Last night I was on my own while my husband was at a conference, and so the house was all my own. Putting the kids to bed was on my own. It was nice because it was nice a quiet, but it's not nice because he wasn't home.
Tonight, he's home.
I can sleep a little easier, not hearing every noise at night. I can have my husband back with me.
He's back home.
That's fine with me. It's much better when he's home.
I'm thankful for the security I have knowing my husband is around. I'm thankful for his companionship and partnership in all we do. He's my very best friend.
That's what my daughter says. It's funny. I used to say that.
I used to think that I would grow up to simply create art and sell it and that's what I would be. Of course I would also get married, and I would have three kids.
You know, at the heart of that dream is something really simple. I wanted to do something that I love to do, and marry someone who loved me. And the two of us would have a family together.
That was the dream. For a little girl of five years old, it meant drawing and painting. It meant being a mommy and being a wife.
For a woman of nearly thirty, the dream is to still be a wife and mommy. The man is more than what I dreamed. The number of children is different. And what I do, outside of those two things doesn't matter as much, but thankfully, I do love what I do.
Sometimes I have to stop and just stand in awe of the fact that my little girl dreams came true. It just wasn't exactly what I dreamed.
God planned it.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil,
The last couple days of work have been nice- tiring, but nice. For the first time in a couple weeks I've reached goals that have been set for me, and that's a good feeling. I don't like it when I don't meet goals or do as well as I want to. But for the last two days at work, that's been different, and I'm glad about that. I like to do well at whatever I do.
I'm thankful for that tonight. It's nothing incredibly profound or moving, but it's something that makes me happy because I'm making other people happy with what I do. That's a nice thing. And I'm thankful for that.
I'm thankful that tonight my feet hurt. I was able to get some new shoes, and they are pretty comfortable (for heels) except for a long day of on my feet, it was a little much. So they're sore. They're sore, and it's making me sit. It's nice to sit.
I'm tempted to do a lot of stuff around the house that always needs to get done, but because I was able to get new shoes and because my feet hurt, I'm relaxing and staying off my feet. The chores will just have to wait tonight.
And that's okay.
Obviously, I can't make it a habit to always rest and not work. But tonight it's going to be okay. I'll write what I have to say about being thankful for being able to get new shoes, for being on my feet all day working and helping my family, and for joining my husband for some time together relaxing (when I walk away from this post.)
My son Haddon just loves the movies too. And whenever he watches one, he gets his Woody and Buzz toys out and proceeds to play using his imagination. There are grand adventures to be had in the mind of my son, and I love to see that come out.
But Toy Story 3 makes me cry, or at least get a little choked up.
Andy is ready for college, and as we all know, playing with toys ends long before entering college. It is all too brief that little boys and little girls are, well, little. It goes by so fast, and I am honored that I get to help my two children on their way through life. It is short. It is fast. It is precious.
And something that I am learnomg, or at least being reminded of is that it's all meaningless. It's all a chasing after the wind, unless you have the fear of the Lord and strive to give Him glory.
So that's what I hope most for my children. Sure there are moments when I really want to freeze time and hold onto their childhood, but mostly I just want them to grow and learn and give God glory in all that they do. I want them to get the most out of this life, and I know that what will bring them the most is not things like toys or wealth or power. No pleasure, nor accomplishment can replace or even come close to the riches found in Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Every goodgiftand every perfectgift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Today my husband interviewed for a unique job with a local non-profit organization that has a very special ministry to young people. This organization has a home that kids ages 11 to 17 can come to if they are kicked out of their homes or are in such a bad situation that they had to leave. They can stay there temporarily while reconciliation is worked out or other arrangements. Wow.
Last night my husband was telling his dad about the job and about what it all would entail, and this began a conversation that left me in tears over the goodness of God in the life of my father-in-law.
Through the years I have heard tidbits of pieces of his childhood and stories of some of his exploits before becoming a Christian, and every time I am struck by the amazing grace that has brought my father-in-law to where he is today. This night was no exemption, and even more so in light of the ministry that my husband may have the opportunity to be a part of.
When my father-in-law was 14 years old, he left his home. He had had enough. His stepmother wasn't a woman fit to raise children, and treated my dad-in-law and his brothers very badly. After hearing just a few of the stories, I don't blame him.
At one point she burned all the boys' toys and things. She slapped my father-in-law upside the head, without any warning, for having, what she thought, too much ketchup on his plate for his french fries. She locked the three boys in their bedroom for two days straight without food or water because they would not confess to something that none of them did.
