Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blast From The Past

10 Years ago...sometime this week, I finished my enlistment in the Marine Corps. How ironic that I found this picture while cleaning out the closet a few days ago... amazing how in 10 years gravity has yanked the skin down on my face about an inch it seems! I was 23 in this pic.

I have very very mixed feelings when I look at this pic...thoughts of how I was successful by MC standards but so backslidden (ie, not walking with God as the saved Believer I was,) by His standards that I about lost my life in a car was nothing short of miraculous that I survived. Those of you that know me know this story :) this is more for those new readers and also those with whom I have recently reconnected with. This is a bit uncomfortable as well, for those of you who knew me from about 16 to 23 about 7 years...I was not living for the Lord and things just kept going from bad to worse. There is no depth to which even a Believer won't sink if they reject the Lord's leading and authority in their lives. I praise the Lord that He didn't let me slip too far...

I had just started terminal leave (leave that ends in honorable discharge) and my friend and I were traveling cross country from Ca to Alabama to get me to my parents home. I was to be married May 9th to the love of my life and highschool sweetheart, Brian. The second day into the trip, my friend had placed a tank of gas in the back and having just put the canvas cap on the top of the little Geo-Tracker, well, it trapped the fumes. We were asleep or unconscious within 20 minutes of heading down the road. The vehicle turned into the median at over 75mph rolling a total of 7 times down the highway-as was reported by someone from a vehicle behind us. My friend was ejected on the first hit and had to be airlifted out after arriving at the hospital. He had crushed some vertebra in his back and had a lengthy and painful surgery and recovery. At least one of my rings was crushed around my finger and glass had "grazed" my hands and face-but no stitches were needed which is unbelievable. Both my wrists and an ankle were broken, not crushed- the Drs said that the vehicle had rolled over on them!!! They have no explanation as to how I "walked away" from that type of accident. Even when we went to the place they towed the wreckage the guy unknowingly showed my dad and I the vehicle I had been in and said casually that [we] "they hadn't made it"! (Correct me if I'm wrong Dad!)

Each time I tell this story or reflect on it, I am so amazed and broken and humbled at the merciful God we have. The important part is this, even if the Lord had taken my life in the accident that the moment that I "woke up", with my head under the steering wheel, leg out the window...frame of the car crushed so far down that they had to cut me out with the jaws of life -I was at perfect peace in knowing I was Heaven-bound. At that very moment I had not one smidgen not one inkling not a shadow of doubt that God, my Creator and His Glorious Heaven was 100% real. This was not just endorphins folks, but I will say, I felt almost no pain-which actually made me think I was indeed dying. I received no pain killer until I reached the hospital. I could not remember anything about who I was, or where I was going...for maybe an hour or two-can't be sure about that.

People who are dying and lost are afraid...they don't want to die because, they fear what they innately know to be...that there is a God and the truth is that a rejection of Christ's payment on the cross is a rejection of a debt free eternal life in Glory. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." I have heard the testimonies of Pastors at the bedside of those who are dying. The differences between the lost and the saved as far as assurance and peace (not to be mistaken with lack of physical suffering) is extreme. A dying Saint KNOWS where they are going. A born again Christian may suffer doubts...especially when they are not in the Word or due to other issues, and there were times in my life and have since the accident, times of false accusations by the evil one that caused me to doubt that I had truly by God's Grace believed and received Christ as my Lord and Saviour....but, in the up close and personal moment that I thought I was truly facing death, I KNEW-there was no doubt. I can whole heartedly say, the Lord is my Shepherd, and has been from the very day I surrendered my life to Him. There was no Pastor to pray with me or reassure me...I truly didn't need one...I had the Lord there with me in all His fullness! The only sadness I felt the entire time, was, when I did regain my memory and thought of the grief of my parents...and not wanting them to suffer loss...but there was no fear for myself, my soul.

Amazingly, this happened in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I found my salvation at the Cross and now a second chance to live for the Cross. I cried when I made the connection.

