Monday, February 23, 2009

Schedules, Passports & Shingles

Ephesians 2:8-10 says: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." This has been our prayer for the past few weeks and especially this week.

I'm half way through Monday and I can't help but think of all the things that I need to accomplish in the next few days. Schedules need to be written down, notes left, meals prepared; just making sure the kids are taken care of for a few days.

Laundry, packing, stops at the local Wal-Mart to make sure we have everything we need; more lists of things to remember to pack, take along, get...

So many things going on. So many things to do.

Early Thursday morning Clint and I are leaving for the airport with a group of 10 people. We are going to Tijuana; we'll be spending time at an orphanage and doing various other "mission" work. We are very excited and anxious to go. You all know, any time you plan on being gone, especially when you leave your kids home, there is a lot to think about without thinking about shingles.

Nope. We're not re-shingling the house before we leave.

On Friday, I went to the doctor because of a suspicious looking "patch" on my back. Turns out I have shingles (I've spared you the pictures I found on the Internet); it's the chicken pox virus that flares up in the nerve endings. I'm on a medication that's supposed to make the whole process go faster or not get worse or something; regardless, I'm not feeling very well at all. Pain from the "patch" and the surrounding area, headaches, fevers on and off, and just plain tired and exhausted.

I've got a few questions for God regarding this, but I'll rest in the fact that he's in control. That he knew all of this was going to be transpiring at the same time; that even with this discomfort, he'll equip me to do the work he's prepared in advance for me to do.

I'd be honored if you would pray for our family this week and next; and that the little people we encounter in Mexico will see Jesus.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Want You To Know

There is an entertaining little "note" floating around Facebook these days: "25 Things About Me..."

Whomever gets "tagged" in this note is supposed to provide 25 random and interesting (maybe quirky) tidbits of information about them self and then "tag" some more people.

I have yet to play along but I have read every one that I was tagged in.

A week or so ago I read one that made me cry; it was from a woman who has two daughters with probably about 10 years between them. Number 21 on her list said that she is a better mom to daughter #2 at her age than she was to/with daughter #1; she went on to say that she wished she could go back and do it over - do a better job.

I felt an immediate sadness and connection to what she had written. My heart resonates that statement.

If you've read any of my blogs, you know that my life hasn't been long beautiful walk with God. I grew up "warming a bench" but didn't have Jesus in my heart. I didn't have a personal relationship with Christ instead, I practiced religion.

After my rebirth in Christ, many things in my life changed; one of the more significant changes was my role as a mom.

My oldest daughter, Taryn, turned 21 yesterday. There have been many times when I have wanted to go back and do things over with her because, like my friend, I am a better mom to my 13 and 11 year old than I was to her when she was younger. I was selfish, impatient and demanding, among other things.
Unfortunately, I am still those things with my kids but there is that One thing that is different.

It's the blood of Jesus. It's the love of Jesus. It's also the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

With God and the unwavering love between this parent and her child we have forged through some tough times; we have been healed hurts from the past; and we are building a relationship that is God-glorifying.

Today Taryn, I want you to know, that I'm so thankful for you; I'm so proud of the young woman you are becoming; and thankful that the past is the past. I look forward to the plans that God has for you - for your hope and your future. And I know, with everything that I know, that God's plans for you are to help you and not hurt you or cause you pain. And I promise to keep loving you and praying for you as you seek God, because when you seek him with all of your heart, I know you will find him waiting for you, like he was waiting for me - sort of like you waited for me to be the mom you deserve and need - but way better!

Galatians 5:17&18 says: "The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Playing Tag

Billy over at What I Learned Today... has been kind enough to award me with not one, but two awards.

The Love Friendships Award states: "These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

As for the Honest Scrap award: A) First list 10 honest things about yourself - and make it honest (hence, the award 'Honest Scrap'), even if you have to dig deep! B) Pass the award on to 8 bloggers that you feel embody the role of the Honest Scrap. (This is an award only to display on your blog that everything you write on it is in truth, sincerity, and integrity.)*
A nice one, that Honest Scrap award. So I can honestly say that:

1.) When I was young, I was "daddy's little boy." Yeah, I'm a girl, always have been and always will be. I am the youngest of 4 kids; a sister, a brother, another sister...I don't think my parents were hoping for another boy, it's just how it worked out. I did everything I possibly could with my dad and spent as much time with him as possible. I miss that age when my dad was everything to me and the first person I chose to spend time with. Nothing will take my dad's place, but I do have a Father I still travel with and love spending time with.

