The Stuff of Life


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The Funny Thing About My Inspire a Fire Posts

Inspire a Fire June

I’m beginning to think my posts at Inspire a Fire are working against me. 😉

Last month I wrote about our moving lifestyle. How it works well for us, and how I have learned to enjoy it.

But about a week after it posted, it hit me that we are about to do this thing again, and that we don’t know where we are going next. And though I’m ready for it, it didn’t stop me from having about a 24-hour period of some serious anxiety. I’m a planner. And planning for the unknown is a bit tricky.

This month my post is about marriage and choosing love when you are not feeling it. In it I mentioned that Corey and I have learned to argue better since breast cancer because we don’t want to waste our time letting things simmer when we should be dealing with them and moving on.

A few days before it posted, we had an argument.

Next month I think I’ll write something about beach front property in Hawaii and hope for the best.

Here’s a link to my June post:

Have A More Meaningful Marriage by Choosing Love Every Morning


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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 19:2 – ZEAL

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Proverbs 19:2 It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.

Zeal is a good thing. To be enthusiastic and passionate about a goal is a great first step. But if zeal is all we have, we won’t get far.

After I watched Florence Griffith Joyner break world track records in Seoul in 1988, my 12-year-old self was going to follow in her footsteps. I would be a runner, and I would run in the Olympics (forget that those Olympics sprinters are not white girls.)

So I went out of for track in seventh grade. I did zero conditioning beforehand, and realized that running fast is hard. I didn’t run track in 8th grade. But something in me still wanted to run, so I joined the team again in 9th grade and ran throughout high school. And I loved it.

But I learned that I had to add some hard work and knowledge to that zeal I had back in junior high. I ran all year long, not just in season. I worked out before school in the weight room and I got together with my relay teammates to work on hand-offs outside of practice.

I wasn’t the fastest girl on my team, but my zeal + knowledge + effort did earn me a place at the state track meet a couple times. I look back on my track experiences as my best high school memories, and though I’m no speed demon, I still enjoy a good run.

My hope for my boys is that they too will learn to match their zeal with knowledge and effort so they can accomplish the desires of their hearts.

Prayer

Dear God, Thank you for giving us each zeal for different things. I pray that those passions that are in my boys’ hearts will lead them to desire to learn and grow and reach their goals and that they will not become lazy and give up because something is too hard physically or mentally. Amen.


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Today’s Christian Woman Articles

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Until recently, many of the articles at Today’s Christian Woman were available only to TCW subscribers. But this week TCW unlocked all the articles on the website, so anyone can read them. Several of my articles were in the subscription only category, but they are now unlocked. 🙂

Below is a link to my Today’s Christian Woman writer page which has links to each of my articles. Check them out if you’d like.  And if you want to leave a comment or share them with others, feel free. Just please be more kind than the commenter who spent about 8 paragraphs telling me I’m a terrible parent and my kids are headed straight to hell in the fast lane because they attend public school. I can totally handle constructive criticism and I am fully aware that not everyone will agree with my choices, but that one made my blood boil.

If you don’t feel like reading my stuff, just go to the page and check out the photo that goes with my “Backing His Wild Side” article. Most of the photos that accompany the rest of my stories are canned photos provided by TCW, but that one is all Corey Harms canoeing down some rapids.

I kind of love it that there is a photo of my manly man in Today’s Christian Woman.

Kim Harms TCW Writer Page

 


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An Open Thank You Letter to John Piper

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John Piper speaking at Passion ’97. (Taken on my not-so-high-quality camera with real film that had to be sent away in a cute little black tube to be developed.)

Dear Mr. Piper,

It is 1997.

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Me and my 6 friends, ready to hit the road.

I am 21 years old, and I just hopped into a van with six of my friends to drive 17 hours from Ames, Iowa to Austin, Texas for the Passion ’97 Conference.

I have no idea who you are. Just a name and a photo. A middle-aged man who is going to teach me about Jesus while I enjoy some Texas sunshine and my break from college classes.

But God uses you for more than I anticipate, and after your Friday evening message, I do something I’ve never done before.

I call my dad at midnight and tell him I love him.

Like many people, I did not grow up in an overly affectionate family. The “I love yous” were experienced through action, but the words were not spoken.

This night they are. This night, January 3, 1997.

Fast forward two decades.

It is 2016.

I am barely 40, and I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The fear, the uncertainty, the dread are overwhelming. I don’t doubt my Savior, but I do doubt my ability to make it through this big ugly thing.

It’s the evening of February 23, and my husband (Corey) and I are sitting at the dining table.

Surgery is in two days.

A music video is playing on Corey’s laptop. Shane and Shane singing words that remind me of the richness of trusting Jesus when he takes me to hard places.

And then you begin to speak over the music.

Directly to me.

Or rather, God speaks directly to me through you.

“When your mom dies, when your kid dies, when you’ve got cancer at 40, when a car careens into the sidewalk and takes her out, don’t say, “That’s meaningless!” It’s not. It’s working for you an eternal weight of glory. Therefore. Therefore do not lose heart, but take these truths and day by day focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning. Get alone with God and preach his word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.”

I am weeping. My head is in Corey’s lap, and I am weeping.

His arms keep me from falling to the hardwood floor while he shakes from weeping with me.

It is a holy moment.

This thing in front of us is hard, but it is not meaningless.

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Waiting for the surgery that would rid me of my tumor and change my body forever.

Over the next few months, we fight through the hard stuff. The scary stuff. The painful stuff.

And while we fight, we go deeper.

