Friday, January 31, 2014

Faithful Friday: February Prayer Dare

As most of you loyal readers know, I began reading Sharon Jaynes book, “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe” this past December.  It is a wonderful book and one I highly recommend for any wife!
Sharon has a 30-day prayer dare challenge she sends out to go along with the book, where you focus on a specific part of your husband’s body each day and also give them a “love nudge” to let them know you are praying for and thinking of them.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought I’d include a few of her love nudges, in case you wanted to join in.  Might I add that to fully do your husband justice, you should consider following along in Sharon’s book.  You can get your copy here. 
And, since Valentine’s Day is on the 14th, I’ll only include her first 14.  If you want to send your hubby a full month of love, you’ll need to subscribe to Sharon’sPrayer Dare.  
(Yes, I'm asking you to send a little love Sharon's way!)  J
 As there was a bit more space, I also included a few extra scriptures to use for bonus prayers leading up to Valentine’s day.  I can’t imagine any greater gift than showering your spouse with love by lifting them up in prayer.
Because love...always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserveres, and never fails.

 Praying for your Husband from Head to Toe
February - Prayer Dare

 Praying for your Husband from Head to Toe
February - Prayer Dare

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Faithful Friday: Butterfly Beginnings

Last weekend, my baby turned 14.  Aside from the joy of watching Noah growing taller and changing by the minute, this was a bittersweet birthday.  By this summer, he will have "outlived" his older brother.

That's a tough concept to process. 
And I was thankful to have the busyness of Noah's birthday to avoid it.  Mostly.

I know that by July, when Austin's birthday rolls around, it will be a whole new set of emotions.  My frantic-worried-protective-momma heart flutters at the thought of where we'll be, how we'll feel when Noah starts high school...wading through November...

Uncharted territory on this grief journey.

But for the weekend, I relished the time with Noah and his experiences.  Dinner at Red Lobster, a rare treat.  A basketball game with a 20 point win!  Fun at the shooting range with Dad and a shocking bulls-eye or two from Mom.  Sleepover with a friend.  A surprise family showing at church (two pews full!) followed by lunch at the house with chili and a yummy strawberry cake.  All in all, I think he enjoyed a weekend dedicated to all things Noah.

Saturday morning, before the ballgame, we dropped Tina off for a weekend retreat.  While a little sad she would miss Noah's birthday weekend, she was excited and ready for what was in store.  Tina had been selected to go on a Chrysalis walk.  Modeled after the Emmaus walk for adults, it is a little course in Christianity.  As she put it to her friends, a walk with Jesus.

Right away the butterfly symbolism spoke to me.  As we entered the doors to drop her luggage, I stopped to snap a photo.  A little hug from above on this weepy weekend...

I won't divulge much from her trip, as the walks are somewhat private and meant to keep it as an individual experience.  But we were overjoyed for her to have this opportunity and deep in prayer for her journey throughout the weekend.

Funny side note...When Tina explained this  trip to a group of her friends, one exclaimed, "They're going to make you walk non-stop for 3 whole days!?"

No around the clock walking (tee hee) but she did comment it was a pretty non-stop weekend.  She came home exhausted but filled with the Spirit on Monday night.  We're prayerful she holds true to what she knew before, what she's learned, and continue on the path God is leading her to.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
 “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future." 
Jeremiah 29:11

As a parent it is so easy to worry.  To let this world saturate us.  To let fear creep in.  To stress about your children's futures.  I'm guilty of every single one of these.  Sometimes daily.

But when I feel doubt and uncertainties covering me, I hold tight to the promises I know to be true.  We're each assigned a certain number of days by God.  While that unknown can still bring a bit of anxiety, especially to someone who has lost a child, I know nothing surprises God. 

Above all, no matter what, I know where my children will be (and are) when they leave this earth. There is complete assurance in that truth.

"but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself."  Philippians 3:20-21

Friday, January 17, 2014

Faithful Friday: Blessed Assurance

Oh, how I have missed you all...

It's been a busy, topsy-turvy, two weeks.  Many joyful moments, of which I've failed to share.  And a few scary, uncertain ones as well.

My birthday was spent at the ER with Tim, complications with his injuries.  He's had a tough patch since being hurt at a house fire on Christmas.  How timely it was that I've been reading, "Praying for your Husband from Head to Toe," although I didn't know I'd be so focused on this foot!  And although it has been an ordeal, we were overjoyed to have him finally get to see a specialist today.  He still has a bit more healing to do but, step by step, he's making it through.

