Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Way Better Than a Degree!

Well...I still want to post pictures from my parents' visit, but before I get to that, I just have to say how overwhelmingly thankful I am for my husband and daughter...

It is such a joy to have the privilege of serving my husband and taking care of my daughter. It's funny how I still cringe a little when I hear parents talk about their requirements for their daughters...in getting a degree for college, because it is essential for their well being. No, people don't usually say it like that, but it comes across many times that way. I cringe a little, because there is always that little fear of man in me that creeps up whenever people talk like that...I start wondering, "well, what do they think of me?", or "did I make the wrong decision in not finishing school?", or "is my family going to suffer someday because I don't have a degree?", "Am I looked down upon because I am a college drop-out?"

Yes, these things pop up in my mind sometimes, but when I think about it, I have to laugh at my ridiculousness! God...yes the Lord HIMSELF gave me NO desire to stay in college and get a degree. He gave me no convictions that it is a requirement for godliness, and he gave me every desire to be married without divided attentions. So, I have to ask myself why I doubt my own convictions, and it is most definitely my fear of man. Man, and many believers, believe it is the "right" thing to do to go to college and get a degree...and it IS the right thing to do for many people, but NOT for everyone! It is SO easy as believers to take our convictions and "write" them into the Bible as laws, but it is not right to do so! God's ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts...and his ways for each person are uniquely different!

What I have to realize is that the Lord put me in a unique spot by bringing a wonderful man into my life who already had a career and was ready to settle down! My parents didn't raise me to love the idea of having a career someday...they raised me to love the Lord and to become a woman who pleases Him. They raised me to love the home (although I didn't do such a wonderful job) and instilled in me a desire to be a wife and mom someday. And I am SO thankful they did! And they sent me off to college to find a godly husband :)...it's true!!! Praise be to Him, He dropped one right in front of me :) If He hadn't brought Aaron into my life, than I probably would still be in school, but the point is that He DID bring him into my life, and He DID give me the desire to marry him and serve him whole-heartedly.

So...sometimes those sinful thoughts of "what-ifs" still creep up, but I have to preach to myself that God has indeed directed my steps through my desires, and rest completely in His Word. All I need to do is open my eyes, and see that God has abundantly blessed my life.

I have a husband is who is the greatest example of Christ in my life. He serves me constantly and joyfully, and usually at the expense of his own desires. He finds ways to love me when I may be having a rough time (he brought me home a beautiful bouquet of flowers a week ago today, and they are still standing tall and gorgeous---I have said something about them everyday to him...just so he doesn't forget how much I appreciate it! ;)), and he loves his daughter more than words can say, which brings so much joy to my heart.
I have a daughter who is the most beautiful little girl in the world, and the most precious gift to our family! It is SUCH a joy and delight to take care of her everyday, and to see her smile at me ALL the time, and even try to laugh! And yes...I even love her when she is screaming at me! :)

God is SO good, and I am SO thankful that THIS is the path he has thus far chosen for me. So when those silly doubts creep up, I just need to remember that "His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." (2 Peter 1:3)

And this is Daddy making Linnea "laugh"...well she tries anyway.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Changed Plans

I just want to praise the Lord for his many blessings...because as I start this blog and realize I have SO much to blog about, I realize how blessed I am to have all these things to blog about. I have a wonderful husband who works so hard and loves me so much, a beautiful daughter who brings me so much joy...we had a wonderful surprise vacation and a great visit from my parents, and extra special time with my bro, sis -in-law, and niece...I have a wonderful church body and ladies I am able to study the Word with...I have a beautiful home to take care of and food I have the privilege of cooking...and ALL these things from my wonderfull, merciful, gracious Savior. Yes! I am indeed blessed!

So...about that vacation :) Most of you know the whole story, but even if this is only so I don't forget, I figure I'll tell you the story! I called my sister while we were on the way to the airport in the morning on October 19th. During the phone call she informed me Micah and Bryan were sick, and the doctor advised to get them tested for Swine flu, because that would be dangerous for a baby. Aaron and I still decided to go, thinking "what are the odds it is swine flu?" Well, the odds beat us, and we listened to a message from her during our stop in San Jose to inform us it was indeed swine flu. My first reaction was shock....shocked at the fact that this trip that I had been looking forward to for many months was going to be different, and I wasn't going to get to see my precious family. Then the tears started to flow...I was extremely disappointed.

