Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Ladies Retreat & the Power of God

What does Christianity mean to you?  A lot of people think it’s all about being good.  It’s about a girl wearing a skirt to the knee.  It’s about a boy keeping the hair off the ears and collar.  It’s about not smoking, drinking, or chewing….or hanging out with those that do.  It’s about having the “best life now.” It’s about achieving goals and having financial success.  It’s about talking a talk and walking a walk. 

I would argue Christianity is really none of these things.  Instead Christianity is the power of the Gospel.  It is the power to change what isn’t right in our hearts.  It is the power to obey God when it’s hard and when everyone says “you’re crazy to do that.”  It is the power to love those who are difficult to love. It is the power to care for someone who resists care.  It is the power to get back up, brush off after being pummeled to the ground over and over by life’s trials.  It is the power to have faith that God can and will do a work in your life, if you submit to His plan.  It is the power to overcome the fiery darts from the devil.

A few weeks ago our church had a ladies retreat.  I have never been to the ladies retreat at our church before because (honestly) I generally do not like hanging out with only women.  Usually when women get together they do crafts, go shopping, pig out on food, cry and none of that is really “my thing.” I would much rather be with other couples or my own family if I have spare time.  The men at our church also have a retreat (in October) and the year Brandon was here, he came back talking about what a blast “camp” is and how he couldn’t wait to go the following year (easy for him to say, men get to shoot guns, play football, play dodgeball, rock climb, go tubing and go kayaking). Brandon highly encouraged me to go to the Ladies “Camp” as he called it. I wasn't up to it emotionally last year, so the only reason I went this year is because I remember Brandon saying, “You should go to camp.  You will really have fun, Mama.”  

I must admit I was skeptical that it'd be fun, but my son, you were right.  I had an absolute blast and we had an incredible speaker.  The words she shared touched my heart and my eyes were opened.  The biggest thing I remember is when she said that when you are in the middle of the storm, God is near.  If you picture yourself driving down a highway through a storm, the best thing to do is to slow down, fix your eyes ahead, and drive towards the light.

Since Brandon died, I feel like my world is upside down.  I feel like I’ve been given one trial after the other and I wonder how much more I can handle without crumbling.  I always feel darkness looming over me and I’m very much in the midst of a storm.  At the same time, I have an indescribable peace and joy in my life.  It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but honestly the only answer I have is the Gospel of Christ.  The gospel itself is the very POWER of God.  I Corinthians 1:17 says, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the POWER of GOD.” Those loved ones in my life who reject Christ and the Gospel almost pity me for clinging to my “faith” almost like it’s just an imaginary friend or a crutch that doesn’t exist.  I'm here to tell you that the power of God IS real.  It sustains me.  It strengthens me.  It encourages me.  I have peace and joy even though I am incredibly sad and broken, and probably will be for the rest of my life.  Embracing the Gospel of Christ gives me hope for the future and the power of God.  God is carefully, lovingly and perfectly leading me through the storm.  I just need to keep “following closely” the Light. 


Yes, I had a REALLY good time! ;-)

My bestest friend, Andrea & I did not fall much as they tried to knock us off

Special times together where we sat and talked

Some of my roomies

Sweet Brandon was right.  Camp was fun!

I miss my blond boy and his incredible smile!

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Daddy Loves Me!

When the girls were littler and we just moved to this home, we purchased our kitchen table and it worked out perfectly for a while.  Then once we added our boys to our family, we realized just how crowded it felt around the table, especially in the small kitchen nook our home has.  We had 6 bulky chairs around the table and it always looked messy.  A few weeks ago I was at a Pottery Barn store and saw some benches that could replace the 4 chairs on the sides.  I fell in love with the benches and realized we could easily add a few more kids on either side of the table if we had benches instead of the bulky chairs.  As most parents know, when you have 4 kids, you rarely only have 4 kids in your home.  They MULTIPLY and we needed more seats than just 6. Benches were a great idea in my mind, but the only problem was that the benches at Pottery Barn did not fit our table...and they were very expensive.

I described to my dad what they looked like and how perfect they would be in our tiny nook.  Well, my dad said he'd "see what he could come up with."  He whipped a couple of benches up over the weekend and they are absolutely perfect.  He read my mind precisely.  I love them.  They take up a lot less space than all those chairs and they look a whole lot neater.  It's easier to sweep and mop under benches than it is with chairs and all the legs on the chairs.

Anyway, I am so excited.  I love my benches.   My daddy loves me!  Thanks, Dad.

Unfinished benches in Dad's garage

Solid oak in dad's workshop

First coat of stain
Our nook when we first moved in the house....all 6 chairs


I love them!