thank you jesus

Most of you know that I read the LivingProof Ministries blog.  Well Beth asked a very interesting question over there and I realized I needed to post my answer here as well.

She asked-

What are you grateful for that you NEVER thought you would

be grateful for?

Well.   That one got me thinking.  The usual stuff is easy – health, home, family, Jesus.  All the pat answers.  Don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with being grateful for those things.  But what in my life that could be viewed as a negative could I turn on it’s head and view as something to be grateful for?

In years past? it would be my infertility that led us to Ginny.  Never in a thousand lifetimes would I trade.  Ginny has been a huge blessing.  I can never thank God enough.

But what has happened this year?   2009….Alright.  The thing I never thought I’d be thankful for in 2009  is that my husband lost his job in August.  August 4th as a matter of fact.  On my mother’s birthday.

I was so sour about it at first.  He was my Bible study partner on the way to and from work for 5 years.  We loved our commute together. So I was seriously bummed when that ended.  I said all the right things.  “God will take care of us.”  “It will be okay”  and I meant them.  But deep inside, even while I knew God would take care of us, I was resentful.  And to be honest, I kinda of imagined that God taking care of us would mean us scraping by on ramen noodles and finding ways to cut corners on everything.

I envisioned a life of constant restriction.  Nothing extra to enable us to help others. No joy.  Just getting by.

Apparently that is not what God had in mind.

This has been a blessed 4 months.  First, to hear my man say that he wanted to continue his tithe through the end of this 2009 AS IF HE STILL HAD HIS JOB.  Wow. I don’t know how to be grateful enough to God for sending me Martin.  When I think of the background we both come from.  The sin, the darkness of our past……..and now to see Martin , how much he really does love God,  and know that he is the real spiritual head of my house.  That in itself is a blessing.

We have also grown in our relationship.  Our relationship had gotten lazy.  We depended on that commute to keep us connected.  We had to learn all over again to find (or MAKE) time for each other.

Martin has gotten to spend lots of time with our baby girl, so that has been good.  Ginny is so precious and I’m glad that at least one of us is getting to spend extended amounts of time with her.

Also Martin and other members of my family have been sick and needed lots of time and care this fall.  If he had still had a job they likely would have had to let him go because of all the family emergencies we went through.  We never had to face that though.

God sent a job opportunity to Martin that he never would have been able to take on if he had been bogged down with his old job.

So spiritual growth, learning, new patterns, time with family……But then there is the financial stuff.

Finances.  The big bug-bear.  The nightmare of all who are “downsized” in this economy.   God has sent us a clear message that we are not to worry.    There have been two (not one, but TWO) out of the blue, un-asked for, financial gifts to our family that will, are you ready for this? enable us to continue our tithe all the way to the end of 2010 as if Martin still had his old job.  And it wasn’t even a question of “if”  when the checks came.  It was the first thing on Martin’s heart and mind.  The tithe.

Wow.  After all I have been through in my life and put others through, to finally be married to a real Christian MAN OF GOD is just blessing me right down to the tips of my boots.

so there you go.  I’m thankful that my husband lost his job.

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surrender

Recently my pastor, Dr. Richard Hunter, posted a piece on feeling inadequate.

I wanted to add something to this.  Richard, if we were adequate, we would have no need of God.

Lord, I need thee EVERY HOUR.  Not just when I acknowledge my overwhelmed-ness, but every hour.  Not just when I feel like I can’t do this on my own, but every single moment.  There is a blessed security in completely surrendering to the fact that God is in charge.  Much like when my beautiful baby girl relaxes into my arms.

14 months old 019Ginny can’t spend all her time in my arms.  She has to learn to do things on her own.  She will eventually grow into a competent adult.  But even a competent adult is not enough to stand up against the horrors of this world.  Somehow, I need to teach her (and myself) to continually surrender to God. Let Him be in charge.  Let Him lift us over the things we know we can’t get over AND over the rough places that we think we could handle on our own.

