Voting

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Processing

What a whirlwind this year has been! And now more change is in the air! We are currently in the process of buying a house and working out all the details of that sort of purchase! Tomorrow, Jesse is bringing a whole bunch of boxes and bins from our storage so that I can start packing....let the games begin:-) Its all quite exciting. In buying this house, it brings us closer to our home church and the families we are building relationships with, as well as being closer to the community at large. The house itself is not huge...but on the other hand, none of the homes we've ever previously occupied have been large. We'll just have to be "space savey" and make sure we have enough bins/tubs/baskets to help the boys keep their things organized.

I'm so thankful for the way God is molding our family. When we lived in Connecticut...I would sometimes think life would never change, and we'd be stuck in a rut of discouragement and frustration for the rest of our lives. From our time there, God connected us with some awesome people and we gained some amazing friendships. But the other piece of the puzzle was that God had some work to do on our hearts...and He knew just where we needed to be in order to accomplish that. I never minimize our time spent there. It was foundational. Jesse and I had to take a good look at each other and decide what choices we intended to make (on so many levels). Every married couple has to do this....I'm grateful that we did it "in the beginning". The Vow was to love, honor, cherish, forsaking all others, until death do us part. And, after 7 years together...I also realize that sometimes its a daily choice to walk these things out...but there is the very heart of the matter. If its already decided...and your committed to honoring that choice...then the rest is "easy". "Easy"....in that...there really are no other options. Its already been decided. There is nothing dividing my heart...my interest. Mark 3:25 says, "If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand." The Message says, "a family thats in a constant squabble disintegrates." And so the battle becomes more about keeping my attitude right, and being faithful to the choices I made....and ultimately the choice we made together. I'm so thankful for Jesse...because our hearts are the same...we have the same expectations for what our relationship should be....in the important areas. I think it may take a little more time to "fine-tune" our definitions of "quality time" and other such things...hahaha...but on the MAIN issues...we have the same heart. All this to say, Connecticut was the place and the season God had for us to work some of this out. We are not perfect...and if there is one phrase that has been totally removed from my thought process...it would be, "It could never happen to me". God began the difficult work of removing that from me even before Jesse and I were married...and it wasn't a one-time thing....it continued even into our marriage. Its such a difficult phrase to remove because its choc-full of pride...and pride is so deeply routed. After that, I fought the other battle of anxiety and worry...all the "what ifs??"....because I went from thinking "it could never happen to me" to "oh man, whats the next trial? whats the next heartbreak?" Thankfully, the Lord has brought a level of peace and balance to my life. My resolve is to stand securely on His Peace and Promises and not allow circumstances dictate my joy and peace. I love to have worship music constantly playing in my home...setting the atmosphere of my heart and home on the Lord. International House of Prayer has 24/7 live webstream...and I often have that streaming through my home.

I had intended to write about something totally different...but I'll save it for another day. I guess I'm just a little awed by all the Lord has done in our lives....and I'm so thankful. Hes tought me that the process is worth it. Its worth "hanging in there"....its worth persevering...its worth believing...its worth your effort to be faithful and true....because God is making you more like Him...and that is beautiful. Some impurities can never be worked out without the heat of the trial....but the end result is beautiful!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Moses

