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Monday, January 30, 2012

New Beginnings!

Wow, where do I begin? 

This weekend was another milestone.  Moving 15 years of accumulated stuff into a two bedroom apartment.  The hard part was letting things go.  I just had to remember back 4 years ago when I went to Texas to move my mom to Tennessee.  We threw so much stuff baby shoes, hand imprints (remember those), my old toys, old books, drawings that I drew as a little girl, all the nick knacks that I remember laying around the house, etc.  And what she didn't throw away we hauled it back to Tennessee....And now...even after she has passed away I am still going through her stuff.

I just kept thinking to myself..."do I REALLY need this?"  It was nice to have friends there to tell me..."NO!  I haven't even seen you use that EVER!" 

And TOYS!  Oh my!  My boys have way too many toys!  Where did I go wrong?  I gave the boys each a box a told them to take it to their room and put the toys they wanted into the box.  If it didn't fit, it didn't go!

I am amazed at how fast we got moved!  We have such sweet friends!  It took ONE trip...two flatbed trailers, 10 vehicles and a lot of LOVE!  I remember at one point when we were all packed up and starting the convoy to the apartment....I almost started to cry being at the back of the pack and seeing the line of vehicles pulling out of the neighborhood.  Such LOVE!!  It makes me tear up even now!

Yesterday was the big reveal for the boys and they LOVED it!! 

Parker and Tanner doing a dance.  The posters on the closet door are from their sweet freinds welcoming them to their new home. Thanks Sam, Will and Owen Utterback!

So here is to new beginnings and HOPE!  The Lord has been so gracious to us and ever-present in every decision!  He has provided in ways I would have never imagined. 

Thanks to all of you who have played a part in getting us settled in and who continue to love on us!  It has been a hard transition but we don't feel alone in the least!  We have a great God and wonderful friends!

But before I sound too spiritual, I must tell you that I am very much human.  I have all the emotions that anyone would have going through this.  I have my moments for sure.  But I also have a God who doesn't allow me to stay in those raw moments very long.  He reminds me of the bigger STORY!  

I don't know what God has in store for this little Mexican!  :) (I bet most of you didn't know I was half Mexican...Yes, I have some Latino in me!! ) But I can say with full confidence that I trust HIM with my STORY!  

So for now, I listen for His voice every moment!  It is crucial because there are so many voices out there.  Even my human nature is fighting for some face time.  But the ONE face I seek is HIS!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

God is Sovereign!

Circumstances!  We all go through them!  Some not so noticeable, others rip our hearts out!  The sad truth that I have come to realize over and over in my life is what Kay Arthur summed up very well in her book, As Silver Refined..."Life is fraught not only with stress and tense relationships and everyday disappointments but also with acute, piercing pain.  It's part of the trials and tribulations bred into our lives, like weeds in what would otherwise be a garden.  Pain is here (and will be until Jesus comes) because of sin and sinful men, and essentially there's nothing we can do to change that."

That makes you want to spring out of bed in the mornings doesn't it! 

NO!  But this does...."For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."  Eph 2:10

God knew me before I was even conceived.  He knew what He had planned for my life!  He knows everything about my personality and knows everything about my life...beginning, middle and end!  HE CAN BE TRUSTED with every moment of my future! HE IS SOVEREIGN!! He is Creator and Orchestrator of everything!  He is the Great Story Teller! 

I could feel overwhelmed by my circumstances and struggle with hopelessness, defeat, and discouragement but HE HAS NEVER ABANDONED ME!  I have history with HIM! Sweet history!  He has shown Himself faithful time and time again so why doubt his goodness now? (By the way, I have to remind myself of this doesn't come easy!)

Here is where I get real!...

There are times that I have thought that I was going to just die with pain.  So many things that the little girl inside of me can look back at and become bitter and angry. It took years for me to reconcile in my heart the fact that I had an absent mother and an emotionally absent father.  I grew up in a very poor neighborhood that I was ashamed of. I would always look at all my friends who seemed to have it all (nice house, car, family intact) and think, "what is wrong with me?" 

But I see God's Sovereign hand in it all!

