Thursday, August 4, 2016

Photo Challenge

If you look closely -- Bren has  lunch within his teeth.
 This was an  a quick photo - quick.
We had met at Pogey's to celebrate Lowell's birthday.   August 8, 2011.
 It was really -- a QUICK photo.
It was an AWKWARD photo - but you probably can't tell that by the smiles.
 And I am thinking that Jaiden or Taylor initiated the photo.
As I said,  we are smiling but I keep this photo on my computer as a reminder.
  Like a stone placed into the river .....

 From Joshua 4: 
4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been[a] in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.


17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”
18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.
19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea[b] when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”

Summer is coming to a close.  We have been blessed with so much.  My hearts desire to be 'building a home' is  more of a reality now, but still probably a year in the making.  I rested, I worked, and I did exactly what I wanted to do. 

 Summer -- a teacher's brief respite to recharge and regroup.  I enjoyed a bible study, family time in Wisconsin and most recently returned from a beloved family trip to Colorado.  It was a time for the 5 of us  ( now I have a son - n - love ) to be together for a week and I got to be MOM  and just enjoy the commodore and the love being shared and shown --besides visit a most beautiful state! 

 I made breakfast 3 mornings and every dish I washed and every egg cracked was cracked with LOVE!

Over this past summer, the "spouse/marriage challenge" popped up and I watched with envy as some  of the men  posted  photos of their wives.  Awe...  I mean, come on - we all LOVE it when our men highlight us in front of others.   I melt if I hear my man compliment me in front of others.   Every time I hear him say, "my wife" -- I stop and thank God.  When I hear another man refer to his wife as his "bride".... there is a part of my flesh that wants to he sincere?  ..... and yet -- THAT is how we should be viewed.   That is how every wife should be viewed.  

  Please note - my hubby does an excellent job of making me feel like his bride often and I thought -- how often does God look at me and say, "that is my BRIDE"..... ????

Back to the FB Challenge.  I really hate chain letters and  dislike games on FB but I will do a few here or there.    It is most often the ultimate challenge of one's ego ....who will play along?   Insecurity at its MAX -- so often I will ignore them to protect my ego!  Ladies, sometimes avoiding the drama or the game is what is God's best plan for us -- FB can be a trap.   But that is another blog!

 When our niece challenged me to post a photo - my hubby said, "don't".   He hates calling attention to himself  but, with his permission, I accepted.  I do believe with all the political stuff going around FB,  it is cool to see some photos of real people celebrating being married.   

And I love seeing REAL photos -- not a shared photo with a funny saying or comment.  That was the real reason I joined FB - to see photos of family.  But anyway --- 

Back to that photo.  Today, the challenge is over.  I completed the seven days.  But the photo here was  Day 5 for me.  I am home and on my computer and that photo remains on my computer for a purpose.  

HIS purpose.  

It is a reminder to me.  A stone within that river that I go back to  -- to remember HOW and WHAT the Lord did for me.   For us.   And I must say -- that is WHAT God wanted to transpire.  HIS will is for marriages to endure!   That photo was taken in August of 2011.  It was after an offer was placed on our house and we were in the process of selling our home of 17 years and moving --  to what I believe would be a year or so of renting -- and as of today -- it has been 5 years.    It will be 5 years as of September 20th!!   

5 years of living a renters life.  

4 different places. 

 4 different addresses.  

 And 5 years of HIS Grace.  

I do believe that as we move closer to getting a permanent home -- this experience of living  in other people's spaces and with most of our memories in storage --  has been God's timing and His plan as it has allowed us to rebuild ourselves with HIM and it has been 5 years of God!   

That photo was 'staged'.  I will be completely honest, we arrived at the restaurant in separate cars and were sitting at opposite ends of the table when all of a sudden, Brendan asked either Rylann or Cuyler to move and sat next to me.  THAT spoke volumes to me.   From that point on, I probably spoke only 10-12 words.  As I spent the time eating my lunch while praying in my Spirit and just listening to the chatter at the table.  I know I looked at Taylor several times and winked and she would smile at me and remind me via her eyes..."just hang in there ma"!  She was such an intercessor for her parents! 

 It was a photo that was awkward.  It just was.   Every time I look at it now, I laugh, we laugh,  as we were so GOOD at pretending for SO LONG.     Actually, I think many of us have to pretend here and there -- for a season -- can you imagine if everyone truly WORE their feelings on their faces??   THAT is another blog topic!!   

In 2011, there were not too many photo opts.  2011 was a year of weirdness.  I was experiencing many emotions and  instability - but that was a year where God was building me up.  It was a year where the concept of 'I will give you your daily bread' was practiced and leaned on.   It was a year where Proverbs 3: 5-6 would be recited over and over -- lean not onto your own understanding ..but....!     It was a year of daily seeking HIM and no one else.  But - it was a year where some very key  concepts became concrete within my heart -- 
----that God was in control.
---that God's character was good.
---that God would provide.
 ----and that God would win.        I believed it.       I claimed it.       I owned it.  

