Monday, July 26, 2010

Water water everywhere....

Last night, off a long sloping green hilly yard, in a quiet little cove off a shallow but excited lake, 24 people, men, women and children, lowered themselves into the welcoming water and one by one, crossed their arms over their chest, plugged their noses and surrendered themselves to both the arms that submerged them in, and raised them from the water and to Jesus Christ.

I was among them.

Now, generally, I'm not fond of being the center of attention, and though I was eager, and happy to be taking this step in my Christian walk, I was admittedly very nervous. That sense of anxiety increased when we arrived at the home of our hosts for the evening and I saw the crowd forming. Friends, families, church members, all walking toward the lake with lawn chairs and blankets and excited smiles. Lots of people, well over one hundred had gathered to cheer on and support the 24 of us who on this evening were pledging our obedience and love for Christ in a very outspoken and public way. I had never felt so excited and vulnerable all at once.

The setting was beautiful, the instructions were clear and the crowd was warm and encouraging. The music was inspiring and the words spoken by our pastor were both assuring and affirming. I made this decision weeks ago, and now it was finally being enacted. It was time for me to publicly declare that Jesus is my personal savior, and to testify as to why, to tell everyone who would hear my message what I had experienced that brought me to this place of complete acceptance and obedience to Him. I was willing, yes, but was I ready? Ready as I'll ever be!

On that dock, waiting their turn, stood 24 incredibly different people. Old men needing assistance into the water, making their declarations late in life, to three young siblings, the youngest being 9, coming to the realization very early. Couples. Singles. Young. Old. Men and women. Each with a powerful and touching testimony, each with a unique tale to tell about how their lives had been impacted by Jesus and the loving mercy and abundant grace of God.

I was additionally blessed that our lovely counselor who used God's word like salve to help mend our broken marriage was there and assisted our pastor in my submergence. Her presence was another reminder that God has been working in my life. He has been healing my wounds, from my broken heart after losing Everett, to my again wounded heart and pride that accompanied my marital problems. God has been by my side. Jesus has been ever with me. And simple faith (though in reality, it is never simple), and trust, and obedience to His word, has made it possible for me to survive, and indeed thrive, in spite of the struggles I have come up against in this world.

From my place on the dock, and in the water, I looked up to the crowd on the hill and just barely make out my friends from small group, and and my children, and my husband, and I knew with absolute certainty that being baptized on this night, with these people, with this pastor, in this place, was the most right decision I could make. I can't say for sure that I felt God's presence, though I am certain He was there, I can say that I felt our collective joys buzzing in the air. Appreciation and happiness and love were common threads connecting the bodies in the water as well as the ones on the hill, clapping, cheering, singing and praising God.

On my walk back from the lake to the house, soaking wet and shivering, I came upon person after person offering hugs and congrats and pats on the back. Smiles. Genuine smiles and pleasant faces paraded past me and I felt a comforting sense of belonging to this amazing community of Christ followers, and this is significant to me, who has never felt overly comfortable in any group of people, the sense of belonging has constantly alluded me.

Typically, I fear the judgment of mankind. I am afraid to be looked down on or thought badly of. Even as I stood waist high in the water with my pastor on one side and my counselor on the other, I confessed, I was still afraid to have all these eyes on me. Their words focused me to what really mattered "This is about God and you, not them", and what God thought of me, and His judgments matter most, not that I had to fear my friends on the hill, who offered up nothing but good will.

Little more then two years ago, in a state of deep despair, I cried hard over the loss of my son Everett, and then cried out to God whom I was so furious with. In my pain I accused him of being absent, or non existent, or uncaring, and turned my back on him. But He waited for me. Patiently he waited for my anger to turn to a need so deep I could not ignore it. And months of grief festered in my heart, making me inconsolable and lonely beyond belief, finding no relief on my own. One night, while home alone and in indescribable pain, remembering Everett and struggling to make sense of our loss, I called out to God for relief, and it was granted. Grace poured out over me. It did not bring Everett back. It did not un-break my heart. It did not take away the grief. But it evaporated the loneliness. It eliminated the confusion. It soothed. It calmed. It comforted where there was no comfort before.

It has been a snowball effect from then on. By our hands Christ led us to a wonderful church, and a fantastic community of believers who have helped us grow our faith. And this most recent step of being baptized is a public declaration that God is at work in me and my life, and that I am forever and eternally grateful.

I have to share these words from my favorite song sang at the baptism service:

Alive in Us

I was lost, but now I'm found
Oh my God my world came crashing down
But You save
My sweet Jesus how you took my place

Please come down
We need You now
And we sing

Jesus You're alive in us, and we sing
Jesus You're alive in us

You are faithful, You are true
Oh my God your grace came crashing through me
And You save
Your sweet Jesus how he took my place

Please come down
We need You now
And we sing

Jesus You're alive in us, and we sing
Jesus You're alive in us

Jesus You're alive in us, and we sing
Jesus You're alive in us


Monday, July 12, 2010

Completing Him Challenge-Week #5

This weeks challenge from Courtney at Women Living Well is this, communicate with your husband about time management, make a list of five things you currently do around the house, and then ask him to prioritize them for you according to how important they are to him.

