Saturday, December 29, 2007

And I cried out!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! I hope you've been able to enjoy some good time with your loved ones. Tim was able to take vacation time for the week of Christmas, so we've all been able to spend a lot of time with together. It's been for the most part very lovely.

The above pictures were taken on Christmas Eve. The one on the bottom was at our dinner table. I was serving a deli tray (crackers, cheese, and turkey slices, along with chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, and fudge.) We had just gotten home from Christmas Eve service and sat down to share a meal before the kids got to open their presents from their Nana that came all the way from Arizona! Poor Justin had to get out of his chair so I could get the shot-I just couldn't resist capturing the ambiance of the moment. Doesn't the vacuum cleaner in the backround make it look homey? Too funny, but also reality around here.

Here's a little more reality for you. As I was preparing the fudge the night before, I decided to save a little time and go ahead and make a double batch in the sauce pan. Well-BAD idea, as soon as the fudge came to a rolling boil, it started rolling right out of the pan! And it was a STICKY mess. It went not only all over the stove top, but under the burners as well. I cried out for Tim to come and help me put it in something bigger and we ended up putting it in an iron skillet-funny now, not so funny at the time. It was at that point that my sweet little Sarah brought me her Chef's hat and apron-maybe she thought it would make me a better cook? And the first it was a disappointment. It didn't get to boil long enough so it didn't "set". However, after an overnight in the fridge it tasted good enough to eat the entire pan in one sitting-thankfully I resisted the temptation to do so!

So, why am I sharing this "fudge moment" with you? Honestly, it's because I desire for my sharing to be truly authentic, not self deprecating-but genuine. After all, I did name my blog "And they cried out". That's pretty much the story of my life. I am such a mess with out my Savior! There's is NO way I can be the kind of wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend that I desire to be without my God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. When I'm not crying out, it's pretty much bad news bears; it typically means I think I can do it on my own or am too preoccupied to realize things are going down hill fast.
Here's a question for you; why do we as women try to pretend like we can do everything perfectly and life is a cinch? I SO learn from my mistakes and others mistakes more than I do from easily attained successes.
One final thought; it's always a relief to me when I hear that about other women doing silly things like leaving a fitting room with their shirt on inside out ....okay, I haven't really heard of another women doing that, but it sure would make me feel better if I did!

In His unfailing love,


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Finding Pleasure in God

When I first met Tim, I immediately liked him. I was working in a Christian Bookstore at the time and here comes this young man with a whole lot of charisma. I remember just where I was when I first set eyes on him. I was behind the register and he was talking to a woman with two children. I was listening to their conversation and I remember him being SO funny. I thought they were married at first until I saw them say good bye. (Turns out she was a friend from church.) I was quite pleased to discover there was no ring on his finger and he was my next customer in line. We chit chatted and he absolutely cracked me up. And that was that. He left the store and I wasn't sure if I'd ever see him again. I went home that night and called one of my good girlfriends, Katie who at the time was living in another state. I specifically told her that I had no idea whether anything would ever come out of it, but that I had met the a really neat guy".

It was almost 1 MONTH later that he came in again. One day I was going out the door on a break and Tim was walking in. He said, " it Misty? Are you leaving?" I said, "It's Missy and I was just coming in!" He believed me! He told me that he was looking for a Denise William CD and I of course helped him find it. We ended up talking for my entire break that day. He finally got up the courage to ask me for my phone number and I gave it to him. He called me later on that day and we went on our first date that weekend. (October 21, 1993 to be exact.)

And that first date was amazing! We went out to a little Italian restaurant and talked and talked about the Lord. I happened to bring my Bible on that first date-we still kind of laugh about that because in mid conversation I pulled it out of my purse and went to the verse that we were talking about.

During our courtship, Tim would write me the most beautiful and deep letters a girl could ever want. And, he still does from time to time. But those first letters showed me his passion for the Lord and I knew that I could spend the rest of my life with him.

Since we are going on 13 years of marriage, I can attest that there have been bumps along the way and a few serious pot holes as we both brought junk into the marriage. But the payoff from working through the trials has certainly been worth it. Not easy, but so very rewarding as it produced a great depth and commitment to one another. I have watched my young man of a husband who has been a devoted follower of Jesus Christ since practically before I was born, transform into a man who truly finds pleasure in God.

