August 3, 2016

Spiritual Sobriety

I've been looking at this book on Amazon as I saw it was recommended by a friend, but I'm distraught because its sounds unstable, like a building without nails.

From what I can see from the numerous reviews, quotes, and concise descriptions, the author, Elizabeth Esther, endured a childhood dominated by an unhealthy, unbalanced precedence on legalism and religion. But, from what I can see, unless I am mistaken, her story is nothing more than a self-help exercise that took her from over-zealous to the ability to "think for herself" - aka, ensnared by the ruse that basically, our faith depends on us and all get we do and believe, and not on God, who fashioned us from dust, who created the whole world, who sent His only Son Jesus Christ to for on the cross on our behalf. I could go on, but if I did, I would end up copying and pasting at least half the Bible.

Speaking of the Bible, the only Scripture I found from what I read was that which she idly mocked. If anyone has read her book and knows what it is actually about, would you please save me a $10.99 and help me to understand what she's really getting at in her book?

Thank you in advance!

June 6, 2016

wishing

Summer, 2015

Sometimes wishing hurts, as when you're wishing for something that you know you just can't have. It's so easy to "dwell on dreams and forget to live", as Dumbledore so wisely conveys to Harry in the Sorcerer's Stone. (Yes, wisdom can be discerned from even secular movies, with the right worldview.)

I have so much to be thankful for, so much to be excited about, so much to do... And yet, I know there is one thing I want more than anything in this world, and waiting is... *sigh*... oh, it's so hard!

Yet as I often quote to myself, 'What is easy is worth little; what is fought for tirelessly is priceless.'

I will wait, because I know it will be worth it, and I will thank the Lord for what I have. He is good! So good....




{Post-marriage, Summer 2016}

I'm living in a dream! The very dream I've had since my childhood. The very fantasy of having a husband, a home of my own, a wedding ring around my finger, of having a husband who loves the Lord... This dream came true this April 30th. I've been a Mrs. 3 months, and already it has been a joyful and fulfilling experience.

Brandyn is the most patient man, the most gentle, the most humble, and has strength and a work ethic to match. I can't believe God has blessed me - ME! - with such a man!

In addition to all of the pleasures, I have experienced the temptations in marriage; for example, the impulse to be sarcastic, short, selfish, and overall sinful. I cannot name even once when Brandyn has failed me, but I fail him every day. It is supremely humbling, convicting, and sanctifying to have him daily by my side. And I love him! My affection has in no way dwindled, and neither my devotion. Though I fail him daily, "a righteous man falls seven times and rises again", and so I press on and seek by the Lord's strength to do better.

I am blessed by the opportunity to help him by doing the laundry, cooking, and dishes, and I love waking up at 5am to make him breakfast before work. It's a healthy toil to deny myself a little extra sleep and bless him.

He helps me too! He keeps me on track, pays the bills, answers most of the emails, and makes the decisions in the way only a godly man who loves the Lord can. And I couldn't do any of this without him.

One of the brightest highlights of my day is seeing his face after work, and jumping into his arms for a big hug and kiss.

Best of all, by far, is being able to read the Bible and pray consistently with him every day! I read to him in the early morning hour, and he reads to me before we go to sleep.

I don't deserve this, but I thank the Lord that He gave it to me anyway. This really is a dream come true; no more wishing for me!

April 5, 2016

"Nutshelling"

April 6th, 2016

Proposal, wedding planning, work, sleep...

This sums up most of my life from the past few months. Cam you believe it? I'm getting married! I found him, the man of my dreams, and after waiting and praying for over a year, he proposed. To ME!

My life has been a bittersweet blend of happy, eventful, and also sad. In the midst of the wedding planning, I watched my grandmother learn that she had cancer, go through a session of chemo, say farewell to the people who love her dearly, and finally "slip the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."

