, still sick as a dog, a nurse walked into my hospital room and over to the dry erase marker board across from my bed. She grabbed one of the markers and said, "These are your nurses for today." And, to Amanda's and my complete astonishment, this is what she wrote on the board:

Nurse: Grace
Nurse's assistant: Mercy

At that moment, I knew I wasn't just there to meet with an oncologist. I was there to meet with God."

18 December 2009

Let Us Pray

People to Keep in our Prayers

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
President Barack Obama
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Let me offer a long quote from "Just How Pro-Choice is America, Really?" It encapsulates a lot of what is going on, not just in this essay, but in the larger culture. NARAL's Nancy Keenan likes to say that abortion's biggest defenders right now are a "menopausal militia"--a rueful, inspired little joke. These baby-boomers, whose young adulthoods were defined by the fight over the right to choose, will soon be numerically overtaken by a generation of twentysomethings who is more pro-life than any but our senior citizens. As GOP strategists Christopher Blunt and Fred Steeper have pointed out, this group came of age during the partial-birth debate and was the first to grow up with pictures of sonograms on their refrigerators. The major development in reproductive technology during their lifetimes wasn't something that prevented pregnancies but something that created them: IVF. These kids have no idea--none--what it was like to live in a world without abortion rights. ("This generation's knowledge of Roe is like, 'Roe vs. what?'" says Keenan.) And they feel much more strongly about personal responsibility than the generations preceding them: Didn't use birth control? The burden's on you. According to a Gallup poll from July, 60 percent of Americans think abortion should be either illegal or “legal only in a few circumstances.” Only seventeen states pay for the procedure for poor women beyond the standards of the 1977 Hyde Amendment—meaning if the woman’s life is in danger or she’s been the victim of rape or incest. Just two months before the health-care bill’s passage in the House, a Rasmussen poll found that 48 percent of the public didn’t want abortion covered in any government-subsidized health plan, while just 13 percent did."

16 December 2009

My (latest) Favorite Song

Worthy is the
Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to Him who sits on
Heaven's Mercy Seat

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty!
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You!

Jesus, Your Name is Power
Breath, and Living Water
Such a marvelous mystery

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty!
Who was, and is, and is to come!

Phillips, Craig & Dean - Revelation Song
From the album

I think the songs focusing on God's holiness help me to keep my problems in pespective. God didn't fall off his throne when James lost his job. God knows what we need. God is still in charge of every detail!

Holy Holy is HE! Gotta keep that in mind. What's the quote- complaining is like telling God he doesn't know what he's doing? I think of how God answered the complaints of Job and I don't want to be there! I just focus on his holiness and his awesome power and his creation and I am silenced.

14 December 2009





He is jealous for me

Loves like a hurricane
I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy

When all of a sudden-
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by Glory
And I realize just how beautiful you are
and how great your affections are for me...

And oh, how he loves us!
Oh how he loves us-
how he loves us so!

That's a song you probably heard on the radio by the David Crowder Band (I think his video is a little creepy. Here's an awesome one by Kim Walker. She has a delicious raspy voice and when she's not singing, as the music swells, she's praising God while her mic is down. Beautiful.)

Here's an old You Tube video that demonstrates how he loves us. What he takes on himself for us: our sins, our bad choices. We can't get to him! He had to come to us!

11 December 2009

Psalm 16: 5-9

Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure.

10 December 2009

Good Comfort

My aunt, a dear Titus 2 woman, read this recently in Beside Still Waters and forwarded it to me today. James was supposed to interview today, but it was mis-scheduled and isn't today after all. *sigh*

God has a motive! His thoughts are working to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11) All things are working together for good for those who are called according to his purposes (rom. 8:28). We see only the beginning. We spell the alphabet --alpha, beta, gamma...but from alpha to omega, God reads all at once. He knows every letter in the Book of providence. He sees not only what He is doing, but also the final results. God sees your present pain and grief. He also sees the future joys and usefulness that will come from this affliction. He observes not only the plow tearing the soil, but also a golden harvest clothing that soil. He sees the consequences of affliction and knows that it will lead to much blessed happiness. Beloved, now are we the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be" (John 3:2) You will never see the Great Artist's masterpiece. You only see the rough marble and mark the chips that fall to the ground. You have felt the edge of his chisel; you know the weight of His hammer. If you could see the glorious image as it will be when He has put the finishing blows to it, you would better understand the chisel, the hammer, and the Artist.

Ouch! With my temporal eyes I see only the plow ripping up the soil, the shards of marble on the floor... so glad that God knows the end product. So thankful for those who point me to His plan instead of my problems.

