April 16, 2010

Intermission is unbearable on this side of the curtain!

So, I just returned from the latest HLG theatre production, Harvey. Cast, crew, director, FABULOUS JOB!!!! Of course, once again, I come home totally emotional. I'm not emotional because of the show, but because of the theatre. I feel so at home in a theatre and on a stage. It's truly where I long to be, but can't ever seem to land there anymore. Not sure why, though. I have been put in a director role several times, and I do it gladly because God asked me to and I was able to serve Him by doing it. But honestly, I am a horrible director. I belong on the stage. I feel so conflicted! I have this desire, but just don't seem to really know what to do with it. I know that whatever it is, I want to to point others to Christ and give Him the honor and glory. I sit down to take it to the Lord in prayer and end up speechless, unable to form any words to express my thoughts. I read books that have vibrant theatre scenes and children's theatres and my heart soars, but I can't seem to find a reality with that here in this real world. Tonight, all I can do is turn to the Lord and cry, "Father, I need you! You know that I love acting! Thank you so much for all the opportunities You have given me so far. Thank you for the blessing of being part of the Bibleman ministry and all that comes with that. It is truly, truly a blessing. But Lord, you know I desire to do more, right here where I am, and I have no idea how to do that. I can't even walk into a theatre without tearing up and getting a lump in my throat. I cannot do this anymore. Lord, I ask that you either show me how to serve You more in my own community with this gift, or take the desire away and point me where you need me to be. I want to be useful to Your kingdom and use what You've given me in those tasks. Help me to be focused on You, not the gift. Lord, lead me and give me the faith and boldness to follow."

Little Reminders

As I sit here, tears are streaming down my face. Tears of sorrow, tears of joy, tears of pain, tears of frustration, tears of tiredness, just tears! So much is going on this week with people I know; people I am close to, people I used to attend church with, people who went to my collegiate alma mater though I barely know them at all. Part of me just wants to scream, "God, where are you? You have blessed us so much, why aren't you blessing them? Where is their gift? Their miracle?" Part of me wants to ask, "Why have we been so blessed? Is there a reason our life hasn't been a struggle? Though we are FAR from rich, in our almost 7 year marriage, money has never been an issue. Fertility has never even come close to being an issue for us...yet almost everyone we know has had this as a major issue in our lives. Our children are perfectly healthy. I know we all have things You need to teach us and we each have to learn a different way...is it just that I am learning from their struggles, or you know that I would fail the testing of my faith, so You haven't tested? Is there something I am missing and You have given up on me?" I feel both silly and selfish for even thinking any of this. No matter the answer, He is sovereign, He is in control of all things, and I must continue to seek Him.
Yesterday three babies were born to three different people I know. 6 days ago a baby was born to a young lady that attended HLG while I was an admissions rep there. Two of those babies are totally healthy (as far as I know), one of those babies is healthy and legally still searching for a home though her mother is right there loving her and doing everything she can to care for her while she waits for all the legalities to be taken care of so she and her family can take her home and love on her and teach her about You, and one has already been called home to be held in the arms of Christ. All this in one week...and God is working in all of those situations to draw people to Him. How He can do that with such different situations is a mystery to me!

Another young lady that went to HLG is sitting in a hospital bed in STL fighting for her life waiting for a new heart. Time is of the essence, she can barely breathe, yet she has used every breath to declare her faith and trust in the one her made her. The one who knew her before she was formed and knew that her heart would one day give out. And it wasn't a mistake. You can check out her story and follow the prayer requests at http://www.megansheartstory.blogspot.com/.

I just finished reading a blog post from a young lady I went to church with waaaaay back when I was in high school. She had her wild days, but God has moved her heart and drawn her back to him and given her the greatest challenge and blessing of her life in her youngest child. He will probably never speak, never walk, never do more than lay on the floor and roll to one side. Yet, she clings to the knowledge that her sweet little one was known before He was born. That God is in control and makes no mistakes. Most weeks she goes for days at a time with no sleep as this little blessing requires around the clock care and rarely sleeps himself.

How can I question God about the silly little things in my life when I look at all that is happening in these sweet ladies lives'? They have all been such an encouragement and example for me, even though some of them I barely know and one of them I have never even met. Lord, remind me of my need for you, regardless of my circumstance. Remind me of Your grace and mercy poured out on me everyday, even though it may seem I don't need it. I need it and more than anything I NEED YOU! Remind me! Remind me that You don't make mistakes and you are fully in control of all things and situations. Even Satan must ask Your permission to do things, as we see in Job! Wow! God, you are so good! God, You reign! Reign in me!!!!

We will be doing our baby dedication on Mother's Day and the song we have chosen for it seems so fitting based on this week: Blessed Be Your Name!!!! I will be singing that song from now until then!!!! He gives and He takes away! No matter what is happening, His name is blessed! May God receive all honor and glory for all that takes place, whether it's the outcome we wanted or not!

Sorry that I keep adding to this, but more just keeps coming to my mind today! We have been going through Beth Moore's study on Daniel in our SS class and something she said in there has really stuck with me. In fact, it's been with me since the first time I did this study back in 2006. God uses fiery trials in our lives and one of three things happens:
1) We are delivered from the fire. This means that we don't have to go through that particular fire. I am blessed to say that I feel as though this has been the case for me in most things. Though, as I said in the first paragraph, that makes me wonder if I am doing something wrong, don't have enough faith, or He has given up trying to teach me anything!
2) We are delivered through the fire. That means we go through the trial and come out on the other side with our faith refined by Him.
3) We are delivered by the fire straight into our Father's arms.
This week, it seems as though I know someone who has dealt with each of these scenarios. Again, I don't really understand why some have to go through number 2 or 3, but God knows all and sees all and works all things for the good of those who love Him and he works all things for His glory!

