Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Still Alive

After graduation, family in town, Christmas, and my husband finally on the mend after being sick for over a week, I think I'm returning to some sense of normalcy (whatever that is!). I hope to have some time later in the week or this weekend to post an actual entry. I hope everyone had a wonderful, memorable, precious Christmas (especially all of my Texans who were graced with snow!), and have a fun and safe New Year celebration!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We do not weep alone...

Taken directly from the Pastor's blog:
Dear church,
In the first chapter of Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes that whatever imprisonments, beatings and trials he may have suffered, they all “serve to advance the gospel” of Jesus Christ. We implore you to keep the gospel of Christ as the main focus as we walk with Matt and Lauren through this trial.
On Tuesday, Dr. Barnett informed Matt and Lauren that the findings of the pathology report revealed a malignant brain tumor that was not encapsulated. The surgery to remove the tumor, the doctor said, was an extremely positive first step; however, because of the nature of the tumor, he was not able to remove all of it.
Matt, who is being released from the hospital today, is meeting with a neuro-oncologist this week to outline the next steps of the recovery process. There is a range of treatment possibilities but the exact course of action has not yet been determined. He will continue outpatient rehab.
The Lord is calling Matt and Lauren and The Village Church body to endure this trial. It will be a challenging road for Matt, his family and our church body. The gospel is our hope and the Lord is our strength. Matt and Lauren continue to find solace and hope in Christ. They weep facing this trial, but not as those without hope and perspective. The gospel clarifies their suffering and promises more of Christ through it all.
You have done a wonderful job respecting the family, and we ask that you continue to do this. They are processing all of this together and need you to give them precious space. Please do not visit them at their house unless personally invited by the Chandlers. The best way to serve the family is to continue to be faithful in prayer. Specifically, pray for the following:
~Wisdom for all the coming decisions
~Strength and peace to endure
~The kids’ (Audrey, Reid and Norah) hearts; pray the Lord is merciful as they process and that their little hearts do not grow embittered
~The Chandlers and The Village would suffer well because of the gospel and for the sake of Christ’s name
As you hurt and weep for the family, do not do it alone. Gather with your home group and with other believers in homes and pray together. This is a time to walk together with others and to endure this trial in community.

(Photo courtesy of: Them Chandlers Blog)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hard to Believe!

More details and pictures to come! Still savoring the last bit of sweet time with family for now~

Friday, December 04, 2009

Song for The Last Friday of our Last Week of our Last Semester

My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness
My heart is filled with thankfulness to Him who bore my pain
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace and gave me life again
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness and clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness with power upon my heart
My heart is filled with thankfulness to Him who walks beside
Who floods my weaknesses and strengths and causes fear to fly
Whose every promise is enough for every step I take
Sustaining me with arms of love and crowning me with grace
My heart is filled with thankfulness to Him who reigns above
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace whose every thought is love
For every day I have on earth is given by the King
So I will give my life my all to love and follow Him

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Unsung Hero and His Hatchet

Our very last finals week just would not be complete without some crazy, unexpected event taking place! I received a call from my husband late yesterday afternoon, a conversation that started with, "Boy, have I had an interesting afternoon..."

