Oh, yippee..long-suffering …but God…

IMG_0017As I type in my old journal entries below, even I am saying, “Geez! Get on with it already! We got it! They don’t have a job. Haven’t had it for over a year. Three kids in a tiny apartment. Life is hard. Wah, wah. Go on!” If this were a screenplay, I would chop out fifty pages of excruciatingly boring pleadings and cut to the ‘We got the job celebration scene.’ Well actually, before that, I might throw in a scene of me hurling a glass vase across the room, crashing it into a mirror to showcase my had-it-up-to-here moment. Then I would push the story along and keep my audience’s attention and fast forward about five years.

But that’s not real life with or without God. Real life without God in this 10+ years, no-job journey involves fear, worry, doubt, anxiousness, and anger at some point along the way–we can’t help it, we’re human.

Real life with God, honestly involves all those insecure emotions too. But God. God brings HOPE and assuredness. He takes a hopeless situation that we make worse by worrying and heeding false advice, and provides peace and a future.

“Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.” Proverbs 16:1

“Joseph answered, “Not I, but God, God will set Pharaoh’s mind at ease.” Genesis 41:16

But God reassured him, ‘Easy now. Don’t panic. You won’t die.” Judges 6:23

“Bad guys have it in for the good guys, obsessed with doing them in. But God isn’t losing any sleep; to Him they’re a joke with no punch line.” Psalm 37:12-13

“Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.” Proverbs 16:33

“You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” Acts 3:15

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.” Psalm 9:18

On our own, we would have most likely found a job, earned some money, and muscled our way through our dire situation (albeit we wouldn’t be where we are now with our many bestowed blessing). But with God we carried peace, experienced joy, nestled in the Comforter’s embrace, and grew closer to the Creator of our futures.

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Dear Lord~

The anxieties in my heart: 1) wanting to live in Austin with my family & the beautiful landscape; 2) my kids’ negative attitudes towards each other; 3)my weariness with this journey; 4) Greg’s & my outlook towards the discovery of this divine vision seem far apart, but so close at the same time right now.

Everything I’m grateful for: 1) all the amazing things going on in our world now. I can see past the war & the extreme, unfortunate sufferings. You are bringing peace You are lifting up & preparing Christians for Your cause. You are highlighting the immorality in business & leisure. Could Greg’s abilities & insights about integrity in business be primed & ready? You are returning our country to a simpler, other-focused time. 2) You protected Jill this past Sunday! Thank You for holding her close. 3) My job at LCA & how well the play is progressing. You really guide my every action when I’m doing these plays! I feel so close to You. 4) My Hip Hop group at church. They keep coming back & we’re having fun & they’re getting better.

Lord, if Austin is where You want us, please provide an opportunity to move there when school gets out for the summer.

Lastly, I pray for a good time & good weather for Alyson’s visit this weekend. I pray that she will be willing to attend service this Sunday.

I have been tired & angry. Thank You for waiting on me. Lead me, guide me, pour peace over me. Pour peace over our troops, the British forces, our leaders & our enemies & the people of Iraq. Your grace prevail over all gunfire, religious beliefs & stubbornness. Peace & Your face be seen by the POWs.

My heart is filled.

Amen

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Today I am excited to be here now having this time with You. My attitude lately has been shameful, bratty & unhealthy. I ask Your forgiveness & grace to pour over me & make me new. Take this over year-long journey & make me new. Cast the devil away. Don’t let evil penetrate my thoughts, tongue & actions. Teach me, love me, pull me close. Pour out over my husband. Give him peace & rebuke evil around him. Well within my children. Give them air beneath their wings that they may soar above all pain & angst.

Please be with me now as I go to Your Word. Lead & teach me.

After reading Revelations 21-22, I know that it is with You that I am to look toward for answers; not the world. How comforting it is for me to know that You will have this wonderful place for me. You conquered death for me & prepared Heaven for & my family. I am not afraid of this world; it has attempted to sting; evil has had its chance & failed! Ha! I walk by faith & not by sight.

“But you, man of God, flee from all this & pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance & gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12

Lord, I pray for Jason Eaton who is faithfully serving in the US Army in the Iraq war. I have committed through the Presidential Prayer Team to pray for Jason’s safety during this time. Lord, please protect, guide & minister to Jason. Give him comfort during such scary times. Also please be with his family, giving them peace & faces turned towards You & Your Word; assurance in Your plan.

Amen

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Dear Jesus~

You have renewed my spirit! I feel so light. I see purpose–purpose in waiting. As our family had our Bible study last night (a silly one; all in a giddy mood) I read from Philippians 4:10-20. In it, of course was ‘I can do all things through Jesus Christ which strengthens me’ (v13). You first led me to that verse in 1985 when I was in the Miss Austin Aqua Festival Pageant. I can remember being backstage, about to go on & those words popping into my head. Thank You. What a Comforter you are.

We are successful today!

Amen

Monday, April 14, 2003

Thank You for today. Fill my heart with gladness. Fill my mind with Your wisdom and knowledge. And hold my tongue, only letting it loose for necessity & kindness.

I pray You take hold of our children. No more arguing, attitude & ugly demeanor. Change their hearts. Change our tactics. Lead us to a place where our positive inner light can shine!

Amen

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Lord, just as You give me a complete vision of a dance production or play choreography and set, etc, please give me the complete, unquestionable vision for our family’s life after this journey. Will we live in Austin? Where are Your answers for us?

In Nehemiah’s time & Joshua’s time, You put all circumstances in place for Your ultimate plan to come to fruition. Just as with what is going on now with our nation, President Bush, Iraq & the fall of Hussein. Your divine plan is the reason why the people of Iraq are liberated. Praise You, Jesus, for saving the Iraqis.

How are my circumstances lining up with Your divine plan? We are trying to raise our children in Your eyes for a divine future; we are living and abiding our marriage according to Your guidance; we are trying to travel this journey as testaments of Your grace & our faith in You. The final piece of the puzzle is Greg’s career & my career & how the two separately can work to minister & testify for You. We pray for the answer to this final puzzling question.

I know You are at work in the hearts of my family. Please let us be a daily, living testimony of Your love & grace. How will You place us in Austin if Greg is going to get a job offer with EDS here in Dallas? My heart, Lord, hurts. Heal me.

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature & complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, & it will be given to him.” James 1:4-5

“Blessed is the man who preservers under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

Lord, thank You for letting me store treasure in Heaven. I pray for wisdom in these circumstances., dear Lord of the Highest, my Comforter.

I am Your servant. Send me.

Amen

 

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My Ginger Twin

 

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As I journaled in our month-to-month, sparsely furnished apartment I pined for my things.  Like Mary Kate Danaher in The Quiet Man I wanted my belongings about me.  I wanted our stuff that had been crated and locked away in storage for a year.  My grandmother’s hope chest, my mother’s paintings, my bridal bouquet and photo albums; our china, the patchwork quilt my mother-in-law made, our four-poster bed, and lawyers bookshelves–all locked up, far away and inaccessible without a hefty digging fee.  The image of John Wayne taming the shrew in Maureen O’Hara is much like God wrestling with me many days during our ‘prison term’ in the apartment.  I thrashed about as God held onto me during my desperate prayers and journalings.  I was dragged across the meadow and through town like the brattish Mary Kate who refused to be satisfied with true love and didn’t want to learn a lesson.  My friends may have said that I handled our no-job tenure with grace, but often times inside I was a fiery red-head with a spitting Irish tongue.  Fortunately for me, God was Sean Thornton.  He would grin at me, wait for my silliness to subside and envelop me in a hug as I whimpered apologies.

My last journal entry posted here leaves us in Job, indicating that no job had been granted as of yet.  It happens obviously, and Greg and I eventually live out ten years in a beautiful home in Lucas, raising our three kids to legal completion.  But unlike the previous sentence, the day-t0-day living of the no-job journey is not as easily expressed.  My ginger twin may make an occasional appearance, but God remains my ‘quiet man,’ taming me through the tough times and loving me all the while.

