Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Father, I know that all my life is portioned out for me;
The changes that are sure to come, I do not fear to see:
I ask Thee for a present mind, intent on pleasing Thee.

I would not have the restless will that hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do, or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child and guided where I go.

I ask Thee for the daily strength, to none that ask denied,
A mind to blend with outward life, while keeping at Thy side,
Content to fill a little space, if Thou be glorified.

In service which Thy will appoints there are no bonds for me;
My secret heart is taught the truth that makes Thy children free;
A life of self-renouncing love is one of liberty.

Anna L. Waring

Friday, March 22, 2013

In the Depths of the Earth

   The old mill house was situated beneath the mossy rocks of a ridge that guarded the stream as it frolicked and laughed it's way through the valley. Water seeped out of the hillside, and dripped continuously down until the earth consumed it again. Hidden by the trees, a yawning entrance to a cave waited expectantly for an adventurous soul to explore it's depths. The grass was lush, ferns abounded, and moss reached with feathery fingers to encircle the trees. If a person had a healthy helping of curiosity they might follow the ruined aqueduct that ran alongside the creek; or, drawn on by the enriching beauty of the shy flowers at their feet, or the song of the water, they would find the origins of this happy little burn. Yet, not the beginnings, for those remain a mystery to me still. There stands an opening to a great cavern, the pool just inside pouring its cool waters into the swimming hole below. Sunlight, no matter how bright, can only penetrate so far. This is where the healthy helping of curiosity must be a hearty one if any were to discover to the full the mysteries that dwell in caves. Lofty corridors and constricting passages led and misled. Stalactites drip, dripped onto the expectant stalagmites, ever growing in silent agreement to a closer union. The bats were furry, and the spiders were large. I cannot inform you of the texture of the spiders, as we didn't pet them. Hidden chambers were guarded by impossible entrances; some perched above sheer waterfalls, others behind narrow, misshapen doorways. Four hours of exploration brought us to a room with terraced pools and a mountain of slippery and shifting rock that glowed as though with moonlight. It was a frightening climb as we were tired, wet and one misstep could have killed. Worn out, broken ropes taunted, as if they could tell of some unfortunate guest's past demise. The light strengthened into daylight and we broke out into the cold sunshine and wind of the world we knew. 

 The impossible "doorway" that I got stuck in.

The hidden entrance
(And what we looked like afterwards. My jeans used to be blue.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Forget Not Hospitality

"Through the ministry of hospitality, we share our most prized possessions. We share our family, home, finances, food, privacy, and time. Indeed, we share our very lives. So, hospitality is always costly.Through the ministry of hospitality, we provide friendship, acceptance, fellowship, refreshment, comfort, and love in one of the richest and deepest ways possible for humans to understand. Unless we open the doors of our homes to one another, the reality of the local church as a close-knit family of loving brothers and sisters is only a theory."

~ Alexander Strauch, The Hospitality Commands

   Hospitality is an expressly tangible way to show the brotherly love that is paramount in the Christian life. It is a gift to others, a ministry of mercy to the lonely and the lost, and a mainstay that supports the work of the Lord. Furthermore, after the loving service care and raising of ones own children in the ways of the Lord, I can think of no other ministry of greater importance or more fitting for a woman to embrace as her own calling. It not only augments any efforts to reach out to others, but it in turn supplements the training of children, and can bolster and extend the work and effect of the husband's ministry. A virtue of such importance needs to be developed and continually refined.