Thursday, August 30, 2012

proverbs 2:1-10

My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
2 Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
3 Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
4 Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
8 He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.

9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.

don't give up

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I can tell we need a change of pace.

 Here is the face of a happy boy.  Do you want to know why?  The reward found in obedience.

This week we have been studying insects at home.  Mostly focusing on ants, ladybugs and bees.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving."  Colossians 3:23-24  

A challenge was given at the start of the week.  If Brother would agree to do a hard project (beyond the regular stuff) every day for the remainder of our study on insects, he would be rewarded for it.  He was not told what the reward would be or when he would receive it.  He accepted the terms with a happy heart.  The week included helping daddy dig holes for landscaping in the front yard, helping Mom sort (by family member) loads of clean laundry before I folded them, etc.  He never complained about the task given to him for each day.  He accepted it and completed it to the best of his ability.  Throughout the week I would reference the verse and the words to remember ("I am a wise child, so I work hard").  We would talk about the insects we were studying and thank God at the end of our lessons for the amazing example he gave us in his creation of these tiny hard working bugs for his glory.

Today the kids and I went to Walmart to pick up some ice cream (Do we need a reason?) after dinner.  Brother asked for some toy before we even walked through the door (which is usually unlike him).  We started talking and I reminded him of the week behind us.  How he had worked hard and this was when he would receive his reward.  He lost his mind with excitement.  "I get to have it?" he asked.  "Yes!" I replied with all joy to give it to him.  It cost $11.

We found the anticipated gift and he couldn't stop thanking me for it.  I reminded him that he earned it.  He did the hard work (just like the insects) not knowing when the reward would come and he did it for God's glory.  He probably thanked me 20 times before we even left the parking lot.  My heart was overflowing and my mind was racing.

God asks us all to do the hard thing.  To walk in obedience hanging on to the promise that we WILL receive our reward which will ultimately be with Him in heaven.  We obey Him because we love him and we trust his Word.  And wouldn't you know it but he longs to bless us for our obedience?  In fact it brings him joy to see us blessed.  Because when we obey and receive his blessings we can't help but overflow with thanks to our faithful Father.  He reminds us that this was his plan all along.  If only we would trust him that doing the hard work in obedience would be so rewarding.

So tonight a little boy sleeps clutching an Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure and Freeco Bike (whatever that is...must be from an episode I haven't seen yet).  His Mom sits here pondering all SHE learned from a four year old's school lesson.

I know my reward is in heaven but I also trust that God wants to bless my obedience here on earth.  The hard part can be accepting his task for each new day with a happy heart and completing it to the best of my ability not knowing when the reward will come.

who you are

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

more promises

Isaiah 43:1-2

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel, the one who formed you says,
Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.

complete and willing

My Love was giving the kids a bath before bed tonight.  I closed the bathroom door so I could muffle their happy squeals and lie on our bed in semi-peace.  It had been a day marked with feelings of hopelessness for the first time.  

I rolled away from the window and found myself looking directly at the framed vows that have been on display in now our fourth bedroom together for over nine years.  The sun was just low enough in the sky that His day's light was peeking through the cracks in the closed shades.  

No matter how hard we try, we can never really keep Him out.  His love for us shines brightly on exactly the path he wants us to take.  Complete and willing obedience.  

This morning I was overwhelmed by my own tears.  Tonight I am overwhelmed by His love for me, and in fact us.  Oh the joy that is promised to come with the morning!  I look for it with anticipation.

holy fire burn

Monday, August 27, 2012


Job 23:10 "But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold."

Psalm 61:2 "From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

the undate night and fifth seizure

It started on Friday.  I made plans with a friend's daughter to watch the kids for just three hours on Sunday early evening.  We would be back in time to put our bundles to bed.  The sitter was booked and I surprised My Love on Saturday with the news that I was planning our date.

