Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Insanity of Itching

Well, I must say, Arlen and I had a wonderful weekend, and I'm learning a lot about how to give things up to God. This weekend God revealed to me some of the areas that need the most growth. He is also bringing about great visable change in my life already including joy and better priorities. I still have a long way to go, but with His help I will continue to grow!

We went to John Muir trail, which was loads of fun. We ended up actually staying there only one night, which turned out to be a good thing for about a bazillion reasons. First of all, it poured on Saturday night, so we would have gotten soaked. Secondly when we returned Saturday night we both began to itch. We suddenly realized that we were COVERED with bug bites. Not just any bites though. Arlen has a nice smattering of mosquito and spider bites, while I have those, plus a nice little batch of chigger bites for good measure.

Yesterday morning we were both going so crazy that we made an emergancy trip to Walgreens. There we picked up calamine lotion, After Bite Xtra and fingernail polish (for the chiggers). I'm telling you, if the itching doesn't stop soon, I'm going to loose it!!!!

But you know, even with all of the itching, I'd say this weekend was a big success! God brought us both back to Him in a very real way - which is what we needed! As usual, God reminded me this: "If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself" 1Timothy 2:13

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mrs. Grouch

Mrs. Grouch, that’s me…well, at least it has been for the past while. When I look back on life, I used to be so positive and cheery – so happy about everything. Life seemed so exciting. I knew where I was going and I knew I was going to make a difference in life. And people … I was so patient! I was not easily made frustrated, nor did I dislike anyone. Now I’m harsh, and judging (at least inwardly). I am so easily frustrated and it seems that I can always find something irritating in any situation. I have gone from being a Pollyanna to being a bona-fide Grinch, or Mr. Scrooge – you take your pick.

Honestly, I don’t like it at all!! I want to go back to being the fun-loving, easy going girl that I once was. I want to see the good in people. I want to enjoy life to it’s fullest. I want to be able to make the best out of any situation and actually mean it. I want to change. For this reason, I solicit your prayers.

I know part of my problem is that I’m not as close to God as I used to be. I’m not allowing Him to truly work in me as I once did. I know there is much more to it than that. I don’t know all the ins and outs, but I don’t think that’s important. The important this is that now I take the time to give God a chance and give me His joy. With Him living in me, the fruit of the Spirit will be real!!!

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” ~Galatians 5:22-23

This is what I want!!!!! I know God will answer my prayers.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Now! Now!! NOW!!!

Waiting. Waiting. I’m sick of waiting!! Waiting is not something I’m very good at. When it comes to patience, it’s very obvious that I’m a little underdeveloped in that area. But alas, that’s what I’m doing. I’m waiting. What am I waiting for you may ask. Well, first of all, I’m waiting for school to start again. I miss the people and having things to do. I didn’t think I would actually say this, but I’ll be very happy to have studying to do again.

I’m also waiting to get things going again with Joshua’s House. I’ve written several professors here at Southern – I’m trying to meet with them for guidance in some of the specifics. I’m waiting to somehow find a way to raise money so that I can get my 501(c)(3) and much needed software. I’m waiting to hear from Zondervan so that I can begin the recordings of the Bible. I’m waiting for people who are willing to help me, to write stories, create graphic documents, act in the audio productions, and the list goes on and on.

I don’t want to wait anymore!! I want it all to happen NOW!! David can relate to me. When Saul was seeking His life, David longed for it to end. He was sick of running and hiding. He wanted to be safe NOW – not later. During this time, he wrote the 27th Psalm. The last verse of this Psalm sums up what I need to hear right now: “Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Even though I don’t always feel like it, and it’s usually not easy, I must trust God…even His timing.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
~Ecclesiastes 3:11

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Walking blindfolded

I am so excited, yet overwhelmed at the same time. Yesterday, I wanted to devote the day working on Joshua’s House. Arlen helped me a lot, and by the end of the day we had created a logo, a purpose statement and the beginnings of the temporary website. It's so exciting. As I sat there, thrilled to death. Suddenly a bomb hit, and discouragement became very real.

Yesterday morning, I was told that I could make an announcement at church to get help with the Joshua's House project. I was thrilled. No, I still haven't heard back from Zondervan, but I know God will provide us with rights to make Bible audio recordings. With that being the only thing holding me back, I was prepared to plunge forward to make my appeal. As Arlen and I were talking I came to the realization that the rights to the NIV Bible are not the only thing preventing us from beginning. When I had originally talked to Arlen, he felt that the equipment we already owned would be sufficient for Joshua's House needs. However, as he has begun to understand the scope of the project, he feels positive that we need more professional equipment and a sound room. AHHHH! I don't have enough money to buy the computer programs and sound card needed for my computer (let alone the 401(c)(3) that we still don't have yet), how am I supposed to get a studio to record in?

Well, of course, being here at Southern does have some advantages. I plan on talking to the person in charge of Southern's recording studio. I know that we need someone who knows how to work all of the equipment, so if he says we can use it, I will ask him if he can make it available as a project or something for students in his classroom to do the recording. This is just such a huge thing. I'm not normally the type to be this bold and pursuing. I like to have things planned out, to know exactly what to expect. This is not the case with Joshua's house, but as Arlen reminded me, we are to walk by faith, not by sight.