And the pleasure that He finds in God blesses me and our children more than I could have ever dreamed. I have watched God soften my husband in ways that woo me into deeper relationship with my Maker. I of course am not hinting that Tim is perfect. What I am saying that I am greatly rejoicing because my husband is leading our family to treasure Christ above all. His transformation is transforming us! That's exciting. A few years ago he read the book, "Don't Waste Your Life", by John Piper. He hasn't been the same since. I plan to finally read it this new year.

So, my husband has led the way to finding his greatest pleasure in God. I have had moments of Him being pleasure, but I can't honestly say that I fully experienced Him as my greatest pleasure 24/7. And, for certain I can admit that my life does not exemplify treasuring Christ above all else. For if it did, I would not be enslaved to my own sinful behaviors. It's not pretty is it? That is my confession and I don't say it lightly. My heart hungers to find pleasure in Him all the days of my life. I can think of a lot of other things that I find pleasure in and more often. For that, I repent. And I am so grateful that God is faithful when I am not and His love for me as His daughter is unfailing.

Maybe you'd like to take this journey with me-treasuring Christ above all and knowing God as your greatest pleasure...if that's the case, stay tuned. I'm certain that the Lord is about to amaze us. I'll share my journey with you and I would love for you to share your journey with me.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Hungry Heart

This is a candid photo of my Sarah Grace reading her Bible. It was a Sunday afternoon and we had just arrived home from church. On the way, she was asking a lot of questions about the lesson that was taught in Sunday School as she had learned about Jacob and Esau- she was completely fascinated. As her Daddy was preparing lunch for us (sweet huh), she was reading the story aloud to him. We have been praying for her to have a heart that hungers after the Lord, so it was quite a blessing that she desired to dig deeper!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Best Way to Love

It wasn't too ago that I became keenly aware that I was getting in a habit of raising my voice towards Justin and Sarah. I don't mean screaming or yelling, I mean a raised voice with an unpleasant tone. It seemed the more I allowed myself to become agitated the easier it was for my voice to find the tone and pitch that is most undesirable to my children's ears.

This fact greatly disturbed me. You see, I made a pact with myself when I was a child just about their age that I would not yell at my kids. And although this tone does not quite qualify for the "yelling" that I had in mind back then, it is certainly a close cousin to it.

So, I cried out to the Lord. I poured my heart out to him and asked Him to show me the best way to love our children. My mind immediately went to the "Love Chapter", 1 Corinthians 13. The Spirit of God stirred my heart as I read the following verses:

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

My heart instantly rejoiced for so many reasons;

  • Because He heard my cry and answered me with His Word, His Word that is living and active and sharper than any double edged sword.

  • Because as I read the words in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, I undoubtedly know that the apostle Paul's description of love is precisely how God showed His love by sending His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for a wretch like me.

  • Because God has not left me alone on this earth to become like Him, but has given me a deposit, His Holy Spirit that indwells me and His word to correct, rebuke, and train me in the way I should go!
In real time, how does this all play out? One day at a time. Honestly, I can't love my children as they need to be loved without the power of God working in me. I just love how the Lord teaches me! He certainly doesn't treat me as my sins deserve, but instead shows me great love and kindness.

So, back to real time; when I blow it with my kiddos, I ask them to forgive me. They amaze me because they are just so quick in mercy and forgive so easily. The other night was such an occasion. We were running late and Tim was still at work. I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off; wrapping gifts, baking, getting the kids ready, and trying to get myself ready all at the same time. And I really hate being late so it was adding to my angst. We were trying to head out to our Christmas party for our Sunday school class. I quickly stopped off at a fast food place to grab the kids a deliciously healthy dinner and then had to make a quick stop by the ATM. On the way to the ATM my sweet Sarah spilled her drink all the way down her pants. I was SO not happy. She started crying because she was soaked. I informed her that no, we would not be turning around to go home. Sweet huh-We pulled up to a gas station, I quickly got in the trunk and luckily had an extra pair of pants for her to put on. (I know, I was REALLY lucky that I still had the "give away" clothes in the trunk.) Finally, Sarah had dry clothes. I had my cash. and we were once again in route to the church. I apologized to Sarah for my lack of patience and told her that I just needed to take a chill pill. She replied, "Wow, where do you get those?" I said, "Jesus honey. You go to Jesus."