Friday, March 7, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Radical faith.  Am I there?  Have I truly given all to follow You?  Sometimes I don’t know.  I think that my ideas of security with a home, etc. are keeping me from You.  Help me to give that up.  I’m trying to design Your plan.  Help me to let go & completely trust You.  “Trusting & believing God is the number one priority on God’s agenda for my life.” (Holy Ambition)  Trash everything else.  Just follow & trust.

Teach me not to question.  Jump off.  So what, we’re where we’re at?  So what we don’t know of tomorrow?  I’m excited of YOUR plan.

God, I pray for a vision of Your plan.  I pray to be patient to hear from You.

Amen

Saturday, March 8, 2003

Dear Lord~

Again, I pray for YOUR vision.  Help me to let go of all of my inhibitors.  Let Your plan shine over all else.

Thank You for this wonderful weather.  I pray that You send us somewhere today that we may enjoy the sun & be closer to You.

Lord, I pray for Frank & Maria.  If it be Your will, please bless them with a child.  Help her to become pregnant and to have a healthy baby to term.

Lord, some considerations now are to investigate Greg starting his own business or take over an existing one with the support of venture capitalists.  Please lead us in the right direction with this research or close all doors immediately.

We pray for a swift action.

Lord, I have yet to pray about the Hip Hp group I’m forming with the youth at church.  I apologize.  Please forgive me.  I definitely felt You lay it on my heart that I should have no regrets about not having had formed the group in preparation for the opening of The Family Life Center.  Lord, I sense something good there, but some elements don’t seem right.  Every other group I’ve started has taken off immediately.  Please guide me in the right direction to lead these girls to get them excited about us.  We need a name, possibly a place to practice.  I need original ideas , choreography, and energy!  Please pour Your blessings on us.  Help us to dance for You & to praise You in a way that will reach to others.

Thank You for Liza having a friend over today.

“Our father who are in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

Amen

Monday March 10, 2003

Dear God in 3 Persons~

I have just finished the book Holy Ambition and I lack only one thing on the list:  a strategic plan.  I have a dislocated heart, about our national and world struggles, about the dance needs in Austin, about wanting & needing to live in Austin.  I have a broken spirit about these things; I definitely have a radical faith & personal commitment & You have given me a courageous soul.  The only thing I’m lacking is a strategic plan.  And I can’t have a strategic plan without Your vision for Your holy plan utilizing me, Greg, our family & our talents.

Lord, I realize that my choreography, staging and design is exactly how I can be successful for You for Your plan.

I must have the final outcome in my mind & then I can work backwards to figure out how to achieve the goal.

I know that when You give me Your vision & plan, that with courage from You, I can strategize a plan with You to accomplish amazing things along the journey to achieve Your divine plan.

I am chompin’ at the bit.  I am fired up!  I am so ready to jump at Your plan–more so than any other opportunities than have come our way yet.

You are an awesome God  And I say ‘WOW!’

Amen

PS–I have been discouraged & weary, but this reminder of Jesus’ struggles feeds me to go on.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author & perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, & sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary & lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:2-3

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Dear Lord Jesus~

I pray in preparation for my time with You today; for focus, intimacy, wisdom and understanding.  Please speak through Your Word to me with clear understanding.

Psalm 26 definitely speaks for me.  Verse 1 says, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have led a blameless life.”

My life, in this ‘cave’ has been blameless, aside from the sins You have forgiven me for & I continue to pray for Your power for control.  But the Psalmist says how I feel.  I’ve stayed away from evil, I’ve proclaimed Your name. And as the author, David, writes, “my feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the Lord.” (v12)

I praise You now for all that You’re doing & for what You will do for me & our family

Greg & I met with Blair yesterday.  He said & agreed that we’re at that point where all we need is God.  He said that is not a bad place to be.  That is true.  So true.  All we need, can count on & rely on is God.  We know You will provide.  Let us see it coming, O Lord.  Let us be so close to You that we see the answer coming & are not chastised for too little faith.

In 1 Corinthians 15:55-58 You remind me that You have taken care of even my greatest enemy, death (although I actually fear many other things than death itself).  You smacked death by dying on the cross & living again.  I will live again with You!  So it definitely matters what I do on earth.  It is comforting to know I can “…stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the world of the Lord, because You know that Your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (v.58)

Amen

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My grandmother’s hope chest that she gave to me and now I have given to Lena. My grandmother had her initials carved onto the right panel; ten years later, my father-in-law carved my initials onto the left panel. I plan to have Lena’s initials carved on the top with room for her daughter’s and future daughters.

Monday, March 24, 2003

To be quite honest, Lord, I really don’t want to be doing this right now.  If it weren’t for Greg, I wouldn’t be.

It’s Monday, the beginning of another week.  We want to go to work.  Lena cried the other day that she has nowhere to go and relax.  We need a home.  We need our things out of storage & around us.  We want & need to celebrate Your victory.

Do You hear me?

I knew You wanted Greg to quit EDS.  You made that very clear & we don’t regret it.  We pray for Your leading and obvious direction for our next move–complete confidence, because we’ll need it in order to be able to ignore the nay-sayers & for us to press forth with Your plan.  Next week will be one year since Greg quit EDS on April 1st.  This can not be an April Fool’s joke.

Hallelujah for the removal of Dick Brown at EDS.  Open doors for Greg, Lord; help him to reinstall the values back in the company.  Let’s go!

Lord, I whole-heartedly pray for Mike & DiAnne.  Their marriage has been strained by their trials.  Why do they have to suffer for so long?  It seems so unfair.  They have been such devout followers for You for so long.  Why punish them?  They need Your intervention immediately.  Please soften their hearts.  They need You so.  I pray that You use me in talking with DiAnne.  She really needs a friend.

This dying moment-to-moment day stuff is very old!  Can’t I just live?!  Yes!  I know there’s a war going on & people overseas & POWs who are yearning for Your attention.  And yes, please hear them all.  Keep them safe.  Save their souls and expand the Christian territory!   Keep the Tabers safe, please.  But help us too.  I am not a life-sufferer; a professional mercenary.  I’m Jodie, a daughter of Christ, trying to do what is right & trying to hang on.

I pray for a miracle today!

Amen

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I’m here again.  Reading Job.

THE BIRTHDAY TRAIL — a family tradition

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My cousin, Paula, made & put this sign at the end of the driveway for Lena to drive through on her 17th birthday–the whole family pitches in to get Birthday Trails done!

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Liza at the end of her 8th Birthday Trail in Canada, 2000–hence the parka:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apartment living with kids stinks.  Crowded, temporary-limbo-land living.  Our no-job, no-paycheck journey hit the one year mark as of these journal entries below.  And like old fish, the five of us living together in a little apartment with our most promising job prospect dashed, the whole situation just stunk.

I realize that our test of faith at this time wasn’t drastic or dire.  No one was ill, injured, or imprisoned–praise God.  But for a mom with three elementary-aged kids, providing basic school supplies and clothes, along with dance lessons and some kind of birthday & holiday celebrations was an ongoing mental battle that required much prayer journaling over heaping cups of coffee.

To look back on my journals I am reminded of the day-to-day struggles, as you’ll read below.  Thank You Jesus for pulling me through everyday & for letting me vent and rant.  But when my husband and I or my now college-aged kids look back on our year in the apartment without a job, we only remember the good times.

Like the game Greg and Cody played incessantly in the apartment–Greg throwing a palm-sized nerf football from the master bedroom to Cody on the living room couch, most with splayed-out diving catches.  Or our ‘cartoon Christmas’ as I call it.  Our big faux Christmas tree and decorations were in permanent storage and we didn’t have a fireplace.  A friend lent us a tiny fake tree that we placed in the corner of the living room.  We made preschool classic paper chain garland and sugar cookies to adorn the tree and used found fabric for a skirt.  I taped shiny wrapping paper on the wall next to the tree for a fireplace and cut out logs and fire from construction paper.  We push-pinned Dollar Store stockings onto the ‘mantle’ and called her done.  Santa now had a place to visit–whew!

