Merry Christmas! As I write this post I am in OHIO (yeah) and I am seeing how truly blessed I am. We arrivedMonday and tried to surprise my mom but the ground was covered with ice so every step we made was SO loud and so we began to laugh, I am certain this is from delirium form being in the car for 14 hours! :) So needless to say she heard us coming! We all went to breakfast at cracker barrel then home to rest for a quick bit. I got to surprise one of my favorite girls (Sophie) who screamed when she saw us. (she thought we were just leaving Kansas) Did some more running around and got the last minute Christmas shopping almost done, had a Deitches Ice Cream! (YUMMY) Then to the mall where I ran into some more friends. Then to surprise Tiffany at Swim practice! Then the headache came. I thought it was from traveling and all the running around, so I took some aspirin went to bed. Woke up Tuesday with the same headache. Well the headache wouldn't go away and then it made me sick very sick (throwing up yucky sick) so finally about 8 pm Earl and I took a trip to the E.R. (OK Earl forced me but I am glad he did) After blood work, lots of IV fluids and some Amazing medicines, the CT scan and a few hours we were back at my parents and the headache was gone! I slept and slept and slept then we attended the Christmas Eve Service at Stonebridge last night and we able to see and speak with so many of our friends! In the short amount of time we have been gone it's amazing to see how much everyone has changed. Many of the students I used to work with now tower over me, so I am not sure if I shrunk in Kansas or they really grew that much. But it was so great to walk into the church to be greeted by hugs and the warm beautiful smiles of those we love. I didn't realize how much I missed them until I saw them again. We were greeted with so much love! I can only Thank God for that. He allowed us to share so much of our lives there for five years and we are truly blessed to share in the lives of those wonderful people at Stonebridge! I think sometimes I wonder if what we share is as meaningful to others as it is to me and God always shows me it is. And this trip is defiantly showing me that the time we were at Stonebridge was for His purpose and not ours and that when we follow his leading he will Bless what we have. We just have to allow God to work and he does! In his timing not ours. And so as we continue to share this special time with family and friends I feel Gods blessings with each friendly face, smile, hug, and even the few shedded tears! and I know that our God is an AWESOME GOD! So as this day of celebrating the birth of Christ draws to an end, I Hope you will continue to see God's Blessings in Your life, Things don't always work the way we think they should, but God's Plan is so much bigger than what we can see. and as I get these tiny glimpses into His Bigger Picture I am Thankful! May You Feel His Blessings Today and Always!
I have been sitting here trying to decide what to write and I am not sure if this is going to be anything more than me rambling on but Here goes. After talking with a good friend today, about me coming back to OHIO to visit and the changes at the church and the programs there, she said something about you know last year about this time Christina you said you felt God was prompting you for something more, something deeper than what you have now. And at the time (January 2008) I couldn't even imagine that less than a year later that I would be living in Augusta KS, that I would be a pastors wife (Yes I know that's what all the schooling was for:)), that after leaving everything I knew and Loved that in just a few months that I would be feeling so connected so a part of things so much like this is where I belong. After all that I put into things there I never felt as part of it, as connected, as appreciated, as I do here. I have heard Thank You more here in the past few weeks than I did there after almost three years of service, not that, I was only doing it for the recognition but we as humans I think or at least I do need to know that people care. Please don't get me wrong I love and appreciate all the things that I experienced in that time because I have grown and learned to trust in God so much more because of my experiences there. Since we have been here I have had, no wait I have made the time to connect with God and to seek out his will for me. It's funny to think that a year ago today I was happy with where I was and thought I would always be there, funny thing God does he begins to prepare our hearts for change but sometimes we are so closed off that we can't see it. Last year when I went to Mars Hill Church (January) and saw their program and heard the way they worship and the way Rob Bell preaches, I realized that I needed more than what I was getting I just couldn't see any way to get more, to experience more. I was already loaded with all that I could possibly handle. And that's the problem I was looking for what I could do not How God could work. He (God) put somethings on my heart that weekend away in Michigan and I was faithful and followed through, only it didn't have the outcome I expected, does that mean God wasn't in it? No I believe that He (God) gave me certain tasks to do and I followed through, and he slowly reviled to me more and more that He has bigger things for me, for my family. In March 2008 we (Earl and I) began feeling God moving, at this time we had no Idea what He (God) had in store for us but we both could feel a change coming. And boy did it! June 2008 we got the call to Interview for a position at First Baptist Church in Kansas of all places, I thought~ seriously God Kansas home of Dorthy the Yellow Brick Road and Tornado's, No Thanks!~ But we knew that this calling had to be from God you see Earl hadn't submitted a resume in almost three months and this was a church he had interviewed with the previous fall, and it was a bit of a different position than what he had originally interviewed for. So we prayed about it, talked about it as a Family and applied for the position... and you know the rest of the story we are currently serving at FBC. And when I compare what I had then to what I have now I see that God has brought us to something deeper, our Worship at FBC is Amazing there hasn't been a week that has gone by since we have been here that I don't feel God at work here, feel His presence with me, with the Church. And He (God) is continuing to show me more and more that when we will let go and allow Him to work through us He will! We have to get out of our own way sometimes to do this. So as this year 2008 comes to and end that's what I hope to do in the coming year. Get out of my own way and Allow God to work through me. And that in the coming year I will see my experience as an opportunity to Love deeper, to Live better, and to be the Woman God has called me to be! I truly Believe that we serve an AWESOME GOD! Who Loves us in spite of us.
