Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's Probably Time

I know it's probably time to move past grieving for a loss of relationship; for a longing for a relationship that we were all born to crave. Grieving of the rejection and loss; longing for the unconditional love, acceptance, and time. I just don't know how. I don't know how to move past it with healing, instead of walls. And, yet, I've done it before. I know it has to be the work of the Lord to bring that healing. I just don't know what my part looks like. This time is deeper, harder, and feels like a final blow. It's not about forgiveness. I have worked through feelings of anger and bitterness as they have come up. I continually ask God to reveal my heart and to help me forgive. One thing I have learned in my life is that sometimes forgiveness has to be an ongoing process, especially when the hurt comes over and over again.

And, here's the twist. I can't let go of the relationship. It's not possible. I just have to learn to not let it tear my heart out. How do you learn to have a positive, good relationship with people when there is no trust and when, in addition to all those other things mentioned above, you know that person harbors bitterness toward you over something that you had absolutely no control over? None. Except that you spoke and brought the darkness into the light. No, I can't talk about it with them. It's not allowed.

I know the promises of the Lord, and He is great and merciful. He receives me and loves me unconditionally. I don't have to perform or work for His love, and He is not disappointed in me when I fail. He gives me all the time in the world, if I only give it to Him. He is the master Healer, He binds up the broken hearted, He restores our soul. He also gives us treasures such as a loving husband who lets me cry on his shoulder when it's too painful, and who loves me in spite of me . And, 4 wonderful, beautiful children.

There is a time for grieving. But, how do you know when that season is past, and it's time to move on? And, what on earth does moving on look like? Lord, show me.

Psalm 16:11~"You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

Look At What God Did!!

Some of you know the story of where our life is right now, but since it's key to this story and some may not, I'll try to give a short version. Four years ago in Oct., God clearly told James to stop building *anything*. (If you want to hear how we stepped out of that and God showed us He meant business, let me know!! ha!) There was no doubt. He didn't know what he was supposed to do, but we just decided for the time he would spend lots of time with the girls, do some projects on the house, and be able to spend more time in Bible study. Those were the things we listed. I told him then, we have (blank) *weeks* worth of money in savings. A few weeks later, I felt strongly the urging to read 1 Kings 17. I had no idea what it was about, but I turned and read, and I met God there! Through that scripture He told me without a doubt that He wanted James to use this time of drought to hide in His Word, and that He would continue to provide for us; the jar would not run empty until the drought was over. That, as I said, was 4 years ago. He has brought our provisions for 4 years~not only for our needs, but even enough for vacations and our daughter to have a beautiful wedding. During this time God has brought James into ministry, worked in lives in an amazing way, and is slowly (in our eyes) shaping it each step of the way.
Let me just say this has been a crunch time the last few weeks. This is where God has said, "Do you trust me? Do you still believe what I told you? When the brook runs dry, when the jar seems almost empty, do you trust me?" So, insert a dead oven, lots of supplements for my adrenal issues, and up until today around $600 worth of eye doctor bills in the last 3 months. As you know, I needed laser treatment on my retina. I asked last visit how much it would be, and she told me right at $900. Then she said, "Oh, wait. That's self pay. If you file it on insurance it will be $1600." (yeah, that's a scam) Since we have a $5000 deductible, we would have to pay about $1400 of that out of pocket. So, in the meantime, 2 things. One, we decided to not file it on our deductible and self pay Two~ I prayed and prayed. For almost a month now, I have prayed, "Lord, we need $900 for this." "Lord, please send us at least $900 in time for this surgery". ( :-) Yeah, I guess it doesn't hurt to ask for a little more for all those other dr bills!) Somewhere last week, it slowly seeps in that that might not be His plan. He might want us to keep trusting Him to not let the jar run empty. To trust Him. This morning before we left, I prayed, "Lord, no $900 yet, so I guess you want us to just trust You to keep providing. So I am."
When we got to the office we told the lady we wanted to self-pay and why, and she told us, yes, that's about 1/2 the price. So, after the procedure, we went out to the window to pay. Are you ready for this?? : ) She looks at the paperwork and says, "He didn't charge you for the laser; just an office visit, so that will be $136." We're standing with our mouths open, and say, "What? He didn't charge for the laser?" "Yep. $136." I walked out of that office in tears and thanking God for His faithfulness! A doctor randomly knocks over $650 off of our bill? I'm still speechless. And, not only that, He was good to show me, give me a visible picture that He's still watching over us, still taking care of us, still going to provide, and James is still on the right path in what God has shown him to do.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Faith to Keep Walking on the Water?