So, the best way to love? For me, it's learning the 1 Corinthians 13 love one day at a time with hands on experience.

Friday, December 7, 2007

My Soul Finds Rest

Psalm 62

My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from Him. (vs. 1)

He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (vs. 2)

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him. (vs. 5)

He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress , I will not be shaken. (vs. 6)

My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge. (vs. 7)

O Lord,
Today my soul finds rest in You alone. You are my rock and my salvation my fortress in whom I run.
Because of You, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and honor depend on You O God, for you are my mighty rock and my refuge.
Without You O Lord, I would be like the waves of the sea, being tossed here and there by the cares of this world. But You have rescued me my rock. You have given me a firm foundation.
Because of You, I will not be shaken.
Today, my hope comes from You my God, for my soul finds rest in You alone.

Monday, December 3, 2007

My New Name

It finally happened. It shouldn't have been a surprise. I received a warning a few days ago that my name was about to change. My new name? Mom. That's right, no longer am I "Mommy" to my oldest child, I am now being referred to as "Mom". It occurred to our son a few days ago that is now embarrassing to refer to me as Mommy in front of his peers. He let me know that around his friends that He will address me as plain Mom.
I was thinking to the time in my own childhood that I stopped addressing my own Mother as Mommy. I too made a conscious decision that I "should" call her "Mom". I think I bounced it off of her and said something like-"Is it okay if I call you Mom?" She replied, "Sure, if that's what you want to do." I can't say that my initial reply was as gracious to my boy. I think I said, "Really? You really want to stop calling me Mommy?" I quickly recovered and patted him on the shoulder and assured him that it was no big deal. I lied! It's a HUGE deal! That means he's growing up and gaining independence and soon he'll go to college! Well, the college part is in like 7 years or so.
As I said, today it happened. One of his friends came to the door to see if he could play. He yelled with the front door open, "Mom, can I play outside?". I quickly responded sure, put your coat on etc, but inside I realized that today we turned a page.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Friday Family Night

With my husband being a Travel Agent, September 11th effected our family economics. So much so, it was necessary for me to go back into the workforce and take a full time job. As a result, we were extremely tired and very busy. Tim and I felt like we really needed to connect with our kid's and Friday Night Family Night was born! Although I no longer work full time, Family Night has stuck! If it gets too crazy around our home and Family Night gets looked over, we are sure to hear about it!

Our Family Night varies depending on the circumstance; it can range anywhere from renting a movie to creating a play. Recently we had 15 minutes to run into our rooms, (parents included) put together a costume, and quickly come up with a song to perform for the rest of the family. I believe Tim ended up adorned in "bling" and rapped "Zacheus was a wee little man" while I provided back up. The kids too made up their own song and put together hilarious costumes. We all laughed so hard, we'll never forget it!
On some Family Nights, we sit around the table and color pictures and share the story behind the picture. If we are all pretty mellow, we might sit around the living room and just talk. I remember one night that one of our sweet ones was really having a tough time, it was the perfect opportunity for them to share (with out any rush) what was on their heart and have a good cry. We surrounded that sweet precious one and prayed over them.

Last night, we had a ball. The night before, the kids and I went to Hobby Lobby and chose a few ornaments for each of us to paint. For Family night, we covered our table with newspaper and wax paper. Each person received a paper plate to have their own pallet of paint colors. The creating began! It was a really relaxed time of listening to Christmas music, painting, laughing, and just talking. Several masterpieces were created and the two youngest artists are very proud of their work.

I will admit, sometimes our Family Night's don't always go like we want them to. One of us might be really cranky or the kids might just be too rambunctious. In all honesty there's never a "perfect" day with a "perfect" family experience. To us, the three the most important ingredients to a good Family Night is fun, love, and just plain connecting with our kiddos.

Here are a few pictures of our masterpieces:

Thanksgiving in Arizona

For the last few years, it has become a tradition to load up the car and make the 18 hour drive home to Phoenix, Arizona. Arizona is pretty special to Tim and I as most of our family lives there, we met in Phoenix, and Justin was born in Paradise Valley. The drive is exhausting, but we hope the kids will have fond memories of our time together-we've got a 50-50 chance on that one!

Happy belated Thanksgiving to you!