Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Perspectives

Last week at church our pastor made a comment about Lent that hit me awkwardly.  We come from a very different background than this pastor, which is awesome because we're getting a new perspective which can be eyeopening, and also make us dig a little deeper into why we believe what we believe. This week I dug a little deeper and love what I found!

Lent is a time of prayer and fasting leading up to the Passover and Easter season, to commemorate the time Jesus was tempted in the desert before being crucified.  When Jeff and I began observing Lent, about 10 years ago, we decided to participate because we wanted to be able to put aside things our flesh long for and long for the Lord and His Word in place of it.  It's incredible how much time everyday we spend on the computer, watching TV, eating, playing sports, etc, etc, compared to how much time we spend in prayer and in the word. I am not at all judging anyone, this is a personal decision entirely.  I'm also not one of those super hyper religious people who think you have to begin and end everyday in the word and spend the rest of your day in thoughtful prayer. I don't believe that's what God asks us to do.  He asks us to be IN the world, not OF the world.  In other words, live your life, go out and eat and play and fellowship with your friends and family, but don't let those things shape who you are. Let the Lord shape who you are so you can be IN the world and not conformed to it.

Anyway, I've always seen Lent as a time to put aside at least one of those things like food or a hobby I really love to focus more on my relationship with the Lord. If it's scrap booking I give up for those 40 days, then the time I would have normally spent doing it, I'd spend reading my Bible.  Or if I gave up sweets, anytime I got a craving, I'd go pray or study the Word for awhile. It's really an amazing time for 40 days every year. I usually complain a little, but I'm human!

Our current pastor obviously doesn't observe Lent, and for the first time I see why someone wouldn't want to.  He sees it as a time that people use to try to "fix" something or just to make their lives better. Like make up for the time the rest of the year that they haven't given to the Lord. Some people think that if they give something up for the same 40 days every year that it makes them a better person or will make up for something they feel guilty about. Wow! I've never ever thought of that before. Too many Christians are trying to live up to a standard that no one can live up to.  They think that if they do something special it will make up for their sin.  Jesus paid the price, people!!

I'm a Christian because I want to be.  Not because it makes me better, different or weird. I'm a Christian because I know I'm horribly imperfect and I need help on a minute by minute basis to live life to the fullest. Not because I'm striving to be perfect.

If Lent or even Christianity ever become ordinary or simple then I'm doing something wrong and my heart is not in the right place.  It's not about results, it's about relationship. Whether you're fasting during Lent, or for a week in the middle of July, it's about drawing closer to the Lord... it's about having the utmost faith and hope that I can ever muster up, and then hoping a little more!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Living on the High Rock

It's amazing to look back at where the Lord has lead us and is still leading us.  I think it's the only reason I even attempt this whole blogging whatnot. 

This time last year Jeff had accepted a position at the block plant where he had worked since he was a kid when his dad owned it. It was a great opportunity to slowly move up the ladder to a great paying position. About a week after he accepted that position, the opportunity out in Tyler came up.  It was a similar position, but with more than double the starting pay, so we prayed and decided we couldn't pass it up.  I wrote about it on this blog in fact, in this entry: The Move Is On.  Well now, after a year of bliss here in Tyler (we've been so incredibly spoiled... more on that to come), Jeff has been offered the same position at the block plant, but with the same salary he's making at the Tyler job. So.... he got the job he wanted all along, for the pay we need.  How cool is that?!

Today the Lord led me to Psalm 27.  The entire psalm is about the Lord protecting us during hard times or when our enemies are attacking us. Verses 4-6:

       The one thing I ask of the LORD— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD's perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the LORD with music.

I believe with all my heart that the Lord moved us out of Weatherford precisely to get us away from the whole church fiasco my parents and sisters had to go through. It was so crushing to my dad, I wouldn't be surprised if he never goes back to church again.