He proceeded to tell me the most bizarre story, one still surreal to both of us. He was on his way home from school yesterday afternoon, had simply gone to drop off a book at the library, when the event occurred. He was simply driving down Lexington Road when the driver in front of him suddenly hit the brakes, followed by the car veering completely off the road, up on the sidewalk, and into a telephone pole. My husband managed to swerve out of the car's way just in time to avoid being hit, and parked his own car in someone's driveway. He approached the car to ensure that the driver was okay, only to discover that the man behind the wheel was slumped over and having a seizure. My husband beat in the window in attempt to get the man's attention, but he was completely unresponsive. The driver was apparently slumped over enough, and had enough pressure on the pedal with his foot still, that the car suddenly started going in reverse. With my husband still banging on the window trying to get him to stop, the car accelerated into the street and hit another vehicle. He motioned for the woman in the other car to put on her parking brake since the man's car was still in gear and to prevent the car from continuing on into the street and more oncoming traffic. With the car locked, there was no way for my husband to both get to the man who was still leaned over in his seat and seizing and to turn off the car ignition. In quick response, he kicked on the passenger window but it didn't budge. He then ran to his Mustang, and pulled a hatchet from the trunk. Using the blunt end of the hatchet, he managed to break the passenger window, and reached in to move the man off the gear shift and turn off the car. The woman who was sitting in her parked car this whole time (probably in stunned shock) called an ambulance, and my husband was able to reposition the man in the meantime until he came out of his seizure. The ambulance arrived as the man was coming to, and asked him a series of questions regarding his medical history. Although still rather delirious, he was able to tell them that yes, he has a history of seizures, and no, he has not sought treatment for them. The police arrived soon after, and took a full report from both my husband and the woman who inevitably prevented this man's car from going further into the busy street. When my husband told them about the hatchet, their response was, "Who drives around with a hatchet in the trunk? That's awesome!" His parents raised him well~

The whole event could have taken a more horrific turn on so many levels. The man could have swerved into oncoming traffic initially rather than into the telephone pole - my husband could have been hit if he had not reacted so quickly in his own car - the man could have caused serious problems while behind the wheel had he accelerated in reverse into the middle of the street - he could have had much more severe issues occur had my husband not been able to get to him quickly and reposition his head until the seizure had passed... The list goes on and on. Not only are we grateful for the fact that things went precisely as they did, the timing of everything being set just so that nothing more occurred, but also reminded of how quickly an unforeseen event can occur. This young man was simply driving down Lexington Road on what would have otherwise been a normal Tuesday afternoon. Little did he and others around him know that a sudden seizure would cause all of this... I was really proud of how composed and in control my husband was of the whole situation, as he was able to prevent an unfortunate event from turning into something much, much worse~

The moral of the story? Keep a blunt object in the trunk of your car at all times! Okay, maybe not, but it clearly came in handy! I know he would not want me to boast in him, but I really was impressed to hear how my husband responded to the situation and to this man. I don't think I would have been half as composed and clear-headed in a similar situation, and it gives me great comfort to know how he reacted in the midst of such an event~

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanks on This Friday

As I write this, my husband is in our "home office" glued to the computer. He is working hard to finish this last semester well. I have been so encouraged and proud of him this past week as he has demonstrated such diligence in getting everything completed. I know that I would be tempted to settle for mediocre if I was the one faced with such a massive amount of work in the last semester, but not him. He is finishing well, finishing strong, and I could not be more encouraged by how hard he has been working this week.
I am also compelled to give a word of honor regarding something he was able to do this past Sunday. Our church has been given a very unique opportunity in recent months to minister the Gospel. There is a neighboring apartment complex which has recently experienced new residents coming in. Many of these are refugees from other countries: Nepal, Iraq, etc. This particular apartment community is an inexpensive and rather safe place to live, so there has been a recent influx of these individuals and their families coming to live there. Since the complex is practically a stone's throw away from our church building, the opportunity to minister was readily apparent. We have donated clothes especially for those who do not have sufficient coats for a Louisville winter, offered to teach ESL to those seeking help, and found other means of ministering grace to those in need. One significant outlet for ministry we have started is referred to as "Discovering Grace," an hour of teaching and fellowship every Sunday afternoon. Our small groups take turns leading, and each week an individual from that small group is asked to speak on a specific topic related to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My husband was asked to teach this past Sunday, and the task was rather overwhelming: teach on the nature of the Bible and how it came to be in 20 minutes. He studied and prepared for two weeks, grappling with the task of communicating such an in-depth topic to individuals who are mostly unbelievers and still learning English. I also personally knew that he was somewhat nervous since he has not had an opportunity to teach in over four years, so he was both out of practice and somewhat out of his element teaching to an unfamiliar audience. In the end, however, he did better than I could have anticipated! As our small group leader told him afterwards (our small group leader who is also an elder at our church, and professor of New Testament and Greek at Southern), he was warm, winsome, gracious, discerning, and communicated in an understandable way a topic that could otherwise be confusing or overwhelming. From noting amazing facts such as 40 authors contributing over the course of 1500 years to the canon of Scripture, to providing them the page numbers in their paperback New Testaments of where the text was located that they might follow along, I could not have anticipated those 20 minutes being any better. This was the first time I have been able to witness him teach since we have married, and I was more thankful than ever to be his wife. Proclaiming the message of the cross truly is his calling and passion, and I was blessed to see his gifts utilized in such a unique way.

