Change

I’m not much for change, not a gambler, not a risk-taking bone in my body.  So why is it then, that I beg God to bring change, HIS change, into my perfect little story-book world?

I love what I have been blessed with in life and the thought of changing it, risking it for something ‘better’ is admittedly somewhat terrifying.
“Who am I to ask God for more than what He has so graciously provided?”  Yet somehow I cannot turn off the nagging thought that there is more to this story and here I am, stuck on Chapter 1.

This is tough to deal with when you are a “Doer”…an anti-procrastinator (as I call it), and especially tough when you imagine what Chapter 2 might hold, (full of possibilities, dreams and yes…change…challenging but GOOD change).  Though when I try to peak into what’s on the other side, the page reveals nothing… blank, yet to be written.  Sigh.

I love that little plaque that reads “Lord grant me patience and do it NOW!” I want to hang it in my kitchen but if I do so, that will mean I’ll have to admit and change my ways right?

I pray, I beg, I plead…What do you want from me?  Whatever it is, I’ll do it, just show me where you want me to join in YOUR work and I will obey.  I turn the page and the blank piece of paper staring back at me reminds me that God’s story is perfect.  It is not rushed; there is no deadline…no haste in His beautiful work (even if I nag Him for it). Sigh…I remember my place and how very thankful I am for what I have (here in Chapter 1).  There is so much more behind the scenes that I simply cannot see, nor begin to comprehend.

Defeated, yet faithfully inspired, I ask God for patience as He prepares not only me, but my family for His plans…however big, (or small) they may be.

I am reminded of past experiences that I’ve rushed along, ah yes jumped head first as if I were going to miss out on a great thing, only to arrive unprepared and the final product, noticeably underwhelming. If only I had fully prepared, listened to God’s lead and waited on His time.  I realize then that if I am open to God’s work in my life that I cannot ‘miss out’ on His plan.  His will, WILL be done.

So for now I wait on HIS time (as patiently as my impatient self possibly can) and pray that God will prepare us for His work for tomorrow and that today, TODAY will be His.  In the making of waffles, the hugs from my girls, the mess, the laughs, and the chaos…May I find Him in every minute of today…And the amazing part of this?  When I finish my prayer and let it go, He gives me peace…a peace amidst the cry of my heart and a peace that He will renew again the next morning, if I will simply ask for it.

Today I realized that the greatest change in life happens each day, though often undetected and overlooked, change begins and ends with our hearts.

Yup, I have a feeling that Chapter 2 is going to be GOOD but for now I will savor all that Chapter 1 has to offer.

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I love my Mornings

There is magic in the mornings.
The tired of yesterday is gone and today lies ready and waiting at my feet, to see where I will take it.

I jump out of bed (I’m not one for falling back to sleep once I’m up…the day is waiting, let’s DO THIS), head to the little girls’ room to pull my unruly hair out of my face (try not to look too hard in the mirror…never like what I see in the morning), take my vitamins (ugh, swallowing pills), do my blood sugar (yes, it’s like spinning the “Wheel of Fortune”…”Come on good blood sugar…COME ON!”) and then off to the kitchen for a hot cup of coffee (with sugar-free hazelnut creamer and splenda…I know, I know, switching to Stevia once I’ve used the two expensive bags of Splenda in my pantry…sigh).  I grab a breakfast bar (or if I’m lucky, one of my fabulous homemade granola bars…always an extra special treat in the AM) to tie me over till the kids wake for real breakfast, give the kitties a ‘hello’ and some ‘chow’ and then hop back into bed with my Bible and Highlighter to officially start my day and ask God to tell me where to take it!

