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Bio: Verily Valerie

Valerie is a 42-year-old, single, Reformed Christian lady who lives in Baltimore. She doesn't remember a time before she knew and loved Jesus, but she does remember accepting John Calvin into her heart in March of 2000. Valerie is a member of Christ Reformed Evangelical Church in Annapolis.

Though her career aspiration is to be a housewife, Valerie has not yet found anyone suitable who wishes to hire her for employment in that field (or, more properly, anyone suitable has not found her), so in the meantime she earns her daily bread working in communications -- editing, writing, print design and website management.

valerie [at] kyriosity [dot] com


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Monday, March 31, 2008 AD

Resolution Report: March
My new year's resolutions were to crochet the remaining 52 squares of my mother's bedspread and to do a Bible reading plan. In March I completed 5 squares, bringing the year's total to 15 and the overall total to 95. I also read 73 chapters of Scripture (Job 16-42, Proverbs 1-6, Romans 6-16, 1 Corinthians 1-16, and 2 Corinthians 1-13), but my reading was rather bulimic -- binges and fasts characterized the month. I think there was at least a week straight that I didn't read a word, and a couple days when I read whole books. I need to keep working toward getting things on a more even keel.

I also added another resolution to get my kitchen as clean as reasonably possible before going to bed each night. I cannot express how amazed I am at how well this has gone (but I will proceed to spend several paragraphs in the attempt).

It has been a truly revolutionary transformation for me to have kept and loved this discipline. Housework has always been a tremendous challenge for me, so to have received the grace to accomplish this task every night for over three weeks straight seems like the biggest visible leap forward I've ever experienced in my sanctification. For the record, "as clean as reasonably possible" meant filled to the rafters with dirty dishes after I had guests for dinner this past Saturday, because that was truly all I could manage to do that night. But they're all washed now...they didn't sit there for days or weeks as has happened in the past. And every other night I've spent in my own house, "reasonably possible" has meant all dishes done, counters wiped, floors swept and mopped as needed.

Having the kitchen regularly clean has allowed me to start getting the rest of the house in better shape. The dining room has been pretty consistently tidy, and the living room required minimal decluttering (stowing a few boxes in the bedroom) to be ready for company on Saturday. I also had all the grocery shopping done ahead of time, so I didn't have to exhaust myself by working like a maniac to get ready before my company came. At my past Sabbath feasts I've practically been falling asleep at the table rather than enjoying my guests. This time, I was only as fatigued as I usually am, so aside from a pesky medical problem that was rather distracting, I was, for me, pretty darn perky!

I think somebody must have been praying this for me: "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it."

I am grateful for God's faithfulness in this. I am grateful for my elders, who have pushed me to serve others. I am grateful that in serving others I have learned to work harder than I've ever worked before in domestic pursuits. I am grateful that the Lord seems finally to have flipped the switch and allowed me to apply that diligence in my own home.

Is this a ridiculous thing to be raving on about in this fashion? If it is, then let me be ridiculous, as long as I can publicly praise my Deliverer. I have begged too long for relief from the slough of sloth to be silent now that I seem finally to be escaping its miry manacles. My heavenly Father has been kind to His wayward and undeserving child, and she loves Him for it!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 10:47 PM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

Sunday, March 30, 2008 AD

Jesus Is My Hazmat Suit
My sin is a toxic waste dump. I cannot face it, cannot repent of it, without protection from it. Only by being in Christ, by clothing myself in Him, can I be separated from it and cleansed from it. What beautiful, glorious grace that would take on the task of dealing with all my ugly, wretched sin!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 10:51 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

...How Sweet the Sound (and Taste and Sight and Smell and Touch)
Worship today seemed just about perfect to me. After a dark-hearted and weary-souled fall and a winter of chastisement and repentance, spring has brought renewal and hope in my world. Last night, for the first time in seven months, I had friends over for dinner and fellowship. It was a tremendous blessing to me. Then this morning I felt as if I actually worshiped rather than just going through the motions as I have so many Sundays in recent months. A friend who'd been gone from our fellowship for several months returned today like the prodigal. The exhortation to love the brethren and replace bitterness with tenderheartedness would have battered me just a few weeks ago, but today I could hear it with gratitude, running a mental checklist of relationships and rejoicing that the Lord had smoothed out some bumps and that He's been unclenching my self-protective fists to be able to start giving again rather than just clutching and fighting. The sermon was Glen's usual display of love for Christ and His people, but my heart was more receptive than it's been in a while. During the supper, I looked around the room, delighting in the sight of dear friends. Nathan and I caught each other's eyes and raised our glasses in a "cheers!" gesture as we partook of the joyful feast of the people of God. At the benediction I stepped back a row and put an arm around Karen, and she around me, in our congregation's customary liturgical PDA.

