Sunday, November 28, 2010

Seeing Myself

I was all set to write a long blog and then got caught up inn reading the updates on my peeps blogs.  So fun to see what everyone was up to over the holiday, fun family photos, and watching the journey my friends the Leventhals are on as they have picked up their son Joshua from China.  Excited to meet him!
But I did want to share about a new book I am reading.  It's called... Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman.
It is all about her life journey and the road that lead to the grief of losing a child and her journey after.  What has already been so great is that I feel like she and I could be really good friends.  I'm seeing some of myself in her.
Steven Curtis Chapman (I don't feel like I can just right part of his name) wrote the foreward for the book.  Here are a few things he said about her...
"she has had a lifetime of watching God overwrite her plans with His story.  Sometimes the result has been wonderful, and sometimes it has been devastating.  Sometimes she's been a willing participant, and sometimes she's gone 'kicking and screaming.'"
"I've watched my wife wrestle with the providence of God in as real and honest a way as anyone I've ever known."
"I can say this book is written by someone who is deeply committed to not sweeping the pain or struggle under the rug. While I know my wife to fully and desperately believe and trust in the sovereignty of God, I also know her- as you will come to know her in these pages- as one who is determined to be honest about the struggle."
I can relate and I hope some of the same things can be said about me.  It has already been a great book for me in continuing to grow in acceptance of who God created me to be, widening and affirming my belief in who He is, and in continuing to walk this road of grief that I am on.
(The picture above is the last picture that their daughter Maria drew before she passed away.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Choosing Thankfulness

It's Thanksgiving. I do love this time of year... cooler weather, football, great food, the beautiful leaves (and Dallas is finally joining the 4 season bandwagon), getting to wear long sleeves and boots! I have a thing with Thanksgiving. I don't like for Christmas to take over before Thanksgiving has its full say. Thanksgiving is fall. Christmas is winter. Thanksgiving calls me to think about the things I am thankful for. Don't get me wrong, so does Christmas, and I love both, but don't want Thanksgiving to get lost.
And I so I thought it fitting to write a thankfulness post!
This year has had many challenges in remembering to be thankful in the midst of trials. But I want to be thankful, I think thankfulness helps with perspective and I think it reminds me to not get overtaken with the hard and sad. So here it goes... my 2010 thankfulness list!
(In no particular order as I will use my year in pics and blog to help me remember :) )

-all the unbelievably amazing sunsets I got to see this year (Oregon, Colorado, Kansas, Dallas, & Haiti)
-getting to have a job where I am surrounded by co-workers who love and support me
-my church turned 10... getting to watch and be a part of the amazing life change that is happening when believers trust God's words and way
-all the great snow at the beginning of the year and getting to build a snowman on top of the WM building
-plays with family and friends
-the recon work for the bear guy in Estes Park
-the Lord leading me to go see my grandparents one last time, for the reconciliation and just getting to be with them one last time before they were both gone
-Leigh and Adam getting married
-parents who want to hang out with me
-Stephanie, Leigh, Angela and Melissa all finding out they are pregnant
-watching families bring in foster kids to love and shepherd for the time they are given
-FRIENDS... who listened, cried with, loved, and walked this hard road with me this year
-the raccoon that came down our chimney so I could have some great laughter in the midst of hard things
-pulling two teeth for Hannah Fournet
-Estes Park and the way the Lord sustained me and for a boss that was all in
-watching Brooke feed a chipmunk off her head
-the way the Lord showed up in the details of our trip to Kansas for the funeral (tick and all)
-my surprise bear
-being a part of miracles (Mel's family, building fund)
-memories of grandparents who loved me
-finding the cuckoo clock
-to see Beck & Deshi thriving in their new home
-getting to be a part of conflict resolutions that glorify the Lord
-getting to go to Haiti (the kids faces, meeting people who are making a difference, waterfall, Amputee soccer team, lightning storms)
-a community group who is willing to talk about it all!
-God's Word and how it sharpens, convicts, encourages & sustains
-kiddos being adopted into our WM family
-that I am different today than I was January 1, 2010
-that over 300 orphans are being sponsored by Watermark members

I feel like I could go on and on... I am thankful that in a year full of tragedy and heart break, the Lord has been faithful and that I have so many many things to be thankful for!

