family

Empty Nest…

I always wondered what an empty nest would feel like. Now that my husband and I are in the midst of this new experience, I have had many emotions ranging from happiness on one end of the spectrum to sadness on the other end.

I knew this day was coming and we have obviously known for sometime. But it really didn’t hit me until I came around the corner near our house and I fully understood that no more kids would be waiting our return. I got teary eyed as we came around the bend. I knew I wouldn’t be greeted with a smile from any of our children.

As we make this new transition, some things have been great-like less dishes in the sink and our grocery bill has gone down considerably. Our daughter, Storm, who lives next door to us and does grace us with her presence every now and then has been able to eat dinner with us on occasion and it’s been wonderful having the three of us share a more intimate time together. So, are we true empty nesters if one of our kids lives next door? Probably not in the true sense of the meaning, but we are still going through a transitional phase.

The wonderful part is that my husband and I have always been best friends and we aren’t having to get to know each other again, which is what happens to so many couples. We are just continuing to live life, talk, reminisce, make new memories together, and become closer because we truly have one another to lean on.

The end of the school year is upon us and being a teacher, I am looking forward to summer. Please don’t get me wrong, I enjoy teaching very much and love all my students. However, it has been a crazy few months for us and part of me just wants to rest and love on the people that God has currently in my life.

I find myself thinking, did we prepare our kids for the real world? Are they ready to take flight? We tried to protect and nurture our children, while not having them live in a bubble. They experienced hear-ache and the sinful nature of man. They had some tough times. On many occasions I had to ask forgiveness because of my bad, freshly attitude. So again, I ask, “Are they ready?” Maybe. Maybe Not. What I do know is that God is bigger than our mistakes. I can rest in His assurance that His Word doesn’t return void. (Isaiah 55:11) Will they struggle? I guarantee it. Will God see them through? Absolutely!

So, here’s to my BFF husband, relaxation, ministry, and ever growing friendship and prayers for my adult children!

Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. (ESV)

marriage

The Two Shall Become One

Our daughter is married!!! Thank you to all who helped to make this day happen, we couldn’t have done it without you!

God seems to bring us full circle to places that we have lived before. This time, he took us back to Julian, CA where we truly learned the message of grace in the Bible.

It was so great to be there among old friends and memories. Setting up for the wedding, I had many emotions that surfaced. I looked across and saw the pool where our son was baptized. I saw the place where my husband taught his first sermon about the dead lifeless moon reflecting the sun and as a result, shines for all to see. Lastly, I remembered our daughter, Sarah asking Jesus into her heart when she was only three years old, by Lake Cuyamaca.

It was a wonderful wedding and it was such a joy to see friends and family participate. Most exciting was to watch Cole and Sarah be united as one and take the first steps of their new life together.

A few days before the wedding, I read a verse that I found fitting. It is Psalm 45:13,14:

13The bride, a princess, looks glorious in her golden gown.

14In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids.

15What a joyful and enthusiastic procession as they enter the king’s palace! (NLT)

How awesome that Jesus is waiting for us, like a groom waits for his bride!

marriage

Refreshing Springs Through the Valley of Weeping

With our daughter’s wedding upon us and friends and family are beginning to arrive, our house is quickly being filled with chatter, laughter, and a little chaos.

Although I am extremely blessed and excited for this marriage to happen, I can remember a time when going to weddings was extremely painful for me. I was going through my separation and divorce and even the thought of going to a wedding made my stomach turn.

I tried to be happy for the couple, who were so in love that nothing could hold them back. But, I wasn’t feeling it. I struggled. A lot. I remember being at a small bridal shower and crashing to the floor because I had a grand-mal seizure. I was rushed to the hospital, where my friends stayed with me for hours to make sure everything was okay. Well, I wasn’t okay-mentally or physically. I just ruined a fun party and I felt horrible for the bride-to-be as her special day ended up in the ER as a result of me.

Now, many of my friends have experienced the loss of their spouse. I feel for them. Even though I haven’t been through the pain of becoming a widow, I do remember feeling alone and seeing joyful couples all around me and wondering if I would ever be happy again. Through all of the pain, I had to hold on to biblical truths. I love Psalm 84:2 “I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD.”

