Sunday, August 29, 2010

Seasons change..

It's unusual for me to blog on a weekend, but my mind is swirling with so many thoughts. It was a weird Saturday, and I think I need to address it.

I'm not writing this to embarrass anyone, but I hope to encourage someone through this. Most of all, I just hope to ease my own mind, this old mamma, so that I can move ahead with what I've learned and apply it to the future with all four daughters. I also want to say that I'm quite proud of my daughter for what she has been through this weekend and for the grace with which she has handled it.

My oldest daughter has been dating the same young man since June of last year. A record for sure, as her closest previously recorded relationship was just 6th months. This one was different anyway, as she felt so strongly that he was the guy that God had chosen for her to spend her life with. He has many qualities that she felt were right for her, and she had a connection there that was obvious to everyone around them. She has stood by him through his choice of following his dream, and she's loved him, supported him, and prayed for him as he's been away.

The season changed. He ended their relationship. One would expect wailing and tears, but there was peace and contentment. There was a sense of resolve that if he isn't the one God has prepared, there must be someone wonderful out there. (Or around here? Who knows?) She walked out of that room with maturity that I should have never doubted. She ate a bite of lunch, and she started removing pictures from her wall. She counted her t-shirts to realize that she only had two that didn't have something about her supporting him on it. She decided that she could buy more t-shirts. The season changed.

For me, it's been strange because I was prepared to be supportive. I was prepared to cry with her, and I was ready to be a shoulder to cry on. What I wasn't prepared for is such an abrupt ending to such a sweet relationship, and I just wasn't prepared for how beautifully she would handle it. I'm not sure why I would expect any less, but it's been funny for me as a mom.

I believe we make choices every day that affect our future. While I think that God prepares a way for us and has a plan for us, I think that plan is more of a big picture of us serving Him. Furthermore, the choices we make lead us to different places in our lives. Sometimes, choices lead us through some unsavory places, but eventually, if we love the Lord, He brings it all together. (Romans 8:28) Sometimes the choices other people make affect our lives as well, but we can hold on to the fact that God has that big plan for us, and that should bring us such peace. None of us know what the future holds, but for those of us that know Who holds our future, it makes it okay.

So in the midst of the weird day yesterday, and the strange weekend, I have seen Christian friends pull together to encourage, and I have been amazed once again at the grace that God has shown to and through one of my children. My heart didn't even have time to ache for her, and I'm beginning to see that it doesn't need to. A part of our life has changed. We love him and wish him the best. I committed to pray for him daily when he left home, and I will honor my commitment until he's done.

I praise God for what He has taught my daughter, and I thank Him for helping her to see that no matter what, He has it all under control. I'm grateful that she holds tight to her faith and keeps her focus on Christ. I'm thankful that she has Christian friends that love her and always stick by her, some for many years through a lot of "schtuff". I also praise God for reminding me to trust Him, because He knows what is best for my kids even when it's different from what I expected.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Friday...

... And I am so thankful for that. This week actually went by pretty fast, and I am even more thankful for that!
I didn't blog yesterday morning because I was bombarded early to get things done before my work day even began. I'm not really blogging today either, because I don't want to be a downer!
This day didn't start off very well. It was just a bad morning. Like I said earlier in the week, standing for what is right can be very difficult and can really beat you down. I think I am just feeling a little beaten down.
On top of everything, they've added more responsibility to me at work while not giving us the annual step raise and docking us 5 furlough days. That hurts. No use in complaining about it, because there are a lot of people in the same situation and much worse. (I need to be thankful to have a job!) It's funny though, when we got our checks last week, a friend of mine said that the furlough cut from our paychecks wasn't too awful bad. She said, "When you take nothin' from nothin', you get nothin'!" So true!
I do hope you all have a great Friday. I will muddle through, pray a lot, listen to some praise music, and do the best job I can no matter what my resources may be. Happy weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This is only a test....

This is a test of the Mauney emergency broadcast blog system....

I blogged about faith, and mine was tested with a horrible, no good, awful, really bad day. I was bombarded from every side with just loads of it, and at the end of the day, I was drained. Faith still standing, I felt like I had been through the gauntlet.

I blogged about love. Those around me pushed me, pulled me, threw me curve balls, and were just downright unlovely. I wanted to scream, curse, and cry, but in the end my love withstood and I survived.

Today I blog about testing. It will be a brief blog, but this acknowledges the power of who we are and what it can sometimes cause. You see, those of us who are Christians stand for something HUGE. We stand on moral ground, defending the very things that Christ stood for. This dang world we live in just doesn't like it one bit. The devil himself really hates it. In return, there are fiery arrows being flung at us from all angles sometimes, and we just have to hold up our shield of faith and deflect them as best we can.

If life is going swimmingly and you never have any problems, take a look at how you're living. Are you pushing limits for Christ? Are you standing for Him? Are you trying your best to live a positive, impactful life? Hmm... I think if you are answering "yes" to those, you can't be living a life without problems left and right.

