24 November 2006

How to Be Thankful?

Just before our extended family arrived for Thanksgiving, I sat down to check my e-mail. An article title on the Yahoo! homepage caught my eye: "How to Be Thankful." I was a little stunned. Is our materialistic culture so far gone that we need internet articles to teach us how to be thankful? How tragic.

Then I began thinking (as always). From a secular person's perspective, what does Thanksgiving mean? To be thankful, you have to be thankful towards someone for giving you something (hence Thanks-giving). In my family, we express our thanks to God for His bountiful blessings on us. It is a time to celebrate God's goodness with our loved ones. But what about the secular perspective? Is Thanksgiving merely a time to stuff your face and be annoyed by relatives? How empty.

After my family finished eating, we went around the table and shared what we were most thankful for. Dad was thankful for getting a new job and being able to go back to school. Jer was thankful for spiritual growth. Mom was thankful for all of us. Then it came to me.

"Carey, what are you thankful for?"

"Well..." I paused and looked around. "I'm very thankful for the trial the Lord gave me over the past eight months and the growth that it brought. I wouldn't change a thing." That warranted stares from my mom and Aunt Sylvia ("Tía Sylvia" from Guatemala).

This past year has been difficult with a lot of changes taking place in my life, but I honestly wouldn't change a thing the Lord has done. Some things happen that leave you wondering Why? What was the purpose of this? But my Father is good and knows what is best for me. If nothing else, it was to bring about a change in me for the better. It was to draw me closer to my Beloved and to make me stronger. That is a good enough reason for me.

So how is one to be thankful? Perhaps Job said it best:
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (Job 1:21)
>>"To Say Thanks" by Nichole Nordeman<<

20 November 2006

For Whom the Bell Tolls

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." (John Donne, 1624)
Death causes me to wax philosophical -- I take it very seriously. There has been a lot of death within my life's arena lately. The latest death was that of a baby. A couple from our church lost their baby girl just hours after her birth. Mom and I attended the funeral early Saturday morning. That was the first funeral I had ever been to for a child. It bears more sadness because one mourns the passing of an unfinished life. You wonder about all the possibilities that never came to her life -- a flash of only a few hours before leaving this earth behind.

Short though her life was, little Abigail had an impact that many never will have within the span of 80 years. Her parents' testimony through her birth and death touched the lives of many people. She was a precious treasure to them. Though she lay in the tiny pink coffin, she was resting in her heavenly Father's arms.

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:55)
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so.
For, those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me;
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, then, from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more. Death thou shalt die.

- John Donne
Am I effectively using the years that God has given me for His glory? What kind of legacy will I leave behind?

16 November 2006

Follow Me

Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me." (John 21:21-22)

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 16:24-25)

He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (John 16:25-26)

09 November 2006

Remembering Dumpling

I made myself pick up the phone and call the vet's office, half-hoping no one would answer.

"Veterinary Hospital, this is Chris speaking." Darn. I don't want to do this.

"Yeah, Chris, I need to make an appointment..." I felt like I had just sealed the death warrant for my rabbit... my darling little bunny... my old pal. She had been sick for so long and nothing worked. I didn't want her to suffer any longer.

Dumpling snuggled her way into my heart nearly five years ago when she was a tiny baby of two weeks. It was love at first sight. There were (literally) hundreds of other new baby rabbits at the farm. A small brown puff -- the runt of a "mutt" litter -- caught my eye.

"Can I hold that one?" The tiny two-week-old cotton puff snuggled into the palm of my hand, licked my finger, and fell asleep.


Jer wrapped Dumpling in a towel and held her while I drove to the vet. Last time I tried to put her to sleep, my car broke down. I half-hoped it would break down again (but that would most likely cost more). I signed papers to have Dumpling euthanized before joining her and Jer in an examination room.

One of the vet's assistants came in. "Would you like a moment before I call Dr. Norwood in?" I shook my head. No sense in drawing this out
. Dr. Norwood came in and explained the procedure. He gathered her in his arms and took her to the operating room. I didn't want to watch. Jer and I kissed her goodbye.

We sat in the waiting room. I didn't cry, just stared into space.

"Are you okay?" This seems to be a frequent question my little brother asks me. I said nothing, but gave him a look that said, What do you think? Of course not.

Dr. Norwood came out a few minutes later holding a box. He offered his condolences. I solemnly nodded my head in thanks. We got home and went to the backyard where Jer had begun a hole. He grabbed the shovel and began to finish the digging.

