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Monthly Archives: March 2010

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As If

My walk/run today involved some hills.  Expectedly.  I mean, I do live in a very hilly area.  And, although I took my usual route, it came time for me to run, and I found myself on an incline.  And as the ensuing panic fell on me, I asked God for His energy.  Because I was still breathing hard trying to recover from the last running interval. 

Maybe I should explain…

See, I’m training to walk and run for 13.1 miles one Sunday in May so I can help raise awareness and money for the children in Southeast Asia who are literally trapped in sex-slavery and other horribly disgusting evils that no person, much less any child, should even know about.  And, while I am in decent physical condition, I. am. not. a. runner.  I am a *wannabe* runner.  It’s who I’ve always been, with the exception of those two very brief stints during whilch I trained myself to run one and a half miles without hyper-ventilating.  So I am training to split the time between running and walking for that crevasse-like expanse between the starting line and the finish 13.1 miles in May.  My goal is to be ready to run every last tenth of that 13.1 miles next October in what will be my third half-marathon.  So for now, I walk/run.  My goal today was to walk three minutes then run for two.  My first time at that interval.

And I was struggling.  Ugh.  Darn hill, anyway.  So, as I walked, I asked God for the strength to run.  As I walked.  And I pleaded for His energy to run to the stop sign at the top of the hill. 

But instead of taking over my legs and Forest Gumping them into a run, He reminded me that I can’t possibly know that He’s answered such a prayer unless I let Him show me.  In other words, I had to turn my walk into a run if I wanted His energy to carry me to the top of the hill.  I had to literally step out in faith if I intended to see His answer.  To act as if it were already true.

So I picked up my pace and ran to the stop sign at the top of the hill.  Then I thanked Him for the energy.

I think I ought to live my life like that.  Believing that everything I need for real and true living is already mine  (John 6:35).  Not just believing.  But living as if it were true.  Because.  It is.  I think I ought to live my life like the only thing that really matters is knowing God and following hard after His Son.  Because.  It is.

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.”Hebrews 11:1 msg

The Vigilance of a Sandwich Artist

I’m almost embarassed to admit this.  Because in my mind it’s always been a “wifely duty”.  Just like changing the sheets and doing (most of) the laundry.  (Please don’t think that my mind is the end all be all of what truly is.  Because the definition of “wifely duties” varies for each wife.)  But I’ll swallow my pride and get it off my chest. . .

My husband packs his own lunch every morning before he leaves for work. 

While I have been known to have small spurts here and there of spreading the Miracle Whip and slapping on the ham or turkey, the sum total of those mornings could be safely guesstimated to equal approximately one whole week in our entire 13.5 years of marriage.

Why, you ask?  Well, for starters, I’m not a morning person.  And.  Although I’ve been getting up early these past four weeks or so, I have my own ideas of how to spend those precious few minutes before my children awake.  Namely, some time alone and quiet with the Lord of my Life.  Sounds nice, huh?  Yeah, I think so too.  Trouble is, God’s been working on me lately to be more vigilant in my marriage.  And when the Lord of your Life is convicting you about looking for ways to serve your husband, and then He gives you an idea of how to carry that out…every.day….the quiet time is more like not quiet time.  Because I spend much of it chasing away the guilty feelings and drowning out the quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit as He reminds me of my recent commitment to be a vigilant wife who looks for ways to serve her husband. Everyday.  And, well, that whole succession pretty much nullifies the “quiet” in the time.

So today, I am surrendering.  And I am going to make my husband’s lunch every morning this week before he goes to work.  Because I know it is a great way to honor my husband.  But, more than that, because I want my quiet time back.  And the only way I can get that is by listening to His voice and doing what He’s asking me to do.  (i.e. Serve my husband even when it’s not necessarily in a way I want to serve.)  And I know that He is asking me to do it so that my marriage honors Him.  So that my marriage works the way that He Himself designed it to.

And my man is totally worth it.  And so is my God. 

Today marks the third week of the Vigilant Wives Club. I love knowing that there are other wives out there that want to honor God in our marriages by honoring our husbands and loving them vigilantly. If you missed last week’s club, you can check it out here. Don’t miss sugarbaby-coby’s post as well as cooperkelly4’s. They are my new friends, and I think you’ll find their hearts and their words super encouraging. I know I do.

I hope you join in.  All you need to do is click on the McKlinky thing at the bottom of this post. Please make sure to put your permalink as the link instead of your general blog url. (A permalink is the url address to a specific post. For example: http://andthensomore.blogspot.com/2010/03/no-matter-what.html) Then follow the instructions, and you’re done. Have fun serving Jesus this week.