So I made a Moses statement yesterday. After making it home from church...successfuly administering the Sunday lunch cuisine (PB,&J)....I leaned on the glass pane of our kitchen window, looked out at the rainy, dark day and whispered, "O Lord...please send someone else to do it." As soon as the words left my mouth....I KNEW I sounded just like Moses. So much so....that I was driven to read his story (again). As if God immediately had something to say to me. The dialogue: "O Lord, I have NEVER been eloquent, neither in the past or since you have spoken to your servant. I am SLOW of speach and tongue." THIS is me. In the past, if there was a need for me to communicate, confront, or even encourage....I ALWAYS write. Going into a situation that requires me to clearly communicate....ummm...yeah....I stumble over my words, forget more than half of what I'm to say, things I've memorized....flee in an instance. Ugh. SO frustrating. I annoy myself in those situations and get terribly discouraged. OH...and one more thing....terrible test anxiety! The worst! God's response, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." It just reminded me that God gives us not only our "giftings"....but also our "limitations". And, He doesn't always match up your "calling" with what you are necessarily good at. This brings up a MILLION other questions.....but I'm also aware that I don't need all the answers. God will teach me along the way. It was AFTER God's response that Moses made his "choose someone else" comment. And it was after that comment that "the Lord's anger burned against Moses". I felt like the Lord had re-gifted me with the opportunity to react in a more trusting way. By asking God to "choose someone else"...I was leaning more on my own understanding. I was not giving God the opportunity to do something amazing, and miraculous through my life (which was ironic since it was precisely what I was attempting to feebly communicate to the kids in our worship time that morning!) Moses was so persistant in his insecurity that God did give him Aaron to speak for him. But...one can only imagine what may have resulted had Moses simply said..."I'm in Lord...speak through me...its the only way!" Perhaps God's people would've been freed the first time Moses asked....instead of repeatedly refusing. Only God knows the "what ifs". Anyway....I know all this stuff in my head. But I love when God brings it home to my heart.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Changing Closets



Yesterday I was feeling sad because i was embarking on the inevitable task of moving Judah from size 12-18mth into his more appropriate 18-24mth clothes. I know, silly...right?? So, I texted my Sis, Beki, because I always do whenever I'm in the middle of this particularly disheartening project. She doesn't laugh at me or make me feel silly for being such a hopeless sentimentalist. But...I've found that with Judah being my last child...its so hard for me to pack away those tiny little clothes...never to be seen again on one of my children. I don't know why I feel so sad about it. I mean, I've talked to other moms about it...and sometimes they share similar feelings. This year I realized something for the first time. Many girls (me included) spend their entire preteen and teenage and young adult years dreaming about what our futures holds...what will our life look like? Who will we marry? Where will we live? How many kids will we have? Will they be boys or girls or both?? And so, for me.....after years of dreaming and wondering...my questions have suddenly been answered...I have a wonderful husband and three most adorable boys....and now......what....? We spend the entire first half of our life anticipating and wondering about this most amazing time of our life...and never giving much thought to "what comes after". Its been a strange feeling for me. I am finished....I will never be pregnant again....never give birth...or hold my very own newborn....or nurse. I am so thankful that the Lord allowed me this special season in my life. So many ladies have so much trouble in this area....and many have even lost babies to miscarriage...and so I do not take it for granted and I tell my boys every night as I put them to bed that they are a GIFT from God. Samuel says, "I'm a Christmas present, mommy??" Hahaha...such a sweetie.



They don't fully understand what I'm saying when I call them a gift....but they will, one day. Anyway...with every bin that I pack up and put away...I feel like its a goodbye. Some of us are hardly affected by goodbyes....but I have never handled them well. The mere mention of the word "goodbye" often evokes certain unwelcome emotions. As I see his clothing getting shorter and tighter on him...I know the "goodbye" is minutes away:-( And my natural instict is to dig my heels in, lean back with all my weight, and pull on that rope with all I'm worth to pull the ever-onward, forward-moving life to a halt....but I can't do that. Why can't he just "stay in this size clothing forever"??? I know...the wording sounds silly. But the heart behind it is saying, "I'm loving you at this size....but you just keep growing bigger and older and you keep pulling farther and farther away from me....and its inevitable...but I don't feel ready for it...." But we have to....let go, I mean. From the time they pull free of our hands and take those first wobbly steps....we have to let them go. If we hold on....we become a hindrance to them rather than a catalyst in their growth and development, physically and emotionally and spiritually. I always cringe a little when I'm at the playground and moms are telling their boys, "Don't climb that....its too big for you"...or "you aren't big enough to try that"...or other such comments. WHAT??? Boys were made to climb. They were made for adventure. So, get behind them in case they stumble or fall...you'll be there to offer support and encouragement! Go to the top and reach your arms down tell them you are there waiting for them....they can do it!!! Don't tell them they aren't big enough or strong enough...this is a question they grapple with their entire life....(for more on this topic read "The Way of the Wild Heart").

