"The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him;" Lamentations 3:25

Saturday, December 31, 2011

An end with a beginning

In ten minutes it will be midnight.  2011 will quietly turn into 2012.  For me anyways. Outside there is plenty of partying and fireworks going on.  Inside, my precious newborn is asleep in his bouncer at my feet as I read today's post on the LPM blog and the comments.  Beth asked us to describe 2011 in three words.  Before I did mine, I read through some of the women's responses and my heart both aches and rejoices.  This compassion is new to me.  I find myself praying for these women and truly wanting what's best for them.  And I rejoice as some have stories of redemption, new marriages, new children.

I am slightly in awe at the fact that I am at the place I am right now as this year passes away.  I reflect back on this year and the latter part of it was almost too painful to think about.  But I felt like I needed to press on and reflect on it, painful as it is.  I am reminded of how many nights the pain was too great and I felt it would consume me.  The sorrow too deep, and my view of God too small.  The fear crushing, suffocating, life draining.  To say that this year has been tough would be an understatement.  In reality, the whole year hasn't been horrible, just since June.  It hit me last night that it has been six months since my Husband and I have separated. Five months since he filed for divorce.  I cannot believe it has been that long.  I can't help but feel hope though. Hope that his heart will change, hope that he will be brought to repentance from the Lord, hope that our marriage will be redeemed and restored and that our testimony will be used of God to bring hope and faith into others' broken marriages.  I feel that God is up to something big and I want to be ready and prepared.

I know this post is rather dry and not full of spiritual meat, but I just felt like I wanted to post a final post for 2011.  Which technically, is no more. My computer clock says 12:00 now. So, Happy New Year :)  It is a new year, but I don't look to a new year to bring about fresh change and a better life, like the world is pushing right now. I look to my God. And ohhh, He is mighty, He is faithful, He is loving, He is here, He is for me, and in 2011 He promised me "I will get you through this."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Life is not an emergency

   I absolutely love it when a snow fall sneaks up on us.  I was up late last night, which seems to be an unhealthy habit I have acquired lately, it's the only time I can have some 'me' time.  As I was cleaning the bedroom I just happened to open the curtains and was completely caught off guard.  The sun set on a land that was dreary and lifeless and now the moon illuminates a thick blanket of snow that covers everything.  I love it. It all looked so alive, the snow falling soft and fast.  It was one of those snowfalls where the flakes are tiny but many.

   Now, this morning the world is completely changed.  One of my favorite things when the snow comes is how it casts a warm glow into my kitchen.  I live in a house that was built in the early 1900s, and every room is painted a different color.  When we first moved in I really wasn't fond of the colors.  The only room I liked was our bedroom that had a very calm blue.  The kitchen is also blue but it just didn't seem fitting for a kitchen to be so blue. However, all the colors have grown on me by now.  And now that blue that I once disliked so much, I absolutely love in the winter time.  Combined with the glow from the winter wonderland outside, it is one of my favorite rooms to be in.

  I know it is not Monday but I want to make this post my "Multitudes on Monday" post because I am reminded to stop and take it all in.  God is speaking to my heart that, truly, no matter what my circumstance, I really can give thanks in all things.  I don't know why I have felt like I am exempt from being thankful and, dare I say it, happy because of all that I am going through right now.  Truth is, I haven't been thankful for much lately.  Don't mistake that for not having anything to be thankful for.  God has showered blessing upon blessing on me in this season of turmoil; and yet, I walk around in a thankless, hopeless, joyless stupor.  Perhaps I felt that allowing myself to be thankful and joyful meant I was okay with my situation and the last thing I want is for God and my Husband to think I am okay with what is going on.  Or, perhaps, being human, I just like licking my wounds.  I do have that tendency in me.  Whatever the reason, I feel God gently whisper in my ear "Sara, it's okay to be thankful.  Do not be afraid to find joy where you are.  Do not be afraid to be happy in your circumstance, it does not mean you have to be happy with your circumstance."  It sounds ridiculous I know, God telling me it's okay to be thankful. Of course it's okay!!  When in the world would it ever be ill-advised to be thankful??  That's what fear can do to you.  That is what trying to control everything will do to you.  It strikes me too that we are commanded to give thanks to God, but notice how God did not say "Sara, I command you to thank Me right now!  That is enough of taking Me for granted, you had better fall on your face this instant and start being grateful!"  He is so much more gentle than that.  He is not exempting me from the command, but God knows my hurt, He knows I am fragile...and He loves me.  He speaks to me in love, and the more He does, the more I love Him.  Oh, how I am loving getting to know Him more and loving Him more.  I want my actions to speak that as well, I want to show Him that I love Him, not just write about it in a blog.