I didn't want to accept it at first. Grandma was one of my best friends, and I feel ashamed to remember all that she sacrificed for me when returned so little of her kindness. I'm going to miss her very much.
    Planning a wedding while I watched her slowly die seemed so wrong. At the end, I took time off work and stayed with my family so that I could be there for them all. I will never regret that. I also was privileged to speak at my grandma's funeral this past weekend. I wish she could have been at my wedding. I know she's full of joy in heaven with the Lord right now, and that makes it easier to let her go.

Now, with my wedding just over the weeks away, I'm a busy girl. Is it a sin to forego house cleaning when your life is practically a disaster? I work, I go home, I accomplish more wedding planning, and I go to bed. My dear Brandyn has been a huge help planning our wedding. Right away when we started, I told him it was OUR wedding, not just mine, and so I wanted to make sure that everything we planned passed his approval first, from the invitation, to the flowers, to the color scheme. I couldn't have done all of this without him - which is good, because we'll be working together for, Lord willing, many years to come!

Brandyn is a gem. He's the sunshine in my cloudy life. I love him so much! I'm thankful the wait to marry him is nearly at an end!

Now you know why I haven't had much time to write. We fiances have to keep busy! Since you've been caught up, I hope to write often from now on. Thank you for reading; it's good to know that someone out there cares to read about my humdrum life. =)

August 3, 2015

garden of roses

Since I was little, I have had three dreams for my life, three desires the Lord planted in my heart from an early age: The first is to one day become a wife and mother; the second, to become an author, for I'm sure you know how I love to write! And thirdly, but certainly not least of all in importance, to live for Christ and strive to give Him the glory with all I have and am.

In the last steps of spring last year just before summer had begun, my soul was in despair over the fear that I might never see my first dream come to pass. I foolishly kept searching and searching for 'him' without fully trusting the Lord to bring him to me, and after having my heart broken to a state I never thought I would recover from, I lost all hope that such a man even existed. No one could really fit the long list of traits I was looking for, surely; no one could ever truly like me for me! I can count on one hand how many men who have ever looked twice at me. I was despairing, and so exhausted of rejection that I decided I would never let another man enter my heart. And yet, I knew if I did this, if I held back, if I put a wall up all around me, I would never truly heal. I had a wound cut deeply into my heart, and the disappointment I felt was like poison in my injury; I was festering in a state of complete doubt of God's sovereignty.
    One day when I told Him bluntly in my prayers during church my despondent thoughts, 'I have stopped believing any such man exists' - and oh, what hopeless tears drenched my eyes with this wretched 'prayer'! - then, praise the Lord, not four hours later at an event after the church service, He showed me someone... one man I had known for a few years, but never really considered. Why would he be interested in me? He is so above me in character and sweetness! Instinct made me cautious from the very second my heart began to hope again; the fear of disappointment still stung bitterly, and I would not let my heart be broken again!
    I had a pleasant conversation with this friend, and soon - much sooner than I expected - my sister came and took hold of my arm to bring me away so that we could head home. I did not want to leave him - it felt good to hope again! - but I tore myself away with my sister's help, and walked from the building to the sidewalk on the way to the car, wondering about what God was doing. I saw a small leaf there on the concrete, shaped like a heart, about the size of the print of my thumb, and I picked it up. I turned it over in my hand and prayed in thanks to the Lord:

"I don't know if this will ever turn out to be anything, if this is really Your will at all, but thank You for teaching me to hope again, Father! Help me to trust in You!"

One month later, this young man began talking to me more often, in my eyes very deliberately seeking to do so, but I kept my heart in check and did not allow any flutterings over what might not be anything more than simple, impartial kindness. Still another month, and we took a walk around the evening church parking lot, talking about photography (as we often did), clouds, sunsets, trees, his family's farm, and whatever else came to mind. We were about to step onto a park path to continue our walk, when I realized it was the time when my family had planned to leave. We started back in that direction, crossing the road back to the sidewalk behind the church building. Before our feet hit the edge of the road, he began to say what caused butterflies to swarm in my chest and made my heart beat out of time: he explained that he had been thinking and praying about it for a long time, and wanted to get to know me better. A pursuing friendship with an eye for marriage, but with more caution than 'dating'. Going out for coffee or dinner and casually spending time together so that we can learn more about each other and see if it may be God's will for us to be together. We talked about limits in touch - no kissing, no hugging, no holding hands - and found that in everything we talked about, we were completely like-minded. He wanted to make his intentions clear to me, that he was interested in me. I told him I would like to think and pray about it, and talk to my family first, and he told me to take my time, that there was no pressure, and he was completely patient.
    My family was not yet ready to leave after all, so we kept walking and talking, both of us, I think, very excited and happy!