"You could just take her out of the box so you don't have to dig anymore," I offered, seeing how much trouble Jer had with the hard clay soil. He hesitantly agreed, but I immediately regretted my suggestion. My rabbit lay lifeless in a hole. I couldn't handle the sight.

"No! No! Nevermind..." I choked. "Please put her back in the box." I had promised myself that I wouldn't cry, but it was a combination of things from the past six months. My dead rabbit was just the icing on the cake.
A righteous man regards the life of his animal... (Proverbs 12:10a)

Wings of the Wind

I decided to start posting snippets from a book I've kept in my head for a long time.


08 November 2006

Here Am I, Send Me!


03 November 2006

"Let Go"

Went back the other day and found 80+ songs I'd written. One of these days I'd like to make an album (maybe after I get a guitar and can play it well enough). Here's the most recent. I've been working on the piano piece for it in my head.

(verse 1)
Hanging on the edge
Holdin' on for dear life
I thought that this could work
Seemed so right at the time

(verse 2)
All my wishful thinking
Led me to the end
...of my rope... of my reason.
But then I heard a voice:

“Let go, let go --
My child, let go.
What lies ahead
You do not know,
But take My hand.
My child, let go
Though you cannot see.
Release your dreams.
Let go – hold on to Me.”

(verse 3)
Oh, where did I go wrong?
I was dreaming for so long.
Now I'm awake and see
Just how foolish I can be.

(verse 4)
I refused to release
When I know that I should have.
You had to pry my hands
From the death-grip I was in.

“Let go, let go --
My child, let go.
What lies ahead
You do not know,
But take My hand.
My child, let go
Though you cannot see.
Release your dreams.
Let go – hold on to Me.”

lyrics by Carey Nofziger
02 November 2006

02 November 2006

A Symbol of Commitment

Mama got Jer and I 'purity rings' for our birthdays this year. I just got mine this Tuesday. It reads: I am my beloved's -- my beloved is mine.

For the past couple of days, I've been showing off my ring to friends. No, don't look at the scar tissue -- No, I'm not engaged.

"So what does that ring mean to you?" my friend Beth asked.

That got me to thinking. A ring on that finger does mean something. Lots of people call them 'purity rings,' but I consider that term trite. For me, it's more than just a symbol of saving sex for marriage. I chose this particular ring for a reason. The inscription means a lot to me.

I am my beloved's... my beloved is mine. The original meaning was meant for a future spouse, but that's not what it means for me. The name "Beloved" is reserved only for my Lord Jesus. Not even my husband gets that name. My ring is a symbol and a reminder that Jesus Christ will always have first place in my heart. I am His, and He is mine. Everyone else comes second.

It is not just a purity ring... it is not just a promise ring... it is a symbol of a lifetime of commitment to Christ. Matthew 6:33 tells us to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." The context speaks of physical needs, but I also think that when we seek Christ first, everything else falls into place beautifully. Because I love Christ and want to please Him I want to keep myself physically and spiritually pure.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

01 November 2006

What's the point?

Yesterday morning my family received news that Jeremy's former Scoutmaster passed away on Sunday. We have reason to believe that he took his own life. Everyone was stunned. He knew the Lord, but had been in a deep depression for the past five years. I feel so bad for his family. His oldest is a year younger than me, and the youngest is only eight years old. Eight years old. I can't even begin to imagine. That left me very pensive for the rest of the day.

Adam invited me to a party that a lot of the college kids from our church group were going to last night. Unlike most college Halloween parties, it was very innocent with only Dr. Pepper to drink and brownies to inhale, Uno to be played, and pumpkin-carving contests. I'm not much for dressing up in some costume, so I wore a Chinese blouse I bought in Montreal's China Town.

The party was okay, but I felt I could have better used my time. I don't know how to describe the irony, I guess, but as I stood around with cup in hand and smile pasted on my face, I thought, What am I doing here? Watching the other college students bum around and act silly, I felt so out of place (which is how I generally feel with most people my age). I wished I had organized a prayer group instead of going to a party.

It all just seemed so empty and fake to me. In light of eternity, what was the point? Maybe I'm too serious and philosophical for someone my age. Maybe I think too much... but maybe, in the end, I am better off.
Better to go to the house of mourning
Than to go to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
(Ecclesiastes 7:2-4)