So....its a time in my life that I'm having to readjust my thinking a little bit. Did I think I would just go on having babies for the rest of my life? Hahaha. Nope...these things come to an end:-) And although its a little sad....its also very exciting. When my four year old comes home and tells me (without my prompting), "Mommy....you know what my memory verse is??? 'Be kind to one another.'"....I know that his spirit is open and learning about Jesus....and now I have the opportunity to really focus on the three of them...giving them love in their own personal love languages...and having that individual time with each of them. Each of the boys have vastly different personalities...its really incredible how different they are. But thats because God purposed something for each of their lives that only they can do....and I can't wait to see what that is! Hmmm....all this because I moved him up to the next size clothing:-)



Look at those three!! They are just itching to get in there and swim around with the seals!!! Hahaha. I guess the question could be....would you rather your kids be the ones sitting in the stands watching the game where its safe...or do you want them right down there in the middle of the field gettin' dirty with best of them:-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

No Worries

Worries. There are so many of them, aren't there? Gosh, if I gave in to everything I worried about....oh man, I might as well check myself in. I mean seriously. And the crazy thing is...that I have seen God handle things time and time again. He has taken my hand and walked with me when the darkness in my heart was so thick I couldn't see the step in front of me. Other times He's chosen to pick me up, carry me over and gently place me again on firm ground. And yet other times, Hes stood out in front of me, arms open....telling me to walk toward Him and asking if I trust Him THAT much. I've seen it. He's done it. So...why all the worries??

I don't know. I think sometimes I lose the reality that there is a bigger picture. Almost like its about me...and my world...and nothing better knock that off its perfect little rotation. But God sometimes has plans that we could never even imagine. And sometimes its to refine us...and make us more like Jesus. But often times...the purpose and outcome is to affect numerous other people and circumstances...and bring about a result that only God could've planned. It may happen to me...or it may include me...but its to affect a greater purpose. About ten years ago, my mom and younger brother were in a 55+ mph head-on collision about an hour south of Lima. They had to use the jaws of life to get them out. My mom was taken to the small hospital in that town...and my brother was air-lifted to Strong Memorial in Rochester. I remember my dad all shocked and scared and trying not to "lose it", asking me to drive up to Strong to be with my brother because he had to stay with mom....and he wasn't sure if she was going to make it....and he didn't know what was happening to my brother. I sobbed the entire hour and a halfish drive up to Rochester. I didn't know what was going on with my mom, and I had no idea if my brother was even alive on that helicopter or if they would declare him DOA. I talked to God the entire way. I told Him that I trusted His plan. I had no idea if my mom or brother would make it...i had no idea the damage...but I knew that I had to trust Him. I told God that if He had to take one or both of them...that I wouldn't hate Him. I might have a whole lot of questions...but I refused to live angry or bitter at the outcome. Looking back on that time...I'm surprised at the clarity of my thought processes. One would think I'd be overcome with axiety or fear....but I think that one of the Purposes God had in that circumstance....was to ask me if I trust Him....and how much. The outcome of that accident was miraculous. My mom had a broken leg and arm and her finger was "degloved"....my brother now has pins and plates all up his ankle and leg....and he had a lacerated spleen. He was in ICU for a weekish (i forget the exact amount of days)....but SERIOUSLY?!? Thats it??? A head-on collision at 55mph....its insane that they are both alive and well...and their injuries were not something much, much worse. God had a plan for others involved in that incident...but I know that God was asking me a very direct question about my deeper trust in Him...as well as the choices I would make to walk in that complete faith and trust in Him. Because...so often I see people SAY they trust God....but then friek out when the heat is turned up. We make choices about how we will act when God brings us face-to-face with a challenge....and those choices reflect our heart....and how truly trustful we are.

