Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 20 of 40 - The Half Way Mark

Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God. ~Andrew Murray

Walking and talking with God without solid food makes for an interesting, rather insightful, journey. I am one to often see things from a different perspective than most anyway, however sometimes it is more difficult to detach my emotions and see it all from a third person viewpoint, better yet from God's viewpoint. Fasting seems to make that easier.

I have said many times before, so I apologize to those of you who read my blog all along and probably will roll their eyes with the thoughts of there she goes again, but I am in agreement with Dallas Willard and others when he writes that Jesus wanted us to understand that we are living in God's kingdom and we should to see all from that perspective. God's kingdom, our eternity, is not something that we enter upon death like a vacation spot to which we have been working to go, but what we have begun already living.

Dieter Zander stated, "Then I read Dallas's book The Divine Conspiracy. It dawned on me—Jesus said the kingdom of God is at hand. It's now. It's here. God's presence is among us, and we can experience the reality of his kingdom before we die. It wasn't just a brochure anymore. It was an epiphany for me."

I wondered, still wonder, if I will make it through all forty days of this fast, but then I also think how little of a sacrifice this really is when I see it from the kingdom perspective. I have no answers yet for which the church body is seeking, I seek those answers too, but they have are not the priority in my prayers. I am doing this not for myself and not for my church as to what we should do in the future, but for each individual of my church and some others God has brought up to me. The only question I have been asking myself of late is do I love each one of them enough to make this sacrifice for them for twenty more days.

Probably most people made the commitment to fasting from the unnecessary things of their lives, the things we could have lived without all along. It is good to strip those things out of our lifestyle for forty days, so we can see just how unnecessary they are...but when you do that as well give up something as necessary to life as food...well, all I can say is that it saddens me that people miss out on the fullness of the blessing.

I am thinking of the parable of the talents right now—actually, God has been placing that before quite a bit—He seems to be telling me that He is giving not so much according to needs, but according to how much He can trust with each person and how generous they will be with what He has given each one. This speaks to me personally so much. I am, have been, the one who would bury the one talent, not take the risk of losing it, but wanting the reward He would give to the one who had the most and risked the most.

I am not walking around in the wilderness alone with my only needs being to find places to rest and pray and drink as Jesus did. I have my child for which I must care and other obligations so I opted for fasting solid food only, having raw milk and juices as I needed to have the energy to what is necessary, so even my sacrifice is not as complete as it could be. I still feel the physical effects of the fast though. Because I only have so much energy to expend and because my mind and heart is more focused on praying, I have found that I tend to ration the activities of my day, giving attention to only the things that are more necessary. Fasting truly helps one to restructure priorities. I am not judging those who fasted less important things—no, not at all!—what each fasted is between him or her and God. However, I am feeling sorry for some because many have not ever fasted food even for a day or one meal a day for a short time and just believed they could not do it.

My husband has said that what people do not see when they enter a fast is not so much that it will change circumstances (although that does happen), but that it changes the person—I would say they see things from the perspective of the kingdom more. Things have been certainly been changing in me. Since our new pastor settled in, I have been feeling quite a bit of nudging from the Lord and I am quite ashamed that He has had to nudge me so much before I would act on it. I am to use the talents I have in His service and not hide them as I have been.

I have even felt the need to change in how I homeschool. It has been changing gradually this past two years, but this year I am going to go with my first love on that. I am letting go of the "school" and immersing into the living books approach as I wanted to do and felt led to do. Things are changing in our home life also and at this point I am not so sure we will be turning the TV service back on...well, not until after that time of year I dread the most (Halloween), at least.

~ My Lord, twenty more part of me feels that because I have already done twenty days, I can do twenty more, no problem, and the other part feels like having done twenty, I am not sure I can do twenty more. I know all things are possible through You and I know that You are opening my heart. I love You enough to do it, but I questioned if I loved each of the church members to do it for them and You have shown me how to love them, to see them as You see them, with all their sins washed away. They are all so beautiful, Lord. Thank you for that. ~

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Comforting Thoughts

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. My God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest.
~Psalms 22:1-2 (NASB)

Do you ever feel like God has an answer for everything? Today is the 17th day of the fasting for my church and for the last two weeks the Lord has been silent. The only message a few have received is "wait." It feels like we are wandering in the desert. The Promise Land is close enough, but we are not ready to enter it.

