Saturday, April 12, 2014

All things being made new...

One of my most favorite things about moving to Iowa is the weather. For most of the year it is up in the air, no one knows what to expect.
Will it be cold, probably.
Will it be deadly out today, maybe.
Will it be nice and calm...could be. Who, of man, knows.

This past winter was a hard long winter. The temps were brutal. The windchill was a deadly -30 to -40 most of January and February. We were stuck inside cuddling, reading, and eating soup and I LOVED that! We planned lots of happy dates with friends and played lots of new games. We ended up buying an indoor trampoline for our girl, and she burned energy like it was summer time. ;)

Though we found joy in the cold bitter days...they were still cold bitter days. We missed several get-togethers because our street is one of the last on the plow list. Multiple days would pass without that orangy sunny glow to enjoy. Planning anything was next to impossible. We seemed to catch every bug that was circulating and life just, well it just left me feeling...tired.

Tired of the cold. Hating the wind. And cursing the clouds that blocked all my sunshine!

But then March came, and Spring was just around the corner...Some days the temps were down enough that we could open a window and let in fresh air (for all of 10 minutes). We met friends at parks and the kids ice skated on frozen grass, ice patches. For at least 5 minutes a day you could feel the heat of the sun, whether threw a window or standing outside.

Something Glorious was happening.

Then came April.

I stood outside one afternoon as my daughter was finally able to play in our backyard again...and tears came to my eyes. It is finished. I watched dark clouds floating away and the sun peering behind them roared like a lion. Chasing the dark away. The darkness could not hide the majesty of the sun. It is called Spring, and it is the gospel spoken in nature*. Our present earth is a sermon of Redemption. A picture of Hope.

Oh, where can you go from His Spirit? Even the clouds sing of His great mercy. Birds are shouting in the morning the glorious mercy of God the Father. They sing out "He has redeemed us! He is making all things new..."

Today the New is not yet here... But Spring sings to us it will come. The green grass is pointing us to hope. Do not loose heart! It will be here. And the Lions roar will chase the darkness away for eternity.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son." Rev 21:1-7

So I love Iowa's harsh long winters that direct my heart to longing for my King and the home He has planned for us...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Who am I?

Who am I? There are days that the noise of the world causes me to forget. Days that negativity shines and confines me to despair. Days where worry seems to be my badge, and my heart begins to darken, and all righteous reality just slips away.

It starts with a whisper.
A simple whisper, "What if...", and I try to put it away, I try to pretend I didn't hear it...but I know I did "What if..." Then begins the rationalizing, (which I never win). Then comes arguments I make with myself. By this point, there is no turning back. I'm trapped and confounded by fear.

I know I am not alone. I know because the same thing happened to Eve. Gazing up at the tree she shouldn't want, though she did; she heard a hissing whisper..."What if God doesn't love you?" I can imagine she wrestled there in her mind for a moment. But the whispering continued and there she was confronted and alone with her fear, questions she had never thought to ask, were asked. Her imagination began to take over, she found herself without real answers, so she rationalized, Eve saw that it was a good tree with good fruit, and she tasted. She tasted and as she did the sweet taste became her reality. And she ate. All the things she knew to be true washed away for a brief moment. But then the fruit was gone, she was full and finished and she opened her eyes. And reality set in and there she was, naked and truly alone.

Fear and confusion to me are tornadoes. They are fast and strong and before you know whats hit you...you've been swept up and carried away unable to stand firm on anything.

We all know the story, The Lord Himself, walks among them and finds them hiding. The Land becomes cursed and there Adam and Eve stand and listen.
Afraid.
It could have ended there...but it didn't. God makes clothes for them. He covers them.
"And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them." Gen3:21
God could have walked away. Left them in shame, left them to despair. But He is their Father and He did what a Father does. He cared for them. He covered them. And in that moment, the whispers ceased. The questioning stopped. Eve had her answer. He Does Love her. He is her Father and she is His.

Eve and I are alike. In many ways. She was clothed by God and so am I. 
"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Isaiah 61:10

I am saved. I am redeemed. I am clothed in righteousness divine. 
The picture above is of a piece I made this summer. No more can the hissing whisper be trusted in my home. The moment I hear what the accuser calls me...I look to see what my Father calls me! He calls me Restored, Redeemed, Radiant, Rescued, Reconciled, Renewed, Ransomed. That, my friends, is who I am.



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Good Job, You!

"Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1:2-4 ESV)"

  I'm often struck by the reality of time when I read the letters of the bible. I think of the people who wrote them and received them...and how long they had to wait for their correspondence to become final.  
 
  The contents of John 3 are so...personal and seemingly critical; I wonder how torturous the wait must have been for the two of them.  John reassures his friend, the beloved Gaius, many times throughout this letter. Oh, how long Gaius waited to read those words! 
 
