Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Roaming The Still Dessert of Germantown

 There is something spiritual about rain, I've decided. Something so peaceful and cleansing for the soul. Even the hardest rain can be so liberating, washing away stress and confusion. 
Tonight it rained on the way home from the movies. I just felt an overwhelming peace come over me. Peaceful moments are when my mind can really absorb all that my life is and has been and what I hope it to be. So, tonight, driving in the rain, that's what I thought about. I love the irony in that. I always seem to find God in the irony of things. Here I am, in the rain, thinking about my life and where its at.... And its in the dessert, a practically rainless place. The dessert is so vast and unending it seems. An easy place to get lost in. An easy place to wander with no direction or landmarks to point you in which way to turn. On either side of the dessert is something to be lived. On one side, its where you've been. On the other side, its where you're heading- the place of dreams, goals, expectations, or purpose. Though one thing is for sure, you must journey it to reach your destination.

I began reading in Exodus last week. Reading the Old Testament always stirs so many questions in me. But one question that keeps surfacing in Exodus is: What is wrong with the Israelites?!!
I mean really. You've been slaves in Egypt for generations. God has taken you out of slavery. Leads you through a dessert, and ultimately to the promised land. All while providing absolutely everything you need to thrive and see His love and power. And all you fall back on is faithless confusion and frustration. It's so ungrateful and foolish!

It's easy for me to sit back and read about these people and judge them. And, for the most part that's what I've done so far... Until tonight, in the rain. I realized I am exactly like them!
Exodus 14:8
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

That verse grabbed my heart and unwrapped
my soul in half a second. I couldn't let go of it. It felt like it jumped right out at me. Be Still. This isn't the first time I have heard Be Still. In fact, the past 2 years I have heard it SO many times & places. Every time it pierces me to the core. But this time things became so clear. My life has been perfectly still for a year now. So peaceful. Absolutely still, quiet waters. This sounds great. It sounds like what everyone wants to achieve. But, I don't want to be still. I want to run, sprint to this purpose I feel so strong in my soul. And here I am, an Israelite, roaming through the dessert of Germantown. He has brought me so far and provided so much. Yet, I'm constantly asking God to show me His next turn for my life, open these doors, I'm ready, Move God... Move God.... MOVE GOD! God keeps softly telling me the same thing. I've seen His faithful blessings and gracious miracles the past 2 years. Like, blessings & miracles I only half understand but completely enjoy. Like the Israelites, I get lost in the expectations of NOW. Though, He IS preparing me. Deep down I know this, which is why BE STILL resonates with me the way it does. But because my expectations aren't being met in this exact moment, I start to feel lost and frustrated, even disappointed.

This state of being still comes so unnaturally. I want to fight it. I search, and work, and pray for answers. But, gently I'm reminded of this state of being still- when for a moment I. just. let. go. This state of my heart being still- Where I just embrace what it means to live to worship Him. Where I live what Ive been given.
God has revealed what I feel called to do, what I feel called to be, where I feel called to go. That is what has been so hard to wait for. Like, the Israelites, there will be a dessert between this destination. This part of my dessert is still right now. But its sand and wind is molding and shaping my heart. The journey is building my faith. And Jesus is guiding me through it. 

Tonight I finally decided its time to listen and be still. Trusting that He is growing me and preparing me for His perfect timing. So, my life & soul is still right now. And that's okay :)

"Bloom where you are planted"

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Love Flaw

How many times do I hear the word love during the day. A BUNCH. I hear (&feel) it in the mornings from my husband and my one-of-a-kind 3 year old (and so BLESSED for that!). I hear & feel it from family members &friends. I hear it over and over and OVER again on the radio, facebook, pinterest, blogs, in magazines, and books. And what about "seeing" love- movies, tv, the 13 year olds walking around the mall like they've been married for 6 month, PDA that makes me want to gag in a restaurant by that guy who is CLEARLY old enough to be her dad, more refreshing relationships like my parents marriage. I see, hear, and feel "Love" all day, everyday. With all of this exposure to Love, I should be a love guru. an expert. I should know how to love well!

Most importantly I see, hear, and feel the most beautiful, pure, and unmatched Love that has ever existed. I experience daily, the Love of my Almighty God. Jesus Christ is my savior. I believe he sacrificed His life in Love so that I may have eternal life. I should know and understand love with such passion and conviction that my life overflows it in every area.

Confession: My heart and mind have been unsettled for several weeks now. So unsettled that it has taken me a while to, sort of, muddle through what, I believe, God is trying to show me. The thing I know best about love is not how to love others, but how others should love me! I know exactly (or so I think) how others should treat, and sacrifice, respect, understand, be gracious, and Love ME. And when they don't, I am quick to point out their offenses. I am just starting to understand the depth of how much I don't love well.-Yet, how much I need and want to be loved by the very people I am not truly loving ALL of the time.

I love my husband, my children, and my family with all of my heart. I would die for them. No question. I am a very passionate person. I love strong and I ...dislike.. strong! But, what God is beginning to show me is something that (Im SURE) has probably been extremely noticeable to others, but I have been blind of. Blinded by my selfishness. I love these people in my life, but I don't love them the way God tells and shows me to love them- ALL of the time... even when I am hurt, offended, mad, or frustrated with them.

