Dream Come True

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All I can say is that this was a dream come true!!! I have been wanting to run this marathon since I was 13 ūüôā I have run several half marathons, but wasn’t quite certain I would be able to make it 26.2 miles…and then I tried and was pleasantly surprised.¬† I am thankful to reach this goal…this dream of mine.¬† I am thankful my body cooperated!¬† I hope to run one again in the next few years.¬† It was too fun to not do it again!

Thank-you to Uncle Mickey and Aunt Jacque for helping me make this dream come true and for your incredible cooking and historical tour and hospitality in Savannah, GA.¬† I love you and hope to possibly see you again next fall…we’ll see!

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Hannah’s 7!!

Hannah 7 years oldWow, I never thought I could even imagine this little girl growing up. She always seemed to be that she would stay my little “apple blossom” forever.

However, at 7 she is:

INDEPENDENT, yet still needing my love, comfort, companionship, support, and guidance.

BEAUTIFUL…breathtakingly beautiful.

PEACEMAKER, always desiring unity and usually being the first to let go of a dispute, take a hand, speak gently, comfort, encourage.

COMMITTED and WONDERFUL BIG SISTER. Checking on sis, teaching sis, playing mommy games with sis, dancing with sis, helping sis, giggling with sis, dressing as twins….EMMA adores her big sister.

When Hannah was little, I often would call her “sissy.” I always saw her as Lewis’ beloved sister. And now, she shows her love, just as her big brother did to her, to her little sister. She is very family oriented. Her branches of love reach out deep into our hearts.

BRILLIANT, reading sentences at 4, and now moving onto chapter books at 6 1/2, as well as getting the best reader award in 1st grade, as well as having a plethora of vocabulary words, as well as a keen ability to learn and connect ideas.

CREATIVE: she loves crafts and collects and creates just about anything!

TALENTED: she loved to conquer and acquire new skills, she loves to cook with me, learn to sew.

VISIONARY

DANCER

OBSERVANT

FOCUSED (when she wants to be!)

DETERMINED

CONFIDENT

DEEPLY RELATIONAL

LOVE for GOD

With all these favorite qualities mentioned, I cannot forget to jot down the challenges!

* Two fingers STILL caught in the mouth occasionally.

* Stubborn beyond belief at times.

* Drama Queen with a ridiculously hilarious sense of humor.

* Yearning to know things beyond her understanding, sometimes to her harm.

She’s slowly, but surely relinquishing her strong will as she experiences God’s blessing in obedience and learns to trust in God’s goodness. A gentle, but firm hand, always watching, guides this beautiful 7 year old arrow in the direction it should go.

 

 

 

Stuck

I’ve never been in a place like this before….I’ve never had so much responsibility on my shoulders day in and day out, with life generally being quite hard, and has been hard for quite some time, with the future only getting harder.¬† In my mind, I imagine so many different possibilities, jobs I can have where I can still put my children first, every trail I chase ends in a dead end, either because of divorce proceeding regulations, the time I have to get to my job which doesn’t coincide with taking the kids to school, the time I have to pick Emma up (2pm) which coincides with the worktime of pretty much any job I can get, and the kids important after school activities, which means I cannot do anything in the evenings either…take classes, teach classes at the Y.

My faith has never been more important to remind me that God has a plan, that He is the ultimate provider, that He sees every single thing I do.¬† It is hard to see someone else get to pursue their dreams, while you constantly lay down your own, it is hard to know that I am totally being taken advantage of, it is hard to realize that other people don’t always have the sensitive conscience that I do…they just don’t care or give themselves liberties because of selfishness.¬† BUT GOD.¬† What would I do without my faith?¬† In a season like this…and I KNOW there is a light at the end of the tunnel…and hopefully, it’s a short tunnel, I could not survive without God’s continual voice and guidance to me. When I don’t hear him, I seek him, when I don’t feel Him, I pray I might feel Him more.

