Refiner’s Fire

You’ve likely heard this one before. It’s such a wonderful picture.

Malachi 3:3 says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”

He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy — when I see my image in it”

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

This put me in mind of a section of Hind’s Feet on High Places that has always been precious to me…

Last of all he took her up the stairway to the highest floor. There they found a room with a furnace in which gold was being smelted and refined of all its dross. Also in the furnace were rough pieces of stone and rock containing crystals. There were put in the great heat of the oven and left for a time. On being taken out, behold, they were glorious jewels, flashing as though they had reeived the fire into their very hearts. As Much-Afraid stood beside the Shepard, loving shrinkingly into the fire, he said the loveliest thing of all.

“O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay they foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones” (Isa. 54:11). Then he added, “My rarest and choicest jewls and my finest gold are those who have been refined in the furnace of Egypt,” and he sang one verse of a little song:

I’ll turn my hand upon thy heart,
And purge away thy dross,
I will refine thee in my fir
Remake thee at my cross.

There’s a song that Mr. Glock taught us at Emmaus that has been the prayer of my heart many times through the years since:

Living God, consuming fire,
Burn the sin from my life.
Make Your will my desire;
Take my life in Your hands.
Purify me with Your blood
Till I shine far brighter than purest gold
In Your eyes.

Some of you have guessed that I’m “in the fire” right now. I treasure your prayers, and I appreciate being able to share some of what the Lord is teaching me (for the how-many-eth time?). May I become a shining specimen of HIS work!

A Contrast…

It was with a broken and convicted heart that I read Psalm 16 today.

Psalm 16
A Mikhtam of David.
Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good besides You.”
As for the saints who are in the earth,
They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
Nor will I take their names upon my lips.
The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
I have set the LORD continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

The contrasts to the portions in bold:

*I’ve challenged You to manage to preserve me, O God, for I have not been taking refuge in You. I know I have no good besides You, but I’ve been too busy looking at me to notice the good that You are.

*Instead of focusing on the wonderful inheritance You have for me, and appreciating the beautiful heritage You’ve given, I have focused on the pain and hurts in my life.

*Instead of setting the LORD continually before me, I have set myself. Because I have pulled away from His side, I have been greatly shaken. Therefore my heart is bowed down and overburdened, rejoicing is scarce, and I am full of fear and insecurity.

*Though You long to make known to me the path of life, to give me fullness of joy and pleasures forever, I have not been at Your right hand or in Your presence. I have refused the blessings You long to give.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

The Strength to Submit

This is a section from Elizabeth George’s book A Woman After God’s Own Heart.

Do you know the main reason why we wives don’t submit to our husband? God says it’s fear. We are afraid of what will happen if our husband does things his way instead of our way. Clearly, underneath God’s call to us to submit lies a much deepr, more fundamental call to live a life of faith in Him. “The holy women” of the Bible “who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,” and we can follow in their steps if we “do good and are not afraid with any terror” (I Peter 3:5-6, emphasis added.)

Faith is the opposite of fear (Mark 4:40), but how does faith fit with submission? It is by faith that you and I believe God works in our life directly through our husband. It is by faith in our sovereign God that we submit to our husband, trusting that God knows his decisions and the end results of those decisions, and trusting that God redeems, if not guides, those decisions. And so it is by faith in God that our fear is dispelled and we gain the strength to submit. As you learn more about submitting to your husband, why not ask God, as the disciples did, to increase your faith (Luke 17:5)? Faith in God gives us the strength to obey and submit to our husband.

Not Giving Up – An Update

Many thanks for the encouraging words, my friends! Asking for help has always been difficult for me – thank you for making it “worth it.” 🙂

The Lord used Amy over at Amy’s Humble Musings in some super practical ways to accomplish quite a lot in my heart/our home in a relatively short amount of time, and I thought I’d share them…

Amy’s “Take a Deep Breath” blog (which thankfully Shawna posted about) prevented me from tearing down the walls and starting over with my truckload of 2×4’s. He used her “Rest for Weary Homeschool Moms” to re-focus my heart and get me on the right track mentally and spiritually. And as I talked Sunday night (rationally, even!) with my programmer hubby, we found her schedule a great jumping-off point for getting into a routine. I’d tried the MOTH thing before, and though I think it is a great tool, it became a master for me, and I pretty much gave up on scheduling because I was such a not nice person while I was using that system.

Yesterday and today have found us non-stressfully beginning to work our way into a new routine, one that I think will focus us on our priorities and give us freedom and flexibility. We have a ways to go, and I’m realizing that baby steps are okay. And they’re much better than truckloads of 2×4’s!!