09 December 2009

WAIT some more

Psalm 130:5-7

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.

When I was in the Air Force I did CQ, which is a lame form of watchman- and on a short field exercise, I did mock watch, and even in those small experiences I know what it feels like to wait for morning- for your shift to end. Even as an employee who waits for the end of the workday, the mom who waits for bedtime, we know how hard we wait for things. It is hard to wait for something, and you especially so when you don't know when your watch is over.

UNFAILING LOVE- what do we all want most of all? Unfailing unconditional, totally committed love. And only with the Lord can we find it.

"Oh the comfort- the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person- having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff & grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take & sift them, keep what is worth keeping & then with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away." Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1866)

Redemption- REDEEM-(Websters)

1 a : to buy back : repurchase
b : to get or win back

2 : to free from what distresses or harms: as
a : to free from captivity by payment of ransom
b : to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental
c : to release from blame or debt : clear
d : to free from the consequences of sin

3 : to change for the better : reform

4 :repair, restore

5 a : to free from a lien by payment of an amount secured thereby
b (1) : to remove the obligation of by payment
(2) : to exchange for something of value
c : to make good : fulfill

6 a : to atone for : expiate
b (1) : to offset the bad effect of
(2) : to make worthwhile : retrieve

synonyms see: rescue

07 December 2009

Take Heart!

Psalm 22:14

I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has tuned to wax;
it has melted away within me.

Psalm 31:11, 14-17, 19-24

I am the utter contempt of all my neighbors;
I am a dread to my friends-
those who see me on the street flee from me.

But I trust in you, O Lord,
I say, "You are my God."
My times are in your hands...

Let your face shine on your servant
save me in your unfailing love.
Let me not be put to shame O Lord,
for I have cried out to you...

How great is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you,
which you bestow in the sight of men
on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from the intrigues of men;
in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues.

Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed his wonderful love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
In my alarm I said,
"I am cut off from your sight!"
Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.

Love the Lord, all his saints!
The Lord preserves the faithful,
but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.

05 December 2009

No Reply

Psalm 38:8-11, 14-18, 21, 22

I am feeble and uttlerly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart.

All my longings lie open before you, O Lord;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes.
My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds
my neighbors stay far away.

I have become like a man who does not hear,
whose mouth can offer no reply!
I wait for you, O Lord,
you will answer, O Lord my God.
For I said, "Do not let them gloat
or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips."

For I am about to fall,
and my pain is ever with me.
I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin.

O Lord, do not forsake me;
be not far from me, O my God.
Come quickly to help me,
O Lord my Savior.

04 December 2009

Psalm 13

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord
for he has been good to me!

Seems Simple...

So in the comments the other day (I loo-ve your comments!) I got this question:


Regina said...
What exactly qualifies a person as a "non-believer?"

December 2, 2009 11:16 AM

After alot of thought, I think it comes down to the sufficiency of Christ's death- if you don't believe in that, then I would say you were a non-believer.

So, you don't put your faith in these things:

1. being a good person
2. being better than people you know
3. attending church regularly
4. baptism as an infant
5. going to a holy land
6. doing what is right
7. saying penance
8. following rules
9. knowing the right people
10. looking like you have it together
11. having a degree, the right car, 2.4 kids...
12. Jesus on a wall or tortilla
13. the latest Mormon prophet
14. knowing a lot about the Bible
15. having grown up in a Christian household

I grew up attending a Catholic Church. I was confirmed as a teen and went on three Catholic missions trips. This is the instructions I recall: Take confession. Take Communion. Go to church. Get the Sacraments. Do your Penance. Mary isn't god, but she goes up to God (he's really busy) and tries to get you an in with your prayer request. Jesus is the dying guy on the cross covered in blood- God's son. Pray to the saint of the left foot when you lose your keys. No, that last one is wrong.

In the Catholic church, I don't remember being taught: that I was sinful. That I should compare myself only to Christ. That you could know Jesus. That the Bible said Christ is the only mediator.
I was trying to pinpoint what makes me a believer. It's not that I go to a church that has a projector screen or that I listen to a Christian music radio station. It's not that I wear a cross instead of a crucifix. It's not so many things, but what it boils down to is that I came to know that when God looks at me, he sees the blood of Christ covering me, and like the Hebrew homes at the first Passover, he recognizes the one with faith in the blood- it doesn't make sense, but you have faith.

Here's a page of wonderful quotes about the fairness of God's exclusivity, far better than I could construct.