God's amazing grace has been there all along, of course, but today the ears of the deaf were unstopped, the eyes of the blind were opened, the sound and sight and scent and savor were abundant, and I am grateful. And now I'm going to go partake of one other delightful Sabbath sensation -- napping!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 2:17 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 AD

Be Loved by the One You're With
Following up on the last post and comments, here's some wisdom from RCJR in a recent Kingdom Note on not just giving love to, but receiving love from your local body. He's speaking of returning back to Mendota, Va., after the annual Ligonier conference in Orlando:
Not only ought we to give our best to the local church, we ought to receive our best there as well. That is, not only should the lion's share of our time and treasure be given to our local church, but we ought in turn also receive the lion's share of our encouragement, joy, and training from the local church. There pastors ought to feed their sheep. There sheep ought to look to be fed. I wish I were magnanimous enough to race home to Saint Peter to give more of myself. Instead I race home because it's home, and home is where my heart is. I race home to be encouraged by David Mehl. I race home to share a belly laugh with Don Kiser. I race home to be called to greater fidelity by Pastor Wayne Hayes. I race home to see Esther MacIntyre's smile. I race home to see what polysyllabic word will flow effortlessly from Mary Schanzenbach's precocious three year old lips. I race home to witness the quiet dignity of little DJ, Benaiah, and Jackson Hammond (6, 4 and 3 years old) as they faithfully walk in their father's bootsteps. I race home to discern, and to feed upon the body, the local body where our Lord has placed me.
Incidentally, there's a whopper of an application here for those of us who are enamored of the Interweb: it can be a useful supplement, but it is no substitute for a local church, for either giving or receiving love.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 10:59 AM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Monday, March 24, 2008 AD

Love the One You're With
This lyric by Stephen Stills is the atrocious hook in an atrocious song, but taken out of context, it actually kinda works. In the context of romantic love, it is atrocious because exclusivity is at the heart of romance. That's why God ordained the marriage covenant -- to protect the sexual relationship with an official just-you-and-me seal. But in the context of agape love, we should always be willing to love the one we're with. In Stepping Heavenward, when Katy visits Mrs. Cabot and has chatted for a while, she asks, "But am I staying too long? Were you particularly busy?" Mrs. Cabot allays her fears, saying, "I am learning that the man who wants me is the man I want."

(In the edition on Google Books, part of that response is in quotes. Further Googling reveals The Wesleyan Methodist Association Magazine for 1856, May edition, in an item called "The Casket" from the pen of one Isaac Ambrose. If that's the source Mrs. Prentiss had in mind, she rendered her story anachronistic in using it, as the scene between Katy and Mrs. Cabot is set more than two decades before the magazine was published. But this paragraph is entirely beside the point.)

We should be ready to love, with Christ's love, all He sends for us to love...and that means whomever He places in our paths: family, friends, neighbors, strangers, enemies, parents, children, husbands, wives, masters (bosses), servants (employees and supervisees), church leaders, parishioners, kinsmen, Samaritans, those who love us, those who despitefully use us, the cheerful, the complaining, the rude, the competent, the stupid, the rich, the poor, the somebodies, the nobodies, and the everybodies-in-between. The love won't look the same in every relationship or in every circumstance; love is not one-size-fits-all, but it befits us to love all.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:56 PM • Permalink Links to this post 5 comments

Sunday, March 23, 2008 AD

Easter Cake #1
Don't have a pic of the inside, but it was three layers -- raspberry, lime, and orange -- with buttercream fosting and M&Ms. The sun is on the top, and around the side it says "risen indeed!!!" and "XC." The bottom photo is posed with Angie's angry bunny.

Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 10:47 PM • Permalink Links to this post 8 comments

Saturday, March 22, 2008 AD

For a couple years now I've tried to make my communion bread recipe work. I've tweaked and fiddled every which way, but I can't get a loaf made with honey (at least not with enough to suit my tastes) to cook through without getting too dark on the outside. So I've thrown up the white flag and started using Amy's recipe (which is also Jana's recipe, which I think cake from Hanneke, and who knows its lineage before that). I've made it for communion four times now: for last Sunday, Good Friday, for tomorrow (oops...telling yourself, "I'll just check it again in a couple minutes. No need to set the timer" doesn't mix well with going back to concentrating on decorating a cake), and for tomorrow. (I also made two batches of rolls with the same recipe today. About one and a half batches will make it to Angie's tomorrow. The rest were my lunch and supper. Lest you think Valerie lives on bread alone, though, I assure you there was also butter and honey involved!) Anyway, here's the recipe:
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup butter, at room temp, plus 1 Tbsp. for brushing baked loaf
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups bread flour
1 package yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)

Place all ingredients in bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer.
Run the dough cycle.
Remove dough to a flat pan (I use a round pizza stone), shape into a round, cover, and let rise for 20 minutes or so.
Score a cross on the top. (That's my contribution to the recipe!)
Uncover and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven, brush with additional 1 T butter, and leave
to cool on pan (ensures that insides are completely cooked).
I still need to decorate two cakes for the office, but when I'm done, this Easter will have seen the use of the following ingredients in my baking:

17 eggs
16 c. bread flour
9 c. powdered sugar
three white cake mixes (+ 3/4 cup)
three boxes of gelatin
6 1/2 sticks of butter
~2 lbs. plain M&Ms
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate
4 1/2 c. water
4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. shortening
1 c. oil
2/3 c. honey
9 tsp. yeast
7 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. raspberry liqueur
4 tsp. various extracts
1 tsp. cinnamon

Taste and see that the Lord is good! And now, He gives to His beloved sleep! ;-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:25 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 AD

A Rant Against Relativism...from 'ER,' of All Places

For the record, the "rite of penance" never crossed my mind (but thanks for the link anyway, Dawn *wink*). The gospel of salvation by grace through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ most certainly did. That faith "comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17) and "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14). That is the role a real representative of the real God would provide for a dying man. And we are all dying men until we have received forgiveness and new life in Christ!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:02 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

My Brain Asplode
So a few days ago I was editing a senior thesis that addressed the writings of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Now I'm working on a junior thesis that mentions a book by Christopher Dawkins. If there's a Richard Hitchens out there, I don't want to hear about him!

I have such a blast reviewing these papers. I get to serve these amazing kids who are getting an amazing education, and I learn so much in the process!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12:53 AM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

Saturday, March 15, 2008 AD

Belated Birthday Cakes
The cakes themselves were on time, or pretty close, but I'm about a month late posting the photos. The first one was my first go at poured ganache (over a chocolate orange cake), and wouldn't you know it...the cake split right down the middle! So I planted a happy little flowering fondant tree on it. Tree and flower centers are freehand; everything else is with Lindy Smith cutters. The second one was snickerdoodle with cinnamon extract rather than cinnamon in the buttercream frosting so it'd be white. Cutouts are again with Lindy Smith cutters.

Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7:38 PM • Permalink Links to this post 3 comments

Thursday, March 13, 2008 AD

The Plow of God
Here's an oldie but goody (it must be if I remember it four years later) Lord's Supper meditation from Doug Wilson:
God plows his people. He deals with us, and He deals with us here in the Supper. He deals with sin in the Supper.

This is very different from us trying to deal with sin on our own before we come, in order to make ourselves worthy. That misses the point, almost entirely. You do not improve yourselves, and then come here for the reward. Of course, living in known and overt sin is inconsistent with coming to the Table, and we do require you to confess your sins in the service before coming to the Table. But this does not mean you arrive at this Table in a sinless condition. God still is dealing with us, gently, patiently, for He is God our Savior.

God plows us here, and as He plows, rocks that were buried deep start coming to the surface. The rocks that we lying on the surface should have been confessed by you already. But when God uses this Table to cause rocks to arise from the depths of your heart, and they confront you here, do not be dismayed. God is dealing with all of us.

And when the rock is lying on the surface, it is not your job to remove it. It is not as though God's part is to point, and your part is the hard work of hauling it off. God's work in your life is to identify, and He enables you to confess, honestly and openly, surrendered to Him completely. And then He takes it away. He is our Savior.

Our task in this is to be saved. It is quite true that you have been saved already; you are freely justified through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. But according to the Word, we are also being saved, and at the last day, we will be saved. And each day that we live before God is part of this sovereign process that He oversees.

