Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bring The Rain...

It is truly a spiritually mature person who never considers a prayer unanswered. How do they do that? There is so much in life that just seems to happen, regardless of how much we pray.

I heard Joyce Meyer, one of my favorite teachers, say that we always pray for God to change our circumstances when God actually uses our circumstances to change us. I must say that yes, I've been changed. I will never forget the feeling of heartache and abandonment that I felt when Tom and I miscarried. I was devastated and I felt as though God had forgotten about me. I prayed for the hurt to subside. I prayed for the courage to face the coming days. I prayed for God to give us a child to love. None of those things happened right away. However, I was changed in the process. I believe that God allowed Tom and I to experience these feelings to that He could use them to mold us into the people He wants us to be. God has used the trials in our life as a couple to develop patience, (at least most days), trust, compassion for others and faith in Him that he's got a plan no matter how things look to us.

Okay, so I've asked God if I can give him input about how the plan should turn out. And yes, I've asked him to send a timetable just so we're all on the same page. I'm pretty sure I saw God rolling his eyes about that last one. :)

There is a song by Mercy Me called, "Bring the Rain." When I first heard that song I couldn't even imagine how much spiritual maturity it would take for someone to sing:

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free.
Bring me anything that brings You glory.
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain,
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain.

I don't know many people who are at that place in their journey. As I see my faith stretched daily, I feel that Tom and I have come to a place where we can say, "God, I want what you want. If what I want isn't what you want, then change my mind."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Don't wait

"Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap." Ecclesiastes 11:4

If you are like me, sometimes I find myself waiting for all the right conditions before I do what I know the Lord has called me to do. In truth, I may be waiting a long time. How many times have you said something to the effect... I'll do it when my children are grown so I'll have more time; or I'll do it when I get a promotion because I'll be in a better position it give; or when my husband feels called as well so then I'll have the support that I need; or when I get a better education I'll be better equipped to handle the task; etc? Too often we put off the important things...the things of God in our lives because everything is not just perfect around us- we want things to be just status quo before we'll make a move. God doesn't work that way. What we don't realize is that only in our human brokenness are we fully able to "drop our nets and follow Him."

I am a firm believer that the Lord gives us trials to groom and shape us into the godly servants that He has called Christians to be. This process is certainly not comfortable or enjoyable most of the time, but the results in the heart are worth every moment of pain endured. In my experience I wait to submit myself to the Lord's plan for my life out of fear and lack of control, but what I now realize is that God will work in my life as He sees fit with my approval or not! So wouldn't it be more becoming of me to submit to His authority in my life FIRST? I am very much a planner and a perfectionist. I can honestly say at times that these traits have hindered me as a Christian, a wife, and mother. No one expects perfect: not God, not my husband, and certainly not my one year old daughter. Why do I feel such an intense need for perfection? I do not want to submit unless I know that I can complete the task perfectly...which is impossible.

So, I would encourage you to give your heart and your soul to the service and the purpose that the Lord has for you. As I look for new opportunities in my life I am earnestly seeking His will. I pray that God will show me where he wants me to be. When people ask what I want to do I say" What ever the Lord will have me do." There is so much freedom in submission of my life to the One who created me! He knows the number of hair on my head so I think that He is MUCH more qualified to make those decisions that me. What a blessing it has been for me to endure a difficult grooming process. I would not take a minute back because I know that God is using the trials in my life to make me who He wants me to be. There is no greater joy in my life than knowing that I am living in His will, wholly and completely.

I was reading this week about Joshua and I really connected personally with his encounter with God. When God told Joshua that it was time to enter into the promised land, He told him to send the priest out first. The priest was suppose to step in the water of the Jordan River to cross over. What if they had waited for the conditions to be just right? What if their attitude had been, "We'll go into the river when God rolls it back, or removes the water, or builds a bridge, that way we won't get our shoes wet." As we look in the Bible we see that many of God's servants did not always have all the perfect conditions to work in, but they did it anyway... they took a step of faith. The right condition for Gideon would have been to have a big army with him, but the Lord cut it back to 300.... not the right conditions to win a battle.

Waiting for the right conditions means we are waiting on the conditions that we have chosen- we want to do it our own way, in our own time. God chooses the conditions and they may not always seem favorable in our eyes. Stop waiting for all the right conditions- conditions of your own choosing. Because even if the conditions did change and they became exactly like you wanted them you would still wind up finding another "reason" to go down your own path. Don't wait for everything to be perfect; don't wait for things to change; because in both cases... it just may not happen.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

27 Reasons

I was thinking today about how grateful I am to have such a loving and kind husband who in so many ways makes my life a million times better each day! I decided to make a list of 27 things that I love about him for the 27 years of his life. That was a meaningful exercise for me, one of reminiscing and contemplating the beauty in our lives.

