Monday, February 21, 2011

More than we imagine...

Ephesians 3:20,21

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

These verses are like lotion on cracked, dry skin!! God is able. God is willing. God is at work within us. He does more than anything we ask or imagine.

When I was growing up I pictured my life to be a certain way. I dreamed about the man I would marry. I imagined the career I would have and the places I would travel. I truly believed my life would turn out close to what I pictured. Honestly, it is nothing like what I thought. Nothing.

My life is better, deeper, fuller and more extraordinary than anything I could have dreamed of. My husband is amazing. He is more loving, gracious and godly than what I would have even asked for. My career of raising children and painting murals....fulfills me completely...and yet it is so different than what I first set out to do. My God has given to me in ways that I never expected!! I am so grateful.

" him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..."
When we walk with the Lord, his power is at work within us. When we follow Him, he does things in our lives that are beyond what we could do for ourselves. He wants to give us an abundant life...full of all His power, His goodness, His plans. My prayer is that I stop trying to design my own life and let God do more than I ask, think or dream of.

YES more than I can imagine....I am looking forward to it! :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

At the Bottom of the Ocean...

Today is our daughter's 12th birthday! She and I celebrated by taking a last minute trip to the coast. We had a wonderful time being together. We had Starbucks (way too much - haha), played on the beach and collected shells, watched the sunset, went shopping and enjoyed just being at the ocean.

At Pebble Beach, kelp had washed up on shore. Much of it was laying on huge rocks by the road. As we climbed down these rocks to get to the sand, I showed Emilee the kelp. I explained to her one of the most precious things God has made...a "holdfast". Since my life verse is Joshua 22:5, a few years ago I looked at the deeper meaning of "holdfast to him". At the bottom of the kelp is a round bulb. Hanging from the base of the bulb is a root-like structure called a holdfast. The job of this structure is to fasten itself to a rock at the bottom of the ocean in order to keep the whole kelp anchored in the water. When God calls us to "holdfast to him", we are to wrap ourselves around him and hang on....never ever letting go. We are to anchor ourselves onto THE ROCK! I couldn't believe the parallels when I studied this. It is precious to me now! Anytime I am at the beach, I am reminded of this sweet analogy God has given me. I wanted Emilee to understand that no matter what life is....messy or matter where we find ourselves in this world....we are to holdfast to the Lord and know that He will always be our Rock, our Savior, our Friend.

Love you friends! May we continually walk holding fast and tight to the Hand that gives us Life!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

In The Valleys!

     SMILES.     SWEET.    KIND.

These are words that I have heard most of my life! I love all these words and what they mean. Who wouldn't? They are full of compliments. All of them imply an easy kind of life with few bumps in the road. I've been learning over the past several years that this mindset of joyful, happiness and smiles is a "choice". It isn't a magic pill or a mind over matter thing. It is definitely a daily choice on how I live my life. The Lord Jesus is the only One who can give me these attributes! He is my JOY. He is my HAPPINESS. He is my PINK BUBBLE!!

Over the last six months I have walked many steps in the Valley. Before this, I enjoyed the wonderful life on the Mountaintop. Even when life tried to yank me down into a Valley, I wouldn't go. I would just hang on as hard as I could to the top of the Mountain! It worked beautifully. God was there and the blessings were abundant. The sunshine was warm, the flowers were everywhere and I was comfortable. I was definitely in the "pink bubble" zone.

How did I get to the Valley? Well, I'm not sure. I know that I DID NOT raise my hand and volunteer. I didn't pray and ask God to grow my faith. I didn't ask Him to draw me closer to Him either. I was close to Him already, I thought. There were no signs pointing that direction. Life happened and I found myself in the Valley.
Six months ago, my best friend of 11 years found out she was moving 1200 miles away. Two weeks after that she was gone. We lived 5 minutes from each other for all those years. We were like sisters and so the reality of her leaving was a hard pill to swallow. I could see her whenever I wanted when she lived near me. We had been pregnant together....shared life together....even our kids were best friends. I know that I grieved that loss at some level. Even though we would still talk on the phone and email....I knew it wouldn't be the same. So I grieved the loss of a friendship and it's normal way of being.

God is so faithful though!! Two months after she moved, God gave me a wonderful trip out to see her. I was able to visit for a week and we had such a great time!! My tank was so full after that week. We laughed, we cried, we painted murals (what we do best) and we enjoyed hanging out. It was such a blessing!! I felt like I was walking back up to the Mountaintop....leaving the Valley behind me. After I returned home, just two days later, I got "the" phone call. I found out that my Mom passed away unexpectedly. It was like someone punched me right in the gut! There are no words to describe the "out of body" experience I had. I am sure while I was screaming in disbelief, my children were wondering what had happened to their mommy. Whew! What a day that was! I will never forget.

Fast forward now, 3-1/2 months later....

I thought I knew God. I thought I was so very close to Him. I thought that I knew how much He loved me. I thought I understood death enough. I was mostly wrong on all of these. I have been learning since my friend left and my Mom died....THAT FLOWERS BLOOM, EVEN IN THE VALLEYS! This has been life changing for me. I didn't ask to be in this Valley. I didn't volunteer to learn all of what I have. I hate that my Mom is gone. I hate it that I can't talk to her or touch her or go shopping with her. I can't stand that my best friend is not available for a play date whenever we want....or a time of coffee when I need her to talk to. But life is messy and this is where I am. So what did I choose? To find JOY. To find HAPPINESS. To continue living in my PINK BUBBLE. God is so precious. He has given me such hope. When the days are long and difficult....and I'm not sure I can get through it....My precious Lord, gives me a blessing. He has planted flowers down in this Valley for me to enjoy. When I find one of these precious blooms, my heart sings and sometimes leaks with tears. These blessings come in the form of sweet, dear friends who show up on my porch with a coffee; a warm hug; a kind word; my beautiful kids; my loving gracious husband; my amazing sister.....and always God's Word that washes me with Peace.

So, all this to's gonna be okay. The Valley isn't such a bad place to live. When I look for the flowers that God has planted for me....I actually love the days I spend here. I wouldn't trade the last six months for anything (nor would I want to re-live any of it). I have grown closer to my Savior. He has shown Himself so faithful once again. I don't want to build a summer home here in the Valley but I will be here as long as I need.....or as long as God has me here!! :)

If you find yourself visiting the Valley anytime soon....or if you've already built a home here....enjoy the things God has for you. He will never leave you alone. Nothing will thwart His plan. He has great and mighty things for you.....things He prepared in advance!