In this, what does He call you to? Be patient, for you are the patient.
I'm in my cubicle, not at the Table, but God does His rock-revealing pretty much anyplace. In His great mercy, He does His rock-removing just about anyplace, too. I love Him.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 7:53 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 AD

Tim Bayly Nails It
I highly commend this post from Tim Bayly on father hunger and pastoral ministry.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 6:14 PM • Permalink Links to this post 1 comments

Monday, March 10, 2008 AD

Gettin' Old
Years (decades) ago, a friend used to irritate everyone by replying "Gettin' old" to every inquiry of "How are you?" (He used to irritate everyone in lots of other ways, too, but that's beside the point.) It just struck me that I am the "baby" in my family at age 40. My next older brother turned 43 today, and the eldest turned 48 last week. We're gettin' old. I was listening to the latest Basement Tape (talk about old...nary a tape in site, and they're now available ethereally as MP3s) on my morning commute. I hope I'm gettin' mature as well as old!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:38 AM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Sunday, March 9, 2008 AD

New Time's Resolution
My new year's resolutions are going so surprisingly well that I think I'm going to add to them: I'm not going to go to bed at night unless my kitchen is as clean as reasonably possible. It's always been too easy for me to say, "Oh, there are are only a few dishes. No need to do them tonight." OR "Oh, there are too many dishes to deal with tonight. They can wait." So you can guess how seldom it is that there are the exact right amount of dishes to suit my fancy. Enough with excuses. The dishes shall be washed, the counters shall be wiped, the floors shall be swept and mopped henceforth and forevermore, amen. Oh, and it shall be done with good cheer to the glory of the good God!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 11:31 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Saturday, March 8, 2008 AD

Helpful Cooking Hints
1. If you are not sure of the capacity of a casserole dish, make sure before beginning to assemble the casserole and discovering too late that there's no way all the sauce will fit in on top. (It was supposed to have four layers. After careful-as-I-could removal and replacement in a larger dish, it had two not-entirely-distinct layers. Hope it's OK!)

2. Having a bottle of chocolate syrup in the fridge does not guarantee that said bottle contains the half cup you need for your recipe. (I threw in a little water, cocoa powder and corn syrup, completely unmeasured, to sorta kinda make up the difference. Hope it's OK!)

3. Plugging the Crock-Pot into the extension cord is insufficient to power the device if the extension cord is not plugged into the wall. (Happily, I did the patented Pentamom trick of checking a few minutes after turning it on to see if it was getting warm. It will be OK...assuming the oven-base recipe will work in a slow cooker!)

4. Licking the batter off the beaters doesn't constitute a legitimate supper, but it'll do in a pinch! ;-)
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 10:38 PM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:11 PM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

Friday, March 7, 2008 AD

Movie Recommendations, Please
As an aid to crocheting, I've decided that watching a few more movies than usual would be a reasonable investment of time. Knowing whatever it is you know about me, dear reader, please use the comments section to recommend some DVD flicks I might enjoy. Hints: No horror, intense suspense, excessive vulgarity, syrupy sentimentality, or bad adaptations of Jane Austen. Both comedy and drama are acceptable. I'm not a huge animation fan. Subtitles and anything else requiring intense visual concentration are not conducive to crocheting. Thanks!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 10:59 AM • Permalink Links to this post 19 comments

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 AD

What Repentance Is Not
I found a scrap of paper in a stack of stuff with a bit from an old Elisabeth Elliot broadcast. I went ahead and looked up the whole transcript, which I thought might be helpful to more than myself:
Elisabeth Elliot: "You are loved with an everlasting love." That's what the Bible says. "And underneath are the everlasting arms." This is your friend Elisabeth Elliot. I've been talking with my daughter, Valerie Shepard, about repentance. Of course, there are so many of God's commandments which we would like to tell the Lord are too difficult. We just can't do that. "How can You ask me, Lord, to do these things? What is repentance? I'm not sure I really know what it means. I don't know whether I can do this."

And here's a poem written by Amy Carmichael. You and I love Amy Carmichael, don't we, Val?

Valerie Shepard: Yes.

Elisabeth Elliot: She seems to have a poem on every subject. "Never will I ask of thee more than thou canst do." This is a poem putting these words in God's mouth. But they are thoroughly scriptural. "Never will I ask of thee more than thou canst do. Ever I will be with thee; Savior, Shepherd, too. Never shall go forth from Me a command too hard for thee. Trust Me, then, O child of Mine. Faith knows not to fear; thou art Mine and I am thine. I am always near. Near to be Thy strong defense, quietness and confidence."