And at 14 he had enough. After turning himself into the police, his dad came to the station and put him on a bus to Grand Junction, Colorado to be with his mom, my husband's grandmother.
After hearing these things, I was able to hold it together until we were out of the house, and then the tears came (duh, of course... as they always do. geesh.) I shared with my husband that I am always in awe of the mighty work of grace that God has done in the life of his dad... and his two brothers, for that fact. One of Casey's uncles is a pastor and the other is a godly man who serves in his church and loves the Lord.
Some people get caught up in "generational curses" or lose heart when it comes to looking at their family's history.
I will never doubt the power of the gospel to enter into a family tree and change everything. If there is anyone I know who has many excuses to be completely and totally messed up, it would be my dad-in-law. He got a crazy mixed bag of exposure to different religions, experienced being abandoned by one parent, abused by a step-parent, and shuffled from one household to another. It is a wonder to see who he is now, and he will be the first to tell you that it is only by God's grace through the power of the gospel to change his heart and mind and to make him a new creation in Christ Jesus. All the pain, all the issues and hurt, all the patterns of dysfunction were shattered the second the Holy Spirit entered the heart of my father-in-law. Hallelujah!
I'm proud that my children have this as part of their heritage. I am proud that I have married into a family that gives me a dad like this. I'm very glad that, though I've never really had a dad, that now I have such a sweet blessing in my father-in-law.
And the fruit of the gospel has resulted in a new generation of people who claim the name of Jesus and are raising children to honor and obey the Word. From the three boys who experienced so much pain have come 3 successful marriages, 10 children, and 18 grandchildren (with another on the way this year).
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
The moon was so big tonight as it was rising. I commented to my husband that it looked as if we could just fly a small plane to it, it looked so close.
It was bright.
It was brilliant.
Surrounded by fluffy clouds and partially shrouded, it illuminated the edges of its surroundings with brilliant moon beams. The silvery blue hues were breathtaking. The craters and crevices of the orb were brilliantly highlighted. If I had a camera, I know I wouldn't even do it justice.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God...”
Lord, thank you for shouting your glory in the skies,
GreatisourLord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
I saw two things today that made me think our our great God.
On the way home from dropping off our daughter at school, I was on a country road and saw four deer. Yeah, four of them. They were all together and very peaceful. One was licking another's ear. And I just thought how neat that was. Deer are truly beautiful creatures. They are graceful when they run or walk. They have a lovely presence to them that fill the beholder with awe. The beauty of a deer is just a minuscule glimpse of the magnificent beauty their Maker.
Later on today I saw hail. It wasn't just any hail. It fell hard and strong and for a pretty long period of time. It was accumulating on the windshields of parked vehicles and on the sidewalks. White was building up like snow all around. It was powerful. I thought about how powerful the God I serve is. He is mighty and strong. The hail falling, pelting the earth was just a minuscule glimpse of the awesome might of its Maker.
What a mighty God we serve. What a beautiful, marvelous God we serve.
**Last night when I went to publish this, our internet wasn't working. So, this is delayed. Oh well.**
My husband has worked on a book for almost a year now. Just this week he received a copy of the proposed cover. He was pretty excited. So was I. So was everyone that we've shown it to.
I hope that his book can be used to bless people, and most of all, give God glory.
I'm sure I'll be writing more about that particular topic more (the publishing of the book), but for now, I'm just thankful that God is using my husband's heart and mind and love for God's Word to potentially reach an innumerable amount of people.
This is our first month in which we don't have any assistance for food. With my husband out of a job and getting unemployment and my increase in hours, we make too much for assistance. I don't like that we've needed help in that way. I don't like that the system is abused by so many. I do know though, that assistance has helped us, and I pray that we will get to a point where we legitimately don't need the help as opposed to not needing that help because we're getting help elsewhere.
I know the Lord is working on that.
What was so nice was that at the beginning of this month, I went to the grocery store, with grocery envelope in hand, containing our money to buy food for our family.
It felt good.
I almost started crying at checkout. (If you haven't figured it out, I cry on an almost daily basis. It's ridiculous, I know.) It was such a sweet moment.
That's all. It's nothing overly profound. I'm just thankful that this month we were given the provision to be stewards over grocery money- you know, earned grocery money.
Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come.
I've learned a lot of things from my mother, but one of the greatest examples she has shown me is in recent months. She has been a pillar of strength and dignity as she has fought her fight against breast cancer. Nobody's perfect. There were moments that I'm sure she handled better than others, but for the most part, she has set an example for me of what a seasoned veteran of the faith looks like in trials.