Like Beth Moore, I have realized that I am desperate for God.¬† We all are, but I know that somehow I was created with a huge desire to KNOW HIM.¬† I’m thankful for this everyday, I know that nothing in this world can satisfy me…really more than a few minutes at a time, or maybe a few days at a time, but rather God created me with a need for HIM.¬† And if that need is not met, just like anything else in life, where a need goes unmet for any decent amount of time, a problem arises.¬† The need has to be met.

I left this entry in the Sacred Marriage category because I wanted to remind myself I am betrothed to Christ.¬† And He doesn’t leave needs unmet.¬† But we have to do our part.¬† We have to pray, we have to seek, we have to search for Him around us.

I want Jesus to be the sweetest thing I have ever embraced.¬† The problem in my personal life is that I encounter people or situations that tempt me to lose my joy or to get angry…to deplete the full tank that just got filled up. They are reasonable things to make one angry.¬† Foolishness or apathy or laziness or ignorance can be upsetting.¬† I am learning to take all of these things in stride and just pray.¬† That’s what I did last night when I was told something that really is upsetting.¬† Not knowing things that are very important to know and being given a different answer every time is upsetting!!¬† I can look at the words spoken and dissect them and get angry because they don’t make sense or know that they could change the next day.¬† I can think of all the hardships that will come my way and all the hardships that have come my way.¬† It is in these moments where I cannot be a bonzai tree of faith, but I must grow deeper to know, God has a plan.¬† There are no concrete answers to cling to.¬† BUT, I must remember that God is sovereign and that He is in control…He can work things out in my favor no matter what, for I am a Child of God.

I am getting off subject a little here, but I’ll come back around at the end: What if there were no God?¬† Goodness knows, that is such a scary thought.¬† Sometimes, I think people buy into the atheist theology because they cannot fathom a God who allows such evil to occur all around us.¬† Others have a partial view of God where He is unable to do much about the evil in the world.¬† I think of a God who holds back so much more evil, who truly is in control, and allows Satan to work only at His nod.¬† Satan cannot do anything without God’s permission.¬† I think too, our minds are so understandably focused on the here and now of this world, but if we could see the overall perspective of life, not just life on earth, but eternal life in heaven, it truly would change our minds about so many things.

What to do about the evil in the world for today? Pray. And be sanctified by God’s Word, so that we might not bring any more evil into the world.¬† God meant for us to be family here on earth.¬† God is able to meet all of our neediness.¬† God delights in His people, we are his prized possession…but what truly brings Him joy?: When His children walk in TRUTH.

When we are stuck…and we will get stuck in this life…whether by having to make a choice and we cannot find which direction is best to go (I’ve searched MANY right now and none of them are quite the right fit)…or by being stuck in our wrong attitudes….we can get unstuck by delving into the TRUTH, memorizing the TRUTH, thereby getting the TRUTH soaked in our bones, to quote Beth Moore again, and applying the TRUTH to our lives.¬† TRUTH lifts us up out of the miry pit!!

NOW…are we unstuck and ready to go?¬† I am ready.

 

 

 

 

Just smile.

Life simply goes by much easier as we mulch on the beautiful seeds God has planted in our hearts, whether verses, promises, beautiful moments, truths we love, incredible memories…some days are filled we these and we can smile big…other days we smile knowing that circumstances can go up and down, feelings can be a false guide at times, but the Word of the Lord stands together and God‚Äôs promises stay true. I‚Äôve come to really appreciate the quiet strength and peace God gives me and other friends who rest in Jesus.

Just Smile reminds me that it is a genuine, authentic smile that should grace my lips just because I am a child of God.

In this world you will have trouble.

A little personal commentary and then some personal reflection :

I just finished watching a great movie about Abraham Lincoln’s body guard and friend and their story during his ascension to the presidency and all throughout the Civil War. ¬†I was richly encouraged to see Abraham’s real faith during this movie. ¬†I didn’t get the impression he was a man of great faith, however, the movie highlighted his “real” emotions, his many, many challenges and troubles both personally and in office. ¬†He had so many critics, yet he chose to not fear conspiracy. ¬†So many losses and casualties, yet he persevered in the “necessary war.” ¬†Truth be told, Lincoln was God’s instrument to accomplish his purpose in freeing slaves and in reconstructing a divided and wounded country. ¬†Lincoln’s life was attempted many times, but ironically, in many instances where he was almost killed, his life was spared. ¬†Others died around him, but he did not. The movie concluded that Lincoln’s faithful friend and bodyguard was chosen by the Lord to protect him and that Lincoln’s life wasn’t taken until his appointed time.

