Wholly Committed… Even When it Means Total Destruction

Today’s Hot Drink of Choice: Orange Passionfruit Jasmine Green Tea (because it’s a hot drink my husband will sip right along with me)

Today’s Scripture: “By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” – Hebrews 11:9-10

Tents today look much different from Noah’s time.

New York Skyline

Sometimes I wonder what the heroes of the Christian faith would do if they were plopped right down in the middle of one of today’s larger cities. I think they would be overwhelmed, but I don’t think they would be phased. Noah floated around for days on the most horrific natural disaster ever recorded. He put his faith in God and found dry land. Despite the destruction, he was, as those of us with an athletic background say, “all in.” Moses interceded on behalf of his family in front of the most powerful man in the world at the time. He put his faith in God for deliverance and watched amazing events take place, including an entire sea parting before his eyes so he could reach safe ground. David stepped up to challenge something that struck fear into everyone else around him. He put his faith in God and brought down a giant of a man with one small stone.

I don’t think our Bible heroes would be phased by a little steel. When difficult terrain has already been faced and victory already won, faith does not easily give way to fear when the next challenge occurs.

The picture above was taken on a recent trip to New York City I made with my husband of almost ten years. Both of us will tell you our relationship is founded on very strong faith. We started out the “right” way and did everything by the Christian book, if you will. When we got married, we put our individual pasts on God’s altar and vowed to love each other as God loved us while we moved forward together. In fact, one of the most tangible demonstrations I have of God’s grace comes from my husband’s acceptance of me despite my past. As often happens with many marriages, however, trial came our way. Huge obstacles presented themselves. Our foundation was rocked. Some things crumbled. In fact, in 2007, our marriage was almost destroyed completely. But God reached in and reconstructed what was damaged.

Most Americans can still vividly remember where they were when planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centers. Our country bounced back, however. The result is more powerful than the prior buildings. In the picture above, the Freedom Tower (the building with the tall spire) is hard to miss. It is the most complete of the construction projects built to replace the two buildings destroyed in the attacks on American on 9/11 of 2001. It towers above the rest of the New York City landscape. To me, the Freedom Tower is also a direct representation of what has happened in my marriage.

At this time, details of the destruction are the wrong place to focus in either case. What is important, however, is what has been rebuilt in its place. The monument in memory of those who lost their lives in the 2001 attacks is powerful and poignant. The same is true in a different way in my marriage. Personally, I was called to stick around despite my own heartache, remember God’s promises, pursue healing, and watch the new creation (overseen by the Master Architect) happen. I’d be lying if I said everything was perfect today. It’s not. It is, however, stronger and more beautiful than it was before. I was reminded of that even earlier today in a conversation with a friend.

Yes, my trust in God, marriage, and my husband were rocked because of the events that occurred some years ago. No, I didn’t handle everything absent of fear. I did, however, listen to the deeper level of commitment God called me to as a result of weathering a huge terror attack on my marriage. It’s a committment of putting God and his plans first instead of operating out of hurt or distrust. It’s an awareness of my surroundings and confidence in God’s deliverance when the going gets crazy. It’s shrugging off the temptation to glance backwards and instead gaze forward to the gorgeous landscape He’s already allowed to spring up in front of me. It’s remaining wholly committed despite what some have suggested as an alternative. It’s praying for my husband when I feel like retreating into the hole left by the devastation. It’s looking up when I feel like I might get dragged down again. Freedom Tower

My committment in my marriage is all of these things and more, and to me it’s a living, breathing picture of Christ and the church because of the heartache, because of the pain, and because of the new creation that’s happened.

What about you? What is one area you have persevered in and seen something unexpected and beautiful emerge? Please share. I’m here to pray for and encourage you. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Signature

 

 

The Power of Mom’s Voice

Today’s Coffee of Choice: Everyday Gourmet’s City Roast (in honor of a finished journey of reading, leading, and learning through a book called Unglued)

Today’s Scripture: “But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:16, NLT (My mom’s favorite verse.)

“Read to me, Mommy.”