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Our favorite memories while living in the apartment are 1)  bringing our little malte-poo puppy, Lucy, home for the first time while living in the apartment–she now snores to my left under our shared blanket as I blog to you this morning.  Lucy is so adorable, cunning and human-like that she requires her own blog, books, and game app–coming to a store/smart phone near you in the near future–she says in jest with a hint of seriousness.  And 2) Birthday Trails.

Let me explain the Birthday Trail.  I came up with the Birthday Trail concept when Lena was three.  I needed a way to celebrate her birthday in the morning before Greg went to work and give her something to keep her busy and feeling birthday-girl special throughout the day before we had the big celebration that night and/or later that weekend with family.  On her third birthday Lena woke up in her long, pink ballerina nightgown to a paper plate on the floor outside her bedroom door with a note that read: “HAPPY BIRTHDAY LENA!!  FOLLOW THE ARROWS.  She peered down the hall and saw four more paper plates, each with an arrow pointing forward.  Lena tip-toed onto each plate with excited curiosity in her eye.  She followed a trail of arrow-scribbled paper plates through several rooms in the house, climbing over the kitchen counter and under the coffee table (with help, of course).  At the end of the trail was a present–a toy of some sort.  And thus the Birthday Trails became an annual event for each child until they turned 18–yep, three trails a year times 18 (minus 2 since I started when Lena was three) and I conjured and created 52 birthday trails from 1993-2013!!

Through the years, I’ve had to get darn creative–the simple paper plate arrows weren’t clever enough as the kids grew so the trail turned into a trail/treasure hunt with elaborate riddles.  When you do so many trails and are coordinating parties and presents on a strict budget, you use what you have on hand.  Let’s see, I’ve used a bevy of Barbies perched in peculiar places; we’ve created an indoor putting range trail while living in Canada, with the most ingenious hole going from the second floor into a plastic cup on the first floor (Cody got a hole too!); we’ve turned our entire living room in Lucas into Fenway Park, complete with the green monster (we used painter’s tape on the floor & up the walls to define the space, pinned green fabric to the wall & taped several yellow wiffle bats end to end for Penske’s pole)–Cody flipped baseball cards and played wiffleball in the house to earn his way around the bases and receive his gift.

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In 2002, we had just moved into the apartment the week of Lena’s birthday, so we tore up pieces of the moving boxes, wrote on ’em, tucked them all over the place and hid her new boom box in a maze of brown moving boxes.   On Cody’s 18th, the last birthday trail in our Lucas home, the girls helped me to put together a shooting range with a nerf gun for Cody.

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The other pictures are a few more examples of the craziness we create for early a.m. we-love-you wake up calls.  Feel free to copy the Birthday Trail Wilk phenomenon.  My sister called me one year and said, ‘Thanks a lot!  Now I have to stay up all hours making birthday trails for my 3 kids!”  And my kids, nieces and nephews wouldn’t have had it any other way.  I do believe my niece, Sara, who just had the first baby of their generation this year, will be continuing the Birthday Trail with little Wade.

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Wade, the newest member to our extended family; son of my niece, Sara. He says, “I can’t wait for my next 18 birthday trails!”

 

My Red Journal continues…

Monday, March 3, 2003

Dear God~

Pour into me.  Overflow. Take over. Now!  There is nothing left!  You want all of me, You’ve got me!  But I’m angry.  I had it out yesterday.  Cry & scream in the car.  A song on the radio saying, “This is God…I see your attitude, it’s all about love…all I need is a change in you.”  I don’t get it?!  What more do You want?  I know we’re suppose to become like Jesus, but You made me human!  With faults!  I’ve improved!  I’m asking for more!  I’m dying daily & even moment to moment to put You before me!

This is as far as I can go!!!

You know my heart.  I walked on a ledge for You!  I did not sign up to be a missionary!  What is so wrong to want & need security, plans, excitement, a house with a little land!  I am not Job!  Stop having Your game with the devil and testing my faith!  You do not treat someone You love like this!

Enough!

I refuse to give up on Greg & his abilities and possibilities.  You made him a leader.  You’ve prepped him amazingly.  He could do so much for people & business & YOU!  He wants to work for You!  The marketplace is his mission field.

And me!  Why did You send me to LCA if we’re not to be here.  I’m working for nothing AGAIN!  We desperately need the money!  We look like fools.  We have chosen to do this for You so that we could let our faith in Your plan show us & our family that You are the answer!

Yes, yes, yes!  My faith is strong!  The devil has not advanced his piece on the board off  ‘start’ at all.

I also refuse to give up on Your plan for me, Greg & the kids.

If You didn’t let Perot happen, WOW, it will her immeasurable!  But when?  In one month, this journey will be one year without a paycheck.

Lessons I ‘ve learned:

1-It’s all about love

2-Only You can provide peace, sanity, stability (& You can take it away)

3-Patience & ultimately being frozen with few smiles is a process and product

4-I’m scared to death of rock climbing, but I’ve been doing it without the safety gear since we left Texas in 2000; my hands are bleeding & the top keeps getting higher (isn’t it within reach?!)

5-I love You!  No matter what I do.  Childlike faith & childlike tantrums as You watch me grow up.  You have a smile now, don’t You?  You’re pleased with me.  I’m fighting a good fight.

Oh, let me win today…in-my-face, obvious direction Lord.  Please.

Amen

*I am directed to the book of James–trials, taming the tongue, don’t boast about tomorrow.  Okay.

“Out of the mouth come praise & cursing.  My brothers, this should not be.”  James 3:10

My sword to fight temptation.  I’m so sorry for my flagrant mouth.  I pray for Your forgiveness.  At temptation, be with me to make the choice of reciting James 3:10 to keep from evil.

Thank You for Your Words.

Wednesday, March 5, 2003

“‘Then you will call upon me & come & pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me & find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.  ‘And will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from the nations & places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.'”  Jeremiah 29:12-14

In Chip Ingram’s book, “Holy Ambition” he asks, “Have you repented of your consumer mindset?”  No, I haven’t.  It’s very difficult to not want the things of this world that would be comfortable for me & my family.  Especially, since I’ve been out of my comfort zone for so long–shouldn’t there be some kind of earthly reward?

The book also says to ask You for a ‘dislocated hart,’ a heart that years for Your desires for this world; to have the pain in my heart for others & to let You use me for Your plan.

My heart has ached, to an extent, for all that is going on in our world.  I wept uncontrollably for our country & the misguided terrorists on 9/11.  I knew the second the second plane hit the second tower that all would be changing forever.  Our great nation did not deserve such destruction & all the lives & affected families should not have died physically & emotionally.  But our country has sinned for too long.  The airwaves are demoralized more & more.  We need God more than ever.  You are not PC or allowed through separation of church and state, but You must be in.

I seems that with so many good people right now unemployed, without homes, but looking to You for help that we Christians are being prepared.  We’re being trained to take our country back.  We’ve let the unchurched tell us how & when things will be, but You have said ‘no more.’

Dislocate my heart to yearn for Your plan.  I am so tired of whining about me.  Take my heart & mind away from what I know You are preparing already & point them toward Your goals.

A praise.  Nan, Pap & Alyson all prayed for Greg & the opportunity at Perot.  You are awesome.  Please water those mustard seeds.  Bring them whole-heartedly back to You.

In Your Holy Name & seeking Your plan, Amen.

Friday, March 7, 2003

Dear Jesus~

Radical faith.  Am I there?  Have I truly given all to follow You?  Sometimes I don’t know.  I think that my ideas of security with a  home, etc. are keeping me from You.  Help me to give that up.  I’m trying to design Your plan.  Help me to let go & completely trust You.  “Trusting & believing God is the number one priority of God’s agenda for my life.” (“Holy Ambition”)

Trash everything else.  Just follow and trust.

Teach me not to question.  Jump off.  So what, we’re where we’re at.  So what we don’t know of tomorrow.  I’m excited of Your plan.  God I pray for a vision of Your plan.  I pray to be patient to hear from You.  Amen.

 

 

Mustard Seed into Redwood

 

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Window Painting by my mother. Practical artwork–my dining room windows looked directly into the side of our neighbor’s house. I glued handmade papers to the windows and asked my mother to paint a scene across the three windows to create privacy & beauty. Also, it was an excuse to get my mom to Dallas, have our kids watch her create & have another lasting creation of hers of my own.

