Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Under Attack

So at some point in the early hours of this morning, I was attacked.  By an Asian Beetle (like lady bugs, only slightly different).  I got bitten six times.  I woke up with six swollen red lumps, that were intensely itchy.  Throughout the day they've faded and gotten less itchy.  It took me until this evening to figure out what they were.  And what clued me in?  You got it - an Asian beetle landed on my other arm and bit it. 

In case you were wondering, this is what they look like.

You're welcome.  Now you can be creeped out with me.

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Darling Annaliah

My precious child,

It is hard knowing that if you'd been born on your due date, you would be turning ten today.  We'd celebrate with your dad and I, and your Pops and Memaw and your Grampa and Yaya.  You'd be reminded yet again that you are loved and cherished.

But that is not to be.  Annaliah, I feel your loss so acutely this year.  It's as though the brightness from the sun has disappeared behind a fog of grief.  Precious one, we lost you and less than a year later, my beloved Gramma was killed.  It's not fair.  Life is not fair.

I don't need fair.  I have faith.  My God has chosen me, has spared me, loves me, provides for me.  Even when unfair things happen, He is there.

But I want fair.

Annaliah, as your mother, my greatest desire is for you to be safe and happy, and most of all to walk with God.  You are all those things now, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Happy birthday baby girl.  You are loved and you are missed.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Live In The Light

1 John 1:5-10

Here is the message we have heard from Christ and now announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.  So if we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars and do not follow the truth.  But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other.  Then the blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from  every sin.

If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right.  He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.  If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and we do not accept God's teaching.

(c) Holy Bible, New Century Version, 2005

The word "light" here is used as a symbol of God's goodness or truth.  Darkness would be the opposite - i.e. Satan's evilness and lies.  Living in the light allows us to fellowship with God Himself.  To me, this is mind-blowing.  There is something I can do that puts me in fellowship with the One who created everything.  He is so far beyond anything I can comprehend, and yet He says he'll fellowship with me. 

I encourage you - live in the light.  He gives us grace to do so - you don't have to do it in your own strength.  Trust Him, pray to Him, live according to His word.  It's worth it.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

May All Who Come Behind Us Find Us Faithful

When I was a kid, my grandma was in the church choir.  One year, one of the songs they did really stuck with me.  Especially the chorus.  The song is Find Us Faithful, by Steve Green.  The chorus has the following lyrics:

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey

It is important to me, that when others look at me, they see Him.  I want to reflect His love and live His grace and walk His way.  I fail, often, but I get back up every time.  I have to.  He has done so much for me, and loves me so flawlessly, that I want to do nothing short of my very best.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Life More Abundantly

John 10:10 says, "I have come that they might have life, and life more abundantly."  I have to say, for almost five years, that verse seemed so far away from my reality.  We were struggling financially, struggling with our health, struggling to maintain a marriage when we barely had any time together.  In the middle of it, it all seemed insurmountable.  But now, looking back, I can see so many places where God was working... working on Derek, working on me, working on us.  We have not arrived yet, but we are beginning to see manifestation of God's plan for us.  It is an exciting, beautiful time.  I want to make note of that here, so that in the future, I can look back and say "Yes, I saw the beginnings of this way back then."

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

New Puppy

My parents have a new puppy.  His name is Hank, and I happen to think he's the cutest thing ever.  He's a mix of Australian Shepherd and Welsh Corgi.  He likes to chew on his pull rope and dig holes in the woods.

I want a puppy.  I have wanted a puppy for the last 16 years.  But I won't be getting one any time soon.  My life style isn't conducive to providing for a puppy.  Someday, I'll get one.  It will be my husband's first time.  I look forward to watching that relationship grow.

In other news, Day Light Savings Time has ended, and it's getting dark way too early now.  I admit, there are times I'm tempted to move south just to get more sunlight.  But we're firmly rooted here.  There's too much we don't want to leave.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Introducing Hank

My dad and his beautiful bride, Kelly, recently adopted a puppy.  His name is Hank.  I happen to think he's absolutely adorable.  He turned 10 weeks old on Friday the 4th.  I got to meet him yesterday for the first time.  Here are just a few pictures of the cuteness.