More to come on the topic of school, but we attended our very last classes at Southern Seminary yesterday. I left my evening class with a deep sense of gratitude, reflecting a bit on the past four years, as I walked to my car. These past four years have been so much more than working towards a degree. My dependence on the Lord is deeper, worship is more rich, and I am so much more mindful of the truth and sufficiency of the Word. As a 23-year-old moving 17 hours away from everything I had considered as home, I was oblivious to all the Lord would do between then and now. I am overwhelmed by His grace, provision, hand of mercy, sovereignty over the blessings and the trials, and my heart is filled with gratitude. More reflection to come as graduation draws ever nearer...

And on another note of thanks and sheer excitement, this beautiful face is going to be at our front door in just FOUR DAYS!!

We can't wait to see you, dear friend!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Overwhelmingly Encouraged

This week was marked by a sweet experience, one full of emotion and deep gratitude for the Lord's work. My husband and I decided to attend the chapel service on Thursday morning at Southern's campus, the first either of us have been to in quite some time (I think it's been three years for me, a long time for someone who is still a student there). I took the morning off from work, and enjoyed sleeping in the extra hour or so and getting to slip on a pair of jeans rather than slacks (it's the little things). We excitedly left the house to drive to the school on that beautiful morning in eager anticipation of the chapel service. Why the excitement? After over four years of being at Southern Seminary, why now and why this chapel service? I took the morning off from work, and walked into Alumni Chapel hand-in-hand with my husband, because of who was going to be in attendance and preaching that morning.
For those of you who may not be as familiar with our history, my husband and I met in college. We were pursuing the same degree and attending the same church when we met, and it is in that context that we began our relationship which has brought us to where we are today seven years later. While there are countless reasons we are thankful for that season being behind us, we still look back on those years with thanksgiving and humility for how the Lord was at work in our hearts individually. Those were formative years for me as a daughter of the King, as He used that season to teach me in an intimate way of His sovereignty and the glory reserved for Him alone. I began college as a young woman on the path toward liberal feminism and the mission field (unfortunate that those were paired together at the time), and graduated in 2004 with a completely renewed perspective on who I am in light of His glory and grace - hence the naming of this blog. He had completely rocked my little self-absorbed world, and I closed that chapter with a deeper dependence on and awareness of His grace and mercy.
During this time the Lord was growing my husband as well, maturing and deepening his passion for the glory of Christ in the Gospel to be taught and proclaimed. It was during this time when He was impressing upon my husband the great need for the Gospel truth to be proclaimed in our local churches. He was surrounded by a solid band of brothers, some of whom he is still closely linked with today, and he was personally discipled and mentored by our university pastor at the time. Not only was Matt our pastor at church, but he was also the speaker at Grace Bible Study, a city-wide college Bible study students would flock to in droves every Tuesday night. The Lord used Matt as a key instrument in my husband's life, a significant role in the refining and maturing process as a minister of the Gospel. The level of respect partnered with the prayers for his ministry to be richly blessed run deep for us.
This is the reason we took the time on Thursday morning, time away from work and the end of our last semester, to attend Southern's chapel service. Matt was the guest preacher that morning, and we would not have missed the opportunity to see him. After hearing him preach to this room filled to the brim with seminary students, we were reminded that some things never change. Even when years pass, ministry grows exponentially, and life happens, some things never change. Matt is still a man who, by the gifting and mercy of God, is wholeheartedly passionate about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has no qualms about calling men to genuine repentance and self-examination, and is not afraid to say the things so many shy away from. On Thursday morning, he leaned forward and asked the young men if they are truly called to the glorious and painful ministry of the Word, or if they are liars and using the name of Jesus for their own success in this life. The aim of his message can be summed up in this: when you are being devoured by the lions in your ministry, will your affection for Jesus Christ be enough?
We stayed afterwards to talk with Matt briefly, and my heart was encouraged as he pulled my husband into a bear hug. Life brings change...but some things remain. I was reminded of the bond they shared during our college years, mentor to student, close brothers with a common fire for the Gospel and glory of Christ. It was so good to see him, and he was glad to see us (and see us married now!) in return.
This was our last chapel service to attend at Southern, and as we were exiting the chapel, I could not help but me moved at how appropriate it seemed for Matt to be the guest preacher that day. The man for whom we give the Lord praise in how he has been so instrumental in our lives is the very one who spoke this week at the end of our seminary experience. It was so moving, and I had no words that day for how truly encouraged we were to hear and see him. I was deeply impacted by how the Lord used that Thursday morning experience to say, "Look where I have brought you, how I have cared for and sustained you." Even when we are unaware, He is continually at work through events and the lives of those with whom He intricately and purposefully crosses our paths. I needed that encouragement this week, as this season comes to a close and the realm of the unknown draws ever closer. Praise the Lord for those men and women in our lives who have been so instrumental. No credit to them - all glory and praise to the One who is so articulate to bless us in the exact manner we need.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Co-Hosting a Fab Baby Shower

