Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Very Long Time

Wow! It has been a long time since my last post. A lot has changed in my life since then.  For instance, we have moved (AGAIN) and we are no longer homeschooling.  So let's start at the beginning.
We actually moved in January of this year and, if that is not stressful enough, nothing has gone as planned.  We moved back home to be near our family.  That has been nice but finding a job that is even slightly near the income we were accustomed to has proved to be difficult.  We had a home that we were moving into and that fell through so we are still living with my in-laws.  When we lived in Nashville, both of our boys were very involved with sports.  Nashville has an abundance of opportunities for homeschooled kids.  Southwest Georgia.....not so much.  In fact, there is nothing by way of extracurricular activities for homeschoolers.  So since both of our boys did not want to give up football, we decided to enroll them in traditional school.  We went back and forth with public school or private school.  Ultimately we decided on private school because this school was not a far stretch from what they had known their whole lives.  The classes are small and each student gets individual attention from the teachers.  Bonus!!  Our boys were able to do a shadow day and "try-on" the school before we committed.  And, well, they loved it.  We took the plunge and enrolled them.  It has been a stretch financially but it has been worth it.  As a side note, after we enrolled them in private school, the local paper published an article stating that the local high school was in the bottom 10% in the state.  I'd say that was confirmation that we made the right decision. They are having a blast and doing very well.  It has been an adjustment for me because I don't really know what to do with myself.  My oldest son is a senior and all the preparations for graduation have already begun.  It is a whirlwind of activities, meetings, and orders for many things.  I am trying to adjust to someone else being in charge of their education and giving assignments.  Every night they have homework which is something we never had when we homeschooled. They just worked until they were finished with all of their assignments.  So everyday I ask" what do you have for homework and can I help you with it"?  Sometimes I get to help. 
My husband has been working with his dad while looking for a job that is close to what he had in Tennessee.  He is still looking but we are thankful for what we have.  Our life is definitely not what I expected it to be when we moved back home.  In fact, I experienced a little bit of culture shock moving back to a really small town after being away for so long.  But on the bright side, we are getting to spend a lot more time with our family, especially our nieces and soon to arrive nephew (we think).  I suppose the ultrasound could be wrong.  That has been the best part.
Hopefully I can get back to blogging because I sure have missed it.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

What Is This We Celebrate?

This Christmas season is upon us and again we are rushing around trying to find that perfect gift for those we love.  We see the ugliness of Black Friday unfold on our TV's as well as all the other fighting in our streets for many different reasons.  All the while decking our halls and trimming our trees.  Now don't get me wrong, anyone who knows me knows that I love to decorate for Christmas and wrap presents.  Our family Christmas is usually big with a capital B.  But this year I have really been reflecting on the "why" of Christmas.  Why has it become this mass spending spree?  Why has it become this mass revelry in stuff only to bring out the worst in all of us?  What is it that all of us really want?  This is my wish list.
 1.  I want peace.  Peace of mind in a crazy world.  Peace in my home and heart.  Peace in the world.
      But where is this peace found?  Is it found in those pretty presents under the tree, in gov't., in
      education, in anything this world has to offer?  No!  It is found only in one place.  It is in the one
      that the world says we do not need, the one that the world says does not exist.

2.  I want love.  But what is love?  Is it what I can get out of someone?  Is it what I can give
     someone?  I can not give what I do not have.  And no none truly has love unless they have
     the Creator of love.  So what does love look like?
                               "But He was pierced for our transgressions, and he was
                                 crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought
                                 us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are
                                 healed.  We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us
                                 has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on
                                 Him the iniquity of us all.
                                 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open
                                 His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.....
                                 For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the
                                 transgressions of my people He was stricken......
                                 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush Him and cause
                                 Him to suffer, and though the LORD makes His life
                                 a guilt offering, He will see the light of life and be
                                 satisfied."            Isaiah 53:5-7, 8,10
Love looks like a crucified Savior suffering a death that was meant for you and me.  An innocent man willingly stepping up to take my place, laying down His life for mine.

3.  I want joy.  But what is joy?  Is it being happy and having favorable circumstances?  Is it having
     the life that I think that I am entitled to?  No it is none of these things.  God's Word tells us that
     joy can be had in the mists of turmoil and upheaval.  Can it really?  Yes it can.  I don't know if I
     have words to describe what I mean.  It truly is just one of those things that must be experienced.
     It is not found in things, in other people, in gov't, in education, in demanding our rights, in
     exacting justice.  No, it is found in the quiet recesses of our hearts where only the Spirit of God
     can reach.  Those private places that not even we ourselves truly know.  That only God Himself
     can reveal if we are willing to see.  It's those root issues that He alone can treat.  It is being
     able to see beauty in the ashes.  It is being able to empathize with those who mistreat us.  It
     is being able to see another's true need, which happens to be the same as our own need.  Yes,
     joy is what I want.

