Just a quick little post to let you know that effective immediately, I’ve moved my blog to it’s own domain! Please update your links and blog feeds asap, as I will no longer be updating this blog.
CLICK HERE for my new home!
Well, the yard sale was good. God constantly reminds me in big and small ways that He is faithful to provide. Sometimes that provision doesn’t come without sacrifice, though.
The sacrifice in this case was NOT the sunburn you see to the left. No, that would have been my own stupidity in not staying out of the sun. 🙂
The sacrifice was the parting with of possessions – which really isn’t a bad thing in retrospect. The staying out in the sun in a sleeveless shirt without sunscreen – yeah, bad idea in retrospect. 🙂
The pastor at the church services we went to last night talked about living a sanctified life. One of the things he mentioned in reference to the verses in 1 Thessalonians we were reading and studying was living a simple life. A less complex life. That really struck both Brad and I. In many ways, I see that God is already working that out in our life. Teaching us that earthly possessions, while sometimes a good thing, can often be the noose around your neck. They can hang you or drown you if you let them. That sometimes, it’s better to let them go. Even if it’s painful.
It’s something that’s been going on in my personal life for the last two years – that refiner’s fire of simplifying. I was reading something this morning as I was in between yard sale visitors about a refiner’s fire…and what a process that really is. The temperature required to refine something like silver is unimaginably hot. As the silver heats, the impurities rise to the surface, and are scraped off by the refiner. This process continues until the refiner sees his reflection in the silver – then and only then does he know the purification is complete.
What an amazing picture. Our refiner, Christ, isn’t just sitting by, waiting for us to become pure. No, He’s actively invovled in the process – stirring things up….scraping off those impurities in our life as they come to the surface. And then, the amazing thing happens….he looks in, and finally, after all the heat and pain, sees what he’s after – His reflection.
During the yard sale, I was realizing this is one more of those times. The scraping – the purifying – the releasing. It’s all part of the process to be less of me, and more of Him.
The sunburn – yeah….not so much. Other than maybe I need to learn more about the protective properties of sunscreen. 🙂
…but we’re having one anyway. Need to get rid of some more “excess baggage”. LOTS of scrapbooking and crafting stuff, some tools, a bass guitar, a digital camera, some clothing, and a whole lot of miscellaneous.
If you’re local and you’d like to stop by, you’re welcome to do so. The sale will be all day Saturday and Sunday. Shoot me an email for directions if you want to come by.
In the meantime, I’ll be working through the rest of these boxes and praying for nice weather and a good turn-out.
How Brad’s doing with all of this….take a peek at his blog.
I echo his prayer requests and sentiments. It’s funny that he mentioned Pharoah and his armies in his post, because I literally just got done reading about that last night in my personal Bible reading time. Perhaps I need to go back and re-read that miracle. God really did take care of His children – in the face of death, no less. Who am I to doubt His love, then?
Brad will finish school on Thursday. Nine months ago, this was all just beginning. Moving here. Trying to get our house sold. Getting the kids settled and adjusted to schools that were bigger than the town we moved from. Going back to work full time after being at home for the last 16 years. We had no idea how we’d make it, or what would happen along the way. We knew it would take a few mini miracles, and a lot of big ones, too.
Thankfully, we serve a God who specializes in miracles, big and small.
Looking back, with the clarity that comes from that as always, I can see His hands all over our lives in the last 9 months. Sometimes in very subtle, gentle ways, as He moved us forward or carried us through tough times. I can see celebrations and stresses and the ups and downs of it all, and how He was there in the midst of it. Other times, I can see it in very obvious, brilliant, amazing ways – provision at the right time, miracles big and small that made it possible for us to go where He asked us to and do what He asked us to do. It’s really amazing to me. He has been there all along – faithful as He says He is.
People have asked how I could leave my former faith and still retain a belief in God. I’ve had difficult time putting it into words – what can I tell them that will really explain it? What can I say that will let them see how I came to love Him the way I do? Honestly, this is it. I believe because I’ve seen His hand at work in my life. I’ve seen His hand at work in the lives of my husband and children, and in the lives of loved ones. I’ve seen the changes in my life, and in the lives of those around me. I suppose, on a very rudimentary level, it’s like asking if I believe in the wind. I can’t see it directly – but I see the affects of it, so I know it’s there. That’s only one of the ways I see the presence of God in my life. That’s for another post, I suppose.
I can’t promise that a faith in God is going to make everything easy. I can’t promise that nothing bad will ever happen. It doesn’t work that way. What I do know, because of my own experiences in this last nine months, is that He is there. That He loves and cares, in good times and in bad. That the tough times, as well as the times of relative ease, have all been opportunities to grow, to rely on Him more.