"So", you may say, "why bother?" I bother because I prefer to serve the God of all Gods, the Lord of all the Earth, the One and Only Who saved me and has prepared a place in eternity for me, and I prefer to stand for something worthy of all my praise and glory. As the saying goes, if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

I truly hope this day will be better and that I won't be tested about being tested. However, if I am, I'm sure you'll hear about it tomorrow.

This concludes the test of the Mauney emergency broadcast blog system... This was only a test.....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Falling out?

There is an epidemic sweeping the nation, and it's one of catastrophic proportions. It may very well have a greater impact on our society than any other epidemic ever has even come close to. It's causing children great pain, adults great strife, and it's destroying families one household at a time. Divorce. The "D" word. The unmentionable in our house.

Most of the time, the reasons I hear for people abandoning their spouse is so super lame. My number one favorite is "I just don't love him/her any more" or "We've just fallen out of love". Oh, please don't go there with me. You can't fall out of love. Love isn't an emotion that you can just suddenly push aside. You either love someone or you don't. In fact, I'm going to go one step further and say that love is a choice. To love or not to love is YOUR choice. At some point, you have to make a conscious decision to love someone. It's an action based on a feeling maybe, but it's an action none the less.

Here's what really happens. Life gets crappy. You begin to struggle. In your mind, your spouse has become a slacker. You just can't get on the same page. Things begin to crumble bit by bit, and the thought sneaks in that it would be better "if only". Your mind begins to cloud, and the thoughts seeping in make you believe that if your weren't with the person you're with, your life would be better. Suddenly, you decide you don't love them anymore, when in reality you have just made the choice not to.

I know that when you meet that special someone in the beginning, you have this warm, fuzzy feeling that you just can't shake. I know that when you are around them, there is just something within you that turns flips and rattles around and just makes you feel weak at the knees. People mistake this for love all the time. I do believe that it is an indicator that you have an attraction to a person, but we should never think of that as love. Love is what you choose to do when you feel that attraction to the person that you feel you just can't live without.

Biblically, we are commanded to love. John 13:34-35 says, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." While this command goes far beyond a spousal relationship, let's apply it there. It's a command. We must love. God didn't say "A new command I give you: Be happy. Have the time of your life. Feel butterflies in your stomach every time he/she is around. If things get rough, bail out because you deserve it." Give me a break.

Don't get me wrong, most of us have times that we question our relationships. It's those times that God gives us the opportunity to choose whether to love or not. It kind of goes back to that thought of having faith. It's a big step sometimes to put ourselves out there, because it may mean that we get hurt at times. However, if God can love someone as unlovely as me enough to send his Son to die for me, shouldn't I choose to love as well?

So, the answer to the epidemic we are facing is love. The answer is faith. The answer is a trust in God that He is in control. The irreversible damage that is being done to our society could be repaired if we would simply choose to love.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Reality of the World...

I found out last week that a young man I knew when I was younger has cancer. He's younger than I am by several years, and he has a wife and three little girls.

The reality of this hit me hard although I haven't seen him in many years. In fact, he probably wouldn't remember me because one of his older brothers was really the one that I was close to. It hit me hard because he's young, he's Christ-like, a good husband and daddy I'm sure, a school administrator now that has worked hard for all that he has. He's representative of many young men I know.

My main memory of him growing up is that he had to be tough to withstand the aggravation of 3 big brothers. They were all amazing young men, always a joy to be around, but they were typical brothers. As I think of him now facing this battle, I think of how tough he had to be to put up with those three brothers, and I wonder if this may be a cinch for him after what he's learned. This coupled with his strong faith and the amazing faith of his family and friends, as well as an all-powerful, loving, healing God, surely will bring a testimony that none of us can imagine right now.

The idea made me ask "why?" It made me wonder about the pain his family must be feeling. It made me think of how strong or weak my own faith is. It really caused me to question where I am in my relationships, especially my relationship with the Lord.

You see, I hear many people say, "God said He will never give me more than I can handle." God never said that!

1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "God is faithful, and He will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing He will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it." Somehow we shortened this to the whole "God said He will never give me more than I can handle." Well, does that mean that homeless people that have to live on the street are just strong enough to handle it? What about the starving people in other countries? Has God "given" them this because they are strong enough to endure it? NO!! God doesn't put these things on us. What kind of God would do that? He doesn't GIVE us pain and grief, but He allows those things to happen in the world. The key is that God provides a way out for us. He is to be our strength during these times of weakness. Notice the part of the verse that says that He will provide a way for us to endure it. He endures it for us and with us. It's up to us really, and we in our wordly strength can't handle everything. God in His infinite wisdom and power however sure can. What we have derived from this verse and what the whole point is are two totally different things. The beginning of the verse is the key.... God is faithful.

So, as I think of my friend battling cancer, I know that although he may not be strong enough to beat it, he serves the very God that can. Don't ever think that God is giving you something that you can't handle, or that he will not give you any more than you can. What we really need to remember is, no matter what comes our way, God is faithful.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A special day!

