Friday, September 14, 2012

Father Richard Edgerton - my dad, my hero

So here's the thing........

My mother recently found this prayer, written by my father Richard Edgerton. It was read at his memorial service and I thought many of you would enjoy using it.

"Lord, for me and my household, we will live for today and try not to solve all of life’s problems before sunset.
We will acknowledge that with Your help we can make it through today.
We can’t handle all the world has at one time.
Today, Lord, is Yours …we will make it through together.

Lord, for me and my household, we will change within ourselves and not try to change the world into mirror images of our own desires.
Today, Lord, is Yours…the things we can’t handle we will turn over to you.

Lord, for me and my household, we will be joyful.
The joy of the Lord will shine within us and we will not rely on external forces.
Today, Lord, is Yours…we will be joyful because of You.

Lord, for me and my household, we will improve our minds.
We will read and learn something new from Your Word.
We will study, think, concentrate and take into our minds and hearts the message You would speak to us.
Lord, today is Yours…Your word will satisfy our needs.

Lord , for me and my household, we will take care of our temples.
They will be cleansed, nourished and exercised. We will not abuse them nor defile them.
Today, Lord, is Yours…our bodies are Yours for Your bidding.

Lord, for me and my household, we will strengthen our souls.
We will do something for someone without expecting something in return.
We will do something that only You and we know about.
We will do something You would have us do whether we want to or not.
Lord, today is Yours…we will do Your will not ours.

Lord, for me and my household, we will show the world how pleasant we can be, how appealing Your children can be.
We will be polite, smiling, courteous, and not criticize.
We will heap praises on everyone we meet.
Lord, today is yours…we will respect our brothers as You respect them.

Lord, for me and my household we will decide what it is that has to be done and do it.
We will not procrastinate, we will not be indecisive, but we will attempt to finish what we start.
Lord, today is Yours…we will follow Your plans and accomplish Your work according to Your will.

Lord, for me and my household, we will take time to give thanks to You for Your blessings and the abundance You have poured upon us.
We will sing praises unto Your name all our awakened hours.
Lord today is Yours…as for me and my household we will serve and praise the Lord."

Friday, January 20, 2012

"7" by Jen Hatmaker

So here's the thing………

I love Jen Hatmaker even though I've never met her.
I'm old enough to be her mother, but wish we could be next-door-neighbors and best friends.
I heard her husband speak last summer at the Free Methodist Church General Conference (our husbands are both FM pastors).
I read "Interrupted" soon after I retired, and it helped me to put into perspective what I hope to be doing with this final third of my life.

I read "7" at an ironic time and in an ironic place. I live in Ohio where the state colors should be gray and grayer. My husband has embarked on career number four at the age when most men are counting the days to retirement. We are blessed enough to be able to withdraw to Florida for three weeks each January where we own a timeshare in a beautiful Hilton resort. So, I lay down in the sun, next to the pool, and began to read………..

Here is the synopsis from Amazon, so you understand what the book is about:

American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.

So that's the Cliff Notes version; trust me, you really, really need to read this book.

In addition to all that, though, "7" meant much more to me. I read it while on vacation, and each chapter stirred something in me that I'm not sure was ever Jen's intent.  I want to pull out excerpts that went straight to my heart--new things revealed by the Holy Spirit plus confirmation of things that have been swirling through my soul recently (especially since my retirement and Mike's new responsibilities).

Month One "Food"
When my husband was the pastor at Living Water, he was known to occasionally tell his people to "stop studying their Bibles." This always shocked us (this pastor's wife got very uncomfortable) until he explained that an over-abundance of head knowledge without putting that knowledge into action was meaningless. Here's what Jen had to say:

"Teaching by example, radical obedience, justice, mercy, activism, and sacrifice wholly inspires me. I'm at that place where "well done" trumps "well said." When I see kingdom work in the middle of brokenness, when mission transitions from the academic soil of the mind into the sacrificial work of someone's hands, I am utterly affected. Obedience inspires me. Servant leaders inspire me. Humility inspires me. Talking heads dissecting apologetics stopped inspiring me a few years ago."

…...and this one:

"The careful study of the Word has a goal, which is not the careful study of the Word. The objective is to discover Jesus and allow Him to change our trajectory. Meaning, a genuine study of the Word results in believers who feed poor people and open up their guest rooms; they're adopting and sharing, mentoring and intervening. Show me a Bible teacher off mission, and I'll show you someone with no concept of the gospel he is studying."

