Wednesday, February 9, 2011


To say we've had a record winter would be an understatement (over 12 inches last week). And, yesterday I was over the winter weather. Today, we have a record and whopping 24 inches (and still snowing!) and I love it! There is something so beautiful about falling snow and how it blankets everything. A visible reminder of salvation:

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool. " Isaiah 1:18

I love that the Lord wants us to reason with Him. We see who we really are when we come face to face with Him. Oh, but He is gracious enough to cleanse us! Anyhow, that's what all this whiteness reminds me of!

Cabin fever usually leads me to the kitchen. Today I made banana fritters for my snow bunnies. If I may say so myself, they were delicious and hit the spot!

Out the front door around 8am- all the bushes are already covered!

You can see little peaks where our outdoor lights are. This is several hours ago- the Expedition's tires are totally covered now.

Back yard at 8am. Now the snow on the bench is up with the table top!

We do really live in the South.

Chris measured this at 10am- still snowing though. He said it's too much snow when it pours over into his knee-high hunting boots!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jesus, Draw Me Close

Well, there is much to blog about, but my re-commitment to blogging is about keeping it real. So, there are some very specific thoughts to digest this early Monday morning.
All the snow last week and being cooped up definitely produces a rough dose of cabin fever and emotional roller coasters. Well, maybe that last part has to do with being 6 1/2 months pregnant, but none the less it has been our reality.
I received two very difficult pieces of news last week that have been very hard for me to process. First, an old friend that served as a journeyman (2 year) missionary in Mexico with us was diagnosed rather unexpectedly with a 2 inch brain tumor. Did I mention that he is 36 and the father of 3 young children? He is on staff at Brook Hills Baptist Church with David Platt in Alabama. You can read more about Jonathan's story here.
Second, one of my dearest life friends has struggled for several months with women issues and recently found out she was pregnant! We have praised the Lord for his goodness to their family! At her doctor's appointment last week an ultrasound revealed what is believed to be a tear in the placenta and that it is trying to clot, plus the baby had a very low heart rate. Obviously this is devastating news. They are going back to the doctor today to see if there is any change with this little one.
Both of these people have shown a ridiculous amount of boldness in relying on the Lord. My friend said that while the waiting is so tough she knows that the Lord has met them there before and she believes He will be right there with them on Monday (later today at the appointment). It is the waiting that is always the hardest. We have talked extensively about what the Lord does during "the waiting" over the past year. As if He was preparing us for our lives right this moment.
Well, Saturday was a rough day for me. I was able to talk with my friend and again, she described how her interaction with her two kids has changed since the ultrasound. How she was so acutely aware of God and his blessings to her. And, it all just put me in a bad mood. Why? Not exactly sure, except definitely my sin nature. I want so bad to be justified in being grumpy, cranky, and in an overall state of complaining, but- well, honestly, next to these two families I have nothing at all to even tarry over. And, that doesn't feel good either, because sometimes a good pity-party is what would feel best. But, again, that is my sin-nature.
So, while resting on the couch after a long day with the kids I was wracking my brain with all the complaints I had with the world and what I was going to have to do to fix it all- in between pretending dump truck play and pulling hair out of a little girl's eyes. Chris was working on the music for Sunday and was picking at a song- an old song. A song whose words echoed the deep of my heart. Where truth resides. Even when it seems dark, Truth is able to speak to me- if I don't squelch it with my self pity and the lies Satan has readily available for me to embrace.

The song is Jesus, Draw Me Close:
Jesus, draw me close
Closer Lord to you
Let the world around me fade away.
Jesus, draw me close
Closer Lord to you
For I desire to worship and obey

Simple truth. Again, I was confronted with the choice to let the Lord draw me close to Him, to trust Him, to let go of "control." And, honestly, I needed the world to fade away- I was overwhelmed by these situations that were happening to really good Christians. And, I know that my ultimate desire is to worship and obey Jesus. Which always comes with self sacrifice.
I had a rough sleep Saturday night. The kids woke me up around 3am and for the next hour and twenty minutes (who's counting, right?) my mind waged war with itself. I was going to throw in the towel on everything and just coast. I remember thinking that my Dad wonders if people give up right before the Lord's blessings become evident, but they don't get to experience them. And, I vividly remember thinking that maybe there was something to just taking a break and picking back up with the Lord in a short while. I mean, in my short frame of reference I have a long list of "things" that have not changed or shown significant it's not like I'm missing out on any big changes either way. But, I also reminded myself that we (Chris and I) make no decisions when we are tired or overwhelmed because it's generally Satan who tries to get us off focus when we're down. And, I knew that at the root of all my rational and decision processing (if it can be called that at 4am) was selfishness, which is not a characteristic of the Lord. And, again, the words rang true again- "for I desire to worship and obey." And, the answer was to be drawn closer to Jesus. I also spent significant time going over the three Bible verses I've memorized this year (Joshua 1:7, Psalms 40:5, Galatians 5:1) because it is the Truth of Scripture that is an anchor to my emotions. When I can't figure out what the truth is and what is just "me" I know I can count on His words to guide and comfort me.
So, off to church we went Sunday morning and I was determined to not miss the opportunity to worship the Lord and to let Him meet me (because he's always willing, we're usually not!). A lady who I hadn't seen in a month or so talked with me about joining our ladies Bible Study- that she had been having a hard time with a lot of issues this winter and she was ready to make a break for something better- learning more about Jesus and letting Him be the difference maker in her life. I was thinking, "Ok, Lord. Well, you just proved yourself right there. Maybe I am on the right track with pursuing this women's ministry thing." I cried all throughout Jesus, Draw Me Close because it was so evident the personal decision that has to be made to draw close to Him or, frankly, deal with life's messes without Him. No thanks.
Dad read from Isaiah 61:
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,a]">[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

And, again, I could feel the Lord breathing comfort on me. At lunch, with some guests from church, they talked about two other very specific things/events that I had wrestled with in the middle of the night. I was bewildered as I saw how the Lord was graciously showing me that He is intimately aware of my needs. In fact, I didn't even have to bring any of these things up- the Lord had woven them into their hearts and mouths. And there was a third thing that the Lord just poured into my lap. A burden that I have silently been struggling with- or enduring.
It has been my experience that it would seem to be "easy" or tangible to boldly rely on the Lord when big things happen: facing life and death, a diagnosis, extreme weather issues, job loss, etc. But, it's hard to resolve to follow hard after Jesus when it's just regular tough. I am not facing anything more difficult than thousands of other women in the world (although I want to stomp my feet and proclaim to be the most under appreciated and misunderstood women of them all). But, in the circumstances that the Lord has placed me in, I get to choose to draw close to Jesus, to not focus on the weights of the world, and to worship and obey the One who is THE difference maker in my life.
So, if you're still reading this I share all of this because it is a fresh reminder of God revealing himself to a regular woman. And, of the wrestling we often have to do with ourselves, to get ourselves out of the way to be able to see Jesus. And, He knows I'll have more rough patches and I will need a reminder of how He is in control.
Please join me in praying for my two friends - Jonathan and Abigail. Jonathan is still in the process of meeting with doctors to determine his plan for care. Abigail has a doctor's appointment today to determine if she is miscarrying or not.
As was written on Jonathan's white board in his hospital room: "The star of hope is still in the sky when the night is blackest." Charles Spurgeon Amen!