Life is good.  I hear this a lot and have to agree.  It is hard not to compare my life to others however, though I consciously fight against it.  As a family, we’ve never been on a vacation (not even a honeymoon…yet), we don’t splurge on boats, snow machines, cabins or even dinner’s out (very often) and ‘time off’ around here for both Ron and I is hard to come by.  Even if we do have ‘time off’ we fill it with work (housework, sewing, baking, creating…).  So as God promised in Genesis, the work is never-ending, we have to work to survive.  However we have been given rest in ways some might overlook and in ways that no vacation could ever offer up.
I often find myself singing “It is well with my soul” or “One day at a time” (always going back to the songs I remember as a child) in the shower, while doing dishes, cooking, cleaning, etc.  I’ll be singing at the top of my lungs without paying much attention at all (until I notice my girls joining in…or covering their ears…depends on their attitude at that moment)!
THIS is it.  THIS is the rest, the peace I cherish and need each day to get through.  God promises to give us rest and some may look at my life and wonder if we ever ‘rest’, but I can assure you, it is not bound to the night, it is experienced all day (even amidst the madness)!

Ah yes… as I type this I can hear the rustling of little one’s blankets on the baby monitor and the hushed whispers of little girls, (the girls had a ‘sleepover’ last night…Maddie in the trundle of Olivia’s bed…I love these times) and I know my morning is about to officially begin.  The magic hasn’t ended however, in fact it’s only just begun.  In a moment a three-year old with smiling eyes and wild, tousled curls will come bounding into my room (and onto my lap) for some lovins’.  She will tell me she loves me and snuggle into my neck with a smile.  Magic.
Shortly thereafter a tired, stretching, lumbering 7-year old will manage to muster a smile (with teasing eyes and overly exaggerated ‘sleepy face’) and giggle when I kiss her on the forehead and call her “my baby”.  Magic.

Thank you Lord for the magic found in each moment of this life you gave!
I pray that each breath I take, is not wasted, that each moment you give me will be used to its fullest, starting with this moment right now.

Only One, can take all I put upon myself and give me true rest.

For years I struggled…okay fought against, God’s call to read His word.

I had grown up in church, ‘knew all the stories’ and did not feel that this particular command for (us,) to read His word included me (that was for those who did not go to church…for those who did not hear the Golden Book version of Easter as a child, and for those who could not finish the words to this song: “Zacchaeus was a wee little man…”).

Me and My Sister, Ready for Church

Me and My Sister, Ready for Church

Besides all my preexisting ‘knowledge’ of God and His Word, God knew I did not have time, did not enjoy reading and could hardly focus when I was “forced to read” (nothing like a good book to knock me out at night)!

…Right?

I honestly cannot say for how many years God had been calling, while I was too busy, too stubborn-hearted (too sinful) to answer.  Though ironically my cries to God at night were to know Him more, to follow His will and to  hear His voice.  Blinded.

Funny how when you are ‘in it’, you cannot see it.

This war within my heart went on for years with me turning a blind eye to it, unaccepting, unwilling to see the truth of it.

It wasn’t until our Associate Pastor Jeff preached a sermon directly to me, (though he was unaware) called, “Knowing God Intimately” in late December of 2010, that God reached into my heart and squeezed it, till I cried for mercy and gave in.

Pastor Jeff had said, “How can you KNOW God, if you do not read HIS Word?”.  He also said much more to solidify this truth, but this was it…  This was all I needed to hear.  I knew he was right and I realized then, that I had been fighting this truth for way too long.  Before I left the sanctuary that night, I had made a plan to purchase a “One Year” Bible and to start reading each morning, the following week (which just happened to be the first week of 2011).

Come Monday, I did what I had vowed to do and though I was excited to see what God had in store, I had to fight against my own doubts…  My schedule truly was quite full and squeezing just one more ‘thing’ into it, had not been in ‘my’ plan.  However, I also knew that God would bless my faithfulness, so I planned to wake extra early each morning (around 5AM) to read.  I  couldn’t go to sleep any earlier and already lacked in rest BUT I just knew God would take care of it (and He did).

The first morning I sat to read, I was overcome.  Keep in mind that I was reading from the beginning (starting with Genesis 1:1)…nothing I did not ‘know’ already, nothing ‘earth shattering’ or really heart wrenching right?  Wrong.
I knew the story of Adam and Eve.  I knew about the fall in the Garden.  But I did not know God like I thought I did.  A knife to the heart could not have brought me to my knees quicker.
I read for about 30 minutes that morning and prayed for another 45.  I begged God to forgive my stubborn heart and thanked Him for His unending mercies.  Tears flowed like a river that day (and for many months to follow) as I finally realized He had been trying to answer my own prayer to do His will and I had refused to follow His lead.