This is a great challenge! I already know the value of knowing what is important to your spouse regarding work around the house and focusing on that, it's definitely a really big deal!

Elvis and I have had the pleasure of working with a really wonderful Christian counselor who had us read a book together called "The Five Love Languages." In this book we found an exercise where we each had to make a list of things we perceive as loving, that if our spouses chose to do for us, we would interpret and accept as acts of love. I was really surprised at how different our lists were! The words and actions I perceive as loving, and therefor use to demonstrate love to Elvis, don't mean or equal love to him! I thought I was being so doting and so loving, but he wasn't reading it that way, and vice versa, what he thought was loving wasn't registering with me! I think the same can be said for time management around the home! I could be totally focusing on things I think are important and helpful to him, but unless I specifically ask him if I'm on the right track with doing things he appreciates, I could be way out in left field.

Since last night was our first night back after my sisters wedding, and we're all a bit sleep deprived, Elvis and Avery are still catching some Z's, but once he's up and alert, I'm going to ask Elvis to help me prioritize my list and I'll be back!


Sunday, July 11, 2010


.....because I needed to.

Because it's therapeutic, and necessary some times.

Because my heart still hurts from old breaks.

Because scar tissue can hurt as badly as the original wound.

Because I'm human.

Because nothing can hurt more then these sadness's I'm carrying around, not even the headache I get from crying about them.

As I've said before, this blog is about rebuilding a better life on God's foundation, and that means examining all the cracks in the current foundation. I've got a ton of cracks, all kinds of weaknesses, all kinds of little places just waiting to cave in on me, if I'm not careful, if I'm not mindful and aware of all my damaged spots.

Better to be aware of them then to pretend they're not there.

So I'm crying over my healing but still aching broken heart. It's been broken so many times before, but through a real beating the past 2.5 years. It still hurts even though God has been patiently and delicately putting it back together, piece by piece. It's whole but it won't ever be the same. It won't ever work the same, or feel the same. It'll probably always ache.

But hopefully over time, the scars of insecurity, fear, shame, doubt, and grief will fade some, to a tolerable, livable degree.


Bad dreams.....

Last night I had a nightmare, I dreamed my world crumbled down around me and my heart was broken.

I woke up panicked and upset, and quickly realized, it was just a dream.

But I couldn't stop thinking about it, and how last night it was just a dream, but in the not so distant past, it was real. The heart break and the panic and the world in shambles, was intensely and painfully real.

And now I am prone to nightmares.

And fear.

And insecurity.

And jealousy.

And hatred.

And feeling a sense of inadequacy I didn't feel before.

And I'm wondering what lesson God has built in to all of this, and when I will learn it. When will the hurt cease to be hurt for hurt sake and start to be instructional or something to build on.

When will the bad dreams stop and when will confidence and security return?

I hope it's soon.

I want to be something more then healing.

I want to be something more then broken but patched, or torn but repaired.

I want to be whole and healthy, thriving even.

I want to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I want to trust.

Maybe that's the lesson, maybe I need to trust more, in God that is, and do His will which I already understand, and stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, or my world to crumble around me.

Maybe that's it?

1 Peter 5:7 says, Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you

Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Psalm 34:4 says, I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.

Perhaps it is my lack of trust in that God is taking care of me, and my family, and my marriage, and that He is also holding accountable people who are responsible for plotting against me and my marriage, and that I do not need to fear that is giving me nightmares and causing me stress?

Definitely something I need to think on and pray about.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Admiring Elvis......

This week the "Completing Him" challenge posed by Courtney of Women Living Well is to write a post about what it is we admire about our husbands, then show it to them and let them read it. Great challenge!

So, here goes. What I have always admired most about Elvis is his drive. He has an amazing work ethic, he's motivated and determined and never, ever lazy. He's a hard working man and I really admire that in him.

He's also very sensitive to the needs of others. He puts the needs of everyone else before his own.

He loves his family, even when it's difficult, he loves his parents, his siblings, his wife and his kids at all times.

He's a good provider, he scrimps and sacrifices and does without so that his children, and even I do not have to. He takes care of our home meticulously. He strives to improve it and maintain it and make it a great place to be.

He's silly, and funny and well liked. Seriously, everyone likes him. His co-workers like him, his patients like him, strangers like him, he's a good guy to be around.

He's smart. He's really good with numbers in a way I have never been, I admire him for his ability to do math in his head that I find hard with calculator!

He's strong. He's come through a lot of hardship, on his own and with me, and he's still standing. Life has tried to break him time and time again, but he let God into his world and he's been fortified by Him. His strength is amazing.

There's so much more about Elvis that I admire, but I'll leave it at this, he's a wonderful husband and father, and I feel blessed that God chose him for me, and then placed him in my path so I could find him.