Sunday, March 31, 2013

Risen For Us!

Now after the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. Suddenly there was a severe earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descending from heaven came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were shaken and became like dead men because they were so afraid of him. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said. Come and see the place where he was lying. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead.”—Matthew 28:1-7 NET

Friday, March 29, 2013

He Was Wounded For Us

“He was despised and rejected by people, one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him; he was despised, and we considered him insignificant. But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. All of us had wandered off like sheep; each of us had strayed off on his own path, but the Lord caused the sin of all of us to attack him. He was treated harshly and afflicted, but he did not even open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block, like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not even open his mouth. He was led away after an unjust trial – but who even cared? Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded.”—Isaiah 53:4-8 NET

Monday, March 25, 2013

Kaelynn's First Egg Hunt

So, my 15 month old niece Kaelynn had her first Easter egg hunt at "school" (daycare) last week.  I'm certain she had no idea what was going on, except she seemed to understand that getting the egg was a good thing, as is evidenced by this pic:

The little dress and hair clip are from Aunt Sarah.

This picture just cracked me up:

Guess who got it?  I felt a little bad for her friend though!

Love my red-headed cutie pie so much!  Isn't she just the cutest little daisy baby ever?! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Remembering God's Faithfulness

Twelve years ago this past Wednesday, I performed the last act of love towards my precious 12.5 yr old dog BJ.  You might wonder why I would want to remember that.  Well, firstly it was a traumatic day for me so I remember it not necessarily because I want to but because I just do.  But it was also very significant in the bigger picture of what God was doing in my life in the beginning of 2001.

I graduated from Christian college in 1995 and between then and 2001 I had slowly allowed myself to be led astray by the people I chose to associate with.  My heart was no longer focused on my Shepherd and because of that, I know longer yearned for His voice.  I filled that void with all sorts of things, some that were healthy and mostly those that were the furthest thing from.  I came so close to sheer evil I still shudder at some of the thoughts and things that were going through my head at that time.

But God is faithful.  And even when one of His children is being willfully disobedient and defiant, He will not allow Satan to snatch us out of His hand, and my life is a great example of that.  The morning of October 2, 2000, I woke up in a mental facility for the 2nd time in 3 months.  That was my spiritual awakening and God's grace giving me my chance to turn back to Him. 

It was as the Psalmist says in Psalm 18:19, "He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me". 

That morning in the mental hospital I made some life-changing decisions that led to a long, hard road back to where I needed to be in my relationship with the Lord.  He was so gracious and faithful every step of the way.  One of the things He called me to do - not audibly, but as close as can be to that - was to move 1400 miles away from where I was in MI to Dallas, TX to go to seminary.  At the time I really didn't know what the end result of going to seminary would be.  I just knew every man and woman I knew that really knew God's Word had studied at that school, so that's where I knew I had to go.

There were several obstacles to uprooting my life in MI and moving sight-unseen to an apartment 1400 miles away from all I knew and loved.  One of which was selling my old mobile home, which God took care of quickly.  Another was sweet BJ.  I knew he would not survive in the horrible heat of TX and I would be working and going to school and I didn't see how that would work.  I didn't even have the nerve to pray about it because my heart was so sad about what I knew had to happen.

It came very suddenly.  At Christmas 2000, he was just fine.  In January, he had developed something very painful to where he could barely walk.  He was on pain pills-doggie Vicodin if you can believe it!  Then, on the morning of February 27, 2001, we were on our morning walk through the snowy mobile home park, and he stopped.  He looked and me and I knew he could not go any further.  I picked him up (he wasn't light-weight!) and carried him back home, speaking tenderly to him the whole way, becaue I felt certain he was scared.  I know I was!  Walking was his absolute favorite thing to do, aside from snuggling on the sofa.

Once we got back into the house, I tried to give him his pain pill with peanut butter, but he wouldn't take it.  I knew then.  All day I planned for the appointment at the vet, setting up for someone to drive us, because I knew I would be in no shape to drive home with his collar by myself.

Looking back, the vet thought that BJ probably had developed a tumor on his spine, for the pain to develop and escalate that quickly.  I don't know.  I know, though, that the Lord got me through the hardest, saddest days of my life after that Tuesday afternoon through the support of friends.

One of my prayer partners said, when I sent out an update (at this point, I had a group that was praying my way towards moving to Dallas and seminary) - "looks like the Lord is gradually pulling away all the strings that are holding you in MI".

Yes, yes He was.  That "string" on February 27 was a very painful one.  But I praise the Lord for the 2.5 years I had with that sweet furry child of mine.  The Lord rehabilitated my soul through that dog's unconditional love.

Less than 5 months later, on my 28th birthday, July 7, 2001, my Mom and I began the 1200 mile journey from their house in OH to my apartment in Dallas, TX.

Eleven and a half years and half a seminary degree later, I still don't exactly know what God has planned for me here in Dallas.  I have so many blessings.  But He's been so faithful.  Through the hard times, the good times, and all the mundane days in between.