Monday, January 24, 2011

On only using one vehicle:

Last week Brielle asked if we were going anywhere. I said nope-- we are stuck at home!

She quickly replied, "but there are TWO doors here!"

I pondered that for a moment, because it seemed very worth thinking about.

What's been going on with me

I've sort of been gone, in a way, it seems. I've struggled with what to say about that, how much to say, and even if I should. Then I think about it, and there's just too much, too many thoughts going through my mind. And I'm tired. I'm tired of saying I'm tired. It seems like every time I turn around (or wake up throughout the night) someone is sick, coughing, flu, fever. That's just recently. Two weeks ago it was a stomach bug. Then there are snow days, which are fine, except they throw loops into our week that are unexpected rhythms. It's hard for me to find my ground, where I am, what I'm doing. Then, I have those hundreds of thoughts.....and I'm not sure how much sense they make when I'm running on E for lack of sleep. And this sounds like on big complaint, which is not exactly what I meant to do. But it's hard to be honest and real and pleasant all together for me right now. So, maybe I should talk about what God is doing.
I would, only I don't quite know much. The only thing I am sure of is that He is doing something and it probably involves some pruning in my life. It is possible that He is removing some things that aren't a part of His plan for me, and it is painful! Maybe I'm not so great with submitting or adjusting or both, but it is hard to see the good in somethings that seems so hard. I've realized that I've been holding on to things that were both good and bad; neverthless, change is difficult too. I've thought recently about my life being this frozen-over garden in winter, being weeded, pruned, and prepared for Spring. Thing is, not only is it extremely cold and uncomfortable, I also can't see Spring! In fact, I have a hard time even believing that it is going to come!!! I know that now is not the time to give up, and that I just have to keep seeking, seeking, seeking God in all of this, despite my humanly desire to escape. I have hope. It just seems so small sometimes...most of time, if I'm being honest.
Despite the reality that I've been (or at least felt) out of real-life/in-person connection with others, I have still felt surrounded and uplifted by family in Jesus. Maybe it is because I am no longer on Facebook, the Internet (as much) or my cell phone (as much) that even the smallest encounters or interactions with someone else can be the most blessed occasion. Anything from a smile, to a conversation, to a quick email can mean the most to me. In fact, I feel so blessed by God and the wonderful people in my life that sometimes I start to think that some things were set up just for me, to support & encourage me. I feel so not humble saying that! But the truth is, that I do say it in all humility. I don't feel I deserve all of the goodness that God brings me in my life. I know I don't. So when He does it anyway I have to think, "He must love me." I know He does, but I just see the treasures differently than before. I don't know if that is the whole point of this, or just blessings along the way of the journey. But it matters not. I can't see much of anything this cold winter season, where I feel stuck and tired and waiting, but I know I'm not alone and I do believe (by faith) that Spring will come. God, in His infinite wisdom, knows what He is doing and He alone knows the path I'm supposed to be on. He longs to give me the desires of my heart. I'm often confused about what this means in the day to day, but I know He will do great things for His glory for all of His children, and I know He wants great things for my family, for everyone that I know, and for this entire world that He created. I know I say these things are true for me (as I'm learning them) but I also know they are true for you too wherever you are at in your own spiritual garden or journey.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Psalm 42

1 As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
2 I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before him?
3 Day and night I have only tears for food,
while my enemies continually taunt me, saying,
“Where is this God of yours?”
4 My heart is breaking
as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
amid the sound of a great celebration!

5 Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and 6 my God!

Now I am deeply discouraged,
but I will remember you—
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
from the land of Mount Mizar.
7 I hear the tumult of the raging seas
as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
8 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs,
praying to God who gives me life.

