Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Standing in the Rain

Sometimes you find yourself standing in the rain and you don’t really know how you got there. You long for what you’ve lost and you wish that you could go back to the way things were. You almost feel as if a part of you is missing. You get overwhelmed when you think of the things that have been said and done. These things have cut you to the core and have left a wound that will take years to heal. When the wound does finally heal it will then only be a scar that has left a portion of your heart hardened and weak. You know that your heart will never be the same.

You don’t really know where to go from here. You admit that you don’t feel as close to the Lord as you once did. You acknowledge that you have no one to blame but yourself for this unpleasant distance from God. You just really haven’t been seeking Him like you should. Your priorities have been all wrong and you’ve let yourself slip into a place that you never thought you would visit again.

But you move on from there. You pray that God will help you and your family through these difficult circumstances. You pick up your bible and you read God’s word. You realize at once how much you have missed those words and how very much you need to have them in your life. You trudge forward . . . and God meets you there. He is with you in the pain and helps you to take one day at a time. He helps you to realize that your struggle is not against any one person but against Satan himself as he wreaks havoc on your life. The Lord makes you see how important it is to pray not only for yourself but also for your enemies. And then you get this overwhelming sense of peace in the midst of a situation that is certainly not peaceful. You know that this peace is supernatural and can come only from your Heavenly Father. You give Him thanks for His love and kindness and you keep praying, reading and taking one day at a time. The Lord uses the following words to speak to you and heal you. You put on the full armor of God.

The Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:10-20 NIV)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Words Just Wouldn't Come . . .

I’ve been trying to get these words on my blog for the past few weeks. I had to come up with a new, slightly more difficult way to make that happen, but here they finally are . . .

Well, I started to blog this evening and I quickly realized that God did not want me to do that. I sat at my computer and tried to think about what to blog. I did feel like I was forcing it a bit. The words just wouldn’t come but I still sat there typing. I titled my post and then tried to start typing the body of my piece. I literally could not type. I mean, my hands were compressing the keys but no words were appearing. I couldn’t even locate the cursor on my screen. I was getting frustrated. I switched to my iPad . . . same problem. No words! I spent several more minutes trying to brainstorm how I could fix this issue. And then I realized…God doesn’t want me blogging tonight. He doesn’t want me forcing some words onto my blog . . . strike that . . . His blog, just because I felt like I need to produce something for all of my adoring followers. (LOL) So I got the hint. I turned off my computer and put down my iPad. I grabbed my journal and listened for the voice of God. I can most clearly hear His voice with pen and paper in hand. It feels so natural and pure. The words flow out of me in a way that is almost supernatural. I hear from Him and it thrills me. To see His words on my page is an amazing and wonderful experience.

Well, anyway . . . I think I may be babbling a bit. What I’m trying to say is that we can’t force the things of God. They should be natural and completely of Him. When we try to do things on our own, even when it’s with good intention and something that would likely be pleasing to God, it may not necessarily be God’s plan for us. When we follow a path that is not God’s plan, it will not end well. Trust me, I know. I have traveled those paths, all the while thinking God would approve. It lead to extended and painful despair. I grew further from Him. It was very unpleasant.

Basically, I feel like God wants us to actively seek Him and His plan for us. He wants us to consult Him in all of our decisions. He doesn’t want us to come up with our own plan and be like, “OK, God. I have this fabulous plan and it’s going to be great for you, too. Are you on board?” He wants to be the driver while we ride in the passenger seat. Oh, how very difficult it is to relinquish all control to Our Loving Father. I still struggle with this daily because I am so far from perfect. But in the times I have sought the Lord and His plan for me with all of my heart, I was rewarded with an absolutely amazing sense of peace and closeness to God. So what I’m trying to say in case you’ve missed it . . . Seek Him with all of your heart and all of your soul and all of your mind. You will be astonished to find out what will happen after that.

OK. God bless you if you’re still with me here. I feel such a strong desire to tell this story even though it’s not related to the rest of this post. My husband was helping me fold laundry the other day. Yes, it was very sweet of him to help. Anyway, we were putting clothes on hangers. I put a couple of pairs of my dress pants on hangers and he put another pair on a hanger. He sat that pair off to the other side of the bed. He finished and walked away. I’m pretty sure I can remember looking for the pair of pants that he put on the hanger and they were not there. I didn’t think much about it. I thought he probably just took them upstairs to the closet in which I keep my dress pants. I hung up the rest of the clothes. The day ended…we went to bed. About three days later, I wanted to wear my brown dress pants. I started looking for them and they were nowhere! I searched the house twice and couldn’t find them. It was then that I remembered the previous incident. My husband had absolutely no recollection of the event of course. He said that I hung up all of my pants. I was pretty sure that he thought that I was a freak. I was certain that I wasn’t hallucinating. He then searched the house and . . . nothing! No pants! It’s not like the pants were all that expensive. I can easily go get another pair just like them. But I can’t stop thinking about those pants! Where are they?!! Where did they go?! My husband suggests that maybe I never even had brown dress pants in the first place. Am I losing my mind? Ugghh! I think I have brown dress pants . . . don’t I?

