Saturday, December 27, 2008
I bought some new devotional material - one on the Psalms because I feel like David was a little on the melancholy and pensive side, like myself, and the other: a one-year Bible with corresponding devotional thoughts. I made myself a list of all the things I want to accomplish this year - healthy body, healthy soul, healthy heart, healthy marriage, healthy baby, healthy parents, new home, no new debt (except the home). That's not too much to ask, is it?
I like having goals. Even if I don't reach them, I know I was moving toward something. I don't understand people who just get to play around at life and don't take anything seriously. As the baby of the family, I'm sure I have looked that way to people - especially my two big brothers. But there was always an undercurrent flowing through my heart pushing me to pursue God. I just got to take exotic trips to Mexico, Venezuela, Canada, Arizona, Philadelphia...places way away from home...to follow Him.
A few months ago, I wrote a post about the great commandment. I had discovered that I could give myself a daily check-up as I prayed through my desire and my failings at loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving my neighbor. That's still the goal for this year. Everything else will find its place under that umbrella.
Have an exciting new year of experiencing God.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
So, this isn't the most recent photo. I've gone back to my natural color of brown - although there are more and more grey strands each time I look.
I know I update on things pretty regularly, but here are the highlights of our 2008. We wish you a happy season, and a hopeful new year.
We have been with our church family almost two years now. Our church is experiencing some serious growth and excitement, with lots of decisions being made and ministry taking place. We look forward to seeing how God moves in 2009.
Joe hopes to go to Honduras with a small team to visit a children's ministry that feeds and teaches and shares the gospel with impoverished children. Our church sponsors several kids there, and have visited before. We'll be taking the youth on another mission trip next summer as well. The trip to Charleston was amazing last year. I love going through the pictures. And I love seeing our students develop a heart for touching others. Our prayer for them this year is that they become as passionate about their own spiritual needs as they are about others' physical needs.
We are starting the new year off with big plans, and entrusting them to a big God. Things like: conception, building a house, combining our life and household with my parents so we can assist them through this time of their lives. I just keep trucking along with my music program, and earned my AA certificate this year. I never thought I'd be a teacher. And some days, I'm ready to go work at Taco Bell. But for the most part, it's pretty fun. And you get the whole summer off....well, unless you're married to a youth minister. Joe is still working on his master's degree at New Orleans. I'm proud of the accomplishments he is having there. I can't wait to see how God continues to use us in ministry.
Have a very merry Christmas! Find opportunities to reach out. And always, ALWAYS reach up!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
This is one of those weeks of just waiting for time to pass. It's the last week of school before Christmas break. I have a program in two days. I have three Christmas parties to attend, and a lunch date if that unexpected snow day doesn't screw up getting out early on Friday. I'm ready for school to be out.
Which makes me think - if you do a job for the amount of time you don't have to be there, should you look for another line of work? I'm just asking. I'm not looking.
I've been moody - surprise, surprise. But last night, I had the best remedy for those frustrated, nervous feelings. Amd it wasn't even covered in chocolate. Joe and I curled up in the bed, turned the tv off, and ... talked. Really, that's it. For about two hours, that's all we did. We talked about what dating was like, our first kiss, crazy members of the family, our friends, trips we'd like to take. It was wonderful. --- Although ... a little chocolate would have been a nice touch.
You know, memory is a powerful thing. The time we took to remember special moments, and silly ones too, sparked those fun feelings of new romance - if I can get a little sappy on ya. That concept really has meaning when you apply it to your spiritual life.
Revelation 2:1-7 is a great passage about the fiercely loving forgiveness of Christ. His remedy for this church that had "lost that loving feeling" was the tool of memory. "REMEMBER the height from which you have fallen". That, coupled with a repentance that produces action - "RETURN and do those things you did at the beginning", was the path back to restoring their priorities, which would also restore their passion.
I think it would be safe to advise anyone going through relationship issues to do what the church at Ephesus was instructed to do:
1. Remember what it was like at its best.
2. Repent by accepting responsibility for the role you played in screwing things up.
3, Return to the things that keep a relationship strong, like at the beginning - affection, belief, and communication.
The promise is a flame that will never go out.
You know, I knew there was a reason we picked "Burning Ring of Fire" as our song. That, and Joe does a mean Johnny Cash impersonation.
Friday, December 12, 2008
However, I still find myself in thoughts of prayer through most of the day, and I think about the scripture to "pray without ceasing". It's funny, (well....actually, it's a little sad and it shows my immaturity as a believer) but when we first started taking clomid and talking about the chance for having a baby, my prayerlife got very vigorous. I knew I had kinda cut God off in that area of my life, because my feelings were hurt that things weren't going my way.
Did you know I'm the baby of my family?
Well, here we are, six months out from the first attempt. And I'm trying my very best to avoid going down that road of non-communication again. I know it's the rise and fall of hormones induced by medication that had me feeling this way over the last couple of days, but we are approaching cruising altitude next week, and I already had a pessimistic outlook about this month's results.
Then the unthinkable happened.
It snowed in south Mississippi. Not just a dusting, not just flurries. I mean a good 4", up to 8" in some places. I was out in it by 7am, rolling a snowman, letting the dogs run, snapping some amazing pictures of our fruit trees covered with snow. Once I finished, I sat on the front porch looking at the frosty winterscape, skin glowing, faith renewed, feeling like anything could happen.
Just last week, I stood outside taking a picture of the most amazing sunset, thinking "He maketh me lie down in green pastures." I had been feeling so rushed and nervous lately, because I have another school program - which now has to be rescheduled thanks to the snow. So I lifted up a quick prayer after putting away the camera.
"Thanks for the sunset, and green pastures. Just give me some time to enjoy them all."
Well, the pasture wasn't green. It was white. But I'll take it!
Friday, December 5, 2008
I spoke with the GYN nurse this week. Another round of medication started this morning. That makes it my fifth. The doctor thinks we just tested too early last time, which is why all my test results showed very low progesterone levels. So, the week of Christmas will include one more trip to the office for bloodwork and another ultrasound.
I don't know if it's the medication or the "maybe this month....no?.... well, maybe next month" roller coaster that keeps me feeling so unbalanced. But I've needed some time to think through things.
For instance: In a devotion this week, the topic was "devotion", conveniently enough. And there was that reminder that your true devotion is shown to the person or activity you spend the most time, money, thought, and energy toward. If that is true - and it is - this whole babymaking scheme is really getting in the way of my devotion for the Lord. That doesn't mean I don't want to keep trying. I just have to daily remind myself to get it all in perspective. The pursuit of a child is a major life event, and it is going to require time, thought, money, and energy. But DEGREE is the issue. And I've gotten tunnel vision.
So, I've tried to take mental notes when I catch myself pining away in thought over all the medical developments (or nondevelopments), how I would decorate a nursery, various baby name combinations....and at that moment, place the entire matter back into God's hands - for the 1,000,000th time.
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my heart, it is Thine own.
Let it be Thy royal throne. - Francis Ridley Havergale