Disclaimer: I can take no credit for the incredible diaper cake you see above or the amazing food you see below! I simply put the stuff on the table, and added some bright pink additions here and there~

Me and my sweet friend Marcie hosted a baby shower for our friend Sarah from church this past weekend, and was it ever fun, adorable, and I'm pretty sure we all ate a sinful amount of delicious food (thanks to Marcie, of course!)

The game we played (watched) was perhaps the most hilarious one I have seen yet at a baby shower. Marcie had a series of questions to ask Sarah, and after she answered, we then listened to her husband's pre-recorded answers on the laptop. Anything from "What will the color of the baby's very first poop be?" to "Will you still love Molly even if she ends up going to OU for college?" Needless to say, good times and lots of laughs were had~

If anyone has known me for any length of time, they know that I am extremely sentimental. I would rather have a totally mismatched room of trinkets that hold some significant (or random) value or memory than to go order things from a department store that all match perfectly. It's just the way I'm built, and I'm pretty sure I will always be that way (hence the reason there is one of my grandmother's napkin holders sitting on the shelf in my closet, haha). Well, baby showers for women at Grace are the perfect opportunity for my sentimental waterworks to be tapped! Sarah received two homemade hats (Molly is going to be a little fashionista right away!), and our pastor's wife made an absolutely beautiful quilt. While I was by no means a blubbering mess, I did get teary-eyed as I took pictures of Sarah with her precious, priceless gifts~

We had such a sweet and fun time on Saturday, and it truly was an honor to be able to bless the mommy-to-be.
I have really been trying to savor such times of fellowship and opportunities to bless others, as the seminary season is coming to a close. While my husband and I may still be in limbo for an undetermined period of time, I can sense that things are quickly beginning to change. Couples and families from church are making plans to move away, we are receiving routine graduation reminders, and things are just...changing. This past Saturday was not only a sweet celebration with wonderful women, but it was also a time of reflection on how the Lord has been so gracious in allowing me to meet these ladies during this season. While we may not all be the absolute closest and best of friends, I love this season he has put each of us in. There is such a kindred spirit among us, a bond of friendship that runs deep, a hand always ready to serve one another, and an encouraging word to be shared. No matter where we all go in the months and years ahead, I will always look back on this season, and on knowing these precious women, with gratitude~

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Double Birthday Wishes

How did my puppy get to be 6 years old???

Yes, today we are celebrating the 6th birthday of the one and only Nali Collie. She has brought so much fun, laughter (some at her expense), simple joy, and has been more of a companion than I would have ever anticipated. In some ways, I feel like the time has flown by since the day I peeked into the dirty cardboard box in the WalMart parking lot and saw that irresistible face, and in other ways I can't remember what it was like not having her around. So today my husband and I are reflecting on all of the memories we have had so far with this big dog, and look forward to many more to come! Happy Birthday, Nali Collie, Nali the Melan-collie, Nurse Nali, Old Man, Lazy Susan, Hershey Kiss, Sugar Bun!