So, on that  DAY 5 of the Love your Spouse Challenge -- it was  perfect that I  began this blog and shared THAT  photo.  

As on that  day 5 years ago, it was  a week prior to our 24th anniversary, a week prior to me starting my new job in another county, and a month prior to signing our home that a photo was taken that would remind me often -- we were married. 


In about 10  days, we will celebrate 29 years.  Celebrate?   We will probably celebrate the weekend before as August 15th is the first day of school for me!   But celebrate -- we celebrate each day now - hate to sound cheezzy ...but our lives,  our love,  and  our marriage is so different from back then.  It is no longer weird or awkward  -- I can truly say after many many  many many many years -- we are more ONE than TWO.    Maybe that only comes after time...a long time....God knows. 

 However, there is one more thing that I want to share about this photo ---  

As I said, it was right after this photo  was taken that we had confirmation that we were selling our home and I had to begin to pack up 17 years worth of life.  It was also when I heard from God, "he will rebuild the house".   God spoke that to my heart and I held that so tightly to my thoughts and to my heart -- and when it seemed weird or when it seemed that things did not look good -- I would rehearse  that word spoken to me and remind God -- You don't lie!   

And I have watched my husband rebuild the house in many ways -- I could write blogs and blogs and I have added in bits and pieces of Brendan's story within here ...but I have seen him rebuild relationships with his children, with his family, and with others -- I have seen him rebuild respect and I have seen him rebuild his relationship  with Christ.  

 THAT is indeed something I have been privy to - between me and God - what God has allowed me to see in him...through indeed a work of God.  And, it is thrilling as it has increased my faith.  Many will tell me that I have great faith -- but I know for a fact, I have seen MORE faith in my husband than I saw in myself.   It takes an act of God and a believe in faith to believe in something that is 'dead' and see it come back to life.  

Ok, so -- I guess I have seen that too.  I knew our marriage was dead and it has been brought back to life -- so maybe ...just maybe in God's eyes our 'faith' is even -- whatever -- truth be told -- Nothing is impossible for God.  Period.  

Brendan and I have so enjoyed our time of 'renters-hood'...but we are ready to have our own spot, to invite people over for dinner and to entertain.  I so want to have a spot to have a bible study in my home and I want to be able to clean a room and know -- it is my home.   I want to put nail holes in the wall to hang a photo or print and know that I won't have to plaster those holes when I move!  I want closet space and I want Bella to be able to go outside without  the fear of speeding car kill her.  I know that God will provide that perfect time for us to build our home within the next year or two -- but I believe that maybe someone reading this may need a reminder ---

Sometimes stuff takes TIME.....  
I think often we want to rush God and want to get our answers in such a hurry that we can miss out on some stuff -- but HIS timing is always best.   

And, I believe we should  place a few stones in the river or have those monuments to remind us of what God has brought us through!  Find a photo or an old letter, journal entry ---

And...  be thankful for the present circumstance.   I am most grateful Lord for these past 5 years -- where Your mercy and grace has provided us with many opportunities to share and encourage others.  

And... Someone may need a reminder that God does not 'do' stuff to us...but 'for' us.  It may not appear to be all sweet and roses right now -- but hang tough and pursue God with all of your might and HE is faithful!  

And...Someone may look at the FB Love Your Spouse Challenge and want to gag or head to the restroom to I had before -- believe me - EVERY sign  that says Happy Anniversary or  I LOVE my husband post would GAG me... and cause me to head to my prayer closet and seek forgiveness as I just wanted to really know -- HOW can they be that happy?  

  But God showed me - so often, what we post on FB is what we WANT ...not what we have.      Ouch.   

We don't always portray what is real - we pretend.   

Lord, it has been a sweet summer.   I have enjoyed HOW You work within us and I have enjoyed WHAT you have taught and shown me this summer.  As school starts -- may YOU continue to be my focus.  Lord for this post -- the time it took for one to read - I pray that she heard YOU within it and not 'me'.  Lord, I pray for those remembrance stones --  I pray for the specific marriages my husband and I are claiming for YOU -- that they too will have an 'awkward' photo or two that will become something they will laugh about in years to come.  God!   GOD... don't let her quit just yet.. HOLD her his eyes...  may they both seek YOU with such a passion that the marriage will become 2nd to YOU.  Lord-- again, I don't want to use of space in this gigabyte land unless it is for YOUR purpose.   I pray YOU will use this -- and that YOU will be glorified.  IN JESUS name.. AMEN.  

-- I am in humble awe of YOU Lord...  
--very grateful -- seeking a "well done by good and faithful servant" from you -- 


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