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Girl Meets God

    by Melissa Mathews

"those who trust in the Lord…will soar on wings like Eagles" Is 40:31

Some people just don't know when to quit.

Such was the case with this little boy that went with my son to Environmental Education Camp last week. (He will remain un-named for many reasons.)

He was a precious boy- tall and thin, dark hair, half Asian and half Caucasian. I think he might have a mild case of cerebral palsy. But I don't think he knows it- which is one of the reasons he will remain anonymous. His long, right leg turns in just a bit and he seems like he might…  ( Click for more )

June 19, 2005

"Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good." Elizabeth Elliot Fox News hasn't reported it. CNN hasn't reported it. Rush Limbaugh hasn't reported it. But it has happened. A great football dynasty has fallen. A team that remained undefeated for over 6 months has finally seen its demise. I saw it myself. I was there to witness Jackson dodging past older brother Max and stepping over the goal line for the winning touchdown.

I personally found the whole game stressful because I knew what was at stake. Older brother Max and baby…  ( Click for more )

June 12, 2005

He will always give you all you need from day to day if you will make the Kingdom of God your primary concern." Luke 12:31, The Living Bible

I couldn't believe I had fallen for it yet again!!!

I spent last week at an environmental education program with my oldest son Max. In other words, we went to camp. Thin mattress, long hikes, bugs, tall trees- the usual. We had a great time. Any week where someone else cooks and washes the dishes is a great week.

One of the best days was the day we did the high challenge course- where you get to do all those…  ( Click for more )

June 5, 2005

"The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances." Elizabeth Elliot

This week the Mathews family took my parents, Max and Marilyn Goins, on a week of vacation to Southern California. The trip was partly business, partly pleasure, and hopefully lesson-time for the Mathews Brothers.

We live an average life for America. The American dream of having wealth and perfection is miles down the road. (It's actually not even on our map.) We have two cars, a 1990 Nissan and a 1998 GMC Suburban. We have a 1600 square-foot-house with a spa that was…  ( Click for more )

"Just turn your affairs over to the Lord, and go on and do your duty." --Old Union soldier in Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage.

The Goins family (Dad, Mom, two boys, twin sister and me) lived in a great neighborhood.

We had this empty lot beside our house that had to be at least 3 acres. The boys in the neighborhood had turned it into quite a nice baseball diamond. It had a chain link backdrop, bases, and a mowed infield. The rest of the lot was a different story. Every couple of weeks this guy would come with a big bush hog and mow it. It was an…  ( Click for more )

May 22, 2005

"The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power… and you will be changed into a different person." I Samuel 10:6

There's this store I shop at. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love this store because it's huge and has everything imaginable. I hate this store because it's huge and has everything imaginable. You know the kind. You spend twice what you ought because you see all these things you didn't even know you needed until you see them. You also get your day's workout getting diapers in one corner and then walking half…  ( Click for more )

May 15, 2005

An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. Proverbs 24:26

I'm not a liar. I never have been, and I never will be. But sometimes, my husband accuses me of it.

Well, not really. But, he does accuse me of leaving out vital information. I'm sure you've heard it too.

"I asked you to pick up the boys after school." "You never said that!" "I asked you to call Myrna!" "You never said that!" "I told you I had plans that night!" "You never said that!"

One Saturday at about 4:00 o'clock, I decided to run to Wal-Mart for a couple of…  ( Click for more )

May 8, 2005

That what you would have the man become, That you must train the child to be. -Charlotte Mason

I got my mother's day gift early. I'm sure Mark didn't even know he'd given it to me. It wasn't wrapped, and how much it cost is hard to figure. But I was so moved I had trouble controlling my tears in the electronics department.

