Sunday, November 8, 2009

Oooh! It's been a while.

So many things have happened in the past 4 months. School has started up again. I actually have a 2nd grader who does 15 min of homework in 3 hrs avg, a kindergartener who wants to be able to do everything his 2nd gr brother does, and a pre-schooler who grunts for everything. Love it, love it, love it! The boys are starting to mature and relate to eachother differently now... only brothers can relate in such a way. Life is never dull. In fact, it seems to be invigorated by their own personal challenges:

Jonathan and Mason are taking music lessons from Rob(my husband) once a week on Bethel College campus. Jonathan is learning the cello, while Mason is on the 1/8th size violin. Taking lessons on campus helps them pay attention a little more, although Rob would wonder as they have had the "I don't want to!" attitude multiple times. He somehow expects it, having gone through it(the musical discaplines) himself. He loves the boys through it, and has a way of winning them over to complete the lesson, or at least complete a lesson on a positive note. Something for which I have been praying to accomplish with lessons on homework and chores! God's grace is there and we're still a work in progress!

The boys have also been in YMCA swim lessons this fall. They just completed the first set of lessons, and I signed them up for a 2nd before the holidays hit and Upwards basketball starts. They are improving beautifully in the pool. Their fears and timidations have quickly turned to pride... sometimes a bit too much... nearing arrogance. Not just w/swimming either. The other day one said, "I don't need to take lessons anymore, because I already KNOW how to swim!" hmmm. Now I am praying for humility... in MY life! Is it a reflection, or just a natural desire to mature and feel confidence in abilities? Either way, I'm still praying for a genuine humility(for all of us in the family).

Speaking of humility, since the summer, the Lord has challenged me in many ways. Where to spend my time, energy and money. Mostly, He is teaching me to spend prime-time with Him consistantly in His Word, memorizing, and praying. I've been feeling our Christian heritage is under attack in today's ever increasing, hostility and anti-Christ culture. He is gently speaking me about making myself available and ready to pass on the basics of the Christian faith and encourage others to do the same(discipleship). 2 Timothy 2:22 What a priviledge to do this!

So I was challenged to step out in faith and NOT participate in MOPS at my church this year, which is a big thing for me. I knew the Lord had said a clear "no," and the only reason I got was that there were other things He wanted me to do. I knew it was spending time with college students, but I wasnt sure if there were other things. Mentoring and discipling female students is where I get excited and extreemly ignited for Christ. Praying together, seeing individuals grow in closer relationship with Jesus... there is nothing more rewarding.

When the Lord told me not to do MOPS this year, I assumed it meant I was to do College ministry. Now the doors are opening to do some ministry with another group of women I have had a burden for: single young mothers.

In our area there is a support group much like a MOPS but specifically for single moms. I got conntected to this group and met the coordinator and found out how much they needed consistant volunteers and leaders. So, I prayed briefly about it and felt very certain and at peace to jump in and serve. My 3 sons can come with me to the meetings, we eat together and we pretty much serve together. I love that my boys can participate, pray and be involved in this with me. But I am most excited about the relationships beginning to form with the single moms and what God might do with that. New pages and adventures are yet to be written...

My prayer:
Lord, each day is a gift from you. May I not waste it. Each relationship and friendship is from you. May I not waste it. Each opportunity to share Your love, forgiveness and grace is available each day. May I take it. Each day is a miracle. Please help my unbelief. You do miracles each day, and I want to be part of them, no matter how big or small. May you recieve all the glory for anything good in my life... You are the life in me.

Dear sons, thank you for being you. Each day brings joys and challenges and I am so happy to walk through them with you and Jesus. I just want to point you to Him. He is the only One who satisfies. He is the One who teaches you what love is. I'm your mommy, although weak and imperfect, He gave you to me as a gift. It is through you that I learn God's love for me... I couldn't think of loving anyone more, but that is who God is. He loves you more. Press on in the faith, be overcomers, humble and yet confident and strong in the Lord. He is your strength. Run hard after Him. He is the Ultimate gift. The Ultimate prize. He is worth everything and more.

Thanking God for you today,

Monday, June 15, 2009

JUNE '09: There's alot goin' on 'round here!

*We had our siding changed completely to a new, glorious color: grey!

*Half the roof had to be changed too, due to last year's ice storm. I'm so thankful the insurance co. said it was ok to change the color and do the whole house! Thank you, Lord!

*We installed a ceiling fan and some lights in the living room! This winter will be delightful! haha!

*Our family invited two new additions to the family: hamsters! And the two shall become... not one, but potentially 10+ within a week or 2.

*My hubby is trying to finish writing a book by the end of June. Go Hubby!

*We completed a Backyard Bible Club (which my hubby heroicly helped out, and therefore set him back on his book). 15 kids hung out, sang songs, heard stories about Jesus, eat lots of snacks and got whip cream in the face... and loved it!

*My boys just started swim lessons this week. Which, btw, it finally feels like summer! PTL!

*I ran the Sunburst for the 3rd time in 5 years. Hall of Fame to Notre Dame! Yea!

*The fish died yesterday.

*The fish will be replaced... soon?

