Thursday, December 31, 2015

I Want God

I dreamt I walked away from God. In my dream I had fallen short on a commitment and was then confronted by a person who means much to me in real life. I let her down. I let many down. My response was to walk away from God.

This dream of walking away has taken place a number of times lately. The scenario which brings me there is different but the result stays the same.

I do not know why I have this reoccurring dream because in no way do I want to walk away from God.

I downloaded a book yesterday. It's been on my "must read" list for far too long.

The book... I Want God, by Lisa Whittle

The Christmas presents are unwrapped and used in one way or another. The decorations are down and put away. Our oldest son's visit has come to an end and he has returned to sunny California. We are about to ring in the New Year.

We each received the gifts we wanted. The greatest gift received from our youngest son was a home fully decorated for Christmas. And obviously I always want our oldest son home with us.

But what do I want more than the gifts, a decorated home and time with family?

There has been another kind of want too. The want has actually lingered for a long time. I want to be good at just one thing.

I thought my "one thing" was writing. Then the writing stopped.

I have thought it was other things too, like maybe shepherding a group of ladies through a Bible study. But lately I am not so sure.

You could say doubt has a tendency of being the "one thing" I am really, really good at. It's not what I want to be good at though.

So I think about the word want. I wonder if maybe want should be my One Word for 2016. But I don't so much want to choose one word. What I want to want more than anything else is to want God. As Lisa Whittle writes in her book, "It is the permanent kind, the unwavering kind of want... the kind of want that changes our life and helps us change others."

I want that kind of want. And I don't just want to tell him I want Him but I want to mean it and I want to live it out.

I am not sure what brings me back to this space this morning to tell you this. I am not sure if and when I will come here again. The break from writing led to a fear of writing again. As the New Year approaches it felt appropriate to move past the fear. It feels right to ring in the New Year with a leap of faith. Putting words in this space again is nothing short of a leap of faith for me.

Until we meet again, friends, Happy New Year. And what if we all choose to want God more than anything else in 2016 and the years to come?

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

He makes all things new

I married my husband again this past Saturday and our special day was everything we wanted it to be and more so.

My cup runneth over.

It’s hard to decide where to begin. How could I possibly describe our day from start to end in one post? Maybe it does not need to be one post.

A little side note: it feels strange to return here with it being so long since I last wrote. But now is not the time to talk about the uncertainty of this blog's future. I shall continue to leave it in God’s hands.

When my husband and I first met with our Executive Pastor to tell him of our desire to renew our wedding vows, we expressed how we wanted the day to be all about God. The renewal of our vows was not about us but about what God had done in our lives and in our marriage since we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. All praise and glory for the twenty-five years we celebrate together must go to Him.

And all praise and glory did go to Him.

He shall even receive all praise and glory for working out every single detail as we planned for our special day. As I look back, I see how He filled the gaps by sending just the right person at just the right time to come along side of us to think of the one detail we had not yet thought of. He guided us in the decision making process and kept us free from worry… with Him at the center our day would be everything He wanted it to be. It would be what He always intended for this day was written in His book long ago.

I realized the evening before we would marry again that we were about to do the very thing Satan had tried to prevent for twenty-five years. Satan decided to step up his game, friends. But our God is stronger.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

After a difficult night, on the morning of our vow renewal day I gathered our family around an oak table in the living room with our hands held tightly together and declared to Satan, “You are not welcome here. You will not steal our joy. We know how the story goes… God wins. And He wins here today too.”

A few hours later I stood in the dressing room of our venue in a wedding dress God had chosen specifically for me with my eyes closed and listened to family and friends in the room next to me join our worship team in singing:

“Let our praise be Your welcome
Let our songs be a sign
We are here for You, we are here for You

Let Your breath come from heaven
Fill our hearts with Your life
We are here for You, we are here for You”

Here For You, by Matt Redman

We welcomed God into that place. His presence filled the room. It was all about Him, just as it should be.