What are YOU thankful for? Post a comment and share!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Shifting Shadows

I ran across a part of scripture today that I am not sure I have ever read before.
Check out John 11:16...
Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”
As I read that I was impacted by this guys desire to go with Jesus back to the place where just days before they were trying to stone Him. But then I had a moment of pause... Wait... Thomas? Is that THE Thomas, Doubting Thomas, the guy I so relate to that wanted to see Jesus before he would believe?
So I decide to check out and see if I could tell if that was him. Check out John 20:24-29...
One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas,“Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.The Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
It's the same guy. The same one that was willing to go and die with Jesus is actually more widely known as the doubter. The one that needed to touch Jesus or he wouldn't believe that He had been risen from the dead.
And, oh how much I relate. One day, maybe make that one moment I am all in, I get it, I am confident in it, I will preach it to anyone walking by. And then the next moment, I want proof, I need more assurance, I want to feel it or see it!
I am soooo thankful that Jesus knows me and is not surprised by ANY of my changes. And I am even more thankful that...
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Blind Pursuit

I have been sitting in John 9 the past 2 days. It has given me some sweet reminders and perspective on where I am today.
This chapter deals with a man that is blind and his encounter with Jesus.
The disciples ask Jesus if this man is blind because of his own sin or the sin of his parents. Jesus' response...
“This happened so the power of God could be seen in him." John 9:3
So it has me thinking... what in my life is like being blind? What are my weaknesses? My thorns that I am wanting Jesus to heal? Am I allowing God's power to be seen in me?
Jesus heals the blind man and of course, He does it on the Sabbath and so the Pharisees are a little ticked. So they ask the man who healed him. He doesn't know who healed him, he just knows what happened. The Pharisees know it is Jesus and so they rebuke the healed man saying that it should be God who gets the glory, not Jesus because He is a sinner. And this is the healed man's response...
“I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” John 9:25
I love this response. Because this guy doesn't really know who Jesus is, he couldn't answer all of their questions. He wasn't a Bible scholar or a professor of theology... but what he does know is that he was blind and now he can see. So often I feel like this. I don't have all the answers. I can't give an eloquent theological answer to much. But what I do know is that I have experienced Jesus' miracles in my own life and I have witnessed it in other's lives. And so I have the same testimony as this guy. I don't know everything... but I know what I have personally experienced.
And then there is the healed man's speech when they curse him for maybe being one of Jesus' disciples.
“Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from? We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but He is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will. Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, He couldn't have done it.” John 9:30-33
God is the one that opens the eyes of the blind. We are able to know Him and love Him because of the work that He does in our hearts and minds. And no one else is given this power.
And then the last part... we know this guy isn't totally sure who Jesus is or if he has been healed by Him. He has some ideas, but what happens next is so great.
When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked,
“Do you believe in the Son of Man?
"The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”
“You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!” “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.
John 9:35-38
My favorite part of this is that Jesus heard what happened and He went and FOUND the man. Jesus not only heals him, but then He pursues Him so that the healed man can know for sure who Jesus is. I love that!
And so I proclaim today that I was blind and now I see and that I am so thankful that He is constantly pursuing me and showing me who He is and growing my faith so that I can trust Him more. What a gift!

Friday, November 5, 2010


I am reading a new book... When God Interrupts: Finding New Life Through Unwanted Change by M. Craig Barnes.
It has challenged me a lot. I am still chewing on what I have read, but this one part really stuck out to me. The author is referencing the Israelites right when they are leaving Egypt and the road that He led them down.
Check this out...
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.
Exodus 13:17-18
Did you catch that... God did not lead them on the shortest road! Oh my, how often am I asking for God to take me down the shortest, clearest, easiest road? Thinking I know what is best. Here we see that God knew His people. He knew what would make them turn back. Now if you know the rest of the story, they kinda wanted to turn back a lot of times. And when I read their journey I think this had to be the harder way, but clearly, not the way that would have made them change their minds and actually return!
And then it gets better. Check out those last 5 words... "road toward the Red Sea." One of the moments where we get to see God's amazing omnipotence, His amazing power and control over all things. And as I continued to read in the book there were a couple of quotes that were so great... He took them on the road "where they would have to learn to trust Him."
I look at my own life and I think that is exactly what He does with me. He takes me down the road that He knows will build my trust in Him and that road always leads to getting to see His power!
And with that road means that I have to "learn how to follow. Central to that task is giving up the expectation of knowing where we are going." WOW... to have faith that where He is leading is what's best.
Not sure what the road sign says right now... not sure what the next big parting of the Red Sea will look like... but, I'm walking!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010