God placed sweet Godly people along my path.  I don't even want to mention their names for fear that I would leave someone out!  They know who they are!  They are the ones that walked me through sorting out my past that was riddled with sin from others as well as my own sinful reactions to some deep wounds in my life.  They are the ones that invited me into their homes and  lavished me with great love that kept me coming back over and over again.  They are the college roommates that encouraged me daily with their walk with the Lord and their hearts for honoring Him in their relationships with guys.  They are the ones that invested heavily in my life to point me to Jesus. They are the ones that cheered me on when I graduated from college because they knew that I could do it and that even though I struggled through didn't mean I was "less than."  They are the ones that encouraged me that God had something special in store for me.  They are the ones that walked through my dads death with me when I was 23 years old and reminded me daily that God would heal my wounds and use this as yet another stepping stone to becoming more like Him. They are the ones that encouraged me to stay faithful and not waver in my journey with the Lord and my pursuit for Holiness.  They are the ones that mentored me in motherhood and being a godly wife.  They are the ones that sat under my leadership (wow, humbling) as I mentored them and led them in Bible Study.  They are the ones that walked through my moms death with me and reminded me that God had redeemed a sweet relationship that I didn't have when I was little and encouraged me that I did all that a loving daughter could do to end well with her.  They are the ones that continue to pour wisdom, insight and love into my life as I walk along yet another tough road along my journey!

This is why I have such a passion for discipling young women.  If God can take my life and make it beautiful through using the body of Christ, He can  use me to turn another life around to pursue the Lord in ALL things!

GOD IS SOVEREIGN! He is not surprised!

In all the heartache and pain that I have gone through up to this point (and I only named a few) I am always reminded of God's character.  I know that He is All-knowing, All-powerful and Ever-Present!  I know that HE IS IN CONTROL!  Therefore, I don't have to worry!  I can just continue to pursue Him in His Word and allow His Truths to become the path that guides me!

It is HARD!  It is PAINFUL! But one thing I know...I am confident of this...I shall see the goodness of the Lord!

To turn away from God only leads to more heartache and pain, but to press into Him brings sweet satisfaciton even in the midst of difficult circumstances!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wow, as I look back over the 2011 I am filled with very different emotions.  In some ways it flew by and in some ways it seemed to drag.  One of the things that I want to commit to do this year, starting today, is to leave my baggage behind.  I want to acknowledge that I have with it...and leave it at the cross! No need digging up old bones!

Here are a few other things that I want to commit to as I start a new beginning....a journey through 2012!

1. Begin my journey with the Lord
2. Choose my traveling companions wisely
3. Place high value on Wisdom---seek wisdom and understanding in all things!
4. Take ownership for every decision I make
5. Embrace problems as a gift
6. Take life as it comes
7. Love God with all that I am!!!
8. Remember that no matter what happens in my life....I am still responsible to live a life honoring to the Lord and reflect His Glory!

I was reading a book that talked about the different seasons and it ministered to my soul.  I thought it would be appropriate to share since we are starting a new year.  Hopefully this will minister to you like it did me!  No matter what season you may be in right now we can know that we have a GREAT GOD who walks with us and teaches us sweet truths!

WINTER:  Time to clear out the deadwood, debris, and stones that will hinder future growth; to mend fences and repair broken machinery; to plan and prepare for the growing seasons.  Use winter to prepare...arrange schedule, set goals, research resources...

SPRING:  A time of beginnings and fresh hope.  You plow the soil, add fertilizer and supplements, plant seeds and irrigate.  You care for the fragile shoots that appear, keep the garden free of destructive pests.  In the spring of your life, you implement the plans you made in the winter.

SUMMER:  In the summer the fields are lush with healthy plants, it is a season for maintenance and protection of what you began in the spring.  Don't be lulled into activity because good things are happening. 

FALL:  You reap what you have sown.  You experience and enjoy the benefits of your work. It is a time of gratitude and celebration.  It is a time to give back to God and others something of what you have received.

I definitely am in the WINTER season!  It is time to start clearing out the obstacles that are hindering  my what is broken and then prepare for what God has in store for me.  It is exciting because I know that if I am faithful to do the hard work now, I WILL eventually see the fruit! 

My heart is that I would not waver in my faith and that God would use this to teach me more about who HE is and what HE has called me to!

So as I look back at 2011...I can say... it took me by surprise at times with unexpected twists and turns but I can also say that God has been so sweet to bring perspective quickly and reveal truth and about Himself in the midst of it. 

So as I anticipate 2012...I can say...God is going to continue to show Himself faithful!

Happy New Year sweet friends and family!

A song for here