It seems, as with Peter, when you step out of the boat, it's so easy to focus on Jesus standing there before you. He has given you a clear directive, "Step out of the boat, and come to me." It's exhilarating, unbelievable, awesome, exciting, freeing.... And, then 1/2 way between you and the promise, the waves start tossing. You toss a fleeting glance at the water, but you quickly get your eyes back on Jesus. But, life, your own ingrained fears, and the enemy have thrown just enough momentary doubt at your feet that the exhilaration starts to wan. You've refocused back on Jesus, but now there's this slightest amount of doubt. So, when the storm increases, when the waves hit your ankles this time, then your calves, you're looking at the water, instead of keeping your eyes on Jesus. Then what do we do? There's no indication that Peter did this, but for me, it begins, "Was that really You, Lord? Did you really call my name? Maybe I was hearing things?" Fortunately, I haven't sank yet!! And, I don't plan to! : ) "What time I am afraid I will trust in You."

When God told James he was finished building, He gave no indication of what he WAS supposed to do. James was immediately willing and did step away, but He had no idea what God DID want him to do. We discussed that this free time was the perfect opportunity for him to delve into the Word and grow in his relationship with God, which he did. About 4 months later, God spoke clearly to me through 1 Kings 17. You know~ Elijah, the drought, the widow with the never ending supply of flour? One of the very first verses, God commands Elijah to go east and to hide by the brook Cherith, and "
It shall be that you will drink of the brook.."
I don't know if you'll see it, but it was very clear direction for us that James was to hide in Jesus, the living water. He was to continue in His Word, learning and growing in wisdom, and God would meet and provide for our needs.

That was 4 years ago. God has provided for us in amazing ways without us asking for help, all the way down to vacations and a very beautiful wedding for our daughter. But, yes, there have been moments of the water splashing around my ankles. Even in the midst of His provision. And, then there's now. It's really starting to threaten. I'm really struggling to keep my eye on the Provider not the provision. So, when I felt drawn to study 1 Kings 17 again last week, this is what I saw, "It happened after a while that the brook dried up." Not that I hadn't seen that before. In fact, I remember very clearly wondering if I could hang on to such strong faith when the brook dried up. But, I think there was something in the back of my mind, especially as God kept providing before we needed it, that said, "the brook won't completely dry up. God has been doing all these things, and He won't let it dry up completely." Hmmmm.....that's not what it says.

What it says is that the brook dried up, THEN God showed Elijah clearly where he should go, and how He would provide for him. Where are my eyes? On the water, or on the Provider, the promise, the Savior? Some days they're right where they should be, and some days...mostly those days when I have to pay the bills or balance the checkbook, or a lot of expenses are this week...I have a hard time keeping my eyes looking up, off the water. See, all this time we've had a small stash of money in mutual funds. We haven't had to touch it because God has been so good to us. And, of course, He is still good to us, but now it seems He is calling us to let go of that last of it. That bit that was probably a security to us, even though we didn't really think about it.

We know God has called James into ministry, and we have seen God use this time for His work in some amazing ways! Plus, the relationship, knowledge, wisdom, insight, and confidence in speaking up and out have continued to grow. But, even as James has been seeking God continuously on where this was going, we haven't had any answers. Much of the time has been preparation. In the past few months, though, God has given James a burden, and perhaps begun to give him a vision for this least what it is to focus on, if not yet how that is to be accomplished.