It didn't take long for me to see the Lord had been working and planning this all along. Aaron and I feel our lives are pretty easy, so he has to throw us a trial here and there if we are really going to be like Christ...right?? :) Well, I think so! One of the first things that came to mind on the plane was something Dr. Barrack said in the church the night before. He said "Christians have no trouble saying they trust in God's sovereignty, but do they really live like it when things don't go as planned or how we would like." (something like that anyways). I immediately realized God was testing to see if we would live joyfully in his sovereignty or be dragged along kicking and screaming...I think we did a little of both.

When my parents found out the situation, they immediately tried to "make" a vacation for just the three of us...thinking this is what we needed. My dad immediately went searching for a place for us to stay and have a relaxed vacation. I can't tell you how much of Christ I saw in my parents through there selfless desire to gift us with a vacation, and use the Lord's money to serve us...which they got tremendous joy out of. At first I didn't really want to go (I know...ridiculous...this is the kicking and screaming part) beca

use I was so looking forward to spending time with family, that I didn't want to do anything else. It makes me sad to even write that, because I should have been thrilled at the prospect of spending quality time with my husband, who probably felt somewhat unloved. Anyways, both Aaron and I were a little emotional and weren't sure if we should accept this gift from my parents if we couldn't truly appreciate it, but they pretty much made us go, and we are SOOO thankful they did!!!

We stayed a few days at David and Michelle's, and were incredibly thankful for their hospitality (I think Michelle made me gain a couple punds in the two days we were there with all the yummy baking she did :)). So we got to spend a little extra time with them and Paul, which was a blessing. We also hit downtown Seattle, and ate yummy New England Chowder and the best hot chocolate we have ever had. This was the first day that the excitement of spending fun, precious time with my husband and daughter really set in, and I knew that this was going to be a great time!

Well, my parents sent us to an inn in Ocean Shores, WA right on the coast! We rented a car and drove through the beautiful fall colors to get there. We borrowed some things from David and Michelle, and even a baby bjorn from their friends! We went for a walk on the chilly(and dlightful!) beach every day, which was beautiful! Just the sound of the ocean makes me happy :) We played games, went for walks to get coffee, cuddled on the couch and watched a couple movies. We even went bowling...and I'm ashamed to say he crushed me! It was SO restful...and obvioulsy what the Lord knew we needed.
It kinda makes me laugh that all those months that I was excited for one trip, the Lord knew it would be a whole different trip. God is SO amazing, and I am so grateful that He knows what is best and gives us what is best, even when it comes in hard packages. The fact that he gave us something diffucult so that we might learn lessons and become more like His Son is SO worth it!
Our Heavenly Father is all we really need in life to be joyful! Something my husband said on our trip is that the Lord was showing us HOW much we have to be thankful for and showing us what is most important to Him. The Lord should be my ultimate source of joy, and beyond that my husband and daughter should be the next. Extended family is the cherry on top, but my immediate family is the ice cream (that was Aaron's analogy! Sorry family if that makes you feel like an outcast, but being a cherry is really not that bad...I LOVE cherries!).

AND as most of you know...we got to see my sister's family and meet the boys anyway!!! They all got better really fast (praise be to God), so we were able to drive over to Yakima and spend a day with them. I am so thankful for that precious day with my sister and her wonderful family. We are so grateful to meet the new "babies" in the family too. They are precious! Aaron and Bryan even watched all the kids so my sister and I could go out for a cup of coffee, which was such a blessing! Aaron also took all the boys to Lowes to get items to make the game "ladder golf", and they made all in a couple hours! It was such a blessing to see my husband so excited to do something fun for his nieces and nephews!

We then drove through the first snow storm of the year to get back to the airport and then proceeded to go through the worst turbulance ever on our plane ride home...strangers were literally holding hands from fear of going down (no joke!). Thankfully Linnea slept through most of the plane rides...she did great!! I was holding her when I stepped off the plane into 55 mph winds and almost blew away with her (also no joke!:)) ...that immediately told us why there was so much turbulence.

This is what she did for most of the plane rides

Downtown Seattle

Is she embarrassed?....no....just sleeping :)

All bundled up!

...and again...

