Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Life IS the messy bits."

That line must be said with a sweet British accent to achieve full effect. Too often I make up my mind to not have "messy" times in my life- and God is good enough to remind me that THAT is an impossibility. Mostly because I am a horribly fallible person, but also because I live in a fallible world.

My sweet girl had a really tough Friday- the "Mean Girls" were out to play. So in an effort to remind my Jazz what real life is like- sans middle school drama- we took a night out. Dinner, a movie, and nothing but girl time and laughing. God is so good- He knew I needed that time more than she did!

We went and saw the movie, "Letters to Juliet" and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! One of my favorite scenes is when the trio of main characters are driving up to an Italian Mansion that just MIGHT be the home of the Grandma's long lost love, Lorenzo. The Grandson, Charlie basically says to Grandma that if this is her Lorenzo, what a sweet deal because she gets to chill with the farmer boy turned billionaire and "skip all the messy bits" of getting to that level of success. Grandma (played by Vanessa Redgrave- so perfect) says with a look of wisdom and coy smirk, "Life IS the messy bits, Charlie". Oh, don't we all need someone to remind us of that at times? When we start to think everyone else's life is the normal, perfect one we should have? Cinematic genius at it's best. And of course the movie is based on a book, which is almost always the reason for a great story. :) Don't want to give any other spoilers away, but I so hope you have the chance to take a teen daughter, friend, boyfriend, husband, whatever to this movie. Not only is it a pretty PG rating, but it will make you DROOL for Italy, the settings are breathtaking.

I suppose I should go and finish writing lessons, studying for my chemotherapy certification test and maybe running that laundry I keep thinking about. It was just nice to run away for a bit this morning and say hello to you. Today it is a struggle to stop day dreaming about the beautiful salvias in bloom, my pin cushion flowers that need trimming, and all the other pretty little things that beckon me. :)

"I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?" Psalm 77:11-13

Praying God brings you a smile!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hannah is my hero.

The sun is showing itself and it's suppose to be WARM today! You have no idea how excited I am. To be warm is a glorious thing.

I have had a chance to enjoy some delicious flowers, plants and even started building my rock wall. It has reminded me of my long standing hatred of cement. I said a little prayer for all the masons out there, working with cement is a nightmare. But it can be done, and will- so help me God.

The great thing about working in the yard is the quiet time you get. I think that is what my heart needed more than anything. Wednesday I was able to spend a few uninterrupted hours...just being quiet with God. And for me to be quiet- that's pretty much a miracle in itself.

As I worked I kept coming back to Hannah, Samuel's mother in the Bible. I had recently read her story, and love it of course. But the really cool thing about this lady was her relationship with God. More than being the mother of this great prophet, more than seeing a miracle happen with going from infertility to bearing three sons and two daughters, this was a lady who trusted and loved the LORD. Look at it with me:
"But to Hannah (her husband) gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb. And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival (her husband's other wife) kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat...In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life"...(has a chat with the priest, Eli, who was a goomba- just saying)...So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad." 1Samuel 1 (I abbreviated for time, but go read that chapter. IT IS INCREDIBLE.)

Such a beautiful thing, yes? After you talk to God, is your face "no longer sad"? I realized the last few weeks even after I prayed, my worries kept hanging around. I still felt stressed and heavy. It took Hannah to show me why. I wasn't really giving all those worries to God. Sure, we chatted, but I didn't TRUST Him to work it out for my good and for His glory. Sad, stupid girl. :) After thinking on Hannah's shining face after her time with her LORD, I gave my junk up, and oh, happy day! Nothing changes necessarily, the earth didn't move and the sky open up with a big banner...but I just FELT better. SO COOL.

There is another lesson Hannah schooled me on this week, and it relates to my attitude too. See what you find:
"Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him." When the man Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vow, Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, "After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always."... So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him. After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was...and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh....they brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, "As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there." 1 Samuel 1

I use to read that story and feel sad for Hannah, but this time God showed me something so cool. Hannah knew what a beautiful blessing this boy was, and she committed to teaching and training him every minute he was with her. She didn't waste a second of her time to mother him by dragging him on the 2 week trek to the temple, she didn't leave him behind so she could go, she stayed in her tent, loving and kissing that boy and WORSHIPING God right in front of him. Did you see that in the last verse? Samuel worshiped God at the temple, because he already knew about the LORD from...guess who?

Oh, to be a mother like that! God honors our faithfulness to train and teach our children, even if we don't know what the future holds. She didn't get caught up amongst her garden without Samuel, she didn't ditch him for women's retreats or amazing careers outside the home, she didn't watch her soaps and gossip with her girlfriends in the caravan. :) She committed to Samuel one hundred percent, and didn't waste one precious minute of her blessed time as a mother.

Oh, Lord- help us to be like Hannah. To trust You like nobody else, to love our children and our husbands with a passion that doesn't run out, and to commit to living a life that honors You, God. And when we get done talking to You today, make our faces shine. <3

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Road Trips

Long, rough Monday. So glad it's over and as I sat here thinking about all the junk, I realized how much I love road trips. Random I know. But there is something about a road trip, even if it is only for a day. I don't even have to GO anywhere, we can just drive and I always learn something.

Saturday was a perfect day for a road trip, and as we cruised up the 5 heading to Seattle, I couldn't stop my mind from wandering about all the "stories" we were passing. Every car, every house, every gas station had someone in it who was a daughter, a brother, a mother, a coworker, a friend or a fiend. Every single place we passed had someone with a story, and I was enthralled. To think how big my world feels when I am in my little neighborhood, but then to realize the millions of other stories out there- in towns, cities and even countries outside my backyard truly gives you a sense of awe. To know that the Lord God of heaven, maker of everything I see, keeps track of all these stories from before birth to forever. Double wow. It puts my whining about a bad Monday in perspective, doesn't it? Being involved in the lives around us is a privilege.

The reason for our road trip was even better. Steve's Grandpa Earl was celebrating his 90th Birthday. Talk about a story. It was so wonderful to see him smiling and greeting so many people who loved him and wanted to let him know it. He had family all around him- wife, children, grands and great grands, church family and even men who he had impacted through his ministry at Prison Fellowship. Seeing the life this man has lived, and the people he had helped and encouraged was the best. When we're 90- what will our story be?

My favorite moment was when Stef asked Earl and Anne to kiss in front of the cake. So adorable to see this couple who have been kissing each other for 70 years. But even better to see the bright red blush of this 87 year old bride!! Priceless!

God bless you and keep you, and may He give you a legacy of forgiveness, compassion and love.
"Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God." Ecclesiastes 5:18-19
(photo from the whole family gathering at Christmas. So cool)