Sunday morning after church we got to talking about finances and both (mostly me because I'm cheap like that) decided that it would probably be smarter if we waited until after pay day to spend the money.  "We could spend the afternoon painting the hallway instead," I said as an alternative plan.  It had also been a long weekend for the kids being in childcare at our church during the marriage retreat we attended.  My Love agreed but was bummed after I told him what I had in store for our date night.  There will be an opportunity another time.

We fed the kids lunch and put them down to nap and then got to work.  We have become a good team in the wall painting department.  We each have our own jobs.  There really isn't much talking going on but it is strangely fun to spend the time doing it together.

A couple hours later the kids emerged from their naps and even helped some before we started cleaning up after our first coat of paint.  The hall looks great.  My Love sent me downstairs to start washing some rollers while he used up the rest of the paint in the pan.  I looked from the kitchen sink into the family room to find the kiddos both intently watching an episode of Dora the Explorer.  Babydoll was leaning backward in a weird angle and then suddenly slid off the leather couch onto the floor.  Brother didn't take his eyes off the TV.  I calmly walked into the room and called up to My Love, "Can you help me down here?!"  By God's grace he interpreted my masked sense of urgency and he came right down.  I had already scooped up my shaking daughter and carried her into the play room out of sight of her impressionable four year old brother.  I am still so thankful that after five seizures in six months, Brother has not seen one happen.  God is good.  My Love was by her side with me as soon as I placed her on the ground.  Her face was turning blue and we weren't sure she was breathing as she took some short shallow gasps while seizing.  Her fists curled up in balls and her arms were twisted.  I prayed out loud asking God to let it pass quickly.  A few seconds later her body went calm and limp.  Thank you, Jesus!  My Love kept talking to her trying to get her to answer him. "She's not there yet," I said.  "She IS there!" he insisted. 

My Love took her up to her bed and I scurried around to find the Motrin and Tylenol that we had taken on our recent trip and that were still not unpacked a week after returning.  The thermometer read 100.4 degrees and the wall clock was just after 4pm.

Babydoll would open her eyes from time to time with a scared look on her face like she didn't know what was going on but couldn't speak or move to interact with us.  I just knelt by her bed and whispered words of comfort.  Sometimes she would nod her head in reply but she did not have complete control of her body.  It didn't take long before I realized that had we kept our date plans this whole scenario would have played out just as I would have been off to pick up the sitter.  God is always good, people.  Always.  We were able to be home with our baby girl when she needed us and we even got a painted hallway out of a day's work.  His sovereign plans are always better.

45 minutes later I heard the sweetest word come from down the hall.  "Mom!" she said.  I went in to find my Babydoll sitting up with a groggy grin on her face.  She was back!

Tomorrow I hope to get her in to see her pediatrician.  Please pray for good rest for our Babydoll and a speedy recovery from whatever has caused her fever.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

be interested

"Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others.  Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.  Don't only think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too and what they are doing." -Philippians 2:3-4

Seems as if God wasn't a fan of my self-absorbed-I-only-want-to-think-about-myself-for-awhile attitude.  But I'm still glad I shared because I feel covered in prayer.  Off to day two of our Marriage Impact conference at church today.  God is good.  He works ALL things together for our good (and His glory).

Make yourself vulnerable today.  Ask for prayer from someone you see for something specific.  And ask them with genuine interest how you can pray for them.  It is good to think beyond yourself no matter how heavy the burdens you are carrying.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I have a lot on my mind.

Thoughts of friends who haven gone on short term missions trips to places like England and Haiti and India.  I want to know how they are doing and what God has done in their lives.  You can not return unchanged.

Thoughts of others who have committed this season of their lives to full time missions in Spain.  I want to hear how they are REALLY doing.

Thoughts of a sibling expecting her first baby and another expecting her second.  It has been way too long since we have spoken last and I wonder what this season of life has been like for them before everything changes...for the better.

Thoughts of a friend who had a miscarriage while her husband was out of town.  I wish I could hug her every day if only the miles didn't separate us.

Thoughts of a friend who sent her firstborn off to kindergarten this week.  What a milestone!