"He will place me out of reach on a high rock."  I feel like Jeff and the kids and I have been on a "high rock" for the past year, watching the devastation all around us.  When we moved to Tyler, we accidentally picked a house that was in the best elementary district in the city.  Out of 18 schools, we accidentally picked the best. When we moved, Jeff and I were so burnt out from working too much with the church that we made a conscious decision not to sign up for ANYTHING for at least a year, and we haven't! The Lord led us to the church where he wanted us and that wasn't going to push us into service. It's such a great feeling on Sunday mornings knowing I don't have to work in the nursery! I know that sounds so trivial, but it's been such a huge part of my life for almost 20 years. Did I mention that we've had a house keeper and lawn service!

Anyway, has someone been a tad bit spoiled? Yes. We've been so totally blessed, which is why I'm ok with moving back. I know that even when we're under attack from the enemy, we're totally and utterly protected. What an amazing way to live...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy 7 Months, Hattie!

Have I mentioned lately that I have the most beautiful little girl on the face of the earth???

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Life is weird.  It seems unending at times, and like it's flashing before your eyes at others. I have to remind myself constantly that I only have a limited amount of time with my babies, but that I don't need to rush them bc they have the rest of their lives to figure things out.  It's very strange.

When we moved to Tyler, Jeff and I had talked about how we thought it might be temporary. Just a feeling, but we have LOVED it and would have been happy to finish raising our children here in this simply beautiful area.  The trees are just awesome.  And the foliage is so green and gorgeous! Apparently we're in a drought, but  you'd never know it. The Lord also led us to an amazing church where we have met some of the best people who welcomed us into their "family" and we have felt right at home.

And now we're moving.  Again.

I have such mixed emotions.  I'm so sad to be leaving our church.  My kids LOVE it.  Ben wakes up on Sundays running around squealing in delight about going to "play with my frinds!"  Three of our new friends are expecting babies, and I'm not going to be here to see them and make them meals :(  It makes me so sad.  There are trails here, beautiful, clean trails that we have literally spent hundreds of hours walking in the past 9 months we've been here.  Hattie had her first walk on the trials at only about a week old. Not to mention the fact that we just moved into a bigger house with a great backyard for the kids, only to turn around and move out of it 3 months later...

On the other hand... I feel like we're going "home."  Our family and lifelong friends are all there. The boys' still call their friends from W'ford their "BFF's." I know the area like the back of my hand, and have so many memories from there.  We have the possibility of buying my parent's old house, the house I grew up in, the house I moved out of when I went to college.  It's almost in foreclosure which has made both of my parent's devastated... they put so much work into that house.  It would be amazing if we could keep it in the family. 

Another bittersweet issue is church. The church I grew up in has changed and isn't where we are supposed to be anymore.  How do we go "home" without going back to our "home church?"  It's going to be hard going to other churches in such a small city, less than 50,000.  Everyone knows everyone... there will be people we know at every church, and they will ask questions, questions I don't feel like answering over and over. I have faith that the Lord knows right where we need to be and that we'll get there sooner or later :)  Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Reason for the move: I won't go into all of it bc I'm still rather angry and don't want to hurt anyone (this is a public blog with our real names, and even though I've never "advertised" it, anyone can easily find it), but the plan when we moved out here was to either buy the company or for Jeff and his dad to start their own. The current owners of the company are running it into the ground.  They are still making their ridiculous salaries, but the guys actually doing the work have had their checks bounce, twice.  It's infuriating for Jeff.  These are his guys, and they have families they're trying to feed, and Jeff can't promise they'll be paid week to week, so he and his dad decided it was time to act.  Well...  to make the story short, because of divorce issues and people who still have unforgiveness and bitterness in their hearts, we weren't able to use the money they were planning on using, so Jeff's old company has offered him a job with similar salary/benefits, and the position is one where he will be moving up to the top.  It's really a great opportunity.

That's about it.  It feels good to get it off my chest! I haven't really gotten to talk to anyone about it yet... waiting to finalize all the details, but Jeff gave his 2 weeks notice yesterday so there's no going back now!

On to another chapter of life...