Then our two children, now young adults, each put an arm in one of mine and together we took the walk I had been anxiously waiting to take toward my husband. As we walked across a lovely white runner, which included the words from Mark 10:9 thanks to my mother, our voices continued to give Him praise as we sang:

“For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons
For my heart to find”

10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord), by Matt Redman

Oh yes, God. There are ten thousand reasons and more for my heart to find.

How do I describe the emotions which came as I reached out my hand to take my husband’s hand in mine with our boys standing beside us, with family and friends surrounding us and with God in our midst? I loved my husband so very much on the day when we first said “I do” but never did I imagine how my love for him would grow over the next twenty-five years. Only God could write such a story.

There is so much more to share with you. Isn’t that so like God? With Him, there is always more. And I will share the “more” with you as time allows and as we receive photos from our photographer.

For now, can you guess how our ceremony ended? From the moment we decided to renew our vows, we knew the ceremony could end only one way. We turned toward our family and friends with joy overflowing and sang, “How Great is Our God!”

Our special day was much more than a renewal of our vows. God gave us a new marriage; a transformation only He could do. All praise and glory went to Him and will continue to go to Him.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A peek inside our wedding album

The last few posts have been on the heavier side so how about we lighten it up a bit by taking a trip down memory lane to my wedding day. With less than three months until the day when my husband and I renew our vows to celebrate 25 years of marriage, I reflect on this day a lot.

We were oh so young 25 years ago . . .

My parents. And my beautiful mother actually made the dress she wore.

We have referred to our wedding as the "big hair wedding" and this reveals why. 

My grandma, who we miss so very much.

I do not plan to wear heals this time around!

Too funny (notice the exit sign) . . . probably one of hubs favorite pictures. Hehe.

My husband with his parents. His mother is also missed dearly.

Reverend Russ Koenig (on the left) also married my parents. He too is missed.

One of my favorite pictures. Our oldest son was 4 months old when we married.

A gorgeous fall day!

Our wedding party.

Toyota Jump! Another favorite of my husbands.


These ten fabulous ladies are still dear friends of mine.

My absolute favorite picture from our wedding day.
I love that my favorite picture looks rather similar to the photo taken when I welcomed my husband home from Afghanistan. The kiss above is the beginning of our life together and the kiss below led us to the decision to renew our vows. The ten months apart taught us what a precious gift God has given us . . . each other! To express our gratitude we want to say before Him, and also before our family and friends, "We Still Do."

We will do the whole deployment thingy again soon which is the main reason we are renewing our vows in September instead of October. We married in October 1990. Can I just say, preparing for a second deployment does not feel easier. But we can do all things through him who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).

If you're a new visitor, you can watch my husband's first welcome home here.

Thank you, friends, for your love and support! You are a blessing to me.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Seasons, Chapters and Choosing Love

I recently wrote about our old oak table and the memories which surround the table. My time of reflection brought me to conclude we need to hold on to our table. The table has actually since undergone a makeover.

Trips down memory lane happen frequently for me these days. And those trips take me back to the different seasons of my life. Like different seasons of the year, God takes us through different seasons throughout our time here on earth.

A while back, my friend Holly sent me a Voxer message after reading a post I had written on the book I dream about (every writer’s dream, I believe). The book would likely be a collection of stories from my years of marriage. Holly suggested the chapter titles simply be a particular year of my marriage. Her suggestion resonated with me.

Basically, the different seasons of our marriage would become chapters.

I don't imagine the book would be a chapter for every year of my marriage but it could highlight the years when I believe God did something profound, grew our faith and trust in Him or prepared us for a new chapter.

My book choices lately are ones written by Shauna Niequist. I loved her book Bread and Wine so I decided to continue with a Shauna theme by reading Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet. I completed Cold Tangerines and have a hundred pages or so left to read in Bittersweet.

In the chapter titled “Sea Dreams” of Bittersweet, Shauna writes, “Sometimes we have to leave home in order to find out what we left there and why it matters so much.”

Her words speak to a chapter in my marriage; a chapter when I left my husband and home. This chapter would be titled "1999." Whenever I reflect on this chapter I try to do so without regret. Of course, it breaks my heart to recall the hurt I caused my husband. At the same time, I do believe the act of leaving allowed me to discover what I had left and why he mattered so much.