So, as these days progress, and the brook dries up, I pray that I have the strength, wisdom, and faith to cling to my Father, who only gives good things to His children; to keep my eyes on the Provider; to remember His promises; and to wait *EXPECTANTLY*, joyfully, and with faith on what He is going to do next, because He WILL show us where to go and how He will provide.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Sneak Peek

I thought I'd give a sneak peek at what I'm wearing to the wedding. : D

It's navy, as you can tell, with the little rhinestones going all the way around the neck line. In case you haven't heard, bling is the 3rd official color of this wedding. haha! It didn't show up in the pictures I tried to take, but it also has a "swag" across the stomach over to the left side, which is also on the bridesmaid and flower girl dress. I didn't set out to look for that, or even the bling, but it's a very cool find. Briana and I are both super happy with my dress. : )

Silver is the 2nd official color! (Lilac is the first.) Please ignore my rough, dry feet that are desperate for lotion, sun, and a pedicure. I hope to solve all 3 in the next 9 weeks!! And, see, they (the shoes, not my feet) have just a touch of bling, too! : ) I've had fun with this. What I dreaded SO very much, and thought would be a monsterous, evil task, turned out pretty fun and easy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Just Life

So much for my intention of blogging every week. It's not that I didn't think about it. I just have not thought I had anything to say of any interest to anyone. I have some deep post thoughts running around in my mind, but not the time to sit that long to develop them right now. Or, maybe not the drive to yet. Most of my mind is consumed by wedding preparations and thoughts, and you can only listen so many of those without boredom. Everything else is just the random dailiness of life. I also haven't had the chance to get on here and cultivate many blog friends again, and most of you that I do have see all my "news" on facebook. Send me your friends! LOL!

So what has been going on around here? Lots of wedding prep, as I said. Ten weeks from today! How did it get so close? How did my little girl grow up and meet the man of her dreams and it get so fast to this place of turning loose? There were lots of emotions in the beginning, they tapered off for a while, and now they're back. Lots of bittersweet times. We are having a great time together, though. Lots of shopping and planning. Lots of laughing.

Briana and I went together last week and found my dress. I was dreading that so much. I knew lots of things that I did NOT want, and hadn't seen anything online that I did want or would feel comfortable in. I really prayed over that shopping trip. It's difficult to explain, but I also have some physical issues (in addition to the tummy bulge!!) that limit greatly what I can wear. God heard me, and after 2 or 3 stores, I finally found 3 to try on. The first 2 were horrid, but the 3rd one came home with me! I was so excited, and we both liked it. The only altering it will need is length, since it is floor length, and we're going with shorter dresses. Now I just need shoes! Trial number 2 for my ensemble!! : ) Size 10, silver with some sparkle, heels needed for this dress, but not too high because they make me taller than James. : )

I'm doing pretty well with adjusting to Ashley moving out. One day last weekend, I had a hard day, really missing having her around to talk to, but God has helped me adjust. It helps that I have been getting to see her about once a week, too. I just wish I could talk to her more. She doesn't have phone service still, unless she walks back over to the office and calls me. At least we can communicate through facebook, which we make the most of.

We're at Briana's right now. We came to see the closing performance of Camp Rock. I'll brag on her.... the Broadway reviewer from Nashville came to see the show last week. When he was out at lunch with the Playhouse executives, he singled Briana out, and asked them who she was. Said she was a great dancer! I love to watch her dance! She started rehearsals this week for My Fair Lady.

Please lift up a prayer for her. She is looking for another part time job, and is having trouble finding one in this small town, especially one that will work around her shows. I know God has something out there for her. She really needs one by the time they get married. Along the same lines, Ashley is also waiting on God in finances. She is working through the North American Mission Board, and through this program she has to raise about 1/2 of her own support. She needs more donations and/or monthly pledges.

We're enjoying a day of rest around here today. The younger girls are excited that their cousins are visiting my parents here in the same town this week, so they will get to play with them this afternoon before we head home tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Random Thoughts...Random Life

As I was pulling up my blog site, I glanced up, and James has a tab open which says, "Body replacement parts for FR". LOL. I wonder whose body parts he's considering replacing. Glad my initials aren't FR!

