Saturday, September 14, 2013

Changing of Seasons

My daughter said something yesterday afternoon about needing sweaters and long-sleeved shirts for winter.  In the words of my dad, "Well, that'll be tomorrow."  He works outside year long, and he says he actually prefers hot weather.  He's so accustom to the heat, cooler weather seems cold to him.  I wouldn't call 58 degrees this morning winter, but it is much cooler today than it has been.  I am looking forward to the high only being 75 today.  I despise heat, but I also despise cold.  Because of my disease, heat makes me want to rip my skin off, and it makes it difficult to breathe.  Cold weather makes me hurt and ache all over.  A day where the high is 75 is perfect for me.

I've noticed the leaves are starting to change too.  Fall is definitely one of my favorite seasons.  I love the robust color and cooler days; although I'm not so fond of the Fall allergies that tend to plaque our house.  I love the break it gives us from the heat without it being too cold.  I love changing out clothes in the closet.

I was thinking this morning about what a beautiful day it is going to be today.  A great day to  begin the big 18th birthday celebration of my oldest daughter.  This afternoon we are taking her to have dinner with my husband's family, and this will be the first time they will meet her boyfriend.

Yes, for those of you who don't know, Sara has a boyfriend.  They met through his sister and mutual friends, and over a period of time grew fond of each other.  This sweet, young man came to Nathan and I and asked permission to date her.  You read that correctly.  He asked permission to date her.  Going into this meeting I wanted to not like him, but just the opposite happened.  He is so precious.  He loves Jesus, works a lot of hours and attends college full-time.  He has goals for his life, and seems to know what he wants to do.  He is so polite and respectful.  I know he has flaws, and I keep waiting to see them.  No one is perfect, but thus far, I've not seen anything that causes me to be alarmed.  Those of you who know me well know that is huge.

A lot of changes in our house lately.  For someone who isn't a fan of big changes, we've certainly had a lot of them the past few months.  It's been a bit more than my heart can handle some moments.  Watching our daughters grow and mature is always accompanied by mixed emotions.  I truly have loved every stage of their life, but at the same time, it has been sad to see the last stage leave as a new begins.

This morning I was thinking about all of the changes we've experienced lately, and thinking about how the season is changing ... the weather season, and the season of life we are entering right now.  This verse kept coming to my mind.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ~ I Peter 5:10

I am so grateful for new seasons of life.  I know the hard seasons will eventually end.  Sometimes they are seemingly never ending, but they will end.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 

It feels like we have been living in a hard season of life for a very long time.  It's been tiresome and at times wearisome.  It's in these seasons I become even more grateful His mercies are new every morning.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;23  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” ~ Lamentations 3:22-24

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Beauty for Ashes

It's been awhile.  I've been asked many times why I stopped blogging.  It was never my intent to completely stop blogging.  I just needed to take a short break so I could spend my time and energy on other things, and that short break turned into months.

The past several months have been incredibly hard for my family.  We've had to learn to trust the Lord in some really dark places.  We've shed many tears, and lost a lot of sleep.  We've asked "why?" over and over.  We've been fearful, and at times extremely angry.

It's been a long, hard season of life for us.  I'd love to share the details of all that has been happening, but the bulk of it just isn't my story to tell.  Maybe one day my daughter will give me permission to share, but for now, the Lord continues to write her story.  I see so clearly how He is orchestrating areas of her life to use her story in a mighty way.  Little pieces keep falling into place, and I don't even think she is fully aware of how He's preparing her for something big.  I don't know what that is or even what it's going to look like exactly, but I do know it's going to be a beautiful picture of God's unending grace and mercy.

Beauty for ashes.

Reflecting back over the past several months I am overwhelmed at just how much the Lord loves us.  We truly are blessed.  Yes, it's been a heart wrenching season.  A season of life that has put callouses on our knees, but it's been a season where we've been shown how the Lord provides for us in so many ways.  Provisions we don't even see until the moment is long past.

Once again, we've seen how blessed we are to have the friends the Lord has provided for us.  Friends who have prayed for us and WITH us.  Friends who have held us while we have wept, listened silently while we vented our frustrations and have reminded us the Lord is faithful and won't abandon us.  They have literally walked every step of the past few months with us.

They have been such a beautiful picture of the hands and feet of Jesus.  Loving us in precious ways throughout such difficult days.  Sacrificing their time and energy.  We are so blessed to have friends who are trustworthy.  Friends we don't have pretend to that everything is "fine" or "okay".  We can be real and honest.  We can trust them with our hearts.

Trust can be so delicate.  It's so easily broken at times, and once it's broken it can be harder to rebuild than it was to earn it .  I don't trust easily, and once it's broken it's near impossible to rebuild it with me.  I am so grateful we have friends who are trustworthy.

God never promised life would be easy.  He promised He would never leave us.  He promised to love us through it.

He is the most trustworthy.  He will carry us through this season when we are too weary and tired to walk, and He will use all of this for our good and His glory.

Right now it looks like a big pile of ashes.  One day it will be a beautiful picture of His love, grace and mercy.  Our tears won't be from broken hearts.  They will be tears of joy.

To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” ~ Isaiah 61:3

"God is always good, and I am always loved."  This is a quote from a Ann Voskamp bible study I lead at the beginning of this year.  A quote I have repeated in my heart a million times over.

Even in a hard season ... a season I pray ends soon ... we are so blessed.  God is good, and we are loved ... a love we don't even deserve.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. ~ Romans 12:12