I wasn't sure how my mother would respond to the ups and downs of this journey. She has been at peace with the process and has demonstrated a faith in the sovereignty of God throughout it all.
Like the true mother that she is, she has had more concern for my sister and myself rather than herself.
She only has a few more weeks of radiation therapy to go, and we pray that all will be clear and that cancer is a thing of the past for my mom.
The thing that I have taken away from this experience is how proud I am of the woman of faith that my mother is. I am proud that I am her daughter. I am thankful that she has been taken care of in such a wonderful way. Her heart has been protected. Her body has had strength. Her will has been strong.
I hope that I can set the same example to my daughter that my mother has set for me. I hope that I will have such peace and security in God Most High that it will always make my children proud.
I have officially been working with LensCrafters for one year this January, and with that anniversary comes a very cool blessing. I was able to go today with my co-worker Alyssa to the Portland area and we shopped for complimentary eyewear.
So off we went today and shopped around different places. It was such a nice time, and it was very exciting to get to find something that I didn't have to pay for.
I had a blast shopping, trying things on, trying to make a decision! But I did make a decision, and I'm excited to get my prescription sunglasses in.
I'm thankful that I was able to have that time with Alyssa. I am thankful that I was able to get my eyes examined and make sure that they are not only healthy, but that I can see the best I can. There are so many around the world who live in near blindness or impaired vision. They may not even know what it is like to see individual leaves on trees or the details of someone's face.
I'll never forget the story that I heard of a little boy who came into our store, put on his glasses, and looked at his mother with new eyes and said, "Oh mommy! You are beautiful!"
Working for the company I do has made me see what a blessing it is to see, and what a joy it is to help people see. I've been given the gift of new glasses, and at work I give that in two ways. One is through helping customers who walk through the door, and the other is through One Sight, an organization that helps people get glasses that need them (to put it simply. Follow the link to see all that One Sight does in our own country and abroad.)
Anyway, I'm thankful for a treat of a day and for the gift of seeing and the ability to have access to eye health and assistance.
Oh how the years go by! Back in 2002 on this day, I was blessed double-time when I became the proud aunt to twins Cassidy and Zachary. Today is their birthday, and I am so thankful for each of them. Zach is a handsome, kind-hearted fellow who loves to dote on my kids. And believe me, they love it! Cassidy may not know it, but she has a little cousin who really reallyreally thinks she very cool and wants to be just like her!
They were two of the sweetest little members of our wedding party, and I just love them to pieces. I really don't get to spend enough time with them. *sigh*
Lord thank you so much for blessing our family with Zachary and Cassidy.
They are such special kids, and I pray that you would bless them in the coming year.
I pray that they would have friends that would spur them on in love and good deeds and that You would give them wisdom in choosing friends wisely.
I pray that they would put Your will always above what's cool or accepted by others.
I pray for their purity as they grow that You would protect their hearts. Thank you for Cassidy's profession of faith and her obedience in following You in baptism this last year.
I pray that her relationship with you would grow and that she would be a woman of inner beauty and grace which is of great worth in Your eyes.
Continue to work in the heart of Zachary that he may grow up to be a man of God
One year ago today, our family was blessed with a tremendous blessing. Sam was born on Super Bowl Sunday, and today we celebrated his birthday. He is a sweet "dark horse" in his family, the youngest of three boys and the only one with such handsome dark eyes and hair. He is a treasure to have as a nephew, and I will enjoy seeing the Lord work in his life as he grows.
Oh yes! We love our Super Sam, Samma Jamma, That Sam I Am, S.S. Lute. So many knicknames for such a little guy.
Happy birthday dear one!
Lord thank you for little Sam.
Thank You that You have given him such devoted godly parents and sweet older brothers.
I pray that he would be drawn to You at a young age and walk a sweet walk,
and trusting in You.
I pray that You would be his highest joy and greatest treasure.
I pray that he would grow in the wisdom that only comes from You
and that You would protect him from being decieved by the world's wisdom.
Give him strength and a character that honors you.
This is a hymn we sang in church this morning. I put in the parts that tend to really move my heart. To describe the love of God is a massive task, and the author of this beautiful hymn paints a vivid picture of the vast love of God. This is what I'm thinking of today.