Thankfully, 1999 ended with God having grander plans for the next chapter – 2000 – a chapter which included a fight for my marriage.

We appear to be on the edge of another chapter ending. It too relates to the words written by Shauna. The second part of those words may end differently though. I tread lightly here because this chapter ending doesn't relate to my marriage. On the other hand, it impacts our family and lays heavy on my heart.

As one chapter potentially ends, God teaches me how each chapter matters.

In a video series, Living Life Together featuring Shauna Niequist, Shauna says in the second video of the series that “our stories are stories of who God is.” God is love. And God calls us to love. We love no matter what the future may hold for a relationship. I have the choice to look back with regret for years spent loving someone and now consider it as time wasted. I also have the choice to be grateful for the chapter they were a part of. And I can be more like Christ by choosing love amidst the sorrow of their loss.

Every chapter matters because whether it’s a chapter filled with joy or sorrow we have the opportunity to glorify Him. It’s another chapter of our life which tells of who He is.

The year 2015 would surely be another chapter in my book. It's shaping out to be a profound year of God awakening us to His love, faithfulness and every day graces. The year has been full of good and hard moments and we haven’t even made it halfway through the year. Yet, we experience God’s love and faithfulness, maybe even greater so when He walks with us through the hard.

While 2015 may include a less fortunate ending for people we love, the marriage between my husband and I, which came close to an end back in 1999, will celebrate 25 years in October. All praise and glory goes to God.

This reflection reminds me not to limit what God can do. His ways are not our ways and many times far exceed our understanding. So I will choose to love through what may be an end of a chapter.

While I might guard my heart more closely, I will not close my heart to choosing love again no matter how this chapter ends or the next one begins.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Throne of Grace

Recent status updates on Facebook have referenced how I now walk in freedom from an eating disorder. There has been mention of my longtime battle with bulimia here and there on my blog. Last year I attempted to give it up for Lent. I wrote about it here and here. I wrote about how I did not reach my goal here.

The battle continued on, mostly in secret. Family and friends rarely confronted me on the matter, except for a few, which made it easier to keep it a secret. When the few would ask how I was doing they received the standard response of, “It is better.”

You might wonder, what does “it is better” mean?

For the most part, it does not mean a thing. Those words were used as a diversion from being real. There were times when the purging happened less frequently but usually not by much. The battle always remained a battle.

A part of me wanted to come clean by saying, “It is far from finished.” There would be freedom in such admittance. On the contrary, doing so would make it harder to carry out the act of purging, if the desire remained to do so, because others (mainly my husband) might watch closer my actions after eating.

Was I ready to let go of the warped sense of control I had over my eating disorder?

I could not tell you the last time I made myself purge. It hasn't been very long; maybe two or three months. I did not make note of the date it stopped. A day did not come when I said, “It is finished.” I thought a day like that had come—I said so during my Lenten journey here.

I was not finished.

Could it be my faith in Him wasn't strong enough for healing? The answer, of course, is no. Our healing isn't dependent upon the level of our faith.

Why am I now certain that it is finished? What is different from the other times?

I think it has something to do with accepting His grace. By this I mean, believing His grace is a gift for me too. I know that it is but there's a difference between believing and accepting.

I wish I could speak of a profound moment similar to the many miracle healings performed by Jesus throughout the New Testament. Like the experience of the bleeding women who came up behind Jesus to touch the edge of His cloak and then her bleeding immediately stopped (read Luke 8:43-48). Instead, a day just came when I no longer purged.

In a recent sermon by our Executive Pastor he addressed the nature of miraculous healings performed by Jesus. He expressed how the healings included four characteristics:

1) They were unpredictable

2) They were done in Jesus’ name

3) They were instantaneous and complete

4) They resulted in praise to God

Something clicked during his sermon. A light bulb went on. I had experienced a healing that could have only been done by Jesus.

Unlike the prediction of my eating disorder being finished when I began my Lenten journey in 2014, this healing was unpredictable. It was done in no other name than Jesus’ name because only He could perform such a healing. It was instantaneous and I now believe complete. All praise and glory goes to God.

