Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

This is how much God loved the world; He gave his Son, his one and only Son.
And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, 
anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
John 3:16 (message)

Today is Good Friday. Thousands of years ago, my Savior carried a heavy cross on his back to Calvary. He did it for me, and for you.
He took all my sins, past, present, and future, into himself, so I could live. He suffered the rejection of his Father, so I could live. 
He died, so I could live.
He did all of this for you too!
They mocked him. 
They turned away from him.
All of it is far beyond anything I can imagine. He endured it all, 
because he loved me, and you.

We are going to a church service tonight that will remind us of how much Jesus sacrificed for each one of us. The gift of freedom he gave to me, no condemnation, shame, and his forgiveness. I want to be reminded of his love, the depth, width, and the breadth. I know it can't be measured, for it is endless. The gift of his Spirit that surges within me and leads my daily life, and brings me power.  The gift of Jesus ever present and alive.
Good Friday was oh so Good, because of his love and the life that came from his tomb and into my heart! 
Say That Again, Sweet Jesus, you are Love, and you live!

Monday, April 14, 2014

In Humble Service

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of
the disciples, drying them with his apron.
John 13:5

My husband and I visited a local church yesterday. I was in need of God, both my husband and I desperately needed worship and time in the presence of God. His Spirit was sweet there.
The praise of song was full upon the lips of his people, and I could feel my heart lift. Children praised, with their arms lifted to the heavens, and the prayers of many were ringing throughout the walls.
God's Spirit spoke through the pastor reminding me that nothing is possible without the power of God. Nothing. It all comes from God. 
And then, in love the pastor and his wife offered to wash the feet of anyone in his congregation. Three chairs were set up on the stage with basins of water. Two more chairs were set on the sides for anyone else that might want to wash each others feet. It was truly beautiful.
My husband and I went to the side chair and I washed his feet. Then he washed mine. We found it to be an incredible act of humility and a beautiful reminder that God has given us to each other to serve.
The Spirit of God dwells within me so I can serve in humble obedience to my God. More of him, less of me.
Oh Jesus, may all that I do, be in humble service to you!  I so much need to remember everyday who I am serving. It is Jesus!  Why do I do what I do? Why do I write this blog? Why do I go to work? What's the purpose of serving my family? 
To see Jesus.
What are you doing today to see Jesus? 
Jesus, use me today in humble service for you. 
More of you, less of me.
Say That Again! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Budding Spring

Yesterday I went to the park with a friend. It was beautiful. Spring is just starting here, and we both enjoyed scouting around in search of little buds on the trees and hidden flowers popping up out of the dirt.

Spring treasures. We saw a lot of them everywhere, and each bud and flower offered me some hope and some promise. The promise and hope of life. The gift of resurrection.
I am thankful for the gift of new life and the power of the Resurrection given to me. Jesus , I know You will Say That Again to me with each new day, because You have risen and Your power is budding within me!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Quick Trip

This last weekend I went to Seattle with my family. We discovered a different kind of beauty in the city than what we normally see at our country home. It was intriguing, fun, adventurous, and educational.
The city is a melting pot of many cultures and languages, and it reminded me of what we will have in heaven.
Our kids wanted to go to all the usual tourist spots, so we started out fast. The Space Needle, nicknamed Ned, was first on our list.

My son and husband ventured off to the Flight museum next, while my daughter and I toured through the Science Center. 

We wrapped the day up with some shopping for my son and some shoes for me. 

We were greeted with a partially sunny day the next morning, so we took the opportunity for a cruise. 

The Aquarium also grabbed our attention. The Octopus was especially remarkable, and we stared at him for some time.

My husband and kids went to the park and to the music museum, while I toured the Garden of Glass. This was my favorite part of the trip, these exhibits were exquisite! The talent and time put into these pieces are truly incredible; the colors are rich and intriguing. It all made me think of heaven, and how beautiful it will be there.

I read this in Psalms 23:6 this morning:
Your beauty and love chase me every day of my life. I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

Wherever I go, and whatever I am doing, I will come back home to the house of God. His beauty and His love will chase after me. Say That Again, God Your beauty chases me!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Time

It's Spring break. My children have been staying up late at night and sleeping in late. Yesterday we celebrated my daughters ninth birthday. Her favorite gift was the air soft gun she received. She did not receive anything pink or frilly; that's not the way she rolls. She's all about dirt bikes, soccer, guns, juggling, and Lego.

I took the week off of work so I could be with them. Our week has consisted of getting misplaced in the woods, a service project, a zip line adventure, errands, movies, x-box, go-carts, laser tag, mini-golf, parties, pizza, more pizza, lasagna again and again, and candy.
Tomorrow, we will wrap up our Spring break adventure with a trip to Seattle.
Did I mention we keep eating pizza and lasagna?  I like to make lasagna with spinach, mushrooms, and onions. But, today, I skipped all that and simply made it with all the cheeses---my kids thought they were in heaven. Not as healthy, but I didn't feel bad about it at all, since they get a healthy scoop of spinach everyday in their smoothie.
My daughter collected all kinds of candy at her birthday party, and before I could gather myself she had eaten it all. I lectured her on brushing her teeth, so hopefully that turns out okay!
My kids are growing up really fast. My son, now twelve and my daughter now nine. The passing of time is a fascinating thing. Sometimes I feel like there is so much of it, then the next moment I realize there's so little. In just five short years my daughter will be fourteen years old, in ten years she will be nineteen! The passing of time.
As I look at my life in terms of time, there are many things I could have managed better. How much time do I waste? I'm not saying that it's necessary to be busy all the time, I don't think that's true. Maybe I wasted time being busy.  Maybe I missed out on a friendship because I chose to get something done rather than sit with a friend. Or, maybe I chose to isolate. How have I used my time? How have you used your time?
When I think of my values, how does time factor into that? How important is the to do list, really?  In my life experience, the people that have impacted me the most are the ones that have consistently valued my time above the list.and used their time to invest in my life. Friends that take the time to call, instead of text, or send a note in the mail. Loved ones that step out of their busy lives long enough to have a meal and talk, or take a walk. Friends that pray for me when I reach out in need. This all takes precious time.
We live in a country that values the to do list above the relationship. I've been to many other countries where it is opposite, they live life at a much slower pace. They enjoy time. What is the rush all about anyway? Why must we get so much done? Who says I can't take a siesta every day?
When I arrive at the feet of Jesus, time will still be at my side; time with Him and time with the ones I love. The only gift I will bring into heaven with me is relationship and the investment of time I have made on earth. The scurry of stuff that needed to get done will be erased, the beauty of time will last.
Jesus, I want to use my time to serve you and bring you glory, be the perfecter of my time. Each day as I awake I will continue to Say That Again!