I don't know exactly what I experienced before I "woke up" in the wreck nor could I accurately put it into words...I kept telling my mom when I got home that there was something that I NEEDED to remember and wanted to tell, but alas it has been hidden from me. I will tell you in all honesty (and without the frills of a hazy memory)- that I experienced a touch, if you will, of Glory...and (as I have said before) however you want to take that is just fine, but I will also tell you with great confidence and tears and rejoicing that there is NOTHING to fear when you are truly a child of God. Not a worry, not a care when you are in His mighty hands and can't lift a finger for yourself. If He could hold such a wayward piece of filth as me in my wreck, I know He holds the dear suffering Saint, the sick child...the Pastor and his wife, the Missionary, the weary mom. Our sin doesn't in any way dilute His power to lift up His erring child if He so chooses. It doesn't seem fair does it...that all who trust in Him gain an inheritance, but we are all perfect IN CHRIST...Christ paid it all..none deserve it.

Romans 10:12 "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him". To the Believer, it is our reasonable service to give Him our utmost our all...He purchased us with His the lost, there is no other way but by Him and through Him.

Titus 3:5 " Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; "

2 Cor 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. "

I know that many of you are thinking, well, good for her, she found "religion" , or that I am just a hypocrite...but even if just one of you looks to Christ, then this is for you. So, as for you dear friend, acquaintance, random reader, if you were the one lying in the wreckage unsure if you were to live or die....would you be certain of where you would spend eternity? Would you lie there in the perfect peace I described above or would you be faint with fear knowing that you let opportunity after opportunity pass you might have the chance at that moment with a repentant heart to call on Him to save you,.... but what if you didn't? Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." You can know for sure.

I'm not trying to be "ultra" spiritual or to say that I don't struggle even today...I do, I am still just a sinner saved by Grace and not of myself. There is no denying what God has done in my life and I feel obligated to share it..especially with those whom I have so badly hurt my testimony.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Don't Touch My Mustache

Brian was telling me yesterday how to say "You're welcome" in Japanese. Well, I learned a little bit of movie trivia in the process. In Toy Story2, when Al (the guy who took Woody from the yard sale), hangs up the phone with the Japanese investor, he says "Don't touch my mustache." This refers to an English mnemonic for the Japanese phrase meaning "You're welcome": "Dou itashimashite." :) And, I just know you are SO glad I shared that with you.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pizza In The Sky

Since coming to Okinawa, we kept hearing about this "Pizza In The Sky" which is difficult to find and with little to no roadside directions. Well, we finally got directions and caravaned with 3 other couples to enjoy this quaint little hideaway...the food was great, the view, even better and of course the fellowship with Christians contributed to an absolutely wonderful evening.

Getting Understanding

I should title this "A Rather LONG Confession of a Workaholic"...I say that with great shame.

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Wisdom, to me, was learning that there is such blessing in serving the Lord in the local church....understanding came when I failed. Failed you say? Yes, failed, in applying wisdom without understanding. "Get understanding" is proving to be a point of such gravity that it will take my lifetime to scratch the surface of it's importance when acquiring wisdom. On that note, let me shuffle away from complex matters that I don't understand and move on to the most recent much needed disillusionment I experienced. I can't do it all and the motive for wanting to is a prideful, that's a "duh" statement huh? Count on me to make the "yoke" burdensome vice easy and light-not that we are freed from our reasonable service-I'm not saying that. The key is dying to myself and choosing HIS yoke not my own...that is where weariness came in. The yoke I chose without understanding is one of sin...under the guise of service, it is actually a yoke seeking to please others (myself) and steal glory from God..OUCH.

Matt 11: 28-30 Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew Henry wrote "The rest he promises is a release from the drudgery of sin, not from the service of God, but an obligation to the duty we owe to him. Note, Christ has a yoke for our necks, as well as a crown for our heads, and this yoke he expects we should take upon us and draw in. To call those who are weary and heavy laden, to take a yoke upon them, looks like adding affliction to the afflicted; but the pertinency of it lies in the word my: 'You are under a yoke which makes you weary: shake that off and try mine, which will make you easy.' "-(I added the bold)

I had the wisdom to know that I needed to be serving, but the understanding (of my real motives) came when I failed to serve with consideration to my children, and without proper planning and foresight. The understanding enlightened me to my sinful desire for praise from others which led to a continued burdening of myself...I just kept adding weight to my self-made yoke. This getting understanding has been a long time coming and with much chastisement for, not applying wisdom with understanding is a symptom of pride in my life.

