Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Ever-Present God

In the interest of keeping it real, and without going into details, (because if you're new over here I'll let you know that I have trouble sharing personal stuff) I'm going to say that the last few days have been hard. Not just tough, these days have been HARD.

What I'm going through is not a new problem, but it is new to me. I have been left feeling lonely, broken and worn down, and ashamed. 

Last night was the hardest. Probably one of the hardest nights I've ever had. Yet in that darkest moment, I heard a Whisper; "I am right here". 

One of my resolutions for 2012 was to learn a new aspect of God's character, another name of His, every single day. These long mornings spent cozied up to His word, pouring over who He is, speaking it back to Him, have been preparation for these dark moments. Because in order to hear that still, small whisper in the middle of all that pain and dark, I had to know the sound of His voice. 

Let me just tell you, I am learning about His goodness in a whole new light. I am learning to lean in to Him like never before. I am learning to praise, even when it hurts, because that's when I need it most. 

Today, I praise you Lord. I am learning to fight to believe that You are good. You are good when You give, and You are good when You take away. My pain, my sadness, does not diminish your power and your goodness Lord, and for that, I adore you. I praise You, Healer-God, because you are not afraid of my pain. You don't back away, You draw me in. You wrap tender hands around my most broken places and You bring forth healing. You scrape away the deadness in my heart and make way for new growth. I don't want my heart to be hard. So, in these days when the Enemy tries to bind me up in guilt and unworthiness, in the days when it's so much easier to sip from poisoned water than from your healing spring, in the days when my flesh rebels and my spirit doesn't feel You near, I will praise You anyway. I will praise You more. 

You, God All-Mighty, are my anchor in the middle of the storm. 

Fear, Shame, Guilt

There are so many things that the Enemy loves to throw at me. You are not good enough. You should feel ashamed. You are too broken for Him to fix.
All lies.  But I was listening. 

Until I heard the faintest whisper... I AM your King. I love you. You are not enough, but I AM. 

Today is a day for remembering.

Remembering His goodness, His faithfulness, His power and His love for me. I will be back later with a longer and better post, but for now I'm going to leave you with some of the verses I'm remembering today.

Psalm 23:4
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, foryou are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfortme.

                                                               Psalm 56:3
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.

And my favorite one:

Isaiah 44:8
Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes foryou long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! Thereis no other Rock—not one!”

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Roof Over Our Heads

It was early fall of 2010, and we were about to get married. We didn't know a whole lot then, (still don't!!)  but we were excited about this new chapter in our life that was about to unfold.

In all of the preparations for our new life together, my husband and I decided to look into buying a house instead of renting to start off with. We were so dumb. I was the only one with a job at that point, and I was working for my father-in-law. My husband's uncle is a banker though, and he told us he could get us approved for an FHA loan for a cheap house that we could still afford the payments on. 

So with that information in mind, we set out to look for a house. We were looking for a foreclosure, something small just to start out in. And we found it. It was the perfect little house. The couple before us had done some work on it and they had just run out of money. We were in love with this house. 

We made an offer on it. We signed all the paperwork, the realtor was confident we were going to get it, we were thrilled. Then, at the last minute, a guy who flips houses for a living came in and made an offer that was the same as ours, except he had cash. Needless to say, they accepted his offer and not ours. This cute little house that we wanted so badly, that we needed more than the other guy did, wouldn't be ours. We were crushed. Not to mention we didn't get the first time home-buyers tax credit we were hoping for!

God opened other doors for us (that's a memorial stones story for another day) and we ended up renting a house from some family members at a great price. 

About 6 months later, there was a series of very severe tornados that came through our little town.
Thankfully, the area where we lived in our rented house was completely unaffected, but there were others in our community that lost everything. Some even lost their lives. Many of these areas are still being cleaned up, almost a full year later. We didn't know it at the time, but by not getting the winning bid on that little house we loved so much, God was sparing us from so much loss, and preparing us for something so much bigger than we could have dreamed. 

Here is the neighborhood today where that cute little house was that we almost bought.

There are no more houses. There are no more trees. There are no more yards to play in. I took this picture a couple of weeks ago. This is almost a full year after the tornadoes and the houses still aren't rebuilt. There is just construction equipment. If we had moved into that house, who knows where we would have been living for the past year? We would have lost all the money we put into the house. 

Remember how I told you God had bigger plans for us? Check out this house that He allowed us to buy. It's three times the size of that first house. It's in a better location in town. It's closer to our jobs. And it's something we will live in for years instead of quickly outgrowing.  

Sure, the other house was cute, but God knew what we needed even better than we did. And He is always faithful. 

For the story behind Memorial Stones, check out the tab at the top of the page with the same name, or go to Linny's blog.

Friday, February 10, 2012

It Has Been Too Long

I'm back! I know some of you were probably wondering if I hit my head, got amnesia, and forgot who I was since it's been so long since I've posted! Well, the good news is...I don't have amnesia (even though I did come home to find that I put the peanut butter jar in the refrigerator yesterday).

The other good news is that at least I have something to show for all the time I was gone. What was I doing you ask? Well...since we own our house, we decided that it needed a little TLC. Especially in the yard. So we have been freezing, dripping wet, and peeling blisters for the last few weeks. BUT, we got a whole bunch of that junk cleaned out!!

 This before picture is a whole lot prettier than the after pictures. But that is mainly due to my lack of photography skills, and the fact that I just went out to take the after pictures and the sun is not really up yet.
Here is the view of our house from the street. Wait...where's the house?!?!

I promise the yard looks great in the spring when everything starts blooming. The lady who lived here before us was a master gardener. Unfortunately, the house sat empty for a while when she was put in a nursing home before we moved in.

So, because there is so much that is overgrown, we decided our best bet is to get rid of all of it and start from scratch. Some things we are keeping. Mainly the daffodils that are starting to come up and the lillies that are mixed in there with them. The larger trees we are also leaving, we have just cut most of them waaay back. 

The leaning birdhouses and the wrought iron benches are next on the list to go. I know some people like them but we are getting rid of them. Mainly because they are hard to mow around. Don't worry, the benches are going to a good home and we will get some hanging birdhouses because I do like birds.

 And here, is the lovely tree that you can't see very well due to my stinky iphone picture. Lets just say this tree will be beautiful (as long as it survives). At least, it better be beautiful for all the trouble it was!
I had to start the hole for it before my hubby got home because we were trying to get it in the ground before dark. That did not happen. While digging this hole (on a hill) my wheelbarrow full of dirt fell over and dumped all the dirt back into the hole. Not once, but twice. And to pour salt in the wound, three middle schoolers on bicycles saw the whole thing. And laughed. That was the beginning of my love/hate relationship with this pretty little tree.
It kinda looks like a pitiful charlie brown tree right now. But hopefully it will perk up a little.

Ok well that wasn't much to update you on, but at least you know I'm not a missing person! Hope you guys have a great weekend and I'll have a cool Memorial Stones story for you on Monday so check back!