Monday, March 31, 2014

The Missing Children

My children love to play outside. They both were riding their dirt bikes today while I was getting dressed, I could hear the buzz of the motors going though the forest.  Our bedroom windows face the main area they were bombing around in, so every now and then I'd check on them. After being in the basement for a few minutes, I came back upstairs and realized it was eerily quiet. I couldn't hear their bikes. I couldn't hear them talking. I couldn't hear anything at all.
I hurried outside, looked around, nothing. I started to call their names, nothing. I ran to the back of the house, still calling, nothing. By this time, panic was starting to set in a little bit. I went up to the main road, still nothing. I sent a text to my husband, then called him. I was feeling afraid. I haven't lost my children before, and never in the forest. I had all kinds of thoughts rush through my mind of what may have happened. It was impossible to settle them down, I just kept calling out to God and to my husband to please do something! It felt like an eternity as I scanned the forest, talked to my husband, plead with God. I witnessed flashes of fear, and felt a million feelings. Just as I was thinking of gathering a posse; I turned to see my daughter run towards me.
I ran towards her and grabbed her with exuberance, and held her tightly, she may not have been able to breathe. I was so happy and relieved to see her. Still, I could not stop crying. I asked her where her brother was and she explained that he was in the barbed wire. We ran into the forest.
My husband in the meantime was on his way home. He clearly recognized my panic, and dropped everything at work to come home. I had stayed on the phone with him until we reached my son, who was not actually caught in the barbed wire, but was working to get his bike out of the wire. I pulled my son into my arms as well and vehemently expressed my love for him and how pleased I was to see him safe.
I've thought a lot about my experience today. It was very emotional and scary. But, this was really small compared to what some mothers have experienced. Sometimes, their children do not come back, they are truly lost. Many children never come home. The heart wrenching pain that this must cause is unthinkable.
When I was in the depth of my experience I kept calling out to God. I was saying "Oh God, Oh God!"  I didn't know what else to say, I just needed Him to hear my plea and find my children. "Oh, God!"  I thought of a verse that I have often read in 1 Peter 1:2

Not one is missing, not one forgotten.
God the Father has His eye on each of you, and has
determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you 
obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus.
May everything good from God be yours!

God knows where every child is. He knew today where my children were the entire time. He heard my frantic cry "Oh God, oh God!"  His eye never left them or me, not once. Sometimes it feels different. Sometimes it feels forgotten. I think for the children that do not come back, it would be very hard to believe that no one is missing or forgotten. My heart is crying for those mothers, I am calling out, "Oh God, oh God! You have said not one is missing, not one is forgotten. Your eye is on each one and Your Spirit will keep them. Jesus Say it Again to all the mothers with the missing children!"

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Losses Restored

It's after midnight and I am still awake. I had a long and busy day. For most of the day, I played with my grandson, he is a busy little boy. My house is a maze of toys right now strung throughout the halls.
I drove my kids to Zips today so they could have a milkshake. It's their favorite place to go. I've never had a milkshake at Zips, but they tell me they are good! It was raining outside, and cold. I feel cold in the Spring, and look forward to Summer. Yet, I am thankful for all of the rain because it provides a wealth of green and beauty for the summer.
I thought about the losses I've experienced in my life today, and I know there have been many. I thought about the stillborn babies, the miscarriages, the shattered dreams, and felt so very thankful for what I've been blessed with.
I have lost six babies. And now, when I watch others experience the same pain I feel empathy for them. It is a deep, heart wrenching pain. It is a lonely pain. It feels lonely because there's nothing to do or say to make it go away. It takes time, love, and prayer.
When a child is lost, the entire family suffers. The deepest pain is in the soul of the mother, she has lost a part of herself, and everything about her life, her body, her thoughts, is different in a flash. The father grieves for the pain of his wife and his child. He cannot fix it. He cannot understand it. Grandparents, siblings, and friends grieve for the child they waited for and already loved so deeply.
I do not know why God allows some things to go from our lives, but He does. I am not sure why  some go down certain paths. But, I do know, that if I walk that path with Him, He will turn it into beauty.  He already has done that for me. I do not feel the severe pain from those losses now; I am able to reach out to others in their pain. In fact, I am able to think about moments of those times, and feel a sweetness. I know God's presence was with me all the way. That is restoration.
I love this verse in Isaiah 61:3

To grant those who mourn in Zion, 
giving them a garland instead of ashes, 
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Jesus, this is Your promise and I believe you. Garlands, gladness, and praise for your glory! Say That Again!