Ouch! Pastor McFarren would be proud!

Month Two "Clothes"
Jen and Brandon and the Austin New Church are radical servants (they do what Jesus calls all of us to do). Here's an insight from Jen:

"I'm going to bed tonight grateful for warmth, an advantage so expected it barely registers. May my privileges continue to drive me downward to my brothers and sisters without. Greater yet, I'm tired of calling the suffering 'brothers and sisters' when I'd never allow my biological siblings to suffer likewise. That's just hypocrisy veiled in altruism. I won't defile my blessings by imagining that I deserve them. Until every human receives the dignity I casually enjoy, I pray my heart aches with tension and my belly rumbles for injustice."

Month Three "Possessions"
From Jen: "Sometimes the best way to bring good news to the poor is to bring actual good news to the poor. It appears a good way to bring relief to the oppressed is to bring real relief to the oppressed. It's almost like Jesus meant what He said. When you're desperate, usually the best news you can receive is food, water, shelter. These provisions communicate God's presence infinitely more than a tract or Christian performance in the local park. They convey, 'God loves you so dearly, He sent people to your rescue.'"

Month Four "Media"
I cherish my family both biological and spiritual. I know that I am a uniquely created individual and that, in Christ, I am even a New creation, but I am also the product of those who have influenced me (both positively and negatively) through the years. What you do, affects me. Jen puts it this way:

"Our stories affect one another whether we know it or not. Sometimes obedience isn't for us at all, but for another. We don't know how God holds the kingdom in balance or why He moves a chess piece at a crucial time; we might never see the results of his sovereignty. But we can trust Him when He says press on, cling to hope, stay the course. He is always at work, even if the entire thread is hidden. I might just be one shade of one color of one strand, but I'm part of an elaborate tapestry that goes beyond my perception."

A long time ago, I heard God's voice--audibly! He said something so profound that it comes to my mind often. Get ready, here it is:  "Robin, you either trust me or you don't." I choose to trust!

Month Five "Waste"
Jen may be one of the most honest authors I've ever read. Her genuineness and honesty are a breath of fresh air in this politically correct society in which we live.

"My land, do we have far to go! My hypocrisies are too numerous to count, but this month birthed something unmistakable: I'm done separating ecology from theology, pretending they don't originate from the same source. 'The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.' (Psalm 24:1-2)"

Month Six "Spending"
I have toyed with, played around with and basically ignored the Biblical mandate for fasting. I've read, I've listened to sermons, I've signed on the dotted line. Never have I been as convicted as when I read this:

"At some point, the church stopped living the Bible and decided just to study it, culling the feast parts and whitewashing the fast parts. We are addicted to the buffet, skillfully discarding the costly discipleship required after consuming. The feast is supposed to sustain the fast, but we go back for seconds and thirds and fourths, stuffed to the brim and fat with inactivity. All this is for me. My goodness, my blessings, my privileges, my happiness, my success. Just one more plate."

The feast is supposed to sustain the fast…….God forgive me.

Month Seven "Stress"
I have owned "Seven Sacred Pauses" by  Macrina Wiederkehr for several years now. I love it! I set the alarm on my phone to call me to pause and pray (just like Jen). It got old; I quit; I must confess.  Those of you who know me well, know that I testify to how important my prayer life is to me and how I long to be a true Intercessor; how I long for my home to be a house of prayer. I'm reinstituting the seven pauses. Ask me how it's going. If my alarm goes off while we're together, pause with me.

One last quote that I must include begins with Matthew 16:19--"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."  From Jen: "Maybe after we say, 'I'll forgive,' He inspires repentance in the offender. Perhaps when we say, 'I'll finally trust you,' He delivers. Is He waiting to hear 'I'll do it' before clearing the path? If we can bind and loose things in the spiritual realm, why are we squandering prayer words on football victories and temporary luxuries? What a waste! We could be binding evil, injustice and hatred while releasing freedom, recovery, and healing--partners in mercy, not just consumers of it."


Here's another unexpected "7" result. I have seven grandchildren. For a long time, I pray for each one on his or her own particular day: Monday is Tyler day, Tuesday is Nicholas Day, etc. Since reading "7", I have decided to keep my daily prayers in seven journals. Grandma's prayers will be next year's Christmas gifts. Please pray for my procrastination to be held in check. What better sacrifice of time could there be?