 

God plants in each zygote an idea, a desire.  Then we spend the rest of our lives discovering that seed.  Only Jesus can nourish that seed with living water.   If we have the faith of a mustard seed, we can command mountains to move.  So no surprise that this implanted embryonic desire for a specific ‘something’ that starts off small as a mustard seed, can grow into a mighty redwood, with its canopy placed sky high and its roots reaching deep and wide.

Give your life over to God.  Study His word and spend time over coffee with your new friend.  Through conversations, He will woo you and tell you sweet everythings about you.  As you tell Jesus how much you love Him, he tells You how he loves you more.  Then, as with all love relationships, He can’t wait to give you a gift that He has been preparing and planning for a long time.  He hints at, guides, and whispers the gift–your purpose–the implanted desire of your heart.  You clasp your hands in giddy excitement, grinning goofily with shocked amazement at the specific simplicity of it all.  You dive in.  You get to work, which runs through your body like play, and discover that your purpose, the thing that makes your heart sing, makes God smile and serves His kingdom.  Because everything we do is about love and bringing more people, with their tiny mustard seeds, to Him, ready and waiting to water, grow, and present His implanted gift to you.

Thank you for allowing me to attempt a little poetic proselytizing.  It is true.  God wants to give us the desire of our hearts.  In fact, He put those desires there just as He did our lungs, brains, fingers, toes, and brown, blue or hazel eyes.  Give up and give it over to God.  Crawl into His lap like a child and let Him take your worries.  He will smooth your hair, whisper sweet everythings, and water your deep-rooted mustard desire into solid redwoods.

MyRedJournals continues below with me, my family and God journeying through job loss and search…

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Dear Lord,

Everything this journey is about is not for what You will do for me and my family, but how, after growing closer to You & learning to listen more astutely and rely and live on You–FAITH!–this journey is about what I am to do for You.

I am weak & small, but I know You’ll use me whenever, wherever for Your purpose.  I pray for courage to accept Your path & for a mind that never forgets what You have done for me (not like the Israelites–ungrateful babies).

Please Lord, be with Bob now during his back surgery.  Give him, Jill & the kids a peace & a knowing that You are with him.  I pray for a quick, pain-free recovery.

In Romans 5:1-5, You gave me this reminder in order to remain faithful to the lessons of this journey & to You!

“So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in His promises, we can have real peace with Him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  For because of our faith, He has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, & we confidently & joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be .

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems & trials for we know that they are good for us–they help us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope & faith are strong & steady.  Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens & know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us & we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.”

Friday, January 31st, 2003

You are true to Your Word.  Greg will have an interview with Darcy next Thursday, Feb, 6th!  We know this is Your work.  You are showing Your hand of what You have been planning and the very exciting part of it all is it will  be the beginning of Your continual plan.  Thank You, Jesus!

Believing IS seeing.

Amen

Jan 1, 2010%0D%0AGenesis 1-2-25-the beginning; Adam&Eve%0D%0AMatthew 1-2-12-geneology & birth of Jesus; visit of Magi%0D%0APsalm 1-1-6-blesed by streams of water,  which yields its fruit in season       and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.

Another portion of the window art triptik, a three panel window covering made with handmade paper, and painted with my mother’s love.

February 3, 2003

“Praise Him from here below, praise Father, Son & Holy Ghost.”

Thank You, Jesus for all You provide–my wonderful marriage, which is centered around You; my amazing children, 3 gifts from You; our health, especially without health or car insurance; & this journey, with its sole purpose to grow closer to You & to discover what I can do for You.

Lord, this morning I pray for Your vision for me.  What will You have me do for You?  I believe that You have begun to make it clear–the beginning.  I pray to know Your vision; Your will.

Amen

Thursday, February 6, 2003

“Everything is possible, in Him all is possible.  Everything you have to do, cast your fears away.”

Peace.  Knowing. Understanding.  Resolution.  Singing birds outside my window.  Faith in you.  My mustard seed has sprouted like a redwood.  Purpose:  to love & serve You.  Wow!

“Yes I will bless the Lord & not forget the glorious things He does for me.” Psalm 103:2

Walk before Greg today at his interview with Perot.  Peace, focus & Your plan unveiling before our eyes.

Thank You now for using the weak.

Amen

Praying in My Husband

 

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Greg & I were married in a church in Austin and held our reception at Willie Nelson’s place. The Alvin Crow band played all night and I taught my new yankee in-laws how to do the Cotton-Eyed Joe & the Schottische.

As I and my two girl friends strutted around the North Forty dance floor looking for one of their boyfriends, I had a God moment.  Just like in the movies, all went hazy around me as I first saw Greg’s blue eyes.  They seemed to come towards me even though his feet did not move.  The sensation radiating from my inner being must be what it’s like to feel the hand of God.  I had written in my prayer journal back in 1985 that God would let me know when He would answer my prayer for a best friend.  As you’ll see in my journal entries, I prayed often for my future husband, with His answer coming ten days after the last post when we met, danced to ‘Footloose’ and I taught my new yankee to kicker dance.

I pause blogging from my journals starting in 2003 when Greg and I journeyed through job loss while raising our three kids (see previous posts).  Today, we celebrate my 26th wedding anniversary and how God answers prayers.

Below is is an entry into my first prayer journal from June 29, 1985.

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Greg and I met in Austin at the North Forty, through friends ten days after this post.  The night before, on August 16th, my friend Becky prayed with me for my best friend.

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I cherish that I can see my heart on these pages.  I know the date that we first said ‘I love you.’

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And I know when we first prayed together.

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Prayed in and prayed through, our marriage is a divine appointment.  Now, I pray for my children’s future marriages that they too will have the honor and joy of living life for Him with their divine someone.

 

 

 

 

HOPE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD

 

HOPE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD post in MyRedJournals blog--my journals with God since 1983

Liza as Joanie in the musical “Waltzin’ Matilda” at Lucas Christian Academy, 2006.  Joanie is a traveling companion with Matilda, who are both on a journey to leave their familiar, loving homes to discover more about life.  They find out that they need God to protect them and that His love is enough.

Hope is addicting.  It keeps you going.  You look for it everywhere and will accept the tiniest morsel.  You can put your hope in many  things–people, nature–but those do not have an eternal, non-ending supply of hope.  Those will fail and fall short eventually and they don’t have your best interest at heart.  To some, believing in the unknown is any bad four-letter word ready to spew us out like sour milk.  To others, hope is l-o-v-e.  Undying devotion to a divine promise.

I believe I was born with hope.  I don’t have a wiz-bang, up-from-the-ashes conversion testimony.  I’m pretty boring when it comes to that.  I’m more of a day-to-day, one-on-one, live-my-simple-life-as-best-as-I-can-with-Jesus kind of testimony.  I’ve always believed in Jesus–His story, love, hope, and heaven.  And I look for Him and what He’s doing everywhere.  I want to know what He wants my part in His plan to be at that moment.  That is adventurous living in my book.

The journal entries below are me praying to God and Him giving me hope through His Word.  At the time of these entries, it is my family’s one-year anniversary of no job and hope was our only income.  Here, hope is manifested in my new job, Greg’s next interview, and God’s promise for restoration and blessings.  With hope, the outcome is always unknown, but the possibility of what God will do in the process is exciting and endless.

Monday, January, 13, 2003

Another good morning.  Purpose ensues.  I pray for continued awareness of my immediate purpose.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Thank You, Lord for taking me to Lucas Christian Academy.  I was hired yesterday and it is clear that Your hand is over this.  Thank You.  Please let me let go & let You lead me through to find the right script first of all and then guide through each step that follows.

The sun shines today.  My heart is glad & I can’t wait to tell of Your amazing story with me!

Yes, I continue to pray for Greg & his career opportunity.  Please continue to progress his opportunity with Perot.  Please alter Darcy’s opinion of Greg to a positive.  Open his mind to see Greg’s accomplishments & possibilities.

We pray for swift movement with the Perot job for us.

In Your awesome power all is attainable!

