Pretty much have had the bestest 5 year anniversary and New Year celebration EVER. :) Jim and I had a sweet date! Thanks to my dear, Ju for watching the kiddos for us! We started off at HuHot (a favorite!) and upon leaving (heading to Faith Bookstore to pick up a new Bible for the Biblecase he got me for Christmas), we found that our ignition wasn't working! The key wouldn't turn! And for 20 minutes we tried and tried. It was then, that I presented his tie chain that he'd been needing for quite some time and that was a good pick-me-up from the bummer of a non-working vehicle. Finally, he decided to walk to Home Depot across the street to get a new key made (maybe THAT was the problem?) and I headed into Family Christian Bookstore to browse the Bibles there. He met me to say that the key idea didn't work and so he called a locksmith. 3 hours later and after a welcomed run-in and an ice cream desert with some good friends, we were off to the next thing on the date list. :) But, not before Jim got his cuff links he'd been needing, especially with a particular purple shirt I love that doesn't have buttons on the cuff. :) Yay for Kohl's coupons and a buy one get one 1/2 deal the night before! ANYway...after our festivities, we enjoyed a midnight chat at WalMart with a sweet couple that we know that we ran into...so random and so fun! :) Finally, to relieve our dear friend of our children...it was only 2am. ;) We enjoyed the ride home, sleepy kiddos in the back...but, by no means was our special time coming to an end. As we were getting the girls out of the car, I let Josefine give Jim his final gift from me. A new wallet (another something he's needed to replace for awhile now...he likes those practical, useful gifts). After we put the girls back to bed, Jim and I prayed together to thank God for our marriage and dedicated the coming days, months and years to Him...and when he was done, he pulled out the most beautiful ring...something to accent my solitaire. Something I NEVER would have thought of or expected. What a guy...WHAT. A. GUY. I felt sooo spoiled and loved! This is something I may think would happen for year 10, but WOW...so, so sweet. I have married a very selfless and giving man. He doesn't have to give "things" to show his love. He is a doer and a servant at heart. But, when he gives (and he does a lot), he GIVES and does so with his whole heart. I love my man and feel so blessed to be by his side these past 5 years and look so very forward to learning to love him more...learning to see God's grace through eachother...together. ♥
Jim & I before our date! :)
My ring with the enhancer! (I think that's what they call it!) It's beautiful!
The hubs just surprised me with the first part of my Birthday present - and on Cyber Monday, no less! Way to go, Hun! I thought it was so cute how he presented it to me..."I'm not exactly sure how to wrap this, but..." :) Then, he showed me! It was sweet... :) And, I'm lovin' these presets already! What a thoughtful guy...and if THIS is only the first part...makes me really eager to see what else he's got up his sleeve!
Here's a photo I just edited with the Classic Workflow set of actions...yum!
I feel like the the Psalmist, asking "God, where ARE you?" Asking "God, why do you hide your face from us?"
and then I hear a song about the Prodigal Son...he comes back. And I have hope. And I pray...
God, show us your mercy! Give us hope, by answering our desperate cries! Show us just one ray of hope! Please, even now! Please, God...make it RIGHT!
and then...the next song I hear..."What if your blessings come through raindrops. What if your healing comes through tears."
" I know. I know, Lord...what IF...but, why? Why the pain for blessings? It doesn't FEEL like blessings now. I know...
"What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near."
What IF...but, why did You just remind me that there is hope...hope, like the Prodigal Son...returning. And NOW, you're telling me that maybe we NEED this trial to see your blessings? I don't WANT to see anyone else suffer any more pain! Pain for blessings? I don't understand, Lord!
"What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise."
Oh, Lord...I know. We can't always SEE what You're doing. You're merciful. I know You are...show us Your mercy! Show us! Open our eyes to see Your merciful hand at work.
"When friends betray us. When darkness seems to win, we know the pain reminds this heart that this is not...this is not...our home."
and it hits me...but, the tears don't stop...
Yes, Lord...I do see. You're reminding us that there IS hope...this is not our home. Heaven awaits...no more tears...no more pain. No darkness...no betrayal.
May the hope of heaven...a glimpse of eternity...sustain us and keep us looking up, pressing on toward the goal. May heaven be our joy...and may Jesus be our Rock...
and again...I feel like the Psalmist, my heart full of praise. A little bit of light in the darkness goes a long way. God isn't distant and neither is His mercy...
