"Do I not fill Heaven and Earth?" says the Lord.

Musings: January 2018

He floats the question, and I almost miss the impact.
Coming as it does in the midst of a firestorm of holy fury against the false prophets who are Jeremiah’s contemporaries, the question sounds rhetorical:

 “’Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away?
Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?
Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 23:23, 24)

Immanent and transcendent, God declares Himself to the ears of those who want nothing of Truth, and Jeremiah faithfully stored up His words for us today. We know from reading his howling laments that Jeremiah was no stranger to the sense of God’s absence. A condition that prowls every believer in every era, I wonder if we notice as acutely in our time?

Oswald Chambers warned against it:

“Guard jealously your relationship to God. . .  Are you drawing your life from any other source than God Himself?” If you are depending upon anything but Him, you will never know when He is gone.”  (January 20th)

He who “fills heaven and earth” is certainly never “gone,” but with a Word that comes to us as both fire and hammer, it’s incredible that we miss His voice so easily.

On My Mind

Along with Jeremiah’s Old Testament words, I’m up to my fetlocks in G.K. Chesterton these days. Finally after a number of false starts, I decided the only way for me to make it through his classic work, Orthodoxyis to give myself the entire space of 2018 to do it, and to commit myself to showing up here once a month with a collection of ponderings.

Orthodoxy

You’re invited to join me in this project. I’ve been surprised at how many readers have already said they want to come along for the ride. You can read my first post here. By way of accountability, I’m planning a February 15th post on my reading up to this point. Grab a low-cost version of Orthodoxy for your Kindle, and be sure to share your thoughts and your progress as you read.

Around Our Table

 

The Morin family has entered a new era in parenting. Our youngest son is now 16, and we celebrated for an entire weekend. It was great, and all the ruckus was an appropriate marker to get us ready for the upcoming license test, the new job, and the busy schedule that are part of the package in this growing and changing family.

We enjoyed having our third son home from college over Christmas break, but he loaded up his Ford Ranger and headed back to school in mid-January, so I am once again faced with more leftovers at supper time than I’m accustomed to.

On the Blog

A Guide for Living Well as an Introvert of FaithI’m continually thankful for the insightful comments you folks leave behind whenever you visit. Apparently a good number of you are introverts, so you resonated with the insights offered by Adam McHugh in his wonderful book Introverts in the Church which balances the extroverted culture of the North American church with truth that it is possible to thrive as an introvert of faith.

 

The More You Were Made ForIt’s always a joy to write and to share Truth in community, and God-Sized Dreams extended their customary warm welcome to me in the month of January when I kicked off our read-through of Holley Gerth’s You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream. The post was an invitation at the beginning of this new year to stop listening to the voices who say your dream is not big enough – who say that your dream is not really God-sized because it does not call for a more exotic address or a job title with a greater wow factor. Pursuing a God-sized dream is “not about what you do as much as how you do it. It’s about pursuing life with passion and purpose and going with God wherever He leads.”

I was given the opportunity to feature a new resource for family devotions, a guide for readers who want to practice the spiritual discipline of journaling, and two great books for grandparents who want to love their children AND their children’s children well.

Biddy Chambers: A Sacramental LifeMy favorite post for January was my review of Michelle Ule’s biography of Mrs. Oswald Chambers. Published in 1927, My Utmost for His Highest has sold more than 13 million copies and has never been out of print. Over the course of its 90+ year history, it has been translated into 40 different languages, and Oswald Chambers’s unique and timeless wisdom is quoted far and wide. However, until recently, little thought has been given to the fact that My Utmost was not published until ten years after Chambers’s death, and that it was his wife, Gertrude “Biddy” Hobbs Chambers who took on the mammoth task of compiling and editing nearly twenty years’ worth of sermons and lessons.

The snow that is falling outside my window this afternoon is barely perceptible. Even so, it is adding to the carpet of white that has stayed with us for most of the month, and while snow complicates life at times, I’m thankful for its beauty. I’m also thankful for the many ways in which you “show up” here at Living Our Days, and for the opportunity to connect around books and around eternal truth.
Blessings and love to you! 


I have begun to experiment with including Amazon affiliate links here in my book reviews. If you should decide to purchase any of the resources reviewed in this post, click on the title below, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture|
Mrs. Oswald Chambers: The Woman behind the World’s Bestselling DevotionalTeach Us to Pray: Scripture-Centered Family Worship through the Year
Journaling for the Soul: A Handbook of Journaling Methods
Grandparenting: Loving Our Children’s Children (Lifeguide Bible Studies)
There’s a Reason They Call It Grandparenting

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I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

55 thoughts on “Musings: January 2018”

  1. I don’t know how you keep up with all your reading and writing, Michele! You must write a blog post about time management. I am reading Orthodoxy and have found myself laughing out loud at times. It is not easy reading but I do like how Chesterton turns thoughts and ideas upside down. I like a book that shakes up my thinking! I look forward to your upcoming post about the book.