Thoughts of a fifth location being opened up in a friend's small business.

Thoughts of several college roommates who I haven't spoken with in months and in fact years.  Wondering how even to pray for them when I have no idea how they are doing.

Thoughts of a friend waiting for the results of the second state BAR exam.

Thoughts of family that is struggling with other family, at least three separate situations.  I so long to fix the pain all around but know only God is capable of a complete healing.

Thoughts of family and friends who are unemployed both near and far.  How stressful their days must be.

Thoughts of an impending wedding and wishing I could impart wisdom only learned after nine years that I know can not even be understood until experienced.

Thoughts of many friends in the process of adoption, either adjusting to the new addition, awaiting their official gotcha-day, or still listening for the phone to ring.  Oh how the heart aches in the waiting.  How do you do dishes and fold laundry when your child is somewhere out there?

So many thoughts of loved ones consume my mind.  I want to spend hours and days talking, catching up, listening, writing.  I really want to know how we can continue praying for each one of them.  I want them (and many others) to know we are thinking about what they are going through.

On the other hand the personal struggles around me seem so urgent that all I want to do is curl up in my house and shut out the world until I can emerge looking more like Christ and less like me.  Our marriage needs to be healed.  I want to selfishly put all these thoughts on hold and focus on myself for awhile.  This dawned on me just yesterday as the day drew to a close and I looked at a text on my phone through puffy, emotionally-drained eyes.

"Grandma is at [the hospital]..."

The thoughts are many.  I hope to put those thoughts to action soon.  To connect with many I love and care deeply for.  Even in my silence we are praying for them.  But for now action seems only able to be solely spent here.  There is much work to be done and TODAY is the day to do it.

Pray for us and my grandma.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

fourth seizure

My Love made it home just in time to go with me to take the kids to Vacation Bible School (VBS) last night.  This was the first one I had ever heard of that met at 6pm but I figured we would at least give day one a try.  My Love and I checked the kiddos in and then hung around in the back of the sanctuary for a few minutes to make sure our littlest Bundle was settled in okay.  Off we went to Costco for no particular reason except for that driving thirty minutes back home didn't seem ideal.  We wandered around and then walked out around 7:30pm with just a package of princess panties size 2T for our Babydoll.  I told her I would get her some soon since she was in need of more.  My phone beeped in the parking lot and I noticed that I had a voice mail.  The cell service within Costco is spotty.  The voice on the line was that of a man who sounded a little panicked.  "You need to come back to VBS immediately.  Your daughter is having a seizure...."  I gasped and told My Love of the news and he started driving like a bat out of Hell the (now less than) ten minutes to our church.  Poor Babydoll.

We finally got there and found our precious Gift from God lying limp in the arms of a friend of mind.  I was able to educate some of the adults standing around about febrile seizures and they answered some of our questions about the incident.  Apparently my friend walked into her classroom right before Babydoll fell over (which caused her to hit her head) and started seizing for less than a minute.  Thankfully I had briefly mentioned to my friend last month after Sissy had one so it wasn't completely surprising to her.  This was the first time it had happened while she was awake though so this opens up a whole new action plan whenever we leave her in the care of someone else.  Consistently the seizures have occurred at the onset of any kind of fever so unfortunately at this point it isn't easily preventable.  The one plus is that she will outgrow them by age five.  I am not eager for her to reach that age just yet though.

Even though there was still an hour left of VBS, we took Brother out of his class and brought them both home.  He SO graciously didn't put up a fight even though he didn't really understand why we were there.  God saw fit to not have Brother in the room when it happened of which we are so thankful.  He has never seen his Baby Sister have a seizure before even though this is her fourth one in seven months.  Praising God for that fact!  We put Babydoll in the car and she was still in her out-of-it daze even though she would open her eyes from time to time.  Once back home, she came to again and we gave her some Motrin and Tylenol before showing her the panties we had bought for her.  My Love placed the package in her bed and she fell right back to sleep.

