Friday, April 23, 2010

Just some thoughts . . .

What a week it has been. I had some great things go on . . . the kids did great in a worship service at church and we survived all the rehersals. I got to go on a field trip with Sydney to the zoo. Unfortunately in the midst of these great and everyday events in our family, we are suffering through a loss. The hardest part is that as a family it is really taking a toll on us.

I have been blessed I guess not to have suffered losses on this level very frequently and I am honestly not sure what to do with how I feel. What to say, how to respond, taking in others' feelings into account as it is not just me who is grieving.

I'll have to admit I was really angry last night at the situation. I probably acted out in a selfish way, event though I tried not to. Angry that the enemy seeks to destroy us and will use whatever means necessary to take us out. I know what is like to not be sure what is the Truth and what are lies meant to take us out. I tried so hard to not respond in that anger and I feel like I failed. I just wanted to let the person who hurt us so to know I knew what had happened and the choices made affected so much more than could be known.

So as I tried to go to bed last night I just cried out to the Lord for grace. Grace to understand that bad things happen and I am not going to be able to always fix the problem. Grace for the one who caused this pain, as I can only imagine the pain they must feel to make said choices. Grace for myself to grieve through this in a healthy way and let it grow my famiy closer as we ralley around our loved ones.

They don't give manuals on how to handle situations like this and I just am so grateful that I have a loving Father who hurts with me, holds my hands and those who are hurting as we walk down this path of life together. My prayer is that this opportunity is not wasted and we all press into the One who know us best to receive all He has for us.

I hate that words really can't express what I feel or bring comfort as they come out. All I can do in these times is lay everything I am at the Father's feet and let Him comfort me. He was faithful to remind me that He is there through a few Psalms. Psalm 121 and 23 remind me that my help comes from Him alone and I can choose to let His comfort be enough or risk walking out of what will really be the balm that heals.

Life is hard. It is in these times that my prayer is for Him to come quickly so no more tears have to fall. May God bring comfort to my family. May they know that He is a breath away and ready to love them through this. May they see that He is more than a distant creator and may they see He loves them more than any of us could comprehend.

My prayer is that God would grant me wisdom to love those who have hurt me and not forget how many times I have hurt those who love me as well. May the grace I have received be freely given not because of what is deserved, but because my Savior did so much more on the cross to forgive me of what was not deserved. May I look back and see how this pain and grief was used to reveal the glory of God in a way I am too close to see right now. This was not His will or plan, but He will make all things work together for those who love Him.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What a beautiful day!

I just got done walking outside to feel the sun on my face. What a wonderful feeling! It has been way too long since I have enjoyed that feeling. It seems to reflect how my heart feels right now.

I have been really having some serious heart to heart conversations with the Lord. I am so simple minded to think that I might actually be able to comprehend the workings of the mind of the creator of our universe, yet so thankful that he is not offended when I ask. I have had a couple senarios that have sent me down wondering if I would ever be able to get out of the cloud I feel like has been hanging over my head for so long. It kind of reminds me of that cartoon character that has the rain follow wherever he goes.

What I love about the Lord is that when I press into Him to ask Him why this or why that, I walk away forever changed. My situation doesn't change, in fact sometimes the external pressure gets even worse. What changes is my heart, my perspective, I am reminded of His Truth. So today I felt like I had the chance to lift up above my going ons and see what He sees. No answers were given, no remedies needed. I only know how to describe it as my heart lept within me and breathed deeply and went "Oh. I see now. Yes, You are enough."

But that was not all. My loneliness was destroyed, my heartache for what is not . . . gone. My foggy vision of what I thought I couldn't see is cleared . . . just like the clouds outside. We (the Lord and I) have been working on how it looks to really only need His approval. When I seek my worth and value in Him, what others say doesn't dampen my understanding of who I am. My heart may question if what He says is true but is always met with His opinion of me.

Recently I took a bold step for me, not so noticable for most, to begin using a name to remind me of what the Lord sees when He looks at me . . . Captivating21. (Captivating to One) If you are still reading at this poing, the only weight I use to measure me these days is Him slone. No matter how anyone sees me I will always know I am captivating to One!

We were to ask the Lord what He thought of us the other day and the first thing He told me (twice that night) was that He loved my smile. Guess what you might see me doing a lot these days . . . smiling. There is no greater feeling that to know the love of my King!

May the sun on your face turn your heart back to the one who thinks you are pretty darn special.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Israel Post #1

So after being dropped off at the church on Wednesday morning, all 44 of us got on the bus and headed for the airport. My stomach was in knots until I got through securtiy. I have a knack for doing the no no's on the list, but happily got through unscathed! Here is a pic of Renee with all of our 44 passports. There is a bunch in our group! We were seated alphabetically so I got to know the "F" folks really well!. We had an uneventful

Here is old city of Akko. We stayed here for three nights. The view was so neat of this old city on the Medditterranean Sea.

We got to visit Tents of Mercy. This is David and Avi enjoying a laugh.

One of the great things this congregation does is have supplies for the community. Things needed if a war were to break out of things for various celebrations that the community does like Matza bread during passover.

I love this picture of the "Tents" in the desert, the oasis for those in need.

Eitan showed us the Torah. This is wrapped in velvet kept in a special shelf and read every week at congregation. It could take up to a year to write this our by hand. I believe it is basically the Old Testament written in Hebrew . . . but my memory fails me right now.

They read it using this special pointer so as not to ruin or smudge the writing.

David Ray and Avi. River of Life has a speical relationship with Avi. I believe he has preached in Abilene there.

A kibbutz. This is a communtiy farm that many people work on. There were several outside Akko.

For the most part this was the way we read signs: Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Thank goodness!

This man was a leader in a congregation in Nazereth. His name is Vakiff and he also had made aliyah (returning to Israel) from Russia. I told him I spoke Russian and felt very dumb when I couldn't figure out that he was asking me how long did I study Russian. I kept saying 34 years! Oi vey!

I just love the way Hebrew looks. This is a sign for Nazereth.

This a shot of the Holy Ennuciation Church (sp?). It is the dome shaped building in the center. The Catholic Church believes this is where Mary met the angel that told her she would be pregnant with God's son.

This guy was actually from Belarus. His name is Leon. He helps a lot of Holocust victims and has just started a seminary. The Torah that is in the picture actually came from Germany and was found after the Holocaust. It amazingly made it through all that destruction!

Interesting warning sign! I would stay away from that!

We got to see where Jase and Melissa are working and living and the people who are helping them out. It was neat to see the projects that they are doing and to know how to pray for them back in the states.

Melissa showed us their bomb shelter and it was sobering knowing that they had just experienced the effects of war not too long ago. I had a hard time imagining what that must have been like. In America we really don't know what it is like to have a war going on in our homeland.
I had to show this photo. I have never had a problem swelling with any of my travels or pregnancy and it blew me away how much I did after we arrived in Israel. My sandels started to hurt my feet and I had no ankles! I made sure to drink lots of water and keep them up and thankfully it went away.

This painting was at Guy Cohen's congregation. I loved hearing the shofars blowing but unfortunately missed out on a lot because of my troubles with jet lag. I hope this gives a glimpse into the first day of what we did. I felt like we were all over Israel this day . . . at least the NW side.