This morning I read that the oil in the Gulf is disappearing: Mighty oil-eating microbes help clean up the Gulf. There are several theories, like it is settling down on the ocean floor and will cause even greater damage there. However, I am inclined to believe the oil-eating microbes provided by our Wondrous Creature are doing what He created them to do. Isn't this amazing!

We are such an arrogant people to think we are in control of everything on the earth. Oil leaches into the ocean naturally in many places and never causes problems. Granted this one was gushing an unbelievable amount of oil, but certainly God provided what the earth needed to sustain itself even in our arrogance and carelessness. I find that very comforting.

Disasters will happen and we should have the desire to help people in their times of need, but the natural forces of the earth have their own remedies. God planned it that way. God planned it all. He made plans for each of us before we were born. I feel so wrapped up in His loving arms at this moment.

I am not really concerned about where my church will be worshiping in the future. The future of our church is the focus of our fasting, but while others are concerned about finances and numbers, I have been led to pray about each individual member. I have felt the Lord telling me that we must grow inwardly before we are ready to grow outwardly. Perhaps that is why He has become silent. He is giving us the time to seek Him and to grow more faithful even when we do not hear or feel Him.

As if it was in the Lord's plan, I got a bit behind in my daily reading of The Purpose Driven Life, but last night I read about how we are to persevere even when God seems to have pulled back from us, which really does not happen for He said He would never forsake us. David certainly felt forsaken many times and expressed his feeling openly to the Lord. Have you ever had a friend be that honest with you? It just makes you feel much closer to the person, doesn't it? I think God appreciates that honesty also. Perhaps we have not been spiritually reliant on and emotionally honest with God, so we must wait...wait not for His answer, but wait until we are ready.

My Lord, you know what is in the heart of each church member. Please let this be a time of preparing and humbling so that we are ready to receive and act on Your plans

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Double Whammy

If you have only one child, then you're not really a parent... ~Bill Cosby

Content and smart enough to pretend to be sleeping by not moving a muscle, while laying on her napping daddy, this is my only child at five months...and she is still an only child. On top of not having real parents and siblings...Gasp! Deprived of public school, too! How will this child ever be socially fit?

Public school is staring in just two weeks in my county. I enjoy shopping back to school sales and some stores even give homeschooling parents a teacher's discount. It is wonderful! It is even more fun when I hear distraught parents struggling to find every item on the list of things needed for each grade, while their children are adding their own unnecessary objects into the carts. However, I am so stocked up from the great sales I got while in Florida two years ago and a few things I get here and there while on sale, I only needed more dry erase markers for now. Still, I looked around just to see if there was anything I could use at a price that was irresistible and, oddly, I found the aisles pretty bare...not of items but of people.

I could not find my dry erase markers that had just gone on sale that day, but about ten minutes after making an inquiry, a store clerk emerged with a box full. Apparently, someone had forgotten to pull them out of the stock room. Happily, I approached the cashier, a young woman, perhaps just out of high school. After she saw my teacher's card, she asked at which school did I teach. "Home," said I. She fumbled for words but eventually asked, "Are you ever going to put her in school?" I replied, "I have yet to find a reason why I should." It was a courteous conversation, but I could see the disapproval in her eyes. No matter.

Not only do I homeschool, which raises concerns with socialization, but I have an only child...and there is the double whammy!

Now I have never had any grief about homeschooling itself from my family, that being my aunt and uncle, the Princess' God-parents (my cousin and his wife), and my husband's parents. In general, my aunt and in-laws favor it. The God-parents do not, in general, but then my cousin did tell me how impressed he was with the Princess and that I was doing a good job as we were leaving from our last visit. Still, concerns about the Princess being an only child and perhaps not being exposed to a variety of social encounters has been discussed upon occasion.