My Balancing Journey – Part 6 – Estrogen Dominance Overview

Here are some of the symptoms of estrogen dominance – Breast cancer, Breast tenderness, Cold hands and feet as a symptom of thyroid dysfunction, Decreased sex drive, Depression with anxiety or agitation, Dry eyes, Early onset of menstruation, Endometrial (uterine) cancer, Fat gain – especially around the abdomen, hips and thighs, Fatigue, Fibrocystic breasts, Foggy thinking, Gallbladder disease, Hair Loss, Headaches, Hypoglycemia, Increased blood clotting (increasing risk of strokes), Infertility, Irregular menstrual periods, Irritability, Insomnia, Magnesium deficiency, Memory loss, Mood swings, Osteoporosis, Polycystic ovaries, Premenopausal bone loss, PMS, Sluggish metabolism, Thyroid dysfunction mimicking hypothyroidism, Uterine cancer, Uterine fibroids, Water retention – bloating.

That’s not a complete list, and having a symptom on the list doesn’t necessarily mean you are estrogen dominant, but if several of those symptoms sound way too familiar, I’d go take this simple test! 🙂

If your test results sound like you might be estrogen dominant, my biggest recommendation is to invest some time reading Dr. John Lee MD’s books and/or his website. The book that I read from and found helpful was What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About PREmenopause. Why that one? Because at 32, I was so estrogen dominant that I was going into premenopause! I found the book quickly at my library. It’s like a fire hydrant of information, but you can digest what seems most important for you. There are bucketloads of information on the website as well.

If you are estrogen dominant, the thing I don’t recommend is running out and getting a prescription for progestin. Prescription hormones are slightly different than what your body produces on its own. They have to be, because you can’t get a patent (read: more money) for something that is exactly like it is found in nature. However, there are companies who make progesterone that is bio-identical – its chemical makeup is identical to what is found in your body naturally. I don’t know all the benefits of having something identical to what your body makes, but it seems logical to me that using something that matches exactly would be better (and more effective) than using something that has been “tweaked” for the sake of a patent. I haven’t done much research on it, but after a quick look around, I see that HRT has been linked in multiple studies to increased risk of breast cancer. I’m not sure if that’s just estrogen HRT or if that includes the use of prescription progestin as well. I’d really encourage you to research the subject. Especially considering what the prescription Premarin comes from – Pregant Mare’s Urine. 🙂

Here are some articles from Dr Lee’s site that I think would be helpful and informative:

(prescription) HRT articles homepage

Main link page for articles about using natural hormones
A great FAQ page about natural (bio-identical) hormones
an interesting looking article by Dr. Lee about natural hormone therapy

I think it’s important to know that Dr Lee did not have his own prog. cream company, nor did he make money from any prog. cream company. From all I’ve been able to find, he was simply someone committed to honest research and truly healthful solutions. There is an extensive list of companies that make quality bio-identical progesterone cream here I think these are all companies who make creams without parabens and without mineral oils, both of which are ingredients which have an estrogenic effect (something I surely didn’t want when already estrogen dominant!).

Thinking about giving up…

Disclaimer – I realize that it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, and I didn’t plan for my first blog in two weeks to be like this one…

I was thinking that we had discovered the thing that was really going to work for us with homeschooling. And in the last couple of days, I’ve found out that it’s not working like I thought it was. I feel so incredibly discouraged, and thoughts of giving up are flooding my head.

Then I think about the alternatives. And I know that I can’t give up. But, quite honestly, I feel like an utter failure as a homeschool mom right now.

The whole balance thing is seeming to ellude me. I’m a help meet, a homemaker, a mom to six wonderful in-arms Blessings, growing another Blessing inside, a homeschooling mom, a vital part of our home-based business, part of our local body of believers, an advocate for healthy birth options in Missouri… and I’m not sure I’m getting a “passing grade” in any of it right now.

I’m headed over to re-read the post by Amy Scott that I read yesterday (before I really started to need it). Maybe that’s why the Lord led me to it yesterday (thanks, Shawna!), so that it could be brought to mind today.

Anyhoo… do any of you ever get totally discouraged about this journey we’re on, or is it just me?

Any helpful words of wisdom?

Beyond the Ultimate

I was once again thrilled to hear the owner and coach of the Colts give glory where it was due today. I loved it that when asked about the “social significance” of his victory in the presentation ceremony, Coach Dungy, while acknowledging the honor of being the first black head coach to win the Super Bowl, made a point of stating that to both he and coach Lovie Smith, what’s even more important that they are Christian coaches, and have been able to show that you can do it “the Lord’s way.”

Here’s a message passed on by Michael W. Smith on his Shoutlife page, from Coaches Dungy and Smith:

On Sunday, one of us will be a world champion. We may have reached the ultimate goal for a football coach, but we know that there is more to life than football. Even when you have achieved the ultimate, someting better lies beyond.

As pro football coaches, we are also men of faith. Our faith drives us every day to seek excelle4nce. It comforts us in the worst of times and produces hope in adversity. It is through our common faith in Jesus Christ that we have individually experienced God’s love and forgiveness.

We would love to tell you more. Visit, and discover how you can live “BEYOND” the ultimate.

Signed By: Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith

“A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way I’ve found true peace, joy and forgiveness.” – Tony Dungy

“At a young age, I called on God to help me. I have leaned on him ever since.” – Lovie Smith

This site is really wonderful!! Even if you’re not a football fan, I’d encourage you to check it out. What a neat testimony to God’s grace!