All of my living-at-home family...which has dwindled down to 4 now...went to Briana's on Thursday afternoon. She had a new show, Camp Rock, opening Sat. night. James took photos Thurs and Fri of dress rehearsals. Ashley drove over on Sat. morning to see the opening, so we got to enjoy all being together~ an event that is getting more rare. Everyone but me went home on Sun. I stayed and went with Briana to get her dress fitted on Monday. What fun! I so wish I could post pictures!! Not yet, though.

All of the wedding planning is coming great, and I think we're in a pretty good place with most of it, but I am starting to hit panic mode more often. : ) It seems like every time we cross a couple of things off the massive list, we have to add one or 2 more on. Most of the major things are taken care of; just a lot of little STUFF. If I remember correctly, we are at 13 1/2 weeks! The biggest obstacle left (pun not intended, but slightly appropriate!) is my dress!! Aaaacccckkkk!! I dread that SO VERY MUCH!! Not to mention I *hate* clothes shopping. I guess the other biggy is praying the bridesmaid dresses all fit. They are due to be in March 18th. Sizing them was a very big pain, and I will be relieved when I see that none of them are too small, because they are made to order, and can't be returned. I have had so much fun helping Briana, and she is so easy to get along with. She pretty much will just go with the flow. Only a few "have-to's", so far. : )

I am helping Marissa learn to cross stitch. She doesn't do a lot at one sitting, but she has stuck through several sittings so far. I'm surprised, because that doesn't seem like her. I hope she'll finish it. It's a picture of a horse head. And, go figure... I'm helping her try to learn shorthand. Wow. This was her request. I actually took a course in shorthand in college.....26 years ago. Let's just say it barely caught on, so it sure didn't stick. Today was our first lesson. It's almost like learning a foreign least how to write in one.

We do not participate in a co-op, and Marissa was needing more social than just at church on Wed night, since she's an assistant leader in AWANA, not in a youth group. Getting together with a friend is so hit and miss, so I decided to try to do something about it that would make me stick to it. I started up a small teen/pre-teen group, and we are trying to meet once a month. Not everyone can participate every month, but we have a total of 7 girls, I think, ages 11-13. Mom's are included, too. We have as much fun as the girls. Right now, while it's still cold, we just get together at someone's home, eat, talk, they play games, laugh, and enjoy the company. I need to get busy planning one for the end of this month.

Okay. Enough random stuff. Nothing big or overly news worthy going on here; just the every day things of life that make us a family.

Monday, February 7, 2011

There's Gonna Be a Wedding

....which is a line out of Brigadoon, the show where Troy proposed to Briana. I know many of you saw the details on Facebook, but I wanted to share them here, for those who didn't...and because it's on my mind and heart today.

Troy called James toward the end of Aug. 2010, and asked to meet with him, without Briana's knowledge. Of course, we felt sure what this meeting was about, and he did, indeed ask for our blessing to marry Briana. (I just love that!) The two and a half week wait until his chosen proposal date was excruciating! haha Especially considering I went to Briana's for the weekend just 3 days after his and James' meeting. Now we know where she gets her wonderful acting skills from! LOL!

Since the Playhouse stage is the first place he ever saw Briana~dancing in The Nutcracker~ the first place he got to really meet her~2 months later in rehearsals for Shenandoah~the place where they are both both actors and everyone loves them, and because Briana simply LOVED the musical Brigadoon, which they were about to open, Troy chose on-stage opening night to propose~Sept 9. Let's just say it was simply magical and entirely romantic, and WE GOT TO BE THERE! After the curtain call, the male lead of the play, got the audience's attention, and said a cast member had an announcement. Besides family, only he, the director, producer, the orchestra leader, and the sound guy knew what was coming. Troy pulled a bewildered Briana to the front of the stage, and began to talk. (I'm tearing up now!!) You could see the light dawning in everyone's eyes, as he began speaking to her about the first time he ever saw her being on this stage.

Proposed to by a man in a kilt! : ) I don't think this photo is big enough to see her crying, and all the facial expressions of the cast, but it was a very emotional time. I was crying, Ashley was crying, all of the women in the cast were crying, and everyone in the audience was cheering and clapping; Briana couldn't pull her hand away and quit crying. It took a minute for everyone to quieten down, so that he could actually ask!
My facebook album entitled The Proposal has the whole thing captured, and the changing facial expressions of the cast are priceless.

