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Girl Meets God

    by Melissa Mathews

December 26, 2004

Move Men through Prayer. - Hudson Taylor

I just heard the best story of faith that I have heard in a long time.

On Wednesday, my husband's 77-year-old cousin Pernina (Per-nine-uh) and her adult son Marty came to visit us. Now, Pernina coming to visit is an amazing story in itself. We have lived in the greater Sacramento area for more than 6 years, and just found out a few months ago that she and her children exist and live close by.

But enough confusing details. On with the story.

Pernina and I were sitting on the couch getting to know each other.…  ( Click for more )

December 12, 2004

Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds. William Shakespeare

"God's strategy in a nutshell: He builds into you and me the beauty of his own character and then puts us on display." Joseph Aldrich

Last night the little boys and I went to "Holiday Craft Night" at Natomas Park Elementary school. It was crowded, unfamiliar, but fun. The favorite table, of course, was decorating Christmas cookies. Jack had to wash his hands 2 times before he finished one cookie. The table that I steered my boys away from was the potato-stamping-too-messy-paint table where kids made…  ( Click for more )

Although I must have Martha's hands, I have a Mary mind. And when my children's shoes I tie, thy sandals, Lord, I find. –Minette Allmoslecher

I wonder if Martha Stewart, with all her intricate Christmas preparations, knows she is much akin to her name sake, a woman named Martha in the Bible? The original Martha had this same need to be busy and overdo. Once, Jesus and his disciples came to her house. She started working hard to make dinner for these people. Here's what Luke 10:38-42 says:

"Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman…  ( Click for more )

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15

Our family lives in a very new part of Sacramento, California, the city Newsweek Magazine declared the most culturally diverse in America. The school my boys go to looks like the United Nations.

Last year, Grant's first grade class had a little Thanksgiving celebration that reminded me of the original harvest festival of 1623 with its Indians and Pilgrims who came together from different parts of the world, with different languages, different foods, and different-colored skin to celebrate.

Our little…  ( Click for more )

O Lord, that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness. William Shakespeare

I was visiting a friend a couple weeks ago, and we were shopping. My youngest child is 7. After 4 ½ years straight in mostly maternity clothes, and seven years saying "when I lose weight, I'll go shopping," my closet was beginning to look a little absurd (at least to the average American). My friend, the wardrobe genius, was trying to help me put a few outfits together.

We had just pulled into the parking lot of our 3rd or 4th store.

"Melissa, I've finally…  ( Click for more )

November 14, 2004

Veteran's Day has come and gone. Once again, I missed the chance to say thank you to the Veterans that I'm close to. There are heroes among us who walk around everyday unnoticed and looking like average people. Some of them are old, some of them are barely old enough to vote. In Tom Brokaw's book "The Greatest Generation Speaks," Veronica Mackey Hulick tells of her service during World War II.

Veronica was 20 when she joined the Navy WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service]. She and about 1500 other bright young women worked for hours at the monotonous job…  ( Click for more )

November 7, 2004

"Thanksgiving is the day we give thanks for the cornucopia of blessing and feed Aunt Bertha's asparagus Jell-O mold to Fido under the table." Comedian Jerry Seinfield

"My goal is God Himself...At any cost, dear Lord, by any road." Oswald Chambers

One of my favorite holiday recipes is from Mamaw Bell--Cranberry Fruit Salad. I don't know if that's what she called it—I'm not sure if it even had a name. But it has become one of those recipes that my sister and I must have at Thanksgiving, or else it wouldn't be Thanksgiving at all.

It's a very interesting…  ( Click for more )

October 31, 2004

I could not get comfortable in bed this morning. It was 9:30, later than I had slept since football season started in July. It was our first Saturday to sleep late in forever, and I was planning to make it last as long as possible.

But our mattress has gotten to be unbearable these days. It seems almost new to me - some dear Missouri friends bought it for us when we moved to California seven years ago. But I guess the mattress has doubled as a trampoline one too many times, because it's just not comfy anymore.