In all fairness, her God-parents are garage managers at different places, who have between them hired at least one homeschooler to work under them (there may have been more, but I am fuzzy on those details). It was said that he not seem to fit in as well with his fellow workers and they associated that with him being sheltered. At one time, I sold fasteners (various screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) to garages, so I well know the typical mindset and talk of the majority of mechanics and, frankly, I would be happy if my child did not really fit in as long as he was polite and got along with everyone well enough to do the job well.

The last time we visited my aunt, uncle, and cousins, as they all live in the same house together, the Princess did not have another child with which to play. They live in the country surrounded by corn fields, so when she had nothing to do, she sometimes would go picking out rocks in the driveway. (She just has a thing for rocks, still does, and picks special ones all over the place, including the driveway at our church nearly every Sunday.) She also practically attached herself to her God-mother, who loves to give children lots of attention and free reign.

I think they got the wrong impression about her just sitting with the rocks, making piles of the ones she liked most, because later it was said to me, through my aunt, that her God-mother felt she was lonely, in a manner that suggested this was a common state for the child. I guess other contributions could have been how my daughter practically attached herself to her God-mother every time she came in the door and that she could talk non-stop whenever she had a listening ear. Well, I can understand why she would see the Princess in that way under the circumstances. She was a bit lonely; corn surrounded us with no other child in sight.

Does my daughter get lonely? Yes. Who doesn't at times? But, she will begin drawing or reading or begin some grand project or play with her babies or look for rocks. She really could not do some things she would do at home there, she was out of her normal environment and did not have all of her toys. Yet, she does not sit around moping; she has learned to entertain herself with what she has available, even using her gifts to express herself, in healthy, creative ways.

G. Stanley Hall stated "Being an only child is a disease in itself." Yes, there does seem to be a sentiment in society that an only child is socially diseased as if siblings are necessary in life or that the child must be lonely, or selfish and spoiled. Well, here is a recent article of interest: The Only Child: Debunking the Myths. Credible research recently has shown that only children seem to have no apparent markers in traits other than being similar to first-borns and like first-borns they test higher and seem to be more intelligent. I would say that at times my only child is a mixture of a first born and the baby of the family...on steroids, but I think that part of it is because she is artistic and very expressive.

Another thing people tend to think is that attention is lavished on the only child. Yes, I admit that I do give more attention to her than I would if I had more children, but perhaps that is how God wanted her to be raised. Abraham only had Issac through whom God made His promise. The child himself was a gift from God quite late in life so I am sure Isaac received more attention and was considered special. However, more attention does not equate to being spoiled either.

Then there is the fact that we only have one car also. That alone is a limitation, but the lack of funds for a second car are also why we do not have the funds to go out much too. As I have written before, the Lord has told me not to join a homeschool group at this time, but we will be rejoining the 4-H Horse and Pony Club in September.

In the end, I just told my aunt that I used to be concerned about all this myself, but I have since learned to trust the Lord for such things. He brings to the Princess what she truly needs as it is His will to do so. I have seen that happen many times. My aunt is a woman of great faith; I am hoping this will bring peace to her.

At least, I am at peace with it.

~ My Lord, thank you for the peace You have given me in regards this soul You have placed in my care. I trust You will provide what she needs in every way and I pray that You give others who care so much for her that same peace.~

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Two Boo-boos

As long as the world is turning and spinning, we're gonna be dizzy and we're gonna make mistakes. ~Mel Brooks

Boo-boo #1

Yesterday, a friend asked the Princess to play at her house, so I watched the Princess riding her bike down the hill towards her friend's house, thinking that she would be pretty safe after she got to the bottom of the hill...mothers can be wrong! I watched the handlebars quickly jerk twice from one side to the other before the Princess fell. She was not that far away, but it is amazing how far it felt before I could get to her. I asked the friend to get my husband, who was working at home.