We were so excited, her daddy and I, as we waited on her arrival. We had been married less than two years, but all I ever wanted was to be a wife and mother. My dream was about to come true, and I could have never imagined the joys that it would bring.
She was a stubborn one from the start, breech as the doctors call it. Unless someone has been there, you can't describe to anyone the feeling of trying to bend down and feeling the head of a baby bump into your rib cage and stop you. She was determined not to turn and to come into the world her way, even after the doctor decided to "manually" turn her around inside of me. Yeah, like she was going to listen to the doctor.
That was at the beginning of August. The doctor said that there was still time for her to turn into the proper position for birth, but she had other ideas. We scheduled a c-section for August 19th and prepared for the birth of our first child.
The night of August 18th, we hardly slept at all. We stayed up really late playing the video game system of the day, which was a Sega Genesis at the time. We were up early the next day, ungodly early, and off to the hospital we went.
I don't remember being nervous at all. I don't know if I was mature enough at the time to even think of being nervous. I remember getting out of the car at the hospital that morning, and Ken's daddy being there with the camcorder. It's so cute when I think of it now, Jack saying that when we got back in the car we would have a baby.
The ceserean went as planned, and I remember that she wasn't crying when they took her away. It didn't take long though before I heard the wail. Things get a little fuzzy at this point, but I do remember a family friend (a general surgeon), Dr. David Alford, stepping into the recover room and telling me that I had a beautiful, healthy little girl.
I just don't know what happened next. I mean, I remember taking her home and laying her in her bed and thinking of how tiny and lonely she looked. I remember that Ken looked at me and said, "What do we do now?" I remember having help in our home so that I could concentrate solely on recovering and taking care of my baby. Then, all of a sudden, here we are 18 years later.
There have been many preschool programs, many dance recitals, choral concerts, basketball and soccer games, and church events. There have been laughter, tears, fun, stress, and everything in between. We've watced her grow and mature into the big sister of three other sisters. We've seen her break hearts and get her heart broken. We've seen her win trophies and medals for dancing and achieve commendations for scholastic acheivement. We watched her fall down the steps in her first prom dress in front of her date. We hugged her as she said goodbye to her true love as he went away to boot camp. We proudly watched her walk across the stage to receive her diploma, with honors. We recently watched her go to her first day of college. Gracious, I could blog on this for a week!
Most proudly, we have watched her place her faith in Jesus Christ. We have seen her grow in His grace. We have served alongside her in ministry and missions. We have listened as she sings for the glory of the Lord. We have watched her mature in her sold-out life. We have prayed for her, supported her, and have seen God bless her. In as much as she is a blessing to us, she is also a blessing to others, and for that we are so thankful.
She was our "Boogie" from the start, with her own mind, stubborn like her parents, strong, and independent. She has always had a kind heart with a concern for others and a dedication to doing what is right. She has become fiercely patriotic as she supports her Sailor. She's determined to follow her heart, but she's smart enough to know that she has to use her head. She was our guinea pig, our test child, the first run, our tester as parents, but with God's help, I think "we done good".
Jordan, you are a blessing, and I am so excited to see what God has in store for your life. I am proud of you, and I love you, my little guinea pig.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Miracles still happen...

First of all, let me say hooray!!! It's a great feeling to be at work early enough to blog this morning before starting my day. Summertime really hit my blog hard, but I'm baaaaccckkk!

A miracle has occurred in my life, although I'm not comfortable sharing the details at this time. Suffice is to say that God has worked a change that I put into His hands long ago, and it's just the strangest feeling. I mean, I have faith, but at times I struggle like anyone does with whether God is working on my need when I think He is. (I guess that's a wavering faith.) Sometimes I'm just caught in a moment of weakness, and I think that my situation will just always be the same.

This theory has been dashed, as last week I saw some positive changes in my life that were hoped for but still caught me off guard. (Why do we ask God for blessings and then are surprised when He gives them right to us?) It's been funny too how I've had to adjust my life around these changes. A load has been lifted from my shoulders, and I have to learn how to walk as a lighter person. I have to understand that it's not my burden any more. I've been reminded that I have help. Instead of being a stronger woman, I have now become a weaker one with a stronger faith.

It's truly a miracle, and I knew that God was still in the miracle business. Biblically, the first recorded miracle was John 2:1 - 11 when Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding feast. The last recorded miracle is maybe Luke 22:51 when he replaces the ear of one of the arresting officers that had come to take Him away. Some would argue more miracles recorded past that, just according to how you look at it I'm sure. My argument is that just because Jesus ascended into Heaven, the miracles didn't stop.

As far as physical miracles, I've seen many in my own family. My brother was healed of what the doctors were sure was cancer. My uncle, after weeks of hospitalization, was able to recover and continue to serve the Lord. My children are all alive and well, even though the last two were born two months prematurely and fought for their lives. I could go on and on if I really thought about it I'm sure, and those are just the physical healing miracles!

The latest miracle in my life isn't physical, even though I am now suddenly more determined to be physically fit. God works His spiritual miracles in lives all around us. Most times, it's the spiritual miracles that we don't see in other people, but they are the most profound miracles of all. Take it from me... God is still in the miracle business.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Primrose, at it again!!

Facebook faithful, be sure to enter to win this fabulous backpack from Primrose Galleries!

Good luck!