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    1. Ha! I mostly don’t “keep up,” but I guess the 21st century affliction (or is it the 50+ years old affliction?) is the sense that we’re always running behind. And I”m not sure if it’s the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon or just a “coincidence,” but I’m seeing and hearing Chesterton quotes everywhere these days. Judge Neil Gorsuch even quoted him recently!

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  2. Michele,
    I always enjoy your Musings. Congrats’ on so much happening in your family! Happy and scary at the same time! I commend you on your pursuit of Orthodoxy and giving yourself time to fully digest it AND inviting others to hold you accountable. I didn’t know that “Biddy” Chambers put Oswald Chamber’s book together posthumously. Thus the saying, behind every great man is a great woman! As always love stopping by!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  3. I just love you, Michele. I don’t know how you find time to do all the reading either. And GK Chesterton! Sheesh! I’m reading Jen Hatmaker. 🙂 I hadn’t realized that about Biddy Chambers until recently. So interesting.

    And yes to changing households. We also experienced an increase in leftovers when my son went to college. Trying to learn to cook less, but I don’t seem to get it.

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    1. Oh! We’re on day three with a macaroni and cheese. The college boy could eat what I have in the fridge right now in one sitting and it will feed three of us along with the leftovers from an 11 pound ham (what was I thinking??) I cooked over the weekend. This is going to FORCE me to up my hospitality game just to recruit help with leftovers!

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  4. I always enjoy your monthly musings, Michele. I truly am amazed at all that occurs in one month’s time! And how can it be January is already coming to a close!! Seriously. Using up all the leftovers is a challenge we enjoy over at our house. Not throwing food away is a beautiful smell of success to my husband 🙂 And makes it easy for me too!

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  5. I love looking back over the month with you. Hard to believe your youngest is 16. Life is going to change again in several years. Leftovers will become the norm.

    Your musings are always packed to the brim with goodness just like your blog posts. Thank you for being a blessing here in the writing world.

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  6. Always love reading your musings, Michele. It’s fun to keep up with you and your family. I have read the book Orthodoxy, but it’s been awhile. I might just do it again. I read it aloud with my boys a couple of years ago. It’s a great book.
    Blessings to you! xo

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  7. Michele, I love the Oswald Chambers quote and will look forward to reading the book on Mrs. Chambers sometime in the future. I always enjoy your musings and chance to see what I might have missed. Have a great week!

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  8. Delightful pictures of your little boy, now grown! What a sweet privilege to be a mother and hold these memories in our hearts… Chambers book now makes sense to me, being a collection randomly put together. Every time I have dipped into it in the past I have come away frustrated that things seem pulled from context and not as accurate as they might be if further explained. Today’s quote it no exception: “If you are depending upon anything but Him, you will never know when He is gone.” I think we will certainly know, as soon as that thing fails, as it inevitable will! And the emptiness and angst will do the telling. But in another sense, yes, as you suggested with your question, how readily do we notice His absence? We have so many comforts and distractions in our modern times and very little of persecution in our contexts… We can live for
    years without a sense of ‘needing God’, until a crisis hits… Thankfully we have the Spirit alongside doing the prodding and preserving we so desperately need. Thank you, Michele, for your musings and faithful presentation of challenging truth!

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    1. Thank you for saying that about Chambers’s book. I have always felt kind of grouchy about his devotionals, as if they were jarring me with a sort of “puzzle piece in the wrong place” feeling, but now that I know they truly were assembled, I don’t wonder about them.
      And I was thankful to find that quote from Oswald, but I wouldn’t have liked it at all if I were not reading in Jeremiah.
      I’m thankful for you, Linda, with your spot on observations and your empathy to the place where I’m writing from.

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  9. I was just reading the last couple of mornings in a book called Trust by Lydia Brownback that whatever we’re leaning on or trusting in other than God, He’ll make sure that that thing fails us so we know it’s not what we need to be relying on and so we’ll turn our attention back to Him, the only reliable One. I’m nearly at the end of Isaiah and have seen that over and over – some of God’s judgments were just that, causing whatever His people had turned to to fail.

    I’ve had that same sense as has been mentioned in the comments about getting frustrated reading Chambers’ devotional and figuring maybe it was just a personality difference, but maybe it was more the cobbled-together nature of the book.

