Saturday, March 30, 2013

Love Wins

As I walked into the room, there were eight of them.  Girls? No, they are too old to be referred to as girls.  Women?  No way.  Too young.  Young ladies? I don't know.  That doesn't seem to fit either.  It's certainly not what society would call them.  Young ladies carries the connotation that these girls are proper, well behaved, clean cut, gentle spirited, maybe even refined.  I'm not sure I'd use even one of those words to describe these eight, but it's hard to tell in here.  This place where they all wear orange.  This place where they must act infinitely more callous and guarded than any girl actually is or should have to be.  The wounds they carry are already bone deep.

Yet, here they all are.  And here I am.

I've never been here with a group this large.  Usually, when I come only one or two is interested in what I have to share.  The rest do what they do.  I've even been scowled and hissed at.  This time, all but one sit and wait for me. 

Introductions are made, some small talk ensues, and we all try to get comfortable.  Physically and emotionally.  I think we all feel a little raw.  In the rawness, I open up a balm.  I've learned it's the only balm of it's kind.  100% effectiveness.  It soaks into the places you never thought anything could reach, soothes aches you didn't know existed, and it brings a healing that leaves you better than new.  It breathes life.  It is life.  Life in words.  The Word.

They want to know how I know these "stories" are true.  How can I be so sure?  There are so many other theories.  We work through the doubts and skeptical questions.  We try to figure out all the angles.

They want impenetrable proof.

Then I tell them that the proof is when the truth lives in them.  When you allow Him in something happens.  The transformation is inexplicable, yet you completely understand.  You are free.  Your past disappears.  You no longer live under a continuous, low-lying, black cloud.  A strong wind has blown and magnificently cleared the air.  A new power is in operation.  The Spirit of life.

I tell them they will know it's truth because they will feel the freedom of choice.  No longer having to only act and react in the same ways that have previously caused chaos, wounds, and death.  Now they will have a choice. And with that choice, a source of strength that allows them to make choices that are beyond what they are capable of.  Beyond what they would even dream of.  Choices that bring peace, love, and life.   They will be free to take off their old ways, and put on new ways.

Lastly, I tell them they will know because not only will they feel love, they will freely give it.  That not only will they live in forgiveness they, themselves, will be able give, in trust and in understanding.  Trusting that they are loved and forgiven, and understanding of who we all really are.

The impenetrable truth will be them.  It will be their lives.  It will be how they live.  That's how we know.   There are no conspiracy theories that can change the truth of which they will live.  It will be theirs.  Something all their own.

Nervously, I ask if any of the eight would like to pray with me, asking for the Spirit of life to take residence in their hearts.  In this place, many don't like that question.  It's far too vulnerable.   At first it was two.  Then it was four.  And as we bowed our heads to the One who makes all things new, I hear seven of them pray out loud with me.

And that's how I know it's truth.  I've seen it.  I've lived it.  I've watched as He works.  Right in front of my eyes, he has made beauty from ashes.  Taken death and turned it into life.  

They are older than girls, but not quite yet women.  Their new names are, Daughters of the One True King. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

He is Infinitely More

As I sat on the beach on the Big Island, I thought to myself, "I don't think it can get much better than this.  Then, I opened my book and read this quote:

"Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight, and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight, and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!" --Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain. 

Here is some of the beauty I took in and experienced.  To think of it as just a foretaste of what's to come, is more than my heart can handle.




By far, the best part of this trip was to see God's fingerprint everywhere I looked.

Praise you, Lord, creator of all things.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Is Anyone Out there?

You may have thought I had forgotten my Blogger password.  You would be wrong.  As embarrassing as it is, the truth is, I just haven't been here in over a month.  Yes.  I believe it has been longer than five weeks.  In all fairness, I think the last post was a fair warning.  The kids are keeping me so busy, and time moves so quickly.  While to me it feels like I just posted yesterday, reality says it has been over five weeks.  It's a bit sobering.

While I would love to dive into each item I'm going to share here and make it it's own post, it just isn't going to happen.  Also, I don't feel like I can come here after so long and not do a catch up.  Here's to hoping that catching up on the blog is not all I do this year.

Like I mentioned before, the kids are still no joke.  Their activities are large and in-charge.  Combined with homework, we barely have time to sit and watch TV.  I know.  The horror of it all.  Currently, we are in Jiu Jitsu twice a week, Battle of the Books (which ends on Wednesday, but more on that later), AWANA (which we've skipped since the beginning of February because we can't fit it in), and we are between basketball and soccer season.  I can barely talk about that last item.  Soccer season.  I'm not, and never desired to be a "soccer mom".  I don't really like the sport all that much, but even more so, I do not like that this sport takes place outside during the craziest weather seasons Colorado has to offer.  I have no love in my heart for sitting outside for an hour freezing my tail off in either frigid temps, snow, rain, or high (freezing cold) winds.  But let's get real.  We live in Colorado.  We often see all of those things in the course of an hour.  Easily.  I'm no friend of cold weather.  Combine that with a game that holds my attention for a short time, and I'm out.  Apparently, I'm one of the few.  My son may be one of the only kids on his team that will be playing soccer for the first time this season.  I will try not to complain about this anymore.  The Little Man is over the moon that his, "mommy finally let me play the game I love the most." I'm a horrible, selfish mother.

