>Loss

>Sometimes I get tired of how I blog. I get an idea stuck in my head and it won’t go away until i put it here, for you all to read. This week has seemed to be surrounded by loss both in the positive and the negative. Loss seems to be all around me & since I cannot escape it, I will blog about it.Honestly, I feel like shouting right now about the goodness of God in my life. I am sure that would scare some of you to death to see me shoutin’, but God has been so good to my family through loss. If I had an aisle to run right now, I would be dangerous. . .

About a year ago today, I lost some of my best friends and that was a sad loss for me & my family. Today as I revisited some of the reasons for this loss, I came out with the understanding that sometimes you have to lose those things you held most dearly in order to grab a hold of what is most important. Wow, even in saying that, I am amazed at where God has moved my life. God is so amazing and His plan is so definite that if we just let go and lose all the things around us that seem so important and hold onto Him, He won’t let us fall. In fact, it is more than likely His idea for you to let go of those things in the first place.

See, today I trust God more, because I know He leads me. Today, I hold my husband more tightly because I know how the enemy tried to destroy our family. Today, I am aglow with pride because my kids are sensitive to God and I can see His purpose being fulfilled in their lives. Today, I am thankful that my Pastor seeks God’s face and brings the Word with passion and intensity because God led us to a wonderful church home.

If I had never let go and experienced the loss and pain I would most likely not be experiencing the greatness that is in my life right now. The Bible teaches us about counting it joy when we are put to the test. I love how ‘The Message’ depicts James 1:2-4 ~ Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

As the trials and pressures of this life swell around us, let’s count it all joy. It is because of the joy I have in my life that I am not as discouraged as I could be about my weight loss (or lack thereof). It is through this joy that I see God growing our business in His time and not ours. It is through this joy that I hopefully can speak peace into the troubled life of a friend or has experienced a loss of their own. It is through this joy that I choose to move forward and take the losses and turn them into wins. God is developing something in you right now and you don’t even realize it. Just hang in there through this loss in your life and give Him time to show you what it was about.

Blessings,

Shelly

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>Rough Patches are for Sanding

>I’ve been going through a ‘rough patch’ in my home. By definition a rough patch is to experience a lot of problems in a period in your life. I would say that pretty much is dead on for me right now. Maybe ‘rough patch’ is too harsh really, maybe its just a period of adjustment that has me thinking this through so much.

I think that in this time of crossroads where Brad & I are working together now, building our business, getting ready to move to Nashville, getting the kids’ their school interviews for fall, being in Nashville, on average, three days a week, trying to balance that and our quality time is really not working. This transitional time has been pretty hard on me because although I am excited about the changes going on, I don’t always deal with change well and right now, everything is changing. Everything!

So many changes, so many concerns, so much to budget, to juggle, to decide, to discuss, to manage, to figure out, and taking no time to enjoy glancing over the top of our plates at a dinner table or a quick hug as we go out the door. People have always picked on Brad & I for our lovey dovey ways and honestly, I have always had a great sense of pride in the fact that we are best friends and that we do always have that spark with each other. Over the last little bit, the spark has gave way to comfort and being so used to seeing each other 24/7 that we haven’t had time to miss each other or be excited to see the other person arrive. We wake up together, work together, eat together, cook together, look at houses together, etc. You get the idea.

It made me sad last week as I thought about it and I told Brad, “This is no fun, I feel like, for the first time in six years, we are old married people”. This is not who we are, we have let ourselves become this way the last 5 months because we are stressed, over worked and tired and this has made us lazy about one of the most important aspects of our lives, each other.

Today, the scripture, Phillipians 4:6 came to my mind about our situation “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Our marriages are, besides our relationship with God, the most important relationships on this earth. With our marriages we show the world around us what an example of a christian marriage is, we teach our children how to be parents and team mates, we show each other the value that we truly have. I have renewed sense of awareness that my marriage will not fall by the wayside of bills and decisions and problems that just won’t matter in two weeks. I will cherish how lucky and blessed I am to be married to my best friend and instead of complaining about our life being to boring, find ways to make it not.

Rough Patches are good, because they help us realize that something needs our attention before it’s too late. Rough Patches are God’s way of saying, Hey, Look over there and sand that down and get back on a smooth path. I am so thankful that He allows me to learn lessons through everything I go through and that He cares for our souls so much!

