Fire Safety and the Dangers of Late Warnings…

So we just listened to two hours worth of fire safety training in the hopes of getting a $50.00 gas card. No products were sold, but after the information and education we got Jake and I were practically begging the man to come back and sell us better, safer equipment.

Fire is never something to mess with. It’s beautiful and absolutely devastating in its untamed fury. As a nature element, created by God, it gives light and warmth when stewarded well. However, it can easily turn into a raging inferno of death and destruction.

Did you know that $1 Billion a year goes to pay for rehabilitation after injuries sustained during and after a fire. Smoke inhalation, burns, suffocation; these are just the beginnings of the long term suffering fire survivors have to endure. A fire starts every 12 seconds somewhere in the US. Hundreds and thousands of lives are lost to the flames every year.

Have you ever heard an overflow of information that sends you just to the edge of panic and you know that if you think too long and hard about it, you will lose your mind with worry and fear?

This is where trust in the Lord comes in; there are hundreds and thousands of ways a human being could lose their life or suffer excruciating pain and injury. Thinking about that concept, I can see why fear is such a motivational factor in the Devil’s ploy to keep us separated from the God of Salvation.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;

Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the defense of my life;

Whom shall I dread?

~ Psalm 27:1

This is not to say we should not be watchful and do everything in our power to prevent the fire from consuming us. No matter what, we must be alert to the things in our lives that can be the cause of careless accidents; or in stronger terms, we must guard against those things that can spark sin in our lives. Those ‘lint traps’ and ‘faulty wirings’ can sway us straight into the fire and before we know it, we have been permanently damaged or even killed by the consequences of not keeping our lives clean and protected.

One method does not work on every type of fire either. It is best done in steps and on guard for the different ways it can creep up on us. We can get a really good watchdog that will faithfully sit by the front door and scare off all unwanted intruders; however, if the dumb dog doesn’t also guard the other entrances to the home we are going to find that intruder sneaking in the back door instead.

Life is completely unpredictable and filled with dangers. We can either panic and hide ourselves away completely, or we can stand watch over what God has given us to steward and trust that the Lord is and always will be ultimately in control of the whole picture.

And I got all this from a fire safety demonstration…

This Good Day

This Good Day

Sunshine and the crisp, welcoming scents of fall in the cold air…I really cannot say I have a more favorite time of year than right now.

I am making another pot of chili (hoping my family does not get tired of my favorite autumn dish anytime soon) and listening to the sounds of worship as my daughter breathes quietly in her crib for her afternoon nap. Honestly, it doesn’t take much to knock her out – she could probably sleep through the Apocalypse if we let her… 🙂

Living in a one room apartment has given me interesting perspective on how many people around the world live. I really cannot say that I have handled it all that well. The cramped space gives me a feeling of claustrophobia – and I am not claustrophobic at all. I can barely fit in the tiny shower, let alone getting Bump in there as well…

But even with the shorter tempers (mostly on my part) and fear of tight spaces that I have suddenly developed, I am coming to appreciate how truly blessed I am to even have a roof over my head right now. It was seriously a providential find at the last minute and it gave us a chance to stay together while Jake adjusted to his new job and we wait to close on our very own house.

We are so close to that goal as well by the way. I am praying for this weekend – it would be great to be in our new home on Bella’s birthday. I am so excited to be a homeowner even though that concept was so foreign to me just about two months ago. Jake and I already have huge dreams about what we are going to do to make it ours – to make it welcoming to others and to use it to bless everyone who enters it’s front door. (and garage door and back door etc…)

Have you ever had just an irrational surge of emotion that is directed completely at a situation or circumstance, and you know that if you speak it out loud you are going to lose every semblance of calm you have managed to hold together? That and probably destroy the first person who asks you ‘what’s wrong?’

That happened to me the other night and while I could lay blame on a host of things and probably be justified (humanly of course, because pregnancy hormones really do do a number on you) I realized that I was trying to handle my life on my own. Hence the rather obvious panic attack…I was just so thankful that God got a hold of my first before I lashed out at Jake or Bella. Sometimes staying silent hurts others, but it would have hurt a whole lot more if I had exploded. And thank God it did not last that long…

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

~ Psalm 46:10

Honor and Submission

Like most independent human beings, I really hate that word – Submission, I mean.

What man or woman really wants to be under the thumb of another as the word connotes in this day and age. To be constantly at someone else’s beck and call and to have to surrender our own wants and desires in place of another’s.

Submission sucks. So does meekness and humility…all words used in relation to one another.

I have been married for four years and I still balk at submitting meekly to my husband. Especially when I am absolutely sure he is in the wrong. And before anyone asks, yes this musing is taking place after a massive argument that I am stubbornly refusing to deal with right now. Even knowing that the man who never says he is sorry (or when he does it has to do with something completely out of his control) actually apologized to me first.