The Girl is about to wrap up Battle of the Books this season, tomorrow.  I'm proud to say that they won the area championships last week and tomorrow her team will be battling it out for top seat in the district!  It's been a very happy time in this house since Friday when they won.  They made it to the same spot last year and lost.  So, this year's win was that much sweeter.  I'm both excited and nervous for her.  I know these kids really know their stuff, and they'll do their very best.  I just hope for her, it gets them a win.  Will she survive if it doesn't?  Absolutely.  However, I can't help but want this for her.  I'll have to keep the blog know in a few months.
My Champion
The whole team!

Um, oh yea, I went to Hawaii.  Never in my whole life did I ever think I would say that I have been to Hawaii (or any of the the Hawaiian islands) twice in less than a year.  Never.  I mean, I never stepped foot on an island until The Hubs and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2010.  Also, I never thought it possible for us to go there and not pay a red cent for our flight, hotel, or 90% of what we ate.  It was a true gift and blessing for Scott and I to be able to go on this trip at the end of February without our kids, and an even bigger blessing that my in-laws were so willing to keep our kids for the five days we were gone.  It was a sweet time of slowing down and reconnecting as a couple.  Not to mention spending time with my parents (who also came with us) and just feeling spoiled.  God's creation absolutely floors me.  I know I have heard people "ooo" and "ahhh" over the mountains.  Their majestic beauty is something to notice for sure.  However, the beach, the ocean, the tropical plant life, and sea life do it for me.  I can't tell you how many times I had to stop, catch my breath, and then just praise Him for all He has made, and His creativity and power in it all.  From lava flows and volcanoes, to watching whales play in the ocean, splashing their whale tales, I was astounded by the beauty of all of it. I am hoping to spend a post on this later, including pictures.  

The Hubs has been on a serious diet for the last five weeks.  I totally blame this diet for the lack of blogging.  Totally.  He has been gluten free, yeast free, and sugar free since February 11th.  The gluten and sugar are actually not too difficult.  Challenging, yes.  Difficult, not so much.  I mean, 15% of the country is gluten free which means at the super markets in my area, I can find numerous products that are either made without gluten, or are naturally gluten free.  They are all clearly labeled and easy to find.  Also, when I search the internet, there is a wealth of information, recipes, and advice from so many people who have gone before and paved the way.  The yeast piece of this diet? Yea.  It's REALLY difficult.  Yeast is in everything, and it is not clearly labeled, and not many people have paved the way here.  In all seriousness, this diet became a full-time job for me for at least 3 weeks.  I spent probably 40+ hours a week researching about the diet, finding recipes, searching for substitutes, shopping for new foods, finding stores where the new products were sold, etc.   I went from rocking dinner about 95% of the time to only serving something somewhat tolerable about one in every four to five dinners.  The other dinners we gagged back, and it pains me to say, we would just throw out a lot of stuff.  The diet was supposed to help resolve some major inflammation in his body, thus helping in some other health issues that he battles everyday.  While inflammation is down and he has lost 30 pounds, we aren't quite sure that anything else has been fixed or alleviated.  However, my husband is determined to follow this through to the end.  So, two more weeks of this, and we'll try something different.  It should be interesting, to say the least.  Also, it has reopened my eyes to the crud we put into our bodies each day.  No wonder we are breaking down and have so many different ailments.  I'm convinced that we, as a society, are slowly killing ourselves with our food.  That's a whole different topic, and I better stop there.

My youngest sister got engaged.  Yup!  I could not be happier for her or her man.  They will say "I do" on August 1st this year.  It is a speedy engagement, but it will be full of fun and special times.  I can not wait to celebrate her in this precious season of her life.  My kids are just as excited, and I have especially loved watching them take in this special time.  The Girl is all about the ring, the dress, and the romance of it all.  The Little Man has been very sweet in praying for her stress levels. Making sure to ask God for His help for her to get done what needs to be done, and that she'll be happy with all the decisions that are made.  He also is quick to tell people that his aunt is going to get married and he'll have a new uncle.  Precious.

Combining the trip to Hawaii and daylight savings, proved to be extremely difficult.  I suffered from some serious jet lag due to the time change and the red eye flight that we had to make, twice (our airplane broke down leading to a canceled flight, and then we had to take another red-eye the next evening with no sleep during the day in between).  Just when I was catching up, painfully I might add, the time change came, and I was off again.  I'm convinced that this exhaustion led to my first cold in about four years.  I had forgotten how miserable you feel when your head is congested and your body is just crummy feeling all over.  Thankfully, I was able to fight it off in about five-ish days.  I really reevaluating the way I treat the kids and The Hubs when they are sick.  Compassion and grace are good things.

Here's to hoping I make it back again before another month goes by.  I do miss it here, but have been writing in my journal frequently.  One day I hope to share.