And today we also think of and are praying for my precious niece, Isabelle. I cannot believe she is 10 yrs old today! As I think of her, I think of my brother and where he is at currently. We fervently pray for him and everything he is working toward, working to overcome, and we look forward to the day when we are all able to see Isabelle again. Happy Birthday, sweet girl. Your family loves you, and wishes the absolute best for you!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A friend who knows me all too well...

A certain friend sent me an instant message at work today which read, "LOL, I found the perfect costume for your child one day." I replied, "Mine???" to which she replied, "Mmm hmm." And she's so right:

(photo courtesy of Toys R Us)

I can think of a number of costumes I would have no qualms about putting on any future children we may have, but really, a marshmallow Peep? Couldn't be more appropriate considering my ridiculous love affair with all things marshmallow~

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Turning Worry into Worship

How often do you find yourself in the midst of a season wherein you feel like you're just coasting by? You somehow manage to make it through each day, looking back on the day's events as a big blur, and have just enough time leftover to get a bit of sleep before the next morning arrives. I know we have all been there, some more often than we would like to remember, and I can definitely attest to being in such a season at this point in life. While things could be much, much worse, there have been days these past couple of months when I wish I had a coffee i.v. on hand. As I type this, I'm trying to forget that I have an extensive comprehensive exam due for my counseling class on Thursday, two scrapbooks due to a lady at work on Friday, and the seemingly neverending transition I'm in at work shifting from the old position to the new. My efforts to forget it all are futile... And while I'm at it, I will go on and add to the list the minor event of graduation rapidly approaching... Graduation? From seminary? How did we get here??
With my mind in overdrive, I decided this past week that I was going to take a personal day from work. I knew this past week that a day off from everything would be welcomed rest. While home on Thursday, I came across something on a blog I frequent that has resonated with me ever since. The pastor was reflecting on a recent vacation and time away from his busy life, and in his reflections he highlighted the rest which comes from Christ alone:
1) Sleep always helps, but is not the panacea. It is important for me to
have adequate sleep each night in order to function optimally. That said, sleep
alone doesn’t cure a tired soul;
2) Time away from the normal routine allows me to disconnect, but doesn’t
ensure I will connect with the Lord. I can turn off my phone and e-mails to help
quiet my mind. This is necessary and beneficial. It was great for me to simply
engage with my family and not consider all the responsibilities at work. That
said, time away and a vacation means that you will have to face your weary soul
either at your house or on vacation. Your heart goes with you;
3) The rest that revives and rejuvenates is the rest that is promised in
the Gospel. God has promised His children that we can cast our cares on Him
because He cares for us. . . . Vacation and time away has reminded me that
rest is a grace I overlook daily. And, that’s the kind of rest that I truly

Sure, I took the time away from work, emails, phone calls, and anything else in the context of a normal weekday, but just doing that is not enough for real rest. My soul has been tired and in need of rest. One of the greatest dangers in these seasons of "coasting by" is the absence of that rest which only comes from an intimate relationship with and dependence on Christ. I have become increasingly dry in recent weeks, not feasting on the bread of the Word and not drinking of the only water which will never make us thirst. The less my eyes are fixed on the Lord, the more I am ruled by my anxiety and tendency to worry; the more I allow myself to be ruled by such worry, the less I turn to the only Sustainer and Provider.
While at home on Thursday (or was in Saturday? I can't even keep days straight!), my husband was compelled to read a familiar passage from Scripture to me. What a blessing that he sometimes seems to know me better than I know myself... He read from Luke 12:13-34, beginning with the parable of the rich man who insisted on building even larger storehouses for himself than the sufficient ones he already owned. Immediately following the parable, Jesus says to His disciples, His friends,
And He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about
your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For
life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens:
they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God
feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by
being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are
not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell
you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God
so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown
into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do
not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all
the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you
need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give
you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide
yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens
that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where
your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