Amen

Friday, Janauary 24, 2003

Could today be the day?  Could today be the beginning of our end & beginning?

Dear Lord–How and what do I pray for now?  I have continually asked & repented & given for over a year.  I have learned considerable patience to the point where everything in life is bland.  No need to get excited if it’s all going to dash–just wait.  That is not me.  I’m a passionate person.

Smiles are frequent usually, dancing unexpectedly is common & expected quite frankly.  I have grown closer to You, but I’ve become a different person.  I’m calm, but boring.  I’m yearning, but not obviously.  I’m here, but mute.  Can we strike a balance?  I want all the changes You’ve made in me, but I need to dance, Jesus.  I need to dance from deep down within.  With an obvious spring well of Your love from You.  I won’t be quiet!  I’ll praise You to everyone at every turn!  Bless me today Lord with all of the blessings that You have been preparing all this time!

I pray that You prepare the hearts & minds of the men &/or women of Perot that who will meet with Greg today at lunch.  PLEASE let them spark at Greg’s opportunities & his potential for positive leadership & growth for Perot.  Move like a freight train, Lord!

A miracle on 24th Jan because…”all has ended now.  The weeping of July, August, October and January have ended…your baskets will overflow.”

So much is riding on You Jesus.  It’s been You only that we’ve relied on, please let everyone know that You are there for them too because You were there for us.

Amen  (continued Jan. 24th)

I am quiet to hear You.  Clear-headed.  Quiet.

I had read Exodus 16 this morning (I began reading the Bible in  a year) about You feeding the Isrealites with ‘manna from heaven.’  I also continued reading the books of the prophets.  In Haggai 2 (after the previous chapter saying that August was not the right time to rebuild) You said, (3) “October remembers the temple as it was before…beautiful it will be again.  Then, in December (10) You said that what was done before as a ‘service’ to You was wrong, but that it is (15) all is different now, you have begun to rebuild the temple. (16) Whereas before You expected a 20-bushel crop, there were only ten. (18,19) But now note this:  From today, this 24th day of the month, as the foundation of the Lord’s temple is finished & from this day onward, I will bless you.  Notice, I am giving you this promise even before you have begun to rebuild the Temple structure & before you have harvested the grain.”

Then in the next book of Zechariah 3:7-10, “The Lord Almighty declares: ‘If you will follow the paths I set for you and do all I tell you to, then I will put you in charge of my temple, to keep it holy…Don’t you see?–Joshua represents my servant the Branch whom I will send.  He will be the Foundation Stone of the Temple that Joshua is standing beside & I will engrave this inscription seven times: I WILL REMOVE THE SINS OF THIS LAND IN A SINGLE DAY.  And after that, the Lord Almighty declares, ‘You will live in peace & prosperity & each of you will own a home of your own where you can invite your neighbors.'”

The 4th chapter describes visions that angels gave Zecheriah about the (2) ‘gold lamp stand holding 7 lamps & at the top there is a reservoir for the olive oil that feeds the lamps flowing into them from 7 tubes.’ (11) Then Zecheriah asked the angel about the ‘two olive trees on each side of the lamp stand & about the 2 olive branches that emptied oil into gold bowls through 2 gold tubes (13) ‘Don’t you know?’ the angel asked. ‘No sir,” I (Zech) said.  (14) Then he told me, ‘They represent the 2 anointed ones who assist the Lord of all the earth.’

There are more visions in Chapters 5 & 6.  Chpater 7 tells to keep all promises of God; follow His commands exactly or it will all deplete.  And finally, Chapter 8 leads to God being angry at what everyone has done wrong to her (Jeruselum).  The Lord Almighty says, ‘Get on with the job & finish it!  You have been listening long enough!  For since you began laying the foundation of the Temple, the prophets have been telling you about the blessings that await you when its finished.  Before the work began there were no jobs, no wages, no security.’

It ends with the 11-23 verses about the end of fasting & the promised prosperity!!!

So sayeth the Lord to me this morning.  Thank You, Jesus.  I pray to You humbly, excitedly & with great ancipatoon.

I pray for courage with accepting Your answer & for abiding Your commands exactly forever.

I dance for You!

 

I Wish ‘S” was for SuperWoman

Greg & I always said throughout our journey that we walked around with an ‘S’ on our forehead.  We just seemed stupid.  How does a family of five, living month-to-month in an apartment with no jobs keep doing what we were doing?  We were 10+ months into this journey, which started when Greg was laid off from his job in Canada.  We were able to finish the school year there, move back to Frisco, Texas, enroll the kids back into school and keep searching for a job.  We both looked for jobs, believe me.  But we both prayed fervently about what & where God wanted us to go.  Did He ever say ‘Go get a job at Lowe’s or be a waitress’?  No.  Did He ever say, ‘Don’t put the kids into costly activities, such as dance and karate?  No.  Did He ever say, ‘Don’t get that car because of what others might think’?  No.  We asked!  Over and over we asked about each step, each purchase or non-purchase–should we or shouldn’t we.  We followed God’s direction every step of the way.  But His direction, as usual, isn’t typical and surely isn’t what the average Joe would say is right.

Doing life without a job & a family according to the world goes like this–1) take any job you can get; humble yourself completely, degrade yourself, if necessary; work long, menial hours; 2) wear a long face; worry incessantly; turn to other pleasures to get you through; 3) anger and bitterness are allowed because the situation sucks and there’s no end in sight; 4) certainly don’t spend money on anything other than absolute necessities, which of course includes activities for the kids; 5) always have something to tell family of your job search progress.

Ahhhhh!!!  Just typing all that makes me crazy!  It suckers me into the angst and lonely feelings that were always lurking and which I had to pray out constantly.

Peace beyond understanding looks like you’re wearing an ‘S’ on your forehead.  You must be stupid for not worrying.  You must be stupid for spending money you don’t have on that.  Here’s the worst–not being able to plan.

People would ask, ‘What are your plans this summer?”

My response–“I don’t know.”

Or, “Where are the kids going to school next year?”

“I don’t know.”

“Would you like to go on this family trip this fall?”

“I don’t know.”

And I didn’t know.  And I don’t know now.  Only God knows.  We pray and plan as much as we can, but always it’s God who tells us our next steps.  During the journey He would only tells us just prior to taking the step where that step would be…and we had to be okay with that.

So if ‘Stupid is as stupid does,’ then call me stupid in love with my Savior.

My Red Journals continues…

Friday, November 15, 2002

Lord, all details of the job search, the play, school & illnesses are spinning out of control.  My head is swimming and I can’t keep up.  So now, I just stop and breathe and look to You.  Calm, calm.  Breathe.  Try to clear my mind and listen to You.  Lord, simplify, clarify and beautify.  All that I’m doing I think I’m doing ultimately for You.  Please make sure that I am.  Only You can solve all of these details & clear my head to make sense of it all.

Dear Jesus, our main concern right now is Liza.  I discovered two small lumps on the side of her throat on Wednesday morning.  Lord, please send us to a doctor to have Liza seen so that we may dissolve all fear.  Lord, take the lumps away.  Heal our daughter.

Lord, Jesus, I gave my children and Greg up to You back many, many months ago.  I know that they’re a wonderful gift from You and I have the incredible gift of sharing my life with them.  But, oh Lord, help me to know what to say.  DON’T!  STOP! It’s all too much!  I love YOU!  Don’t You see?!  Don’t test me this way!  This journey’s path is reaching into the darkness of the woods!  Turn me back on the path with the sun.  Heal her, heal her, heal her and me.

Thank You for Your word, which says to me right now, “The Lord says, ‘Don’t be afraid!  Don’t be paralyzed by this mighty army!  For the battle is not yours, but God’s!”  2 Chronicles 20:15

Feed my soul with Your words.  Take over my thoughts & actions.  Take this craziness from me & leave only PEACE.  Let me see all obstacles & solutions through Your eyes.  Hold me.  Hold Liza.  Carry us through today.

November 25, 2002

I give thanks today for all that You have made possible for all that You have made possible for the Christmas musical!  The props will be done & the set completed (with a lot more work!) & they look fabulous!  Thank You for all of the help!  Thank You for the vision coming to life!  Thank You for Jenn, Helen & Lisa & the entire cast for being so gun-ho for all of my crazy ideas!