I love Lincoln’s love for his wife, in sickness and in health. ¬†I love his determination to win a worthwhile war. ¬†I love his humility. ¬†Lincoln had different advice from so many different people, all this advice came with tremendous pressure, yet Lincoln went with his own intuition, dare I say inspiration from the Lord. We are all broken people, even presidents and we need a powerful, perfect God to continually come to our aide. ¬†God does not cower at the depth of neediness of His children. ¬†He is able to fulfill our every need. ¬†This is why He chose to reveal a new name he had to Moses. ¬†He told Moses that He was revealing a new name to him, The Lord. ¬†Yahweh. ¬†It is a very reverent Name and it means The Great I Am. ¬†Before this time, He revealed Himself as the Almighty God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. ¬†Now, Yaweh, ¬†I love how God continually reveals more and more of Himself to us throughout our ever constant changing lives. ¬†He is a relational God completely able to relate with us and to help us. ¬†Our circumstances are constantly in flux so that we can learn to rest on an unchanging God.

My bible study leader shared some age-old wisdom to me last Tuesday that rung true to my ears from an old neighbor-friend, a Chaplain’s wife…we were very close and I was so grateful for our friendship in the desert in CA, she wrote to me one day after I received a somewhat disturbing phone call about Hannah’s white blood count after a recent sick doctor’s visit, telling me Hannah had lymphoma. ¬†I waited on the phone for the call back to confirm while I cleaned the house. ¬†My little girl, Hannah was 18 months. ¬†I knew in my gut, it had to be wrong. ¬†But, I wondered, “why Lord, does each day bring me so much trouble and anxiety?” ¬†Not too long after, my neighbor wrote me, typing I am certain, the words of Jesus through her writer’s hands…Dawn, “in this world you will have trouble.” ¬†She prefaced it with saying, “I know you are not going to like this!” ¬†I didn’t, but at the same time, it is comforting to know that although we will have many trials and tribulations in this world, that Jesus Christ is with us and He is a Conqueror!!! ¬†He will overcome. ¬†I prayed and received confirmation after going in for an MRI and an overnight stay in the hospital with Hannah, that it indeed was not lymphoma.

Lately, this story is coming back to my mind as my bible study leader told me these same words of Jesus last Tuesday in our personal time of sharing. ¬†I told her they rung true in my head. ¬†Although God has blessed us with amazing, loving neighbors that I am truly thankful for, I have a situation with my neighbors down below us that is testing every fiber of patience that I have. ¬†And lately, I felt desperate for a change. ¬†Have you ever felt that way? ¬†I cannot escape this problem. ¬†Our one neighbor complains of every single noise we make in our home. ¬†Even with great effort to stay as quiet as mouses all the time, the neighbors complain frequently and put forth false accusations against us, even while they make plenty of noise that I choose not to report. ¬†Along with the complaints, come a broom pounding on our floor every time we make noise. ¬†I was told by our last neighbor in Kansas, where we lived in a duplex, that we were the quietest neighbors she had ever had. ¬†How can things be so different here? ¬†I suppose it is the creaky floor, but even so, I feel as if I live on pins and needles in my home. ¬†The kids are giving their best effort to keep quiet and I am proud of them. ¬†I try to care about the people below me who I know are not the nicest people, and I attempt to honor God in my effort, but the complaints still come. ¬†I am thankful for an office management who is advocating for me. ¬†I am thankful God sees, He hears, He knows. ¬†I am praying that God deliver us from this trouble as it has been going on for months now. ¬†I feel as if I cannot have the kids often in their home and keep them out and about most of the time. ¬†I long for a stand alone home to live in where we can live normal lives and where my kids can be kids. ¬†If nothing else, they are learning to be quiet in the home. ¬†I tell them a gentle and quiet spirit is honored in God’s sight.

