Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Brokenness


 Brokenness is not a feeling or an emotion. Rather, it requires a choice, an act of the will. Further, this choice is not a one-time experience. True brokenness is an ongoing, constant way of life. True brokenness is a lifestyle - a moment-by-moment lifestyle of agreeing with God about the true condition of my heart and life - not as everyone thinks it is, but as He knows it to be.

Brokenness is the shattering of my self-will - the absolute surrender of my will to the will of God. It is saying "Yes Lord" - no resistance, no chafing, no stubbornness - simply submitting myself to His direction and will in my life.

Brokenness is the stripping of self-reliance and independence from God. The broken person has no confidence in his own righteousness or his own works, but he is cast in total dependence upon the grace of God working in and through him.

Brokenness is the softening of the soil of my heart - it is the breaking up on any clods of resistance that could keep the seed from penetrating and taking root. Believers with broken, contrite hearts are receptive and responsive to the Word.

As wax or clay must be soft and pliable in order to be molded by the artist's hands, so the broken, contrite heart is easily molded by the hand of God and does not harden itself against the circumstances God choose to mold it.

-Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Brokenness: The Heart God Revives



Monday, December 19, 2011

Our Wedding - Part 2

The morning of August 27th dawned early for me, and I woke up with a smile, grateful for a good night's sleep, and hardly able to wrap my mind around the fact it was actually the day. The day I had been waiting for much of my life, and dreamed of so many times. I don't even remember what was on the menu that morning, but a vague recollection of some sort of breakfast casserole given by some friends seems to stick out. Whatever it was, I don't think I was very hungry. :-)

 It was incredibly special for me to have a couple dear girlfriends staying at our house that weekend. One of my bridesmaids, a photographer, and personal attendant/bridal table server combined to make a group of girls that were not only helpful, but so fun. We piled into our vehicles around 8:30, and headed for the church to get ready. The next hour and half was like a whirlwind in one sense, and relaxed in another. I bought my dress from this company and enjoyed the un-complexity of the zip-up back. I chose a simple hair-style, and these factors combined to create a stress-free, fast dressing session. I enjoyed mingling with the musicians that were at the church early to practice, and the different family members also there preparing for pictures.

Our photographer, Seth Haley, arrived at the church around 9:30. He caught a few prep pictures, and then the bridal party headed to a near-by park to take pictures. One of the most satisfying things for me was to have these dear bridesmaids around me that I had chosen in my mind for at least two years before our wedding. Having friends that stick with you through thick and thin is something to be greatly treasured. Having Laurissa, Janelle, and Amy so close around me that day is something I look back with great fondness.





Laurissa - I had to wait nearly 9 years for a sister, but God gave me a treasure in the one He blessed me with. In my earlier years, I often bemoaned the fact that she was so much younger, but she grew up so quickly into a beautiful young lady that quickly locked herself in my heart as one of my closest friends. She continually inspires me with her servant's heart, her sweetness, her enthusiasm for life, and her patient, uncomplicated way of dealing with situations that would would leave me completely stressed out in frustration. I often say that when I grow up, I'll be satisfied if I'm half the woman she's already proven herself to be.




Janelle - I was acquainted with this dear mom-of-four 3 years or so before we really started to get to know each other, but once we broke through those walls of natural reserve, we discovered in each other a soul-kinship that has grown incredibly deep over the years. Janelle is not only a friend that challenges me with her unwavering joy, servants heart, submissiveness to life's difficult circumstances, and spunky love of life, but one that has cried and shared with me through some of the hardest season's in life that I've walked through. I can never hide anything from her, and her knowledge of some of the tenderest things of my heart only endears her more to me!




Amy - Other than my sister, Amy is probably the longest standing friend I have ever had. We met very shortly after our family made a huge move to a different state, and although our friendship has grown slowly over the past 10 years, it has proved itself to be a solid, and lasting one. Amy has always had the gift of a listening ear, and is a friend I can always count on for prayer. Never have I been more grateful for modern technology as now, as many, many miles separate us as she serves the Lord in India. She is one of those sorts of friends that I would travel around the world to see many times over. Lord willing, Joel and I will get to do that some day.