Two of my kids uttered these words from two separate rooms last night WAY past their bedtime. I’m a sucker for a story, so I pulled Hans Christen Anderson’s Wonderful Stories for Children up on my Android. Yes, times have changed from when I was younger, but I love that good stories can access more places and people now. When that did the trick for my oldest son (whose snore, by the way, could wake Rip Van Winkle), I moved on to Beatrix Potter for my youngest. He loves the story of Peter Rabbit. I think it’s because he shares a mischievous streak with the young bunny. He didn’t fall asleep. He wanted it read again and again.

My memorization skills don’t work nearly as well these days as they did when I was required to memorize chunks of Chaucer, Yeats, and other influential writers during my college years, but I can still recite the first and last lines of Peter Rabbit quite well. Peter Rabbit was one of my mom’s favorite stories to read to me, and I can still hear the lilt of her voice in my mind as an adult.

Now that I have my own children and can revive the good stories I discovered as a girl, I find I’m able to seal many moments of joy I had when I was younger into my heart and memory. Unfortunately, as so many reading this can probably relate to, joy sometimes escapes us due to whatever hard, unexpected trial life brings. We often cannot control the things that come at us, but we can learn to focus on the joy of the beauty God can bring from the ashes. Each moment we experience shines with a glitter all its own, and finding joy is just a matter of directing our gaze toward the sparkle. I’ve learned I can’t go wrong when I’m reading amazing stories to my kids and focusing on serving up some of God’s love to them in the process.

As promised in my last post, I will be doing what I will call summer reading highlights over the next several months. I’ll be whimsical. I’ll highlight some of the books my kids love. I’ll highlight classics. I’ll highlight works by friends (some have who asked me and some who I just love to plug). I’ll highlight good beach reads. I’ll also stay open to suggestions from you, my readers, and, as usual, I’ll keep God at the forefront. I hope you’ll stay plugged in and provide feedback throughout this journey. There will be some giveaways along the way you won’t want to miss!

Thanks for reading!

Signature

 

Five Minute Fridays: Here

Today’s Coffee of Choice: Sheetz decaf with a friend

Today’s Scripture: “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” – Psalm 73:28 (NIV)

I’ve hit the jackpot this week by finding some very proactive, creative blogs. I’ve recently found a blogger that facilitates a five minute flash mob writing prompt on Fridays. I love it! To learn more, you can click on the link at the bottom of what I came up with in today’s five minutes. I must admit, it’s hard for this writer who tries to be so polished in her day job to follow their no editing guidelines. However, it’s good to be raw every once in awhile. Happy reading, and, if you choose to join in, happy writing!

Here

My boys love riding their bikes. They are so carefree on them, so determined to feel the rush of the wind they create. They are so full of life.

I got a phone call from my mom this morning. There was good news and bad news and news we don’t quite know about yet. I was once again reminded of the circle of life.

I love that my boys haven’t faced too much life yet. Life can be hard. Sometimes our tires blow and we accidentally run over flowers in the flower bed.

Life can also be so good. Living life with God has taught me that. Unexpected gifts of flowers picked by my boys on their bike rides with their dad has taught me that.

So, today I’m choosing to park my bike here beside the flowers. I’m choosing to bend down and take a huge whiff. I’m choosing to rest in the gifts of God. And I’m choosing to give it all I’ve got when I ride out… for the sake of my boys, my mom, and the countless others I care about.

I didn’t come up with a whole lot during this five minutes, but, believe you me, I was smelling the flowers as I wrote.

A Dollop of Prayer

Today’s Drink of Choice: Purple Acai and Blueberry Green Tea with a touch of honey

Today’s Scripture: “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” – Psalm 17:6 (NIV)

Those of you who know me personally know I’m HUGE on prayer. I have seen so many powerful demonstrations of God’s heart in answer to the requests of those boldly asking for his provision that it is impossible for me to ignore bringing the needs of others before his throne. I’m not alone.

Recently, I stumbled upon the blog of Laura Hodges Poole. Laura is a dedicated encourager, writer, and prayer warrior. On Wednesdays, she posts prayer requests and opens up her blog and email to pray for the needs of others. I love it! I can’t help but direct you over there.

Heavy on my heart today are those who are dealing with advanced stages of cancer. Some of  you may remember the multiple funerals I attended in 2010, three of them for close family members all diagnosed within two weeks of each other with terminal cancer. Though I’ve walked through the grief of that time period, I also know God is a healer. Please click on the graphic below and venture over to Laura’s blog to join the focused effort behind the requests there, especially for those with cancer. Thank you!