Thursday, July 23, 2009

Going Through The Motions

This week has been just what I have needed during this time in my life. My boys are spending the week with my sister in NC so that Ed could help out ISF with training camp. I have been able to spend time thinking and reflecting on our situation, and thanking God once again for the blessings. Don't get me wrong, I miss my boys terribly, but having a quiet house at night has been a nice change for a little while.

Recently, I have come to learn about several people going through traumatic changes in their life. Some of these people I know very personally, and others are strangers. It has made me once again put my life into perspective. Our finances are tighter than they have ever been...sometimes we don't know how we are going to buy groceries and gas, much less any "wants". But as I mentioned in my previous post, Ed and I have been blessed. We do not have to worry about losing our car, we do not have to worry about getting evicted, we have water and electricity. Our children are healthy, they do not have a long term illness. I am pregnant with our 3rd child, and each day that passes brings me one day closer to meeting this baby that God has entrusted me to carry. We have been blessed with a 2nd car as a gift which has allowed us to actually save money on gas. I could go on and on about how I am blessed...but I say all of this to lead into the reason for the title of my post.

With all that I have, I don't want to be "comfortable" with just going through the motions. I don't want to just be satisfied with our blessings, and forget to make God the priority in my life. I have a tendency when things are going good, to put God on a shelf and act like I don't need HIM. But when things are stressful, and I don't know where the money is going to come from to pay for this or that, then I want to take God off the shelf and beg HIM to help me. But what kind of relationship is that with the ONE who gives me breath to breathe, blesses us beyond our comprehension, and watches over and protects us on a daily basis. (I can name at least 4 incidents in the past 2 weeks where I know an angel put their hand on my bumper and prevented someone from hitting me.) I should never be "going through the motions". First and foremost, GOD should be the center of my universe. So many times I put Ed and the boys above God and that shouldn't be. When we moved up here to GA, we were stepping out on faith. But do I really have the faith and believe that God can take care of us? If so, then why do I find myself trying to "control" areas in my life that should be HIS. My whole LIFE should be HIS, and yet somehow, in my little woman brain, I think I know what's best for my life. It's during these times where I put God on the shelf, when things are the hardest for us. I want my every breath to be about HIM...I want my faith to be so strong, that I NEVER put God on a shelf again. I don't want to go through the motions...I want a deep, personal relationship with my Saviour. I can't have that relationship if I don't spend time with HIM, in the word, in prayer on a consistent, daily basis.

Timmy is getting ready to start 1st grade on August 3rd, and I am determined to get into a routine where family devotions is a priority! I remember vividly the nights when I was younger, that our family would sit in the living room, and Dad would open up that big, white family Bible and we would spend time TOGETHER as a family in the Word. I also remember how exciting it was when I could FINALLY read and was able to take that big, white family Bible and read a passage on my own. I want Timmy to experience that. Ed and I need to be intentional with our son's lives. We don't need to rely on the church to raise them up spiritually. That is OUR responsibility as parents. I want our boys to truly understand what it means to walk by faith and not by sight. I want them to understand the reason why we left Texas and moved to GA. But most importantly, I want them to come to know the Lord as their personal Saviour. I want them to know God on a personal level, and understand what it means to follow HIM.

This week has definitely been a week of reflection. I look forward to bringing my boys back on Sunday, and starting a fresh, new walk where GOD is the center of our universe.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Above All Else..I AM BLESSED

I just have to say what a WONDERFUL summer of 2009 this has turned out to be! The past 10 months have DEFINITELY been THE HARDEST months of my entire life. God has truly used this time in our lives to refine us to become more like HIM. Never would I have dreamed when I pulled out of UMHB in September of 2008, that Ed and I would have so many HIGHS and LOWS in our adventures of walking by faith.

When we left UMHB to move to Atlanta, we knew upon arriving, that ISF was unable to pay Ed for working. We were coming on a volunteer basis, because we HEARD God tell us to "Go Now!" ISF had a need, and we were being called to meet that need. We didn't have a place to live, we didn't have jobs, we didn't have a church home anymore...we only had each other and the FAITH that GOD will take care of us. And even though Ed still doesn't have a full time job...God has TRULY taken care of us. We have been blessed beyond measure. Not necessarily FINANCIAL blessing...but God's blessings do not always have to be financial.
HE has blessed us with amazing family and friends who have stepped up right beside us to walk this road with us.
HE has lead us to a new home church where we sit under a pastor who loves God and who loves people and truly challenges us each and every week to persevere in our faith. I can't tell you how many times the sermons that Pastor George has preached have been the exact words we needed to hear.
HE has given us a community/small group that has wrapped their arms around us and loved us, prayed with us, cried with us, and rejoices with us. They have become like family to us, and we are so blessed to be in their lives.
HE has walked with us through another miscarriage in January, actually carrying us most of the time, and then turned right around and BLESSED us with our next child that I carry with honor and gratitude.
In May, we were blessed to get a taste of TEXAS when Ed's best friend Tim and his precious wife dropped in for a visit. Oh, how we needed a touch of "home".
HE has made it possible for our NC family members to visit on 3 different occassions this summer, and EACH of those times, we have been ABUNDANTLY blessed by their visit.
HE has provided ways for our NC family to watch our boys on the two most important weeks in ISF for Ed - training camp.
HE has used my father to bless us by GIVING us a car, so now we are a 2 car family. This has saved us time AND money on gas!
HE has blessed me with a little sister who gives me a glimpse of the goodness of God EVERYTIME I am with her. We are both living in different places this year than we were last year. God has been working in her famiy in the past year and I am HONORED to be able to sit and watch how GOOD GOD has been to her and her family! I love you little Nikki! Thanks for blessing me this week!

After all of these blessings, I can't help but throw my worries about our future aside and dwell on the fact that GOD has NEVER left us! And because of that I can say,