So Love God, Love People (all people) and all the rest will work it's self out!
OK so I have been reading a lot lately and I have found some really amazing books one is ROOM OF MARVELS by JAMES BRYAN SMITH. I read it in just a few hours and had a really hard time putting down when I had other tasks to do like cooking and laundry which I did and quickly came back to it. I think everyone should read this book, but you may need a tissue handy as a few parts made me cry. I think it’s a true story or based on the authors life. It starts with him driving to a monastery to have a time of rest and solitude. He has in the past few years lost his best friend, Daughter, and Mother, and is questioning God. He cant understand why God would allow this to happen to him and he has such grief for those who have died that he can’t get over. He is an author who writes books, about God and his Love yet feels torn and like a hypocrite for now not believing what he has written. As a parent my self I can’t even imagine losing a child. But I have lost loved ones very close to me and I can understand his grief. As I was reading this book, my eyes were opened to how I respond to God in many of my life’s circumstances and I was ashamed and at the same time felt a since of relief as some of God’s truths were revealed to me. And overall I felt God speaking to me, in this book and through my quiet time . So if you get the opportunity to read this book or even better yet buy it. I plan to buy it so I can have my own copy to mark up. Those who know me know I like to highlight passages in books, that are especially meaningful to me and this being a library book I couldn’t do that so instead I wrote down those passages that really stood out to me that caught my attention. I can’t share them all here it would take a very long time to share. But I will share a few, and my response my feelings my thoughts about them. So I hope you enjoy! ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I Saw myself in that mirror, flawed, broken, wounded, and imperfect, but real. Nothing– no one is more beautiful than you __________(fill in your name) since God, Beauty it’s self, has fallen in Love with you.
~*~ That is how I see my self flawed and broken wounded and imperfect but I am starting to see that God has a plan for me in all this brokeness like the shared pieces of a stained glass window prior to being made into the masterpiece it was designed for. You must let Him Love you as you are, not as you intend to be. Let Him Love you as you are with out a single plea for reform. It is all about Grace.
~*~WOW! Let HIm (God) Love me as I am? I thought I was doing this but the more I spend time with Him the more I realize I am not.
You want people to know you on your own terms, but your afraid to let them see the real you. You only let them see the mask. You created the mask to protect yourself. The mask is the way you manage what other people think of you. You let them see what you think they want to see, but they never get to see the real you.
~*~ When I read this it was like it cut deep. This is me! I am to afraid to take the mask off because I am to afraid that they won’t like the real me. Plus I have been wearing it sooo long I am not sure if I even know who I really am. This hit me especially hard this week because it was also reveiled to me during my quiet time, my prayer time this week with God. But I am working on this. I want to take off the mask and show the real me and figure out who the real me is. Our brokeness did not keep him from calling us. Thank God for that!
We are more than our failures, more than our imperfections, and faults, We are so much mor but for me many times that’s all I can see the failure the faults, the imperfections.
~*~At one point in the story they are in his room of marvels and he sees these things from his past that were times when he showed others God’s Love in normal everyday kinda ways, ways he never even knew he was showing it. And that’s what I want to refocus my thinking on, those little every day kinda ways we show and share God’s Love….. Smiling at the cashier, standing up for those who can’t stand up for them selves, giving what we have in abundance with out thought to our own needs. When he saw these things he had done he was able to remove the mask and start seeing himslef as God sees him, and my prayer is that as I start being who God intened me to be that my mask will fade as well. That I won’t see the brokeness in myself any longer but instead I would see myself through His eyes.
God’s power is made perfect in weakness. Enough said!
The most beautiful stones are the one’s that have been tossed by the wind and washed by the water and polished to brilliance by life’s strongest storms. There were several more passages that I wrote out and I hope to share them with you later but for now that is all. Have a Beautiful Day! ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Know you are Loved, Thought of, & Prayed for!