Blessings,

Shelly

>A lesson from the Water

>I did some research this morning on freezing and thawing ~ it is so strange to me that we as people completely buck the process that God designed.

I remember being a newlywed and our freezer did not have self defrost, much less an ice maker. Stacking those ice trays ups and checking them way too often would be so frustrating to that 17 year old girl. What was even more frustrating is opening the freezer and there being ice trays in there with no ice and no water at all. Refilling ice trays was not my strong suite. I wish I had known about $5 bags of ice from sonic back then. Anyway, my research today showed me that four typical ice trays put into the freezer at room temperature take 10 hours to freeze. As the molecules of the water get colder and colder they expand and grow larger until they are those chunks of ice.

That typical piece of ice, though, takes on average less than 2 hours to thaw. I don’t know the science on this, but in view of life events I find it interesting. God in all His wisdom made water to thaw faster than he made it to freeze. Can we humans take a lesson from the water? It seems that God has used water for ever to try and teach us lessons.

Genesis 7:17-19 ..and it continued forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed so mightily upon the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered.”

Exodus 2:5-6 “Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, and her maidens walked beside the river; she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to fetch it. When she opened it she saw the child; and lo, the babe was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children…And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son; and she named him Moses, for she said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

Exodus 7:19 The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt–over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs’–and they will turn to blood. Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in the wooden buckets and stone jars.”

Exodus 14:21 states, “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” Verse 24 says, “And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians.”

Exodus 17:4-5 4 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 The LORD answered Moses, “Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?

Matthew 14:22-33 Jesus walks on the water

John 2:1-5 1 Now on the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee.89 Jesus’ mother was there,90 2 and both Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine left.” 4 Jesus replied, “Woman, why are you saying this to me? My time has not yet come.” 5 His mother told the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.

John 4:14 “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to Eternal Life.”

What has been amazing to me is that when God controls the water there is a lesson in it. When we experience hurts we freeze automatically, we don’t take 10 hours to puff up and let our hearts get hard. It is as instantaneous as the water was turned to wine. We have an automatic icemakers in our minds and hearts and when we experience hurt it is much like that magic shell chocolate we used to use a kids. It hardens around us immediately and is unyielding.

But our thawing process is slow and tenuous. It takes prayer and understanding and hugs and friends to let those guards down. God forbid we get hurt while we are thawing because then our hearts and minds become the human version of the frozen tundra. Layers upon layers of frozen fears and hurts and scabs just pile onto the old ones until we wonder where the first frozen layer even is. Our only hope is to let the God of heaven thaw us from the inside out, to let the miracle of him control our ‘water’ like He has done so aptly since the beginning of time.
As I watched in awe and somewhat horror (just being honest) as my husband smiled and shook someone’s hand yesterday that had brought much pain to our family, I was witnessing a thaw. A thaw of hope and a thaw of mercy that created a thaw of it’s own in my heart. I had never been more proud to say my husband was a person of character and someone I can call my rock and my strength. I pray that God continues to thaw us into what He wants us to be and if you have ice around your heart and your mind, just take it to Him and ask him to THAW you out; that is my prayer today. Let’s be like the ice and be easier to thaw than to be frozen. Let’s be who God desires us to be.

>The Lion is Weeping

>There is a story about some friends who shared a bond that not many others had shared with them. I am thinking of these friends today. These friends were ‘forever friends’ ~ friends who at one time meant the world to each other. Whether they were talking about ants in their eyes, or eating dinner from a grill where the cook singed his eyebrows, these friends knew how to laugh and supposedly, how to love. These friends used to belong to me and today, I miss them, today I am sad, today, the Lion is Weeping.

When I let myself get sad for friendships lost I have to remember that Jesus, the ultimate Lion of Judah was betrayed and hurt and killed for the love He had for others. He made the ultimate love sacrifice and the Lion wept. Ultimately the Lion conquered sin and was raised from the dead to give us life eternally and when I think of this sacrifice, it makes my sacrifices and hurts and trials seem so trivial. How do I still miss the friends who betrayed me? Jesus, the true Lion of Judah is in my heart and He guides me through this sadness and brings me to the hope of the resurrection and lets me know that my suffering and shame are going to be trivial as I conquer the sin in my life and draw closer to Him.

It has been almost a year, a crazy, unpredictable, year since these hurts started and tomorrow as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus I am determined in my heart that this Lion will weep no more, I will forget those things which are behind me and run the race that God has set before me.

Blessings,

Shelly