Friday, August 23, 2013

Lessons in skiing

I went skiing last night with some friends. This is one of my favorite pastimes. My family is a water family — we grew up going to the lake every weekend and have lived on a lake for the last 20 years, and despite what my friends believe, haha, my dad did have me out there with him on his skies when I was two. BUT, I haven’t skied in probably three years. I know, it’s really sad. So I of course jumped at the chance to get out there and slalom, but it didn’t quite go as easy as I’d hoped. It pains me to say this, but it took me four times to get up the first time. If you know my family, you know that is not acceptable. Nor is it to me.

So of course I thought of every excuse I had in my head of why this happened — it’s been three years, the water was choppy and it’s a different boat, ski, on and on. I finally did get up and then tired out really quickly. But the second time I skied, it was even worse! Can you believe it?! So I finally get up and the water is so smooth, I can cut easily and all the love of skiing came back. Then as we were leaving, I was still disappointed that it took me so many times…I am my own worst critic. But I started to think about all the things in my life over the last three years, and I thought honestly, wow, you know, my body has been through a lot. First of all, I am feeling a lot older now, I’ve been through two surgeries and a heart condition, and that started to make me feel a little better. Wow, I can still actually ski even though I'm older and I feel like I have a somewhat broken down body, ha.

But something else this brought to mind was thankfulness. I am so thankful that I can still get out and do these things. I know my last few posts I’ve said the same thing, but it’s a great place to be and something God continues to remind me.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 23-24

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

God is so faithful to us. I know there are times in life when it doesn’t feel that way, but He is! He is ever true, ever faithful and ever constant. Cling to that truth and that hope. No matter what you are going through.

Something else that caught my attention was in Job 40:7, God says to Job, “Now gird up your loins like a man.” I know I’m taking this out of context of what it’s saying. God was basically telling Job to be ready to reply to what God was about to say, but when I read it, I thought, wow, there are times in life (like trying to ski after three years) where I don’t need to make excuses, I just need to get up and do it. I need to be ready and prepared to walk through tough times in life. And the only way to do that is through God.

Jesus gives us such a good example of this. In Luke 7:42, Jesus knew what was about to happen, that Judas would betray him and he would be arrested, tortured and put on the cross. He goes into the garden to pray and says, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Jesus knew the plan God had for Him, to die on a cross for our sins, but He was willing to follow the plan God had for him. I pray our lives consist of that prayer, “not my will but yours be done.”

We may plan our lives out but it may end up looking different than what we expect. Even through it, we should continue to trust God and His plan.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Isaiah 55:8

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

It was a gorgeous night on the Res

I even got to drive the boat! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Encouraged by Job

At my church Pinelake, we have a yearly Bible reading plan called the L3 Journal (click here if you aren’t on a reading plan and read with us)! God’s timing is pretty awesome when it comes to what we are reading and how it coincides with what’s going on in my life. God’s Word brings so much wisdom and peace and answers to us. I take great comfort in it and even as we study the life of Job, who is suffering greatly, it reminds me of all I have to be thankful for. But another thing about Job is that he is going through these things because God calls him a man who is blameless and upright and God is confident that Job will not curse Him.

Today in chapter 7, Job says:
“My flesh is clothed with worms and a crust of dirt,
My skin hardens and runs.
“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
And come to an end without hope … .

“Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit,
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12 “Am I the sea, or the sea monster,
That You set a guard over me?
13 “If I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,
My couch will ease my complaint,’
14 Then You frighten me with dreams
And terrify me by visions;
15 So that my soul would choose suffocation,
Death rather than my pains.

As I read that this morning, I thought about the good night of sleep I had. I didn’t feel great the night before, so I got in bed by 9, and felt more of the affects of the shot today, but considering Job and the clear anguish he was going through, it only made me thankful. I know there are so many more people out there who are suffering greatly, and my heart breaks for them. But you should continue to read Job because it is a great story of raw honesty, questions and God’s favor.