While typing this I had to take a break when I heard Babydoll call out "Daddy" over the monitor.  I walked into her bedroom this morning to find her studying her package of panties and back to her sweet little self.  So thankful that she doesn't remember the trauma of nights like last night.  Thankful that so many people there were praying for her and her fever is now being handled.  Poor Babydoll.  Since she has no other cold symptoms at this point we can only assume it was triggered by teething.  With several gaps in her smile still, the teething process has been a long one.  We would appreciate your prayers on this issue.  Although we are not as fearful as we were when it happened the first time, it is still a scary thing to witness. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

the one losing

"We think pain is owed apologies and then it'll stop
Truth be told it doesn't matter if they're sorry or not
Freedom comes when we surrender to the sound
Of mercy and Your grace, Father, send Your angels down."

Saturday, August 4, 2012


The topic of forgiveness has been on my mind recently.  I have known many people who have let the decay of unforgiveness consume their lives.  Strangely I have been able to offer forgiveness at times when apologies were never made.  It was a part of surrendering a past hurt to the Lord and asking Him to redeem it.  Often times the people involved are unaware of their offense toward me.  And isn't that just it?  Forgiveness is a matter of the heart.  Another person really can't do or say the right amount of things to make a relationship right again.  It is only by God's strength and grace that we can even offer such a gift to someone who maybe doesn't even really understand the pain they caused.  70x7.  That is how many times Jesus said that we should forgive our neighbor.  Yes that is a calcuable number of 490 times but the point is there should be no end to how many times we forgive.  If you are keeping a tally of how many times you have forgiven someone than your heart probably isn't in it.  I don't know about you but I am thankful for a Lord that didn't stop forgiving me at some calcuable number because you can be sure I have exceeded 490 offenses toward Him.

In one of my marriage studies last week, there was an exercise where you had to write out every sin your husband had committed against you.  Every way he has failured or disappointed you.  I sensed that God wanted me to take some time to put everything out on the table and not rush through the assignment leaving some hurt unturned.  I searched my mind and heart but I took too long in the process.  A couple days into the work and Satan had set himself up a nice little camp on the foothold I had prepared for him.  As I thought upon all the ways My Love had offended me I started to get more bitter toward him.  Fights we restirred between us that he had no part of.  Of course that blew up into a major ordeal.  But God brought something so beautiful out of it.  He put his finger on an issue that was buried so deep that I didn't even know was the cause of some festering resentment. 

Shortly after that reconciliation I completed the study homework in which I told God I forgave My Love for each offense and that I wouldn't hold it against him any longer (per the assignment instructions).  Saying each thing on my list out loud so my heart and mind could acknowledge the act of forgiveness.  It did take some time of discernment to figure out what things about my husband were actual faults and which were "just the way he is".  One's heart sure is revealed in such an exercise.  In the days to follow I found situations popping up that brought to light the things I said I had forgiven.  God immediately spoke in my mind and didn't let me wander into bitterness.  There was a real spiritual warfare going on and the voice of truth was louder.  "No!  You forgave that, remember?  Don't go there."  I allowed him to take the thought captive.  With each reminder I could feel the resentments washing away.  After each item on the paper was listed and verbally forgiven, the sheet was destroyed and was never shown to My Love.  Most issues of the heart are between me and the Lord anyway.  The Holy Spirit is more than capable of showing him the ways that he falls short.  And in fact, when I spend too much energy pointing out his sins to him I may be getting in the way of him hearing from the Spirit.  What a hot mess I have created!