Theres no doubt that I trust Him. I decided that a long time ago. But isn't it amazing how our Enemy tries again and again to break us down. The story above is one that happened many years ago. It was pivotal...because I made a statement of resolve to the Lord...and no matter what the outcome was...He knew where I stood. Much like Abraham carrying Isaac to the top of the mountain. Fastforward to now....I am married to an amazing man and have three of the sweetest boys ever....and I trust God with them. But I feel in some ways that it is a daily practice for me to NOT worry about the four people that I love more than my own life. Because I know that God loves them more. My children are not really my children...they are God's children...and Hes put them in our care for X amount of years....to be a good steward of their precious lives....and ultimately lead them to Him. But it would be so easy to worry about them. To start thinking of how Jesse lost his own Dad (age 46) to cancer...and what if something happens to Jesse and the boys don't have their daddy...and hes such a wonderful daddy....and what would I ever do without him...and oh....the worries go on. And what about Judah...and the spots that he has...the doctor said I cannot jump out of bed everyday looking for new ones...thats no way to live in fear like that! And "what if" after "what if" comes up. And...do you find that when you are bombarded with worries...its not just ONE worry...its multiple worries on different levels and about things that sometimes aren't even connected to each other?? Its crazy!!! You know why? The Enemy is all about Confusion. Its His tactic. But there is a Peace that SURPASSES all understanding!!! Thats why when I am trusting God in the middle of a raging storm....I am at peace...because I trust in God...Who is PEACE. I have so many stories about trusting God. Hubby and I have seen some deep, dark valleys together....but there was and always is a Purpose. Hes made it a constant question for me....like when He asked Peter "Do you love me" three times....except for me its, "do you trust me". This morning as I was battling some worries...and again telling the Lord that He is faithful and completely worthy of all my trust...He told me, "I've already written your story. You just need to live it." It brought so much settling and peace to my soul....I realized that Hes so unconfined by space and time that Hes already been to the end of history and back countless times. He knows what is going to happen tomorrow, in two days, in two years, in twenty years, and how I live out my remaining minutes on earth. Hes already there with me. Its comforting. It makes me aware that my one and only job in this life is to love. Love God and love the people around me....thats what Jesus did in His life on earth...and it encompasses every other thing that I do and say.....funny how that Bob Marley song just popped into my head, "Don't worry...'bout a 'ting...every little 'ting...gonna be alright...." Haha. Well....goodnight everyone....and No Worries:-) Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. Awesome.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Looking Forward To A New Year