This is not our home! This sin-filled, selfish world is not our resting place. Oh, how I so look forward to the day when I get to see my Savior face to face. No more sorrow. No more suffering. Peace and love will fill me every moment.

It’s through the difficult times that we get our focus off of us and turn to the one who brings joy unspeakable and we experience Christ in a way that we couldn’t fathom.

In a few days I will stand with my daughter and watch her marry the man of her dreams. This is a time of rejoicing! I am no longer sad at weddings. I am joyful that God created a union between a man and a woman that would cause us to no longer be alone and to walk out the trials and joys of life together. I am especially thankful that God gave me my current husband, who is my soul-mate. We would not be having this wedding without God, who healed my epilepsy, gave me new life in the way of three children, and has given me streams of living water through the trials.

“What joy comes for those whose strength comes from the LORD…when they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.” Psalm 84:5,6

family, marriage

Little Things…

We are a little over a week away from our daughter’s wedding! Everything is happening so fast and As you know, I have been thinking quite a bit about love and marriage.

We have all been battling a nasty cough and this week it was my husband’s turn. He has been trying to get rest and taking all his medications that help with this head cold.

One day after I was finished teaching school, I went in to see how he was feeling. I gently took his hand and held it. He looked up at me and said, “Your touch brings healing to me.” I was stunned at how just a simple gesture can mean the difference between depression and desperation to hope and healing to someone.

We know we need touch. It’s one of the five love languages and it’s an important one. For me, touch was always on the bottom of the list. My husband on the other hand, loves touch and it was number one for him. Even though touch wasn’t my first love language, I have grown over the years to understand that it is very much needed and it has moved up on my list to number three.

Jesus touched the unclean. He went out of his way to heal the sick; to touch the untouchable, to make himself unclean, so that another could experience life and living water.

Living in Mexico we see plenty of unclean people. Some are just dirty, some have lice or other diseases. I hate to admit it, but several times when I offer a hug to one of these “unclean” people, I think to myself, am I going to contract something? But, then I say a prayer of forgiveness and ask God to do a work in my heart. Because in reality, do I want to sacrifice convenience for disobedience to the Father?

What if physical touch to the person in front of you meant life or death? What if putting a hand on a shoulder or shaking a hand and really meaning it, provides the hope they need to make it through one more day?

The neat thing is, in marriage, touch produces life; life to the marriage feeding the soul, and life in the form of a newborn baby.

“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man…immediately the man was cleansed of his leprosy.” Matthew 8:3

marriage

The Love of Marriage

This past weekend we had a bridal shower for my daughter. Let’s just say it was absolutely amazing! I feel like I can say that because I wasn’t the one who coordinated the whole thing. Actually, I had a very small part in it as the groom’s family wanted to bless Sarah and took care of everything. I did get to share a devotional and this is what I shared:

Marriage is an intensely personal thing. We know our spouse like no one else knows them: habits, moods, wishes, regrets, sins, giftedness…we get the inside look. The trick is to take that knowledge, the beautiful, the difficult, the work in progress, and to really LOVE our spouse. To SERVE each other. Not just the wife serving her husband, but the husband serving his wife, also; To know the truth and be faithful because of and in spite of it all. It is a privilege and a responsibility to know someone so well, and to commit to being faithful to them “until death do us part.”

There is a famous passage in literature that is a scene between a convict and a Catholic priest. It is from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Jean Val Jean is a man who stole bread to feed his starving family, and he was caught, convicted and became a hardened criminal through his years in chains. He was convicted because of a crime committed out of love, but the hardship and the hatred that surrounded him changed him into a frightening man.

When he is finally released from prison, he cannot find a place to sleep; his reputation as a criminal is made clear by the papers he is required to show at any inn in which he attempts to stay. Finally, a priest allows him to stay in his home, he shows gracious hospitality without fear. He allows him to sleep near the cupboard where the silver is being stored for the night, and he shows no need to protect himself or his property. Jean Val Jean steals the silver, and escapes into the night, only to be caught and returned to the priest’s home. When he is brought back, the priest declares that the silver Val Jean has stolen was a gift, and that the only problem the priest has is that his guest had not taken the candlesticks, also. They are so valuable, and they could be of such use to him in his new life. The stunned police leave, and the priest is left alone with Jean Val Jean. This is what he says to him:
“Jean Val Jean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.”