As I tossed and turned, I wondered if mothers in Africa…  ( Click for more )

October 24, 2004

O Lord, that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness. William Shakespeare

"It is a rare person who, when his cup frequently runs over, can give thanks to God instead of complaining about the limited size of his mug!" - Bob Russell

The Natomas Inderkum Junior Tiger football game was a little dreary today. It was cloudy and a bit chilly when Mark's team played. But they won, so it wasn't all bad.

When Max's team played, it started raining about as hard as it ever does in Northern California. (Those of us who have lived east of the Rockies…  ( Click for more )

October 17, 2004

"Whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord." Ephesians 6:8

Have you ever found yourself teaching someone, especially your kids, about God's truths, and all the while you were sweating just a bit? I don't mean you're hot. I mean you are teaching your kids to do the right thing and panicking just a little because the results are completely out of your control. "Do the right thing, and trust God to take care of the rest," you say. Then you gulp, wipe the perspiration off your forehead, and say to yourself "I sure hope God comes through on this one."

We…  ( Click for more )

October 10, 2004

The tree branch was approaching so fast, I had no choice but to duck. Since I had failed the steering test on our one and only practice trip down the river, I was in the front of the kayak. Michele, Hewlett Packard Planning Manager and women's director at our church, had done a touch better than me, so she was in the rear and responsible for maneuvering our vessel down the American River.

We were just getting started, and the river was broad and smooth where we were. I had just gotten the wristband from Julie, the biker in our triathlon team, had raced across the bridge…  ( Click for more )

October 3, 2004

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

(This is a re-run, but I thought it would be a helpful reminder here in the final stretch of our New Year's resolution work. And, I have company I'm enjoying an awful lot this weekend. :)

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. …  ( Click for more )

September 26, 2004

"We put up with anything, rather than hinder the gospel of Christ." 1 Corinthians 9:12

There's this lady that goes to my fitness club. Anytime I go after 9:00 in the morning, she's there. Seriously. Of course, I haven't actually taken a log of when I go, and how often she is actually there when I go, but it seems like it's all the time.

And the disconcerting thing is how thin this woman is, and how hard she works out. She follows the same routine everyday. She puts the treadmill as fast as it will go with the incline set as high as it will go, and she runs…  ( Click for more )

September 19, 2004

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:4, NIV)

We are coming into the final stretch. We have entered month 9 of 2004. Only 3 ½ months left to finish the year. And it's not too late. It's not too late to dig deep. It's not too late to take a long breath and throw that monkey off your back (to use a runner's term I am personally unfamiliar with).

It's not too late to remember the dream that was mono-tasking whereby you planned to accomplish one small improvement in your life this year. There…  ( Click for more )

September 12, 2004

Thank Him in advance for what the future holds, for He is already there. Elizabeth Elliot

As I banged the cup on the counter, I got a groan.

"Mooomm, the cuuup's not fuuull yet."

As if I didn't know that, as if that wasn't the whole purpose in me banging the cup in the first place. The 7-11 Slurpee machine was running really slow and thick, and I was just trying to be helpful. (If you don't know, a Slurpee is a frozen, sticky, sweet, foamy drink.)

It's been a long process- trying to teach the boys to use the Slurpee machine correctly- and I wasn't about…  ( Click for more )

September 5, 2004

"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 Grant had managed…  ( Click for more )

August 29, 2004

Snowflakes are frail, but if enough of them get together they can stop traffic. - Vance Havner

Why do I get so choked up at pee wee football games? Haven't I heard the National Anthem 1000 times? Haven't I sung it 100 times? And still, whether it's a recording of Leigh Ann Rimes or the little Smith sisters singing off key, I can't hold back the tears when I hear "o'er the land of the free…" mixed with whooping and hollering and waving pom pons and helmets.

But that's not the only thing that chokes me up at these games. When 8-year-old Tuianna Lopa…  ( Click for more )

I have a story you might not believe this week. It's a little painful to start with, but, it ends well.

