Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vacation's End

The week "vacation" is at an end as of today. It is always bittersweet when something good comes to a close, but nonetheless, I am very grateful for the time to have been away from the normal routine of life.

My hubby and I made the most of Traverse City despite the intermittent rain and clouds. After my training ended each day we hopped in the car and did some sightseeing. We ventured downtown to the shops and to Old Town, then up to Bower's Harbor and Mission Point. We enjoyed delicious food, the beauty of vineyards and cherry trees, and spent quality time together being silly and adventurous. On our way back to Ludington, we took scenic route M-22 which is just an absolutely gorgeous ride along the lakeshore. All in all, it was a great time, and we've been able to recuperate at our "home away from home" these last couple days which has been fantastic considering a busy week is upon us at work and at home.

One of my favorite parts of my little vacation was being able to read another book. Yesterday, I finished "Do You Know Who I Am?" by Angela Thomas. I had never read her before, but when at the bookstore recently, felt compelled to pick this book up, and I am so glad I did. Her words combined with Scriptures really spoke to my heart. There were twelve chapters in all, each addressing a different question and every answer points to a different aspect of Jesus. To summarize...

He is worthy.
He is my God who sees.
He is my comfort.
He does not grow weary.
He is my sufficiency.
He is my Savior.
He is here.
He is my strength.
He is generous.
He is my King and Father.
He is my Redeemer.
He is my hope.

To this Jesus girl, these reminders of who He is in my life are exactly what I need with everything that has been going on. I am clinging to these truths and His Presence. I cannot get through life without Him. I know the anxiety and insecurity I've been facing are bumps in the road and will eventually pass as long as He is close to me. I am so blessed for the time to be able to soak in this book and in His Word. I pray I would be strengthened, uplifted, and motivated by these truths of who Jesus is in my life to fulfill the purposes to which He has called me.

That is it for today. We are going to pack things up and head back home shortly to get things around for the coming week. I am praying that my refreshment from this past week will carry forth into my home and work life. I need my Jesus. I know He is here with me. I thank Him for being my Rock and my Redeemer, my salvation and my hope. He is my God. I will love Him and praise Him my whole life long for what He has done and who He is!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy "Vacation!"

I'm not always one for surprises, but there are some (big and small) that just make life so sweet. We are back at our home away from home this weekend and had originally planned to head home this afternoon so I could work tomorrow. Well, because I have a training up north Tuesday through Thursday, which is about 40 hours altogether, I found out that I actually get Monday (tomorrow) off! Yippee! So, we get an extended period of time here and then we only have to go about 2 hours north of here for my training and then we can come back down here for next weekend. It's my summer vacation! LOL! It works out so well because my husband had taken the whole week off and wasn't all that thrilled about having to go back home for just one day, but now we don't have to do that and oh, what fun and relaxation we will enjoy!

This extended time away is such a blessing from God. It seriously couldn't have come at a better time considering all that I've been going through recently. Sometimes I think everything just sort of catches up with you all at once. Out of the blue, it can just feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, even though you look around and everything feels and seems perfect. There's no one explanation for it, it just seems to be everything culminating into one big something. This has been me lately. I think everything that I've experienced in the last year - the changes in living, health, and jobs - have finally sunk in and my body has been reacting to all the pent up stress. I'm a person who tends to stuff it all in and keeps going, going, and going. The problem with this, it gets to a point where you can't stuff anymore down and all this stuffing causes things to get off balance and then BOOM! It hits me - mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually - and I need time to sort it all out and release it all to God. (If only I could learn to do this sooner!) That is my hope over this week. I need to let things go; to be emptied of anything not of God. I need to release my desire for control to the Lord and let Him take over. I need to get my balance back and feel clear-headed, focused, and in tune with His presence. No more going through the motions. No more striving. No more lack of faith. Give it to God. Experience His love, grace, mercy, and redemption. And be fully alive in Him again. This is my prayer.