My serving (being driven, not called) took on a life of its own ~apart from God, and left me so spent that I was not a blessing to my children, or my husband or my friends or even to the cause in which I was so fervently working to make a success. I need to remember that I am serving GOD....He is a God of order..when things get out of order and stressful and a burden, I need to look at who I am really serving-I need to take a look at whose yoke I'm bearing. You know it is bad when the people around you feel pained to look at you for the busyness you have put yourself under. ( I counted 4 "you"s in that last sentence...what a grammatical masterpiece this post

My husband, I'm ashamed to say, had to quote this to me recently:

Proverbs 17:1 Better [is] a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices [with] strife.

Wisdom without understanding in serving, leads to strife. Just because there is a Sunday school position open doesn't mean that you are the one to fill it along with the other 1 or 5 ministries you are straddling to include your first ministry to your family...wisdom says to serve, yes, but you may serve better and show understanding of that wisdom by approaching that new couple that just joined the church (with your Pastor's permission) who has grown children and may need some encouragement to serve. Wisdom tells me that I should homeschool...understanding means that I will plan accordingly so that my homeschooling is the blessing it should be and not the "burden" that gets placed on the back burner or frantically crammed in even when I am terribly ill because my schedule is so tight. There is nothing wrong with breathing room in your schedule...understanding, which came through failure, tells me I NEED breathing room in my schedule. Abnormal business is a symptom of pride...and that hurts to admit.

I may think my motives are correct in my desire to serve others, but when tension is building in the home and the joy in serving my family is lost in the shuffle of doing the next big thing....I need to take a look at what I am being driven to do and what I am being called to do. God has not blessed what I am driven to do...only what I have been called to do. That is, ironically what my husband's Sunday School lesson was on yesterday. He also told me in a gentle way, that if homeschooling our children does not lead to MORE joy in the home than what we have had this past year, that he is going to have to put them in a Christian school. The realization that the privilege of homeschooling may be taken from us due to my lack of discernment or understanding in serving outside the home, is a sobering one, but it is a definite motivator to take off my own yoke and put on the one with a perfect fit...just my size because it is created by God in His infinite Wisdom and UNDERSTANDING of all things. Wisdom.... Proverbs 31 is a good is Titus 2....wisdom that humbly must be applied with understanding. In my case, most of my understanding comes with disillusioning failure. Your thoughts?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mother Daughter Luncheon

So, it is that time of year again...and do you know that I was so busy planning and preparing last year that I did not take ONE pic? NOT ONE...I just want to calling all friends who attended the MD luncheon last year...did you take any pics? Do you know of anyone else who has pics? Please email them to me.

As for the rest of you...I will def. remember to take and post pics this year :) Our theme is
"Keeping Your Candle Lit" I am very excited because we don't have to prepare any of the food this year...we will be having it at the O'Club here on base. Please pray for this event! Ticket sales start tomorrow! This is to be my final "event" before leaving Maranatha *sniff* *sniff*...

Friday, April 25, 2008

7 Random Things About Me

I saw Ash's meme and even though I don't like to do meme's, this one doesn't look too involved....

1. I hate letting people down....I mean, I REALLY beat myself up about it, but what I have failed to truly realize is this, that if I insist on keeping too much on my plate, I am going to let people's only been beaten over my head, but you know, I am blond...and love to be busy...learning people, I'm learning. Speaking of people....

2. I LOVE people, all kinds, I really truly do. The Lord has helped me to actually enjoy people's quirks and learn to laugh at them! I still get my feelings hurt, yes, but I get over pretty much anything very quickly. That's all good, but here's the thing-I get overwhelmed easily and prove to be a *wince* flaky friend if I get overwhelmed. Not that I cancel or wouldn't bend over backwards for someone, but if I feel like someone is doing okay...I think of them often, pray for them, but don't keep in touch. I eventually come around, but this is a definite flaw that I could do without.

3. I miss my long hair.

4. I am scared to death of my aging skin. I look back at pictures from 8 years ago that I used to be tempted to rip up, and now I look at them and just long for the smooth skin and the youth I once had. Notice I only long for the *skin* day we will be made perfect...I'm just impatient. 10 years from now I will look at my pictures from today and be thankful for the growth in the Lord, but long-just a little-okay alot- for the younger flesh. You know what else is sad, when I was in my early 20s, I would look at 30somethings and feel sorry for them because their youth was fading...I LAUGH at that now! Growing older, when walking with the Lord is such a comfort and joy!! It was wonderful to be twenty something, but life gets sweeter and fuller as we go.

