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Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh What a Glorious Day!

All morning I have had a few lines from a song we sang at church rolling around in my head.
They are simply

Oh what a glorious day
What a glorious way
That You have saved me

I know I don't meditate often enough on the sheer magnificence of salvation. Glorious must be one of the best words to describe it. I have been purchased, bought off the slave block, free from a life that would end in death.
Has life been perfect ever since? Absolutely not. Even in the week past I have had struggles. I have not been perfect. The greatest security. The greatest peace and joy I have is a promise. A promise that by faith I have been saved.
I have tried to live a life once that was dependent upon myself and my own knowledge. I hoped I could find some sort of peace in myself, maybe in someone else. I was completely miserable.
It is not about the day to day feelings that are ever changing. It is that at the end of each day I can embrace grace. You can't figure it out, and it won't make much sense at all until you embrace it. Oh what a glorious day and what a glorious way He will save when you take that step.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Passport Hoops

The ever elusive passport will be one step closer to me after today. It is hard for me to believe that it has been nine years since I left this country. Nine years! Of course overseas travel can be a bit pricey, so I have not always been motivated to get my passport renewed, but I finally feel I am at a time in my life to get it done. I just wish they didn't make it so difficicult just because I had a tiny change in my life called getting married and having my name changed. Come on people over half the country does this so why make me start from scratch? Never the less the idea started at the beginning of last year. Being the frugal person I am I kept finding reasons why I should push back dropping the $100+ it would take to get everything done.

Christmas came and all I wanted was my passport. Chris has now set aside $100 in the budget every month until I get it done. I started off filling out the paperwork online and printing so everything would be nice, neat, and legible. Then a couple of weeks later I got around to getting my photos made. I was really proud of how much progress I was making. Chris told me that my birth certificate was safely stored and to just let him know when I needed it. I finally realized that the post office makes it almost impossible to drop off passport applications on the weekend so I decided that I would just take it in at lunch one day. I was so excited and proud that I would finally have this accomplished. My hopes were dashed last week when I went to get the birth certificate my mom had given me. I realized what she had was only the hospital copy, and not the actual county issued certificate. She was not sure where the official one was so I realized I was at the mercy of the government once again. I found myself filling out more paperwork, copying more documents, and writing another check so that I can have my birth certificate mailed to me. Today the paperwork will be mailed off to the Oklahoma Department of Vital Statistics. The worst part of it all is that it will take up to four weeks just to get that mailed back.

I am not planning a trip at the moment, but I am so far into this that I just want to be done with it. So if the government timetables are a best estimate, I should be looking at receiving a passport in 2-3 months. Yay me! You can be sure I will be planning a trip just to celebrate this grand achievement. I see the euro is on its way down. Maybe that trip to Europe isn't so far fetched after all!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blessing Our Children

Somewhere between the stern mom looks, the panicked shrieks of, "what did you do?", and the daily mom admonishments for proper growth and training I try to squeeze in an, "I love you" or an "I'm so proud of you." I love my kids dearly, but moms know that the day to day reality of running a home can cause the sweet dream of a family from the Truman show to melt in puddles of toys and dirty laundry.

On any particular evening I find myself frazzled with cooking, cleaning, refereeing, or just trying to spend time with two children who love to compete for attention. More often than not this is followed by raised voices and frustration. What's a mom to do when there are so many demands and so little time? I believe the answer lies directly in one practice, and that is blessing our children. I'm not talking about buying toys or empty praise. This practice is simply looking at our children as God sees them, and taking the time to verbally speak blessing to them and over them.

I will attest that this does not create perfect children, but what a joy they are to me when I stop looking at minute circumstance of raising children and realize the God given gifts He has placed in my care. I have been reading the story in the Bible about Deborah with Kaylie. I continually pray over her that she will have a greater revelation of her destiny. I pray that she will grow to be a mighty woman of God. Yesterday we were driving down the road and Kaylie told Chris, I am going to be a woman of God, and Micah will be a man of God. My heart could only smile.
Micah is still young, and it can be hard to sit an active toddler down for anything. I take many evenings when he is quieting down to just rock him, pray over him, and speak blessings over his life. In those moments, when he is drifting between reality and the land of dreams, there is such a peace that settles over the room.

I know they do not fully understand the meaning of everything that is said, but so often I believe we underestimate the power of words. It is not unheard of to see children or even adults who have low self esteem and no purpose in life. More often than not you can look at a history of verbal abuse. Sometimes it is not as intentional as we think. Sometimes it as simple as saying hurtful words when we are frustrated. It can be neglecting to show our children their true value in our eyes and the eyes of God. Words have power. Life and death to be more precise. I had a teacher in middle school who was always encouraging us to speak life to one another. Today I encourage you as you go about your routine to take a moment and speak life over your kids. Blessing our children has power.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Coming Out of a Cave

It is over a month into the new year and this is my first post. I apologize to the couple of readers who may have been disappointed. It has been an interesting start to the year. Upon leaving the last year with great joy and anticipation, I felt as though a great cloud came over me. The first day of the new year I was greeted with the news that an old friend from Starbucks days had passed away. It was completely unexpected, and hard to grasp. We all know the fragility of life, but when we stare it straight in the face the reminder is only that much more startling. The month of January became a very tumultuous time. Our family was sick for about two weeks which only added to the doldrums. I cannot truly describe what I experienced. It almost felt like depression. I simply felt lonely. Each day of cold weather only mirrored the damp feeling I had in my heart. We all have points in our life where we stop to take inventory of where we are and what we have accomplished. I simply felt weak and for lack of a better word, unaccomplished. I was in a cave, hidden from the world.

It is amazing to me the places God leads us. It was a tough month. I did not write because I literally felt empy in soul and spirit. A funny thing about these times in the cave is the moment of realization that the cave is not as empty as I thought. In that month I really began to feel the sweet comfort of God as He came to build a fire and wrap a warm blanket around my heart. It is in the destitute moment, the realization again of our stripped bare human condition, that we are once again able to receive the grace for which Jesus shed his blood. One verse that kept me going and really comforted my heart is found in Isaiah 49

15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child
And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. "

How can you not read this and not weep? How precious we are to the Lord. Even in our weakest state He does not forget. I try to go outside of myself to look down upon my life. I see myself as simple, plain, unadorned, just another person on this stage of life.
The Father looks down and what He sees is through rose colored glasses as many would say. He sees through the blood of His son. His thoughts towards me and you are full of love. He only leads us to the deserted land so that He can shower His love upon our lives. I often say, " but God what about the plans for me, what about the great things I want to do for you?"
Almost no parent can simply forget their child, let alone their great hopes and plans for that child. God says even they may forget, but He will not forget you. This love is so awesome I cannot stand it.

Thank you reader that are still with me. I really needed this time away to process and just be refreshed. I appreciate any readership I get so I will try to be a good blogger. I hope this time away has given me new ideas and a more refined approach to the craft.
May the rest of your week be full of love and enoucouragement, and if you are finding yourself in that cold dark cave keep your heart soft.