Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

August 15, 1987
25 years ago, on August 15th, (in the morning)  I quickly drove home to pick up Trevor and Nathan as they were the little ring bears and they had to get their tux's. I did not stick around long to do much of anything else, the barn doors were open, and I could hear my dad milking in the barn.  Very distinct sound!    And the day began.  25 years ago it was a VERY hot Wisconsin day.  Getting ALL 8 of my siblings there and my parents was a feat, as they each had a part in the wedding party!   25 years ago, I am sure I called home more than once  to make sure everyone was 'ok' and on their way to the church - I had planned the wedding to be AFTER the cows had to be milked but way before the evening chores!  25 years years ago, with family and friends we said some vows. 

Now, I don't think I married my best friend 25 years ago - I don't think I knew how to be a real friend.  In grade school I would have one best friend or two best friends, like Wendy and Rene, but if I missed school the next day, when I returned-- Leah and Wendy were best pals, Rene was now friends with Maggie and I got 'stuck' with Jennifer.  Oh - how cruel this sounds.  So....25 years ago, I married a  good looking friend.   Whom now, I can say....is becoming MY BEST friend

He was the most handsome guy I knew.
 I know I had BIG dreams for our lives together - such expectations.
I knew I loved him dearly -  dearly .
And I was so excited to begin this NEW life together. 

I had NO idea of how young we really were. 
WE had NO money.
I had NO idea of how to communicate or even be 'married' other than what I saw on TV and what I witnessed around me.  However, I had GOOD teachers.

Our lives began.

25 years is a LONG time, but yet  when I was looking for some photos ( other than seeing how YOUNG we look) it seems like it has been about  -- maybe 10-15 years....

There was college, student teaching, moving to Florida, apartment life, the arrival of Taylor, building a house, and then Hunter...and so on and so on. 
Family trips, Christmas Trees, and every August another anniversary would roll around in the middle of us both trying to set up a classroom for school to begin. 

And there were other weddings..... This photo was at year 17...at Trevor and Marcie's wedding.  Happy Years! 

Oh my, this was in 1997, at prom....Happy 10th Anniversary!    Happy Years!  We look like babies!

Here is 24.5 years....last December - new bike, new hobbie, new memories! 
Tomorrow is no different, as I 'blog' this on the eve of....tomorrow is our 25th wedding anniversary.  It is a milestone in the world -- a QUARTER of a century....it really is just another day. 

A day I am very thankful for.

Psm. 27.14 says: Rely on the Lord!  Be strong and confident!  Rely on the Lord! 

25 years later, I think I know what it means now to be married and how HARD it really is, whether you celebrate year #2, 5, 7, 13 or even 18!!   My parents celebrated year #46 this year.  Brendan's folks celebrated year #51.....by God's Grace. 

I pray we live long enough to see our children celebrate their 25th...If the Lord tarries. 

I am very thankful for the past 25 years - ALL of them, even the harder ones.  Life is not easy, praise God for Jeremiah 29.11....for I know the plans I have for you, "to prosper you and not to harm you - to give you hope and a future".....

25 years later, he is STILL the most handsome guy I know.
I still have BIG dreams for us.
I know I love him dearly, but there is ONE big difference now, I love God more.  (BP is sort of 2nd)
I am more excited about the next 25 years...seriously! 

Now I realize HOW young we really were, and we both try and remember that!
WE still have no money...ha ha.
And I think finally after some time, we are finally figuring out how to really communicate! 

Happy Anniversary Brendan, I am VERY proud of you.

Matthew 6.14

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

when God confirms something 3x....

Praise God, in my bible study the other day, Beth Moore asked a question, "when is the last time you just fell onto your knees and was in complete AWE of HIM?"...

Last night would be one of those times.  My house was full of ladies fellowshipping and I was beaming ear to ear.

Last night when my man returned home and asked me to come and 'listen' to him.
Two weekends ago when I sat on my porch and just watched praise and worship music by myself.