I Wonder…

**This post was inspired by my good friend Lisa-Jo at http://www.thegypsymama.com/ If you’ve never read her stuff, you don’t know what you’re missing… **

I wonder if I will ever really grow up…

I wonder how in the world you throw a garbage can away…

I wonder if I will ever not panic when I hear someone say “I think I’m gonna’ throw up!”…

I wonder if I’m doing enough to teach my kids what Jesus is really like…

I wonder if I will ever be able to run 13.1 miles without feeling like I’m going to die…

I wonder what kind of mom I’ll be when my kids are teenagers…

I wonder why I can’t get myself to like raisins…

I wonder if I will be able to grow old gracefully…

I wonder what you wonder…

She Speaks Conference Scholarship

One of the things I love about spring is my birthday.  There’s just something about celebrating the life I have while watching life explode around me in colors that only God could have thought up.

And one of the things I love about my birthday is the shopping I get to do afterwards.

That’s why it was a major deal when I was challenged to take a thirty-day “spending fast” a couple of years ago during the month of April.  The month of my birthday.  During that period of time, I only allowed myself to purchase what was absolutely necessary for my family’s needs.  That meant no stops for Diet Coke at Mickey D’s.  No three dollar shirts from the Kohl’s clearance rack.  Not even a 25 cent book from Goodwill.  And I learned a lot about my lack of relying on the very Giver of Life to fill me with His real life.  I realized my propensity to find as many justifiable bargains as I could and then brag about them when someone admired them.  I learned that I found some of my worth in that.  I let that giddy feeling fill my need for true satisfaction and life.  The kind that can only be found in God Himself.

After the fast was over and I finally allowed myself to spend my birthday money, I don’t even remember what I bought.  I do remember, however, that it did not take long to spend that money.  (I mean, c’mon, I learned some great lessons, I kept my vow to God, but I had some shopping to do!)  Because money burns holes in my pockets when I know I have it to spend.

Truth is kind of like that for me.  When I grab hold of a truth and God settles it inside me and grows it into some thoughts, I have to tell it.  I can’t not share it.  It would burn holes in my heart, I think. 

That’s why I write.  It’s why I teach.  And it’s why I got so stinkin’ excited when I found out about the She Speaks conference. 

It’s an annual conference by Proverbs 31 Ministries for women who want God to use them through writing, speaking, leading.  Seriously, the first time I read about this conference, I was almost dizzy with excitement just to find out that something so seemingly perfect even exists!  And I decided to make it a “prayer project.”  So God could figure out a way for me to go.  In other words, when I excitedly told my husband about it and got to the cost details, we realized it’s a little out of the budget that my husband and I have agreed upon for the “things that would be awesome but didn’t plan on when we started saving” category. 

But if God wants me to go, He’ll figure it out.  So I started praying about it.

Well, you might imagine my enthusiasm when I found out that Lysa Terkeurst is giving away a scholarship this month for the 2010 She Speaks Conference!  Because God answers prayer.  Through this scholarship, He will allow someone to go who maybe couldn’t otherwise go.  And because I have no doubt that there are others like me who are watching to see how God figures it out for them to go as well.  And because this world of blogging is full of amazingly talented and gifted women who want to be used by God to help change lives with His truth.  So whether it’s me or someone else, God will answer prayer.  Because He’s good like that.

Always.

But, man, I hope it’s me.  ūüôā

He Loves Me So Much He Likes Me

I ran four miles with God today.  Well it was more walk than run, but that’s not the point. 

photo courtesy of http://www.dreamstime.com/

I usually pray during my walk/runs, so I started my requests in the usual way.  “God, use me as I train for this half-marathon in May.  PLEASE free those children and use the money we raise to bring more of them in out of the disgust and evil in which they are trapped.  And, God please, You know that my family is hurting right now.  Please, God. . .” 

But I couldn’t get any more words out.  Like laryngitis in my soul, I was unable to express my heavy heart.  I tried to pray for that painful family crisis.  I tried to lay it all out plainly for Him to take.  Again.  But I couldn’t.  My heart just fell silent.  My soul was tired.  Like muscles fatigued after lifting weights.  Or a four-mile run.  And I could not get my heart to utter another word.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I love a quiet spirit.  Quiet and calm in my inner being — oh yeah, I am all about that.  But this silence was different.   Like some sort of expression that I needed to get out, but was unable.  And it struck me with a feeling of the exact opposite of quiet and calm.  It made me feel guilty and uneasy.  But just as my loud thoughts and anxious spirit started to spiral downward, I heard a whisper in my soul.  It said:

“Let’s just walk together.”

