It's a Beautiful Day

I woke up this morning, still wanting a bit more sleep, not ready to put my feet on the floor and go. But, I got up, moving forward is a good thing. We had a great service today, it is good to see people come together in worship. I have had several days of just feeling very depressed, burdened, physically hurting from it. It is amazing what Satan thinks he can do to us when we are at our weakest. I have this weapon though, and he knows it. I know he is just crazy enough to think I will forget about it, not pick it up and use it, remembering who I am and whose I am. Man, God is good! As I am writing this I am in a better frame of mind and spirit. Today Ryan and I sat down and agreed in writing and in word to turn the corner. We have so much to be thankful for, we have so much we confessed and asked forgiveness for and we have a renewed sense of direction and purpose. We know what we need to do and we are taking the steps to do it. It is incredible what God has brought us through in 2007, so I cannot begin to imagine what he will accomplish in us in
2008. Our pastor gave us a great word of encouragement today in worship, "Show Love, Share Christ." Such a simple phrase but what power and purpose it carries for us as followers of Christ. I love the scripture he referenced today in Lamentations 3:22-26 which says, 'Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.' I want to be always mindful of His blessings in my life, and choose to wait upon Him. No matter the struggle, I want to embrace His promises, step out of my struggle and into the purpose He has for my life. Who likes to wait for anything? I don't like to wait, I am not the most patient person. So I must daily resolve to wait patiently upon the Lord and embrace the joy He has placed in my heart: why is that so hard? It doesn't have to be.

The pit of despair

I was driving home from work today, tears streaming down my face and asking God over and over again, "Why?" Between the move and waiting to get our internet set up I am just now back to my blog so I'll fill in the gap. We have moved to Brazil, Indiana, and Ryan has started his new job as worship minister at a local church. We are thankful to be here, but reality has set in. We have a hard road ahead of us. I started my job yesterday, nothing new to report there. I have worked in the retail industry for years, easy and busy work. Ryan and I are having some very intense discussions about our circumstances, how to handle it, where to go from here to get to where we would like to be. It is quite overwhelming, enough to send anyone into a pit of despair. What pushed me over the edge this week was the car. It died on the way to the shop and we have found ourselves facing yet another financial dilemma. It is going to cost a whole lot of money, money we do not have. That is on top of the debt pit we've already got to dig ourselves out of. Physically, emotionally and spiritually I am worn out. I am questioning how far I can go dealing with all of this. I know I cannot do it, I cannot carry the weight of this stuff we are dealing with on my own...somehow I have got to give it to the Father. I wonder some days if He really is there, because my humanity yearns for physical proof, a sign that He's really there. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I can't help but think I am not the only person who questions where God is sometimes. I have been thinking about a scripture today that I know God has given me to meet that need, that question. It is in Psalm 55 verse 22, which says, "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall." I looked up the definition of the word 'cast' and it is defined: throw, fling/to throw off, out or away/discard, shed. I have this mental picture of myself with all this "stuff" we are dealing with balled up in my hands and I am casting it, throwing it, flinging it away, far, far away...I wish it would just disappear, not exist anymore. Wouldn't it be easier that way? In my mind of course it would be, but then there would be something else to take its place. There will always be stress in our lives, I realize that. With each fluctuation, Satan has another opportunity to dig his claws into us, attempting to turn us from God. I will not, I will not, because I know God has something to teach me through this. What lessons will I have learned and how will I testify to what the Lord has done as a result? Time will tell.

Rollin', rollin', rollin'...

Okay, we are officially inside the final countdown to the move to Indiana. I can't believe how quickly things are moving right now. The church voted Ryan on staff last weekend and we are heading out next week. Whew!! We are excited, anxious, sad, overwhelmed, just in awe of God. This whole journey we have walked over the course of the past 14 months since Ryan's job loss has been like nothing we've experienced in life thus far. It is a lot to process, many different emotions, lessons learned. I am struck by how helpless we truly are to the waves life throws our way--but God is not helpless! He is teaching us day by day to trust Him completely, let go of what we think we have control of and acknowledge His power in our lives. How ridiculous it seems to me that at any point we think we can go, "Okay, Lord, you know I've got this under control, we are doing good and we'll let you know when we need your help." How selfish, arrogant and proud we are. Nothing like being knocked completely on your tail to learn how dependent we ought to be on God. I heard an interesting story on one of my favorite shows last night and this stuck with me: Sometimes our strength lies in being willing to ask for help. At what point do we find ourselves "strong enough" that we don't feel like we need help or can even ask for it? My Granddad is dying, and I found myself having a conversation with God in the car yesterday about it. Time and time again, I have come to realize regardless of my understanding He is in control. I don't have to have all the answers, nor can I comprehend it all. There is so much my tiny human brain cannot possibly fathom, and that is the point when I stretch my hands to heaven and say, "Okay Lord, I get is all Yours, I don't have to have all the answers." Life is precious, I am being reminded through every moment of it to be thankful for the time we have with those we love and make it count. Likewise, we must not waste a moment wondering what to do with our lives, whether or not we can handle a calling God has placed upon our lives. We are His people, called to serve for the furthering of His kingdom. What a gift He has given us, our time on this earth. I don't want to waste a single day.