Although we can’t BUY another’s soul, the priest was a beautiful example of love; he knows the criminal and his crimes, but he calls out to the man with love and it changes the man’s life. We all need to be reminded of our true identity, our identity in Christ as new creatures, reminded of the fact that God calls us Beloved and that we are clothed in righteousness. It is so easy in the pressures and mess of life to forget who we really are. As a married couple, we have the privilege of seeing one another day in and day out, we really know each other’s habits and behaviors, when those things reflect Christ-likeness and when they don’t. But even when they don’t we know who God says they are. We can remind them of their real identity. LOVE them as the priest loved a hardened criminal, without fear or self-protection.
1 Corinthians 13, the chapter on love, says in verse 7: LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. May you give to one another a love that knows and bears and endures through it all.

This gift to you is this candle. Candlelight is an amazing thing. It creates romance, it hides the laundry pile that we didn’t quite finish, it softens wrinkles and bad hair days, it creates a soft glow that is beautiful. May the candlelight set the stage for romance, may it create soft light that radiates beauty. Let this candle remind you, above all else, of Christ’s light, but also Jean Val Jean’s story. May you believe and hope for each other, calling out in each other your true identity as a Son and Daughter of the King. May that bring you great hope and an anticipation that He is doing a great work in each of you, in your marriage, and in your future together.

Adapted by Christine Landis
original by Diane Miller

Please feel free to like and share this post.

family, marriage

Letting Go…

It’s been an emotional last few days for me. Wedding plans are being made, we have DIY projects all over the living room, and the dress has arrived!

I am excited for my daughter in this new adventure she is embarking on, but it has been stirring all kinds of emotions. I find myself reflecting on milestones in Sarah’s life…first tooth, first steps, first heartbreak.

Learning to let go and let her grow up. I am trying to give advice when she asks and not take over when I see something that can be done better.

We have had many laughs along the way and a few tears. Imagine my surprise when she asked me to be her Matron of Honor! The flood gates opened and the waterfall of tears began. What an honor (thus the name) to be there right by her side on one of the most important days of her life.

I sometimes find myself thinking about Mary, the mother of Jesus. How did she do it? Letting go…watching Jesus do what He did, to be persecuted and beaten? I’m sure she cried out to God for comfort, pouring out her heart to the creator, the one who could stop the atrocities from happening to her son.

Now, I am not comparing our daughter’s wedding to crucifixion, even though marriage does require self-sacrifice and self-denial. I am just reflecting on moms in the Bible who have had to “let go” of their children. I think of Abraham’s wife, Sarah, and the Mother of Moses. Hannah also comes to mind, who kept her promise and gave her son to the House of Lord where he learned under Eli. All are amazing women, who saw the bigger picture and didn’t stifle their children.

I am so looking forward to that day when I see our daughter walk down the aisle, to hand her off to the man we have prayed for all these years.

I pray that as she leaves our nest she will learn to fly together with her spouse in unity and strength!

Eph 5:31  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Eph 5:32  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Eph 5:33  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

christianity, family, Uncategorized

Abalone Shells and Sand Dollars

When I was a little girl I used to think what if all the glistening sand on the beach was my money? I would be one wealthy little girl! Oh, what I would do with all that cash!

Today my husband and I went on a walk at our local beach, here in Mexico. It was a beautiful warm afternoon. I smiled as I looked down at my sandy toes and saw the gold colored sand twinkling on the path before us. I suddenly remembered my thoughts as a little girl and thinking about the sand being money.I laughed as my thoughts on money have changed quite drastically as an adult.

As we continued on down the beach, we noticed some small sand dollars. They were so unique and each one a little different. We walked farther and came across an abalone shell which was even more glorious as it’s rainbow of color shone in the sun.

After looking at these treasures I, again, thought of things that I used to think as important or precious (house, car, a good hair day, cool jeans, etc.) and what I see as treasures to me now. Quite a different list.

Today my treasure was spending time with my husband, holding his hand on the beach, talking about life. Seeing the sand dollars and the abalone shell and being reminded that God put those along our path for my pleasure. It gave me joy to see such small things that were God created, not man created.

What is your treasure today? What are you thankful for?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21