“Really, God?  Don’t you want me to lay my burdens down before you again?  I mean, that’s our routine when we walk and train.  Shouldn’t I keep praying?  Shouldn’t I keep searching for words?”

“No, Bria, let’s just walk.”

Because He knows my heart anyway.  He knows . . .  

And He just wanted to be my training partner today.

And isn’t it the companionship that makes the training more bearable?  In running.  In life.

I love the stuff I learn when I hang out with God.  Like today, when I realized that He not only loves me, He also likes me.  Words or no words.

So today, I am unwrapping the gift of God’s unendingly kind companionship.  His always.  No matter what.  Come on over to Emily’s Tuesday’s Unwrapped McKlinky party at Chatting at the Sky.  It’s always such a great time.

Vigilant Wives Club 2nd Edition

Last week was the beginning of the Vigilant Wives Club.  Thank you, cooperkelly4, for linking up.  If you haven’t read her post, you can check it out here.  It’s good stuff.  So, this week, it’s on again.  And I so hope you will join in.  It is so encouraging (in the true sense of the word) to find other wives who seriously want to serve Jesus in their marriage.  So, here goes…

We drove separate cars to church yesterday.  I had Andrew’s car.  He had the family car (i.e. mine).  And the kids. 

So I stopped a few places on my way home and enjoyed my alone time while shopping for my niece’s (very, very belated) birthday present.

And, knowing that the Vigilant Wives Club linky party was happening today, I was trying to think of something really creative to do for my man.  You know, so I could write about it today and impress you all with the vigilant creativity of my commitment to my husband and my marriage.  Except, the only thing I could think of was to fill up his gas tank.

So I did.

And when I got in the car this morning, I noticed that he had filled up mine.

Doesn’t God have a great sense of humor?

So here’s the deal.  If you want to join the fun, all you need to do is click on the McKlinky thing at the bottom of this post.  Please make sure to put your permalink as the link instead of your general blog url.  (A permalink is the url address to a specific post.  For example: http://andthensomore.blogspot.com/2010/03/no-matter-what.html)  Then follow the instructions, and you’re done.  Have fun serving Jesus this week.

No Matter What

“No king is saved by the size of his army;¬†¬†

no warrior escapes by his great strength.

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;

despite all its great strength it cannot save.

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,

on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

to deliver them from death

and keep them alive in famine.

We wait in hope for the LORD;

he is our help and our shield. “

Psalm 33:16-20, NIV

 

You know how sometimes an idea or a theme keeps recurring over and over and over?¬† And there’s pretty much no denying that God wants you to get something?¬† Like a recurring theme in the depths of your soul.¬† Like a neon sign that etches its message in your retinas as it flashes so brightly that, even when you close your eyes,¬†all you can see is the word on the sign.

Yeah, I’m right there.¬† And the sign says

Hope.

It’s¬†something¬†I’ve never really¬†grasped.¬†¬†The concept has always kind of¬†eluded¬†me.¬† I’ve never really understood exactly what it¬†means.¬†¬†Faith I sort of¬†get.¬† It’s knowing without seeing.¬† Believing.¬† Trusting.¬† And peace.¬†¬†Yeah, it’s the calm¬†inside that can¬†stay quiet even in the blaring blasts of exploding cannons.¬†

But hope.¬†¬†Well, I’ve never really gotten it.¬†¬†Until¬†recently when¬†God¬†started flashing His spiritual neon, etching it onto¬†the¬†retinas of my heart’s eyes.¬† And I think I’m starting to get it.

Hope is expectation.¬† It’s a pregnant mother waiting for her¬†child to arrive so she can wrap it all up in a little baby bundle of unending joy.¬† It’s trying a new recipe for dinner for the whole family to enjoy.¬† It’s walking down the aisle in a beautful gown to the love of your life and promising to always love.¬† No matter what.

But the problem with hope is the unknown.  Because sometimes babies are born with problems.  Or not at all.  And sometimes dinner gets burned.  And sometimes, the promise gives way to the struggle, and marriages fall apart.

And sometimes what we hope for does not happen at all.

 

That’s why it’s scary when you find out you’re pregnant and you can’t¬†feel the baby move yet.¬† It’s why I rarely try a new recipe on a weeknight.¬† That is why it’s so hard to watch another’s marriage end and hope that yours will stand the test of time.

