Sunday, February 20, 2011

Manitoba Trip

Ok, for all you Canadians, (and others) that have just been waiting for a picture post of our trip up to MB, here it is. I don't feel there's tons of great ones, but honestly, who feels like carrying a camera around on dates with your guy? So, the camera was delegated to my sisters for the most part that weekend, and that is what I have to work with. :-)

Our trip up was beautiful, and without incidence. Through it all, it really hit me what a huge sacrifice Joel makes nearly every three weeks driving all the way down to WI! From the 90 minutes of driving in WI, aaaaalllll the way across MN, and all the way up ND, the border crossing, and 30 minutes in MB, it's a LONG drive!! 

For our family, add the frequent restroom stops, magnified by coffee refills at many of them, ;-) and it gets even a bit longer. 

Happy smiles across the miles. 

Finally crossing the border. 

Settling into Joel's house for the weekend was a delightful change. After having spent all of our time together thus far in the States, I was thrilled to see his world, meet his friends, visit where he grew up, and experience the church fellowship. All was a super sweet blessing!

The kids lost no time in setting up one of their
favorite games!

Canada = skating. We love it anyway, so this was a huge treat!

A house full of company Sunday evening gave me a great opportunity to rub
shoulders with some of those that Joel is closest to. I learned real fast the
Canada has some pretty special people!

Lots of laughs, smiles, and a greater growing in friendship and love!
Words can't express our rejoicing in God's continued leading in our lives. The past six months have been some of the richest in my life, and I feel that daily I am learning in  new way the meaning of the verse, 

"...this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." 
Isa. 25:9

Thursday, February 10, 2011

At long last.....

Every last passport has arrived and...

I can hardly keep my feet on the ground. :-)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Delight of Discipline

"My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him." Hebrews 12:5

"Do not quench the Spirit." (1 Thessalonians 5:19), and do not despise Him when He says to you, in effect, "Don't be blind on this point anymore - you are not as far along spiritually as you thought you were. Until now I have not been able to reveal this to you, but I'm revealing it to you right now." When the Lord disciplines you like that, let Him have His way with you. 

Am I fully prepared to allow God to grip me by His power and do a work in me that is truly worthy of Himself? Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me - sanctification is God's idea of what He wants to do for me. But He has to get me into the state of mind and spirit where I will allow Him to sanctify me completely, whatever the cost
-Oswald Chambers

‎"Behold, blessed is the one that God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but He binds up; he shatters, but His hand heals." 
Job 5:17-18

Friday, February 04, 2011

Blank Pages Filled With Hope

One of my favorite things in life is a new journal. The fresh, crisp pages draw out the writer in me like few other things can. The unwritten lines beg wanderings from my curious mind. I particularly love the theme of the new one I just started a few days ago.

"Because He lives,  I can face tomorrow."

Most often, I have thought of that phrase as pertaining to grace to meet the trials and testings ahead. It struck me the other day, though, that it is because of Christ's death and resurrection that I can look forward to the joy's that this year will hold with hope also. Without that, even the greatest of human pleasures and blessings would be tainted by the bitter gall of human lostness. 

Because He lives, I can be confident that those new, blank journal pages will reflect God's perfect plan for my life. Through joy and pain, He will still live, and there, I will still have hope.  What a Saviour!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Pressing Forward

It was a crisp, snowy evening. Not too cold, but nippy enough to warrant a heavy coat, gloves, hat, scarf, and the works. I was up for a challenge that evening, and coerced my sister into joining me on an attempt to walk two-and-a-half miles in a pre-determined amount of time.  We bundled up good, grabbed a flashlight to alert coming cars of our presence on our back country road, and set off walking. Fast

For the first while, our heavy breathing prevented much conversation. We were intent on reaching our first checkpoint in record time, and we didn't waste energy on anything unnecessary. 

Success. 7 minutes. 

To walk a mile in 15 minutes, we knew we had to reach the next goal by 13 minutes. We upped our pace again, and expressed how glad we were it wasn't summer. The clothes under our jackets were damp by now, and the slight breeze blowing on our faces felt refreshing rather than chilling as it did at the beginning.

Was it really possible to do this without jogging? We were honestly starting to wonder, but we pushed ahead as fast as our legs would go to find out. We ended up successfully reaching our goal within 20 seconds of our hoped for time.  We walked another 1/4 of a mile, and turned for home, aspiring to do it in the same amount of time. 

By this time, our breathing had regulated enough to start visiting. As the hill ahead approached, my legs started burning, and I was grateful for my sister's quick pace that motivated me to press through the pain and keep up with her. I mentioned this to her, and she looked at me in surprise, and said she was just thinking the exact same thing.  We started realizing that we were inspiring each other to do what did not come easily, and to keep pressing on to our goal. The end result? I ended up walking that two-and-a-half miles five minutes faster than any other time I had walked it by myself.

So what am I getting at? Simply put, it's this. We need each other. When I'm walking alone, it's easy for me to start daydreaming and lose focus of my goal. As I tire, my pace tends to slow without even realizing it, and I lose valuable minutes that ultimately reveal themselves once I reach home again. 

Another thing that tends to happen is that I lose motivation to press on for more. I have nothing or no-one to compare my progress with, and I become complacent and satisfied. Does this trend sound at all familiar with the Christian life?

All too often, it's true of mine, and I'm ever grateful for those in my life who keep motivating me to press on for deeper and greater heights with Christ. Hebrews 12:1 exhorts us in this same principle. 

"Wherefore seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."  

Christ is to be our ultimate example and inspiration, but let us not forget that the heroes of the faith, past and present, can add valuable strength and encouragement to keep on when the going gets hard. 

To inspire us when our hearts have grown cold. 

To keep our eyes fixed on what is truly possible as children of the Almighty God. 

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do. Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 3:13-14