Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Beth Moore!

Ok, I'll come out and say it. I'm a Beth Moore fan.
It took me a long while to admit since it makes me just like thousands upon thousands of other women out there.
And I tend to roll my eyes at hype. Especially Christian hype.
So for years when people (even those I admired) gushed about all they were learning thru her studies I remained a little rebellious, sluffing it off like "c'mon....what could she possibly have to say that I haven't heard before?" And excuses like "I think her Texas accent will get on my nerves."
Then a few years ago, I kinda commited to doing a Bible Study before I knew it was a Beth Moore one. And let me tell ya, that was of God. Because digging in my heels against the status quo was robbing me of a blessing. The study was life-changing. And I've been on the Beth Moore band-wagon ever since. She really is THAT good. Not her, of course, but God working thru her is just what so many of us weary souls need to see and hear testimony to. There's a reason her ministry is called "Living Proof," because she is living proof to all God can do when you give yourself in abandon to Him.
Having said all that, you'll understand my delight this afternoon when I came across her blog! And since I just learned within this past year what a blog even IS, I'm happy and encouraged to be following along.
And speaking of Beth and blogs, here's a funny little post from the satirical and HILARIOUS "Stuff Christians Like" about "Trying To Explain To Your Husband Why You Love Beth Moore So Much."
True, very true. And exciting to see so many women talking (even gushing) about becoming all God intends us to be.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In the garden

Have you ever had one of those CRAZY moments where there's a profound need in your life, then all of a sudden certain details intersect forming the perfect answer to that need? Much more than coincidence could ever create. So extraordinary, in fact, that there's absolutely no way to explain it other than to say it was God? And even saying "it was God" sounds trite, because you know it really WAS Him....the Most High Almighty come down for you alone? And later, when you try to explain it, words are so----not enough? So you end up just hiding the magnitude of it in your heart for always.

Knowing Heaven came down, just for you.

Right when you needed it.

And you'll always be thankful.

Well, that is the story of my garden.

Words can't describe what God did for me there. But I'm going to attempt to put at least some of it in writing. Because I am so thankful and I never want to forget.

Here's a little background:

It'd been an exhausting year for me already after a failed operation, and other painful procedures that led to the conclusion that I now needed an enormous surgery I'd been dreading. (I just deleted where I wrote out what the surgery entailed because it's a tad too violent for this little blog. ;0) Suffice it to say that I now have a 10 inch scar down my stomach and my back. Yikes.

ANY-way, the months leading up to that procedure were an emotional roller coaster.

And the week right before....I completely lost it.

One morning in particular, I woke up claustrophobic with panic. I couldn't stop crying. I quickly called my mom and she came over to help with SaraRose. I knew I needed some space; to get away and go.........somewhere. As I headed out the door I grabbed some info Andrew had about a local Catholic church's prayer garden.

I glanced at the directions, saw it wasn't too far, and decided to drive there not knowing what I'd find or if it was even open to the public. I just knew I needed to get away, even if it was just the corner of a parking lot where I could sit in my car (what I usually ended up doing when I needed to be alone. Not ideal, let me tell ya!)

But when I got there.

Oh, when I got there, I knew this garden was where I was supposed to be in that moment.

I knew God had guided me.

It was freely open, with no fences, no "No Trespassing" signs, no locked gates.....and it was gorgeous. Filled with paths and trees and edged against the open water. It was spacious and peaceful. It was secluded and idyllic. It was just the kind of place that for years I'd been hoping to find.

And best of all, not one other soul was there.

I got out of the car, walked to a stone table overlooking the water and sat down. And then a miracle happened. God came and sat next to me. In my time of greatest need He was there.

I stayed for three and half hours. Just me, God, the blue sky, and the garden. I prayed out loud and cried deep tears. There was no worry of someone hearing. I told Him every fear, hurt and disappointment. The guilt about the burden I was putting on my family. My concern for little SaraRose Joy. The pain that because of me, Andrew was struggling too. The anger, the fear of my health in the future. I talked and cried til there were no more words and no more tears.

At times I sat by the water. At times I laid on the grass. I swung on a hanging porch swing. I walked thru the paths and gardens. God didn't answer my questions, but He was with me at this beautiful place and it was enough. He didn't take away what I was having to face. But He made me able to bear it.