2.) I am insecure. I was in a relationship with someone for about 7 years altogether; he was emotionally and verbally abusive to me. It has caused deep, deep trust and self-esteem issues in every single relationship that I have. When I was born again, the hardest thing for me to comprehend was that God loved me for me yet it was the thing that turned my heart toward him.

3.) I love blogging and my blogger friends. It is a safe environment for me and when I write, it feels like it's just me and God for those moments and it has helped me to be honest about what I am and who I am.

4.) I have a mantra. "Be real." I try to be real in my blogs; and I try to be real in my "real life." It requires fessing up about the mistakes I've made and sharing with others my prodigal son story. I believe that I must talk about what God has done in my life to bring him glory. If I am silent someone who needs to hear about God's grace may not experience it; can you imagine someone winning 4,000,000,000,000,000,000 and not telling anyone? This is the short version of "be real." I could go on and on...

5.) I am rebellious. Always have been and likely always will be. Not unlike any trait or characteristic, being rebellious can be a good thing or a bad thing. For many years, it wasn't a good thing and landed me in trouble many times. In a time where the morals and values seem to be declining fast, being rebellious and not wanting to conform is a good thing. I choose to use my rebelliousness for God's glory!

6.) I am not vain - but I think I have a pretty face.

7.) I believe I am capable of more. If I don't think I can succeed at something, I won't try. God and I are working on this; I listened to the story of Peter walking on water last week. When he started to sink Jesus told him he had "little faith." If stepping out on water in the first place is "little faith" I'm in trouble because I'm not sure I would have even stepped out of the boat.

8.) Until a few years ago, I never had anyone that I was completely honest with. There were always parts of my life (feelings, emotions, actions, etc.) that I keep from people - but not the same things. I would be open and honest but I would never let one person know everything, including my husband. Learning to believe that someone will accept you, all of you, is hard to after you were told you were not good enough by someone you loved is hard to overcome. Again, God is speaking to me and helping me to heal and trust; it's a process...

9.) I am a recluse. I could stay in my house and not talk to anyone for days on end.

10.) I am humbled. As I read the Bible and learn about the people that God chose and chooses to use to further his kingdom, I know that he has a plan for me. I am the sheep that went astray that he left the other 99 to find.

So, there are ten honest things. And in the spirit of keeping the ball rolling, here are my eight new award winners:

Hope42day's Blog

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Beloved's Hands

"Not so good." That was my husband's response last night when I asked him how his day was as he walked in the door.

My husband is a contractor by trade; he is a hard worker; he loves what he does; and he cares about the people for whom he works.

My husband is not the "sit inside at a desk" kind of guy. He likes to be out and about nailing some 2x4's together, or cutting something up with his saw.

He isn't concerned with "status" or whether people see him as someone "prominent" either; he is by far, the most humble person that I have ever been blessed to know.

Last night I was humbled by my husband. The lengths that he goes to in order to provide for his family overwhelmed me. My love, respect, admiration and appreciation for him were overwhelming.

I wish I could say I always feel this way about him, but I'd be lying.

I'm in the middle of reading "Staying Close" by Dennis & Barbara Rainey right now. After each chapter there are a few conversation questions for you and your spouse to work/talk through. In one of the earlier chapters of the book, I was supposed to list six things that I loved/respected/appreciated about my husband. Unfortunately, it had been one of "those" days and I could only come up with two things (and one of them was really lame).

Yesterday my husband worked his fingers to the bone - almost literally. Each one of his fingers, mostly the finger tips, had concrete burns; he had pretty much sanded his finger tips off. He wanted so badly to finish the tile job that he was working on for several reasons; but mainly, because he knew that we needed the money to pay some bills.

As I sat applying anti-biotic ointment, then gauze, then first aide tape to each of his finger tips, God reminded me of a couple of weeks before when I struggled to come up with six positive things about my husband - this man who worked his fingers to the bone.

I wondered if my beloved will have scars on his hands.

Oh yes, my Beloved does have scars on his hands!

A humble man, with dirty feet and rough but gentle hands; not too proud for anything asked of him. He was bruised and crushed for my sin. Spikes through his hands. Hands that worked hard. Hands that loved. Hands that respected. Hands that played. Hands that loved what they did. Hands that weren't concerned about status. Hands of a man that prayed for me as he died on my cross.

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34

Abba Father, thank you for my beloved's hands. Thank you too, for showing me the truth while using my beloved' hands. I know that some days, more than others, I have a better grasp of your love for me; a love I will never understand. I'm so grateful for the man who works so diligently to provide for my earthly needs; and beyond grateful for Jesus, who provided for my eternal needs. Amen.