Monthly Archives: April 2012

Proximity to God

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“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

There is a lot of God’s word that I have read months and months ago that is just now becoming relevant to me. I never realized how lucky I am that I have been able to run to God in my weakness. I was talking to my friend, Sarah, via Facebook chat today, and she said, “I don’t know how people make it through life without having God.”

I replied, “It’s impossible. I’ve tried it the other way and it sucked! I’d rather humble myself in weakness and rely on his strength to succeed than depend on myself to have it all together and fail.”

I was browsing the internet for blogs that I might find inspirational or encouraging. I came across one such blog entitled, Happiness Redefined.I originally read it because the link to it was entitled Diary of a Devil Dog Wife, and I figured, “Hey, here’s another military spouse blogger trying to make it on God’s path just like me.” And as I read her posts, and then her “Our Story” section, my heart broke. I was brought to tears by her situation, and I wished that I could hug her, honestly, as weird as that  sounds.

I know now how lucky I am; how blessed I am to have the love and support of family, church family, and friends, and most importantly, Almighty God. There is no way I could have been the strong, and independent woman who Mitch needed and still needs me to be if I did not have the strength and courage from God to press on and do what has to be done. I commented on one of her blog posts and referenced Jeremiah 29:11-13. It’s been a major source of strength and comfort knowing that even when I feel out of control, God is holding me securely in his hands and taking care of me. It really opens my eyes to see his plan for me when I seek him. That brings me back to Psalm 36:9, “…in your light, we see light…” Only when we draw near to God do we experience all the peace and blessings he has to offer. It’s in my moments of weakness that I feel God’s strength the most.

It’s always been obvious to me to turn to God when I’m in pain or stuck under the weight of anxiety. How does it NOT make sense to run to the One who can take it all away and give you a “peace that passes understanding?” But it’s not like that for everyone. People can’t always see the Light of God’s strength and sometimes, they need simply for someone to reach out to them in love and show them the way. I’m going to be praying for this woman and her family, and hope that God stitches it all back together again. Sometimes in your greatest struggles, it’s nice to know that someone cares enough about you and what you’re going through to pray for you. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Anyway, that’s my tidbit of insight for today. I’d be honored if you shared with me your testimonies of faith and strength in the Lord. Email them to me at edee91@hotmail.com and I will feature them all in a blog post next week.

Abby Normal

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“She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.” Proverbs 31:13

I’ve been feeling lately that I only tend to see God’s work in my life when I’m rushing to him to solve my problems. In a way, that’s a great blessing for me, because it means that I’ve learned to trust the Lord in my darkest of situations and I don’t let Satan bring me down when things get tough. It is also an awful thing that I don’t spend time blessing and praising God for all the good things he’s doing in my life. So here goes a sincere effort to praise the Lord for all that he has blessed me with:

I praised God this morning for giving me the motivation and encouragement I needed to pound out my daily tasks today. Missions mostly accomplished. Things are beginning to feel a lot more normal around the house, and less abnormally chaotic.

The bed is fully made with clean sheets, the Dirty Laundry Mountain is nonexistent, the cable-burying contractors and the VA appraisal guy have all come and gone after successfully completing their tasks, I successfully assembled the new lawn mower and mowed the front lawn (I had to wait for the contractors to get done before I could tackle the back yard, TBC) and the inside of the house looks more like a home than tornado aftermath. And I say it again, praise God.

Okay, okay, my tasks don’t seem super impressive, I know, until you factor in the debilitating migraine that kicked my butt last night. Every so often, I get these crazy headaches. I’ve found that caffeine consumption typically makes them less intense, but I was ill prepared last night. I had just eaten a healthy dinner, when I noticed my neck and shoulders getting a little tense. Rather than take that as my prompt to take some Excedrin, I brushed it off. That, ladies and gentlemen was a mistake. The pain gradually got worse and traveled up my neck to my head until I felt like my eyeballs just might explode. I got so dizzy that when I stood up, I had only seconds to make it to the bathroom before my insides became my outsides. That colorful description aside, I am feeling better today, with only residual dizziness when I stand or sit too fast.

That being said, my To-Done list is no small accomplishment.

Praise #2, although a much bigger praise than praise number 1, a couple of our good friends back home, JW and Amber are engaged and getting married! I’m so happy for them both and wish I could be there with them to celebrate. We will definitely be there for the wedding!

Praise #3 sort of goes along with praise #2, Another couple of our good friends, Patrick and Randa have just become homeowners! Congratulations! Their new home is beautiful and I know God will bless them in it.