Our family of six was snaking its way through our always overcrowded Wal-Mart. Daddy Scott led, then baby-7-year-old Grant. Slim and serious Mark was next, then me. I was hoping that the two following, 12-year-old Max,…  ( Click for more )

April 24, 2005

By heaven we understand a state of happiness infinite in degree, and endless in duration. Benjamin Franklin

Yesterday, when I was riding in my car, I had this instant desire to see Portia Knowles. I don't know why, but I did. Portia is a wonderful girl who was in our high school youth group in Missouri. She was our first paid babysitter. She is the one who decorated my Christmas tree one year with handmade paper snow flakes. One fall as we were amping up for a fresh theme in youth ministry, Portia, me, and lots of other people, worked for hours to turn the church's…  ( Click for more )

"The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances." Elizabeth Elliot

If you've taken the time to read my bio, you know that we (the Mathews' family) are planting a church in Northern California-Sacramento to be exact. If you've read very many of these columns, you know I'm a small town girl. Same street, same school, same people till I left for college. So this last year has been quite a stretch for me-- a lot of stretch. (Even more of a stretch than putting on my recently rediscovered high school sweat suit.)

My brother Reggie…  ( Click for more )

April 10, 2005

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:27-28

I didn't know if I would be able to get up. I was down on the floor, head under my desk, looking for the envelope to an Easter card that I needed to send to Asfaw (our little World Vision girl in Ethiopia).

You're picturing spacious leg room under a standard desk. But you're picturing wrong. My desk is an old library table, the kind with the…  ( Click for more )

April 3, 2005

Drudgery is the touchstone to character… learn to live in the domain of drudgery by the power of God… Oswald Chambers

It was late Thursday night. (Well, it was late if you're a first grader.) Grant and I were sitting on the couch studying for his spelling test. When one can hardly read his spelling words, writing them correctly on a test can be especially challenging. Grant had to write each spelling word four times: once in all capital letters, once in crayon, once in pencil, and once in marker. If you're in first grade, this much writing seems…  ( Click for more )

Economists use probability theory to predict how people will spend money. Actuaries use it to figure how high someone's insurance premium will be.

In 2002, Richard Swinburne, who is a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, used a formula known as Baye's theorem to calculate the probability of Jesus' resurrection from the dead.

"For someone dead for 36 hours to come to life again is, according to the laws of nature, extremely improbable," Mr. Swinburne told an audience of more than 100 philosophers who had convened at Yale University in April for a…  ( Click for more )

March 20, 2005

If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without shame and grief, then I know nothing of Calvary Love. -Amy Carmichael

She gave me this strange look as I passed her at Natomas Park Elementary School. You know the one: raised eyebrows with one higher than the other; that half-smirk, half smile that says "Am I supposed to know you?" Her curly-puffy hair was pulled back in pig-tails, and she had on a pink t-shirt with little blue flowers.

I've known her mother Sharon several years. She's a children's pastor at another…  ( Click for more )

March 13, 2005

All Fraying out of character begins with one little thread left loose." J.R. Miller Fatal sentence: "Oh, it doesn't matter just this once!" Charlotte Mason

Are you up for a gross story this week? I have one. I mean, it's not that gross, but I just wanted you to be prepared.

I was washing my face (yes, mom) for bed on Thursday night, and once again noticed that my bathroom drain was running slowly—very slowly. I'd been ignoring it for sometime, hoping it would go away. But for some odd reason, it hadn't yet. Ugh. "Maybe I'll fix…  ( Click for more )

March 6, 2005

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 2 Timothy 1:5

Do you remember the high school practice of picking a body part to hate? For a little while, number one on the bad list was my lips. Everyone said I had big lips, so my nickname became "Melipsa." (If any of you are still doing this, may I suggest a life. My to-do list is so long now that I couldn't possibly fit "worry about my fat arms" anywhere on it!)

At one point I hated my hands.…  ( Click for more )

February 27, 2005

Our children have more right to expect that we shall be model parents than we have to require that they be model children. Rev. John S.C. Abbot in The Mother At Home, 1833

My sister and I are trying to loose weight. We've been at it now for 20 some odd years. You think we would be better at it by now.