My question today: Do you ever feel as if you are trying to honor God, but no help is coming and you are continuing to suffer? ¬†I believe in this situation, God wants me to continue to honor Him and to wait for His help. ¬†I am praying this one neighbor changes or that God would move them on to another place! ¬†I also pray for my heart to be patient and trust God. ¬†Jesus sure did encounter a lot of opposition. ¬†One thing I love about Him was that he knew how to fight battles and He always won whenever hearts were willing. And when hearts weren’t willing, He moved onto battles that could be won. ¬†We cannot pursue those who don’t want to be won for Christ. ¬†But God has a plan always and I trust in His plan.

As I pray for resolution and trust that God cares for me intimately and intricately, I feel peace already. ¬†You see, I am naturally a fighter. ¬†But, I am learning to be a prayer warrior and to surrender. ¬†It goes against my DNA. ¬†But, I am learning. ¬†Perhaps this is a test. ¬†I hope I can pass and see God’s deliverance ūüôā

 

My True Love

I thought this was beautiful to mentally chew on the past few days. ¬†What a beautiful picture of true love. ¬†Isn’t this what we desire to the core of our beings? ¬†Isn’t this what we WANT to give?

This is God’s AGAPE LOVE vs even the best of human love:

Below is a my favorite excerpt from a book I just finished by Max Lucado called “A Love Worth Giving.”

“Our love depends on the receiver of the love. ¬†Let a thousand people pass before us, and we will not feel the same about each. Our love will be regulated by their appearance, by their personalities. Even when we find a few people we like, our feelings will fluctuate. How they treat us will affect how we love them. The receiver regulates our love.

Not so with the love of God. ¬†We have no thermostatic impact on his love for us. The love of God is born from within Him, not from what he finds in us. His love is uncaused and spontaneous. As Charles Wesley said, “He hath loved us. He hath loved us. Because He would love.”

Does he love us because of our goodness? Because of our kindness? Because of our great faith? No, he loves us because of His goodness, kindness and great faith. John says it like this: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us.” (1 John 4:10 NIV)

Doesn’t this thought comfort you? God’s love does not hinge on yours. ¬†The abundance of your love does not increase his. ¬†The lack of your love does not diminish his. ¬†Your goodness does not enhance his love, nor does your weakness dilute it. What Moses said to Israel is what God says to us:

The Lord did not choose you and lavish his love on your because you were larger or greater than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! It was simply because the Lord loves you. (Deut. 7:7-8 NLT)

God loves you simply because He has chosen to do so. He loves you when you don’t feel lovely. He loves you when no one else loves you. Others may abandon you, ignore you, divorce you, but God will love you. Always. No matter what.

This is His sentiment: “I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies. I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved.” (Rom 9:25 MSG).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do you know THIS kind of love?  If you do, have you had a taste of it and are left longing for much more?

I think this is where I find myself. ¬†Having drunk from the cistern many times of God’s unfathomable love…in all the ways He desires to lavish His love on me…I am always yearning for more. ¬†It is just a kind of love we cannot find in human hearts. ¬†We cannot even expect to find it in human hearts, nor make them feel bad if they cannot give it. ¬†It is impossible for us to love perfectly here on earth, but I truly want to learn from my Creator how to love as best I can. ¬†I want to love like Him. ¬†And I want to submit to love those people He is bringing in my life right now…my “oikos.”

Do you know what the most beautiful part of this message is to me? ¬†We can drink from the cistern of God’s love as often as we need or want to. ¬†His Word is full of His love, there are so many Godly books written about His love…and God brings beautiful people in our lives to show us here and there about His love.