A week later in Bible study again, the speaker gave us two pieces of paper.  One was labeled HUSBAND.  The other was labeled ME.  She asked us to repeat the exercise.  Mind you My Love was aware of the assignment but did not know anything I had written down.  And nothing had really changed from his part.  The difference was my heart toward him.  I sat there and had a hard time thinking of offenses he had committed against me.  It was like God was blocking my memory and not allowing me to slip back into bitterness.  I was free even though our circumstances hadn't really changed.  Next she had us write down all the ways we had sinned against God lately.  Oh boy did the thoughts come like an ocean wave crashing over me.  Seeing my offenses against God in writing next to a blank sheet of paper of the wrongs My Love had committed against me was powerful.  Suddenly I became overwhelmed by how much God loves me and how much more I am in need of His forgiveness than My Love is of mine.  We stapled the two sheets together.  The speaker said "If you want God to forgive you of your list, than you have to forgive what is on your husband's list!"  Gulp.  After some time with the Lord, we walked out front and threw our lists into a lit fire pit.  We watched God take all our sins away. Powerful.

Fast forward to the next day (yesterday).  I totally blew up at a close friend over the phone.  In the midst of some raw emotion and hurt I felt she had caused me, I allowed my anger to spew in her direction.  It didn't take long before God showed me that I needed to seek His forgiveness and HERS.  Yet again he put his finger on a deeper issue that I allowed to fester.  An eruption was inevitable.  I feel ashamed and embarressed and broken.  It continues to amaze me how God brings more and more dark corners of my heart to the surface so he can scrape off the dross and keep working at transforming my heart and mind toward the imagine of Christ.  "Surrender more!" I hear Him say.  "You think you have it all together?  That you have forgiven much?  We'll see.  There is more work to be done."  He has poked at several close relationships this year that he wanted to do a healing in and really it boils down to forgiveness.  In many of those situations I thought the other person's wrongs against me were enough to fill up a whole sheet of paper when in fact God showed me that I was really in need of forgiveness FROM THEM.  Oh how the pride gets wounded!  But with humility comes forgiveness and reconciliation with God...even if the circumstances from the other person's side never changes.

Pray about it.  Is there anyone in your life that you need to forgive?  Is there someone who you need to seek forgiveness from?  In either case take it the Lord and watch as he burns up the heavy burden you are carrying around.  There is freedom found in forgiveness.

Friday, August 3, 2012

answer to prayer

My Love got an offer for his new job yesterday.  We were told that the paperwork process could take several months, so My Love passed on his resume for a position he was not competing for at the same time he gave his notice to separate from the military.  I think that was back in March.  With his last day of actual work looming, and 78 days of terminal leave to follow, My Love had been carrying a heavy burden of not knowing when his new job would actually start.  He considered for sometime accepting another job with the other agencies and companies (out of the "local" area) that were pursuing him in the interim.  We prayed fervently about it asking God to reveal to My Love exactly what he wanted him to do.  Whether to wait on Him and trust His timing or to act now by taking a job sooner if his new job wouldn't be starting for several more months (but not wanting to choose that out of fear of the unknown). 

Well yesterday the offer came eight days before his last day of official work on active duty.  We are SO thankful that God chose to answer our prayers so quickly.  It reminded me when he did the same thing several years ago when we were preparing to move from California.  He provided us with a tenant before we even moved out of our house. 

My Love's tentative start date is October 21st.  His paid leave ends October 26th.  God is so good.  As with everything else with the military, all things are subject to change.  He could start sooner or later than planned.  But we are praising God today that he has an offer and he knows when his job "will" start.  There is no need to pursue other work and we can just enjoy a couple of months of time together as a family.  I mean, when will we ever have that option again?

Thank you for praying for our family.

I was made acutely aware this morning that not all prayers go answered so quickly.  We lifted some for several loved ones at the start of this day that we have been praying for years.  We praise God for answering those too.  He is good in the swift provision and he is good in the waiting place.

One more week of active duty work for My Love.  Keep the prayers coming. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

ten days

In ten days, My Love will be unemployed.  After ten years in active duty service to our country, he will be pursuing work as a civilian.  Will you consider praying for him over the next week an a half?  We trust that God is in control of the logistics of whatever comes next but I know it will be emotionally hard for him to close the door on this chapter and put on the uniform for the last time.  Especially when it is ending sooner than he may have first planned fifteen years ago.  Thank you friends.  I hope to write more again soon.