Jesus is Love. Love, like Jesus, has characteristics. And this is where Im struggling. I do not possess the characteristics of love. Not all of them. And not all of the time. Sometimes I love with some of Love's character.

I love my husband. I couldn't imagine living my life without him. But, do I Love him. Does my love have the Characteristic's of Jesus Christ? I am ashamed to admit, NO! And the same goes for my mom, my sister, my cousins, my Nammy. The people who I love MORE then any other people in the world, are the people who I love most selfishly. It seems that the homeless man on the street gets more of my sympathy, patience, understanding, and gentleness then the ones closest to my heart. How can this be! How many times have I read 1 Corinthians 13? I know most of this chapter by "heart" (in theory). I assumed that because I am such a passionate person, because I love my family SO much, and because I am a Christian, that I just natuarally love the way I should. God is showing me otherwise. And, how right he is.

 I am praying daily that the Lord continues to uproot my selfish love by gently rebuking my selfish love habits and lead me back to Him- Lead me back to the Perfect example of what... and who Love is. I want to Love like Jesus Christ. It does NOT come naturally to me. I am a fighter by nature. I want to stand up for my feelings and what I believe in. I want to defend my cause and my heart. I hate to be vulnerable, and I absolutely have no fear to fight for my own justice. But that is not my place. Not anymore. I willingly and gratefully gave up my selfish "rights" to my Heavenly Father. Learning how to Love from my Heavenly Father is humbling, and the greatest revelation of mercy and grace in my soul. He is showing me that I love the worst when I have been offended or hurt in some way by a loved one. People I am not close to don't have the capability to hurt me emotionally as much, so it's easy for me to love them past their offenses. But, when a loved one hurts or offends me, I don't love. I react. The Bible tells me that I should be slow to anger and slow to speak. I am completely opposite. I am supposed to love my brother as myself. These are the things that God is really convicting me of. And I thank Him for it.

So much in the passage about "Love is" is a struggle. I struggle with consistency. I struggle with its wholeness (it never says "or, but , if, unless" ). I struggle with applying it to Everyone- - I tend to pick and choose. And mostly I struggle with reacting instead of loving. The essence of my faith and the purpose of the life I have chosen, is: Love (John 3:16, Romans 8:37-39 1 John 3:1). It's time that I make a daily sacrifice to LOVE with ALL of its characteristics ALL of the time. I am grateful for a patient loving God. Because I need it for sure!!

1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient

Love is kind

It does not envy

It does not boast

It is not proud

It is not rude

It is not self seeking

It is not easily angered

It keeps no records of wrongs

Love does not delight in evil
But rejoices with the truth

It always protects

Always trusts

Always hopes

Always perseveres

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowlege, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest is LOVE. 

1 Peter 1:22
Now that you have purified yourselvesby obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Seasons & Shifting Sacrifices

Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

Its ironic that the last post was about spending time with Brent and the sacrifices we make as a family for me to be a "stay at home mom". It is ironic because that is a "season" in our lives. And that exact season has changed in some positive ways since that post. The leaves are turning greener and the flowers are starting to bloom :)

Being a stay at home mom has been full of joy, disappointment, revelations, personal growth, and sacrifice.
It is an incredible life journey of discovery and one of the greatest blessings in my life.

Growing up I always knew I wanted to stay at home while my children were babies if I were able to. 5 years. That's all I really have with them at home. After that its off to school, college, careers, and one day their own family (in theory that is the "order"). I am learning what an interesting sacrifice it is turning out to be in some ways. Here a few things we have been willing to sacrifice for me to stay at home. Some I assumed and some smacked me on the back of the head..

Budget/Money- I assumed this one. We are very blessed and well taken care of, but we Definitely have to stick to a budget. There are many material things that we would love that just have to wait.

Personal Time- This was a total shock. Neither of us realized how much personal time (time to work out, time to be with friends, time for hobbies, naps, movies, ANYTHING) we would have to sacrifice for Brent working (SO much) and me staying at home (SO much) to raise 2 baby humans .

Relationship Time- yep. This one was rude. I wasn't prepared to sacrifice time With Brent.

Daddy Time- Rude again. I wasn't prepared ENOUGH to understand this sacrifice. Brent working so much means he isn't home. Typical day- Stone wakes up, Daddy is at work. Stone plays during the day, Daddy's at work. Stone goes to bed, Daddy's at work. Stone is asleep, Daddy is at home :(

THIS sacrifice is where we finally drew the line.

As a person making a sacrifice is painful. As a parent it is a privilege.

I will gladly sacrifice my life for our children, even the most selfish parts of who I am. And Brent feels the same way. These sacrifices are things we were willing to give up for a season. Season's change.

Here is the Exciting part for our family

ONE SHIFT CHANGE. That's it. That's all it took. The wintry (daddy gone ALL the time) season we have been in for several years now is beginning to change. Brent changed his shift at the police department.