My husband walked through the door today carrying with him the next workbook I will be delving into in our next Wednesday night Bible Study group at Bethel. Its a series involving my absolute favorite BETH MOORE, as well as Priscilla Shirer (also fabulous), and Kay Arthur (who I'm not familiar with, but looking forward to meeting). Needless to say....I'm giddy with excitement over this next 6-week course. Its a study of David called "Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed".....promises to be POWERFUL!!! I just can't wait. Beth Moore has just absolutely changed my perspective on so many levels....and God has used her to really bring so much depth to my life. I know many of you ladies would agree with me, here. Her words are truly words of Life....spoken straight from the heart of Jesus. God is using her as a tool to breathe life into so many dry bones....its amazing. I can't say enough good about her....words fall short. I wrapped up 2009 with her study of Inheritance. Lifechanging. I started off the year having so many questions. Maybe its just my age....but for the past two years I've been sort of evaluating life up to this point. Feeling as if I have alot of years behind me...and yet still many to come (possibly)....and so what does this mean? What impact is my life having on the lives around me? What do I do with my "past life"...and does it have any affect on my "current life"....and if so, does it have any relevance in my "future life"?? I was literally FILLED with questions this past year. I couldn't stand the idea of laying on my deathbed and looking back on life and relationships and seeing.....nothing. Or even worse...standing before my Saviour and Him asking me what I did with my gifts, my talents, my life....and having only wood, hay, and stubble to lay at His feet. So, I signed up for her study on Inheritance....not realizing that God was about to answer all the questions that had been bouncing around so long in my heart that I could feel the bruises. It took me so completely off guard. I would either come home bursting with everything God was showing me that Jesse would just laugh at me. Or I'd come home so quiet...because I couldn't quite put it all into words. The most impacting, lifechanging part of her study, for me, was her application of the verse in Psalms 16:6, "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance." When she first started talking about this...my mind immediately skipped to friends or family or others that I know that have experienced things in their lives...whether very recent, or in the past....that was much, much less than "pleasant". Several faces immediately made their way to the forefront of my mind, and with all the bitterness, anger, and heartbreak in their souls yelled, "YOU CALL THIS PLEASANT?!?!?" As tears filled my eyes, I knew my own soul was desperately seeking an answer to this question. She methodically layed out 4 boundary lines in the simple shape of a rectangle. (The shape is not in itself important.) The upper most line was labeled "Intimacy With God"....and that was pretty straightforward. If one is not spending time getting to know God on a deeper level....then everything else is thrown to the wind. Its the most important boundary line for our life. The next line was our "Pasts". Mostly meaning hurtful or painful experiences, failures, difficult things. Most of us want to bury our pasts....not bring them up, not discuss them, pretend they never happened. She, herself having a very painful past recognized the difficulty in talking about these things or revisiting them...but she said how important it is to claim every part of our land....and those painful things are part of our land. Embrace them...Learn what there is to learn from those things...but don't shut them out...everyone doesn't need to hear the details...but there are hurting people that God brings our way that need to know what God brought us through. God has a purpose in bringing us through various situations. The next boundary line was "life experiences" and this mainly focused on basic things like where we grew up, our education, our career, our family. The last boundary line was "Giftings". She talked about the difference between a gift and a talent...for they are very different. And, how important it is to discover what our giftings are. And how when our natural talent collides with our God-given gifting...there is an explosion!! Awesome, huh?? When we function within these four boundary lines....our life will be transformed. It was an astounding way to end the year....and bring to end a period of time that was full of disheartening questions. I'm so excited about this next year...but really this next decade. I know that my life is but a breath of air and then I'm gone....but if I'm going to be a breath....I want to be a deep one:-) I refuse to be bored with life....I'm in it for the Adventure....:-)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010....Its a NEW year!

Well Happy New Year everyone! Hahaha...I'm laughing because I have no idea who is going to read this....but oh well. I am super excited about the start of this new year. I'm anticipating all that God has planned for this new year! My hope is that my eyes and ears are wide open to see and hear any opportunity that He sends my way. I heard this quote recently (unfortunately I am unable to give crdit since I can't remember who said it)...."Temptation may lean on the doorbell....but opportunity may only knock once." 2009 was FULL of change and transition for us.....and I am feeling that 2010 God will bring a little bit of settling to all that upheaval. I know that each year is different for everyone....some of us have had a year full of joy and newness and blessings and others of us have experienced great challenges, trials, and disappointments. In "anticipating" my new year....I'm careful to lay it before God...yet again. I know that He is always working on my heart...my motivations....my thoughts...and He has specific situations and "furnaces" (for those of my ladies out there that went thru Beth Moore's "Daniel" study with me:-))....that are specifically designed by Him to work out those heart issues and character flaws in order to make me more like Jesus. I just want to encourage us all that no matter what may come our way this year....lets decide ahead of time that God has a reason for it....He will teach us a lot about ourselves by how we react to the situations that He sends our way. When I'm tempted to be fearful of all the "what ifs".....thats when I have to lay it all down again and let Him fill me with the Peace that surpasses our feeble understanding. I'm excited. I'm excited to see God's BIGNESS.....I love to see Him do the impossible....I love to believe the impossible! I made the title of this blog "LadyTravelar" because...really, thats what we are. We are all on a Journey, or an Adventure, rather. There are highs and lows on this road we travel....but we just have ONE shot at it. We don't get to go and do it over. Lets live this life ladies....lets live this next year WELL:-)

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