Cozy, Rainy Sunday

It has been a good day to stay in, cuddle under a blanket and watch a good football game. Well, a good game...the Broncos could have had a great win today but no. They lost, and it wasn't pretty. It is a sad day in the Freeman family, and the Broncos seem to be having another dismal, just plain disappointing year. I thank my husband for getting my interest in football really going, although I had a good start growing up in a family that rooted for the Cowboys. Dallas is really doing well this year, I guess I can get excited about that...quietly! I hope I will always have someone rooting for me to do my best in life, with my work, my relationships, my hobbies, my passions and gifts. I am watching my three children evolve into such individuals. My daughter is struggling with being a pre-adolescent girl. I remember what it was like to be 10, wanting so much approval, to be accepted, loved and just beginning to figure out who I wanted to be. I see her struggle, and I ache to meet her needs when she is hurting. The hardest part of that is letting God do what only He can do. The needs I cannot meet as her mother, He will always meet as her heavenly Father. I am always going to be her biggest cheerleader, her biggest fan, her greatest ally but ultimately there are so many times in life I will come to this place of letting her go. I don't like that, but I know I must do it so she can find what God has for her, find her own path, find who she is and who she really wants to be. It isn't easy, in fact it makes me squirm quite a bit but I'll do it cause I trust the Father, and I know He knows what is best and holds her life in his hands.

What day is it?

It is odd, but for some reason today has felt like a Saturday. It is the holiday that throws me off, don't know why. It was a quiet Thanksgiving for us, stayed home and did our own thing. Sometimes I really, really like that but other times I would love to be with extended family. I am feeling the effects of turkey, tired and a bit sluggish but somehow I'll bounce back into the swing of things. I need to whip myself back into shape, eat better and exercise consistently. I have been lazy, easy fall into that little pit. That pit can become larger if I am not careful and aware of my need to pick up and step out of it. The reality is I am getting older and it isn't getting any easier to get myself into shape. I know I can do it, I have done it before and I can do it again. I wish it were easier, simpler, somehow programmable...what am I, a robot? God made us the way we are, able to make choices good or bad and learn to live with the consequences. I need to make more of an effort to choose wisely. This can be said for all my choices in life, not just what I consume. I have the chance each day to start fresh, make it new and make it count. I need to do it, I know I can and I must make the choice and just do it. Somehow it sounds easier than it actually is. We'll see....

A thankful heart

I was reading in 2 Corinthians 9 Paul's words to the Greek brothers of his pride in their willingness to give to those in Jerusalem. He reminds them to give wholeheartedly, not reluctantly or under pressure. The greatest result that can come from our generosity to others, is to see that generosity spill from their lives as well. We know everything we have comes from God, so out of that thankfulness we should be moved to give. When the mediocrity of life creeps in to our minds and hearts, we can lose touch with that thankful mindset we should have. Our greatest reminder of that mindset is Christ--verse 15 says, "Thank God for His Son--a gift too wonderful for words!" If our minds are set on Christ, we will carry that thankful mindset with us daily. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I have a wonderful husband and three sweet children, family and friends who love me and have supported me through so much, and a God in heaven whose Son gave it all and suffered just for me. No matter what this life rolls my way, I want to be mindful daily of how blessed I am.

Fill me up

"There's a God-shaped hole in all of us, and the restless soul is searching. There's a God-shaped hole in all of us, and it's a void only He can fill." --Plum

If you haven't got this cd, get it and listen to this song. I love her stuff, so applicable and relevant to the stuff we go through in this life. Yesterday it came to me as I was driving home from Bible study. I have this hole in my soul that needs to be filled daily, and oh my goodness how easy it is to grab whatever is convenient at the moment to fill it. When the stress hits, my comfort is food. I am working at resisting that, because it is not good for my waistline or my health. When I make an effort, exercise can meet that need but more often I tend to give in to whatever warm, baked goodness is on my kitchen counter. I am struck by how much God must desire for me to choose to reach for him in those moments. I do, but my selfish flesh struggles and gives in to a more immediate relief at times. Why can't we make a habit of in that moment reminding ourselves of the peace He provides, the comfort He gives that is more lasting than any earthly comfort? It is natural for us to relate that peace to something tangible when describing it to a non believer...but it truly is inadequate. That is how living it out daily sends the message to our world. If we are fluctuating daily, but consistently return to His promises and His peace, what an example that can be to others. I am going to make a greater effort, rise to the challenge. It is a habit we must form to fill that void, that hole that exists in each one of us. He will fill it, if we are willing, teachable, usable for His purpose.