I have some notes here on what repentance is not. I found these very helpful, because it is confusing. When we earnestly and honestly want to forgive somebody but we haven't really repented of our own feelings against that person, but then maybe we have brought that wrong feeling under the lordship of Jesus Christ and we're pretty disgusted with ourselves that we had to repent. But it's very interesting to stop and think, "Is repentance vexation with myself?" No. Repentance is not vexation with myself.

It's my nature, Val, to be very vexed with myself most of the time. Disgusted with myself. Talk about poor self-image, I don't think mine could be much worse than it is. But I don't think that's something we're supposed to waste our time on. There's a form of pride which would like to prolong the difficulties and say, "Well, I really need to get this repentance done better than I'm doing" or "I really need to forgive myself before I can forgive this person." Of course, it's impossible to forgive oneself. We're not supposed to. It's Christ who forgives us. We forgive other people.

Repentance is not impatience. I'm tempted to be impatient with myself-that I dilly dally when I should repent. Repentance is not wounded pride. "Oh, I just can't believe I did that." Well, if I ever say that, that is a clear sign that I am a very proud person because I feel that I have done something which was really beneath me. "I know I'm not like that. I'm really a much better person than that. I just can't believe I did that." That's wounded pride. That's not repentance.

Then there's self-pity. "Oh, I feel very sorry for myself that I did such an awful thing because they hate me now. I don't want anybody to hate me." Repentance is not self-pity. Repentance is not excitement-emotional excitement, getting all in a stew about repenting. Repentance is not disappointment.

One of the old writers says, "Do not harass yourself." Don't be flogging yourself over this. That doesn't really add to the grace of repentance.

I'll read the list again about what repentance is not. It is not vexation with myself. It is not impatience. It is not wounded pride. It is not self-pity, excitement or disappointment.

Valerie Shepard: But what it is is an agreement with God about our hearts. It's to say simply and quietly, "Yes, Lord. I am foolish. I am wayward. I am forgetful of Your goodness and Your love. I've gone my own way here and I want to come back to You and ask You to cleanse me and forgive me of this waywardness, this tendency to wander. I'm prone to wander, Lord. I feel it."

So repentance means agreeing with God that He is right on the evidence that our heart has shown. It has shown our sinfulness. It is turning away from it and asking God with a new heart to say, "You will help me, Lord, I know to watch out for this the next time, to be careful." Now here we could say, "But what about those sins that we keep falling back into? What if we keep doing the same thing? Have we not really repented?" What do you think there?

Elisabeth Elliot: Well, the true foundation of all spiritual life is the knowledge of our own hopeless incorrigible weakness. But that has to be coupled with an unreserved confidence in God's power. Let's never imagine that we're anything but weak. God knows that we're nothing but weak creatures. What else does He expect of us? Yet He keeps telling us, "My grace is all you need." We can come to Him and receive grace from Him. If God tells us that we have to forgive our brother seventy times seven, surely God is willing to forgive us for the same sin seventy times seven, 490 times. I'm sure that that's just a figure of speech, because there is no limit to God's grace. "His love has no limit; His grace has no measure; His power has no boundary known unto men."

Valerie Shepard: Think of the story of the prodigal son. The father probably would have done that over and over again. If his son had gone back out to squander away money again, his father would still have come-if he was the perfect father, as our Father in heaven is-he would have come, waiting for his son with open arms, welcoming him back again every time his son came to himself and recognized he was better off in his father's house. He was better off doing what his father wanted him to do.

I'm so grateful, so thankful, that the Lord does forgive us over and over again. Where would we be if He didn't?

Elisabeth Elliot: We would be of all men most miserable. It's not feeling bad, but confession that makes us clean again. Repentance. Confession. Just as it is not feeling, but consent that makes us guilty. We may have a bad feeling rise up in us. We do not need to consent to it. There we're talking again about the conflict between our emotions and our will. As Martin Luther said so plainly, "You can't stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from making a nest in your beard."

If a wrong thought arises in my mind, I don't need to castigate myself, thinking, "Oh, how did that thought ever come into such a pure mind as mine?" All I need to do is refuse to consent to that thought. So I don't think I need to repent of a thought that just flashes into my mind, but I certainly need to repent if I welcome it.