There were scrapes on her hands, near an elbow, on one knee, and something barely noticeable on a leg, but what she complained most about was her foot. Although I was not close enough to see, from the way she fell, I believe she hit her foot on the bike. We brought her home to clean up and examine her. I prayed about the foot and was sure it was not broken, but my husband suggested we get concrete proof. The problem was our chiropractor was on vacation and we are not ones to go the convention route with health care unless really necessary. So, we went to the chiropractor covering for ours while he was away. We got our x-rays, no bones appear broken and he used the tuning fork test, which would vibrate a broken bone and cause a great deal of pain, but otherwise is harmless.

Although limping, she went to the Atlanta Braves baseball game, her first time, with her father and other church members that evening. She saw fireworks and stayed up late, two things she loves to do. This morning she is still limping a bit, but not as much.

Boo-boo #2

My husband had the new church sign printed out on regular paper to present to the church board as you may recall in A New Church Sign? Maybe. Well, it was approved and on Tuesday he then stayed very late at the office to print it on a inflexible corrugated plastic, but he had to print it in halves. He did not really like having it done that way. He really wanted it on vinyl to stretch over the existing sign.

I was looking at the sign and then I realized I had made a mistake in the morning service time. Now the funny part is that just about everyone in my church has seen this sign, certainly all the board members and most of the department heads, which is probably half of the church, but no one caught this error. I am thinking that everyone was so dazzled by the lion and the sunburst, no one even bothered with the services times! That is for what I was hoping as the initial response, but maybe I went a tad overboard...?

We considered leaving it as the worst would be people came fifteen minutes earlier for worship service. Still, I was sick about it thinking my husband may not get the opportunity to print the two signs again, but he saw it as an opportunity to have it done on vinyl as he really wanted...and so it was done. Today, after realizing we needed two 2in X 4in X 8ft in lumber adding 45 minutes to get them, and with a brand new drill that was working just fine, but stopped about halfway through the job so all had to be hand screwed, and this as the clouds were no longer just threatening but actually following through with rain, we hung the new church sign. It is up! We need to repaint the poles and supports, but that can be done later, when it isn't raining.

Was it worth all that?
Let me just say, NO ONE is going to be traveling on that road and miss it! Wow!

~ Thank you, my Lord for protecting my daughter so that her injury was minor and thank you for opening my eyes to my own mistake and providing that it could be fixed. Please bless our efforts to make our church more visible. ~

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Surrendering

After surrender – what? The whole of the life after surrender is an aspiration for unbroken communion with God. ~Oswald Chambers

About twenty years ago, something in my spiritual being changed... dramatically. Although I have forgotten the date, I have never forgotten the moment. I had always thought that accepting Jesus was all one absolutely had to do to secure salvation (I was rather young when I did this), but then, I realized those who only get that far often miss out on perfecting discipleship; that developing of a relationship with God. Most every church supports an ideology of getting to know God better through teaching, study, and prayer, but I believe what I experienced in that moment was beyond that.

I could go into all the particulars that led up to that moment, but they are not really that important to the message I wish to share now. I was ending a twelve-day fast—I suppose I need to stop here to explain that the number twelve has significance. It is often thought to stand for kingdom or government perfection, but I tend to think it is more symbolic of spiritual perfection and God used such references to symbolize that, perhaps that will be a discussion for another time.

The twelve-day fast I was ending started out with me asking for guidance on a particular matter, but it ended with me just quite earnestly...surrendering my life to the Lord completely. I just trusted Him so much that whatever He wanted me to do, I was willing to do, because I finally had let go of my own desires and wanted His desires only, and I trusted that whatever purpose He would ask of me, would be one that I desired and would even enjoy. I then felt a very spiritual and also physical change in me.