April 09, 2010

It Takes Me Back

I am sitting here in our living room lost in memories because of one small smell in the room. You see, this morning, someone brought over a DVR that had been in a fire in the last day or so for Kevin to see if he could get any data off of it. The DVR reeked of that house on fire, yet covered in water smell. If you have ever been near a house fire after the Fire Dept. has been there, you know what I am talking about. However, for me, that is one of the few smells that drowns me in memories and makes me instantly sick to my stomach all at the same time.

When I was about 7 our best friends were killed when their house caught on fire. Shortly after the fire, the fire dept. allowed us to walk through the house. You guessed it, the smell filling me house today is the smell that filled Georgie and Chantel's house that day we walked through it. In fact, the whole neighborhood was filled with that smell for like a week. Anytime I smell it I am instantly transported back to their home, walking through their halls. Walking through their rooms, which were once vibrant, white, and pink, but were now gray and black and in pieces. It was one of the worst times of my life. I don't think I went outside for weeks after that. I mean, we did everything with Georgie and Chantel, and suddenly, they were gone. Of course, at the same time, when I think of that time, I just have to praise God! You see, we were actually gone when the fire occurred. It was one of the rare times when my preacher father was at a conference or something, so we were at my grandparents house instead of at home, where we would have had to look on helplessly as our best friends perished. It was also as a direct result of this loss of life that I realized I needed new life, true life, that can only be found in Jesus Christ. If not for this event, I have no idea how long it would have taken me to realize that I am not guaranteed tomorrow and that without a relationship with him, I would be going to Hell and eternal separation from God! Amazing how He can bring something so good and sweet from an experience so sad and tragic! Thank you, LORD, for your protection, love, and new life!

April 06, 2010

Birthdays, Memories, and Lessons Learned through Pregnancy and Child Birth

Wow! What a week it has been, and it's only Tuesday! Yesterday we celebrated Ethan's first birthday! I cannot believe it's already been a year since he was born. Where does the time go? Today is Sophie's 4th birthday. Again, I must say, where does the time go? I have been thinking back on those two occasions and just feel so blessed to have those sweet little kiddos in my life! And man, what lessons God taught me through them!!! I know that I don't have quite the story that some do, but each child does have a story. I am so thankful God blessed me in sparing me from the infertility issues so many of my friends and family have faced. I know for a fact that, unlike those sweet ladies, I was not/am not strong enough to handle a battle like that. Praise God that He is sovereign and knew that I would not be able to handle that, and therefore spared me from it! But, His will was no less done through my "ordinary" pregnancies and births than it was done in the lives of those sweet little miracle babies, and for that I rejoice! We each had a lesson to learn and our all-knowing God knew that 1) the lesson wasn't the same one for all of us and 2) the same method would not work for all of us, either. How amazing is it that our God loves us enough that He even teaches us about Himself in the way that will leave the most lasting impression for us individually? That's just overwhelming! Anyway, since I know some of you don't know our story, and not that it's a grand one or anything, I thought I would share what I learned from 76 weeks of pregnancy and 2 deliveries...as best I can, anyway!

Back in 2005 we were on the road traveling with the Bibleman Live Ministry. We had been able to save up enough money while on the road that our plan was to take Nov. and Dec. (tour was over then) and just spend it with family, and maybe even take a little vacation. Then, in January, we would both start job hunting. Then, in August we found out we were pregnant. Believe me, that was NOT in the plan...and if you know me, I am a planner. We were both at a loss as to what we were going to do. I mean, here we were, touring the country with two other guys, living in the back of what was essentially a moving truck, sleeping on a futon, and once tour was over, neither one of us even had the prospect of a job! We had no idea what God was up to, but we knew there wasn't much choice other than to trust that He would take care of us and provide what we needed. Oh boy, did he! He provided amazing friends that let us live upstairs in their apartment until we could get a place of our own. He provided a construction job for Kevin so there would be money coming in while we were still job searching. He provided every dime for every bill and every need the whole time. And, he provided a full-time job for Kevin before little Sophie arrived. As many of you know, Sophie came 2 weeks ahead of her due date and about 4 weeks ahead of when the doctor thought she would arrive, but she was healthy and perfect! It was a huuuuuuuuuuuuge lesson for me, the control freak, that reminded me who was really in control. It wasn't about it and I wasn't in charge.

The lesson was pretty much the same with Ethan. Of course, he was planned, but still, things didn't work out like I had planned. From reading various books and reports, I knew that it usually takes about three months, at the very least, to get pregnant, so I had it all planned out what month would be the earliest we would get pregnant and what the earliest month was we would be expecting a baby. It was a good feeling for me...I felt so much more control than I had with Sophie. I was going in with a plan and was ready. Of course, when we were pregnant in just a few weeks, my plan, once again, went out the window. Then, when the contractions started just a day before Sophie's birthday, I was positive I could get them to stop because, if I had it my way, there was no way this baby was coming before her birthday. I know, those of you who have had children are laughing at the thought of stopping labor! I don't know what I was thinking. Anyway, we pulled into the hospital parking lot around 12:15 and Ethan was on the scale by 1:21. You guessed it, I had little to no control in that situation either! Yep, that was quite the lesson on who is in control...and it's not me!

Anyway, I feel so blessed to have these kiddos in my life. I have learned so much from them. I look forward to all the years ahead and all the lessons God is still going to teach me through them. I hope I allow Him to use me to teach them some lessons along the way, as well!