This morning, my girl was bathing the little one of a dear family  - they entrusted their 3 year old to my girl, giving her full responsibility to care of her.  My girl was being Mom #2 to her. 

So Beth, it happens, often, but I just needed your reminder earlier this week.  That is one of the ways HE speaks to us - through you and others. 

And it happened just now, if I could, I would bow down right here in this spot, instead my eyes will fill with tears and I know that I know, HE is saying...I GOT this! 

Today, how Glorious ...Lord, you gave me this scripture again via different people and messages and I must share it: 

Isaiah 41.13
  For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, "Do not fear; I will help you.". 

Isaiah 41:10 
So do not fear, for I am with you do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

And Isaiah 49:16
" I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands!" 

Oh God.....3x today......THAT is YOUR word. 

GOD is our right hand......he is RIGHT.....thank you Lord, thank you for providing your Word that is a direct link to you.  I thank you, as you know, your scripture in Isaiah 49.16 held me together so often, just a few short years ago.  I literally had to visuaize you holding it up and picking me up.  And YOU did.  YOU do.  You  are!   And then the extra blessing of reading what Pam Tebow wrote on my card, from Psm. 16.8..."I will be your right hand".....so that is 4x. 

Someone needed this today - I did.  I believe BP did...so I posted.  That someone needs to know, HE has this, hang in there!   Humbled. 
Love you much Lord,

Saturday, August 4, 2012

manna = whatchamacallit

Oh, Lord, my fingers may not be able to type as fast as you are speaking to me now.
First off, I am sooooooooooooo sorry and humbled that you show me GREAT mercy and love.  Period.

Lord, I know I am to show that to others, and quite frankly it is EASY to do that when I am such a sinner and backslider myself....I am humbled. I see my imperfections and I am tired of trying to hide them.

Lord, I am confessing to You,  and writing to You today, but You already know my head and my heart;  but in my own frailty, it feels better to speak to You rather than the others I really need to confess too.

Who would I confess to? The people who think I am some sort of perfect person, which I am not.  I am really just tying my best to be real and live in a fallen world but focus on HIM instead of the world around me.  However, I fall short .....every day.   Everyday.

Lord, when Uou allowed  my ears to hear the 'sin' and my eyes were opened to my own sin, I grabbed a hold of you so fast and never let go.   THAT need, that HUNGER came in an instant.

 The past  2+ years have been the most hard, hurtful, and yet BEST years of my life.  I have needed you so much.

When I think of what had to happen so that I would finally WANT YOU Lord, again, I am humbled.

 I  longed to see your face, hear your voice and just be held by you.  And Lord, YOU did.  YOU showed up.  You allowed me to see Your face in others, in Your word, and  that time at my Encounter too, I still believe I got to see the glow of your Presence.

 Lord, I have heard You too, through others, through situations, and through Your Holy Bible.  Lord, I have been held too, by others and their hugs, by Your Word, and by You through my husband.  You remind me Lord, every time I wake up now- he is there, and he pulls me close into him and I know that is YOUR way of reminding me, YOU are Lord.

But Lord, forgive me.  This summer I have had lots of time to do stuff, but mostly I have kept busy doing stuff that I believe was  for your kingdom.  And, I thought that was good.   I mean, I had to work, family stuff, and so forth, but my one on one  time with you had gotten put on the shelf.  My prayer time was still there, my praise and worship was still there, and there was bible study....but not God and Michelle time.   I knew it.  And I believe the Enemy knew it too.

 I mean, that quiet quiet time when I tell others, I need to be with God and alone.  When I actually say, 'no' I have to get something done instead of saying 'yes'.   Or, I get on Facebook or emails, or even my time when I send cards and write to people -- all good things, but it has crowded out my One on One time with YOU.

 That time when I just read your word to read your word.    (And You know who you used to speak that direct word to me - my Pastor - did he know he was speaking for You to me that day?)