*A small, stray dog came by last night. The boys wanted to name it Beethovan bc of the movie. They really tried hard to talk Rob into keeping it as our own. Rob and I were able to convince the boys we needed to search for the rightful owners first, so we asked them how they would feel if someone found their hamster and wouldn't return it to them. They agreed to search for the owners. The next morning, the boys took it for a walk and found them. The lady was crying hysterically and said she had a $200 reward for it and planned to give it to us. I cannot tell you how excited the boys were when they heard about the reward money. You could say they really felt like heroes, with a fantastic reward.
*Rob said for the first time ever, that he was willing to get a dog!!!!!! (with the reward money)

*We are seriously considering it!

*On a more serious note, I just had the humbling honor of shaving a friend's head due to chemo treatments. She said if I ever needed my head shaved she would offer to do it for me in return... I told her she had the job.

*Our church has a Father/Son camping & canoeing trip set for this weekend. The boys are stoked. They are really stoked bc I promised to buy pop-tarts for them for the first time just for this trip. But I know they really want to go just to be with their daddy. Food is up there, but daddy is wayyyy up there, if you know what I mean.

*A graduated Bethel student will be moving into our basement at the end of June for an undetermined time.

*We're reaping a bountiful harvest of strawberries, romaine lettuce and chives in our garden right now. Zucchini, cherry tomatoes(both red and yellow) and potatoes are soon coming! And so far, no wild pests!

Well, that's all I can think of for now. Whew! There's alot goin' on around here!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fire Hydrant

So, what's your fire hydrant?

My fire hydrant is my finish line, the goal I want to reach at the end of every practice run. Each time I start my run, its an adventure. Its full of anticipation. Full of hope. Maybe I'll adventure onto a new running path or bump into someone I know. Maybe the adventure entails the anticipation of a great new unexpected day ahead of me. I have the hope that today will be the day I'll start to drop the stubborn 15lbs after all those Christmas cookies. Well, that is at least ONE goal of mine.

I do know one thing. I'll quite literally run into things, people or situations that were meant to be. I was meant to see or do certain things on each run. These things tend to remind me of other things, situations or persons from my past or present. Remembering and recalling things is a theme on my runs. Sometimes its remembering that I have dishes to wash when I get home. Or laundry that needs folding after sitting on the couch all week. Yea, its true. I need to remember to do those things, I guess.

But remembering can be a good thing. Its the promises of God I try to remember most on my runs. Like,

Proverbs 18:10~The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous RUN to it and are safe.
Isaiah 40:31~but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will RUN and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Psalm 85:8~ I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints— but let them not return to folly.

I TRY to remember to bring a verse with me on my runs in order to meditate on them and memorize. I love it when I do. I forget the promises so easily.

When I don't bring a verse, I try to remember as many previously memorized verses I can remember... which is pretty challenging cause I have this memory problem I call selective memory syndrome. I tend to gravitate toward the ablity to remember the bad things more than the good or true things. Why is that?

So anyway, when I go on a run, I sometimes see things that remind me of verses or passages in the Bible. Sometimes its symbolical. Sometimes its as silly as a fire hydrant. Which is what I wanted to write my first blog about; a silly, lemon-bright colored fire hydrant.

I get emotional about this hydrant. It's weird, but I do.
There is something about it God has used in my life to spur me on in faith, in the Holy Spirit.

I remember the first time I used it as a finishing point. I was training for the half marathon in Chicago a couple years ago. I started asking myself these questions:
What in Scripture represents the Holy Spirit? yep, water.
What is the fire hydrant the source of? Water.
So, the bright yellow hydrant reminds me of the Holy Spirit and God's powerful truth.
What is the hydrant used for? To put out fires, right?
Fires to me are like the lies I tend to believe about myself or my situations in life. (I'm not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, I don't have enough, not fast enough, etc)
It's like I need the truth to douse the fire, rush in and save me from the burning house!
If the Holy Spirit speaks God's Truth and God says in His word that He washes us with the Water of His Word(which is Truth), how symbolic is that yellow hydrant now?

It's powerful to me!

This hydrant is my finish line for each practice run. Once I catch a glimps of it, something within me clicks and I run harder and faster and stronger. I remember the Twila Paris song, "fix your eyes on Jesus..." who is the author and perfector of our faith. I remember the words my youth pastor said repeatedly, "Never quit!" I also remember those who have gone before me in the race of life. Those who ran a great start and a poor finish. But I also recall stories or know real people who had a poor start and a great finish. This hydrant represents to me the truth I will face at the end of my life. Keith Green says it well, "I want to hear Him say, Well done! Not, well run, or, you sure had a good time! I'm glad you did!'"

So lately, each time I finish my run I have been quite emotional, even weeping over the hydrant. I've been crying out to Him and asking the Lord to help me be an overcomer today... one who runs strong race but an even stronger finish. One who overcomes the enemy and trials of life today but who looks forward to the life to come. It's at the hydrant I am doused with even more hope, more anticipation and even more of a sense of adventure. Why?

When I see the finish flag I want to run hard and fast! For I know it is those who overcome who will be with Jesus in the end.

Revelation 2:7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Revelation 2:17He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

Revelation 2:26To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—

Revelation 3:5He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

Revelation 3:12Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

Revelation 3:21To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Revelation 21:7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Hebrews 12:1[ God Disciplines His Sons ] Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us RUN with perseverance the race marked out for us.