I have always referred to this as the surrendering to the Holy Spirit. I actually watched a religious program not long after this happened, where a man talked about a similar experience, which he also referred to as surrendering. I have since had some insight of what happened that day. Although I had no one praying over me and it was just a quiet happening in solitude, some Christian sects might call it being baptized in the Holy Spirit. It kind of describes the feeling, but for some reason the term just never set well with me, so I continued to call it the surrendering.

As things went on, we felt called to leave the church we were attending at that time, but we did not know where we were to go, so we prayed about this. In the span of just over a week three people, who did not know each other, suggested that we go the Church of the Nazarene, even though only one of the three actually went to a church of that denomination himself! It was rather odd because most people invite you to their own church, so we took that as a message from God and visited the closest two of the three in our area. We never made it to the third one, because during our visits to the second one, we knew it was to be our home.

However, I really did not learn much about the Nazarene doctrine then. Mostly I knew that they believe in holiness and were an off-shoot of Wesleyan denomination, but I did not learn much about the doctrine itself. When we moved from Florida, there were no Nazarene churches near us and although we did travel 45 minutes to one for about a year, it was just too difficult to be really involved. We then went to a close independent church for a time. Then I felt called to look again for a Nazarene church and found that one was now near enough for us.

It was not until we joined the church we now attend that I heard the term "sanctification" used so often and during a Wednesday night class, after all these years, I finally learned that the Nazarene concept of sanctification was what I had been calling the surrendering. Although I still like my terminology better, I finally realized why God had called us back again to the Nazarene denomination and this particular church as well. It is as close to anything I have found that harmonizes with what the Lord had guided my husband and I to believe and we were sure we are where we are supposed to be.

Even though this is the Nazarene doctrine, just like some church members may know all about the Gospel, but have never asked Jesus into their lives, some members have not yet been sanctified or have surrendered to the Lord. This might sound confusing to many of my fellow Christians and, undoubtedly, some accept Jesus and surrender to the Holy Spirit at the same moment, but most do not.

The difference between the two is accepting Jesus is just that: accepting, acknowledging, and even inviting Him into our hearts, but the reason we do this often is because we wish to be saved from impending doom. It is our selfishness, the desire to save ourselves, that we do this, for surely heaven sounds to be a better place to live eternity than hell. We may know about Jesus, but until we accept Him, we really have not gotten to know Him.

Then there is discipleship, when we strive to be like Jesus, when we really begin to know Him, when we begin to seek the will of the Lord personally, and when we stop praying at God only and actually listen for His words as He speaks back to us. At some point during this discipleship, which is ongoing until we pass on from this life, there should come a time when a person actually is in complete surrender to the Holy Spirit, that aspect of God that actually cohabitates with the spirit of the believer. At that moment, the selfish urgings that first brought us to the Lord take a back seat to our desire to surrender entirely to Him and we finally experience true self-sacrifice.

Unfortunately, many Christians do not reach this level in their spiritual walk. They are still on milk and not yet ready for the meat. I am saddened by this as they miss out on so much. Those who have surrendered will understand, those who have not, will not, just as believers understand what unbelievers cannot. In the end, I can only explain there is more and urge you to seek it praying to the Lord that He prepare you, so you will not try to accept it from Him, but that you will surrender to Him...have you done this yet?

My Lord, thank you for guiding all these years, for covering me with Your Grace when I did not seek You first, and for placing the desire for me to seek You. You have shown me a list of people who have not yet surrendered to the Holy Spirit, so that I may pray for them during this 40-day fast. I ask that You give each one the desire to surrender, to be closer to You than they have ever been.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

40 Days of Fasting

Fasting is one way of seeking and finding the actual kingdom of God present and active in our lives. And because we are then more immersed in the reality of the kingdom, practically utilizing the "keys," our lives take on the character and power of Jesus. This will assure us that our work is his work and that he is working. Though we act, and work hard, it is after all not our battle and the outcome is in his hands. ~Dallas Willard

This is day three and day three is always the toughest day for me with fasting. I have fasted often in my life, but the longest fast was something like fifteen days I think. Yes, I did just come off a fast for seven days just two weeks ago (Prayful Fasting for My Church) as I was called to do and I would not be fasting now so soon afterward if I have been called to do so again. The previous fast was for my church about each person's financial situation, but there was more.