That was over a year ago! I can barely remember the old days of despair and disappointment.... For the first time in my life, I have let the Lord lead me in regards to finding the right man, and I believe I have at last! My dear friend meets up with everything on my list; we seem sweetly alike in personalities, and still agree on every subject we have talked on, excepting tomatoes, onions, mustard, and other silly foods that change nothing.
    Brandyn. His name is Brandyn. He has become my very best friend - I found I am closer and more alike in every way to no one else I have ever met! He amazes me... he is the most humble, thankful, joyful man I know! For once in my life, I am not trying to force someone in whom I am interested into the mold I've been searching for all my life, not making petty arguments with myself to say 'No, really, this guy is different!' For once, I am leaning on the Lord, and He is continuing to bless this relationship, and make me all the more certain with every day that I have found the man with whom I want to spend the rest of my life.

Brandyn... I didn't believe that you really existed, and yet there you were all that time, right under my nose! I couldn't see our Lord's plan; I had no knowledge of how He would cause our friendship to become something so precious, something I would not trade for the whole universe! I am so glad the Lord broke me, and showed me His way. Wow! It's you!! I will wait for you, sweetie, because I know it will be so worth it!

July 24, 2015

good, hard change

I was sitting in the car, parked in the middle of my home town, thinking about the changes that have happened in my life recently. They have been good changes, many things for which I am extremely thankful! I got a job that I love, yet for some reason as I watch the clock turn, my stomach also turns in nervousness. It's new, and I guess I'm still growing accustomed to it.
    From here, I can see the old lamps of the town that light up the night, lifeless in the sunshine of daytime, and have been there as long as I've lived here, probably longer than I've been alive! It's comforting to see those lamps, to know how long they've been there. 


There is comfort in things that don't change. I don't know why I should fret about change when it's something I'm asking for all the time! 'Please let me get married soon', please make me well again', 'Please, please, please.' I guess it's a lack of trust in God's sovereignty. No, that's exactly what it is. Every day I go to work, I have to remind myself that God is in control. Every day I need His strength because work is hard! I like it too, but that doesn't mean it's easy. As in most cases with discontentment, the answer is thankfulness, so I'll thank the Lord for today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next after that... because each day is an undeserved gift, and He deserves my thanksgiving! So, thank You, Lord!

July 23, 2015

Vanity and Treasure

Summer, 2015

Just recently to my friend I was confessing a dearth of diligent prayer in my life. Oh, yes, I always pray, but at such random, brief moments in my life. It little glorifies God to receive so very little attention from me each day. This afternoon, I sat down with a bowl of delicious soup my mother had prepared for the family, and I began to pray my routine thanks for the blessing. As I did, many other prayers came to mind, and in thanking God for them all, I was overcome with humility in the sweetest way.
Oh, Lord, I don't deserve any of these gifts! Down to the last breath, everything I have belongs to You! I must better learn to hold onto the treasures of this life lightly, and not greedily drink up all of the vain comforts and pleasures my simple life has to offer. Reading Ecclesiastes, as I have been frequently of late, it's message has impressed upon me more deeply that everything in this life, whether joy or grief; whether labor or ease; whether light or shadow... Everything is completely vain, and as grasping the wind, if not in love for God, to serve and glorify Him. It has made me more aware of my debt to the Lord for all of the innumerable gifts He has bestowed on me, which every second make me more and more deeply in debt to His lovingkindness and mercy.
Humility produces thankfulness.
Thankfulness produces joy.
Oh, what a joyous thing to pray with all ones heart, to cry tears of thankfulness erupting from the realization that I have been blessed beyond my imagination, beyond anything I could ever deserve or repay. Oh, what unfathomable love of God, that He should still care for a selfish wretch like me! Oh, praise be to His name that His love cannot be lost or forfeited, because it depends not on our fickle hearts, but on His unchanging character.
If you have left your First Love, run back into His arms; He is waiting for you, patiently.