I am also incredibly thankful for people in my life who encourage me. My sweet friend Dana sent me a message this morning that Psalm 66 was for me. This is what it says:

Praise for God’s Mighty Deeds and for His Answer to Prayer.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; Sing the glory of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
Say to God, “How awesome are Your works!
Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You.
“All the earth will worship You,
And will sing praises to You;
They will sing praises to Your name.” Selah.
Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men. He turned the sea into dry land;
They passed through the river on foot;
There let us rejoice in Him!
He rules by His might forever;
His eyes keep watch on the nations;
Let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.
Bless our God, O peoples,
And sound His praise abroad,
Who keeps us in life And does not allow our feet to slip.
10 For You have tried us, O God;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
11 You brought us into the net;
You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins.
12 You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water,
Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.
13 I shall come into Your house with burnt offerings;
I shall pay You my vows,
14 Which my lips uttered
And my mouth spoke when I was in distress.
15 I shall offer to You burnt offerings of fat beasts,
With the smoke of rams;
I shall make an offering of bulls with male goats. Selah.
16 Come and hear, all who fear God,
And I will tell of what He has done for my soul.
17 I cried to Him with my mouth,
And He was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I regard wickedness in my heart,
The Lord will not hear;
19 But certainly God has heard;
He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer
Nor His lovingkindness from me.

What a sweet reminder of God’s goodness and provision. Even as the Israelites wondered, God provided every step of the way for them. He is there for us, He provides for us, He is constant. There may be times in life when it doesn’t feel like that but that’s why it’s so important to cling to His Word and His promises. 

Thankful for these words today.

Friday, August 2, 2013

In the Year of 31

I should be banned from the blog world. Seriously. It's obviously been a while since I last blogged, and believe it or not, I actually have accomplished more items on my list (I'll update with pictures on a different post). Some were finished in the year of 31, which I am okay with and hope you are too.

For all of those who do keep up with my blog (hi, mom!), I wanted to let you know that I am going to TRY and keep up with it. But it will look a little different this year. The year of 30 is over, and it was fun, even though I didn't quite get to all my adventures. Don't worry, I am sure there will be plenty more unplanned adventures to come. Unfortunately, this blog may not be about the fun and exciting things I will be doing this year, instead I am going to use it as an outlet to write about the things I am going through, the things God is teaching me and my thoughts on life. I hope to constantly declare the greatness of my God, but there may be days filled with sadness and moments that get real and honest. Despite those days, God is still good.

I was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis. In order not to make people too uncomfortable, I won't go into a lot of detail — it's female stuff, but feel free to learn more about it on your own. Last month I went in for some pain and problems I was having and had an ultrasound done. The doctor saw a tumor (benign, praise the Lord), but He wasn't sure what it was just that it needed to come out. Simple enough, go in, get it, all done. But when he got into surgery he was quite shocked to see that I had endometriomas covering both ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and bladder. He said it was in the top 20 worst cases he's ever had...I still say I should get some kind of award for that!

He got as much as he could during surgery but it was impossible to get it all, so I'll be starting six months of aggressive treatment. This will consist of monthly injections, which basically puts me in a pre-menopausal state, including hot flashes and mood swings. So if you see me in the next six months, watch out! For those who know me, you know being hot and moody is a terrible combination, ha. After six months of treatment, I'll have another surgery, then we'll continue to work on treating this. It's incurable, so it's something I'll have to pay attention to for years to come. It also means I will probably not be able to have children naturally but possibly through IVF.

The reason I want to share is because I want to declare how good, majestic and might my God is. I don't doubt there will be hard days, moments where I'll fall apart emotionally or wonder what my future family will look like. But what I know is that God knows the desires of my heart, and I have confidence that He is going to fulfill them — it may just look different than I expected. I also know that God is bigger than this! He's bigger than our problems, the mountains in our way, the diagnosis from doctors and our unknown future. I was reading in Luke 1 yesterday about how God opened up Elizabeth's womb when she was old and barren and how He sent an angel to Mary to tell her that as a virgin she would carry the salvation of the world and give birth to our Savior. 

That's our God.

"'For nothing will be impossible with God.'” And Mary said, 'Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.'”  Luke 1 37 & 38

I am continuing to pray for the kind of faith that boldly says nothing is impossible with God and for me to live according to what He wants.

So over the next few months, I am going to use this as a way to talk about what's going on in my life, what God is teaching and showing me and what is inspiring me. God has given me so many reminders of His goodness through His Word, through songs and through prayer. I can't even begin to express the goodness He has been poured out on me. I constantly have friends encouraging me and praying for me and with me. It's absolutely incredible and humbling.

I am not in a place where I am asking God "why?" because I know He has a plan for my life. He hasn't been surprised by any of this, and I know He walks with me through it all. I know this is a time for pruning and refining, and I pray I will be teachable during this time.

Thanks for letting me share. I look forward to seeing how God is going to move and hope you enjoy walking with me.