1 I cried out to God with my voice— To God with my voice; And He gave ear to me. 2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted. 3 I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah 4 You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I have considered the days of old, The years of ancient times. 6 I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, And my spirit makes diligent search. 7 Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? 8 Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah 10 And I said, “This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.” 11 I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 12 I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds. 13 Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; Who is so great a God as our God? 14You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples. 15 You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah 16 The waters saw You, O God; The waters saw You, they were afraid; The depths also trembled. 17 The clouds poured out water; The skies sent out a sound; Your arrows also flashed about. 18 The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lit up the world; The earth trembled and shook. 19 Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters, And Your footsteps were not known. 20 You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Nothing like a little color to brighten a rainy, dreary day...
"There is nothing dreary or doubtful about life. It is meant to be continually joyful...We are called to a settled happiness in the Lord whose joy is our strength."
Jim and I have been reading through the book of Acts together these past few weeks. Just yesterday, we read chapter 13, and it was verse 52 that struck me hard. "And the disciples were filled with JOY and with the Holy Spirit."
Lately, I haven't been exactly joyful, and that's not ok. I've felt the weight of my choice, and I, in my stubbornness, remain. Why? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak! (Matt. 26:41; Mark 14:38) It is all too easy to choose bitterness over forgiveness, or pride over humility, or selfishness over joy. But, I'm reminded in Galatians to "walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh."
So, if it's true (and it is) that the disciples in Acts 13 were filled with the joy AND the Holy Spirit, then it also stands to reason that when I am NOT joyful, I am NOT allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me...to control me. I'm NOT walking in the spirit, but in the flesh. May God grant strength in HIM to choose His way and...be joyful.
I just can't seem to find the words, but I'm calling out for prayer for this sweet family and dear friends, who have lost their youngest child (one of twins) this morning. He is home with Jesus now. Please pray for them...for them to know the presence of God in their lives, to feel the warmth of His love surrounding them, to be unified as a family during this time and to heal. For all the years of their lives, they'll be healing.
When I heard the news, what rang through my mind was the joyful laughter of Lincoln's Mama. She has such a joyful spirit. She is one of the friendliest people you will know. Her laugh is contagious. And, while the loss of Lincoln is tragic and he will be missed greatly, my immediate prayer was that her joy would not be crushed. That her smile would still gleam throughout life's joys and trials. Because I know her joy comes from the true Giver of joy, I can be confident that we'll see that again. But, as a mother myself, I can't imagine it coming too easily in the near future. I'm sure these next few days, weeks...maybe months may prove more difficult than I could ever know for her.
I went to Kohl's today to pick up something for Josefine's birthday from her Grandma and I couldn't look at the baby clothes without thinking about Lincoln. I chided myself. I felt so silly. It wasn't ME that has lost a baby! I had a photoshoot, this evening, of a newborn. There was a point, where tears welled up in my eyes, and the image of the beautiful baby on the other side of the lens was blurred. I look at my own Cornelia, only 1 month younger than Lincoln, and floods of thoughts enter my mind and heart. Thought of gratefulness that she is with us. Then questions of "Why?" Why them, and not us? And fear and worry. "Oh, Lord, help us to trust You." God has laid this family, and especially this Mama, so very heavily on my heart that He's given me insight on what she might be going through in the next months. I'm praying for God to give me compassion and even more insight to know how to comfort, and to show me how He might use me in the lives of this dear family to encourage and love.
I'm so thankful that they are surrounded by loving and supportive family right now, too. Praying for them as well...
"Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “ The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “ Therefore I hope in Him!” Lamentations 3:22-24
My Photography Blog: www.capturedbysarah.blogspot.com
There I was, living life to my perspective of the "fullest"; active in my local church, involved in a post-college singles ministry, working at a Christian college, praying for God's direction, when BAM!!!
I married a missionary.
My life has since changed significantly, dramatically, irrevocably, forever. Daily I trudge through the mud and muck of change, and daily I realize the commitment I made was completely and utterly HUGE. I am a missionary's wife. Going into this marriage was a joyful event and each event that has followed has been just as joyful and a little bit surprising. Follow me through the momentous occasions of missionary wife-hood. (Note: it's actually pretty normal...so far.)
Missionary wives, missionary wives-to-be, single women involved in or contemplating involvement in missions and anyone interested in the experience of a woman in missions is invited to join me.
I'm about to embark on a journey of choice - a choice to serve God in the demanding capacity of ministry and in the daunting yet delightful service of missions.