I finished my “One Year” Bible about 14 months after I started (I was not going to let a few unexpected life events put me off, God does not care if it takes me 12 months or 36 months…I was right on His schedule).  I still cannot quote scripture and am no theologian, but I don’t think that is what God had asked of me.  He simply wanted me to obey and to take His gift.  I cannot explain in words what exactly transpires during my quiet mornings, reading God’s word.  But that’s the miracle of it.  There are times when what I hear are not the words I am reading on the page, they are the words God knows I need to hear.

“Oh Lord, forgive my stubborn heart.”
I cannot count how many times I have prayed this, though I know He has already answered.  God does not need for me to read.  He does not need a thing from me, in fact he does not ‘need’ me at all.  I need Him.  I had cut myself short of His blessing for so long and my life showed…no, let’s be honest, my life screamed it.  My marriage was falling apart, my oldest (at only 5 years old) was pulling away from me and each day I felt like I was sinking…drowning… gasping for air and pleading for God to save me.
I could not understand what ‘good’ could come of the trials and though I could have been looked at as the innocent victim of hard times, I was the one standing in the way of God’s blessing.  I was the disobedient child asking for help, though unwilling to take it…“Oh Lord, forgive my stubborn heart.”

I still read each morning, though now I am reading a ‘regular’ Bible (not the one-year format).  Actually it is a devotional Marriage Bible that Ron and I both had bought copies of when we were engaged…My oh my, would that have saved me some heartache, had I actually started reading it back then!  Sigh…  History is history and today is new.

I cherish my times alone, searching through God’s word.  In fact, I have made it a wonderful routine, a treat that I look forward to each morning.  I hop out of bed, grab a quick cup of coffee and a breakfast bar, grab my Bible and my highlighter, (though I’m not sure what the point is of the highlighter…the whole thing is bright yellow now) and hop right back into bed to read until I feel as though I have my fill.  Then I pray.
That said, I am not immune to chaos (in fact I unintentionally invite it in, I think ), so I may not have the ability to read every day (kids wake too early, I wake too late, etc) though these days are few and far between as there is a Peace… a breath of fresh air, in starting the day by literally putting God first.  The days I miss out on my time with God?  It’s like running on the treadmill, while eating a donut.  Not productive.

I pray for you as you read this.  I do not know your heart, your history or where God is calling in your life, but I beg you to not turn away.  God calls His children…  The creator of the universe CALLS us!  And without ceasing, even when we don’t answer.  However, the time wasted is not His, it’s ours. We are the fool for turning the blind eye…  I could have saved myself (and my family) a lot of heartache had I answered His call, years back.  Though I am thankful for His mercy today…  With eyes set on Him, praying with a heart of obedience (even if His response is not what I had anticipated it to be), trusting that His will is greater than my own and faithful in His promise.

Here we go!

How did I find myself HERE and where did all these ‘hat’s come from?!

Olivia

I am the Wife of 9 years to my amazing Husband, Ron, who has grown with me, dealt with me and cherished me, like none other.

I run a Web & Graphic Arts business from home where I answer the phones, meet with clients, (clean the toilets) and design and develop everything from logos to graphics, to web pages.

I also train up our two (beautifully wonderful) daughters at my side and started homeschooling my eldest in 2011.

I have found that the hats continue to pile on (Wife, Mother, Teacher, Business Owner, Insane Crafter and most recently added: Newby health nut)…  And though I’m pretty sure I gain a new gray hair and wrinkle with each hat added, there is nothing like the joy found in taking that next step on Christ’s path.

I am passionate about my family, lead by my creator and a life-student of His will.  I did not get ‘here’ alone.  In fact I was lost and didn’t even know it!  ‘Here’ is where God lead me…not where I was headed.  Here is exactly where I am meant to be and though it may be chaotic at times, drenched in tears on others and humbling in ways I won’t mention here…it is as perfect as this earth can offer.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
-Matthew 11:28

Here we go!