That time was taken up by other stuff, and as I reflect as the summer is coming to a close - it has been one of the BEST summers in a long time.  So, I will not dwell and allow the Enemy to beat me up over what I did not realize - it was not intentional.    However, the Enemy has been able to get  me on   that roller coaster that we GOT off of... it sort of came back... within my head.  If that makes sense - well, it makes sense to YOU Lord.  It was not the BIG roller coaster - just a small one, like the "Whizzer" at Great America.  ...One that still goes up and down, but does not go upside down.  Ha ha.  Lord, thank you though....as YOU knew, what was going to transpire and what would make me go up and what would pull me back down and yet, through it all -- you have had another right there, showing me each and every day now, what was missing.

Your daily bread.

Yep--- Thank you for the Scripture in Exodus 16 and Numbers 11....again, some 2000+ years later, YOUR word is alive and active, and clearly showed me, convicted me, and blessed me of what needed to change.  It is me.

Lord, the Israelites would of starved if  You had not provided the manna.  I love how You use words.  Manna in Hebrew is translated whatness....Beth Moore says..whatchamacallit.  I  LOVE that.  We used that word over and over as a kid.  It was my Grandma's favorite word.  Every time I speak it, I think of her.  Lord, today, through Your word you taught me again, That YOU use the ordinary.  That YOU are pure and want a pure heart.  That YOU provide for today, no need to worry about tomorrow.

  ( This you know Lord, really hit me.  As I ponder and worry about our upcoming anniversary and want to 'celebrate' it in a worldly way -- but THAT is not what you asked of us.....  Just the fact it is our anniversary is CELEBRATION enough!  Enough.  To see a love rekindled..to see a relationship rebuilt and restored is present enough. To see a lost one turn around.   I am so sorry, I wanted my cake and wanted to eat it too.  Oh Lord, I am humbled.)

  Your word also taught me today that I do not need to know about tomorrow - YOU win.  Fourth, that You give according to the NEED.  And You illustrated that to me so perfectly. And, finally five,  You provide Great MERCY.  The Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt, they wanted to go back because they were not getting the 'blessings' they expected.  Oh Lord, forgive me.

And, it is all because I was not seeking you in just that SPECIAL quiet time.  YOU Lord, had been reminding me, often, all summer.  I guess, now when it CLEARLY hits me, and I confess -- Lord, keep me accountable.  But You knew that too.  How much mercy you show me.  I am so humbled.   I believe writing this out - keeps me accountable.  I want to be real before everyone and I believe many of us moms and wives get so battered down because we don't feel we 'measure' up to others -- I know I don't.  BUT your great mercy and grace....covers me. It covers ALL who SEEK HIM.

Lord, my time with you today will not be forgotten.  I will seek YOU out, ME and YOU time, and it won't be for naught!

I love you Lord, I thank you for great mercy and kindness....

Your grace is always sufficient and YOUR arms are always open to give it but will my arms be open to receive what YOU so graciously offer?  YES.  YES....YES.............

Lord, the world offers plenty of 'quail' to satisfy our hunger, but if we stuff ourselves without satisfaction...what good is it?  Only YOU can and YOUR provision can satisfy a starving soul.  I wish I could claim I thought of that -- that was Beth as You know...

I am the one that has to gather, for me...for me first and then I can be a whole person filled with Your grace and mercy and it will ..spill onto others.

 Lord, as you know, I want my light to shine so that others will know it is YOU --it has to be YOU.

Thank you Lord, for direct and special ME and YOU time today. I thank you for Brendan, Dave and the others who have ministered to me this summer and have brought me to this revelation.  And thank you for Beth Moore as she shared  an answer You gave her that directly answered my question.  May I always be one that SEEKS and gathers,  may I WANT that.  And Lord for the others around me, may they WANT it too.  As You will provide the manna.

Thank you for the whatchamacallit illustration.

I love you Lord. I love you with all of my heart.  I know that it is a pure love.  I know it is not just cause you have 'healed' me or 'restored'...it is cause YOU died for me, and all the extra stuff You bless me and us with ...is the cake.....is the manna....is what brings me just peace and JOY.