I've survived week two of my new job and it has been filled with blessings.  One of the most positive changes, no surprise, has been the Christian influence that surrounds me.  There is nothing quite like having weekly prayer requests come across my inbox.  This past week's ended so beautifully, I've shared it with many and wanted to post it here as well:

"Loving God, be merciful to those who are suffering
and also those you have called to eternal life. 
Give refreshment, rest, and peace to all whose faith is known to you alone. 
 Grant a peaceful waiting to those who have entered a period of healing. Amen."

This morning, I awoke to a 5 am text, knowing that meant school was closed due to snow.  After checking the weather and news though, I realized my own campus would remain open.  Anxiety quickly settled in, thinking of my hour commute. 

I despise driving in snow. Or even walking in it. It scares me.  And, coming from a career where the majority of the time I could work from home on snowy days, I have little practice doing so.

Nervous, I entered the shower, hoping the hot water would wash away my worries.  Tim, knowing my fears, offered to ride over with me as I was getting ready.  Both planning to drive over today anyway, he thought it'd be good practice for me.  Yet another ray of sunshine in the midst of the storm.

Before we headed out, I paused to read my devotion. 
And it had just the God-wink I needed to ease my concerns...

 "I asked the Lord for help, and he saved me from all my fears.
If you honor the Lord, his angel will protect you."  Psalm 34:4
Remember my "one word for 2014?" - ASSURANCE!

Having Tim in the passenger seat to calm me helped too.  As did the fact that, for the most part, the roads were relatively clear.  But here's hoping for an early spring!

It's good to be back, friends.  Have a JOY-filled weekend!!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

One Word 2014: Assured

While every year is filled with unknowns, 2014 is a fresh new chapter for my life.  Much like the calendar hanging on our pantry door, this year is full of blanks, yet to be decided.

I start a new job next Monday, after spending most of my adult life in the same career.  With so many years of knowing what to expect, I'm much like a nervous girl on the first day of school.  The humor here is that I'll be working at a local college. 

And while I enjoy change, there are uncertainties, which make this planner girl a bit apprehensive.  There's changes in budgets and insurance and everything I've grown accustomed to the past decade or so.  The unknown can be exciting, but it can also be nerve-racking.

Tim's year has started a bit unsure as well.  Being injured on Christmas day is surely not the way we'd planned to spend our holidays.  And we've quickly discovered it is about the worst possible time to need a doctor!  As of this point, nearly two weeks after, we still have no answers on his foot.  His doctor doesn't return from vacation until Monday and, with the approaching winter storm, we're looking a few more days before he knows his next step.

For now, his steps are still painful.  This morning his pain was about at the level of the initial injury.  Add to that his frustration with being still and not being able to do, help, or move around, has clouded his new year.  I know he'll be glad to just have clarity of what the future holds.

Don't we all wish for that?  As we approach a new year, don't we wish for a sneak peek of what it holds?  Or some assurance that the months to be hold promise, hope, and even joy?

If the year before was less than perfect, maybe we find ourselves hoping for a better 2014.  Stress free, no storms, sunshiny days.  Wouldn't that just be grand?

Last year, I chose to submit, and selected submission as my word for the year.  It's become clear the theme for this new year is to worry not.  Message after message, God is telling me loud and clear that He's got this and not worry about tomorrow.  Whatever is in store, no matter the storms (or sun), He's by my side.

Sounds easy, but even with all the life lessons I've endured, I still worry.  And I can almost imagine God shaking his head as he sends me another reminder.  This week alone, I've seen Luke 12:27-28 as a reminder to have faith.  And Psalm 31:3 to remember he is my rock and will guide me.  Or, Jeremiah 29:11, which I just happened to put on our family calendar for January. And today, another perfect reflection of keeping my eyes on him even in the midst of a storm.

Excerpt from "Whispers of Hope" by Beth Moore devotional -

Matthew 14:22-33 We can be smack in the center of God's will and still go through terrible storms. Christ loved his disciples with all his heart but still "made" them get into the boat when He knew a storm was coming. They were exactly where they were supposed to be and still experienced frightening turbulence.

Can you relate to the disciples? Have you experienced a time when you knew you where God wanted you to be, but the storms were overwhelming?

Christ calls us to walk by faith through our storms. It seems like a big requirement until we realize Christ does far more than that--He walks on water during our storms. God has placed all things under Christ's feet--including the waves that break relentlessly against us. .....We want Christ to hurry and calm the storm. He wants us to find him in the midst of it first.

Again and again, God is whispering - and sometimes even shouting to not worry about rest assured.  And so it is only fitting that be my word to focus on this year be - Assurance.

Looking ahead to 2014 with assurance,
 in He who holds my future!
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