The last nine months would have been, should have been, an impossibility by man’s standards.
Without Him, they would have been. With Him, they have been 9 months I will never forget.
Really enjoying being creative right now. I’ve scrapped more in the last couple of days than I have in one sitting for awhile. It’s making me remember how much I love this hobby…and how important it is to tell the stories of your life.
I thought I’d share a few more pages I’ve gotten done this weekend. As always, click on the image for a larger version.
This first one documents my love of old cameras. I have several of them displayed throughout my office. I love the history they carry. Stories told. Lives documented.
This next one is about my kids. I always thought I’d have an even number – two or four. But, two wasn’t enough…and four would have been too many. God knew exactly what He was doing (doesn’t He always?) when He gave us these three wonderful blessings.
This last one (and I’m not done yet so there will probably be more) is probably my favorite next to the “Dear Me” one I posted earlier. I have wanted to document our story on paper for awhile, and just have now really started doing it. This photo was actually taken the year before everything changed – but the story is what matters anyway here. The photo just represents us, in the place where He asked that simple question in response to our own.
Journaling on the above page reads:
“The journey began in 2006. Our life, as we knew it, was about to take a dramatic turn. It would cost us nearly everything – our home, our livelihood, relationships, community – it would all change. On the beach that day, we talked. To each other – to God. He didn’t give us a play-by-play – He simply asked,”Do you trust Me?”
The answer then – the answer now, wherever He leads us next, is easy. Yes. We trust You. With it all. We don’t know the journey – but our destination is secure.”
Have a blessed Sunday, wherever you are.
*click on the image for a larger version*
Did this one the other night. The picture is circa 1994. Kristin, the girl in the page below, wasn’t even born yet. Wow. Anyway, I saw the picture and knew what I wanted to do. Here’s the journaling, if you’re so inclined:
I found this photo of myself the other day while sorting through a
bunch of other pictures. I hadn’t seen it in some time, and really
didn’t think a lot about it at first. As I was looking at it, though, I was
struck by how much the girl in that photo is going to experience
between that date and today. I suddenly felt the urge to reach out
and give her a hug…and some advice.
This girl has no idea what’s coming her way. I wish I could tell her
about all the things ahead…both the good and the bad. I wish I could
show her how to avoid the bad stuff – the really stupid choices she
will make – the pain that she will experience because of them. I
wish I could tell her that she needs to learn from her past…that
the experiences she had in childhood were there for a reason.
I wish I could tell her not to jump into things too quickly.
She has a tendency to throw herself headlong into things and then,
before she knows it, she’s either in over her head, or she has burned
herself completely out. I wish I could tell her that it’s okay to take your
time – that it will be easier for her if she does.
I wish I could tell her what is going to happen with her beliefs as she
knows them. That shelf she has in the back of her mind – it’s going to
come crashing down one of these days..and it will be painful.
Shelves hurt when they fall – she will find bruises and cuts where she
didn’t even expect them. I wish I could explain to her that she will
survive it – that she will even grow from it, and become a stronger
person for it…but that it won’t be without a lot of heartache. I wish
I could warn her somehow – prepare her for that pain.
I would love to tell her how amazing her kids are going to be. She’s in
the middle of diapers and sleepless nights when that picture was taken –
her youngest hasn’t even been born yet. She has no idea what great
young adults they will grow to be – how they will show her more than
she ever thought. I wish I could tell her to treasure those moments she has –
someday she will miss them. I wish I could tell her about her oldest daughter
and the healing that will take place in her life.
I wish I could tell her just how incredible the man she married really is.
She thinks she knows, but she has no idea. I want to tell her how he
will stick by her through the worst times – times when he will have
every reason to walk out the door. I want to tell her that there will be a
time when they are apart…and that it will be incredibly lonely – and that
she needs to never take a day with her sweetheart for granted. I want to
tell her what a faith he will grow to have – that he will be so different and
yet so awesome from what he is then.
I wish I could tell her about true friendship. I want to protect her from
the pain of loss – and yet explain to her that she will grow through it. I
want to tell her not to be afraid to love others, and yet to not give her heart
away so quickly.
Mostly I want to tell her that I am proud of her – that she is capable of so
much more than she thinks – that she is stronger than she thinks. I want
her to let go of that perfectionist tendency she has…to embrace life and
leave the rest behind. I want her to know there’s more out there than a
clean house. I want her to not measure her self worth by the dictates of
others – but by the fact that she is a daughter of the King, and that He sees her
just as He made her to be. I’d like to tell her that…and so much more.
Enjoy your life, younger me. It really is good.