Monday, October 26, 2009

Mushy Monday!

Recently, my mom took some photos of my super-man and me. I just got them emailed to me and I absolutely LOVE them! I must admit, I'm not all gussied up and can probably clean up a little more, but isn't he just the most handsome?! He makes me feel all giddy!
I am madly, completely, head-over-heels in love with my husband. I know I mentioned this a little last week. In the relatively short time I have known him, I have behaved quite differently than I had pre-Pat. I would like to say all of that was for the better, and most of it has been, but a few times, I have chosen my beloved over others in a perhaps less than ideal way.
One way that sticks out in my mind, which I will forever regret and continually seek forgiveness for, was on my 25th birthday. I had been dreading this particular birthday, not because of the age, but mostly because of what I had not accomplished by this milestone. It did sound very adult, and I felt completely alien to myself. I was still learning who I was and who God was making me. Well, as a fabulously loving gesture, my mom got my sister and me tickets to go to a Women of Faith weekend in OKC over my birthday weekend! I was looking forward to it as a wonderful distraction and possible direction revealing weekend. This was until I discovered that our church was having it's annual Barn Dance that same Saturday. The love of my life and I had just begun dating, again, and it was to the point where we were beginning to have some pretty deep discussions. I was actually torn.
Looking back, I am truly horrified that I would have been so selfish to have even given this a thought, much less actually decided to forgo the WoF weekend, long planned, for a dance. Yes, I chose the dance. And Pat. I sought out some council, and was advised to do what I desired most. Really? I don't believe it was wise council.
I did have a good time at the dance, though I can't imagine what I missed. I know I missed the opportunity to bond with my mom and sister. I know I missed the chance to hear God speak truth into my life through some amazing speakers. I know I missed a fun girls-only weekend! Those are only the broad strokes. I'll never know the fine details of what I could have had, this side of heaven.
Now, I'm not saying that my husband should come after others in my life, especially not now that we are married! What I have been thinking on, however, is how determined I am to spend my life pursuing God. I gave up some wonderful times to pursue my husband, right or wrong. Do I throw all abandon and pursue my God? Would I be willing to give up some wonderful things to develop deeper relationship with Him? Am I choosing something I think is more desirable right now and missing the real opportunities for closeness?
Basically, I am asking myself if I love the Lord as much as I love my husband. More, even. Is that possible?! I have to confess that I have a hard time feeling the flutters when I sit down to read His love letters to me. I don't anticipate with watching the clock to when I get to spend time with Him. I am not as excited when I have done something specifically and secretly for Him. I have to admit, though, that it is awful hard to prepare a surprise for the Lord. That one is just for us humans to receive!
Don't misunderstand, I am far from dreading my alone time with God. I enjoy it immensely! It is one of the pleasures of life for me. I wish I could go to seminary and pursue the more intricate details of His Word. I love to discuss difficult passages and discover new applications in my life. I have no earthy idea of how people get along without God. I don't know why they would want to. Life is so much richer with my relationship with Christ.
So why the former lamenting? Well, as much as I am humanly able, I want to duplicate the love I feel towards my husband to my Lord. I never want to diminish the affection for my husband, and I firmly believe it is the way God intended marital love to be, but I just want more for my relationship with Jesus! I want to eagerly anticipate every moment I get to spend with Him - even though I know it is every second of every day! I want to present myself in my best mind, body, and spirit to the One who made me. I want to make Him happy with me by doing the things that He has asked of me, even seeking those opportunities out. I want to be madly, completely, head-over-heels in love with my Jesus.
I am so incredibly blessed to have been given a husband who lives out the Biblical principles of marriage. He shows me a glimpse of what Jesus feels for me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Makin' a Name, Monday

When we first moved to Alaska, I began to rethink my goals in life. Instead of my high school dreams of becoming a corporate big-wig and financially successful, I began to think that my new God-given title was to be "World's Best Wife." As corny as sappy as that sounds, I'm incredibly serious. I began to really have moments (albeit short-lived) of putting my desires and needs below another's. I tried so many new things and determined to enjoy them! Unbeknownst to me, I actually did enjoy many of the crazy adventures. I discovered that I like to canoe, and really, can it be more beautiful?!I also discovered that, although I don't love the hard work per se, I love reaching a goal of ascending a new height on a hike. I can't wait to get snowshoes. I enjoyed snowmachining (riding a snowmobile for you "outsiders"), and I discovered that I don't like it enough to keep the machine. I love walking the dogs in the woods. I love being able to see mountains. I love catching Silver Salmon on the second day of the Swanson River Canoe trip. I love seeing all the bears. I mostly love the joy my husband has when he gets to participate in all his enjoyments! I love making him proud of me when I accomplish something that he's taught me.