I needed to hear this text and be reminded of the teaching and truth there. While I am quick to declare such promises to others, professing my belief in such rich promises, my functional belief often says something very different. There is a significant disconnect between what I sincerely believe and what my daily belief looks like. There is a danger in being so familiar with Scripture; when you're a student, it becomes easy to lose sight of the great need to meditate on the Word as often as we are able. We need to be reminded of the truths and very rich promises of Scripture - His Word is our food. May I not pass up the occasion to go to Him in prayer during the dry seasons, acknowledging that I am in need of the rest only He can provide, and that I desire for His truth to be what reigns in my heart. His nearness is our good, and He is faithful to provide and sustain even when we are so prone to "functionally" believe otherwise.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thoughts and Much Prayer on Your Birthday...

Happy 32nd birthday to my Bubba!
With utter dependence on His grace, confidence and trust in His perfect will, we pray continually that the Lord would perform a mighty work in your heart. We pray that He has ordained this as a time when your heart is softening, and when your ears and eyes are opening to the hope that comes from Christ alone. We pray believing that He has the power to perform miracles, and that He truly is might to save.
I love you, Bubba, and my thoughts are with you where you are at on this day, your birthday. We love you and hope nothing but the best for you~

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ladies Coffee & Dessert Night

This past Wednesday evening, I hosted a coffee and dessert night for the women from my church. We had a good turnout even though several weren't able to come, with around ten ladies coming to satisfy their sweet tooth and just have some good girl time. As you can see in the picture above, we weren't hurting for enough decadent desserts!

The picture is blurry, but he's just the cutest toddler on the block! After being tickled to death, he sat up and his hair was standing on end - He is one of two of our favorite little men who came with their mommies for food and fellowship~

~ Sweet friends ~

I love these two women! What a true joy it has been getting to know them through church and our small group.
It was such a nice opportunity on Wednesday to just sit around and talk without anything planned or scheduled. We will definitely need to do this again very soon!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

You know you have a wonderful, lifelong friend when...

You receive a random text message in the middle of the workday that says:

"What if I told you ten years ago that you would one day live in Kentucky with a man named Bob? You would have thought I was nuts!"

I love and miss you, dear friend, and pictures like this one are proof that it's been way too long since I've seen your face.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Song for Sunday - The Glory of It All

Oh the Glory of It All
(D. Crowder)
At the start He was there,
He was there
In the end, He’ll be there,
He’ll be there
And after all our hands have wrought
He forgives
Oh the Glory of it all is:
He came here
For the rescue of us all that
We may live for the glory of it all
For the glory of it all
All is lost find Him there,
Find Him there
After night dawn is there,
Dawn is there
After all falls apart
He repairs He repairs
Oh the Glory of it all is:
He came here
For the rescue of us all that
We may live for the glory of it all
Oh He is here for redemption from the fall
That we may live for the glory of it all
Oh the glory of it all
The glory of it all
Oh the glory of it all
After night comes the light
Dawn is here dawn is here
It’s a new day it’s a new day
Everything will change
Things will never be the same
We will never be the same...
Oh, the glory of it all is:
You came here
For the rescue of us all
That we may live for the glory of it all
Oh you are here with redemption for us all
That we may live for the glory of it all
For the glory of it all
Oh the glory of it all

Thursday, September 10, 2009

BFF B-Day!!

Happy Birthday, Friend!!!! (And welcome to officially being in your late 20s, heehee)

I miss you dearly, and so wish I could be there to hug you and celebrate!

Love, "to infinity and beyond!"