I love "7"! I love that Jen Hatmaker allowed the Holy Spirit to use her and to speak through her to me in ways that she may not have asked for or imagined! I know that it will speak to you.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Here's the thing...... it's been a long time since I've written a blog. I don't know if anyone will ever read this, but I love to figure things out as I write. It is one of the ways that God speaks to me. So, I humbly share this with you.

A while ago, I was searching for the Scripture about God's mercies being new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23):

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I use a parallel Bible with the NIV and The Message (I LOVE it, by the way). The passage that contains this Scripture in The Message is titled "It's a Good Thing to Hope for Help From God." I meditated and wrote about this Scripture for several days and then moved on. I don't have the kind of mind that remembers things well, and once I moved on, I forgot (Forgive me, Jesus). One of the many benefits of journaling is that today I read my entry from January 10, it spoke to me once again, and felt that I needed to share it with my many friends who are struggling today.

This is Lamentations 3:19-33 from The Message:

19-21 I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,

the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.

I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—

the feeling of hitting the bottom.

But there's one other thing I remember,

and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

22-24 God's loyal love couldn't have run out,

his merciful love couldn't have dried up.

They're created new every morning.

How great your faithfulness!

I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).

He's all I've got left.

25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,

to the woman who diligently seeks.

It's a good thing to quietly hope,

quietly hope for help from God.

It's a good thing when you're young

to stick it out through the hard times.

28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take,

go off by yourself. Enter the silence.

Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions:

Wait for hope to appear.

Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face.

The "worst" is never the worst.

31-33 Why? Because the Master won't ever

walk out and fail to return.

If he works severely, he also works tenderly.

His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.

He takes no pleasure in making life hard,

in throwing roadblocks in the way:

So, what does this mean to me, to us, to my friends who are struggling to make sense of it all? I humbly share my notes with you.

Jesus, how do I "passionately wait"? I am so impatient and want things fixed NOW. Jesus' response to me: "Don't DO anything, don't SAY anything. Just wait--but wait with passion!" I KNOW He will answer! He has shown me that over and over, even this week, in the smallest most insignificant thing in the eyes of the world, He answered! How I realized His compassion, His mercy, when I received that small gift that changed everything! (It was a short text message that thrilled and quieted my heart.)

What does "passionately wait" mean to you?

God will always do His part. According to this passage, what is my part?

  • Passionately wait
  • Diligently seek
  • Quietly hope
  • Stick it out
  • Go off by yourself
  • Enter the silence
  • Bow in prayer
  • Don't ask questions
  • Wait for hope to appear
  • Don't run from trouble

Each of these may mean something different to each of us; it may mean something different tomorrow than it does today. Share with us what they mean for you.

So what does He promise?

  • To prove Himself good
  • To never walk out and fail to return
  • To work tenderly
  • To share His immense stockpile of loyal love
  • Not to make your life hard or throw roadblocks in your way

There's enough here to contemplate for a LONG time. What does this passage say to you? I would love to know!

I love you all,


Monday, February 1, 2010

His Grace is sufficient for this day......

So here’s the thing……I’m in the middle of a long-awaited, two-week vacation in Florida, just the man I love and me. In anticipation of turning sixty next summer (a future topic), I have embarked on a sensible eating campaign and exercise (thanks to my personal trainer and daughter-in-law Jenny). There is a half-mile walking track that encircles our resort and today, I reached 2 ½ miles. That is a major milestone for me--did I mention that I HATE to exercise? I am determined, though, to be healthier at sixty than I’ve ever been in my life! Jesus continues to be faithful; I will do my part.

But I digress, that’s not the topic for today. For the past few days, it has been dreary here, gray and chilly. I came here for sunshine and freckles! So, during my self-imposed morning walk today, God gently chastised me and put the word “contentment” on my heart. Those of you who know me personally, know that I often make reference to how blessed I am. So, why would I allow myself to bemoan the weather (especially considering how cold it is in Ohio right now) and how fast this time is going? I indulged myself in a sinful little pitty-party.

I was reminded once again that His grace is sufficient for this day, and I began to rejoice and be glad in it. I was humbled as my friend, Bishop Henry Mulandi, sent me an article regarding the hardship of young girls in Juba, Sudan, surviving by using the only thing they have, their bodies. My discontent today--that I can’t lay in the sun and that next week, I have to return to the cold (where a beautiful, warm home and my wonderful family awaits me). Forgive me, Jesus (He has).