As I see all of the faith displayed in the book of Luke, I can't help but be inspired. But the lingering question remains, why can't I have that kind of faith in my own life. Well, I guess God is giving me that opportunity right now. He's giving me the chance to completely trust Him, even when I can't see the next step. Please keep Joshua's House in your prayers. I know that through it, God will do amazing things...if I'll only let Him.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What's with all these sheep?

Being a newly married couple, Arlen and I often share with each other our dreams and visions for the future. One thing that we share is a desire to have lots of land. We don’t care if we have a small house, we just want to live in a place in the country where we have a lot of space. What’s all the space for? That’s the fun part. There are so many uses! Of course we want to grow lots of food. Not acres and acres of it, but maybe some fruit trees and/or bushes and various veggies such as corn, squash, cabbage, lettuce, and of course tomatoes. It will be so much fun. We want to have a place that our kids can explore. So much can be learned, especially about God, in the great outdoors. We don’t want all of our land to just benefit us though. We want to create a place where people can come away from the fast pace of city life, the tangle of the world and enjoy a simple life for a week, maybe longer, and enjoy the chance to focus on spending time getting to know their savior better. Of course, with my love of kids, this dream home would be a place where kids could come. Kids from troubled homes (I’ve played with the idea of foster care, and we’re pretty sure we’re going to adopt at least one kid if that’s where God leads.) They don’t have to come alone, they can come with a class, or their families, or all sorts of things, but basically I want this to be a place where kids can find out what it means to truly feel love.

Oh, and I can’t forget the animals. That’s an important part of all of this – especially with the kids. Arlen and I have talked about many different kinds of animals that we might want to have on the “farm.” We’ve thought about goats, alpacas, and even sheep. Oh, by the way, I learned a LOT about sheep yesterday! I was reading in Luke 2. I’m especially referring to the part where the angels were telling the Shepards about the birth of Christ, and it got me thinking. There are shepards and sheep all over the Bible. Tons of people have sheep and the dedication of their caretakers proves that they were quite valuable, but why? As I researched this topic farther I found out a few things. The whole sheep was quite useful. It was a source of food, clothing, burnt offering and the hide was used for coverings on the tabernacle. This animal made a huge impact on the lives of many. But, as I read further, I found something even more remarkable. These sheep know their names. The Shepard names each sheep (no matter how many he has), and when he calls that sheep by it’s name, the little lamb joyfully comes to his Shepard. Wow, that’s crazy. Apparently these animals are quite faithful, loving and the trust their caretaker 100%.

Okay, if you’re like me this whole analogy of us being sheep and Jesus being the Shepard is beginning to become clearer. I want to love God like that. I want to learn to come right away, with joy when he calls me by name. I want to learn to trust him fully and to be filled with gentleness, meekness and faithfulness just like the little lamb. I guess a good place to start is letting God guide all of my hopes and dreams so that I can live a life that glorifies Him in every way.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I Actually Got Out of Bed!!

Good morning everyone! I hope you’re having a wonderful morning. My husband and I were talking last night and we realized that ever since we got married, we have had a really hard time getting out of bed and getting ready. This is completely unlike both of us. We are typically both early risers, and when that alarm clock goes off, we’re up. We decided to try setting different alarm clocks for each of us, and when our alarm goes off, theoretically, we’re supposed to be up. Well, obviously it worked for this morning, or else I wouldn’t be sitting here typing. We’ll see if this trend of actually getting out of bed when the alarm sounds the FIRST time continues.

In other excitingness, I’m supposed to hear from Zondervan about the rights to the NIV for audio recordings by Monday. I have been praying my little heart out. Please pray for me too. I decided that I am going to start with Luke for about a bazillion reasons. And I figured that since I’m starting with Luke, I should probably study that book pretty thoroughly so that I can make better study guides (with the help of the Holy Spirit of course!). Yesterday I finally caught on to how I should study and it was so much fun! I was reading Luke 1 about Zachariahs and Elizabeth and Gabriel announcing the births of Jesus and John the Baptist. Try as I might, I could not avoid this one theme I found creeping up in all over in this one chapter. It was amazingly relevant too! It’s super simple: Trust God!

Zacharias had been praying for a son forever. He was so old, he was sure his request would never be granted. Yet, as he entered the temple to burn incense, God sent an angle to answer his true and deep longing. However when the angel told him he was going to have a son, Zacharias did not believe him. I mean, it was weird, he and his wife were old, and why would God wait so long to grant him his request. No, it couldn’t be true. Zacharias didn’t believe. He was like the foolish man in James 1:5-8

Then there was Mary. Gabriel visited her and said that she was going to have a son. She was a bit confused, not understanding how this could be so. The angel explained to her the process, and although she still didn’t understand, she said OK. Despite the tremendous changes this would bring to her life, she trusted completely in the Lord and His Word. This also reminds me of what Jesus says in Matthew 16:24-26. Mary was willing to trust explicitly what the Lord had in store for her.

So it’s that simple – trust. But why? God keeps His promises. All the things God attested to happened. We have a God we should trust, so why not let go of my crazy notions and rationalizations, and just trust God? “Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6