I pray now for all of those seekers that our church members might bring to the pay that they might hear all the good news about Jesus.  Please put the play on the hearts of many to come & be changed!  Your will be done.

Lord, now I pray for this other job opportunity with Oracle.  Please, put Your plan in motion.  Please, put Greg in the minds of the key decision makers with Oracle.  We know that the end of this journey will climax with an unfathomable answer.  We wait, once again, patiently, confidently, and expectantly for You.  Your will be done.

Finally, I pray for grace for each of us in this family.  Grace with one another & towards others.  We should act as You would.

Amen

December 3, 2002

So much to do.  Today I pray for so much:  focus, energy, health, productivity, control of frustrations, but first, I come to You to breathe.  Let me pause in Your presence.  Let me feel Your arms take hold.  I want to relinquish all control to You.  How quickly evil wants to take hold, even with the work that I’m doing for You.  Wash out all evil & down thoughts.  Place Your blessings on me.  “Our God is an awesome God!”

Lord, I pray for all facets of the play. Please prepare hearts for those coming to see the play, especially for those I’ve been asked to pray for, the Waltons & the Harmons.  Please be with these families.  Bring them to the play safely.  Plant seeds of Your message, water unyielding growth & sprout saplings into sturdy plants with deep roots in You.  Thank You for the opportunity for all that You would have me do.

You just gave me an idea for a poem “My Gift.”  You just make me sing!

Please be with Jenn, Helen & Lisa & thank You for them.

Amen

Thursday, January 9,2003

Dear Lord Jesus,

I am in awe of Your wondrous power.  I have begun reading the Bible-in-a-year with The Daily Bread & have read the creation in Genesis & am amazed once again.  Dumbfounded that what I take for granted every day was nothing til You breathed it into being.

Now, I am awed at how You are working Your plan for our family.  God, these past few weeks, well, most of December, has been very difficult.  We have cried out ENOUGH!  You know where we stand: no job prospects, all monies due (storage $530, car insurance $1,000, dance costume fees $360, tax prep for 2001 $999 & the list of usuals).

Spring in this apartment would be devastating!  Claustrophobic!  Saying “I don’t know” to every question about our immediate future is excruciatingly OLD!  Greg & I appear as if we are doing nothing!  There is no plan B, as my mom keeps suggesting!  We are solely relying on You!  We know You’ll come through, Lord.

So we’re into the fourth day since the end of the holidays & You are moving.  You are advancing the Perot proposition.  We are praying for Greg’s name to be in the minds of the decision makers at Perot.  That’s #1 of the Miracle 1, 2, 3 prayer.  #2, we pray for the house on St. James in Lucas & #3 allow us to transfer the kids to McKinney or wherever is the right place for them.

Perot is moving along.  Greg received confirmation that he’s in the running again.  Hallelujah.  The Lucas house is still available.  And now, through the Christmas play, You have presented a small opportunity for me at Lucas Christian Academy.  I met with the headmaster Wednesday & observed the class–a production class where I can do anything I want!  Everything sounds great & I’ll get paid for 2 official hours that I’d work at the school.

My main concern is the number of volunteer hours I would put in again for this job.  I don’t want to do this unless I give 100% effort & creativity.  For the past 11 years, I’ve volunteered & donated our money for so many causes.  I’ve always wanted to, gladly, but I’ve been ready for a while now to get paid for my abilities.  That’s the big drawback, but I’m saying ‘yes.’  You have handed this to me on a solver platter, in Lucas, 10 minutes from the Lucas house.  I’m stepping into this with faith, as I should.   So here is my prayer.  Lord, guide me with these kids.  Give me the right show to help them to grow & mature.  Lead through me.  Be my hands, feet & tongue.  Please grow this opportunity into others, bigger, more far-reaching, evangelizing Your name to the masses.  Thank You for leading me to this school & for knitting together all of these details of our lives into the perfect package.  I hold fast to Zecheriah 8:11-23 that our times of mourning from July, August, October & January have ended.”

I have just read parts of the books prior to Zecheriah, which are Habbakuk (which started this journey) then Zephaniah, Haggai & Zecheriah.  In Haggai 2:18-19, You say “From today, this 24th day of the month…I will bless you…From this day I will bless You.”  I know this is Your promise of fruit abundant, that the end has come!  Thank You oh heavenly Father for guiding me all the way!  Through questions & despair, but never questioning You on the final outcome!

You have filled my heart with gladness!

Amen

My Perfect Life in a Red Gift Box

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This is not me, of course. But I daydreamed everyday about how God would save us.

If I were to write the concluding scene depicting my husband being awarded a job, us moving into a house and all that comes with it, it would be dramatic, have sweeping images underlined by grand music, and would bring an audience to tears and amazement.  So many times throughout our 3 years of unemployment, I wrote scenarios in my head of how Greg would get a job after a promising interview.  I imagined the looks on all our faces, the jumping up and down of celebrations, and the heavy sighs of relief.  Then I would quickly make a mental list of all the details that would need to get done–find/buy a house, make arrangements to get stuff out of storage, notify the apartment complex, transfer phone, electric & utilities.  I would even try to figure out how to help the kids adjust to the changes, keeping their schoolwork, dance and karate going without a hitch.  I could doing all that in a quick five minutes of daydreaming after Greg called to say his interview went great.

DO NOT PONTIFICATE.  That was a big lesson for me.  God taught me that we could not pontificate what He would do.  It’s easy to say that God’s plans are always better than our own, but living it day to day is way different.  Especially since God gave me this mind that likes to daydream, organize and loves surprises.  If I were God, I would present long-awaited answers in a big red box with a silk white ribbon; everyone would stand at the gift with hopeful, relieved eyes, inhaling with anticipation, much as a woman does when presented with a Tiffany teal box.  There would be a flash mob of impromptu music and dancing, kids being lifted on shoulders, giddiness, praising, and fireworks.  I had that mental party many, many times.

But God taught Greg and I that He wants everything from us, even our rambling thoughts.  He wants our all of our energies to go to Him, not trying to figure out what we can not figure out.  Pontificating goes both ways, too.  We can not try to figure out how good things will happen, nor can we contemplate all the negatives.  We can not think about where our next meal  will come from, how we will pay for the rent in six months, or what if one of us comes down with an illness without insurance.  Those thoughts are not of God.  God does not instill worry or fear.

Now, of course, we must be wise and plan.  Through daily prayer and study we ask for God’s guidance and He gives it.  And the knowing that you have that a thought is God’s will, and not just a pontification, is very clear.  And if it’s not, pray for confirmation.  If you get confirmation that you should do something, then, by golly, you’d better do it.

Life is easier without pontificating.  Like the birds and flowers, we don’t worry about the necessities of life.  We stick close to God, ask for direction and have courage to follow through with it.

I do dream, however, which is waaaayyyy different than pontificating.  God gives me my dreams–I imagine He puts them in big red boxes with white satin ribbons.  And we act on the dreams together; step by step, verse by verse, prayer by prayer with no uncertainties and a blanket of excited peace.

October 29, 2002

With renewed strength, provided continually by You, I look towards today with great anticipation.  Thank You for the help I’m getting with props for the musical.  Daryla & Becky are great helping out.  I pray for them both.  Please bless their talents You gave them to be used for Your glory & to ignite them inside to in turn do more for You.

Thank You for all of the teacher conferences we’ve had.  I bust with pride how all of their teachers boast how wonderful they are.  It is only through You that they continue to thrive during all of this unknown.

Amen

November 4, 2002

Good morning!  Dear Lord, so may times I could have written incredible scenarios of answers to a job & our future with amazing miracles that would make fabulous stories & testimonies.  Now, after many things not working out, my mind is blank & I believe You want it that way.  You want me to let You do the work.  You have broken this horse & I am submitting.  Whatever Your plans & whenever You enact them (of course, I know it’s in process already) I know it’s the right thing for me, our family & those Christians & non-Christians who are watching.