Let’s talk about contentment. I would love to hear what you have to say about the following scriptures (I learn from you as you listen to the Holy Spirit):

Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Philippians 4:12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 [6] But godliness with contentment is great gain. [7] For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. [8] But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Matthew 6:33-34 [33] But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. [34] Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I am not promised tomorrow; I will rejoice in this day. I am content; I am loved. How about you?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Worry and Fear Transformed to Trust

Here’s the Thing: Yesterday, Mike spoke about worry and the fact that it is a sin. Faith and worry cannot coexist. You are governed by one or the other.

I have been in wonder once again at how good God is and how faithful His Word is. Up until the last few years, my entire left has been consumed by fear and worry. Even as a child, I was almost always afraid and worried constantly. Afraid to be alone; afraid of crowds. Afraid to fail; afraid to achieve. Afraid that I would never be good enough. Embarrassed and worried about my physical appearance. Afraid that I could never be a good enough wife, mother, daughter, mother-in-law, grandma…….not to mention that pesky title, Pastor’s wife! How could I possibly pull that one off?

I have been transformed! I am NEVER afraid; imagine that! Worry no longer has any place in my life. This transformation did not happen all at once, it has come over a long period of time as I determined that I would trust God and His promises. The things that I experience now that would have kept me awake at night, sick to my stomach (and other physical manifestations that I’m too lady-like to mention here), no longer affect me at all! I look back on trials (and, yes, I still have them) and think, “Hmmmm, that was a little bump in the road, wasn’t it? What can I learn; how did I see God at work in that?” This, my friends, is nothing short of a miracle!

My last real “melt-down” came exactly a year ago when Mike and I travelled to Hong Kong to be Bible couriers into China. The second night, I experienced a spiritual attack unlike anything that I had experienced in many years. I was so afraid, so jet-lagged, so hot, so over-come with new smells, that if I could have gotten home somehow, I would have without hesitation. I was committed, though, for two entire weeks (including a period of time when Mike would leave me to travel for the first time to Vietnam). I was nearly paralyzed by fear, and here I was supposedly there to serve the cause of Christ and the furtherance of the Gospel. Satan certainly wanted me to fail!

Those of you who know me well, know that I am not a crier. I am pretty steady emotionally (I used to “worry” that this was a character flaw--that I was a frigid cold fish). I now know that God made me with the ability to see both sides of issues and has gifted me to remain calm and collected--an analyzer. Well, not that night! I cried liked I hadn’t cried since I was a child. My dear Mike crawled down from the upper bunk, we prayed, searched the Scriptures, rebuked whatever Spirit was trying to hinder my success and guess what? It left! I woke refreshed, restored, renewed and ready! I even enjoyed myself while Mike was gone for three days. I never missed a day of carrying my precious cargo across the border. At the end of two weeks, I was not ready to leave and am excited about returning in the summer of 2010.

Since last summer, I have experienced no worry; no fear. Many of you might think, “Yes, but Robin, you and Mike had it made. Your life is like a fairy tale.” Well, the truth is that Mike and I still live in a very real, fallen world. Jesus told us that there would be trials and trouble, and there are plenty, but His Word is true:

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

He knows so much better than I do! I trust Him with my life, with my husband’s life, with lives of my sons and their wives, and with the lives of those precious seven grandchildren. I agree with Job: Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him."

Transformation is available! It is possible! Delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Mike!

Here’s the thing: I’m contemplating keeping a diary of my 60th year; of course, it isn’t quite here yet, but today starts my 40th year of marriage to Mike, so I’m starting today. Funny how time has gone by so fast and I don’t really feel any different than I did 40 years ago (although I really have no recollection of the day itself, 6/27/1970). When I see pictures of myself or catch myself unexpectedly in a mirror, I’m shocked that I’ve changed so much physically, but I feel the same on the inside. Oh, I’m much more secure in myself and my relationship with Christ, I’m more content and much less fearful, but still basically the same awkward girl who wanted so desperately to fit in.

Mike and I have seen many changes in 39 years, moved a lot, made life-altering changes (some with prayer, some without), but it’s fascinating to look back and see the hand of God in it all. Dalton, Ithaca, Titusville, Plymouth, Dalton, He has brought us full-circle. Eric, Philip, Zachary, He has ordained that we should live as a family and guided us to where we are today. Teaching/coaching, Gerber Feed, Living Water, He has led us gently through it all.

I have retired from secular employment, but life is both full and fulfilling. Being a grandma has been an unexpected joy. Being a mother-in-law has been a blessing.