So, in our hit and miss effort, we decided to Labor this last weekend over a pilates (pu-lat-ees) video. (Pilates is a combination of ballet stretching and torture.) We moved the big, black trunk-turned-coffee-table from in front of the TV and lay down on the floor. …  ( Click for more )

February 20, 2005

"When we are weak, then are we strong. When most empty of self, we are most full of God." -Charles Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians

He reached out and touched my arm as I was walking away from the ATM machine. Of course, my first response was to be a little jumpy. I turned around and noticed that he was pushing a crinkled envelope towards me and saying something I couldn't understand.

I looked up and saw that he was an older Asian man—no one to fear, so I could relax and try to figure out what he was saying. I listened a little longer,…  ( Click for more )

February 13, 2005

"…It is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocritywhen the excellent lies before us."--Isaac D'Israeli, 1834

jjjj kkkk llll ;;;; ffff dddd ssss aaaa

I'm not that old, but the school I graduated from was so small (and underfinanced) that we learned to type on manual typewriters - the kind where you develop muscles in your fingers that you didn't know you had - the kind of typewriter where you pushed a silver bar to "return" the carriage to the beginning of the next line. Mrs. McKinney wouldn't let us use the four electric typewriters…  ( Click for more )

February 6, 2005

"The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power… and you will be changed into a different person." I Samuel 10:6

I'm staring out the window, and still can't believe my eyes. I've done this many times before, but it still seems physically impossible. How does something that weighs this much get up in the air. Who thought of this? (It's a rhetorical question. I do know who thought of it.) There is something oddly surreal about sitting in a comfortable chair and looking down at bright, puffy clouds and tiny, little houses with swimming pools.

This isn't the…  ( Click for more )

January 30, 2005

Jesus said "You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. - Matthew 11:25

My parents are visiting this week, and being around them always reminds me of being a girl in small town Marianna, Arkansas. It was a farming community that practiced all of the rules of any good Southern town: no white shoes between Labor Day and Easter, anyone older than you was always addressed with a title, and girls NEVER called boys.

Our neighborhood was up on this tree-covered ridge, which kept us from being flooded by the often overflowing…  ( Click for more )

January 23, 2005

"Just turn your affairs over to the Lord, and go on and do your duty." --Old Union soldier in Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage.

The Goins family (Dad, Mom, two boys, twin sister and me) lived in a great neighborhood.

We had this empty lot next to our house that had to be at least 3 acres. The boys in the neighborhood had turned it into quite a nice baseball diamond. It had a chain link backdrop, bases, and a mowed infield. The rest of the lot was a different story. The weeds would grow about 2 feet tall, and every couple of weeks this guy would come with a big…  ( Click for more )

January 16, 2005

"Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup, you have made my lot secure." Psalms 16:5

If you like amazing stories too good to believe, you should check out the obituary section of the UK Telegraph Newspaper. I'm not kidding.

It's where I heard about Madame Alicia Markova. She died on December 2,2004, at age 94-- but only after living a life she probably could never have imagined.

Lilian Alicia Marks was her birth name. She held no promise of greatness as a little girl. She didn't speak until she was six years old, and her flat feet and knock knees…  ( Click for more )

January 9, 2005

If monotony tries me, and I cannot stand drudgery; if stupid people fret me and little ruffles set me on edge; if I make much of the trifles of life, then I know nothing of Calvary love." Amy Carmichael

We always use paper. Anytime my twin sister Michelle and I get together, we use disposable dinnerware. It's so much easier to throw nine cups and nine plates away (one for each of our children) than it is to wash them. The dishwasher is never empty enough for that.

A couple of weeks ago at Michelle's house, it was my turn to get dinner on the table.…  ( Click for more )

January 2, 2005

"On through the hours the quiet words ring Like a low inspiriation: "Do that one thing!" -Old Saxon Legend, revised

I'm sitting on the blue and tan stripped couch in my living room, feet propped on the coffee table, typing on Scott's laptop (becausealittleboythatIloveverymuchspilledcoffeeonmy keyboardandfriedmyspacebar) contemplating whether I've been a success at the one task I resolved to conquer last year.

On the loveseat across from me lies a pink, yellow, and green baby blanket that my mom and I made this summer for my newest niece Reilly who is about…  ( Click for more )

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