I think the verse that came to mind quite often during that trip is Isaiah 55:8, which says, "'My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways,' declares the Lord." I don't know that he could have demonstrated that to us in any better way! His ways are indeed better...well better than better, they are BEST!

ps...sorry if the pictures being on the sides and therefore making the words practically vertical gives you a headache. It's a little crazier than I had imagined :P

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Yes...We Are Home

Well...just in case you were wondering, we are indeed still alive! The fact that I haven't blogged since we have been back is testimony to the fact that life never stops! I feel like we have been home for weeks and weeks, but it has only been a little over a week. I have wanted to blog about so many things since we have been home... our vacation, events that have taken place since we have been home, and some of the many things God is teaching me. The funny thing is that one of the biggest things God is teaching me right now is time management, priority planning, not being lazy with my time, spending more time in His Word, etc. So now you see why I can't blog everyday (let alone every week)...because I am not at the point where I am using my time so productively that I have time to do "other" things that aren't necessary. Now that's not to say we haven't been like every other "normal" family...BUSY!

The day after we arrived home, Aaron jumped right back into work and many other things, and I jumped back into the 3 Bible studies I am in with lots of homework attached (I know...I won't do three at the same time again, but since I did that choice, God has blessed it and I am learning SO much!), planning a Baby shower, trying to get the house clean, meal planning, cooking, a wedding rehearsal and wedding this past weekend...and the list could go on.

Business is nothing new to any wife and mother, but thanks to my small discipleship group (and the book Creative Counterpart that we are going through), I have realized life does not need to be so crazy! I can actually become an organized person and get my priorities straight and diligently use my time! And this is what the Lord has called me to do. This last week we made a detailed schedule of what our week should look like. So for a whole week we have planned out what tasks we would get done each day and what meal we would make that day. One thing I have learned that I think will really help is the fact that I need to complete one task before moving on to the next. It's so easy for me to start something, and as I am doing that "something", I see something else that needs to be done, and start doing that thing, and so on...I have realized this does not help my situation! :P

Anyways, there is so much more I could share on that subject, but I only have so much time.
Another thing I am SO excited the Lord has shown me is that I had forgotten what it means to meditate on scripture, which is exactely what the Lord calls us to do...meditate on his Word daily, and even all day. I am grieved that I haven't been diligent to do this lately, but excited that the Lord has convicted me of this so I can now seek to glorify Him and grow in my relationship with Him by looking for HIM in what I read. In our study, Created Into His Image, the author goes into detail about what it means to meditate on scripture and how important it is in fellowship with our Savior.

"Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God. Its purpose is to clear one's mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let His truth make its full and proper impact on one's mind and heart. It is a matter of talking to God about God and oneself; it is, indeed, often a matter of arguing with oneself, reasoning oneselfe out of moods and doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God's power and grace. Its effect is ever to humble us, as we contemplate God's greatness and glory, and our own littleness and sinfulness, and to encourage and reassure us---'comfort' us, in the old, strong, Bible sense of the word---as we contemplate the unsearchable riches of divine mercy displayed in the Lord Jesus Christ...and it is as we enter more and more deeply into this experience of being humbles and exalted that our knowledge of God increases, and with it our peace, strength, and our joy. God help us, then, to put our knowledge about god to this use, that we all may in truth 'know the Lord'".

Jim Berg also says, "Your Bible is first and foremost a revelation from God about His Son. There is a Person at the center of everything you read in the Bible. If you merely look for principles and encouraging passages, you will find what you are looking for, but you will miss God in the process." When I am reading scripture, I need to stop and ask myself, "what does this passage reveal about Jesus Christ?" I need to think about what attributes of God I see in a certain passage, and then ask many questions regarding that. For example...Jim Berg takes the story in John about the feeding of the 5 thousand. He sees in that story the compassion of Christ, and gives us an example of many questions we could ask ourselves regarding that attribute.

  1. What is compassion?
  2. What esle do I know about God's compassion?
  3. Who else in the Bible experienced it?
  4. Who else in the Bible demostrated it?
  5. How has God personally demonstrated compassion to me?
  6. Since I am called to be Christlike, how am I doing in displaying compassion?
  7. If it has been lacking in my dail contacts with people, what have others been seeing in me insted of the compassion that would have been Christlike in those situations?
He goes on to say much more, but these questions have fired me up, and I am excited to implement these kinds of questions into my time of meditating of the Word. It is my prayer that God would "search" me and "try" me daily, as I seek to grow into the image of my heavenly Father.

My time is up for the moment, as I didn't expect to relay half of the chapter in the book to you, but I couldn't help it! I will do my best to write about our wonderful vacation soon!