For the record, I've had puppy fever since I was 16 years old.  That's a LOT of years to really, really want something.  But so far, my life just hasn't been one that would be fair to a dog.  And until that changes, I'll simply have to make do with soaking up the puppy kisses from other peoples' dogs.

I'll be seeing hank again in about a week, so you can expect more photos soon. 

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Not Ashamed

Psalm 34:1-5, Contemporary English Version:

I will always praise the Lord.  With all my heart, I will praise the Lord.  Let all who are helpless, listen and be glad.  Honor the Lord with me!  Celebrate His great name.  I asked the Lord for help, and he saved me from all my fears.  Keep your eyes on the Lord!  You will shine like the sun and never blush with shame.

 I have led a life that is far from perfect.  I have sinned, sometimes unintentionally, and sometimes deliberately.  I've had experiences that filled me with intense shame.  But even the worst of it all fades away when my eyes are fixed on Him.  When my gaze is steadily on Him, His glory and holiness and the love He has for me over-rides my own perceptions and beliefs, and I see myself as He sees me.  I am redeemed, chosen, called.  I am his child.  And most of all, I am loved.

People can tell when I've got my eyes fixed on Him.  When my attention is on God, and His love for me, my face changes.  During those times, I get told repeatedly by others that I look so good, that they can tell I'm doing well.  When my gaze shifts, and I'm looking at the world or myself, people ask me what's wrong.  It's a spiritual principal with natural, tangible, visible evidence.

Where is your attention?  Where are your eyes fixed?  How can you tell?

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Friday, October 21, 2016

I'm Alive

Ephesians 2:1-10, NIV

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.  But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

This passage means so much to me.  I don't know about anyone else, but I know that I personally slip into legalism sometimes.  I'll do something I shouldn't do, or I'll neglect something I should do, and I'll start to feel un-saved.  It's just a feeling, but I know that if I don't counter it with scripture, it will take root in my heart, invade my thoughts, and if it continued unchecked, I would convince myself I was no longer saved at all.  My salvation causes obedience.  Obedience does not cause my salvation. 

What distortions do you battle in your own life, and what scripture do you use to contradict them?

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Friday, October 14, 2016

It's Not About Me

I have a confession to make:  I have been chugging along, moving through life, and slowly, a lie has crept in.  That lie?  "I have sinned, therefor I am no longer blameless in God's eyes."  Yes, that lie really did try to find a place in me.  I wasn't aware of it; I just knew I had a vague discomfort and lack of trust.  It's only been through reading my Bible that that lie has become clear. 

Two verses really spoke to me, and are what made it clear to me that I've let an untruth start to take root.  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 says,

God Himself - the God of peace - has sanctified me through and through.  My whole spirit, soul, and body will be kept blameless at the coming of my Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls me is faithful, and He will do it.
Did you catch that?  God Himself has sanctified me.  Not me.  It's not my works, it's His.  Don't let the devil sneak in and alienate you from God who loves you.  Don't be ashamed; be bold.  Know that HE will do it.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It's Been A Long Time

It's been well over a year since I last wrote here.  Life has a way of continuing even when all we want is for moments to linger.  So much has happened during these months away, and yet so little has changed.

One thing that has changed is my relationship with my in-laws.  Where it used to be choppy and disconnected, a certain ease and closeness is developing.  I am thankful for that, as they are truly beautiful people.

The PTSD symptoms have faded until recently.  I'm in the middle of some intense stuff.  It's exhausting to struggle this way, but I know that life is worth fighting for.  I have an amazing husband, wonderful friends, a loving church, and a competent therapist to help me through.  Most of all, my God has promised to never leave or forsake me.  And with Him on my side, I can't possibly fail.

I am hoping to get back to regularly updating here, but we will just have to see how it plays out over time.

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