Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Little Climber

There's a little girl who loves to climb a tree

"Granddad, I can do it if you can help me ...

Watch me, Granny, I can go so high ...

I think I can really touch the sky!"

Up to the leaves, she has so much fun!

Until all too soon, this climb was all done ...

Searching to see if more trees were around, she surely is Our Little Climber.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sufficient Grace ... In Abundance

A few weeks ago I saw this post on Twitter by Andy Stanley:  
 “Grace is never enough. Grace is always more than enough.”  
And then I started thinking about God's amazing grace.

Grace is an invisible gift from God that – 
we can’t see … we can’t touch … we can’t hear … 
we can’t smell … we can’t taste.   
It’s not something we can hoard or save … it’s not something we can literally give to others …
it’s really not even something we can “explain”.

However, we can …

            See young widowed Mommy put one foot in front of the other as she raises her daughter whose Daddy never held her in his arms before he became our nation’s hero.

            Feel every hug & kiss from a young child whose hands and face are sticky from her pear juice and banana popsicles, but she just wants to be close to those who give her love and security.

            Hear the sounds of nature through the calls of animals, the wind blowing through the trees, the rustling of flowing water in rivers ... the nature made by the same Creator God who created man in His own image.   

            Smell the fresh blooms of renewal in the springtime as God reveals His promise after a long cold season of winter.

            Taste each breath of air as God allows us to inhale and exhale -- our every breath is only taken by the grace of God.   

God in His infinite wisdom and power gives us His grace exactly when we need it.  Paul tells us in  
II Corinthians 12:9 “And He (God) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

This verse is not to say that God “rations out” grace.  He doesn’t look at us and say “you’ll only need a drop of grace for this situation, but maybe a larger portion for the next time.”  Even His most sufficient grace is always given in abundance, and there’s always an endless supply.
It also hit me on my way to church this morning that God is saying 
“don’t look for any other way to get through this situation.  
My grace will lead you through.   
I will surround you with people who will give you support and encouragement during the trying times. 
I will give you strength to go forward even on the days when you think you can’t take another step. 
I AM ” 

And grace is my prayer.  I had shared that the life of my hometown “Coach” had been taken on New Years Eve.  Yesterday morning I learned that his daughter – my childhood friend – lost her courageous battle with breast cancer that had spread in a relatively short amount of time.  She left this world just 23 days after her dad’s death, and just one month before she would celebrate her 47th birthday. 
This hits me hard.  
 Perhaps because we started our first year of school together & continued to stay in class with each other for many years to follow…
perhaps because we're both Mothers ...  
perhaps in her delight over my granddaughter Lucy ...
perhaps because we had lost touch with other over the past 30 years, but reconnected on Facebook & I had the privilege of walking beside her through this journey over the past year and a half (even if just over the Internet) ... 

 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.  Romans 12:15 

Heaven certainly gained a courageous angel, my friend.
May the grace of God surround your family … 
your children, your Mother, your brother, your sister & all your family members … 
your friends whether close or over cyberspace … 
your acquaintances … 
and everyone whose life you ever touched. 
You are already missed here on earth, my dear friend, 
but I am so thankful that your pain and suffering are behind you.   
‘Til we meet again on God’s side of heaven … 
we who are here on earth will press forward in His grace.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  Revelation 21:4

And grace will lead us home …

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dancing in the Minefields

Granddad & I are coming upon our 27th anniversary this spring and I can honestly say that our love isn't the same as what it was 27 years ago.  

It's deeper ... it's more appreciative ... it's more steadfast
Married life is the only "way of life" that either of us know.  I was 19 and he was 22 when we eloped.  Just two kids and not a clue what was in front of us.  But God has blessed us more than we ever imagined when we first started our journey together. 
Below is the official video of Andrew Peterson's Dancing in the Minefields that was the closing of our church service this past Sunday. What a beautiful description of how marriage is not just between two people ... but marriage is built on Jesus Christ.

For the past couple of days I've reflected on the many changes that we have seen in our marriage and in each other over the past 27 years.  
And I am so very thankful to sail through life's storms with my husband --- my best friend --- my rock.

Dancing in the Minefields

Well I was 19, you were 21
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much too young
But we did it anyway
We got the rings for 40 each from a pawnshop down the road
We said our vows and took the leap now 15 years ago

We went dancing in the minefields

We went sailing in the storms
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for

Well "I do" are the two most famous last words

The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I've heard is a good place to begin
'Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price for the life that we have found

And we're dancing in the minefields

We're sailing in the storms
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for
That's what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me

When I lose loves chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith to the end of all my days
when I forget my name, remind me

'Cause we bear the light of the Son of man

So there's nothing left to fear
So I'll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear
'Cause He promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of this chaos baby,
I can dance with you

So lets go dancing in the minefields

Lets go sailing in the storms
Oh, lets go dancing in the minefields
And kicking down the doors
Oh, lets go dancing in the minefields
And sailing in the storms
Oh, this is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for
That's what the promise is for
And we will continue to dance in the minefields ... together.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Prayers Needed ...

This New Year of 2011 has met me on my knees since I woke up 
January 1st.  
My original "New Year" post has been written & rewritten ... in my head. 
But when it comes to putting it on paper or on my laptop screen --- well, that's a different story. 

But right now, friends, there's a young mother in a hospital who is fighting for her life.  You can follow her blog(her husband & family have been posting updates) at The Simple Wife.  Joanne suffered a major stroke yesterday morning (January 11), and has been through surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain.  Her family waits for her to wake up.  You can also followher husband on Twitter for regular updates. 

On New Year's morning, I awoke to find private messages in my Facebook inbox. All with the same devastating news regarding my hometown high school coach/guidance counselor/mentor --- his life came to a tragic end in his home on New Year's Eve.  His daughter is a childhood friend of mine who found me on Facebook awhile back.  
She continues her battle from breast cancer that has spread ... 

Baby Brody continues his uphill battle from entering our world three months premature ... 

Friends battling terminal illness ...

   Loss of loved ones ...

But One True God whose Grace abounds to hold us in His loving arms.  
We may not understand the ways of God, but we can trust Him.  

Psalm 27
Of David.
1The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,a
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
3Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.
4One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
5For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
6Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.
7Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8My heart says of you, “Seek hisb face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.
9Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.
10Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.
11Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.
13I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
14Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

(Special acknowledgment to Angie at Bring the Rain for her post for prayers for Joanne.  Also for the special inclusion of Psalm 27)