Thursday, July 31, 2008


today on heartlight

Years ago in the days of small children in diapers, car seats, sippy cups, and pacifiers, I learned a valuable lesson of forgiveness. It was one of those ridiculously busy times in our life. My husband was drowning in work and church obligations and I was going stir crazy with the little ones at home and had my own share of church obligations.

In the middle of one of those weeks, we were trying to all get out the door for our mid-week service at church. Of course, at church, we all had what seemed to be 437 different obligations, and my husband had a meeting after church. I was still rushing to finish cleaning up from dinner so I asked him to go ahead and take the kids to church since we needed two separate cars there anyway. I thoroughly enjoyed a few kid-free moments and took my time finishing up.

I wandered up to church and stopped and visited with some friends in the hall. As I was passing the classroom where my younger child should have been in class, I quizzed a dad standing outside the class, "He's in there, right?" He seemed baffled, "No, I saw your daughter and her friend taking your son upstairs." Well, that's weird. Maybe I should go check on that.

I climbed the stairs and began walking the hall. The first classroom I came to had the lights on – and one very dejected almost-two-year old alone in the room. It was the classroom he attended on Sunday nights. It was Wednesday. I can still see his chubby little cheeks and sad eyes that must have wondered what in heaven's name he had done to be left alone for Bible class. I got him all squared away where he should have been, and tried to go on with my evening.

But I was angry. Actually, I was FURIOUS. Knowing it would be a very long time before I had an opportunity to talk to my husband, I did a very thoughtless thing. I went to the door of the room where he was in Bible class and asked him to meet me in the hall. When he got there, I unleashed with both barrels about how I couldn't believe he would let our 3 1/2 year old take our 1 1/2 year old to class and not CHECK that all were where they should be. Strangely (or not) he didn't respond very well to that particular approach at conflict resolution. He failed to apologize, muttered something about "Well, that's just one more thing I've messed up lately!" and stormed off.

Fine. I finished all I needed to and took the kids home. I got them all tucked in bed and collapsed on my bed. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I KNEW that the Lord would want me to forgive and I hoped my will would roll out of my head with the tears rolling down my cheeks.
However, stubborn soul that I am, I really thought I had a fairly good argument for NOT forgiving: "Lord, I have felt ignored and cast aside from him lately. I can forgive that. But, Father, that is my baby boy. He ignored him. I vow to you, Father, that I will honor my vow to you and my husband. I will not leave him, but, Lord, I don't think I can ever forgive him. It's my baby boy!"

As the sobs quieted and the words of rage finally left my body, I heard it. No, there was no audible voice in my room. But words came into my head. Words that were not at all in line with my will, but His word: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)

I gasped and cried some more. For His message was clear to me at that moment: "That was MY baby boy. If I can forgive YOU for all the things you have done to put him on that cross, you can certainly forgive the man you love for something your baby boy will never remember."
I was humbled, repentant, and sorrowful. With a few words the Lord reminded me of His holiness and my humanness. How could I possibly be so unforgiving of another human when the Lord of the universe was willing to watch His own baby boy suffer and die to forgive me for everything – every thoughtless sin, every willful sin, sins he knew I would commit later, all of them!

I wish I could say that was the last time I have ever been tempted to draw a line in the sand and tell God, "I will love this person, but I will NOT forgive them." I still have those fleeting thoughts, but they are just that – fleeting. I can be incredibly stubborn and a generally slow learner about life lessons, but it's hard to ignore or forget being reprimanded by the Lord of heaven and earth! "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you" (Matthew 6:14).

