Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hiking, Hillsides, and Dads

"...There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son..." - Deuteronomy 1:31

Saturday was such a beautiful day, it seemed a shame to spend any more of it inside than we had to. So by afternoon when we had some free time, we decided to go to the park and enjoy nature. Our idea of enjoying nature and Noah's is usually a little different. Mine is a walk, or sitting under a tree, reading. Noah's is soccer, Frisbee, badminton - things that make me tired. So this time Shawn and I decided it was only fair to do both. We did the hike first (genius, btw. After a 4-mile hike, he wasn't as ambitious with the Frisbee).

The trail we picked was the River Trail at Barboursville Park. Noah used to think it was a little scary, so it is not his favorite. I like that it has very few inclines #gettingbywithaslittleaspossible #lazy. It also has some beautiful spots, like this one. (Right before this picture, I pointed out to Noah how beautiful it was, "I hate this trail," how that stream of water could be on a postcard or calendar, "the other trails are better...")

The trails Noah prefers are the ones on the side of the mountains, up and down all over. Once we were geocaching on a muddy trail (never found the cache, btw, so if anyone wants to cheat and tell us where it is, that would be great ;) . We had climbed up this steep, muddy hillside to check out an area. The trick was getting back down. We couldn't do it. Noah was scared, and I won't lie, I was scared too. Naturally Shawn went back down with no trouble, but Noah and I were apprehensive, to put it mildly. Shawn planted his feet firmly in the ground and reached for Noah, placing him safely back on the trail, easy peasy.

In the Bible, Moses reminded the Israelites of the times God also did the same for them. The Israelites had wandered around in the desert for a super long time after leaving Egypt. In Deuteronomy 1:31 he said, "...There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son..." He was recounting all the times God had been there for them. He didn't want them to forget how they were once slaves in Egypt, but in ways only God could do, he set them free.

Each time God helps us through something, or carries us, our faith in Him should be a little bit stronger. When we see how much He cares, how He rescues in ways that we know can only be from Him, we become more certain that the next time we face something, we can count on Him.

There are so many times God has done this for me. When depression overwhelmed me to the point I didn't want to keep living, God carried me. When we suffered two miscarriages, God carried us. When my marriage was at it's roughest point, I was sure it was over. But God carried us.

If you are in the middle of your own desert, questioning if you will make it out, carve out a few minutes right now. Make a list - mental or on paper, whichever works best for you. Remind yourself of the times God has been there for you. The times He has carried you, as a father carries his son. Pick a couple that come to mind and keep going until you feel your faith in God renewed.

I'd love for you to share with me a time or two that God has carried you...

"But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God.'" - Psalm 31:14

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Middle School, blood moons, and naked?

Before I had to pick Noah up from middle school for the first time, I tried so hard to make it simple for him. I was concerned he wouldn't see me and wouldn't know what to do. I didn't want him to worry or to have trouble finding me, so I showed him the parking lot I would be parked in ahead of time, and made sure to get there way early so he wouldn't be left wandering around thinking I had forgotten him. 

I also prayed for him constantly during the day, that God would calm any fears he had about it. 
You can probably guess that it turned out just fine. 

*On a side note, I realize I worry about everything WAY too much. I remember when Noah was in kindergarten and I packed his lunch, including a prepackaged 6-pack of peanut butter crackers. I went on to work, and thought more about it as the morning went on, worrying that he wouldn't know how to open the package on his own, and would probably be famished by the end of the day. I left work to go home (20 minutes each way) to get another package of crackers and open them and put them in a baggie, and took them to school so he could get to them. I'm nuts, and looking back, I am so thankful for supervisors that put up with me... 

Stay with me for a second... 
This week there was lots of talk of the Blood Moon, which reminded me to write this blog. I used to get so nervous and anxious when there was any talk about Jesus' return, the last days, end of the world, etc. Even as an adult. 

While I feel very confident of my relationship with God, there is something about the unknown. 

Kind of like how having a baby is a beautiful thing, but labor is suckish and terrifying. Regardless of how indescribably exciting having a baby might be, thinking about the pain and 99.7 ways it could go wrong, and ways it could embarrass you later (like when your water broke all over the nurse's cute shoe and there was nothing you could do about it, but it still haunts you... grody), is enough to make you want to keep the bun in the proverbial oven...

That's how I've always felt about the end of the world. Not knowing how or when it will happen seems so scary. 

If you say you aren't scared... just take a little peek at the book of Revelation, with CNN on in the background, right before you drift off to sleep...If you're still not scared, I am impressed. I mean we're talking huge earthquakes, famine, black sun, bloody moon (ikr?), sea turning into blood, a 7-headed-10-horned enormous red dragon... the list goes on... I know little about how this all will go down, because I avoid the book of Revelation like the plague (speaking of, I think there might be some of those in there too)

Here's a brief list of things I fear regarding the subject... terrifying things like the idea of the being tortured for knowing Christ, starvation, not making it to heaven, Or Jesus coming back for us while I'm  in the shower... Do I go naked? Do we all go naked? 

So one day as I was mentally panicking about all of these things, God calmed my heart. He reminded me of how much I care about and love Noah. He reminded me that I did everything I possibly could to make picking Noah up as easy as possible for him. I parked where I said I would, I was there on time, I was looking for him and was prepared to hop out of the car to flag him down if he didn't see me. If I did all of this for Noah, why would I think I have anything to fear when my Jesus comes back for me, or when I go to meet Him? 

Regardless of how it happens, God, who loves us more than we could ever love anyone, will not leave us alone. Whatever we will go through, we won't be facing it by ourselves. The Creator of everything will be right beside us. If that doesn't bring me comfort, what can? 

Bring it on, Revelation and CNN... bring it on... I'm gonna sleep like a baby. 

Here are a couple of Revelation verses that I happen to love, and want to end on... 

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away...I am making everything new!" - Revelation 21:4-5a