This is another one of those nights that I really don't feel like writing. It was a rough day. I had one of my kiddos who really gave me a run for my money today. Still tired from Thursday night's ER visit and thrown off from a day running on pure caffeine most of the day (leading to a bit of trouble getting to sleep, ugh!), I was ill prepared and not in full strength to deal with disobedience and a rebellious heart. I struggled to keep my temper and lost a few times. The ugliness that I could see in my child was sometimes mirrored by my own ugly heart or vice versa- I don't know.
What I do know is, that today I don't feel like I was much more than a failure. I can look back and think of so many instances when I could and should have done better to glorify my Savior today.
So what do I do?
What do I do when those thoughts of failure and fear come? Thoughts that I have about not being a good enough parent or ruining my testimony to my child, my precious child, that I am given responsiblity for. What do I do when I get afraid that rebellion will take root in one of my children's heart or both (oh, Lord help me!)? What do I do?
I already said it.
Oh Lord help me!
The biggest problem with today, if I'm being honest is that I wasn't tapped into the Vine. I wasn't looking for help. I wasn't leaning on Him for strength, wisdom or peace.
All I ever have to say is, "Lord help me!"
If the Lord tarries tonight, I'll be given a clean slate in the morning. Everything will be fresh, and the mercies will be renewed. Here's what I plan to do:
Before I get out of bed, before my feet touch the floor, I need to cry out to my Savior the simple prayer.
And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”
Today this passage stood out to me in my continuing reading of Genesis. I love reading about how God builds up and establishes his people Israel. First, there's Abraham, who is such an unlikely candidate for such a great blessing. Then, you have Isaac who is not Abraham's firstborn, chosen to carry the line of blessing. In two generations we find two women with closed wombs.
How did I miss this?
I totally missed that Rebekah, like Sarah, was found barren. It was such a "light bulb" moment for me when I read this. It's embarrassing really, that I hadn't caught on to this. What's more, is that Isaac prayed on her behalf because she was barren. This is just beautiful. It is truly beautiful. Here is a husband beseeching God to open the womb of his wife, and what does God do?
He granted his prayer.
I just love this. There is so much here. God is working in Isaac's heart, a heart that is already tender, I'm sure, to the truth that God is sovereign over all things. He grew up under the care of a woman who was smiled on by the Most High. I have no doubt that Isaac knew how amazing his conception was, and how it was Providence that made it happen. So what does he do? He turns to The One who he knows does mighty things to build families.
I believe that God does a gracious work in the hearts of His people through times of infertility. I know that this is such a sensitive subject, and I know this because my own sister struggled to build her family and wrestled with the pain and heartache and yearning that goes with hope deferred. I also know that she would not have the family she has today had she not gone through what she did, nor would she be the person she is today.
I think that God, in this story (true story thankyouverymuch), is using closed wombs to solidify in the minds of those He's using that HE is the builder, author and fulfiller of the promise given to Abraham, not them.
And it sounds like getting the desire of her heart isn't very easy for Rebekah. She cries out to God, "Why!?" Isn't that just the way we are? We're so difficult to please at times, aren't we? I can't help but kind of smile to myself at the awful similarities to my own wretched self. I am so often a Rebekah. And when I look at the context of what she's complaining about, it's almost laughable (though I know that pregnancy isn't always a walk in the park.)
But really. First she experiences infertility. Then she gets pregnant, and there's twins! Now, she's whining about the pain of their wrestling within her.
Do you see how gracious God is in His response to her? He doesn't rebuke her moment of unthankfulness. He just tells her what He's doing. He's making two nations, and He's establishing, yet again, that He is in control of where the blessing will lie and how it will happen. The older one? Nope. The blessing won't be through him. Nope. God chooses the younger, the weaker.
This isn't a passage about whether or not God will open wombs or any prescription about "how" to get Him to do it. This is about God working all things for His glory and everyone's good. He has a plan. He is in control. Whatever circumstance I find myself in, I know that He has proved Himself faithful over and over again.
Let all the saints take a deep breath, and say, "Amen."
I really needed the days off that I had. Considering some recent days that I've had, it became even more evident.
But now I've been back at work for a couple days, and I feel a lot better. I've sought refuge under the wings of my King through the prayers of His people, and the encouragement of family. I've had good rest and a time of separation from work. There's such a difference in my day as I help people!
I'm not sure when things will change for my family, but I do know this: God always provides. He provided just the right amount of time off. He has provided this month as I have just gone over our budget. He has carried our family through every season and every trial, and I have no doubt that He will continue.
He continues to work on my heart. He continues to care for my soul. He continues to lead me beside quiet waters.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.