My two other chosen bridesmaids were sadly not able to attend our wedding. My dear friend Megan Knapp from Alaska had a baby shortly before our wedding, and Cheri Cross had college commitments in Georgia. Their absence left a hole, and years before I never would have dreamed they couldn't be there to share the most special day of my life. Life does move on for all of us, though, and I am incredibly excited to see God's directing hand in their lives, and their faithfulness to follow His will.


Also around me were so many other dear friends that I hardly have space to mention here. Photographer friends, bridal table servers, decorators, kitchen helpers, and servers, musicians.... Each one played such a vital role, and my biggest regret about our wedding is that I couldn't spend the time with each one the way I wanted to.

I'm going to close this post with an assortment of pictures taken by Seth of our bridal party. We had a blast, and Seth did such a wonderful job of putting us all at ease, and capturing the moments that were so special. :-)







All pictures taken by Seth Haley except #1 and #2 which are credited to Linda Newman.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where do you run?

The frigid wind bit my lungs as my husband and I walked into St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, MB. I pondered the long winter ahead, the breathtaking wind chills Manitoba is famous for, and my own warm-weather-loving bones. A slight sigh escaped my lips as I wondered how quickly the next 2 1/2 bone-chilling months would pass by.

A minor ailment called us to the clinic, and I was well equipped with my Bible, laptop, journal, and a good book to pass by the couple hours I knew we would be there. I found a Tim Horton's downstairs, (Canada's wanna-be Starbucks) and curled up in a comfortable corner with my coffee and paraphernalia scattered around me. With the cultural diversity of the large city, I hardly needed my things to keep me entertained. People watching would have quite sufficed.

The slight, Oriental nurse sat across from me, enjoying her break, and the newspaper sitting on the table. Next to me at a small table four senior citizens explored the in's and out's of the latest town gossip. A brown-robed, rope-belted, heavyset priest waddled toward the pharmacy in search of who knows what. Across the room I watched two young men. One was a perfect picture of the hippie movement, and the other sported a neon blue mohawk. Obviously, they considered whatever they were talking about quite humorous. Behind me I heard Spanish, clear German accents were all around, Chinese came from another corner, and a sprinkling of French was faintly heard here and there.

In the midst of the hubbub, constructions workers from a near-by project coming in for coffee, and the many family members waiting, a lady caught my eye. Obviously a patient, she was dressed in a thin cotton robe, and pushed ahead of her all of her IV equipment. Memories of the awkwardness of this from my last year's gallbladder surgery made me wonder what prompted her descent from her hospital room. With only a thin, see-through plastic rain-coat covering her robe, she stepped outside into that breath-catching frigidness of winter. With a -25c windchill outside, I knew she must have some sort of important mission. As I watched her breath made steam clouds in the air, my questions were soon answered as she fumbled with a lighter and cigarette. One word crossed my mind as I sadly watched her endure the elements to get her fix. Addiction.

My mind traveled back to a series of meetings Joel and I had just sat through, in which the speaker had talked about this very thing. He brought out the fact that most of us are addicted to something. As I've thought about this over the past few days, many sad realities have crossed my mind as I ponder the culture around us. Apart from the obviously destructive addictions like drug abuse and alcohol, creep in subtle ones that most of us don't see any danger in. Money, entertainment, fashion, food, compliments and acceptance from others, leisure, caffeine, shopping, TV, and social networking.

An addiction usual develops through either a lack of self-control, or a real, or perceived need in our lives. I think it is safe to say that an addiction is anything we default to for a "fix" when we are feeling low, lonely, discouraged, or worthless. The dictionary brings in an element of devotion. It's usually the first thing to get done on our list, or perhaps we don't even put it on our list, because habit dictates that we never forget it. We feel an emptiness if it is missing from our lives.

The question begs to be asked. Where do we turn to when we feel needy? Is it God, His word, prayer, and godly friends and counsel, or it is something that gives us a temporal, feel-good high, and leaves us crashed, burned and more needy afterwards. Are we finding our fulfillment in lasting habits and activities, or in the ONE who never changes? Have you asked yourself lately, where do find your satisfaction?

 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 
Matthew 11:28