5. I can't get rid of the notion that I am going to see the entire world before I die-or Christ returns. It is absolutely ridiculous that my mind works this way. When I read about a country or see pictures etc, in my mind, I file it away on my mental sort of conscious "to-do, to-see" list.

6. I love to dance...not in an ugly fleshly way...though I used to struggle in my 20s with dancing to bad music for wrong reasons and in wrong places -so much so that hearing certain music physically makes me ill-not that the temptation ever completely goes away...but anyway, I'm not talking about that...and rambling...uhhh too much coffeeeeee. So, just hold on a sec... I really believe that sin has so corrupted every aspect of what the Lord had planned for us. Our desire to move joyfully and in harmony to music is not an evil one, in my opinion- I am not sure if I can even express what I mean. Everything has a rhythm to it...when I am even cleaning my house and putting dinner on the know, when the day has been Spirit filled and full of is as if I am dancing...I am swept up with the melody of the moment even without hearing it. I love seeing my girls twirl and dance their sweet ballet as well... even this is a joyful part of life that when done in the right way is an expression of a joy filled life. I hope I conveyed my thoughts on this properly...

7. I love black licorice...hahaha

Is This Funny...

...I thought it was, but maybe it was just a break in my sanity. Of course it is one of my shameless crazy kid stories...what else could it be???

While Brian was gone, I wasn't quite sure how to go about getting Ayden's hair cut...Anjolie gave me a clue, when she walked in to the bathroom and saw me cutting Aydens hair, she said "Mommy, do you know what you are doing?".."Nope!" I replied... in my best homeschool mom grammer.."I sure don't". I did think better of my original idea and decided to just stop before I had to buzz off all his hair and really hear it from Anjolie and everyone else for that matter. I got the vac. to clean up the hair I had already cut and saw no harm in putting the hose down for a second while I ran to check dinner on the stove. Multi-tasking doesn't always take into account the quick mind of a 2 year old boy. I was NOT gone more than about 10 seconds, as the bathroom is just adjacent to the kitchen. Time was of no importance I am sure, for, when I returned, I found little Ayden standing with my poor vac hose in hand and grinning as he watched the contents of the toilet disappear into my beatiful canister vac....!!!!! The past 7 years I had with that trusty hunk of galvanized steal suddenly flashed through my mind...the money we spent on that thing, the messes it had so faithfully cleaned, so dutiful, so reliable and most importantly ...would this little mishap be, by any chance, covered by the warranty???? I honestly, in that moment, didn't know whether to scream or laugh, so I did both. I am a wiser woman after seeing that..I had NO idea the mischief little boys could get into, nor did I know that a vac could be so tough!! When I pulled out the SOPPING wet mes of a bag, there was about 2.5 to 3 inches of water in the had not gotten into the motor. I really truly think the Lord had to be laughing about that one...seriously. So, come on, isn't that funny? Or, am I losing my mind hahahaha... or both. :)

Hi, How Are You?

Well, it has been what seems ages...and ages since I got on here. I do think of it everyday and then wonder where to fit it in. Brian got back from Korea a few weeks ago and now is at the Advanced Acadamy during the week ..overnight for the most part. *sigh* I was hoping to get on here with a chipper upbeat post because I truly have so very very much to be thankful for...but I must be honest and say that the struggle to stay healthy has left me feeling "blue". That is one reason I hesitate to get on here... and now typing it out I feel like deleting every last word. Anyway, prayer would be good. I have alot going on right now...and I am really looking forward to a little break this summer :) So, how are you? Guess I should go find out!

I will leave you with some pics. :)This is where Brian "lived" while in K0re@...hey it's better than a tent! Brian and "the guys" thought they'd all come home and surprise their wives with a mustache...hehehe well, Anjolie and I decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em...virtually that is ;) Yeah, it lasted for about 10 min after he walked in and that thing HAD to go...sorry, it just did.

We decided to take a little trip to Ocean Expo...:) I don't have any pics yet, but Brianna and Anjolie have their hair cut in cute bobs :)