    So many mixed emotions as the kids grow up, especially the youngest reaching certain milestones. I remember near the end of his senior year getting misty over making his last school lunch – and that was not even one of my favorite parts of parenting, ha! It’s an exciting time even while realizing they’re coming closer to stepping away.

    There are some dishes I pare down for three, but others that we really like that I make the same amount as always and then we feast on leftovers for lunches. But sometimes the leftovers hang around too long. One thing I do like about having just the three of us is that we only have to run the dishwasher once every other day. 🙂 When everyone’s here, it seems like we’re constantly going through dishes, even using paper plates at times. It’s worth it for those times together, but it is nice to have the lesser loads.

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    1. Yes, the “lesser loads.”
      Although I’m not seeing it yet with laundry . . . son number four is a bit of clothes horse, and his brother brings laundry home every weekend. (And then there is the married son who doesn’t own a washer yet)
      The nature of Chambers’s devotional book has helped me to have more patience with the patchwork of ideas as well. In fact, as I read I have a mental image of him actually standing before a group and speaking the words – and I guess we could think of each individual thought as a sound-byte, right?
      Lydia Brownback is a treasure, and I really need to read more of her stuff.
      Thanks, Barbara, for taking time to read and to share your thoughts here!

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  10. Michele, I so enjoyed this “multi-layered” post. I’ve also pondered and written about Jeremiah’s saga. It seems to hit home with our own story of whether we trust the sovereign God. And thank you for the many quotes, book reading ideas, and the book about introverts in the church. I’m a pastor’s wife. While I’m not an introvert, social bug through and through, it’s hard for me to grasp the mind and heart of the introvert. Visiting you from recharge Wednesday link-up. You weren’t near me in the line up, but wanted to visit several bogs today and so glad I did. Blessings and happy birthday to your son!

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  11. Michele, I love how you balance all the productivity with keeping your heart in check with God. Others mentioned how much you do in a short time. There’s something in that, huh? Maybe that’s an idea for an upcoming post? If not here, I would love to have you guest write.

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  12. Michele, you’ve been busy! I’m sure you and blog readers will have a wonderful 2018 in the midst of Orthodoxy. And I must admit, I find the book about Mrs. Chambers intriguing. Sounds like a good read. Blessings to you. #chasingcommunity

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    1. It was a great read, and I am truly looking forward to what other readers have to say about that Chesterton classic. I’ve been meaning to read it for ages (he’s quoted everywhere!) so I’m thankful to finally be under way!

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  13. You’ve packed alot into a most frigid, gray month, Michele …

    And congrats to being a mama to a 16 year old yet once again. We somehow survive those years, and with any grace, we get to be friends with those kiddos when they emerge into adulthood.

    ;-}

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  14. Awe, blessings and love to you as well, dear friend. — Happy Birthday to your baby. My youngest will be 16 next month. Impossible?! 🙂 Enjoyed your January in review. Thank you for sharing, and for your faithfulness to write. xoxo

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  15. Oh wow. The quote from Oswald Chambers really made me ponder…if we are filling our days with anything other than God, how will we know when He is gone? Ouch. That one stings.
    I don’t ever want to be so absent from God that I fail to notice HIS absence!
    Thanks for making me think today, Michele!

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    1. That one got me too, Rachel, especially when we consider the idea within the context of God’s steadfast presence. He does not fail to be omnipresent and immanent just because we are not aware of Him.

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  16. I enjoy your musings and am always amazed at how much you read and write each month. God is really moving in and through your words and you are reading and soaking up the knowledge. Have a blessed weekend.

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  17. Popping in via Leigh’s link-up…the book on Mrs. Oswald Chambers sounds like an interesting read – given how ubiquitous “My Utmost…” is, there must be a good story of how it came to be.

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  18. Congratulations to your son, what a milestone. I feel like time goes so fast, my eldest will be 14 this year and I cannot yet imagine her off at college and moving away from me. I just tucked her into bed and I love knowing all 3 babies (well not quite babies) are sleeping upstairs. I know it will fly though. They are truly blessed to have such a clever and loving mum. Thanks for linking up #mg

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    1. Oh, yes. I am so conscious of the fact that these next few years are going to fly! I’m cherishing ever opportunity to gather these boys, because I know the orbit gets farther afield every year!

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  19. Congrats to the 16 year old, an exciting time for him. “’Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Thank you Lord for your presence with us and in us. I love that He fills the heavens and earth. May we be image bearers to reflect that. What a wonderful job you do with all the book reviews, it is so helpful to have someone do that and to encourage more reading.
    Kathleen
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

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    1. Well, thank you, Kathleen, for this encouragement. And I need regular reminders that God is not only filling the universe, but He is also close at hand. What a great paradox to wrap our heads around!

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