October, 2012: I am now 62 and my last “chick” flew the coop for graduate school this past August, so I am trying to write as full time as I can (given a busy physician/husband, 7 delightful children, five of whom are married to wonderful spouses, 9 grandchildren, and many dear kith and kin). Over the past four years of writing a blog, I seem to have developed a pattern of photo journalism and a penchant for certain subjects, so I’ve decided to try this coming year to organize somewhat by topic (barring interruptions in time or thought). I will generally be trying to post as follows:
Sunday: Rise Up, My Love: Meditations on the Song of Solomon
Monday: Memories from the (usually not too distant) past
Tuesday: Travel adventures (writing a series on the British Isles right now) Wednesday: World Events, commentary on politics, books, or movie reviews Thursday: Tales (stories from nature that might appeal to young people too) Friday: Focus on my family: what’s going on at home or with my kids Saturday: Armstrong Archives: memoirs on nearly 40 years of marriage, what it’s been like being married to a doctor, and thoughts on trying to rear and home school our seven children. These entries are taken from letters I wrote “back home” to my parents, who have long since graduated to glory. My “kids” are now 20-30 somethings. The oldest is a computer programmer married to an artist who is homeschooling their four sons. The second is a dentist married to an actress who is homeschooling their three children. The third is a college professor married to a speech pathologist; they have one baby. The fourth is a writer married to a graphic designer and videographer; they have one baby. The fifth is a dentist married to a nurse. The sixth is working on graduate degrees in piano performance and musicology. The seventh writes and is working on a graduate degree in literature. It was a tough job bringing up their mother, but they all survived and seem to be thriving.
My goal is to encourage and uplift every person who happens by this blog. Where I fail or offend…please forgive!
April, 2008: Hmmm. When asked that in front of a class as a demo for how to interview a patient, I responded, “I’m a woman, a Christian, and a wife.” Over thirty years later, that still holds, although I’d definitely add that I’m a mom. In fact, a motherless mother. Since Alan and I are both babies in our natal families, our parents—were they still living—would be approaching 100. This translates into our beginning to live through the sixties all over again, although we’re not a part of the sandwich generation. We’ve had to give up that comfy feeling of having parents cushioning us like a slice of well buttered bread…and that pressured feeling of needing to take care of both our parents and our kids at the same time. I think we’re more like bruschetta. Our kids are pretty much baked and toasty. Of the seven, only two are left at home, and they are very industrious and independent. That leaves us as the stewed tomatoes! Still, I like bruschetta. Do you?
One of my dearest friends once told me I reminded her of a little red helium balloon bouncing along in the sky. She envisioned Alan as the string that kept me from floating away…and I assume that meant tethered to reality. I buy that. Especially the idea of being a balloon. I feel like my entire existence is totally dependent on the Holy Spirit filling me. Without Christ, I feel like I would have burst a long time ago and be lying broken in a field somewhere. All I am or ever hope to be is His! “I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is towards me” (Song of Solomon 7:10). Or, as Einstein put it, “I want to know the mind of God. Everything else is just detail.” I know that eternity will not be long enough to truly understand the ineffable mind of God, but I have tasted the love of God, and to me, there is nothing more compelling on earth. I want to share His love…to love others in a way that attracts them to Christ, who is truly the best! That’s my passion. I’m passionate about a lot of things, like family and writing and photography and friends, but nothing is as dear to me as Christ!
Coming to Christ
For anyone who may find this site and has not yet heard the good news: God loves us and has made a provision for us to get to know Him and find His love, peace, hope, and joy through being related to Him.
Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God Psalm 146:5. This also carries the promise of eternal life in heaven with God after we die: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16.
So, how do we get “the God of Jacob” to become our help and learn to hope in Him? The Bible teaches us the way to happiness by leading us to God. If you’ll permit me to give my own very compact abstract of the Scripture, this is the simple gospel message I first heard at the age of twelve and have found to be true through the experiences of my life ever since:
God created a morally good and orderly universe and established people in a paradise created especially for them (Genesis 1-2). However, man chose to disobey God (called “sin” in the Bible; see Genesis 3). From that day until the present, all men have the same choice: to obey or disobey God, and all men inevitably refuse to obey God at some point.
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God Romans 3:2. Although
the wages of sin is death, God made a provision for us:
the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord Romans 6:23.
How do we obtain this gift of eternal life? Jesus Christ was God made into a man (John 1:1-14) who came to earth, lived a perfect life for us (Hebrews 4:15), and died in our place (II Corinthians 5:21), for our sins, so that the penalty for sin could be paid (Romans 5:11). By acknowledging our sinfulness and inability to keep God’s laws perfectly (which is God’s requirement for entrance into heaven; see Revelation 21:27), and by simply asking God to accept Christ’s death as payment for our sin and submitting ourselves to his rule in our lives, Christ becomes our Savior, and the God of the Bible—the “God of Jacob”—becomes our God and our help. This exchange is based on God’s unchanging promise: we give him our life and he gives us his eternal life (which is in his son, Jesus Christ; see John 3:15-16). Spiritually, this is known as being “born again” (see John 3:1-21). Once we are born again, it is our “job” to believe in Christ (John 6:29) and trust in him to lead us into truth and goodness.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want Psalm 23. As we learn to commune with him through prayerfully meditating on the Bible and seeking his wisdom and grace in order to do His will, we will find that we truly are happy as we experience real love, joy, and peace.
This is my attempt to explain the grandest mystery in the universe, God’s love and provision for us as His beloved creation. If you have never heard this good news before, and want to become a Christian, let me review again briefly. Some have said it’s as easy as A,B,C:
- Acknowledge your sin and repent. (Admit that you’ve been running your own life and decide instead to obey God and submit to his authority).
Except you repent, you shall all perishLuke 13:3.
- Believe in the death of Jesus Christ as the complete payment for your sins before God.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sinsI John 4:10.
- Confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, accepting his gift of life and giving him your life.
If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and will believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvationRomans 10:9-10.
If you have taken this step of faith, please let me know so I can pray for you and encourage you to grow in your faith. Faith grows as we learn the truths of the Bible and put them into practice in our own lives (Romans 10:17). If you have any comments or questions, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God bless you,