My history may prove I will likely fall again. And I may. I think not though. His grace gift of healing is one I do not plan to give back.

It is finished.

I may not understand why He chose to do this now. But He often doesn't work in ways we will understand. This is what I'm learning: the magic actually happens beyond the healing. As I walk away from an eating disorder and in to freedom I cannot help but point others to Him because it's all because of HIM. And isn't that the point?

Healing or no healing, He is more than enough. He is all we need.

Like I wrote here, thank you for being a soft place to land as I tell my story. There is more to tell but I think I shall save for another post.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

{An} Old Oak Table

My husband and I recently completed a nine week Financial Peace University (FPU) course with Dave Ramsey. It's a course our church provides a few times a year. If you have never heard of FPU, I highly suggest you check it out. It will change you. And when you go through it with your spouse, it will have a positive impact on your marriage.

It's powerful stuff. It’s so powerful we have shipped off copies of the CDs to our eldest son to encourage him to go through the course. Afterward, our younger son will receive the same encouragement.

Mostly, I hope our children see a change in how their parents handle money. I pray we also reflect the truth to them: everything we have comes from and belongs to God. He has simply entrusted us to be wise with what He gives and to treat it with open hands. In other words, become like Him and be givers.

Dave Ramsey began and ended the nine-week course with reference to an old oak table. You see, it was around his old oak table where he and his wife declared bankruptcy. Around that same oak table they made the choice to be obedient to God’s instructions by following biblical principles on how to handle money. God actually has quite a bit to say on the topic.

I left the last week of our nine-week course reflecting on the old oak table which sits in our home and serves as our dining room table. The table has been in our home for at least 15 years. And life has surely happened around our old oak table.

The table is battered and worn out. Several years ago hubs started to strip the stain off to prepare it to be re-stained or painted. For the most part, it sits there as bare oak waiting on us to decide. At times, mainly when we entertain, I throw a white table cloth over it for a prettier look.

Like Dave Ramsey, there are good and not-so-good memories which surround our table. Of course many meals were served and eaten around our table but there’s so much more to this table…

Toddlers became middle-schoolers.

Boys became young men.

Homework was fought over.

Art was birthed.

Fights were fought.

Fists were pounded.

Hard decisions were made.

Hearts broke there.

Tears fell.

Forgiveness was given.

Smiles formed there.

God was found.

The Bible was opened and read.

Prayers were lifted.

Grace was said.

“See you later” and “welcome home” moments were spoken and lived.

Love letters were written and mailed.

Care packages were assembled and shipped.

Friendships blossomed.

A marriage proposal prepared for and extended there.

The growth of a family was witnessed.

Losses mourned.

The gifts of redemption and transformation were received.

God’s miracles are still seen daily.

The above memories only scratch the surface of the life lived around our old oak table. Nonetheless, the process of writing down the memories makes me wonder how I could have ever considered saying good-bye to our table. Yes, maybe it's just a table. The memories would not disappear with the table. But I have suddenly grown founder of our table.

I find myself sitting at the table on one of the four chairs slowly falling apart, one being held together with a yellow bow, humming the lyrics to a song by Colton Dixon:

There are days I've taken more than I can give
And there are choices that I made
That I wouldn't make again
I've had my share of laughter
Of tears and troubled times
This is has been the story of my life

I have won
and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life's been a journey
I've seen joy, I've seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it

Watch video here: “Through All Of It

Through every event which transpired around our old oak table God has been our God through all of it. Maybe we didn't always see Him. Maybe we went most of those years denying Him. Yet, He was always there knocking, waiting for us to open our hearts to His everlasting love.

Hard stuff didn't stop being lived around our table once we did let Him in for we live in a fallen world. But God continues to be our God through all of it. Instead of waiting on us to respond to His knock, His Holy Spirit now dwells within us.

I think we shall keep our old oak table. Whenever we gather around our table I think we shall take a moment to thank God for being our God.

