Tuesday, October 23, 2012

4th Quarter Challenge

The Word of God is amazing.

Yes, I am talking about the BIBLE.

It is SO awesome.

I have always enjoyed sitting and reading my Bible.  Of course, I'm just like any other Christian who has had their seasons of not reading diligently, or not have a desire to read for a long-ish period of time, but overall, I enjoy sitting (when I discipline myself to do it) and reading the Word.

But I have never read the Bible cover-to-cover, beginning to end.  I'm sure at this point in my Christian walk, I've read most of it.  But there was so much, especially in the Old Testament, that still seemed foreign to me.

In June of this year, I decided to read the Bible straight through in a year.  I was doing well until I hit the middle of Leviticus.  Yep, that's where it gets really hard to keep plowing through.  So I basically stopped reading (except for my devotional reading) until a few weeks ago when our church announced the 4th Quarter Challenge.

The challenge is simple: read through the Bible in the last quarter of the year.

The whole Bible in 3 months.

Ya, right.  

But then my husband started doing it and I didn't want to be left out.  Plus, I already had the first couple books under my belt from the summer.

Now, I can't stop.  I LOVE it.

I'm super thankful for the iphone app Bible.is because it allows me to listen to most of my reading while I'm running reports at work or while I'm driving.  And I get a lot out of listening because it slows me down and makes me hear e.v.e.r.y word.

Being immersed in the Word is changing me.  It is giving me a better understanding of God's character - His Holiness and Righteous - and the more I learn about the Old Testament the more I am blown away by His Grace and His mercy!

The Word is a mirror that reveals our soul and our utter sinfulness as mankind.  But this makes me evermore grateful for the steadfast love of our Savior who has chosen to love me and bestow completely undeserved grace on me! The more I read about God's righteousness through His Word, I can't believe His great love in choosing to call me as one of His children.  And that it what makes me fall in awe at the feet of His Grace.

His Word is making me fall more and more in love with Him.  

It makes me think of the words of the chorus of one of my favorites songs:

Give me Jesus. 
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have ALL this world,
but give me Jesus.

All I want in this life is Jesus and I can't wait for Heaven so that I can just be in His presence forever!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fullness of JOY

Without you, Jesus, I would have no joy in the sunset.

Without you, I would find no happiness in in any possessions; No latest item of fashion or car or house would fill me. 

Without you, my soul would be a vacuum, craving and feeding - craving and feeding, but never feeling full.

It is because You are my God that I take pleasure in this life. 

It is because this world is NOT my final home and is not my true dwelling place, that I can take joy in living here on earth.

It is because I know the Creator of the sun and the waves and the sand, that I can delight in a love for the ocean. 

It is because I know You!!!

Lord, when I don’t feel you near me, when I lose sight of who I am in You, not even my favorite things satisfy me.  When I have forgotten my understanding of what You have given me, now and eternally, my heart hardens and life becomes dull.

But Lord! Oh Lord!  When you give me the sweetness of Your presence no circumstances around me matter!  I could delight in your presence in the midst of construction, at the edge of the waves, or in the front seat of my car.  Nothing is sweet than those glimpses of eternity, nothing is sweet than knowing You!

It is knowing You that brings me joy during my times of prosperity.  When my troubles lesson and when provision is generous, I glory in the pleasures You allow me because they are gifts from You.  A dinner out with my husband, a new dress, a fresh bouquet of flowers on the table – these are all expressions of my love for You – of who I have been made to be – an unique expression of Your image. 

It is knowing You that brings me hope in more uncertain times.  It is understanding that I have been created in Your image, that You have called me as Your child, and that I have an inheritance as a daughter of God Most High that brings me purpose.  It is knowing this to be my destiny that allows me to submit in leaner times and to still delight in Your presence.

Lord Jesus, God Most High!  Worthy are You and all Your works!  In every season of my life, may my lips always utter praise!

Yes, Lord.  Yes, Lord!  In Your presence there is truly fullness of JOY.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It Comes In Waves

Everything is fine again! Life is so lovely, summer is just stretching her legs, and the sun has been smiling.

New friends are being made, new hearts being discovered, and new joy showing itself to me.
I’ve been reconnecting to old friends, discovering the richness of being known, and discovering the beauty of receiving.

God is good and life is beautiful.

And so I thought I was done grieving.

I found out I’m not.

It hit me tonight in the quiet – when I could no longer hide in the noise.

I usually relish my quiet space. I plan my time alone to the fullest with the things I want to do to recharge my soul, spiritually and practically.

But in the past two days of complete quiet after work, with Adam gone at networking meetings and not a single sound in the house except the buzz of the refrigerator and the hum of the air conditioning, I’ve had a complete lack of desire for anything.

Folding one basket of laundry is so difficult that I can’t deal with the other overflowing basket. I put it back against the wall. I pull into the gym parking lot and can’t make myself walk inside. I even go to one of my favorite Starbucks in Laguna Beach and I just want to leave. I really just want to be home and sit.

And finally, after two days of resisting the quiet with attempted chores and lots of iPhone app surfing and lots of attempted life planning, I finally went to the corner spot of the couch and just sat there.

And then it came.

The second wave of grief for the baby I lost 3 weeks ago. The baby I buried with Adam outside the window where I type these words. The baby I was able to see and hold at only six and a half weeks.

A baby who had a visible brain and spinal cord. A baby whose arms were budding and whose eyes were visible.

A baby who, for a little while, I had given life to. And a baby who was taken home even earlier than it’s sibling two and half years ago.

And so I sit here, for the second time in three years, grieving how two unplanned joys have turned into two of the biggest heartaches I’ve ever known.

And as I sit here, I'm hoping that this isn’t all I will ever know of motherhood.