Monday, April 20, 2009

Thoughts

I had a few minutes to just rest this afternoon and was flipping through some channels on the TV when I came across the tail end of a rerun of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. This particular episode was about a couple with four children who battle a debilitating blood disorder. Of course, there were tears on my end as I am pregnant and I already cry easily. After the episode was over I sat on my couch and cried some more. Wow. The things I take for granted - like preparing food and not having to worry about every little germ and contamination that could happen. Like having healthy, beautiful children who are simply amazing - when I choose to cherish them. Here I am, living in a beautiful, spacious house with a healthy, gorgeous family, a baby growing inside my belly, a husband who is faithful and who loves me, and so many times I choose to focus on everything that is wrong or negative.

Lord, help me cherish, cherish, cherish what YOU have given me. Help me to live that life abundantly that you long to give me. Help me not take for granted the simple things. Open my eyes to see and my heart to appreciate the many blessing you freely bestow on me. Thank you for everything you are, everything you give, and everything you have done for this crazy, beautifully messed up world. Amen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Redeemed

I was sitting here at the computer listening to songs on Rhapsody when the words of someone close to me came echoing back in my head: "You like those songs that pull on the heartstrings and are emotional, about forgiveness and healing, don't you?" I didn't give the words, which were said almost as an accusation, much thought at the time, but as they came back to the forefront of my mind, I realized it's true. My playlist will show songs such as, "Heal the Wound," by Point of Grace, "What do I know of Holy?" by Addison Road, and "There is a Fountain," a GREAT hymn - one I want someone to sing at my funeral. Is this a bad thing? To listen to songs about God's forgiveness and redeeming love, mercy, and grace? To dwell on the possibilities of where we would be without HIM. My answer is no. In my humble opinion we don't think ENOUGH about His redeeming love and just what that means for us as Christians. It is our very nature to become so obsessed with the things going on in us and around us that we forget to simply breath marvel at the breathtaking love of our creator. Now, I don't believe that we should remain stuck in the past and wallow over our shortcomings and dwell on our sins of the past. I do, however believe that we as Christ followers should be reminded of God's faithfulness and the restoration he brings to a decaying world. If we were so concerned with the way the world is going we would all do more to be salt and light. Salt prevents decay and light makes a way in the darkness of depravity and hopelessness. We are called to be both salt and light. To slow down the decay of this dark world. To shed light on the hope that there is a better way - a narrow and not always easy, but ALWAYS gloriously better way to live this life that we have been blessed with. John 10:10 is my husband's favorite verse and so we hear it a lot around our house - and I am so thankful. This verse talks about a thief that comes to steal and kill and destroy but Jesus came that we might have life ABUNDANTLY. Not just ordinary life, but ABUNDANT, beautiful, sometimes hard, sometimes painful, but fulfilling LIFE. A life where we remember where we came from and who we are in Christ. A life where that reality changes us and moves us to action. A life where we are left changed and in turn tough other lives with God's goodness. So listen to those songs that challenge the way you think, the way you live. Bask in the grace and mercy of our loving God. Be reminded again of His faithfulness and love for us - and then go out and do something with it. Talk to that stranger who looks down and out. Ask your cashier at the grocery store or the server at the local diner if you can pray for them. Be kind to the nosy neighbor that everyone else is content to ignore or shoo away. Give a Bible in an easy translation to someone who needs to read words of hope and encouragement and be challenged and uplifted. Apologize to someone and seek forgiveness. Forgive someone you need to forgive. Do SOMETHING and LIVE LIFE!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Small

So we are in Arkansas now. A tiny little town light-years away from where we ever dreamed or thought we would be. Not that I can tell you where that place would be, but never guessed it would be here. In fact, before we visited for the first time I had to check a map to see where Arkansas was located. Geography has never been my best friend and we like our relationship the way it is.


Five weeks ago today, we pulled into the driveway of our very first, very own home. We were greeted by tons of helpful hands and smiling faces. To say it's been a whirl=wind since then would be putting it mildly. We are loving being in a home of our own, the space for the kids to run around in, an awesome yard, and just the feeling of something that holds a little more permanence for our lives.


I've been meaning to post pictures of the house and the kids playing in the yard for some time, but the black hole that is my husband's office seem to have sucked my brand new camera into it's cold black lungs never to be seen again. I should ask him what happened...


The town is small, the people friendly, and I am personally glad to slow down and get a taste of more relaxed living. There is something refreshing about the nearest expressway being over fifty miles away. It's a change, but a welcome one and I look forward to the adventure ahead.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Homebound and Blessed Abundantly

So I am pregnant with our third child and this kid comes along with tons of adventure (or should I say torture) early on! Pregnancy is not for the faint of heart - at least not when you are, well, ME :) For the past few days I have been at home hooked up to an IV in my hand feeding me fluids, and a port in my leg that is giving me constant doses of Zofran, a nausea medication. It has been an exhausting experience and I am ready for the child to be born. Sadly, I am only nine weeks along. Thus I am choosing to rejoice in the many good things that are going on in my life, the first being that in spite of the sickness, there is a LIFE growing inside of me. There is a little person developing and changing and I will get to meet the little miracle in a few months! Amazing! Even after having two other beautiful children, I still marvel at the gift of life and what a wonderful mystery it is. I am truly thankful and outrageously blessed. 


I am thankful for my husband who has been nothing but helpful and understanding in the midst of all of the chaos. From cleaning the house to taking care of the children, to grocery shopping, to being my personal nurse, he has not complained once and has bent over backward to make sure that I am taken care of. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for all he has done and continues to do. All this in the midst of trying to move fifteen hours away to Arkansas.


That's right. We are moving to Arkansas in a little over a week. Our time at First Baptist Church in P-burg is coming to a close and we are on to a new adventure with the folks of Central Baptist Church in Arkansas. Our current church body has become our family and we love them so very much. I am extremely thankful for everything they have contributed to our lives in the past three and a half years. This week alone they have stepped up and helped with the kids, cleaned my house, brought meals over, and some are still here packing up our belongings and visiting, such a bittersweet (but mostly sweet) time. The amount of love I feel in my heart towards these incredible people is hard to articulate. Again, this is part of the outrageous blessings from God. It will truly be hard to leave here.


I am thankful for our new church body in Arkansas. The people down there have expressed their love, excitement, and their anticipation of our arrival. We already feel loved and  cared for and look forward to years of building relationships and serving alongside these new precious souls. 


I have learned that choosing to focus on the blessings helps take a bit of the sting out of the hard stuff we face. It is easy to look around and see the things we wish would or wouldn't happen and focus on the trials we face or the hardships coming or way, but I believe if we look up we will find much to give thanks about. A sunset, a thunderstorm, a baby's cry, a toddler's hug, a warm hand to hold, a bed to sleep in - these are all things worth praising God for. I choose to do this more often.