I just completed another book, and I am so grateful that I now have the time to enjoy a good book. Since we have moved here I have been able to recapture the joy I would get from reading when I was growing up. I can remember being so involved in a book, that I felt as if I had become one of the characters, or that I was living what I was reading. The bookI just finished MISTAKEN IDENTITY is the true story of two girls from Taylor university who were mistaken for one another after a horrific automobile accident. I remember hearing about it when it happened a couple of years ago but never thought much of it, but as I was checking out of the Library the other day this book was on the counter and I asked the librarian if I could check it out. So anyway as I was reading it I began to think about my car accident. April 1, 2005 seems like it was sooo long ago yet I can still remember it like it was yesterday, it’s a day that my life was changed forever. It’s a day that I truly saw God at work and felt his presence come over me. It’s also a day that I came to realize what’s really important in life. Love. Most of my close friends and family know the story but I am still gonnaa blog a little about it from what I remember. Ok so here goes: April 1, 2005 started like any other day I guess, the kids went off to school, now they were supposed to be enjoying their last day of spring break but we had to many snow days so they used that final day of spring break as a make up day. (proof enough for me that God is Good:)) at some point during the day I ventured out and to the Thrift store (I was looking for a desk, I was planning on homeschooling Michael and Katie and I needed a good sturdy desk for the computer and various files etc..) I found the perfect one and it was cheap like $20.00 or so the only problem was it wouldn’t fit in the van. So I called Earl and my Dad and they said they would pick it up after work, I continue on with my day I eventually make it to Wal-mart for some groceries and as I am getting in line Earl calls and says that they need the receipt for the desk or they can’t pick it up. I head over there and call my mom on the way to see if she can meet the kids at the house the bus would be there soon and I wouldn’t be there. (Proof again God is Good, my kids wouldn’t be alone when they heard of the accident) I get to the store they load up and we are on our way home. I drove this same road everyday usually several time a day but today’s outcome would be different. I saw the van coming at me and I just assumed he would veer off back into his own lane and everything would be fine, but he didn’t I remember thinking he’s gonna go back in to his lane any time now and I began to slow down and scoot over on the road, I was as far over on the shoulder as I could be with out going into the grass. Then he hit me, My initial reaction was that I need to stop my van from moving I was less than 50 ft from a very busy intersection, and I knew that at this time of day on a Friday afternoon there would be semi’s and other cars trying to get home. Anyway, I remember my dad being there almost instantly and he looked so worried, and I told him my face was burning, so he ran and got me a towel to wipe my face, then Earl came over. (I can’t even imagine knowing what it’s like to see someone you love get hit by another vehicle) Earl kept asking me if I was ok and I really had no Idea how bad the injuries I had were or how much damage the van I was driving had taken. My glasses had been broken by the airbag and I knew my left arm was broken but I never felt any pain, in fact I remember having this feeling of warmth and peace come over me. I took off my wedding ring and gave it to Earl, I didn’t want them to cut it off. And then I went into crazy mom mode, I began giving Earl things out the window to take because I had no Idea how long it would take to repair the van (it was totaled, but I hadn’t seen it yet). He must have thought I was crazy I was more concerned with the groceries I had just bought than I was with the fact that I had just been in a car accident. Now during this time I am still feeling no pain in fact I am think they will set my arm and send me home from the hospital, I was wrong. I ended up with a broken arm, two hour surgery and a plate and seven screws to fix it. and a broken foot and toes two hour surgery and pins to fix it as well as four months in a wheel chair two months of physical therapy and lots of time to learn about patience. And through it all I Thank God. For so many things, one my kids were not with me. That in itself is enough for me. I honestly felt no pain until several hours later after I had been transported to MCO from the hospital in Findlay. During the accident there was no blood, I later found that the dashboard had come in and down on my knees and I had some scrapes and minor bruising but no blood, it took almost a week to get all the glass out of my hair again no blood. Earl and I and our children were surrounded by somuch love and support during that time that we truly felt blessed. After the surgeries and a few days of recovery I was allowed to come home with the promise that I would have someone to care for me. At this point I knew I had a choice to be angry and bitter or to see the Blessings that God would bring from this. I chose to look for and see the Blessings, and boy did I. The ones that come to mind immediatley are the cards and letters and prayers that poured in, as well as all the amazing women who sat with me after the first week and I insisted Earl return to work. Sometimes it was family and other times someone I barely knew from church or BSF. But everyday I got to see God;s Love for me in some one. The food poured in like crazy my amazing friend Rebekah organized it so that we would have meals everyday for a month and a half then I asked for those to stop we needed to get some sense of normalcy back into the home and by this point I was able to maneuver around better in the wheel chair. Most importantly what I learned from this time was how precious life was and that God’s Love could really get you through anything. Now I had bad days that I just wanted to cry out why me God! But it didn’t last long when I thought about all the good that would come from this. During this time I read throughoutthe book of Job, and I was encouraged by his strength to not allow all the terrible things to turn him away from God. I wanted to be like Job. And now three and a half years later as I sit here in Kansas I can look back and see that God is always with me it’s me that turns away not God. The scars are still there and I am Thankful for them, it’s a daily reminder to me that God is good and that he can and will take good from bad situations. So if my story can encourage just one person then it’s worth it. Even if that person is me. I am not sure why I felt the need to write this out, I don’t think I ever had since the accident but I know that God showed me Love, he showed me that he would carry me through it and he did. God gave me an Identity in Him. It took this accident for me to really stop and listen to what God wanted and to stop doing what I wanted. I still fail and fall short but I am reminded that he Love’s where I am and he loves me too much to let me sit there. God is good. Ok it’s getting late and I am getting tired but if you ever wanna talk about I am here. and I hope that you will see this accident as, as much of a blessing , as I have. May you feel the peace of God. Know you are Loved. Thought of, & Prayed for Today. Love Christina