In the book it asks you at the end, have you received enough love in your life to know how to give it? ¬†Perhaps we don’t receive the kind of love from this person or that person that we desire to have or even need to have from them….BUT I know in my life this has always been true: I’ve always felt God’s tangible hand of deep love on my life. ¬†It is the one aspect of Himself that he pours continually into me. ¬†It’s almost as if He knows this is what I need from Him more than anything else. ¬†Provision. ¬†Well, I have to trust Him. ¬†Protection, I pray often for. ¬†Healing, yes when I can tangibly see my heart or body needs healing, I pray. ¬†Strength, and courage…I pray daily for…But…LOVE….HOPE…..I cannot live without. ¬†I have to constantly walk through each moment of my days absolutely CERTAIN I am loved and there is HOPE in every area of my life because JESUS is alive!!!

 

 

 

Rest

Our sermon series right now is on heaven. How beautiful, how pertinent. How wonderful it is to view all that we go through in this short life in the light of eternity. ¬†It really puts everything in perspective. I thank God for the moments here on earth when I get to experience heaven. The genuine love of my children, love from friends, a bible study where the leader is FULL of the Holy Spirit. The beauty in my children’s eyes…in their hearts to love and serve one another.

I try to explain to them that the things of this world that surround them can never truly satisfy them. They hunger, they thirst. All I can do as a mom, besides give them great nutritional meals, help them physically, mentally, and spiritually, is continue to point them to Christ. To His example. To their creator. They are yearning to understand…themselves, the world around them, and God’s purpose for their life. To say a mom’s job is impossible is an understatement. We simply cannot do this without God. As Scripture states, “apart from me, you can do nothing.” I’ve experienced this to be true. It’s something to be incredibly grateful for:

1) Our immovable spot in heaven, the free gift of our salvation.

2) God with us, Immanuel

3) The Gospel message which sets us both free and gives us joy to keep moving forward, knowing we can trust an unshakable God and swim free from sin in God’s ocean of mercy and forgiveness and grace.

In this knowledge we can truly REST.

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.

Love

1st day at Disney, Magic Kingdom, Jesus loves you written in the sky

I loved this. ¬†Our first day of Disney. ¬†Although I lost my voice, I could look up to the sky and see His name spelled out for me to focus on, to know His great love for me. ¬†As we danced to the Disney parade that just came around as we just arrived at Magic Kingdom, the rest of the words, “Jesus loves you.” were spelled out by an airplane. ¬†I pointed the kids eyes up to the sky. ¬†I truly felt the Lord provide this trip for us as a culmination of a long, hard year…we needed Disney this year in 2017. ¬†And through clapping and 3 amazing kids who stayed close to me the whole week (mostly) and paid such close attention to mommy’s claps…I quickly realized that what the enemy intended for harm (sickness), God allowed to show me that all I needed to get these sweet kiddos to listen was my hands. ¬†And we had a week full of blessings and surprises. ¬†Thank-you Jesus for yourself. ¬†And thank-you for Disney.

Our Comforter

This word comfort is showing up often lately for me. As I sit here in my car charging my phone so I can take pictures of my kids and Girl Scouts for Field Day, I am doing my devotion and it is about comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 says that God comforts us…so¬†that we can comfort those in any trouble.

I take from this verse that we need to remember how God has comforted us that we may use this same comfort for others. That this will be a ministry for all of us woven throughout our lives. I love encouraging others and comforting others, but I want to know how best to comfort each one of them individually.

I pray I can be of encouragement to someone today, that I might be in a posture to comfort well.

 

 

Write…Purpose for this summer.

All my life I have loved writing.  From the time I was 8, I was journaling pretty much every day.  It is how I understand life.  It is how I express myself.  It is how I sort out what I think, feel, and want out of life.  It is a way to document.  A way to process and also get perspective on hard days.

This summer, I want to either write a book or write a bible study.  There are so many topics that flood my mind, I just need clarification from God as to where He wants me to begin.  I need this purpose to be from God.  Not for or from me.  It has to BEGIN with Him, be INSPIRED by Him and be FOR Him.

Lord, I pray that you give me a topic to start on and help my hands take off on all that you want to say, speak, and do through my simple hands and mind. ¬†Lord, give me VISION…let me be your instrument. ¬†Amen.