1. The first time I met him, he had this sparkle in his eyes, after a decade it is still there.
2. His laugh is infectious.
3. His servant's heart
4. His heart for "outsiders" and people on the fringe- In social situations his first steps are towards those who look "out of place," or lonely, or new. This humbles me beyond belief.
5. How he loves my family, no matter how annoying we can be at times.
6. The look on his face and the tears in his eyes when he saw Julia for the first time. I will never, ever forget it.
7. How 3 years later and 10 pounds heavier, I still believe without a shadow of a doubt that he thinks I am the most beautiful and desirable woman on the planet.
8. He is slow to speak- he listens well, and shares what he thinks only if it is beneficial and not just to hear himself speak or to air his opinions.
9. He thinks I'm funny!
10. He cares deeply about his friends.
11. He loves decorating the Christmas tree just as much as I do.
12. He understands his brokenness and His need for Christ daily, hourly.
13. He yearns to do everything in his power to ensure that my needs and Julia's needs are taken care of, even if that means putting himself last.
14. He is a hard worker, and loves to be challenged.
15. He loves music more than anyone I've ever met. He plays air drums in the car and air guitar in the kitchen. I love that!
16. He is an amazing father.
17. He doesn't get upset or stressed out if the house isn't perfectly picked up for him and dinner on the table just right when he gets home from work. I want to keep a clean home and provide yummy, nutritious meals for him and be a good help to him not because he demands it but because he is so gracious with me and appreciative of the things I do for him.
18. He is so quick to forgive, and doesn't hold a grudge.
19. He doesn't complain when I ask him to change poopy diapers or wash the dishes for me.
20. He reads to Julia, prays with her, and sings to her. I listen to them and it melts my heart every time.
21. He enjoys cooking as a family. There is such a sweetness in the three of us spending time together in the kitchen.
22. He makes me think about things in new ways.
23. He works evenings so that he can spend the days with his girls.
24. He will always be a mountain boy at heart, and now he also shares my love for the beach.
25. He loves to be outdoors- hiking and camping, fishing, and snowboarding...
26. He loves the Lord more than he loves me, and this is why I can trust him and follow him.
27. He puts my needs before his own, and loves me so well.
28. He is my best friend.

Every year there are more and more reasons why I love you, Tom. I am thankful for your life, and for the man that you are and the man God is molding you to be. I am humbled by you, delighted in you, and blessed to have been chosen by God to be your wife.

Manna from heaven...

I was chatting with my Nana the other day and we began talking about the ways that God has blessed us in our lifetime. From seemingly large gifts of love to small acts of kindness we shared our blessings with each other. What a beautiful way to connect with the ones you love.
She shared a story that she has told me numerous times, but this time I saw the blessing differently than I have in the past. When my grandpa was 33 he had his first heart attack. Living in southern Ohio, there was no intense research for young men with heart disease. They traveled to the Mayo Clinic hours away in Cleavland to seek surgery and treatment. As a young mother of 5 children it was heart wrenching for her to leave her babies for such a long period of time. My dad, the oldest, was 13 and the youngest was 1. Financially, my grandparents were going through a rough time. My grandpa was the breadwinner and my grandmother nurtured their little clan of children in the home. When they arrived at the Mayo Clinic, they were graciously welcomed by family friends who allowed my Nana to stay with them while my grandpa was in the hospital. God had blessed them richly by the christian friendships, the warm bed, and the food that was provided. My Nana was so grateful and yet her heart ached to hear the voices of her babies. She had been gone for months and she needed hear their giggles and laughter that filled their home on a daily basis. Long distance calls were very expensive and she didn't have the money to stay on the phone long enough to talk to eat child before the pay phone would cut off. One day at the hospital, she found a quarter on the ground. She was thrilled at the thought of having a minute or two to connect with the loves of her life. When she put the quarter in the pay phone about one hundred quarters came rolling out of the coin return! She cried out to God and thanked Him for the blessing if allowing her to hear her children's voices more than once a week! She described the event to me, saying it was like "Manna from heaven." For the remainder of her time at the Mayo Clinic, she called her babies everyday and she was able to speak to each of them. Even the seemingly smallest blessings can provide more joy than we may ever know. How beautiful to see God's grace and mercy come to life in a pay phone. Whoever says miracles don't happen obviously hasn't met my Nana.