And the beauty of that day in the garden stayed with me. The rest of the time before the surgery, I felt peace. Not because everything was better, but because I knew He knows my deepest needs and that He's able to do the supernatural.

Makes you want to go, doesn't it?

It's been a year since that surgery. And I've since gone back to the garden many times. It's always lovely and fulfilling. But nothing compares to that day. That terrible, perfect day when God Himself guided me and was with me when I needed Him the most.

PS. And I'll never listen to this song the same again....yep, you know the one. ;0)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Time on my hands thoughts....

I've had a long week this week. I good one, spent with out-of-town family and making new friends from church. I love meeting people and hearing their stories! But I forget how tired my back gets when I try do lots of "normal" activities.....whew. It doesn't just hurt in my back and legs; it wipes my whole body out. Like I've run a marathon or something. So tonight, I'm relaxing. And as a reader you're going to have to endure listening to my very random thoughts this evening. That's one hilarious thing about blogging. I can talk and talk about myself, and you just have to listen ;0)

Thought #1.
I have to admit it. The blogging world I discovered thru this crazy outlet--that I tried only because I was going a little mad and had to put my thoughts SOMEWHERE--is way bigger than I ever knew. Holy cow. Let me tell ya, there are some serious, hard-core bloggers out there. A whole sub-culture I had NO idea existed. I still don't completely understand it and I do have a hard time admitting (even to the FEW I let know about this place) that I BLOG. It just seems so cheesy or something. I don't know. But having said that, I really love following along. Some sites are encouraging or inspirational, some funny, some informative, some dealing with the hard stuff of life-like me, and others just chronicle life's simple pleasures. Many are a little strange, but it's fun none the less. It's so crazy that absolutely ANYONE can create a site, get on and talk about themselves all day. But to those who do it well, my hat's off to you and the energy you must spend being consistent and coming up with fresh ideas.

Thought #2. I started a photography class!! It's online and that couldn't be a better fit for me! I can lay down, move at my own pace, ask questions any time, chat with other students, and see their work too. And did I mention I get to lay down to do it?! PERFECT. An answer to prayer and another check off the Faith Poster! Already with the first week I've learned a TON. Stuff that's pretty basic, but still stuff I didn't know when it comes to the composition of shots. It's helped my pictures already. I'm super excited to move forward, and learn about putting the"lingo" (aperture, white balance, and f-stops, OH MY!) into action. And of course, to unleash the potential of my new camera.....and if I'm lucky maybe even a little bit of my own, as well?! ;0)

Thought #3. Dontcha just love it when you have a good book to read? I don't think there is much better than that sweet spot of a great book and a long chunk of time to read it. Add a cup of tea and you've got yourself one fabulous evening. The only problem with being a book lover is that finding a new *really* good one can be a challenge. And I don't ever read past the first few chapters if it's a mediocre book. Why waste my time? But in the past months I've come across two that I've really enjoyed. And when I say enjoyed, I mean the kind of book you kinda can't stop dreaming it about when you're not reading it, and you feel a twinge of loss when the end comes. ;0)

  • The first is from my fav Christian fiction author (and I don't have many of those!), Francine Rivers. I La-La-La-LOVE her Mark of the Lion series, and Redeeming Love. SaraRose's name is partly inspired by the main character of that one. Both are classics in the Christian realm. But her newest is called Her Mothers Hope. It's a saga that beautifully traces several generations and the unique relationships between mothers and daughters. It took a chapter or two to really grab me, but I soon grew to care so much about the characters (and identified with so many of the emotions described) I can hardly wait to read the next one that comes out in the fall.

  • Then I read an easy breezy book, but I could hardly put it down. It's the true story of a small town library cat, titled Dewey (yes, he was named after the Dewey Decimal System, how cute is that?!) He was found as a kitten almost frozen in the library drop box one winter morning. Let's just say that, Dewey became so popular and touched the world so greatly with his gentle ways and survivor spirit, that when he died it was on announced on CBS, MSNBC and in The Washington Post. Great story; the author (and Library director) wove her own life story in with the town's and explained how Dewey helped to save them both. And it all happened in Iowa, where my husband's from. So it also provided interesting insight for this city girl into the hard-working ways of practical, no-nonsense Iowans. I really liked it, and I'm NOT even a cat person, people. ;o)

Alright, that's all I got tonight, folks. If you're still reading this, wow. I'm suprised. Hope I didn't bore you. :0) Nighty, night!