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I'm so sad! I have something that I want to blog about and I can't make my blog work properly. I'm having trouble getting the cursor to show up and I can't highlight any text or click within the text to edit anything. I hope I can get this fixed. :( Any helpful ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Other Side of the Door

As I sit here staring at my blank computer screen, I think back on everything that's happened in the last year and I wonder how I'm ever going to put into words all that I need to say. So much has happened that I can't even fathom how I can write about it and even do it justice. And then I realize that I really shouldn't even worry about it. It's out of my hands. God will give me the words that He wants me to write. I just need to put this into His hands and it will turn out exactly as He planned.

I am such a changed person for what I've experienced in my life lately. I'm not saying that I've changed for the better. I've just changed. This year I hit absolutely the lowest point in my entire life. I was completely hopeless. I found myself in a situation that I didn't think I could endure anymore. I felt like there was no way out and no one to talk to that would even begin to understand how I felt. I'm certain that my husband thought I was completely crazy when I tried to talk to him about my feelings. He was the only one I really talked to about the situation. I kept everything under wraps from everyone else. I felt so alone.

I needed God desperately and I felt like He wasn't there anymore. I couldn't feel Him. I didn't hear from Him like I once did. I grew so far from Him that eventually I just stopped looking for Him. I spent my days feeling sorry for myself and wondering if and how I would ever get out of the horror that I was living. I spiraled quickly into a total mess that couldn't even get through a day without crying at least twice. I hated who I had become and thought I would never again be that strong, spiritual woman I had once been.

And then God opened a door for me. After eight months of enduring what seemed like hell, it ended. That trial was finally over! And much to my surprise, I had survived! I was worn and ragged, but I made it through nonetheless. That chapter of my life closed and a new one began.

My new endeavor started one month ago today. I found myself again in unchartered waters. I was scared to embark on another new journey. I again felt vulnerable and clueless. I put my faith in God and pushed forward.

I'm pleased to say that I'm really happy in my new journey. It's completely different than anything I've ever done but it's rewarding and I feel good about what I'm doing. It has resulted in many changes for me and my family. I have considerably less alone time now but more time with my family. I still have a lot to learn as I continue on this path.

I certainly am still not where I once was spiritually. I think back about how close I was to the Lord and it saddens me that I'm not there anymore. I felt like I had such a personal, even supernatural relationship with God. I miss that. I regret more than anything that I've lost that. I can't even really explain what it felt like to experience God in that way. It was like an overwhelming sense of peace resulting in a warm tingling that seemed to envelope my whole body. It was a fullness in my chest during worship that I knew without a doubt was the Holy Spirit. It was a feeling that God had this and God had me and everything would be alright.

Well, now I must turn my eyes to Jesus and seek Him with everything that I have. My personal goal is to grow again in the Lord and to accomplish His purpose for me. I would love to experience Him again in the ways that I once have. I have a feeling that through this recent trial that I have endured, God was preparing me for something even greater than I can imagine.

Mark 12:30
New International Version (NIV)
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our Boulder Vacation

This year for our vacation we decided to go to Boulder, Colorado. My brother and his family moved there just after Thanksgiving and we hadn't seen them since then. We have a history of not traveling well. We have been stranded for hours in two different airports on two different vacations. When we visited the Dominican Republic for our tenth anniversary, I seriously thought we might not make it back home. (By the way, learn from our mistake and DO NOT take any kind of excursion while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. Ours was booked by AAA and was very scary.) On another vacation, we literally found ourselves running through the airport trying not to miss our flight, like that scene from the movie Home Alone. One time we did miss our flight and had to stand in a long line of angry people who had also missed their flights and were trying to reschedule just like us. Needless to say, we were all a little nervous about taking to the sky and traveling on yet another exciting adventure.

Mike was very nervous about flying. I think he may have read the same two pages in his book over and over during our two and a half hour flight.