The Lord showed me another vision towards the end of my fast. This one was of a pole of gigantic proportions in a giant hand plunging it into the ground on our church property down into solid rock. It was firmly planted and unmovable. I did not get the feeling it was about keeping the property or building a new building, but rather that our church will stand firm wherever we end up worshiping.

There was also another message, one that came from a dear blogging friend, who felt led to pray about my church even though she is from half way around the world. This message was Ecclesiastes 11:1. Caste your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. She also wrote that she had a sense God wished the church to be generous with the blessings He is bestowing. IS bestowing! I felt that our two jobless members would be getting jobs soon, and one has. Tonight another told us she had applied for another job so that she could give more to the church and she not only got the job, but God answered every prayer she had about the job in the most amazing ways! In addition, I feel that everyone is well placed in our church, each according to his gifts, probably better than ever before.

However, all this came with an...IF. The "if" was that the people would be willing to honor and sacrifice to the Lord. What that would be was the part I personally was not given, but it was given to another.

During my seven day fast, without anyone knowing I was fasting, our pastor also felt a calling to fast. A fast that the entire church would be asked to do...not for a day or two but for forty days. Not everyone can do a food fast for forty days due to medical reasons, but they were asked to fast in some way and spend extra prayer time seeking the Lord's will with our church. We have added a prayer time at our church on Wednesday evenings and before Sunday services.

My husband and I have chosen not to eat solid food for our fast and usually we have this agreement that we do not fast at the same time. (If you have ever fasted for a time you might understand why. Let's just say it is very challenging, at times, not to be just a bit...grumpy.) However when called by the Lord, we just do what we are to do. We both did not feel led to do a water only fast, but mostly water only supplementing with small amounts of raw milk and/or raw juices as needed; usually just four ounces in a day is just enough to get by. The Princess has chosen to fast sweets and desserts. She wanted to try one meal a day and we agreed to let her do that for a week, but when dinner time hunger gripped her tummy, she reconsidered. She is young, her time will come. We also have the TV service off, but we do watch a DVD every few days. We have the first seasons of The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, The Andy Griffith Show and when we have the time, which is rare, we may choose a movie.

During this forty days I decided to finally do The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren that has been in want of some page turning since my husband read it...perhaps seven years ago?

In the meantime, I had been receiving another message over and over: A sermon from our pastor and then one on the radio about taking ownership. How the Israelites were not willing to take ownership of the land God had given them and the blessings He gave when they finally were willing to take ownership. I don't know if that was for the whole church, but I am sure that one spoke to me.

I have been purposely trying to be a wallflower in the four churches we attended since we moved to Georgia. We are not a church hoppers, we just try to go were we are led to go, but regardless of where we went, I have tried to stay in the shadows with the gifts the Lord has given me. Part of me felt I was being humble, part of me was unsure, part of me felt I needed to learn temperance, but another part of me also knew there would be a time I would need to be willing to step out and do my part in the Lord's work openly.

I felt led to offer my testimony regarding my last fast and all that I have written here about the messages and visions the Lord had given to me. It is not like I have never shared such things with individuals, but the Lord wanted me to do this in front of all the people in my church. I offered this to our pastor and he ask me to wait two weeks when he would be calling for the fast. I thought about what I would say, prayed about it, then asked the Lord to give me what He would have me say, which I should have done first.

You know, I used to lecture, act, and even sing in front of crowds. I rarely get stage fright and there were only twenty-four people, including the children, in our church that day, all of whom I have known for quite awhile, but standing up in front of them and telling them what I felt was a message to us all from the Lord...that was an entirely different experience! I so have a new appreciation for pastors and the unbelievable responsibility they have to give the message God wanted the people of that church to be given that day.