4.  I want healing.  But what does healing look like?  Is it found in a pill or medical treatment?  Is
     it found in science?  No.  Healing does not look or feel like what we think it should.
     Healing comes in the form of death; death to ourselves and sometimes in physical death.  True
      healing of all ills seen and unseen comes in the form of surrender.  Surrendering our rights, our
      wants, our families, our very lives.  But surrender to what?  Surrender to God and His way.
       Agreeing with Him about ourselves and our heart condition which is black with sin.
     "What?  I will not!  I will do things my way!", you say. 
      That is the human condition from which we all need healing....SELFISHNESS!  And this
       is the healing that I want not only for myself, but for all.  You see, all this violence that
       we see played out on our TV's is nothing more than people acting on selfishness, demanding
       to have their own way at the expense of another.  Healing is what I want.  But where is true
       healing found? 

Where are all of my wishes found?  Only in Jesus Christ.  This baby that we as Christians celebrate and non-Christians try to negate.  This season that we usher in with fights at Walmart is not what this season is about.    The birth of Christ that is celebrated is the ushering in of the purpose of Christ which was to die on a wicked cross, naked, for sins that were not His.  He laid down His life for those who hated Him and still hate Him.  He rose from a borrowed grave to give us hope of a future that can not be imagined.  This is what is Christmas.  This can not be bought or sold.  This is the most extravagant gift.  This is the one gift of which we are all in need but not all accept.  It is the cure for every ill of man and the death of all evil.  What will we do with this Savior?  How will we celebrate this year?  Will we continue in our desire of stuff and demands of self?  I certainly hope not.  I hope that each of us will truly celebrate this miraculous birth in the proper way of amazement and wonder, with tears of sadness over sin and tears of joy over redemption, with a quiet and thankful heart for this priceless gift of salvation.  It is free and for all.

Merry Christmas!

I hope that you will go back to the top and enjoy the song that is attached.  It is not your traditional Christmas carol but it is the real reason for the season.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

When Circumstances Overwhelm

"I can bear it no more", my spirit cried.  "I beg for mercy, cry uncle, whatever it takes for this to end", my heart screams.  But my reply is a quite "don't you trust me?  I am working all things for your good."  And I scream back "It's not enough! I want no more of this.  I just want it to end."
Circumstances have overwhelmed me and there's nothing left in me physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  I am empty.  Even tears have ceased to come.  Overwhelmed!
"It came to pass...that the brook dried up."  1 Kings 17:7
I am there.  There is no hope in anything except in the Giver of all things.  The question is will he show up?  Will He provide for my ever present need?  Not just being by my side but actually provide for this tangible need?  Not can He but will he?  Will He withhold?  How much more?  So many questions and so few answers.
In spite of all these fears and questions, I have a hope that I can not explain.  It is a hope that will not let go of me.  I am bound by it.  No strength left, no desire left, nothing left but still bound to this hope that in spite of my limited vision, in spite of overwhelming circumstances, in spite of giving up...He is there.  And, for reasons I can not explain, it somehow becomes enough.
Where do I go from here when everything has changed and is changing still?  Why does He insist on this "Manna Living"?  I call it "Manna Living" because He tells us to ask for our "daily bread", not weekly or monthly, but daily.  This is not my way.  My way is planning, knowing what I will do tomorrow and the next and the next.  My way is what I dreamed for my life.  But now He has interrupted my plan with this "Manna Living".  Fighting it does no good because I can't win.  So where does this leave me?  It leaves me with learning to live a different way; a way that seems uncertain and unsure.  A way that only He can see the end and I can only see the dim light of the next step.  Sometimes this brings fear even though He says not to fear.  Sometimes it just makes me angry because, if the truth be known, I just want things my way.
These overwhelming, trying times force me to let go of the dross and hold only the pure.  In the end, I surrender my will to His because what is life without Him?
Overwhelming circumstances and Manna boils down to trust.  Am I going to trust and praise even when life is crashing down?

I have no idea if any of this makes sense to anyone but me.  This is just some notes that I have made over the past few weeks as the Lord continues to teach me what it means to live life His way.  But one thing is true, I have much to learn.