Today, I am reminded of Ann Voskamp's words, "Life is not an emergency."  Funny, how I am simply a Mother of two boys right now and I have been treating life like it's an emergency.  As if there is no time to do anything but worry, fret, get this and that done.  And, no Noah I can't play with you right now there's things that need to get done, no Nehemiah I can't hold you and stare for hours into your precious face because I have work to do, and no God I cannot stop to think about You, or thank You, or spend time with You, because....because....well, because...I don't know.  And that's just it, I don't know why this has been my attitude and mindset for so long.  I look back and ask myself what was so important that I couldn't (or more accurately wouldn't) make time for my own children and my God, my Lord and Savior.  The One who gave me life, who offers me abundant life if only I reach out and take it, who has held and cradled me through such a painful time in my life. The One who watched me walk away for so many years and completely defile what He created, but when I chose to come back there truly was "no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1) And that's not just a one-time occurrence for me.  Daily, it seems, I walk away from Him to serve myself and time and time again He saves me from myself and pours His love out on me rather than condemn me.  What is so important and urgent that I can't even set aside one hour for Him, or even just a moment to thank Him, reflect on His love for me, to remember all that He has done for me. The answer is nothing. Nothing is more important than Him.  And after Him, nothing is more important than my children.  Yet, so easily we believe the lie that we don't have time for them. Yes, laundry needs to be done, dishes washed, house cleaned, e-mails replied to, errands to run, and all that jazz.  But if I'm being completely honest, I haven't even been doing those things.  I'm just being honest.  I've mostly been wasting my time whether it's trying to put my hair in a sock bun, teach myself how to put on makeup the correct way (yes, I am pathetic), or the biggest time consumer..the computer.  I feel absolutely horrible admitting these things, that I have put such trivial junk in front of spending quality time with my children.  But I feel led to be completely honest and lay it all bare.  That last thing I want to do is put on a mask and pick and choose as if creating a highlight reel.

Whew, I think this may be enough for now. I could go on for much longer sharing, it feels good to write, and it feels even better to be taking steps in the direction God would have me go.  For starters, instead of pushing everything aside to write this post I did it in bits and pieces in between taking in this beautiful wonderland, my warm kitchen, my hilarious toddler, and my absolutely precious baby.  I have to share one more thing before I end this post. Nehemiah was my inspiration for today to stop treating everything as an emergency.  I was reading my daily devotional by Girlfriends in God and while I read the words to Silent Night,
"All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild"

  I had a picture in my head of a glorious starry night, quiet and peaceful, and Mary, a new mother holding her firstborn child.  Basking in the beauty that is a brand new born babe. I pictured her starring at his face for hours and "treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19) And I wondered "why can't I do that?"  And nothing came to mind why I couldn't.  Life is not an emergency.

This is the promotion video for Ann Voskamp's Book "One Thousand Gifts" and I feel it is really fitting and a great reminder. Please, take a moment and view it...and remember.

Things I am thankful for....