Thank You for our safe trip to & from Austin.  Thank You for the girls working & learning so hard at the Tremaine dance convention this weekend.  Thank You for the door being opened by Greg to grow the relationship with Jill.  Thank You for finding the karate school for Cody.  He loves it & it’s just what he needs.  You are incredible.

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Jesus, Holy Spirit, You have lifted my spirit & fed my soul.  I praise You for Your provision in so many ways.  Thank You for the money we put in the bank; overpaid taxes, expense check & EDS paying for our storage through December!

Lord & I pray for Ron Smit & his wife.  Ron has been out of work as long as we have & now his wife just got laid off.  Please comfort them & help them on their journey with You.  Please put them in the minds of others so that they will find work.  Lord, please continue to bless Mimi, John & the kids.  I pray that their talents & passion for You will be used for Your glory & their fulfillment.  I also pray for Wesley as he is making decisions for his future.  Please send him people who will lead him to You & prepare a fruitful future.  Thank You now for what You are doing & will do throughout our church & country with the 40 days campaign.  I pray for memorization of Bible verses, the play, my choreography & Lara’s.

Thank You for the sun today.  The continual rain was adding to any morsel of depression.  It’s off to make props for a show about You!

Amen

Thursday, November 7, 2002

Dear Lord, You have given a realization to me today.  All of these trials & this journey is not for the reward of a job, house & the end & even to be closer to You.  I am to go through this to receive Your rewards in heaven, living eternally with You!  It’s so simple, but difficult for my human heart to absorb.  My pink and beating heart is full for You.  I suffer here to be closer now & in Your arms forever.

Lord, through this journey with You, I pray that I am changing as You want me to change, I am enduring as You want me to endure & I am learning as You want me to learn.

Monday, November 4, 2002

Right now, I feel much too busy & preoccupied to pray.  Busyness for the play, necessities at home are taking me in all directions.  Please calm my ancie needs.  I can’t accomplish any of the many things today without You!  I could run around like a chicken with my head cut off or I could breathe, talk with You & calmly let US handle the day.

Thank You for the woman at Hancock Fabrics for giving us the 40% discount on fabrics.  You arranged it all!

Lord, I pray that the joy I’m having in helping with the play & in serving You is being perceived as such.  I want to keep my focus on You & others.

Thank You so much for all of my friends at church;  May You give me more opportunities to help them.

Lord, please be with Liza today.  She’s feeling a little under the weather.  Please lift her up to You, taking aches from her back & throat.  And lift her spirits from the monotony she feels with our current surroundings.

In Your powerful name I pray.

Amen

Brat Attack!

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Brat attack!  These journal entries cry, scream & kick up a tantrum storm.  Much like this picture (click pic to view larger) , where my daughter, Lena, stands center, performing with her dance troupe, Collin Dance Ensemble in 2011, God can take us acting like a total brat.  Sometimes we just have to spew out, “I can’t take it anymore!”  And God can take it.  He knows how we feel.  He allows us to scream from the heart.  A good cry is cathartic to the soul, albeit puffy for the eyes.

I leave these entries without much intro except to say that, much like reading Revelations, know that we win in the end.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Bad news last Friday.  Why.  Why are we constantly so close & then it’s all dashed?!  I feel despair & hope at the same time.  I still believe in Your miracles, but can’t believe we still have to live with the unknown & the monotony for however long now.  All of our prospects seem lost the money only goes out.  Greg is hanging on just above despair.  i am so proud to be his wife & to go through this together with us both looking to You & for setting an example.

Jesus, please work Your miracles.  Depression is creeping all around.  The cheerleader in me is tired.  The concoctions of hope I have been so sure of these past 9 months seem true one minute & then crazed just the next.

Why are our kids put through this continual lingering?  We live on the edge each moment; each phone call; that we may finally release & rejoice & have the festivals You spoke of in Zechariah.

For now…I unload the dishwasher do the endless laundry help & cajole the homework, work on the play–thank You for the play–& YES, HAVE HOPE…LOOK TO YOU.  Praise Your gifts to me…even today…and I pray again to You, dear Jesus.

Today, Jesus, please banish despair in me, in Greg, in the kids (if they’re feeling it).  Today, Jesus, work Your miracles & let me have Your eyes to see them.

Amen

P.S.  In reading past entries, I realize I need to say a praise…for Lena’s ignite of will to learn & succeed.  She got a 98 on a math quiz retake!  You are with her!  Lord, please help us to figure out how we can get Cody involved in something physical.  It is very obvious that he needs to exert energy daily & that his mood desperately needs it.

Thank You!

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Lord, do You see my out-stretched hand?  Your child is crying!  Hear my prayer!  I need Your miracles!  We need Your miracles.  Desperation is all around.  I can identify with the urgency of the Psalmist, “crying & gnashing of teeth.”  I am like Moses now, grey with a long beard, ready to come off the mountain!  Bless me.  Save me.  Bless me.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

It is difficult not to have hope.  You are here, there is hope.  Frustration tired of not knowing and waiting are beyond done; occasionally, actually often, senile laughter about it all helps, but there is always hope.  Actually hope, concrete, factual hope, No.

No leads, no possible job calls, no interviews.  But a hope in my heart.  Dear Lord, please actualize that heart-filled hope.  Make real the plan I know You have tucked in my heart & in Greg’s heart.  Today, today, today.  Thank You, as always.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10 tells what we have & are going through.  We’ve run the gamut.  Even the “40 Days of Purpose” feels like I’ve ticked off each item on the daily list of soul-seeking questions.

We pray & work, we trust & prepare.

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October 21, 2002

Being completely honest today, Lord.  I’m irritated.  I’ve prayed & focused for so long that I’m tired!!!!  The race is long & the finish line keeps being pulled away!  I’m tired!  i want to get on with the next thing!   I’ve got it!  I’ve learned!  Great!  Now let me make my list, get after accomplishing it & get my family moved!  ENOUGH!!!!

Why test me to my utter exhaustion?  Doesn’t the enemy torture his opponent & grin at his despair!  Take me from under Your thumb!!  Hold me in Your arms…carry me through.  You tell me to pray continually.  Well, are you deaf?!  Are You a child who must be told repeatedly?!

I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  Please forgive me, oh God!  Give me peace.  Let my prayers ring of praise, praise, praise!  Please.

October 24, 2002

As hard as I try I cannot not love You.  Tear me down  Be silent.  Push my patience to the very edge…I still praise Your Holy Name!  I have loved & praised You always.  I never remember not loving, knowing & believing.  Why should I stop now?

I don’t get all that is going on.  And I know that You weep for me.  But, I trust You & I still know that You have a plan for me & my family; a plan so incredible that I cannot fathom it.  I can’t conjure up images & scenarios of the possibilities–that was my former, young Christian self.  Now that I am speeding (ha ha!) through my teen years, I am maturing & getting closer to You.  I have reactions like a spoiled brat, I kick, scream & storm away, but I really want Your embrace & assurance that everything will be okay.

“Our God is an awesome God.  He reigns from heaven above.  With wisdom, power & love.  Our God is an awesome God!”

Gemstones in the Wasteland

Liza, senior portrait ala Hollywood glam per her acting career choice.  Her heart for her Savior is exquisite.

Liza, senior portrait ala Hollywood glam per her acting career choice. Her heart for her Savior is exquisite.

Liza's 1st day of 5th grade-same age she gave her heart to Christ.

Liza’s 1st day of 5th grade-same age she gave her heart to Christ.

Liza in a church youth play; she's holding the pot lid that has the boy's lines tape onto them for a little assistance.

Liza in a church youth play; she’s holding the pot lid that has the boy’s lines tape onto them for a little assistance.

Read today’s blog and it seems that God was answering all of our long-awaited prayers.  And according to these journal entries, He was..a job after a year of searching, moving back to Texas from Canada into a month-to-month apartment and now preparing us to move into our dream home & a good school.  But none of this came true.  Not that job, that house or that school.