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Happy "40 Minus 1"

From mentor to friend, the Lord has been so sweet to use this woman in my life for many years and in many ways. We are encouraged by this woman always, even from miles and miles away!
Happy "40 Minus 1" Birthday, PandaMom! I meant to post this yesterday, but considering how helplessly sentimental I can be, I didn't find it appropriate to be a blubbering pile of goo at work. (I made the mistake of reading Funderstorm's post first, and that just did me in.) I hope you're having a wonderful birthday weekend with your precious family. All our love~

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Unexpected and Undeserved

When was the last time you experienced the Lord's provision in a very personal and unexpected way? Have you ever found yourself fretting and spending wasted time wondering how a particular matter is going to work out? Have you ever had all of that worry come to a grinding halt because He intervened suddenly?
I have written much in my journal recently, not here until now, about a particular matter to which I have devoted much unnecessary worry. With graduation just around the corner, I've spent downtime wondering about my current employment, how that will be affected in the coming months, and ultimately wondering if there is something more for me post-seminary in regard to a career field. I have had a couple of possibilities in mind regarding potential career fields, just things to be considering for when we have graduated and know where we are going to be living more long-term. Concerning my immediate situation, though, my fretting has increased with each passing week as I wonder what will happen with this job I have been blessed to have with such a wonderful company these past four years. I honestly have no desire to leave the company at any point in the near future. However, I have been faced with two very real concerns; not only have I been antsy and unsettled with my current role, ready for new challenges from what I have been doing, but this particular role I am in cannot be fulfilled outside of the Louisville office. The nature of the role requires that my team interact with various departments within the office which simply can't be done remotely. Between interviewing for several open positions in other departments and wondering where in the world we will be in just a few short months, my trust has been gradually decreasing as worry has made itself at home in my heart.
Around the close of business this past Monday afternoon, I was faced with yet another rejection. I interviewed for a position a couple of weeks ago, one for which I was most eager, but was once again told "No. You're great and have strong qualities, but..." The words had become a familiar tune, but as I returned to my desk and prepared to leave for the day, I was filled with an unnatural peace. Sure I was disappointed, but I was genuinely fine with being told that I just wasn't the right fit for the job. I went home on Monday evening and told my husband, sharing with him my feelings of contentment and peace. He also reminded me that it was probably good that I was not selected considering that I would potentially have to resign in just a few short months if we move away following graduation. I woke up on Tuesday morning with a renewed sense of peace, eager to arrive at work and do my job well and with gratitude.
Much to my surprise, I was called into another manager's office that Tuesday morning for a rather unanticipated discussion. A certain role at the company has come available, one for which the current woman in that position has put in her resignation. Her husband is a student minister, and she has been wanting for some time to be more involved in his ministry (I knew her briefly while her and her husband were still here in Louisville as he was finishing seminary). Without having posted the job opening, without formally interviewing me or any others for that matter, I was offered the job!! I was in such shock at what I was being offered that I didn't respond for a few seconds. After pulling myself together, I eagerly accepted and began the process of talking with my current managers and signing the official offer letter. Here is where it gets interesting, and why I wanted to laugh at how incredible and unexpected this was - The woman who is resigning from this position has been in the role for two years... from Florida. When her and her husband moved to Florida following graduation, her manager basically created the position for her to be able to perform her job functions from her home office. So, not only have the managers (both current and the ones I will be working under) known and agreed that I was ready for new challenges at work, but they specifically offered me the job knowing that I will likely be moving away in the near future! My closest friend at work and I laughed all day just at the wonderfully unexpected turn of events.
Can I humbly be something to those of you reading this who may be struggling with trust in a very real and personal way? Can I be a living testimony of how the Lord provides even when we neither expect nor deserve such provision? I have not been trusting Him in recent months - I have not laid hold of and practically believed His unbreakable promises. He promises to provide, to sustain, to care, to uphold those who put their hope and trust in Him. We will not always, may not ever, fully see or understand what He is doing in our lives, but we can rest in knowing that He is doing something. He does not leave us to ultimately fend for ourselves when our hope is in Him. He is our only real hope! I have spent much of this week after the news of the job offer repenting and thinking upon the very promises He has given in Scripture. This job offer wasn't merely good news. The offer was an immediate punch in the gut as I came to the sudden realization of how much worry and doubt were taking the place of the very rich promises written on my heart. I needed this wakeup, this prompting of the Spirit to confess where I have not trusted and declare that I am wholly dependent on the Lord. I implore you, as a living testimony of such undeserved provision, to rest in His promise of provision and abundant life. He works in such unexpected and undeserved ways, even when we are so quick to doubt.
"My Shepherd will supply my need, Jehovah is His Name
In pastures fresh He makes me feed, beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back when I forsake His ways,
And leads me, for His mercy's sake, in paths of truth and grace."
(Isaac Watts)
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
~Isaiah 26:3-4~