I continue to grow into and cling to Psalm 91. Here it is for me, insert your name and let me know your thoughts as He speaks to you:

Psalm 91 for Robin

Because Robin dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
she will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

She will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

Surely, He will save her from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover her with His feathers, and under His wings, she will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be her shield and rampart.

She will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at her side, ten thousand at her right hand, but it will not come near her.

She will only observe with her eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

If Robin makes the Most High her dwelling--even the Lord, who is her refuge--
then no harm will befall her, no disaster will come near her tent.

For He will command His angels concerning her to guard her in all her ways;
they will lift her up in their hands, so that she will not strike her foot against a stone.

She will tread upon the lion and the cobra; she will trample the great lion and the serpent.

"Because Robin loves Me," says the Lord,
"I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges My name.
She will call upon Me, and I will answer her; I will be with her in trouble,
I will deliver her and honor her.
With long life will I satisfy her and show her My salvation."

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Corinthians 6:12

So here's the thing.........The single most difficult stronghold that I have allowed to remain in my life is my fixation with weight. I’ve been married nearly 39 years and have allowed my weight to fluctuate nearly 75 pounds over that time. I talk about it all the time; when I’m with other women, discussion inevitably turns to weight and the newest diet. Well, I’ll be 59 years old in a few months and I want to be done with the bondage to weight. I don’t really want to be a size eight again, I want to be strong and healthy! I want live out the remainder of my years with food as my sustenance, not my enemy! I recently received the following e-mail from my daughter-in-law, Jenny, who is one of the joys of my life. I want to share it with you. I have removed some of the personal references, but I believe the rest applies to many of us.

To Robin, from Jenny, 6/17/2009
“I think food may be one of the hardest areas in everyday life to submit ourselves to God. Food is something that we must have everyday; that we can't live without - unlike smoking, alcohol, or pornography. I think many times we write it off because it's not "that bad", but food is an addiction; in many ways can become a god that we serve. We allow it bring us comfort or sometimes punishment, we judge ourselves on how well we do with it, we can't stop once we start having it, we overindulge, under indulge in it, we crave it even when we don't really need it. Because food directly affects our physical image, we find that our minds are constantly centered on it. And on top of that, unfortunately our society revolves around food. The more the better, and the worse it is for you the better we think it tastes. Gatherings, meetings, and parties all revolve around food!! I'm not saying that food is bad, and actually, I'm a fan of enjoying a feast. But there is a big difference between feasting and gluttony. I'm not saying that's what I think you do, but I think it's important to step back, truly recognize all the areas in life that as a society we allow food to serve a purpose other than what God intended it for. Foods, tastes, family meal times are all wonderful gifts from God. We need to honor Him as we enjoy and celebrate these gifts.

I believe that your battle will truly benefit the Body of Christ as a whole. Your story & perseverance will reveal God's goodness & desires to others who struggle with the exact same thing. I believe that you are not only fighting yourself, but that you are fighting something that is generational. When I get older, I want my life to be consumed with so many other glorious things & not be wasting those last years on dieting.

I am here to help however, you need. Not so you can lose weight (although it's a great benefit), but so that you can live as more than a conqueror. That you can go through your day & know that you have submitted to God & served him wholly in every aspect of your life. That you have honored, as best as you can, this earthly body that He has given you. That you can look in the mirror & love the person that God sees there, and see the amazing beauty that God sees when He looks at you - both internally & outwardly. That you will feel confident in the compliments Mike gives you & understand why he finds you so incredibly attractive. And not in some weird prideful way, but in an understanding of being a living, breathing, temple of the holy, amazing, and unblemished God.

Zechariah 7:5-6 "Ask all the people of the land and the priests, 'When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?" Food has been a selfish god throughout history. God did not despise either the fasting or the feasting, but he wanted both to be to His glory and not our own. I will continue to ask you how it is going. I am praying victory for you!! I am confident God will reveal many new, formerly hidden, things to you as you run this race.”

…..end of Jenny’s e-mail

Zechariah 7:4-6
(NIV) Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: "Ask all the people of the land and the priests, 'When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? [6] And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?
(The Message) God-of-the-Angel-Armies gave me this Message for them, for all the people and for the priests: "When you held days of fasting every fifth and seventh month all these seventy years, were you doing it for me? And when you held feasts, was that for me? Hardly. You're interested in religion, I'm interested in people.

Do it all for Jesus! Jesus, test my motives, only let me act, eat, drink for you!

Blessings, Robin