And it’s why God never told us to just “hope for the best.”

 

In truth, our only real hope — the only kind able to anchor our souls is the hope that sets its expectation on the truth of¬†God’s unfailing¬†love.¬† My only real hope is to plant my¬†confidence in the character of the very¬†God¬†Who made life itself.¬† The One Who makes babies.¬† And food for new recipes.¬† The One Who thought up marriage.

Because it is futile for me to just hold on to my husband and my marriage for dear life.  It is pointless for me to use every ounce of my own strength to keep that promise I made almost 14 years ago.  Because he will fail me.  But.God.will.not.  He promised.  And because of Jesus Christ, God is my only real hope.  God is THE only Real Hope.

 

So I will cling to Him as such.  I will look to know Him and His ways by studying His Word and listening for His voice in my everyday.  I will seek Him and learn His ways.  I will keep my eyes on Him.  And I will ask HIM to keep my marriage intact.  And to help me as I plan dinners for my family.  But I will not hope in these things.  I will hope in Jesus Christ alone.

 

And my hope will be sure.

Because He will keep His promise.

No matter what.

The only Real Hope.

Aspirations of a Strawberry

She was only two-years-old.  But she’s always been mature for her age.  The wisdom of a child is something I will forever admire.

So when she told her grandpa that she wanted to be a strawberry when she grows up, I was not surprised.  Rather, I was delighted. 

Because, the truth about growing up is that it has less to do with what we do than it does about who we are.

And now she eats strawberries instead of aspiring to be one of them.

Today, I’m linking up with tuesdays unwrapped as I thank God for what He teaches me through my children.

I Promise(d)

I Promise(d)
I did.  Because I loved him. 
I do.  Because I love him. 
I will.  Because I promised. 
I promised him.
And now, with so much more at stake, I’ve promised them.
But, mostly, I promised Him.
So, even though the choice to love doesn’t always come as easy as the day I said “I do,” I always will. 
No matter what. 
I promise(d).
**Today begins the Vigilant Wives Club.  I might be the only person in this little club.  But no matter.  Because I want to protect my marriage with vigilance.  And, in so doing, I will look for ways to serve my Master, Jesus Christ by serving my husband, whom He gave to me.  To love.  And honor.  And cherish.  Every today.
Okay, now it’s your turn…
***Here’s how it works…  Leave a comment here about your husband and one way you choose to serve him today or this week.  Or, if you have a blog, get your permalink for the post you’d like to share (a permalink is the URL to a specific blog post) then paste it into the nice little McKlinky thingy right here so other people can read and be encouraged by your vigilance. 

Vigilant Wives Club

I’m feeling a bit worn out from the battle.  I’ve been on my knees for a friend’s marriage, and my fight has been seemingly futile.  Because God is good.  And He lets people make their own choices.  Because God has a plan and didn’t ask me for advice on how to carry it out.  And yet, I am weary from the battle. 

Trouble is, the fight to keep any marriage together is ongoing.  It requires vigilance.  All around me, and you too, there is a rash of marriages that are losing the battle.  And, quite frankly, it stinks something horrid.  At the risk of getting all James Dobson-y on you, I believe that Satan is having a hayday trying to destroy what God created to bring Himself glory.  Marriage.  And the only real way to suit up for the battle is to chase hard after Jesus.  True vigilance.

That’s why I’m drawing a line in the sand today.  Right now.  Because I know that without vigilance, life and kids and busy schedules and remodeling projects and careers will take over, and I will one day find myself and my marriage to be less than what I signed up for that day when I said “I do.”  And.I.do.not.want.that!!!

http://www.dreamstime.com/heart-depicted-in-sand-imagefree269702

So here’s where the line gets drawn.  Today. 

I will not let today go by without doing one thing to serve my husband.  To demonstrate my vigilant commitment to him as his wife.  And each today I will do the same.

Wanna’ join me?  I’m gonna’ call it the “Vigilant Wives Club”.  Anyone can join.  Let’s be vigilant about our marriages.  So that God’s purpose can be served.  So that our kids can see a picture of God’s forgiving, merciful, unconditionally loving character as they watch us, their parents, be married.

If you want to join in, please drop me a line in the comments here.  And let me know so I can pray for you.  Then come back here every Monday, starting tomorrow, and link up to share some creative way that you either plan to be vigilant or were vigilant in your role as a wife this week.  I think it could be a really great way to encourage each other as wives.  And I truly believe it will do some serious enemy tail-kicking.

Oh, it’s on!  It.is.so.on!