Has anyone ever felt that wicked desire to make someone suffer just a little while longer for some wrong they have committed against you? Yeah, that’s me right now. I just want to twist the knife in a little further before I remove it completely.

The truly agonizing thing about this whole situation is that we were both right in our own way, but we both went about it in the absolutely wrong way. Bitterness is a hard pill to swallow and it’s even worse in its liquid form. I bitterly regret how I handled the situation, while at the same time feeling that my argument had merit. Not in the “it’s my right to feel this” way but in truly being hurt by the selfishness and imperfections of the man I married.

Unfortunately, the opposite holds true in that I actually did hurt him – in roughly the same way – and while his handling of it was bitter and childish, he was making an honest observation about my character flaws.

It’s too bad our own logs got in the way…

What must it be like for the perfect, unconditional God to be in relationship with such imperfect, sinful people? I have a hard enough time maintaining a relationship with someone just as imperfect as I am.

Furthermore, why on earth or in heaven would such a perfect, unconditional God actually shed His blood for us when I have a hard enough time making coffee in the morning for my imperfect, sinful husband? Or ironing his pants for that matter…

Alright, it’s laughable to compare apples and oranges especially regarding an earthly and a heavenly husband. They cannot compare no matter how much I try. And believe me, I do try. Often.

Hence the expectations for his behavior and character that reach to the heavens while he stumbles around on earth, trying to defy gravity for me.

Maybe the question I should be asking is this: Why on earth would an imperfect, sinful man want to do anything to please an equally imperfect, sinful woman? Shouldn’t I be ecstatic that he even wants anything to do with me at all and does the best he can with the broken wings he is wearing?

I am still royally ticked off and I want so much to wallow in my own anger toward him.

You know how they say that if you don’t take care of a situation before you part, you may bitterly regret the last words that were said? Like, he might get into an accident and I will never have the chance to offer and receive forgiveness or I may not be able to ever tell him ‘I love you’ again.

Suffice it to say, I really ignored that concept for the last few days…

I don’t want to submit to him, darn it. I don’t want to honor and love him regardless of his imperfections and the insensitivity that led to this whole desperate situation. I don’t want to imitate Christ and be the better person in the situation. I don’t want to forgive him. I want to be as imperfect – or more imperfect if I am being honest with myself – as he is so that I can feel justified in despising him.

It’s so true that love is not a feeling, because right now, warm fuzzies and sweet nothings are the furthest from my mind…I was even wishing for another bed last night, angry enough to not even want his touch.

But I can’t continue acting like I am the good one (self-righteous in human terms)  in this relationship…because you see, it’s a three-way relationship and two of us are most definitely not good.

I’ll give you one guess as to which one of the three actually is…

Oh God, I really hate it when you show up in my ramblings and force me to see all my own ugliness. Soul surgery is absolute agony especially during times like this when I am resisting the blade.

Fall Days and Sunshine

My daughter is picking up words left and right and her imitation of EVERYTHING we do definitely gives me pause before I act or speak. She is a sponge, soaking up life experiences with abandon and curiosity.

I adore her for everything that she is and cannot believe that anyone could love her more. And yet, during my human moments – when the “old man” takes over for a time – I wish that I could love her better than I do.

At five months along in my second pregnancy, I am reevaluating everything we are doing to parent our firstborn. I know that being a very human parent, I cannot hope to completely avoid ruining my children in some way, shape, or form. What I can hope and pray to do – with God on my side and working through me – is minimize the damage that my own human nature can do, so she sees Christ more than me.

Baby Luke (or Bump as we affectionately call our second child) has been kicking up a storm, but every time I try to feel him move the little stinker ends up stopping. I am trying to figure out if it is because my touch is so soothing to him or if he just wants to play hide and seek…like I don’t know he’s there. (silly rabbit)

We are settling for the first time since we got married and boy does it feel good. It is ironic that just before Jake’s back injury and my pregnancy, I had been saying that our traveling days were pretty indefinite. We had already planned to travel until God told us to stay. It is amazing what He does to work out the change in our lives while giving us peace and contentment. It helps to be open and flexible, which had never been a strong point of mine until we started traveling. He does work in mysterious ways.

Despite the trials and struggles we have been through in the last few months, life has been good and God has been so much more than we could ask or expect! I am filled with the joy of the Lord…

The Fear of the Lord

…is the beginning of wisdom

Psalm 111:10

Jake and I tried a church out in our new town and I was blown away by the simple yet powerful message.

Not many churches that I have gone to in recent years actually touch on this topic – or they gloss over it, instead focusing on more “friendly” topics like Christ’s love and grace and compassion.