As in awe as I was and still am—For who am I to give messages from the Lord and what if I these messages were from my own hopes and not really from the Lord? Who would ever trust or believe me after that?—there is something in me that is at peace, that it is all part of the plan and that God is preparing all the people in our church for the people He is preparing to come to our church.

The thing that amazes me the most is that when I look at the circumstances from the world's point of view, things look pretty disheartening for our little church, but fasting does have a way of helping me see things from the perspective within God's kingdom. When I am there, I feel joy and anticipation for our church; I just feel something exciting is going to happen, but I do not know what...yet.

My Lord, thank you for our church, and for hearing and answering our prayers. Please let us hear You clearly and have courage to do what You what You wish us to do.

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Church Sign? Maybe.

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. ~Henry Ward Beecher

I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I have been spending my computer time creating a new website for my church, a new logo, and a new design for the outside sign. It is just taking all the time I have to do them. It seems I am the only person in my church with real website experience and some graphics designing, so I have been really, really busy.

When we had the yard sale a few weeks ago, many people who came told us that they did not realize that our little house was actually a church. The sign is back from the road and we are on the inside of a curve in the road with a thick woods to the side and behind us. The sign although large enough, just does not stand out. This resulted in a push for a new outside sign. We want something that grabs attention to itself without being in poor taste...something that everyone will remember after they pass it...something that really draws attention to the sign so they will read the words indicating there is a church here.

I got this crazy idea of using a lion on the sign with a bright sunburst background, which my husband will have printed out on a media that will be stretched over the existing sign, much like they do billboards now days. My husband is on the service end of such printers, so it is possible to do a multicolored sign like this. The lion, I hope, would be associated with the Lion of Judah or even Aslan in Narnia to the little children, but mostly it was meant to just grab people's attention.

My husband and I played with ideas, but when it came to actually making it...well, all he would say when he came home from a trip for work is it was not what we originally discussed, meaning he was not impressed with what I had to show him. I had been working on this for four days and he is right, it is not what we originally discussed. What we originally discussed was a bit more subdued sunburst background with the cross on a hill, but...I thought this design met our criteria much better. The colors are eye-catching, the design leads the eye from the lion to the new logo and then down to the services info. No one can pass this sign and not see it. Sigh!

There is a church board meeting tomorrow and they have to approve it and my husband is one of the members, but I think he is warming up to the design now. Still, I wonder if I should go back to the drawing board and start over. It is not like I have a staff of people so we can offer several different designs from which they can choose. I may be able to do another one or two, but it may take another week or two away from working on the website. (The link to the website has not been transferred to the new one yet, but I will let you know when it is ready for viewing. Right now it goes to the previous website, which is outdated.)

Anyway, here is a preview and please consider that this sign is 6'h x 8'w with two sides set to at an angle towards 45-55 mph oncoming traffic from both ways. You can be brutally honest with you opinions...well, not too brutal, as I have been working on this for five days and I am mentally fragile right now. Would this grab your attention?

At this point, I think I am getting burned out on it all. I was eager to do these things and I want to do them, but every time I think about how much more that needs to be done now...I want to just cry. This is what happens with me and you would think a woman nearly 50 years old would learn not to do this, but I have not apparently because I am doing it yet again. I throw myself into a project, obsess over it, and let it consume me completely. I suppose it is something most good artists and researchers tend to do——not that I am particularly brilliant at either but they seem to be the things I do the most so I can at least understand the madness such people can portray. Perhaps people see that madness in me and I am ignorant of it because it seems normal...? I just have to remember that to break it all down into small pieces, so that each of itself is an accomplishment when completed. You really would think I have had enough practice in my life to do this as a matter of habit by now,

~ My Lord, when I get to the point I don't even know for what to pray, I know that I have gone too far into a project. Perhaps I have not sought Your will on what You want, perhaps I am afraid that I have done it all on my own accord and not Yours, perhaps I fear having to start all over, but in my heart I would rather do as You wish for me to do even if I have to start over. Please, my Lord, let always Your will be done and not my own. ~