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Beginning of the End

(Photo courtesy of sbts.edu)
The beginning of our last semester at Southern...can it be? Are we really nearing the end of such a significant season? My husband started classes today, and I will start on Thursday. Being the sentimental person I am, I wouldn't be surprised if there is are tears at random moments over the next four months as I take in all of the sights and sounds of this beautiful campus...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Amazing Quote on Husband's Headship

"The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the church—read on—and gave his life for her (Ephesians 5:25).
This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is—in her own mere nature—least lovable. For the church has no beauty but what the bridegroom gives her; he does not find, but makes her, lovely.

The chrism [anointing, consecration] of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man's marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of the bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence.

As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labors to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other sort) never despairs. He is a King Cophetua who after twenty years still hopes that the beggar-girl will one day learn to speak the truth and wash behind her ears."

~C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 105-106

(HT: Desiring God Blog)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Hodge-Podge Update

After three weeks of suffering without, my dear laptop is back! Three support techs, more phone calls than we could count, and a trip to and from the Dell service center later, she's back and (seems to be) working fine. I think if we had waited any longer, we would have had to make another one of those dreaded calls to Dell...this being just a week before school starts and all. With the lack of the laptop came a slight lack of blogging, so this one is simply going to be a random rundown of little things that have been going on with us!
First things first - HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY DAD!!!!!! Yes, my parents' birthdays are only two days apart. My dad is known by many people and by many names: from Mark to Mr. Man to, of course, Dad. Everyone who knows my dad knows that he never ceases to put others first, he is perhaps one of the most compassionate men you will ever meet, and he has been the most supportive father a daughter could ever ask for. I am so thankful for him, and I have been encouraged by his enthusiasm in desiring to be closer to the Lord. He has such a servant's heart, and is someone whom we can all learn something from about both sacrifice and giving. I love you, Dad!!!
The pictures below are from our puppysitting days in July:

That face will melt your heart! We had so much fun with Sammie here, and she reminded us of why we love border collies so much. Although still very much a puppy at just three months old, she caught on to our routine and direction so quickly. We also got quite a kick out of watching her pounce and walk all over Nali.

Our little ice princess, Maia, finally started to melt after the first week of having Sammie in the house. She went from complete avoidance to plopping down on the floor with her or playing a game of chase around the livingroom.
Around the time that the laptop crashed, we went into a cleaning frenzy! I had anticipated this task being put off until November (at the earliest), but we suddenly got in the mood to start pulling things out of the closets and shelves one weekend. It was insane how much we pulled out, and I'm not certain that we're finished just yet!

What do you get when you marry someone with whom you have shared both undergraduate and seminary classes, all totaling about five years of school? We took three FULL boxes of books to a local Christian bookstore that buys used books, and we were pleasantly surprised by how much they gave us in return.
Then, it was on to the closets...oh, dear...

Farewell to my very last pair of plaid pants (I can hear certain friends and family laughing right now). Although they were by far the least loud of the plaid pants I have owned in my lifetime, it was still time for us to part ways. Readers, if you have seen my wardrobe at any point in the last fifteen years, this is significant! I sort of feel like I've actually entered the adult world now that my wardrobe is plaid-free!
Speaking of being an adult, and being on this recent clean-up kick, I decided to get a new haircut as well. I basically told my stylist that I was tired of looking like an adult from the neck down, but feeling like a disheveled girl as far as my hair was concerned:

If you've stuck around for this long, I hope you have enjoyed what has definitely been a random hodge-podge of an update!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Happy "Double Nickel" Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Mom!
I wish we could be there to celebrate with you, but we'll be thinking about you even still. I hope you have a very relaxing and sweet birthday weekend, reflecting on all of the ways the Lord has so richly blessed you over the years! We have so many reasons to be thankful, there are so many good gifts He has given, and I hope you are mindful of such things on this your "double nickel" birthday!
All our love ~ B & J