Don't ask anyone how I got through the show, waiting on this. I was a wreck. I leaned over at one point and told Ashley that I thought the woman sitting next to me thought I was on something. haha. I even told a complete stranger while we were standing in the bathroom line at intermission, because I thought I was going to explode if I didn't tell someone. LOL! Troy's mom and dad, aunt and uncle, and his sister, who flew in from TX, also got to be there. It was a wonderful night!

The wedding date is May 22, 2 years to the date of their first date.

I've never been a crier (except watching the reveal on Extreme Home Makeover!). When Briana started in shows at the Playhouse, I became a "Briana's shows crier. When they started dating, it started creeping in on me more. I am now officially a crier. I cry at everything....even videos online of complete strangers' weddings! LOL. Not a hurting crier; just a crier. : ) It's all good!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Comfort Zones

James got his new blog off the ground. If you didn't read it on Facebook, here is his entry on comfort zones.
(I don't know why this doesn't highlight, but if you copy and paste it, it will take you to the right place.)

I must say that I am super proud of him. James is not a writer. He has never liked to write; never wanted to write, and has always been a grammatical disaster! : ) About 2 1/2 years ago, during all of the changes he mentions, James came to me and said, "God wants me to write. I can't write. I don't know what to write." I said, "Just write. Take notes on your Bible study and write down verses that stand out to you and why. God will show you where to go from there." In that time, it has gone from that to writing 2-17 page papers on foundational theology, which God used to bring someone out of legalistic bondage, to this blog. He will be the first to tell you that God did the writing; he just typed. But, I am still proud of his willingness and obedience to step out of yet another comfort zone. His grammar is pretty good now, too! : )


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More Changes Are Here

Tis the season for lots of changes in our home. On Monday of this week, Ashley got notice from the North American Mission Board that she had been excepted into their program. We knew it was coming, and were just waiting on some loose ends. We are so excited for her!!

Ashley has known since she was about 4th grade that she was called to mission work. For now, and perhaps always, that call is to camp ministry. She has been a counselor at a camp near here for several years, then working there part time, year round, for almost a year and a half. They hired her knowing she felt called to this ministry, and excited to train her in all aspects of the ministry. She has learned a ton!

Now through the Mission Board, Ashley will still be working for the same camp. The difference is that now she will work full time, and she will be moving out to live on camp property. This is an exciting opportunity for her in so many ways. First of all, she will be learning new jobs now, and more aspects of how to run the camp. Secondly, she will begin to learn more of the real ups and downs of being in ministry. They will provide her housing, utilities, and a small salary. The rest of her support will have to be raised. Third, she is super excited (and almost just as nervous) about moving out on her own.

We have been busy shopping for some basic furniture and kitchen wares. How fun to decorate your first place. It's hard to believe it's been a year and a half since I helped Briana with all of her shopping!

And, then there's the hard part. Not seeing her on a daily basis anymore. We have been super blessed beyond measure to get to still have her with us through her college courses and work. It's time for her to go out, but we're sure going to miss the laughter and joy of her silly self. Late night chats, hearing her play the guitar up in her room, snuggled up on the couch with her daddy and me watching a movie.... The good news is that she is about 50 min. away, so we will get to see her hopefully a little more often.

This part of her job will last through until the end of May, at which time she will switch to summer camp mode. Last summer in camp mode she worked 16 hour hard, physical, hot days with only one hour off most weeks! Some weeks she didn't get the hour off. The good part of summer camp for us is that she will come home every weekend. ; ) When you spend 16 hour work days in a place for 12 weeks, you're a little sick of it by the weekend!