The day after we arrived in Boulder, Ryan and I decided we could take a hiking trip with my brother and his family. Who needs time to let their bodies adapt to the lower concentration of oxygen at the higher altitude? Certainly not us! So we started on our trek up the mountain. Ryan and I thought that we should have no problem whatsoever hiking to the summit of Green Mountain (aka they very top of a particularly large mountain.) So we began making our way along the very same trail that Nate, Jill and Lucy spotted a bear just two weeks prior. The journey was easy at first. The trail was pretty flat and I knew that this would be a piece of cake. Our biggest concern at that point was whether we would encounter another bear. I have to admit that I didn't really want to be a bear snack that day. Nate and Jill were equally as nervous. This was their first hike on that same trail since the infamous bear encounter. They were both scouring the landscape like hawks. To read more about their encounter, click here. The pictures below were taken when we were about half of the way through our hike.
Nate, Jill and Lucy

Me and Ryan

Well, the hike became very treacherous with a lot of stone and log steps. Ryan and I soon realized that we had bit off more than we could chew. My legs began to feel like jello. I was short of breath and my heart was racing. I was wondering if I was going to make it to the top. I took a moment to reflect on the fact that my brother does this every weekend with a toddler strapped to his back. I can't even imagine that! About two thirds of the way through, I began to turn inward, focusing on my struggle to continue. I became completely unaware of the mountainous terrain around me. I was no longer concerned with the possibility of becoming a bear snack. I actually don't even think I would have noticed a bear unless it was on the path ahead of me, obstructing my way. Just when I thought we had to be close to the end, I would turn another corner and find yet another seemingly endless set of steps that awaited my arrival. Ry and I pulled it together. We hadn't gone that far to not reach our destination! We managed to muster enough determination and energy to make it all the way to the summit. I'm glad we did it. Now we can say that we hiked to the top of a mountain. The rewarding feeling was certainly priceless. I'm proud of myself and my little man for our accomplishment. 
This is Ryan and me at the summit of Green Mountain. The view in the background is Boulder. 
Nate at the very top of the summit. You could see all of the surrounding mountains from there. 
Nate and Lucy at the summit.
We hiked the Green Mountain Loop via the E.M. Greenman and Ranger Trails. The hike was 3.3 miles round trip. We started at an elevation of 6,748 feet and reached the summit at 8,144 feet. The trail is considered a moderate hike. (Really??!!) The trail is named after Ernest Greenman, Boulder's "Johnny Appleseed." Greenman arrived to the area in 1896 and planted hundreds of apple trees.
The view from the summit was fantastic!
The following pictures were taken at Lost Gulch Lookout on Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder. This view was also completely beautiful. We went there on a few occasions to just sit and take in the Lord's magnificent creation. It was so quiet and peaceful there. We packed a lunch and ate it there one afternoon.

We found an even more breathtaking view from the top. (This time we drove up the mountain thankfully.)

The Flatirons

We took a tour of the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado. It was actually pretty interesting. I had no idea there were so many steps involved in making beer. According to our guide, beer takes about three months to make. 
The Coors Brewery tour was very interesting (and not just because of the generous free beer samples.) 
The "can room"
Large iron kettles used to make beer

Ryan and cousin Lucy hanging out together. 

Estes Park, Colorado
We took a day trip to Estes Park, Colorado. The scenery was beautiful on the way there. We saw homes on the sides of mountains that were amazing. I wondered how people even got to those houses in the summer, let alone winter time. Estes park was founded in the 1860s when Griff Evans started a dude ranch there. The town has been growing ever since.
The drive to Estes Park
From Estes Park we boarded a shuttle and then a bus that took us high into the Rocky Mountains. We hiked at Bear Lake and then on to Alberta Falls. The hike was about two and a half to three miles. The altitude at Bear Lake was 9,475 feet. 
Mike, Ryan and me at Bear Lake 
Bear Lake
Bear Lake
The hike to Alberta Falls
The hike to Alberta Falls
Alberta Falls

Alberta Falls

We then continued on to Trail Ride Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. The road was 22 miles up into the snow capped Rocky Mountains. The views were the most spectacular that we had seen so far. We drove to an elevation of 11,798 feet on the highest continuously paved highway in the United States. The temperature in Boulder was 90 degrees. When we reached the summit, we were surprised at how windy and cold it was. The summit was 62 degrees. We were excited to see some elk on our drive. 

Below are some pictures of Rocky Mountain National Park. Trust me, the pictures do not do it justice. You should really go there yourself to see God's awesome creation.