God had a much better plan.  His plan, always at work, included so much more than the paychecks and mortar (of course, I shouldn’t worry about such things and should do as the flowers and birds and know that God will provide water, food and shelter).  We were by no means hungry, in danger or roofless.  But, come on!  A year!  We had been job hunting, living in a temporary state of the unknown, clinging to God’s every word for so long.  We called our Frisco apartment ‘John’s cell’ where we were dependent on God in a hovel.  And we kept telling our kids ‘God is gonna, God is gonna’.  Ok, so go already!

And then the apparent end is in sight!  All questions answered in a neat package.  The next blog post will show that wasn’t true.  

Now, way on the other side of ‘the journey,’  God’s plan was perfection, as always.  So rich.  Full of gems that couldn’t be unearthed without the wasteland.  Like my Liza’s Jesus moment in 5th grade (see below).  She gave her heart to Jesus while she lay in the bedroom she shared with Lena and their matching butter yellow matellasse coverlets.  That isn’t the only time she committed.  Lena and Liza describe how they went forward (or actually down the multiple flights of stairs and onto the arena floor) at a Billy Graham event at Texas Stadium as grade schoolers and publicly accepted Jesus.  Don’t we honestly accept Him over and over?  Like a child, we say ‘yes’ every time.

Liza’s heart for Jesus now is exquisite.  She has believed since she was little and then her fire blazed strong the summer before college.  So much like Greg, she is a quick study & has taken every nuance God has taught her, internalized it and put it to quick action.   She is what I call ‘a kamikaze prayer warrior.’  She’ll pray with anyone she sees needs prayer, diving in, ready to give of herself completely for the Cause.  Oh Lord, cover her as she does Your bidding.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

All that Greg and I could say yesterday was “You are awesome!”  We saw the house on St. James again Monday & Tuesday and it feels right.  The realtor showed us homes that were bigger, more nooks & crannies, more trees, but this house is the one You planned for us.  Our miracle home.  It has a future.  We can create our own style with this land & home.  We feel that settling anywhere else would be going against what You have made clear is what’s right for us.  We want to honor You & do what is asked of us & offered to us.

And then there’s the schools.  After last’s week’s phone call with Lena’s math teacher, many concerns & questions created panic in my heart.  So I checked on all of our options.  Private schools are not around–not Christian without uniforms & not close enough.  I’ve thought through home schooling and still know that it’s not for us.  So McKinney is it.  We were thrilled to find that Lena will be going to a new Jr. High. But the elementary for Liza and Cody is where You worked Your wonders.  The school that we saw was disgusting.  After no other options being available, we went to look again & found the other new, remodeled side.  Wow!  And then we met the Principal.  She is going to be a God-send.  I asked You while in the office of that school to change my heart & You did.  So much so that I am excited.  In fact, we get to pick their teachers!  You are awesome.  Thank You.  Thank You.  Thank You!  I want to tell everyone our testimony about how You worked everything.  We asked the mountain to move with only our faith because You said we could.  Ask in faith, confidence & assuredness.  Ask continually, unwavering & steadfast.  Believe through it all.  Call on the Comforter all the while.  Dismiss all doubt around you.  Cling to you Christian friends.  Read the Word.  Let my Friend guide as He wishes and be awed that even after all of these blessings coming to fruition, all because we asked to serve & believed, that He still has more incredible plans for our lives.  For my life.  “And I say Wow!”

Where’s the highest mountain that I may shout “Hallelujah!”  and spread Your message?!  Oh, that I might bring someone to Christ.  Please.

Monday, September 30, 2002

Lord, tell me what to pray for.  We wait again.  Everything is lined up–the house, mortgage, schools; we just need the contract on the job.

Jesus said, through Paul, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

So we continue to be very thankful for all that You have done & will do.  We will pray over & over for Your will to be done.  We remain steadfast in You.  I am finite, You are infinite.  I am weak and need Your energy to keep going & praying.  I am submissive to Your will.

Lord Jesus, I pray for Your guiding hand over the choreography of the musical today.  I always look so forward to creating for You; spending a Holy Spirit-filled time with You.  The high that I get from You working through me is outstanding & incredible.  This time I need to give more public thanks to You for Your gifts.  I pray for Your presence today.  I pray for focus.  I pray for organization.  I pray for creativity!  Through You I can do anything!

I pray to be an active listener & not a passive listener of You.

In Jesus’ name

Amen

Monday, October 7, 2002

Dear Lord, I have so much to be thankful for this day  What a wonderful weekend full of laughter and celebrations.   First & foremost, a ‘Yea God’ for answered prayer #1: as quoted from Liza about me, “You were a messenger.”  Yesterday You taught Liza a valuable lesson to ‘let go & let God’ and You let me be the messenger of the good news!

For the past two weeks, Liza has been in an awful mood.  Last night was the final straw & I left her in her room to calm down.  Later when I went to check on her, as You told me to instead of unloading the dishwasher, I had a revelation.  you helped me to realize that all the frustrations & struggles Liza was going through these past few weeks was due to Liza trying to solve all of her problems herself & not letting You do it for her.  Wow!  Once I told her all of that, her beautiful big eyes wet with tears, got ‘it’ & truly understood that there is no way without You.  She prayed & gave it all up to You.  Thank You. Now I will pray again that You give Liza peace over what she can’t control & please guide her path of her life & Your purpose for her.  Take her struggles away.  Thank You for teaching her that angst feeling of the devil trying to do it all so that next time she can stop again & pray ‘Let go & let God!”

Then, Lord Jesus, Lena asked to talk because she feels left out.  Liza just had a ‘yea God’, Cody got baptized & Greg & I are walking with You.  Lord, she’s on the edge ready to commit to You.  She said she knows fear is in her way from accepting You in her heart.  Oh, Lord, work on her heart.  Push the devil far away.  Help her to this defining moment that she will give all of herself to You.  Just now, you reminded me of something You have taught me about Lena through those past 11 years; Lena always gives an initial indication that ‘the big step’ is going to happen at any moment & then it doesn’t happen until moths later (such as taking her first step, potty training, reading, learning multiplication, commitment to dance).  You are telling me to be patient…again.  Okay.  I trust You & pray that You take all fear away, far, far away.  And thank You for giving Greg & I the words to talk with Lena about accepting You.  Lord, Greg & I both prayed that we could help bring someone to You , but we didn’t know it would be our own daughter.  Thank You.  On my knees, thank You.

THE CHRISTMAS POST, 2002 set Greg built & I partially designed.  There's a revolving door to Herzog's Department store & the 2 side pieces rotate for other scenes.

THE CHRISTMAS POST, 2002 set Greg built & I partially designed. There’s a revolving door to Herzog’s Department store & the 2-sided pieces rotate for other scenes.

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Half pouffe for the store lobby & half fountain for outdoor scenes, with working water:)

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This half is the Sporting Goods Dept.; the other side is a Christmas tree (see in the full set pic). So much love & time given to all the sets Greg & I did together for our church at the private school.  We would do it all over again.

Finally, thank You for all that You gave me for the musical.  We are cooking!  You were all over the weekend, & prior, to put together some awesome stuff for the play.  And we had a blast learning, as usual.  Laugh, laugh, laugh!  You are awesome! Amen.

Today’s Dailey Bread led me here to Zechariah 8:11-23.  It’s a long one, but here are Your main points:  12 “For I am sowing peace & prosperity among you.  Your crops will prosper, the grapevines will be weighted down with fruit; 13…For now ‘Judah’ is a word of blessing, not a curse.  ‘May you be as prosperous as Judah is,’ they’ll say.  14,15 …I did what I said I would…16 Here is your part:  Tell the truth.  Be fair.  Live at peace with everyone.  18 Here is another message that came to me from the Lord Almighty: 19The traditional fasts & times of mourning you have kept in July, August, October and January are ended  They will be changed to joyous festivals if you love truth & peace!”

The rest of the scripture talks of people from around the world going to Jerusalem to attend theses celebrations.  I feel You are telling me to replace ‘your house’ with ‘Jerusalem.’  That we will be immensely blessed and will bless others.  Thank You, thank You.  Praise You, oh heavenly Father!  You woke me up at 5:30am “Get up!  There is so much to be thankful for!  Let’s go!

“And I say, Wow!”