Patiently Alone

Good morning, world! I can't even remember the last time I said hello or shared anything with you all! I've been off work this week because of sickness. In a way, I miss my job and am excited to get back to it, yet also, I get anxious, not really ready to let go of these peaceful days of breakfasting out-of-doors and being able to read the Word whenever I want! I'm never quite ready to return to the fast-paced lifestyle in the cities. It's so beautiful here in my front yard, under the shade of our old river birch. I've loved this break from the daily chaos and catch up on some valuable things.

And now, basking in the perfection of today, I wish my guy was here with me. My boyfriend, the man God brought me to who is strong in faith and gentle and kind and everything a man should be. We've been dating since March, and have been dearly pursuing each other since last August, and have known each other for several years! He's my best friend, and I miss him sorely right now. I've had the week off, but he has still been busy and working hard, and I haven't seen him yet at all. Maybe you've felt it, that longing to be with someone, so potent you feel short of breath and achy in your chest until you're by their side. I wish I was sitting accross from him here on the patio, eating toast with jelly and drinking tea or coffee and reading the Word together. I'll just have to wait. And that's the hard part, really; I don't want to wait. If I had my way, I'd be married by now, getting up before the sun to make my husband breakfast before work, doing dishes, laundry, and making a home feel like home. But that's just not the Lord's timing right now. I'm very thankful for the stage I'm in; I mean, how many years have I been crying out for the Lord to bring the right someone into my life? Dreadful waiting. This stage I'm in right now is a completely different kind of waiting; I know who my prince charming is! I prefer this kind of waiting a million times more. There's a rest that comes with knowing. But still, this guy is everything I could have asked for and more! I want to spend every second with him! Well, as they say, waiting always is longer than you would like, but shorter than you think. I'll be patient, Lord. You've never disappointed me! I'll be thankful for my quiet morning alone, and give it to You!

April 12, 2015

Little Burdens

There are days when when you find you have been running too long without sufficient rest, and all of a sudden, you want to run away by yourself to a secret corner somewhere and just cry from exhaustion. Sometimes even when life is going really well, and there are beautiful things surrounding you on all sides, even then, it can be wearying. Small burdens surface that you didn't even notice were troubling you. Missing someone, fearing for the Salvation of people who are dear to you, working where your job is to sacrifice all your energy to smile and serve and please everybody, friends who are moving away until only God knows how long... Little burdens. The temptation is to look away from our Omnipotent (all-powerful) Creator - who graciously carries us through every trial and will one day dry all pur tears - and think instead only of ourselves and our troubles. Foolish thinking. So today, lonely and burdened as I was, I was tempted to hide, as I always do when I feel this way. But I couldn't. I had responsibilities. So I sat and poured all my effort into singing the Lord's worship. I did not really 'feel' like I was worshipping. But I pray it gave Him some glory. Then came the sermon. Powerful. Personal. Selfless. God-honoring. I needed that today; I needed my eyes to be drawn away from myself again and look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. Why have I need to fret? All things are in His hands. So the burdens are not so heavy as they were earlier. Finally I remember my Lord and Savior's patient work in the past in my life, guiding me up an unpleasant mountain of adversity, and then down to a green valley of peaceful bliss. He is faithful. So no matter how lonely I may feel, He is with me. No matter how lost my dear friends are, He is mighty to save. No matter how tiring and seemingly chaotic my job becomes, He is my power and peace. No matter how long and far my friends move away, I have a constant Friend in heaven who revives me daily in His awesome love. Futile despair... It does not do any good to worry, it only rips the joy out of our lives, the joy of trust in our Heavenly Savior.

So do not despair when you encounter various trials, my friends. Look unto Jesus, and He will bless your faith and carry you through your trials, one by one.

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