I finished my 40 day journey through The Purpose Driven Life this morning over a hot cup of vanilla coffee and the sound of raindrops falling from the trees onto the roof of my RV. (I love that sound - it's actually very calming.) I really learned a lot from reading that book. I had attempted to read it through in the past, but always ended up stopping for some reason. Looking back, maybe it wasn't the right time for me to read it. It's a full 40 days of discussing the five purposes for your life and I think you have to be ready for that kind of message. I think I'm finally at a point in my life that I can appreciate what the book had to say and definitely feel that it opened my eyes to understand the life I am called to live in Christ. To summarize, the five purposes for my life are to...

1) Bring God pleasure. (Worship)
2) Be a member of and participate in God's family. (Fellowship)
3) Become like Christ. (Discipleship)
4) Serve God. (Service)
5) Be on a mission. (Mission)

The book ends of this note that I need only focus on God's purposes for my life, as opposed to my plans, because His purposes are what will last forever. That's really something I need ingrained in my head. I lose this perspective all the time. I'm so structured and planned and organized, and these are definitely strengths and things God wants me to use for His glory, but so often my nature is to focus all of my attention on the plans and I end up losing complete sight of Him. I can only imagine the number of things I have missed out on because I have been so focused on my plans and not God's purposes. I don't want to live that way. I want to live out loud for Jesus and be His girl - all of my heart, all of my soul, all of mind, and all of my strength - fully committed to Him! I want it to be said of my life that "[Hannah]...served God's purpose in [her] own generation." (Acts 13:36a)

In other news, my dad and his girlfriend are now officially engaged! I am very happy for both of them. They have been together three years and our families have definitely become one in the course of that time, so it makes sense that this would be the next step for them. I'm really happy that my dad has found it in himself to be happy and trusting again. I know it's been a hard process for him, but he's persevered and overcame so much, and for that I am grateful and even inspired. It's great to see those you most care about in life truly happy.

Well, I suppose that is all for this post. I am so looking forward to the coming week - spending time with my God, my husband, my family, and all in the beauty of the great up north - does it get any better than this? Life is GOOD! God is GREAT!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Scripture Memory Verse #12

Just checking in quickly to share my Scripture Memory Verse #12...this is the half-way point...woohoo! So cool to flip through my spiral notecards and see all the verses I've been focusing on this year. Memorizing God's Word has greatly encouraged me to develop a more intimate relationship with Jesus and the more I draw closer to Him, the more He draws closer to me and this has been a tremendous blessing to me!

Here's my verse for the next 15 days...

Psalm 62:1-2, NIV
"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken."

This passage means a great deal to me right now. I think all the changes I've been through the past year have finally caught up with me - I've been sort of teetering on the edge of burnout - and I know a lot of it has to do with the pressures I put on myself to do this, do that. I'm really trying to just trust God for everything and rest in Him, hence why this verse is so perfect for this season. In God, I am NEVER shaken. He keeps me firm and secure, and this knowledge is wonderful! I'm sticking with Him, no matter what!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Happy June!

I've been trying to get on my blog the past few days and for some reason, the usual route of getting here has not been working. But I have somehow defeated the odds today, and alas, I'm able to check in and say "hello!"

It's already June - hard to believe this year is essentially half over - how time is flying! And because it's a new month, that means I have a new scripture memory verse. This time I'm focusing on a well-known verse, but one that I believe is essential in getting me to my ultimate goal in life: a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus.

Mark 12:30, NIV
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."

I know that in order to love Jesus more and become like Him, I must surrender my heart (my core, inner-self and all of my affections), my soul (my physical life and self-concept), my mind (my ideas, viewpoints, and perspectives), and my strength (my abilities, talents, gifts, and physical powers) to Him. In doing so, He makes me whole, complete, and life becomes more beautiful and wonderful! Hallelujah - He is GOOD!

That is all for today. I've added a few pictures to this post of the first sunset of summer at our great up north destination. The beauty and creativity of God never ceases to amaze me!