There is a sweetness in surrender, a peace, an uplifting joy that comes from really knowing that God is in charge. Not in a dictatorial sense, but in a protective, sheltering, loving sense.  I don’t see His arms around me as shackles that are keeping me from running free. Instead I see those loving arms like the strong arms of a mommy (or daddy) holding me close because He loves me and enjoys my very presence.

The same way that I can’t get enough of hugging Ginny….God feels even more about me….and you.  Don’t believe me?  Think I’m off my rocker?  Okay.  He SAYS so.  God’s own words:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name: you are Mine.
Isaiah 43:1b

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1a

the LORD delights in those who fear*  him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147:11
(*to me this use of the word “fear” translates as
respect)

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
I John 3: 16

How much would I do for someone who loves me this much?  Anything LORD.  Anything.  No more holding back.  I surrender. All.

Ginny at the ranch

These are some long over due photos from Martin’s niece Whitney’s wedding to a wonderful guy named Nate.  I was a bad mommy and didn’t get any pictures while we were there.  I owe a debt of gratitude to Marcia for capturing these moments and sending them to me.

The venue is out at the family ranch in Texas.  Enjoy

Just to set the stage – here are the bride and groom getting married in the exact same spot that Whitney’s parents got married in some 20+ years before.

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Whitney & Nate

 

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Ginny and Martin by the fence.

Where are the cows daddy?  I know I heard cows…..

 

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she really liked the fence....

 

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Ben & Graham

And her cousins.  She likes the cousins.

 

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back to the fence

I’m telling you , she really liked the fence.

halloween, not according to plan

The original plan for Halloween this year was for us to go up to Knoxville for an award that was being given to a friend.  We wanted to be there to congratulate her and a lot of our friends up there haven’t seen Ginny ever and we’ve been wanting to catchup with folks.

That plan got derailed by the various successive illnesses in our collective household.  First my mom got sick, then Martin, then me, then my dad.  Energy levels are shot and we finally had to cancel our trip in the face of utter exhaustion.

Enter plan B.

Dress Ginny up, dress ourselves up, go energetically trick-or-treating round the neighborhood.

That got derailed by the weather.  Nasty ucky rainy weather.

Enter plan C.

Stay home.  Set the yard up to encourage trick-or-treaters to come to US. Stay home.  Dress up ourselves and the baby, greet loads of people energetically and with enthusiasm.

That got derailed by the aforementioned exhaustion factor.  And the rain kept all but two small groups of brave trick-or-treaters from our door.  Add to that – Ginny started running a fever on Friday night (just 99.2) so we didn’t bother to make her get dressed up.

We stayed home all weekend.  I didn’t leave the house from Friday night till Monday morning.  Our family came over and watched Corpse Bride.

So, you ask, was it a bad weekend?

no.

decidedly no.

It didn’t go according to plan, but it was a great weekend.

Why?

well let’s see.

  • Martin got a job this week and he started work on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Ginny’s fever was just enough to make her very very cuddly all weekend, so I spent almost the whole weekend with a sweet baby girl in my arms who just wanted to be loved on.  That was a huge treat.
  • It turns out that I DID lose five pounds last week.  Just from being sick.  I’m still mostly just eating crackers and water.  so maybe that will continue…..
  • Yes, okay, Georgia lost their football game, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
  • Texas moved up in the polls.  Which, while unfair to Alabama (how can you drop in the polls when you didn’t even play?) is still good for one of my favorite teams.  Actually I like all three of the top three right now, so it is hard to have a bad football weekend.
  • The Saints won’t beat my Falcons up til tonight, so that doesn’t count as part of the weekend.
  • Ginny is only drinking from a cup now.  We went cold turkey off her bottle and she adjusted beautifully.  She is a little short on fluids at the moment, but she is catching up nicely.
  • (selfish pleasure alert) I had the best costume at work on Friday. Not according to some contest, but my admittedly subjective opinion.
  • I just got to register for an event in Houston January 2010 that I’ve been looking forward to since January 2009.

I’ve got some really cute photos of Ginny in our church pumpkin patch from last week that I need to post.

Basically it was a good weekend spent a home in the comfort of family and simple treasures.  What were your blessings this weekend?