Beth Moore speaks how people would tell her, 'you will loose the zeal' and she replied, "NO LORD, may I never lose this".  

LORD...may I NEVER LOSE this....thinking of You and what you have done for me, still can bring tears to my eyes.  Beth Asked:  When was the last time you got on your knees in HIS presence and thanked HIM for what HE has done - Oh LORD, I did it today.

You are my BEST pal and confident.
I love You Lord.

- your beautiful daughter - Michelle

Thursday, August 2, 2012

..only be careful.. reflections before I start year #25!

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.  Teach them to your children and to their children after then. - Deuteronomy 4.9

I teach.
I am getting ready to begin year # 25.  That is almost some  500  lives I have been able to touch. 
I had the dream last week of waking up naked and hiding behind my bookshelves as the kids roll in for day number one.  That is the USUSAL dream I have every August.  It was followed this week with the dream that I am standing in my room, at home, with bins and bins and bins of clothes but nothing to put on as I can see the bus pulling up to my driveway to pick me up.  That same dream, each year it is a bit different.  I am getting ready. 
I see them  (my students) more during a 180 day period then some of their parents do.

Am I doing enough? 

I read a collection of a few papers today, some older dates, and noticed the arrest articles and a few other things.  I noticed a former student in the paper.  Arrested. I thought back to her elementary years and what  her gift was in my classroom and it humbled me. 

Did I do enough? 

I mean, I hope and pray always for my students.  I pray that I don't lose my temper, that I will show great patience.  I pray that I can find the right way to help them learn the task of multiplication or divison.  I pray for guidance when their hormones kick in and the girls get catty.  I pray for the one who has 'taken' another's toy and that it will show up. I pray over them when they take a test.  Sometimes I pray that I won't loose my job cause I preached a little too much that day. 

 I pray for them when they come to me and ask me to pray and I teach in a public school.  Like I said, sometimes I pray that I won't get into trouble for speaking my heart.  However, God has used that mission field and I am blessed beyond to be a part of it.  Okeechobee is a wonderful wonderful wonderful school district to work in.  I was blessed to work 23 of my 24 years there.   I was blessed to move to another district and again, I am blessed.   24 years under my belt.  24 years of experience and yet, each August, I begin again and feel like a student teacher.  And, I get those dreams of being naked which any phychologist will tell you it is about being nervous and anxious. 

 But have I done enough? 

Did the kids see in me that love for others?  That love for others?  That love for others? 
Did the kids know that I  love and serve a God that can redeem them?  ...A God that loves them so? 

I think I did.  I tired.  I won't allow the Enemy to tell me I failed. 
I was reminded yesterday by a sweet, former parent, that I do touch lives.  I know I do.  Kids come to me often after they leave my room and give me those hugs and smile and their parents remind me of the fun they had. 

But this one that I read about today - why her?  What happened that she was caught in that circumstance and consequently was arrested.  I have had other students before in this same situation.  I am ashamed to say that sometimes I just shrugged it off as, "their parents..."

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live......

Lord, may I be careful.  Lord, may I not forget. 

Teach them to your children and to their children after them.  Lord, may my life be like a love song to you  -- may the students I encounter this year, this fall, and from this point on, see a teacher who serves and shows your love, unconditionally.  Unconditionally. 

Lord, I teach older kids now.  Lord, our world is becoming 'ready' for your coming.  If people deny it, they are not in their word or watching what is going on.  I want to be steadfast.  I don't want to change with the ebb and flow of  trends or the world, I wish to remain solid in you.  Learning more of how YOU want me to be and Lord, I hope and pray that the students I encounter from this point on, see that I do love, unconditionally  - even on the days where it does not seem to be working. 

Lord, I will be careful.  I thank you for your continued provision and I thank you for your continued blessings.  Lord, for that 'little' one in jail, Lord, bring beauty out of those ashes and may she have a true encounter with you, and become that little one again, with a smile as big as the sun and may she turn her life around.  Lord, I pray...

bless this new crop of students coming in, I want a great harvest...