We feel sadness so intensely. We have joy so impossibly. We love each other so immeasurably. We trust Jesus so wholly.

We are coming out on the other side now. And your words have been proven true.

 “Every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that.”

A peculiar glory.

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Healing up and hanging out with my hubby

I believe it.

I’m tasting it right here in this broken body of mine. Tremendous blessings that are a direct result of walking through the pain. But I have a feeling the full extent of that glory will not be realized until the day I fall, whole and healed, into Jesus’ arms.

Mr. Piper, you spoke necessary truth into my 21-year-old heart so many years ago, and then you showed up with truth again just when I needed it at 40.

And for that I want to say thank you.

Sincerely,

Kim Harms

(Here’s a link to the song that spoke to me – Though You Slay Me)

(Find some solid Bible teaching from John Piper at Desiring God)


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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 17 – Forgiveness

 Proverbs 16

Proverbs 17:9 He who covers an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

Without forgiveness friendships become superficial. They become catty. They can even fall completely apart.

When I began dating Corey, I kind of dropped the ball on a friendship with a close friend. Where I used to eat with Rachel at our kitchen table, I now would head over to Corey’s apartment or go out to eat with him. My study dates with Rach became my study dates with Corey. And all the movie nights Rach and I used to have? Well, now I was having them with Corey.

Rachel could have gotten angry with me. She could have started talking behind my back to others. She could have given up on our friendship. But instead she confronted me.

After that confrontation, I could have gotten defensive. I could have gotten angry. I could have walked out on our friendship. But I knew she was right, and I knew I had to ask her forgiveness because I didn’t want to lose one of my dearest friends.

Asking for forgiveness is tough. I’m not a big fan of admitting I am wrong. But I did ask for Rachel’s forgiveness, and she readily gave it.

That was years ago, and Rachel and I only see each other once or twice year now, but we can always pick right up where we left off. And this year our friendship has taken on a whole new depth because of breast cancer. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy about four years ago, and she has been invaluable to me as I’ve been on that road this year.

I hate to think of what I’d be missing out on if I had let my selfishness ruin our friendship, or if she had chosen not to forgive.

As my boys grow into young adults and their friendships deepen alongside their voices, I hope they leave room for forgiveness. I hope they will value their friends enough to work out their differences and understand that covering an offense does indeed promote love, but excluding forgiveness can ruin friendships.

Prayer

Dear Lord, I pray that you will help my boys to understand the value of forgiving their friends when they have been wronged. That they will both offer forgiveness to others and ask forgiveness when it is needed. Amen.


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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 16:25 The Right Path

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Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death.

Our family enjoys backpacking together. Following a trail in the woods away from regular life gives us quality uninterrupted family time, great exercise and an appreciation for all the modern conveniences we enjoy in our day-to-day. You know, like beds and toilets. 🙂

But it is important to stay on the trail. Veering off can lead to injury and/or getting lost.

A couple years ago, one of our boys decided to walk along the rocks in a river. Not a big deal. He wasn’t at risk of getting lost, and what boy doesn’t love climbing on rocks and playing in the water? What he didn’t take into account however, was that rocks are slippery when they’re wet. He took a tumble right into the river.

This did not lead him to death as our Proverbs verse says today, but it did lead to drenched clothes. Clothes we had to hang from sticks over a campfire to dry.

Our kids don’t always think clearly through the path they are going to take and find out too late that the rocks are wet. As they mature, my hope for my boys is that they will learn to discern God’s “right path” from the path that seems right to them. And that in doing so they can avoid consequences far worse than wet clothes.

Dear Lord, I pray that my kids will not be deceived by their own sometimes skewed perspective of the right path, and that they will seek you and follow your path, even when the wrong one is enticing. Amen.


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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 15:31 – Rebuking

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(My Boy Mom Monday devos came to a halt in January because, well, cancer. I’m still committed to making my way through the Proverbs in prayer for my boys, and now that cancer is no longer occupying 100% of my time and energy, I’m ready to get back to it. I’d love for you to join me. Our boys need praying mamas.)

Proverbs 15:31 He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.

During my freshman year of college, I made a decision that I knew was contrary to what God wanted for me. I tried to ignore the voice inside of me that kept reminding me I was heading the wrong direction.

Sometimes it was easy. And sometimes it was hard.

It was easy when I hung out with people who didn’t have a problem with my choice. People who were not going to “judge me” as we are so fond of saying these days.

It was hard when I was surrounded by people who wanted to keep me accountable to scripture. Though I had given my life to Christ at a young age and mostly wanted to live according to his ways, I had this one area where I willing disobeyed, and I kind of wanted to keep it that way.

My first thought when I realized I’d be sharing a dorm floor my sophomore year with a lot of Christians was “Oh crap, I’m gonna be convicted about this sin all the time.”

And I was.

I shared living space with young women who saw my sin and weren’t afraid to call me out, and it was just what I needed. It was a tough decision, but I turned from that sin. And now, 20+ years later, I’m still extremely grateful for the friends who helped me turn around.

I thank God for putting women in my life who weren’t afraid to call a sin a sin and who loved me through a broken heart; the result of my sin.

I pray that as my kids grow and make bad choices, (and they will no doubt make some bad choices) that they will have friends who love them enough to call them out. And that they will be sensitive enough to accept the truth in the form of a loving rebuke and change their ways.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that as my kids grow, you will deepen their friendships with guys who will not stand by and let them choose sin. I ask specifically for friends who will be bold enough and loving enough to call them out when needed, and will see them through as they deal with the consequences of their bad choices. Amen