With my husband in the field, I feel much more pressure to be the “man of the house” and “hold down the fort.” I’m turning that potentially sad and lonely situation into a praise by using it as motivation to get the house in order so it is nice when he comes home this weekend. That way we can spend less time arguing over who put what where, and more time enjoying each other’s company in our beautiful new home.

It’s been a crazy year so far, full of change and unexpected twists that have all lead us to where we are. The remainder of this year, I know, will continue to grow more challenging as Mitch prepares to deploy to Okinawa in the fall. And as much as I’m in denial that he’ll be leaving for 5 months shy of a year, I’m fully confident that God will bring us both through it and we’ll be able to pick up right where we leave off.

That’s sort of the funny thing about military life… The world around you doesn’t stop simply because your spouse deploys. It keeps right on moving, ticking away, and responsibilities continue. The biggest blessing as well as challenge of it is being able to seamlessly integrate each partner’s separate life-experiences back into one “civilian life” when he or she returns. It’s not just them coming home from a lifestyle spent with other marines, or being thrown back into the “head of the household” role; the spouse at home has had to learn how to cope with his or her spouse’s absence, and in so doing, has most likely become more closed off and independent. I know that was the case when I was finally able to move down here to be with Mitch. We had been so dependent on the internet for entertainment, that for the first few months back together, we often learned things about each other via Facebook updates… You may be giggling, but I swear it’s true. We had to re-learn to communicate, and honestly, we’re still not back to where we were before he enlisted. But I think part of that is simply growing in marital maturity; we don’t feel the need to voice every concern or opinion, mostly because at this point in our relationship, a lot of them are understood and go without saying. However, we still have room to grow and a lifetime of learning. Hopefully, we will build on our past experiences and this time won’t be nearly as difficult as it was when he was away for basic training and all of his schooling (cumulatively 8 months, so woo! Japan is a shorter time frame!)

In the mean time, I’m surrounded by a great church family, and wonderful new friends added to the ones back home, whom I dearly love and miss. And I get a month of “practice” while Mitch is in California, either next month and part of June or maybe just June. That’s another thing I’ve learned; there is nothing concrete in the military, so I better get used to uncertainties. Rather than view them as something to be feared, I’m going to view them as things I don’t even have to think about until I know them for sure. In that mindset, along with knowing that God’s got it all under control, all I have to do is eat, sleep, and pay taxes. 😉

I pray that God is working in your lives as visibly as he is in mine, and that you remember that “…in your light, we see light.” (Psalm 36:9)  May he bless you in all you do!

 

Sunshine Award!

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I’m back online ladies, and gents!

First, A couple of “housecleaning” items:

1.)  I (my blog) was nominated for a sunshine award by Easy-Going Organizer! What an honor! Please, check out her blog at http://easygoingorganizer.com/

The Sunshine Award comes with a few rules:

    • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog
    • Answer some questions about yourself
    • Nominate some other fabulous bloggers
    • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated
    • Share the love and link the person who nominated you!

The Questions:

Love or Money?

Love

High salary or job satisfaction?

Satisfaction

Favorite Book?

The Bible, The Great Gatsby, and The Book of Lost Things

Television character that you simply adore?

The whole cast of HIMYM and Charlie from LOST.

Favorite Music

Everything from Bach to Boston and all things in between! (with country and rap being lower on the list)

Favorite type of movie(comedy/romance/suspense/action/horror)

I love musicals! But I can’t say I’d ever turn down a good action/adventure flick

When I feel very sad or depressed I…..

Pray. God’s pretty good at taking my anxieties away. Exercise isn’t a bad remedy either. 🙂

Now for my nominees –

1.) Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman at becomingaproverbs31woman.com – a beautiful woman, inside and out, and my inspiration for blogging.

2.) The Faux Martha at thefauxmartha.com– the name says it all- her recipes are fantastic and fresh, and her tips are fantastic!

3.) Relishing Life  at laurenbownds.wordpress.com – beautiful blog about growing in Christ and in a Christ-centered marriage.

4.) Someone Like Esther at brennammiles.wordpress.com– My friend from jr. college, and host of a fresh new blog about a newlywed’s walk with the Lord through life.

5.) Wifely Perfection at wifelyperfection.wordpress.com– Encouraging blog focused on the challenges of being a homemaker in the modern world, and breaking the stigma that goes with that. Very inspiring and great project ideas.

