Thursday, June 28, 2012

In Jesus' name, we press on!

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."
~ Theodore Roosevelt

To further this quote, the credit is really given to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who has enabled and equipped us to live our lives for Him as our worthy cause.  We will go through trials and tredge through the valley many times, but it is how we endure this that really counts.  It is how we praise God through these times and stay faithful to Him who is always faithful to us.  It is not becoming apathetic when circumstances are much too difficult to think about; it is practicing our faith that develops perseverance. 

Come what may, press on for our Savior!

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength"

"To wait on God means to pause and soberly consider our own inadequacy and the Lord’s all-sufficiency, and to seek counsel and help from the Lord, and to hope in Him (Psalm. 33:20-22; Isa. 8:17)… The folly of not waiting for God is that we forfeit the blessing of having God work for us. The evil of not waiting on God is that we oppose God’s will to exalt Himself in mercy."
- John Piper

Psalm 33:20-22
"We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.

I'm working on my ability to really wait on the Lord.  Not everything in my life has lined up how I planned it would.  In many ways this is a wonderful thing.  When I was a senior in high school, I had my future ahead of me.  I didn't know exactly what was going to happen and that was exciting to me.  I did, however, have some sort of timeline for when I thought significant things would happen in my life.  So far, in my own terms, I am behind from where I envisioned I would be.  But, maybe I wasn't ready for the bigger things that I wanted at an earlier time.  God has taught me so much while I was waiting for answers in the past.  Also, my timing is not God's timing.  He knows the future and I do not.  So, what may be waiting for me is really God preparing me for what He has in store for me.

I know that "He is before all things and in Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17).  Also, Romans 8:28 says: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose".

These things I know in my heart and my mind.  But to actually put them into practice can prove difficult at times, for anyone.  Especially since we live in an instant gratificaton society; "we want what we want when we want it". 

This kind of mentality does not work for a Christian's walk.  Like I said, I know all of these things.  But sometimes I really just do not want to wait.  It's not even just in the big things, it's in the small things as well. Sometimes when I'm driving, I don't want to wait for the stoplight or the slow person in front of me, but I have to.  Other times I don't want to wait in line at the grocery store while I watch the people in front of me who should not be in the self-scan lane.  :-)

I do believe these small instances in waiting are good practice for me in order to be able to wait for the bigger, more important things. 

No matter what, GOD IS GOOD!!!  His time is perfect and mine is not.  God has a plan and a purpose for everything.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mayo Clinic...

In just a few short weeks I'll be making my way over to Iowa and Minnesota for a few days.  The Iowa part of the trip will be a very fun time as I'll get to see my grandparents as well as several of my aunts, uncles, cousins, their kids, etc.  My extended family is spread throughout the US so getting together doesn't happen but once every few years or so.  I think most of us are staying at my grandparents house, which Mark and I will be camping outside the house with our cousins.  I am especially happy because it didn't look like Mark was going to join me because of work, but he was able to get his work schedule all figured out (yay!).  We are actually going to be in a kind of caravan.  Since my parents, Amber & Mike and their kids are going, it doesn't make sense for us all to drive seperately.  We'll be riding with Amber & Mike and helping them with their kids, as well as sharing the driving responsibility. 

After we're in Iowa for a couple of days, Mark and I will be taking a day trip to drive a couple of hours to Minnesota.  This part of the trip will not be fun, but I suppose it is necessary.  I'll be going back there for what I hope is my last trip to the Mayo Clinic.  When I was diagnosed with cancer 7 years ago (has it really been that long??), I didn't realize I would STILL be going there to get checked out.  I guess the reason they still want to see me is because I was freshly 21 when it all started.  Even now at 28 I am still pretty young if it rears its head again.  I guess I'd rather be prepared and take the necessary precautions.

I get a tag edgy during these appointments.  They have occurred yearly since I was cured, but the last time I went they decided to put me on a bi-yearly basis.  These are the tests that diagnosed me in the first place so this is like dejavu for me; I get worried so I take it out on the people I love (mainly, Mark).  I guess I don't handle the appointment internally very well so I lash out.  It's completely not fair but thankfully I have a wonderful husband who understands me.  I am in prayer that I can find a way to enjoy myself even though this isn't a fun appointment.  I can enjoy the beautiful facility and the beautiful music that comes from the clinic.  There are such beautiful full-sized, grand pianos to play.  The Mayo Clinic encourages music and the healing effect on attitude it has on people.  Also, where we eat lunch will be fun.  We always go to the "Canadian Honker", which is a weird name but it has GREAT food!!  I need to enjoy these things and keep my feelings in tact so I don't hurt Mark's feelings on accident.

I know that whatever happens at the Mayo Clinic, God will hold me in the palm of His hands.  He has given me the most wonderful family and friends who love and support me.  I know I am safe with God, come what may.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Ahhhhhhh Sundays.....

There is truly nothing like a Sunday afternoon to me.  Especially this one.  It is absolutely gorgeous outside--not too hot, not too cold.  I don't feel the need to HAVE to be productive today either.  To me, this is Sunday, a day of rest.  Although the day doesn't start out too restful (since I work at church), it is really my favorite day of the week.

Yes, I do have to work on Sundays, but it's the kind of work that I LOVE!  Furthermore, starting out the week worshipping my Savior with other believers is so wonderful.  It doesn't mean that I'm not going to have a difficult week but it sure makes it a little easier to bear knowing God is with me. 

Rascal Flatts came out with a song a while back called "Mayberry", which actually is the ringtone on my cell phone right now.  There is a line in it that goes, "Sunday was a day of rest, now it's one more day for progress."  I truly believe that is what our society has made Sundays into; another day to get ahead. 

Now, keep in mind that I was not brought up in the tradition of avoiding places of business on Sundays.  In fact, many Sundays I would go shopping or out to eat.  In more recent years, while I was waitressing, I was the one rushing out of church after changing into my work uniform, trying to get there on time.  Now, after being married for 3 years to someone who was brought up not to go places of business on Sundays, I really see the value of it. 

Of course, there are some places that cannot be closed, and thus, many people have to work: hospitals, police stations, fire stations, etc., you get the idea.  But after seeing it through my husband's eyes, I really see that we are supposed to rest.

For a while, I fought back against him.  In fact, I remember saying to him quite often, "you're not going to change this so I don't know why you even bother to try!"  I wasn't raised this way and I didn't see it being a problem.  The argument I would raise to him a lot is that I never really had Sundays off so as long as I had another day to rest and regroup, it really doesn't matter which day of the week that was.  However, I decided that if he was really adamant about this then I needed to respect his wishes and be submissive in this way. 

Upon my respecting his wishes, I have begun to undestand just what he has meant this entire time.  Again, I understand that many people HAVE to work, for the reasons I mentioned in two prior paragraphs.  But, why does every restaurant have to be opened?  Why does every shopping place have to be opened?  Why are schools moving sporting events to Sundays now?  What happened to the sacredness of Sundays?

Chick-Fil-A is a very well-known chain, mostly in southern states (we need one here though.  It is delicious!!).  They are not opened Sundays and believe me, they are not hurting from this in the least!  In Michigan we have Russ', which is also closed on Sundays and they seem to be doing just fine.

I feel a little old fashioned in my new view, but I have really come to embrace this as my own belief.  Mark didn't change me; he enlightened me.