9 “O God my rock,” I cry,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I wander around in grief,
oppressed by my enemies?”
10 Their taunts break my bones.
They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”

11 Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Picture Recaps

Loves the snow (December picture before Christmas)

Christmas morning at our house:

We made them take a picture before we opened gifts:

Visiting Arkansas, it was unseasonally warm:

Just yesterday (SNOW DAY!) Brielle came to me wearing these sandals (that our friend had just recently given her the day prior) and said, "I'm ready to go out in the snow!"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Only God

Because I am making an attempt this year to attend any invites that include Brielle (since I am no longer taking her to church preschool) we went to a birthday party yesterday afternoon, knowing that it would cut into my baking time for our house church's once-a-month Network Gathering (where both groups meet together). We left the party a little early, but the monkey bread still took twice as long to bake than it should have. This made us really late. Fortunately, I knew that no one there would condemn or judge us. However, I can't stand to walk in or interrupt something, and I knew we would be doing that. I could hear music playing as the four of us filed down the long driveway in the back of the house through the dark cold. The house lights shown like a beacon of warmth and family.
We tried to sneak in (impossible) and I could see that everyone had papers with lyrics as they were listening to a song. We set down our food and walked around to stand in the back. Brielle and I stood in the hallway where we removed our coats and I fixed her hair, trying to listen to the words of the song. I kept hearing "Yahweh" and "Take this...." Then, the strangest thing happened...I just felt so deeply moved. I'm not even sure how, feeling liked I'd missed what should have been the structure for any kind of deeply moving experience. But there I was-- late-- in the hallway-- and only able to hear 1/3 of the end of a song.

And I was so deeply touched.
Only God.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

a song and a thought

Have you ever heard a song and thought it sounded good, but it really didn't resonate with your life right then, or touch you deeply? Then you heard it again and thought, "wow."
That's what happened with "Savior, please" by Josh Wilson.
Here are the lyrics:
Savior, please take my hand
I work so hard, I live so fast
This life begins, and then it ends
And I do the best that I can, but I don't know how long I'll last
I try to be so tough
But I'm just not strong enough
I can't do this alone, God I need You to hold on to me
I try to be good enough
But I'm nothing without Your love
Savior, please keep saving me
Savior, please help me stand
I fall so hard, I fade so fast
Will You begin right where I end
And be the God of all I am because You're all I have
Everything You are to me
Is everything I'll ever need
And I am learning to believe
That I don't have to prove a thing
'Cause You're the one who's saving me

My unrelated thought: I read something recently that said, "don't compare yourself to others." I really, truly did not think I did this. But as I began really taking inventory of the thoughts that run through my head there they were! How unnecessary for those thoughts to exist in my mind. I am me, not anyone else. I answer to God, not everyone else. I've always cared what other people have thought, and while in some ways that is fine, it can't be the core of how I perceive myself. This sounds obvious, I know. I know this over and over and inside out and upside down, but I don't. I am going to let people down and not live up to their expectations of is so inevitable. Then I get to see once again that my eyes aren't fixed on God, His Grace, His Glory, how He sees me, how He sees others in my life.
We live in a fallen world that is not going to be exempt from pain and mistreating. Getting tangled up in it all becomes the problem. If we are in Christ we have this treasure, and I'm sure this is one of the many things God is teaching me and creating new in me. I pray that through this fire the impurities are removed and burned and what is left is something to start with.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Some random things:

1) About a week and a half ago I stopped by the bathroom mirror and noticed a dusting on the top of my head. I couldn't fathom what I'd gotten into. A closer look revealed that gray hairs were attacking in full force.
2) Enlisting my brother's girlfriend's help, we tried to attack back, but it was a feeble attempt, although fortunately she did have a clue as to what we were doing, and it came out much better than if I had tried solo.
3) I probably saved $70 by cutting (4 inches) my hair myself and her coloring it for me ($2) nevertheless.
4) I spent last week in Arkansas. Overall, it was a good trip.
5) New Years Resolutions? Not really, but here are a few things that come to my mind that I have been wanting to focus on:
--attempt to attend every birthday party/shower/party that we are invited to and able to attend
--check in every other day or so with an online fitness website such as (I know from experience this can be an incredible help) and post physical activity
There are a lot more things I am thinking about, of course. But I don't think it wise to overwhelm myself. I'm not really resolving to do the above things either. I'm just considering focusing on them and it sort of helps to type them out.
6) New Providence Indoor Aquatic Center opens this coming Saturday, January 8th.

These past few weeks have been quite challenging for me, but I feel I am being led through it. These verses comes to my mind: In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

Happy New Year. May your 2011 be immensely blessed.