~*~ Fresh new blanket of snow, making all things new
~*~ Having an empty garbage can
~*~ Nehemiah's eczema clearing up
~*~ Having a newborn babe
~*~ The opportunity to stay home with my children
~*~ A Father who teaches me to treasure this time, because it is only temporary
~*~ My coffee cup
~*~ A clean bedroom
~*~ Fresh balsam oil plugin in my bathroom
~*~ Freedom to enjoy and be joyful during this painful time
~*~ The hope and His promise that He will get me through this
~*~ How each time I stop and name a gift and truly let it soak in, it really does bring warmth to my heart and it allows me to "taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Purposeful Waiting and Waiting for a Purpose

After my incredible time with the Lord and Jesus this morning I started to feel empty again.  I still strongly felt Jesus in the room so I asked Him. "So what? That's it?  We just had this wonderful time together and now I'm just to go on with my day?" It just didn't seem right, seemed almost trivial...actually I'm not sure that's the word I'm looking for. All I'm saying is that something in me said that an hour and a half with the Lord in the morning isn't enough for me.  It was so God-filled and I needed it, but I need more than just that. I need Him every minute of every hour of every day.  How do I get that?  I wanted to stay in that place for the rest of the day, but realistically, I have two boys that need to be taken care of both physically and spiritually.  I have a household to run and errands to do, and today specifically, Christmas presents to pick up.  I couldn't stand the thought that my time with Him only exists when it's quiet in the house and I'm sitting down in my Bible.  Because I just can't do that all day, not because I don't want to, but I just can't.

It's then He reminded me, "You have Me.  I am with You every minute, of every hour, of every day.  It's up to YOU to spend your day with Me."  I may not be able to spend my entire day on my couch with my Bible open and spending alone time with the Lord, but I can spend my entire day with Him.  Intentionally looking for Him and His presence in everything that I do. Speaking to Him as if He is really there. No, not as if, because He really is! But to mentally picture it, to make it more real to me, to make it a reality, not just a thought or imaginary friend. In fact, that was my prayer to Jesus this morning.  I told Him I needed to feel Him real, I needed Him to be a reality in my life, not just a fictionary friend. Because sometimes I feel like that's all He is, is just a fictionary, imaginary friend that I make up to make myself feel better. When I sense I'm being hugged and held I need to know that's really Him, not just something I'm doing to self comfort myself. Does that make sense? Am I alone in that?

So today I am going to be looking for Him.  To spend my day with Him, in everything that I do.  And I ask for protection as well because I can already feel the enemy trying to steal this all away.  Telling me that this will never last, it's just a short phase and then I'm going to be back to 'reality' which is hopelessness, depression, and a life with no purpose. That following God will be boring and unfulfilling. It is a lie that has ensnared me, but I feel the Lord quickening me to see it for what it is and to sense it as soon as it starts creeping in.

It's hard to see the purpose in my life when my day is filled with such mediocrity it seems. For example, my day will go something like this today: it is now 9:15 in the morning, soon, Noah will be up and I'll feed him.  I need to find some important papers so I can get my newborn, Nehemiah registered with my tribe and also to apply for LIEAP. I also need to get my application for Noah to attend early preschool turned in.  A little before noon I need to get all of us ready and out the door for Nehemiah's one month check-up.  After that, we are headed to Missoula to pick up Christmas presents for Noah and Nehemiah.  Then, when we get home it will be time for bed. As I type all that I feel a little stressed, and there really isn't anything special about it.  But I also know that when all that is done with the Lord, it is anything but mediocre.  And, in the big picture, it is just another piece in the puzzle.  The Lord will use this day to draw me nearer to Him, to refine me, to teach me, to make me into the woman and warrior He has designed and destined me to be.  Also, I must never forget....that is the day I mapped out, but at any given moment He can change it all.  He is not confined to what I say my day is going to be. What is my point? My point is....I'm not going to try and figure it all out.  One step at a time, one day at a time.  My mission and purpose for today...to spend it with Him. It's like practice ya know?  Today, I am practicing spending it with Him, looking for Him, obeying Him.  He is up to something, I just know it.