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Girl Meets God

    by Melissa Mathews

January 4, 2004

"On through the hours the quiet words ring, Like a low inspiration: "Do the next thing!" Old Saxon legend--

The New Year was rapidly approaching, so I thought "hey, let's look at my goals for the year, and see how I did." Melissa's Plan for Life was the over-zealous, geek-ish name I had given the file saved conveniently on the desktop of my computer. I opened it, and began the excruciating scan down the page. Ugh. I had accomplished so little of what I had hoped. And then, an even more painful truth caught my eye. This list of goals had been written in 2002, not 2003. …  ( Click for more )

December 28, 2003

(I'm enjoying the vacation with my five "boys." Hope you enjoy the rerun!)

"Let the wife make the husband glad to come home,and let him make her sorry to see him leave.--Martin Luther

I have four great boys. And being the wise woman that I am, I am training them to adore me. They have a mantra that I require of them at least once a day:

"I love my Mother very much. She is my favorite Mother In the whole, wide world. I cannot live without her."

You might think that I'm kidding. But I'm not. I love to hear it. They can never say it too…  ( Click for more )

December 21, 2003

On July 29th, the Mathews family went to Baskin Robbins (or the Big BR, as my dad would call it) to celebrate our oldest son's birthday. When the ice cream was almost gone, we remembered to sing: "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…" I was choking up and couldn't finish the song because I realized other people in the restaurant were singing along with us.

It reminded me of that painful, bliss-filled, surreal night 10 years before when Max was born. I had experienced this same feeling, but for the very first time.

I don't remember the exact sequence of…  ( Click for more )

December 14, 2003

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 pictures…  ( Click for more )

December 7, 2003

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 named…  ( 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 week, 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 party…  ( Click for more )

November 23, 2003

"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 recipe:…  ( Click for more )

November 16, 2003

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 )

November 9, 2003

Putting God First: In Our Actions

"Self-preoccupation, self-broodings, self-interest, self-love—these are the reasons we jar each other Learn to give and not to take; to drown your own hungry wants in the happiness of lending yourself to fulfill the interests of those nearest and dearest." Joy and Strength

My four sons, the Mathews Brothers as we like to call them, know our loose interpretation of the Golden Rule: "Treat others the way you want to be treated." But they sometimes get a little confused about the order of events. They tend to treat people…  ( Click for more )

Putting God First: In My Relationships "Preach The Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words." - St. Francis of Assisi.

I know lots of people. I know lots of people in lots of different ways.

There's the checker at the grocery store who is a cancer survivor and tells me all about the great benefits of green tea.

There's my brother, who according to my sister-in-law, really does like me.

There's Ms. Cruz, Miss Sonnenburg, Ms. Harp, and Miss Dose, the women who have taken on the task of educating children, four of which happen to be my boys. I think they…  ( Click for more )

October 26, 2003

Putting God First in Our Thoughts

"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, and Hell of Heaven." John Milton

When I think "put God first in my thoughts," I get a picture of this huge coffee filter. The filter is made from the advice in Philippians 4:8: "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

Whatever thought I'm having, it has to pass through this…  ( Click for more )

October 19, 2003

Putting God First: In My Words I said "I will watch my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue, I will restrain my mouth as with a muzzle." Psalm 39:1

(The next four weeks will be a short devotional series on "Putting God First" in different areas of life.)

Sometimes I've thought of tape recording what goes on at my house. I think I would be unpleasantly surprised at the results. At the same time, the recording would probably answer lots of questions like "Why does ______ speak so disrespectfully to his brothers?" and "Where did they learn to talk like that?"

The…  ( Click for more )

"The King's officials answered him, 'Your servants are ready to do whatever our Lord the King chooses.'" 2 Samuel 15:15 (This is a story Scott and I wrote this week. I thought you would like it. Just remember that the "I" in the story is Scott talking, not Melissa.)

Last March, on a flight out of Phoenix to Sacramento, I was practicing my "Adventure Christian Church stump speech" before some Southwest passengers. After the passengers' applause subsided and they took their seats, a gentleman from Modesto asked me, "What are you going to do for Sacramento?" Now, I was…  ( Click for more )

October 5, 2003

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…  ( Click for more )

September 28, 2003

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 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!)

I remember in early Jr. High that I…  ( Click for more )

September 21, 2003

"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 came to…  ( Click for more )

September 14, 2003

"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…  ( Click for more )

September 7, 2003

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 )

August 31, 2003

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. I…  ( Click for more )

August 24, 2003

"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 17, 2003

"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 event…  ( Click for more )

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