Valerie Shepard: And dwell on it and let it get you down. Often repentance is not simply the dwelling on the thought or asking God to change your thought patterns. It's also repenting of our attitude towards other people. In Galatians 5:15 it says, "If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." That sounds pretty fierce and awful. Superficially, we could say, "I don't bite and devour other people." But I'm afraid it's too true that in the Christian church, whether it's simply in your own marriage or whether it's when we have to get to know other brothers and sisters, biting and devouring simply means having a critical, negative spirit towards them.

I know I bit and devoured my husband many times, just because I was so critical of the way he was. God showed me that critical spirit and I could see that, like the proverb says, "A foolish woman breaks down her house by her foolishness." She brings it down on her own head and around her husband and children, because she is not building it up in hope and in faithfulness and in encouragement. I am so thankful the Lord helped me to start trying hard to encourage my husband and lift him up and support him when I needed to repent of this biting spirit, this sarcastic or retort that comes back because we want to defend ourselves.

Elisabeth Elliot: There's such a tremendous amount of self-righteousness when we have a critical spirit. It's always, "Thank God that I'm not like those other people there."

Valerie Shepard: Exactly. Many times in my marriage -- and again, I didn't recognize this until a few years ago -- my questions of Walt, of what he did the night that he went out to a meeting, what time he got home, what time did he go to bed, my questions of what he did during the day -- were simply to make myself feel more righteous. I finally recognized that I needed to stop asking him questions all the time about what he did and how did he spend his time. So often we women think that we know how to spend our time better than husbands do or we think we can manage our time.

I remember times when my husband would have taken care of the children for a few hours and I had to go out shopping or had to do something. I would come home and I would criticize him for the things that he didn't do. "Why didn't you think of this? Why didn't you do this? Well, you could have at least gotten this done." That biting and devouring absolutely did no good. It didn't encourage him. It didn't help him. It also discouraged the children when they saw me behaving that way. So we need to repent of that kind of spirit and ask the Lord to make us truly humble, recognizing our own weaknesses.

Elisabeth Elliot: Repentance is a 180-degree turn in the other direction.

Valerie Shepard: Right.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:55 PM • Permalink Links to this post 3 comments

Monday, March 3, 2008 AD

Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven!
To His feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like me His praise should sing?

Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise the everlasting King.

Fatherlike He tends and spares us,
Well our feeble frame He knows;
In His hands He gently bears us,

Rescues us from all our foes:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Widely as His mercy flows

Flipped open a hymnal in search of an attitudinal jump-start and found this one. Those italicized bits are particularly precious reminders of His blessing and care that stir up much-needed gratitude. I've never had much in the way of temporal security, and my emotions tend to reflect that rather than the reality of the absolute safety I have as a sinner in the hands of a God whose anger at me has been spent on His Son. If I could thoroughly forsake self-protection and trust my Father's protection of me, I think all my anger, anxiety, bitterness, depression, loneliness, discontentment and laziness would disappear.

Of course it won't ever happen 100 percent in this lifetime. As we confessed yesterday in our worship service, "we acknowledge that this regeneration is so effected in us that, until we slough off this mortal body, there remains always in us much imperfection and infirmity, so that we always remain poor and wretched sinners in the presence of God. And, however much we ought day by day to increase and grow in God's righteousness, there will never be plenitude or perfection while we live here" (Genevan Confession, Article IX). But worship and gratitude are the means to growing in trust. Over the past two or three months I've turned a corner in my understanding and practice of this truth, which has itself been one of God's great mercies in my life for which I am most grateful. He is truly the God of all comfort, peace, love and joy.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 12:02 PM • Permalink Links to this post 0 comments

Saturday, March 1, 2008 AD

Resolution Report: February
As reported in January, I made two resolutions this year: crochet 52 bedspread squares, and do a Bible reading plan. This is my second monthly report on how I'm keeping up with these things.

I got three more squares done for a total of 10 this year and 90 overall. It felt good to tie a ribbon around that ninth bundle of 10 squares today!

I read a total of 45 chapters of Scripture: Nehemiah 2-13, Esther 1-10, Job 1-15, Acts 26-28, and Romans 1-5. Though I'm not up to the speed of the program, I read nearly every day, which is more important.

I am again content with my progress. God is blessing my 2008!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 3:21 PM • Permalink Links to this post 2 comments

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