In all of that self-awareness, I must confess that this selflessness is a hard fought fight every time. I am a second child that constantly wishes for acknowledgment. Since I can remember, I have been building my own bricks to make myself a tower for others to see and give me my acclaim. If not acclaim, at least acknowledgment. I wanted to make a individual name for myself, not connected to anyone else and better than anyone else.
I had never thought much about the tower of Babel story having much implication for my life. Oh, isn't God funny! I was truly struck in my Thursday Group when Jennifer talked about how we do the exact same thing. I have been so determined to carve out a name for myself that I didn't realized that God already named me. I am enough to be His. What could possibly be greater? Living Stones trump bricks any day.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Morning

This is my sunrise this morning. I just stepped outside and took this picture from my back porch. It's really quite lovely. Living up here, I often feel in awe of the beauty of God's creation. I told my husband recently that I hoped heaven had a place outside of the New Jerusalem that had mountains, and that I wanted to be there instead of the "city." As ludicrous as that likely sounded to God, I think there's a reason why mountainous regions evoke heavenly awe. At least for me, they do! I realize there can be beauty in the desert, but the desolation quickly overcomes me. No hard feelings, desert-dwellers (literal ones)!

I'm reading the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan (Bloom book club), and finished chapter 5 recently. Chapters 4 and 5 are like a 1-2 punch. In the gut. I imagine, as I've no recollection of ever being punched in the gut. These chapters have made me really look at what I consider myself to be, as far as "Christian" goes.
To make matters "worse," I've also started the Me, Myself, and Lies Bible Study by Jennifer Rothschild with my Thursday night group. I honestly didn't think I was perpetually telling myself lies. Is there a 3-punch? Perhaps it was an uppercut. Anyway, I have begun to realize that my lie-telling self has been building up my pride with things like "I deserve to have that", "You are doing enough", "They are lucky to have you, and they don't even realize it." Then I have that false humility of realizing my pride and going the opposite: "You don't even have a bachelor's degree; what do you know?", "You made some serious lapses of judgment while you were a Christian. Your testimony is marred beyond repair."
So, how do these beat-down sessions connect? Well, I have realized how far I fall short in what I give to my Creator. I see everyday how much He has given to me, if only in the Creation He so perfectly gave. He made not only this amazing and complex world that the Discovery Channel so beautifully displays (though it's seriously flawed in it's interpretations), but He made me. He made me on purpose. For a purpose.
To put myself on a pedestal and elevate my needs above my Lords, is a seriously ridiculous action. I do it all the time. I pat my proverbial "god" on the head and tell him it's enough for now, and I'll get back to him later. After all, I've done a fair share. On the flip side, it's just as preposterous to tell the One who made me of all the flaws in His work, or what He made won't work like He wants.
Am I that puffed up? I don't think that's a lie. I think that's one truth in that "thought closet" that needs to clean out some of the garbage that's been collecting. My creator gave me everything I have. He has also given me the ability to give it all back. The strange thing is, if I do, I'll receive even greater gifts, though that is not the motivation. Jesus told us to give EVERYTHING if we truly love Him. Look what He gave. I am so lucky to have Him, and I don't even realize it.
Well, sometimes I do.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday with Mom

Tonight I was fortunate to find my mom a later flight back home that saves her 3 hours of waiting in an airport and $7! I'm cheating a bit and posting the same post that I put on my Alaskan Blog. I figure it may be interesting to you all, too!
The last two weeks have been a bit of a blur! It's been filled with activities and seeing things again for the first time!
Mom's visit highlights (since I think she took hundredS of pictures!) include:
Mount Redoubt is behind Mom, though my lighting wasn't showing it. I tried to get the beach and the puffing volcano in the shot. Oh well!
We then took a hike up to Russian River Falls. The Autumn leaves were brilliant in the sun and there were still a few salmon jumping up the falls. Despite all of Pat's longing, we did not see any bears that day!

Rowdy and Bella thoroughly enjoyed the walk!
We took a sunny day to drive down to Homer. It was a gorgeous day and we stopped first at the bluff at a friend's place to take in the views. Some of the clouds just enhanced the places the sun illuminated. In fact, I had never seen such distances before. It was amazing.

We walked the beach, found shells and glass, and continued on to some shops and a local winery for a wine tasting. The locally made Alaskan berry wines were quite yummy, though our server could have held back a little on our portions! The view outside of the winery was exquisite.

Pat can't bear to go without a shooting lesson! Check out that Pink Lady!
Yep! Tsunami's possible. We took a trip to Seward on another sunny day. The views were unbeatable.

We visited Exit Glacier and took the trail to view the glacier. We then took the trail to view the outwash and discovered we could walk around to the foot of the glacier! I was pretty excited and skipped up to the ice and began to play! In this first picture it seems I'm showing...
We had fun watching the ice melt and just feel how small we really are compared to such a sight. And yet God loves us so much more. You can't help but sense His presence in a place like that.