We have shifted sacrifices. We still have sacrifices. They are just different. The benefits out way the sacrifice by a landslide. Life is all about sacrifice, I believe. It's choosing what you are willing to live with- what IS worth giving up (time, money, emotions, goals, dreams, expectations, for an example), and what you're willing to live with out- what isn't worth giving up for a particular outcome.

Brent is now home when Stone wakes up in the morning. Brent is sleeping, but he is home. Stone runs in every morning to say good morning and love on him for a few minutes. Brent doesn't mind being woke up for this. Landslide benefit. Brent is also home all day on the weekends and for several hours in the evening on weekdays, even when Stone goes to bed! This is the MOST time consistently that Brent and Stone (and Sylas for that matter) have ever spent together. THIS IS HUGE!

Stone is a sensitive spirit. Brent being gone so much effected him in ways we weren't willing to sacrifice any longer. Stone's emotional well being and bond with his Daddy are Not sacrificial. They are priority.

Brent and I have made our own personal sacrifices, again, to make his schedule work. They are different. And we are learning to live with them, but they are having really awesome benefits. Which I will write about in posts to come.

If I am able to read this post in a year, 10 years, or 50 it will be bittersweet, I'm sure. Time. Love. Sacrifice. Change. Seasons. Life. all but a vapor in the wind *James 4:14

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

3 Boys and A mommy

Today was Brent's "day off" at the police department, which means he works 8-5 at his parents company. For me to be able to stay home with our babies is such a blessing. But its also a scarifice we chose to make as a family. Brent works an average of 65 hours a week, most times 7 days a week. So when he came home for the day at noon, we took advantage of his time AND the beautiful fall day and went to the park as a family :) Brent is such a FUN playmate for Stone. It melts my heart to watch them play and laugh together.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Baby Steps

"Beware that you don't look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father."
- Matthew 18:10

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James 1:27

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
Matthew 18:5

ADOPTION. FOSTER PARENT. Two words that pricked my heart about 5 years ago. That tiny little wound in my heart has evolved into a gaping hole. The passion I feel about adoption and foster care is something that came from no specific story or event. It wasn't from a message I heard or a commercial on tv. I can't tell you the exact moment or where I was either. God must have been delicately shaping my heart over a long period of time. When I found out I was pregnant with Stone the pull I felt to one day adopt and/or become a foster parent was intensified. By the time he was born, I was 100% confident adopting my baby and fostering babies was a calling from God. I don't think there is anything in my life that I feel more compassion and conviction for then helping these babies in need. But, its not just an urge to help. I truly feel that my family is not done growing. I wholeheartedly believe that we (Brent and I) are supposed to love and raise more children in addition to Stone and Sylas.

God has been working on my heart for a long time about this. Lately he has shut a lot of doors that I have tried to barge through. Last night I felt it was time I made the first baby step towards a calling. I filled out several online applications through different agencies and government websites to obtain more information and begin the process of being certified foster parents. I have no idea where this step will lead us. It may be down a long road that will take time and patience. The Lord knows, we have NO idea what we're doing and have so much to learn. I am not a "professional" anything. I have no foster care knowledge or experience. But, I have a passion for these precious babies in need. I find great confidence in knowing that God chose inexperienced people in the bible to do amazing things and complete his perfect will. This baby step may lead us down a quick path that we could never have been fully prepared for. God works in mysterious ways. Only my Heavenly Father knows where he is leading us! And I will follow faithfully. So I have no expectations or plans other then taking this little step and moving through the doors He opens and accepting the closed ones. 

My Prayer.

Dear Heavenly Father,
I know, without a doubt, that you have called me to provide a safe haven and unconditional love to your youngest, most precious creations. The passion and conviction I feel to provide and care for them could not possibly come from my sinful nature, Only your Holy Spirit. I understand that there will be trials and frustrations along the way. I accept that I cannot see where you are leading me. Please provide me with patience, grace, wisdom, and peace throughout my searching of Your will for my life. I love You with my entire being and I know that You love me more then I understand. So I ask You to lead, convict, and renew our hearts, constantly pointing us towards your will. Thank You for sharing Your blessings and the Life of Your only Son, so that I might be adopted by You, my Heavenly Father.

*I have posted my constant prayer so that you can see my heart and needs as I start this journey- I ask you to pray along with and for me, my family, and the lives of these children who desperatley need to be cared for and loved. If you, or if someone you know has gone through the journey of adoption or being a foster parent, please tell them about us! I would love advice, guidance, encouragement and/or prayers from those who have traveled this path. 

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families...
Psalms 68:5-6

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Stone at the Circus

Stone and I went to the Circus today! It was nice to be able to focus on Stone for a few hours. He didn't have to share my attention. This was his first time at the circus, and he LOVED it! He did get bored with the scantily dressed trapeze artists though- Fine by me. He danced and cheered along with the crowd. He was captivated by the elephants and dog acts. He nearly jumped out of his skin during the human catapult. Our favorite part, though, was riding the elephant! It was a sweet memory we made today, just me and my "Stoney Mac".