To read the story of our precious Harlynn Renae, start here and follow the "next" links at the end of each post. Thank you for coming and sharing with us in this journey.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rainy Reflections

It's raining and overcast outside today. I'm happy to be indoors, and to have some hot chocolate on hand. It's a good day to cozy up and have some personal reflection.

I've been pretty upset lately. Seems like the smallest of things just grate at me so badly, and I get ticked. One thing on my Sets-Val-Off-List is my marriage and the are we/are we not having a family issue. I'm not going to go into every dicey detail, but I have really been struggling with the next steps to take in my life. How I envision them and how they're playing out are polar opposites.

This morning I got up and got ready for church. I'm flying solo this weekend as Brent is spending time in the western part of the state with his W.C. boys, as they watch the NFL draft on t.v. Yes, I think it's incredibly silly but at the same time, I know how much he loves and misses his friends, and it's a great time for them to get together. It also provides me with a weekend all to myself. Next year, I won't overbook my social calendar like I did this weekend. Note to self.

Since Brent did such a fantastic job changing the rear brakes on my car, I let him take it for the long drive, and I ended up with his 1993 Mercury Topaz, which I have not-so-affectionately deemed the SLOWPAZ. That has no relevance to my day today, but I'm trying to evoke your sympathy. :o)

In church today, I was gripped with emotion. It was all I could do to hold back from crying, as I sat in the pew and listened to the message. It was a great message on entering the sanctuary of God (from Psalm 73). I sat as the preacher read "And earth has nothing I desire besides you." from verse 25. Earth. Has. Nothing. Wow.

One of my dreams, if we do have children, is to raise them in a home where it is known beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God is first and foremost, and that God is the one desire of Brent's and my hearts. I want to raise a child in a home where God is glorified and sought after earnestly - every day.

In front of me this morning sat Wendy Gade, her husband, and her twin boys, Tyler and William. Yesterday morning I went to a coffee talk at the church where Wendy shared the story of her journey as her husband soldiered in Iraq, and lost his leg (and almost his life) to an IED. I heard her talk about the provision and strength God gave her, and how in every turn along the way, she and her husband relied on Him fully. And their kids will see that.

I just got choked up. I felt like I was already failing. I don't have kids, and I feel like I'm already failing as a parent. Why? Because it's been easier to do, say, and think things other than things that align with God. These last several weeks, I've been plugging along with hardly a spiritual pulse at all. I desire so much more than "just God."

The pastor concluded the message and I pulled myself together, only to have the worship leader begin singing, "In Christ alone, my hope is found - he is my light, my strength, my song...." I had to close my eyes and not sing for a moment.

It's one thing for me to not understand God - I mean honestly, he wouldn't be much of a god if we understood everything about him and his works. But when I don't understand myself, or my relationship with God - then it really starts to bother me. A lot. If I can't understand my own self, how can I expect anyone else to? How can I be an exemplary parent? A proverbial wife?

I want to go in to the sanctuary - I want to know that nothing on earth supersedes my desire for God. I just need to find that place....that sanctuary.

Yes, it's a good day to be inside out of the wet and cold. I am looking forward to the warmer, brighter days ahead.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Risen Indeed!

I have not exactly been enjoying life lately. I'm tired of having water in my basement. I'm tired of the smell, I'm tired of everything being wet, I'm tired of having to move things around, and I'm tired of the aesthetic value of my home completely deteriorating as a result. We would love to get it fixed, but we can't get it fixed until we can put money on the down payment to fix it, and we can't do that until we hear back from some "investment options" shall we say, and this entire thing is driving me crazy.

Add to that the daily stress that seems to eat at me incessantly of work, money, schedules, weight, groceries, paying bills, etc., and the result is me not enjoying life.

I become so frustrated, I can't even seem to focus enough to pray. My prayers are more of, "Hey God - yeah - I'm tired of this. If you could make it all go away, that'd be swell.....thanks....." Do you ever have those exasperated prayers? I'm confident He hears them, but I wonder if He doesn't think, "Again, Val? You doubt I can sustain you in this?"

Earlier this week I was driving to work and instead of listening to the radio, I was listening to a Selah CD I have of hymns. This song, which I have heard - and sung - more than a hundred times, came on, and it clicked. The light came on in my head that said, "Duh. Now I get it." Look at the words, listen to the song, and tell yourself - The Lord is on your side. You will forfeit peace when you don't lay your burdens at His feet.

Yes this basement issue is draining, and I'll be so happy when it's all said and done. In the meantime, though, I need to remember that He - is my best, my heavenly friend - and he's walking right along side me in everything I face. I am only alone if I forget He is with me, not because he has ever left my side.

In other news, I wanted to bake some banana chocolate chip bread for gifts to people for Easter. The recipe called for 3 or 4 ripe bananas....I had two bananas. I gave it a shot, and ended up overcooking the loaves and making crunchy bread. Apparently the bananas really do matter, and you need to have enough. The bread is rock hard on the outside. I had planned to say, "The banana chocolate chip bread rose to save your tastebuds, but Christ rose after dying to save your soul. Happy Easter, from the Ks." Now I will have to say, "I made some banana chocolate chip bread to give you, but I overcooked it, so forgive Christ forgave us all...".....? It's a work in progress.

Have a blessed Easter, everyone.

And happy birthday, Mom. :o)