Desperate times call for desperate measures

I have yet to get this blog thing down, consistent anyway. I wrote in journals for years, but recently decided to go with a blog instead. So Ryan got home from Indiana yesterday, we are making progress. This past year has been a difficult progression to this point in time. Ryan's job loss has been devastating for us on so many levels. I am so tired, emotionally, physically and spiritually. God somehow provided for Ryan and I to be a good balance for one another. When one of us is struggling, the other encourages, providing the love and support needed to climb out of the struggle. I have to admit there have been some very painful, ugly moments of desperation for both of us. I don't like to be beaten down, feeling like there is no way out of the rut we are in. There have been moments I have felt that way. There have been moments I wondered if our marriage would crumble from the weight of worry and stress we have carried. I admit I have felt at times my husband has failed me, and truly he has. But the reality is we as humans are imperfect, and so of course we are going to fail one another aren't we? That reality doesn't provide any comfort, it doesn't make it any easier to endure. I am a prideful woman, so I know I have not admitted my faults as quickly as I have pointed out his. At some point that pride has been cut down but the conviction in my heart, the love I have deep down for my sweet husband. I realize looking back at who I was when I first fell in love with him is not so different from the woman I am today. Yes, I am a little wiser, a little older, a whole lot more tired, a little heavier, a whole lot more confident and assertive than I used to be. Life truly takes some hard hits at us, and I admit it would be very easy for me to cave in and not bounce back. I'd like to think the experiences I have had made me stronger, better...but there are so many times I feel like Peter, in Matthew 14 where he steps out of the boat and walks to the Lord on the water. As soon as those waves start crashing around him, he is distracted, shaken and takes his eyes off Jesus. In that moment as he sinks, he cries out, "Save me, Lord!" and the Lord grabs him and tells him his faith is weak, and asks Peter, "Why did you doubt me?" Why do I doubt the Lord when times get so desperate, so beyond my control? Because that is the point when I must be broken, I must relinquish the weight of worry and stress to the Lord and see that He truly is the one true God, my Savior, my help in times of need. That isn't easy, and it is not comfortable but it is necessary.

Solid Ground

At some point I know there is a give....I must yield to His will. My human nature does not want to do that. There is a battle within, my nature versus the Spirit. In the midst of the battle I find myself opening my Bible for answers, for comfort and strength. So many times I don't know where to look, because there are so many truths in the Word that meet every one of my needs. Yesterday I found Psalm 40, familiar and such a great comfort at this particular point in time. This week has been long and a bit harder, partly because of the absence of my sweet hubby and also circumstances I have had to deal with without him by my side.

'I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me

and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the mud and the mire.

He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.'(Psalm 40:1-2)
He steadied me, somehow in the midst of this struggle to stay on the path he has laid before us we have found solid ground. That is faith, trust and obedience--wow God! Where does that come from without having established a relationship with You? Where would we be if we did not have You? How would we get through any of this? I find myself questioning the other side of me, if I allowed it to dominate, to have control. What if...I chose to give up, become bitter and angry, wallow in pity and depression, wondering when life is ever going to be good. There is, in that moment of contemplation and self examination, a whisper of hope from the Spirit that says, "I am here, I am working--so don't give up!" And it is in that moment, I find my footing, a place to stand and know He is there. He is always right there, never moving or changing, always at work. Isn't that amazing?

It's a Beautiful Day!

I know that each day I wake up and choose to get up out of my bed, something good is going to happen. That is my outlook, I choose to have a positive frame of mind. I don't always feel like it, but I know in the long run my day will somehow go better because of it. Autumn has arrived in Tennessee, the leaves are changing and the temperature is cool and crisp. I love the feeling this time of year brings, the warmth, the yummy smells and the memorable sounds. As I begin this blog, Ryan and I are in the midst of a new phase of our lives. Over the course of the past year, we have experienced great challenge. Along the way, we are finding God has a reason for it all: we will be tested, we will be stretched to the limit, and He will allow it so that we can be stronger and more dependent upon Him. The familiar hymn, "Trust and Obey", has been a constant for me lately. I have been listening to it and singing it repeatedly in the car, a wonderful new arrangement of it by a favorite Christian group. The lyrics have been etched upon my heart and have spilled from my mouth with such love for my Savior. I cannot think of another time in my life when I have found myself so enveloped in His presence. It is because we know He is all we need and He is all we have at a time when we aren't sure what is going to happen next. He knows, He loves us, He promises to provide for us and never leave us. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that He has a plan for our lives, to prosper us and not harm us, a hope and a future. It's a beautiful day and He is with us each step of the way.

my Ebenezer...

“…Thus far the Lord has helped us.”-1 Samuel 7:12 There are moments in my life when I look back and can see how God in His perfect yet my...