 

Next item of business:

I have decided to extend the giveaway of a signed copy of “Her Name is Grace” by Shidorr Myrick-Gayer until next month! (Mostly due to my lack of time to focus on anything amidst the big move) Friendly reminder of the entry rules:

  1. Like this blog and/or follow
  2. Leave a comment on the blog entitled, “Giveaway” with your name, and email address (for contact purposes in the event you win)
  3. Like Shidorr Myrick-Gayer on Facebook
I will announce the winner the first weekend in May. Please bear in mind that if you do not follow step 2, I have no way of contacting you or sending the book to you in the event that you win, in which case, I will conduct a second drawing.
Third item of business:
We are about to become homeowners. We officially close (tentatively) on the 30th of this month. As soon as I get all of our stuff out of boxes and put away in a moderately neat and orderly fashion, I will definitely post pictures for you all to see. Because we all know that the first thing a woman wants when she acquires a new home is to decorate and make it her own, so look forward to reading about my thrifty DIY projects around the new house! 🙂
Now that I’m back online, I’ll be playing catch up and filling you in on all the wonderful things I’ve seen and experienced through Christ in just the week of the move. Our God is alive and working in the world through his Holy Spirit and the people that surround you. God is good, and will be forever! AMEN!

Why don’t I have internet yet?

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So the guy came to hook me up to the net yesterday…so it should’ve worked then right? Wrong. And it’s still not working… the modem is on, the airport (mac wireless connection) is working, the ethernet says its working, yet I’m still not connected to the interweb… looks like I’m going to have to make yet another phone call to Centurylink before I can handle bank business, and most importantly, blog! 😉
I will try to overcome my technical difficulties asap.

My epiphanies of the week

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I’ve recently experienced a lot of newness and change in my living circumstances. And you know what? I love it. For the first time in my life, I’m remembering to give God praise! That’s right- not asking him for anything, simply giving him the praise he deserves for the many blessings I’ve received.

In the past, I liked to think that I only needed God and his help when things in my life looked grim. That couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Not only was I letting myself believe that I had control of my life and that happiness was completely dependent on me, but I was cheating myself out of true joy that comes with trusting the Lord and walking with Him daily.
I rejoice in how wrong I was, and I praise God for showing me how much more richly I could be living life.
My other epiphany was while I was reading my devotional this morning. I was upset with my husband for taking the keys to the old house with him to work for the 2nd time and then I read this:
“Where do we draw the line of forgiveness? ”
The devotional went on to answer this question with Matthew 18:21-35… Guess what readers? We DON’T draw the line. Christ did that when he died for and as us on the cross. If we think we have any right under any circumstances to deny someone forgiveness, we are foolishly denying forgiveness that Christ has already extended on our behalf and undermining his greatest sacrifice.
Let that sink in a little bit….
Are you getting it yet? It doesn’t matter what someone does to you. Christ has already extended his forgiveness.
Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive a brother or sister in Christ who sins against him. Peter guessed, “seven times?”
Jesus said, “I tell you not seven times but seventy seven times…” and then went on to tell the parable in Matthew 18.
To Peter, 7 times was his maximum… think about it in terms of today’s society:
Your spouse cheats on you 7 times..
What are you going to do? Probably file for divorce.
Your best friend steals from you while you’re unsuspectingly giving to them freely… what are you going to do? Probably file a police report or lawsuit against them.
Your child gets in to drugs, alcohol and partying, maybe even gets arrested. What do you do? You probably feel like kicking them out of your home, cutting them off financially and pretending they’re not your problem anymore.
Those are our natural reactions. It’s in our sinful nature to hold grudges and hang on to anger. But I’ll tell you this, there is no room for malice or grudges where the Holy Spirit is present. Period. The two cannot coexist. In fact they do not coexist.
I’ve recently noticed a lot of people aspiring to be like Biblical figures… me for example- I aspired to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. Samuel, David, Ruth, Esther, Mary, Peter… It’s great to have a role model. But people, I think we’re missing the point. Re-read Matthew 18… Look at Peters words… Who did Peter model himself after? That’s right- Christ. So why do we settle for human, fallible examples to follow? Why aren’t we striving to be like Christ instead of striving to be like someone striving to be like Christ? Are you following me?
If it came down to it, would you rather be friends with Peter, who might forgive you 7 times? Or with Jesus Christ, who has forgiven you unconditionally?
Something to think about

Sleep, please!

