Thursday, January 10, 2013

Luckiest Girl in the World

This is how I have felt lately when I go to do my morning devotion and time with God. I am so lucky, beyond that I am blessed. When the new year started I was hesitant about making any new year's resolutions because let's face it- last year was not a year I will look back on fondly and think, "Man- that was a great year!" Never the less I did feel compelled to make at least one resolution. My resolution had nothing to do with weight, because hello...going on 30 weeks preggers here- we need not focus on weight right now. It had nothing to do with eating better, because as most dear to me know- I am one of the world's pickiest eaters. I didn't need to make a resolution to be more organized or cleanly because again- come March there will be a wee one in tow and I am not going to make a resolution I absolutely know will get lost in the hurry of things. Instead I knew exactly what my new year's resolution should be; deepen my walk with God. 

I know there are many people that make this resolution that fall short by February or March. I am not saying there will not be days where I slack, particularly around March 22nd. :) I do, however, know this is something that I need in my life more than I ever have needed it before. Most of you know by now the struggles I have had in my personal relationships over the last six months. I still have no idea what God in His plans for that situation but my commitment is to no longer allow it to be the focus of my life. For the past six months it has been the dominant thought in my mind everyday. This has gotten no where. I am by no means saying I am giving up on the situation all together but I am no longer centering my life around it, because that is definitely not the right answer. I am committed to praying for this person everyday and loving them in the best way I can with my heart in this condition. Something that God has shown me, though, is how to see his love in this situation. There have been numerous Sunday School lessons, sermons, and Bible studies on the Israelites and how they tested God, drifted from God, disobeyed God, and were given more chances than it seemed they deserved. I always looked at that and said, "Yes, that is wonderful that God loved them." I feel like the past few months have shown me what that love looks like on a more meaningful level. I have struggled trying to love through all the pain and heart ache. I have struggled loving through the let downs. I have tried to show unconditional love and I have felt that I still get turned down. This upset me so much at first, until it hit me that is what God does. He loves all unconditionally. He loves us when we let Him down. He loves us when we turn our back on Him. He loves us when we want nothing to do with Him.

It is so much more than that though, God actively loves us!! On top of Him not letting go of His love for us- He continues to actively pursue us. We could turn our back and ignore Him and He will continue to reach out to us. He wants a relationship with us more than I think we will ever know. I am so encouraged and uplifted by that fact and it has just been on my heart to write this down and share that with any who come across this. My prayer for you this new year is that instead of turning away, you turn towards Christ. You don't let Him be the only one in pursuit. If you have pursued something without success, try to remember how it felt and make a change so that is not reflective of your relationship with Christ.

When I made the decision to commit to this I knew I wanted to read the Word daily as well as have something small to read in addition to that. The pastor at my church handed out a wonderful Bible reading plan that is very easy to follow and prompts you to read from 4 different place daily so you don't get bogged down in the Old Testament. If you would like to know more about it, leave a comment and I will be glad to share it with you. I also purchased the book above, Experiencing God's Presence The One Year Devotional. For me, growing closer to God was about experiencing His presence in my life more. I have been so encouraged by the short daily passages and words I have read in this devotional. I would like to share with you one of the passages from a few days ago that really touched my heart. 

Excerpt from book:
January 4
"He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature."

What would happen if we asked God- not just occasionally but as persistent, daily, even moment-by moment request- to allow us to host His Presence? What if we sought to become a living, breathing, tangible demonstration of His person? Is that a realistic hope?
It seems like a bold, even arrogant request, but any lesser request falls short of our design and His stated purposes. God has promised that we will share in His divine nature and has given us His Spirit to make it happen. He is apparently more zealous to be present within us and among us than we are to experience His Presence. He seeks us more than we seek Him.
Why is that? It's a greater honor and privilege for us to host the living God than for Him to get close to a flawed, common human being. We should be the more enthusiastic seekers in the relationship. But God created us for this purpose: to inhabit us, to relate to us intimately , to be with us. That's why He created humanity. Love desires to share. God wants to share Himself.
Let Him. Don't just issue a casual invitation for Him to be present in your life. He doesn't normally respond well to casual invitations. His love is too intense for someone with halfhearted intentions. Instead, choose to relentlessly seek Him. Then give Him time. He will begin to fulfill His desire and yours.

Monday, January 7, 2013

1,110 Months

That is the number of months my grandfather lived on this earth. In years that is 92 and 1/2 years. I hope I did my math correctly, if not please forgive me! My grandfather passed away December 21, 2012. My grandfather was affectionately referred to as "Grandaddy" in our family. He was the very definition of a patriarch of the family. His family was always important to him and I pray we all let him know he was just as important to us. Grandaddy was a faithful face in the crowd. I could always count on him to be at numerous volleyball matches, basketball games, tennis matches, and soccer games. When he could get there- he was there. It didn't matter if that meant loading his scooter up in the truck so he could make it from the parking lot to the soccer field. I don't know very many friends who have been that blessed.

Grandaddy was known for his contagious smile and distinct laughter. The holidays were bittersweet having to lay this sweet man to rest before Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve was always one of the holidays that was spent as his house. We partook in a somewhat untraditional holiday meal; a fish fry complete with hush puppies, slaw, french fries, and other treats. After piling in the garage and eating dinner and dessert, we would open and exchange gifts. Of course, as a child this was what I looked forward to the most. As a young adult, it grew to be the family that I looked forward to the most. That is something my grandaddy would be proud of. He should be because he is one of the main reasons I feel that way. 

I will greatly miss giving this sweet man hugs. It was one of my favorite things to have this man hug me and tell me he loved me. I will always be grateful that is the last thing I heard him say to me, "I love you too." I will never forget the big smile on his face when he saw my 2 year old nephew Sam for the last time. I certainly wish I would have had the opportunity to introduce my grandaddy to his next great-grandchild Ian. However, I know he is running through the streets of heaven and sharing his contagious happiness with everyone there. I can't wait to get there and give him a hug again. I know the Lord is pleased to have him there and I know my grandaddy is loving worshipping the Lord pain free.