  Lets put that into the perspective of my life; when I have a hard day, I'm a 3 second text away from my husbands kind encouraging words. And, this summer a dear friend and I were both having a rough day, the same day, and we ended up calling/texting at the exact same minute needing encouragement. Instantly, we were able to talk, pray and comfort each other. Instantly. 
 
  Now, It could be argued that with today's constant stream of media, people, and Pinterest...encouragement is needed more often. Back then people worked more, and harder, there wasn't as much time to focus on their "feelings". But still they needed fellowship, encouragement and accountability, just as we do today. 
 
  I'm also struck by the words that John chooses in his letter to meet those emotional needs his friend has. These two men, most likely, talk rarely to each other. So, when they get a chance to converse, they get it all in there! Short and to the point

"Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1:2-4 ESV)"

  My favorite line is "as indeed you are walking in the truth." Oh, how amazing those 8 words can be! Imagine a friend calling you today and saying "I hope you are well, I'm praying for you. I rejoice when I think of your faith, because you are doing a great job! " 

Wow. 

Have you ever longed to hear someone tell you "you're doing a great job!" ?

  I heard a story not long ago about a Police Officer who was called in to check the home of a possibly neglected child. When he arrived at the home, he found no adults, no one to answer the door, the house was covered in filth and the small child sat alone on a bed in a back room. The officer entered slowly and said "hello" to the child. Immediately the child walked up to him and showed him something he had colored. He sat down with the boy and looked over his art work. The officer smiled and said to boy "good job!" The boy looked up at him with joy filled eyes. The officer retold this story with tears in his own eyes; at how simple and beautiful the boys needs were. Two little words; good job. 

  I've realized those simple words could rescue me from the Mommy guilt pit of despair, I sometimes I feel. Someone that utters those words, someone that thinks I am doing well; not only, loves me; they know me, consider me and they know what I am all about! Not their own agenda, me. How easy it is to say "love you" to someone...but we truly consider them when we say "great job!" 
  At times in my life, I have longed to hear those words,  I have sat and stewed in my own frustration over not hearing those words...but wait, do I ever say those words?! Me, living in media obsessed present day America, with instant access to hundreds of family and friends. And I hardly ever utter the words, that I Know can bring such joy! I have the knowledge, from experience, that those words can rescue me from the worst of days...so...

  I want to make more of an effort to say these words, and all around encourage the people I love more. 

  We have all these ways to instantly connect with the people we love, but how often do we use those ways to truly love and encourage the people around us.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Organization.

Organization.
Ummm...
I have realized recently, that though I love organizing and planning, there is absolutely no plan to mine and my daughters average day lately. I have all these ideas of things that I want accomplished, but ZERO plan for doing so. I feel like I look at the end of each day and go "What did I accomplish? What did I learn?" and my answer keeps getting back to ZERO, Notta, Nothin!

Furthermore; it seems as though most women I share this with, respond with "You don't need a plan, just live life! Don't be so controlled by schedules." And my favorite, "Just enjoy life, and enjoy your daughter!" (I'm not exaggerating, Ive heard that one several times recently.) I get that, I get that schedules can be trapping and loveless. But does having a plan really mean that I don't enjoy my child? Yikes, that is a lot of pressure of this organization lovin Mama.

In reality, for me NOT having a plan is making me less of an enjoyer of my child. Because at the end of the day, I sit there and wonder what we accomplished. And it depresses me that I have nothing done. It makes me terribly sad and I feel hopeless in my task to take care of my family. And the worst part, is sometimes having fun With my child isnt even on that list! (Yes, I'm implying that I need to schedule fun time. I know, I am a wacko.)

Wacko or not, I have seen in myself and in my days, that if I don't make it a point to do something, it Flat Out Does Not Get Done! Even fun things. I can wake up with all the energy in the world, ready to take on anything...like say a Healthy Diet; and four Butterfingers later I'm wondering where all that energy went, looking at my daunting list, and having no motivation to do any of it.

...See List making is easy for me; I can make a list like nobody's business! I love making lists. However, the carrying out of said list is the hard part for me. I Know what I want done, I just have No idea how to accomplish it.

Here is an example of said list...
  • Laundry; at least a few pieces of clean laundry
  • Finish my crochet project; that I started in November
  • School work for K
  • Exercise 
  • Take Vitamins
  • Eat veggies
  • ...and so on
If I have no plan, these ideas just sit there and at the end of each day I still have only 10 lines done in my blanket (that I started in November!), my husband has no clean underwear, and my daughter still thinks that the number Eighty Forty exists. Oh, and I'm too tired to do any of it now, because my vitamin bottle is still full (too late to take them now, or I won't sleep) and I haven't done a lick of exercising.

So, I need a plan, and I started one this week. And so far, we have had a great week (Its only Tuesday, I know, but come on, get excited with me here). I need to post pictures soon; but I made our list into a daily plan, and I laminated it, so its a dry erase chart that she gets to write on each day...she is ecstatic. She checks off each thing she accomplishes. She shares with me in the joy of checking off a list. I love this girl!