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“…Her arms are strong for her tasks…” Proverbs 31:17

If my arms weren’t strong before, they most certainly will be after this weekend. My goodness! I’m pretty sure me and my friend Kara built at least 5% muscle mass 🙂
Right now, I’m sitting on my porch with the remaining things to be moved, and a car full of junk to be taken to the new house… I’m waiting on the carpet cleaning people to arrive, so that I can let them in to do their business and then take the stuff in the car and on the porch back to the new house. Contingencies, contingencies…
On another note, our house is great. I’m sure I’ll be super excited when the fatigue and hunger are no longer making me feel like a zombie.
On a more serious note, my grandmother was taken to the hospital last night with chest pains and dangerously low blood pressure. Please keep her in your prayers. Her name is Mary.
I look forward to returning to consistent blogging once the chaos dies down.
Have a great weekend everyone and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

The Truth Will Set You Free

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“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

I wake up every morning (thanks be to God) and I stretch. I roll out of bed with my hair going crazy and I get dressed. I put my crazy hair in a ponytail, and I let my doggies out of their crates. We cuddle and say “good morning” and then I make my way to the kitchen to brew a cup of joe, and have some breakfast as I read my daily devotional and study God’s word. After that, I usually take the dogs outside for some fetch to wear them out and stop their whining, (yes, they whine when they get bored and want to play) and then I go back inside and complete whatever tasks I’ve set for myself for the day. What doesn’t usually happen is a conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness that affirms my faith in Christ Jesus.

I heard a knock at the door. No, not the one we use as our front door, the one at the front of the house… No not that one, the other one… Sorry, there are 4 doors to the outside on one side of my house… Bizarre little cottage… anyway, I walked around the porch to where a man in a dress shirt and tie was standing at the door with a Jehovah’s Witness bible in hand and a smile on his face. I chuckled a little to myself because his timing was impeccable. The first thing he said to me was, “There is a lot of confusion that surrounds Jesus, and who he is. Who do you say he is? What is your take on that?”

I smiled again as I repeated Peter’s confession of Christ, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and the savior to mankind.” He noticed my smile, and in response, I said, “I’ve always loved Peter’s confession of Christ…”

He went on to ask me if I believed that Jesus was God. After he left, I kicked myself for not referencing Philippians 2:5-11, because it was then that I realized why that specific passage kept coming up in my devotional times. However, I did tell him to hang tight while I went to get my Bible from inside. He was surprised at that.

I brought my Bible outside and we stood on the porch referencing scriptures. I’m not completely sure what point he was trying to make, but he kept referring to Jesus as the son (little s) of God, as if Jesus were created at birth rather than the Spirit of God, part of the Trinity, sent to be born as a man to die for the redemption of our sins. Upon the man’s reference of John 3:16’s specific terminology, “begotten” I pointed out that I believed in the Holy Trinity: God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ, His son, who was God incarnate. I said that I believed the word begotten to mean more “given” or “sent” rather than birthed. The man said, “…well…yes, okay.” I referenced Genesis 1, where God says, “Let us make man in our image…” Our, denoting plural, God the Father, Holy Spirit, and the Son. In all of this, he wasn’t disagreeing with me, but rather, slightly tweaking interpretation of the Word.

He handed me a booklet that was called, “What the Bible Really Teaches” and he flipped through it, pointing out that it used scriptural references to explain what God says on various subjects, and that most weren’t quoted so that one is forced to look it up in the Bible. I’ve always been of that mindset- I’d rather lead people to search for the truth on their own, rather than show it to them, and them wonder if it was taken out of context. He noted that the booklet wasn’t “inspired” text, like the Bible. But that the booklet was intended as a sort of guide, to lead one to the scripture, because that’s where God put his answers to our “big questions.” I said, “…all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching-….”

He excitedly replied, “2 Timothy 3:16! Yes. I’ve noticed you are familiar with the Bible, and you also know where to find the books, and their order. That’s impressive, especially for someone so young.”

I smiled, and mumbled some polite reply which I don’t entirely remember because I was too busy thinking how sad that statement was. It shouldn’t be that impressive. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which people, especially people my age, are programmed to search everywhere but the Bible for “spiritual truth.”

We had a nice conversation, and he said he’d come back a while later just to see what I thought of the booklet… What I didn’t get a chance to say was that I’m not concerned with what the little booklet says, because I already know that God’s answers are the true answers to any questions I may have. I trust that when I’m in a situation I’m not sure how to handle, the Holy Spirit will lead me to God’s word, and show me what I need to overcome it. That’s faith.