I was raised in a picturesque little town called Marianna, Arkansas. It sat about 5 miles from the Mississippi River and was surrounded by cotton and soybean fields. The greater agri-politan area surrounding Marianna had a population of about 6000 people. But the town seemed much smaller, because, unless you've been living under a rock or you're reading this from Moscow, you know that the Southern United States of America have been very racially divided over the years.…  ( Click for more )

August 15, 2004

"Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another."

Our oldest son Max is a pretty sharp kid. He is listening all the time, even though it might not be obvious. We call him "Big Ears." But just because a kid is listening, doesn't mean he is understanding. It's especially hard to tell if a child comprehends a speech or lecture that you desperately want him to "get." This week Max passed his hearing test.

Student council elections were this week at Natomas Park Elementary School. Max had asked to run for President, but his already overworked parents graciously…  ( Click for more )

August 8, 2004

Set your jaw and clench your fists. Nothing short of death must ever be permitted to come between the two of you. Nothing! -James Dobson

When I was in high school, I had this problem. I had big lips. I think I've told you before that my nickname for a while was "Melipsa." I had another problem: Board- straight, thick brown hair. It was not nearly as thin as Jackie's or Marla's. The latest hairstyle always worked so well with their hair. (Hmm, maybe because they took the time to fix it!?)

And then one day, I grew up. I'm not sure when the moment of epiphany…  ( Click for more )

If I do not give [my husband] the "benefit of the doubt," but put the worst construction instead of the best on what is said or done, then I know nothing of Calvary Love. -Amy Carmichael

When Scott and I were first getting to know each other almost 18 years ago, I was oddly adept at not reading between the lines. We were barely friends and talked on a very matter-of-fact level. There were no post-conversation guessing games like "I think he likes me."

I'm not sure why it was that way- maybe because he was a lean, mean, California machine and I was certainly no…  ( Click for more )

July 25, 2004

Lord...who may live on your holy hill?... He who keeps his oath even when it hurts." Psalm 15:4

One of the lessons that my sister and I learned over and over again growing up was that you have to keep your word- even when it hurts. Usually it didn't hurt too badly because, as I've said before, God is always true to His word. For example, if I didn't cancel babysitting for the Felton kids because I got a better offer (like a date), it always seemed like the Feltons would cancel, so I got to go on the date anyway. Similar scenarios happened so many times that I can't begin to recall…  ( Click for more )

July 18, 2004

Fatal sentence: "Oh, it doesn't matter just this once!" Charlotte Mason

While I was on vacation in Missouri, I went to work with my mother one day. She is the one who helps everyone with their "freshman twenty" at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri. She is the dessert cook.

We didn't have much work to do, if you're used to this kind of work. We bagged peanut butter cookies, made rice krispy squares, and dished up apple and cherry cobbler for 300 people. We did all this while trying to keep the floor clean so the boy who mopped would still like us.

I…  ( Click for more )

July 11, 2004

Loose Lips Sink Ships

There's a rule that Scott and I have followed since we first got married. We didn't write it down anywhere or post it on the wall, but we practiced it fiercely. We never talked about our problems with anyone but each other. No mothers, no sisters, no next-door neighbors, and no best friends were privy to our often heated disagreements. I only discussed Scott's annoying habits with Scott, and he only discussed my annoying habits with me. There were several reasons.

I was from a small town where reputation is EVERYTHING. Once you've…  ( Click for more )

July 4, 2004

A couple of kids were in their attic reading old letters their parents had written years ago. The boy said to the girl: "These aren't the names they call each other now."

Last night our family of six was in a van headed to a party of old friends. We are on vacation in Missouri enjoying family and people from our former church.

And as vacations would sometimes have it, shortly after we got in the car, I had this moment of irritation. Sitting here writing, I can honestly say that I absolutely cannot remember what caused my aggravation. I lay in bed last night for 20 minutes…  ( Click for more )

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