Interview with William P. Young, the author of the Shack

Yesterday was the blogger's phone conference with William P. Young, the author of The Shack. The way it worked was; 10 bloggers were asked to submit questions for Mr. Young, who goes by Paul, not William. Then the coordinator organized a schedule of who would ask their question when. Each of us were given a phone number where we would call and punch in a code number that would enter us into a huge conference call. We could hear each other speak. It was very well organized and so much fun to be a part of. There will be a link to hear the call yourself and when I get that I will post it.
My question was first, thanks to Jana B. for suggesting it. Where did the inspiration come from for heaven and the garden of your soul? Mr. Young responded that over the centuries garden's have been used in literature to represent the soul...he took his inspiration from past literature.
Some tidbits of info I learned yesterday. The first printing for The Shack was for 15 copies. Mr. Young's wife had suggested he write a story for his kids that shared with them his thoughts. He wrote this book for them. He has 6 children, gave a book to each child and one to his wife, then others to some close friends. When he started receiving feedback on the book from his friends, they suggested he publish the book. No one would publish it, so together they formed a publishing company and published it themselves. The total advertising budget thus far on The Shack has been $300.
2 million books have been sold.

Mr. Young said that the characters of MacKenzie and Missy were really based mostly on his life. He was abused as a child and he said that he takes Mackenzie on a journey in the Shack that lasts one weekend, but it was based on his journey in his own shack, the place of healing for him which took 11 years.

Mr. Young refers to himself as an accidental author. He would write stories as gifts to people, but never dreamed that he would ever have a published work. He gives all the credit to the Lord, and said that he is happy to follow along and just carry the bags.

The entire interview process was very interesting. Many questions were asked about the controversy of the book, how he chose the name of Sarayu, why he chose to make God a woman. Each answer was articulate and the entire time Mr. Young was speaking of his love for scripture and the love of Christ. Once I get the podcast address I will post it so you can hear the whole interview.

If you haven't read The Shack yet, it is certainly worth your time. I think that I am ready for round 2.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Original Transformer

Who is who in the characature above? Left to right, Donna, Sarah, Judy, Denise and Tammy (me). Thanks again to Jen at Blue Yonder who made our blog beautiful and fun.

On Sunday nights at our church I am in a bible study called "Discerning God's Voice," by Priscilla Shirer. Each video has been exceptional and the homework has been simple but insightful. I love this study. Anyway, last night Priscilla spoke in the video about the importance of seeking God, she called it pressing into Him. As believers we have to ask ourselves do we seek God for what He can give us, our long list of prayer requests, or ultimately do we seek Him to know Him and His character. Priscilla uses an example of how she has 2 brothers. She and her sister would on occasion have girls befriend them with the ultimate reason being they wanted to get to know the brothers. She said those friendships wouldn't last, once the new friends discovered that they couldn't get close to the brothers, the friendship would end. Then Priscilla contrasted that with friends who just wanted to be their friends with nothing in return. Just get to know each other, spend time together, share each others lives. Those are the friendships that last.

I would have to say that the more I get to know God, my prayer list has changed. I just want Him, and I want everyone else to know and want Him too. That makes me want to devour His Word, be in scripture, make it my priority, be open to the Holy Spirit and pray. Priscilla quoted someone last night that said the more you know of God, the clearer His voice is. The bible is full of what God wants us to know about Him, we press into Him. Then it is up to God. For it is He who grows us and transforms us. Seek and ye will find. Knock and the door will be opened. Seek God with all of your heart. He does the transforming, answering, opening and finding. Peace. Out.

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Look!

Y'all! Check us out! Don't we look good?? Special thanks to Jen at blue yonder design for our awesome new look. WE TOLD YOU changes were coming! More on the way, and keep praying!

Monday, July 21, 2008

And a Need...

As Coffee Group continues to forge new ground (for us) we are seeking people (men and women alike) who would commit to being on the Coffee Group Prayer Team. We don't know all that the Lord has in store for us, but we want to be sure to hear where He is taking us! Email me if you would be willing to be a prayer warrior for us -- and we will keep you posted about our prayer needs!

sstirman [at] gmail [dot] com

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Change Is In the Air!

No, it's not the weather. That is hot and dry with a forecast of hot and dry for the next two months or so. No change there. But while the weather isn't doing much exciting, God continues to lead The Coffee Group beyond anything we could have imagined! So, just a tease for now... keep coming by for exciting things!

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