Don’t get me wrong. I definitely enjoy living in those messages. This world is jaded and crushed by immorality, hatred, and sin. Hearing about the tender aspects of God’s character is something we need as a reminder of what exactly we are living for by being His followers.

However, these characteristics are definitely not the only things we need to focus on – and really without the Fear of the Lord, all of his characteristics are meaningless. We cannot truly appreciate them without holding God in proper reverence and awe and fear.

The pastor brought up the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham dearly loved the son God had promised to him so many years prior. Through many mistakes and stumblings, he finally found out that obedience to God is the way to the fulfillment of God’s promises. Hence, the arrival of Isaac in his old age. In the New Testament, Abraham’s faith was counted as righteousness.

However, God saw the seeming idolatrous-level love between the father and son and gave Abraham the ultimate test of every believer. Are we as Christ-followers truly able to stand by our promise of total surrender in EVERY aspect of our lives? Are we truly willing to accept that when God asks for our “all on the alter,” He means that absolutely nothing and no one can be more important than that promise?

Abraham passed the test, and yet I cannot help but wonder if that was the whole story. Did Abraham instantly agree to obey or did his father heart first rebel at the thought of losing HIS child? Did he remember instantly that everything he had belonged to the Lord, or was he struggling in tears and sleeplessness to accept that God’s will is always higher than ours even though we cannot see the way?

The point of the story though is still clear. Abraham, the Father of many nations, accepted God’s total control over his life and offered up his beloved son as the sacrifice – an ultimate test of his obedience and fear of God. He was rewarded for that fear and reverence and lauded as one of the pillars of faith in the church.

The fear of the Lord is sadly lacking in believers nowadays. I myself have pulled away from the concept that God is so much bigger than my human mind can comprehend. I tend to try to fit God into my own little box based on my limited perspective, instead of seeing that I was made in HIS image – not the other way around. Seeing as there are billions more human beings throughout the course of creation who have been claimed by God in this same way, I find it rather interesting that my own limited vantage point can become such a huge factor in how I treat my relationship with the Creator.

“…even the demons believe that [there is One God] and shudder!”

James 2:19

2 Timothy 3

Godlessness in the Last Days

1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

“having a form of godliness but denying its power…”

The thought makes me shudder in fear. I could boast and say that I still have the fear of the Lord, but I realize that I only fear Him when it suits me. The pastor today calls this practical atheism.

Something else he said struck me although at first it seemed a humorous anecdote and nothing more. However, rereading it, I find that the implications are far from humorous.

I pick and choose a God remade in my image – like food at a cafeteria buffet line – but at the end of the line, I forget that I still have to pay…

How can I raise my children to worship and adore the Savior when I myself do not give Him the proper worship and reverence that He deserves? And how can I reach a dead and dying world for Christ when I gloss over the fact that He is the God to be feared?

Two Roads Diverged

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~Robert Frost

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I took any number of the other forks that my life road has come upon.  The what ifs keep going on, when I reminisce long enough on what could have been.

My husband and daughter are tumbling on the ground in some crazy tangle of giggles and delighted shrieks (mostly from my daughter)  We are living in – what I believe – the most beautiful part of the country.  Surrounded by mountains, lakes, oceans, rivers, rain forests, and many other works of art crafted by The Master Craftsman.  I truly feel blessed for having taken the road less traveled.

There is really not much left to say after that.  Just that when we focus on fears, regrets, and decisions we could have made, we lose out on everything we have on the path we did choose.

May we never regret the choices we made, because these choices shape us and form our characters into masterful works of art – if we choose to let the Master Craftsman do the shaping…

Hello world!

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. – Jack London

This quote fits so well with the goals that I have set for my life.  Of course, I have learned over the years that it is actually God who plants the dreams in our hearts and leaves it to us to either make use of or waste the talents He gave us to accomplish those dreams. Some talents I have squandered a long the way; others I continue to cultivate and water as I reach for what at times seems unreachable.

Then again, nothing is really squandered unless you died and left things undone…

I am a wife and mother.  I am a daughter and sister.  I hope to be an aunt someday soon and a grandmother somewhere waayyyyy down the road…

I sing and dance and work and play.  I enjoy the sun as much as the rain and one of my dreams is to dance in the rain on a sandy beach right before the sun parts the clouds.

I write…a lot.  Chores are often neglected in favor of penning my thoughts in journals or stories.  My children and husband often have to pull me away from the paper or computer screen when I have gotten in too deep.

Best of all – I love my Savior.  I am a Follower of The Way, The Truth, and The Life and I am more than happy to share the unspeakable Joy that belief brings to my heart and life!  No greater sacrifice on earth was given than the blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of MY sins…

May I not shy away from that sacrifice should it ever be asked of me…