So, exciting times here. We think she will be moving out either next week or the following one, although, she's taking a few loads with her this week when she goes to work. Me....I'll stay in denial, thank you very much, until one day it hits!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

When I'm a Grandmother

I was over at my friend, Tammy's, blog (, and she had a post about finding her grandmother's Bible, well worn and loved. It just about brought tears to my eyes. That's the kind of grandmother I want to be. Well, not the well worn part. : ) But, one that leaves a legacy of faith, hope, endurance, encouragement, and love. I want a well worn Bible to leave behind. I was thinking as I read her post how in this day and age, even those of us who read our Bible, never have a well worn one. As soon as it starts fraying a little, or we tire of the color, we go buy the newest, latest, prettiest edition. And, although, we can certainly leave a Godly heritage and still have new Bibles, to me there is just something appealing about leaving behind the well used, obviously treasured, Bible for my children and grandchildren. Not in a prideful way. To me, it's just that sign, symbol, of a life well lived for God. Something they can look back on, and remember all that we've taught them. Of course, what I've put into the children is the real sign, but something they can look at when the times get rough, and be encouraged that their futures have been covered in prayer.

I've never spent time praying for my future grandchildren. My time and mind in prayer always seems to be on current situations, and my children's future spouses and relationships with God. The more immediate future. In the last few weeks, though, as my first child (2nd in age order) gets very close to her wedding day (4 months now), I have found myself praying for my future grandchildren, and I hope to make that an intentional prayer from here on out.

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (3 John 1:4)

I have every intention of being the FUN grandma!! haha. Seriously! I'm gonna be the grandma who gets in the floor and plays games....okay, with the back, we'll probably sit at the table....the one who makes cookies with sprinkles, the one who lets them get out playdough and shows them how to make some retarded looking creature, who takes them camping and to amusement parks. I want to leave that legacy, too, because I KNOW from my own children's experiences just how important THAT kind of love is, too. But, Lord, make me the grandma who prays, who helps instill your Word into them, who tells them stories of your faithfulness in my life~ a story that they love to hear!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blogging Take 2!

After blogging for a few years on another site, and a year and a half long break from blogging, I'm going to see if I can pick this back up. I'm *really* out of the habit of blogging.

As my About Me says, for those who didn't know me from my other blog, I spend my days with my children learning and playing. We are eclectic, relaxed, and identity directed learners. Our 2 oldest children graduated from our home "school", and are wonderful, accomplished young women. Life is pretty crazy right now as the dynamics and situations of our lives change. It's beautiful and exciting!!

God has been working some pretty awesome stuff in our family in the last 3 years, with last year being a very intense year spiritually. As I mentioned, too, my husband, who was a contractor for many years, was called to ministry. Well, in the beginning just over 3 years ago, we didn't know he was being called to ministry. God just said, with no question, "You're finished building," to which he replied, "Okay. I can do that. But, what do I do to provide for my family?" The answer did not come until about 5 months later. He had already been using his new free time to spend more time with the girls, playing and teaching, and to do projects around the house, but also in much deeper Bible study.

Five months after God told Him he was finished building....and a couple of months after God showed Him that when He said finished, He *meant* finished.....God very clearly led me to 1 Kings 17. It contains a story we're all familiar with~Elijah going to the widow, who had a handful of flour and a small amount of oil. God kept enough in the jars to provide for them until the drought ended. But, God did most of His speaking that day through the first part of the passage.

The word of the LORD came to him, saying, "Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there." So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook. It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land. Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."

God's plan for now for our family was revealed that day. He wanted James to hide in Him, the living water. He would drink of the Lord, and God would provide for us there. When one place dried up, He would provide from another. And, He has. Every step of the way. We have never asked for money, none of our church or family has given us money to pay bills, we were not wealthy beforehand. God has done it, and although we knew He could, it has still been amazing to watch. Things that were set in motion years earlier that provided for us at just the right moment.

This is one of the many ways God has called our family to "get out of the boat". There were some before, but this was a turning point for us....a huge step of faith that God asked us to make, when we had no idea where He was going. Really, we still don't. It's day by day. I chose this title for my blog, to compliment and be in agreement with the blog that James is starting soon. A ministry blog. The title is special to him, because God clearly told him to get out of the boat, and He has led James and opened His arms to us each time He showed James a new boat He wants Him to step out of. Purifying, faith building, and straight into the arms of our Savior.

I look forward to sharing more of this with you, and more of how it has manifested itself in the last 2 years, along with the antics of my whacko family, our day to day learning and life....and probably more wedding plans than you'll want to hear about!