I'm thinking I will have more to say on this topic in the future...because it will definitely have its flaws and failures...but by the Grace of Jesus Christ, I will continue in trying to bring my Father in Heaven Glory as a Wifey Mama Kinda Gal. 

Also, I am getting a lot of great ideas here at www.MoneySavingMom.com

Monday, March 18, 2013

Love Walked Among Us - Review

A friend recently gave me this wonderful book. She described its content as bringing forth Jesus's character in ways that she hadn't ever heard before. I have to admit it took me a minute to get involved, to dig in. It sat on my table for 3 months. I finally opened it one morning and I was compelled to keep reading and reading...
  Ok, I'm getting honest now (...yikes...)For many years; I looked at the life of Jesus (his miracles, parables and interactions with people) as only judgement and condemnation: from verses like, Judge not, that you be not judged, and beware of practicing your righteousness before other people to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward for your Father who is in heaven.  I mean, I'm guilty. There's no way round it...I have disappointed Jesus, I have failed.
    Jesus said that he came not as a peace maker but as a sword. All I saw with the gospels was a sword piercing my cold sinful heart... Therefore, I hid from the gospels, for lack of understanding, and that led to fear of them.
   Am I alone here? Have you ever felt this way?
   I have, but that is just one part of Jesus's character...I know that. I know that 1 John 4:7-8 says "...God is Love." However, wrapping my brain around that love, as described in 1John and 1Corinthians 13:4-8, has been difficult, for lack of example in my life.
  Without studying Jesus, without opening the gospels, I am without that example.
   This book opened the gospels for me again, pointing not just to His judgement, but to His compassion, and understanding.
    The book is more then just 'Jesus Loves you, so love people, Duh'...it is more, it is HOW Jesus loves me. And with the examination of that How...something amazing has happened...my desire for compassion like Jesus has grown! I see the How and I want to do it! My desire to love and look into the eyes of those around me has Grown! The way I look at my husband has changed. I realized as I read this, that I don't really have compassion for Chris. I don't try to see him like Jesus does.
   Imagine that! Looking at the life of Jesus, and loving more! Having more love because of Jesus's love!

I have become convinced that this book is necessary for people like me: those afraid of Jesus, and judgement...unloved and on the outskirts of life, pissed off and not sure why. This book is not anything but a really good sermon on the gospels. A rediscovery of the character of Christ, for those who have been taught a different Christ...the gospels contain the real Guy...the Loving and True Messiah.
    

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Before the foundations of the world...

            Today while reading our Jesus Storybook Bible we stopped to look at this picture. It depicts Abraham looking up at the stars and trying to fathom counting them, trying to fathom what God meant when he said Abraham's family would number the stars.
         I love this story. It floors me; and I cry every time I read it.
        Can you imagine that sky? In a world unclogged by pollution and lights. He could see stars like you and I have never seen. And it was in this time in history that God pointed and said "there's one for every one of My children." Not like today, when we see maybe 12 stars on a normal night. Abraham saw almost of all of them.  Shining bright. Glimmering in the night sky. Displaying Gods glory and wonder.
        Can you imagine the beauty...the confusion? It seems so obvious to us, with bible in hand, to think of Abe, and want to say 'God has a huge family planned, Duh!'
       Then, something I falter at daily happens. Abraham believes God. He trusts Him. Or, has faith. The Jesus Storybook Bible says "Abraham trusted what God had said more then his eyes could see. And he believed." He could see the stars, but not every one of them; he could see there were many, but couldn't count them. And he believed the Lord.
        A huge turning point in my faith is this; its why this story Floors me...God had this number of stars planned way back then?! Stars equaling the number of His family, His children. He knew our number thousands of years ago?! In a land I have never been, a man I've never met, was asked to count me in number?! How Glorious our God is.
         That same hope that was given to Abraham and  filled him; is not a hope of pregnancy, not a hope of justice, not a hope simply for Israel...but a Hope for God's children. A hope from a Father to His little ones, of His great unfathomable love for us. He knew us then...How much more does He know us today! Here living in our world, looking to catch a glimpse of some stars, forgetting faith daily. Trying desperately to find out what tomorrow brings, He knows. He knows everything...every hair on our heads.
    "Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." -Jesus
(Luke 12:7 ESV)


Templates and early-nesses

Hubs set an alarm for 5:00 this morning. Hello! I have some non-morning friends that would be drawing up divorce papers right about now...but all is good. I've really enjoyed this time; with him and the time alone after he left.
With this time I've decided to blog...
Which lead to a blank mind...
Which lead to a new design...
Which lead to some sort of error and 1 hour of work down the drain. But I had fun.
So, I didn't expect that my first post back would be a "coming soon" "be patient" post.. But alas, it is.