“You are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.”
Psalm 118:28

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Friday, June 5, 2015

When the writing runs dry

It's been almost a month since my last blog post.  There are attempts to write and then the attempts are quickly followed by the press of the delete button. If you follow me on my blog Facebook page you may have witnessed the disappearing act of a few status updates lately.

My reasons for not writing are many. Mostly it's attributed to a realignment of priorities. The Storyline Conference I attended last October led me through the process of outlining the various roles I play and then identifying which ones matter most to me. This helped me to create a life plan, or at least a plan for the year ahead by summarizing ambitions for each of these roles.

Child of God

Writing falls lower on the list than it once did. But am I ignoring God's call to write?

I do believe writing has the rightful lower position on my priority list. The priorities I listed above writing need to come first. God having proper place as my first love is changing my life. I now walk in freedom of an eating disorder only by the grace of God.

“The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Like He did with the Israelite's, God spoke to me saying, “You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north” (Deuteronomy 2:3).

I have turned north and do not plan to turn back.

At the same time, Satan has not given up on his attempts to win the fight for my worship of him first. He increases the intensity, I believe, when we claim freedom from a stronghold for we have done the very thing he prowls around trying to prevent.

When it comes to writing I fall to Satan’s lies. He places seeds of doubts in my mind. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I have admitted to this before. The difference lies in letting doubt win – letting him win – by not writing.

There’s not a lack of God stories to share with you. Life is full of good and hard stuff. God’s presence and His wonders are experienced through it all.

I have a confession to make though. Doubt has allowed the writing to run dry. I have pushed away or deleted words given to me by God with a wide-range of excuses. The most popular excuses being, “It’s not good enough,” “It’s too hard” and “It doesn’t matter anyways.”

God has spoken again saying, “You have circled that mountain long enough too, Beth.”

The God stories embedded in my heart and mind of all the ways He continues to redeem and transform need to be told. It’s those kinds of stories we as Christian writers pray point others to Him. Because the whole purpose of what God does in our lives is to bring attention to Him. It has nothing to do with us.

As said by our Executive Pastor in a recent sermon, “The purpose of signs and wonders it to prove Jesus and to point to Jesus.”

If I allow doubt to let the writing run dry then it’s like saying to God that the work He does in and around me doesn’t matter.

I certainly do not want to say that.

How about I (we) do this instead?

“Shout the news of his victory from sea to sea,
Take the news of his glory to the lost,
News of his wonders to one and all!”
~ Psalm 96:3 (MSG)

The writing may still be infrequent which is okay if the infrequency stems from properly aligned priorities and not because of doubt.

Am I done with writing until 2016 as I said in a recent status update? How about I carry on with letting God determine when I write.

Until next time…

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Friday, May 8, 2015

My hope is found in Him

In many ways it’s a beautiful season for me. I see His goodness bursting forth in all things. I adore this time of being more intentional in my relationships with my husband, children and friends.  The days seem to move at a slower pace, a delightful pace of cherishing each and every moment.

This season isn't absent of sorrow. My heart mourns the loss of someone I love deeply. I have learned that a loss can come in many different forms; it does not only come with death. I pray daily for the person I love to choose differently. I pray daily for God to teach me to extend love, even if it goes unseen, no matter how this part of our story unfolds.

God takes us through different seasons. I believe in every season He seeks to reveal truth about Himself, give us new wisdom for our spiritual journey and leave us with a promise for more of Him.

I see it in His letters to the seven churches in the province of Asia (Revelations 1:4) as I read the Book of Revelation. Each one begins with a picture of Him, then gives a warning and ends with a promise.

It begins and ends with Him.

It’s all about Him.

I find myself wrestling with God at times over this season of less writing He has brought me to. The wrestle comes in the form of jealousy and comparison as my Facebook news-feed fills with beautiful posts written by others whom I adore. Jealousy and comparison is an ugly thing. It absolutely steals your joy. But He came to give us life to the fullest (John 10:10).

So God doesn't leave me in the wrestle.

He reminds me of who He is and who I am in Him.
He extends gentle warnings through His Word.
He promises more of Him if I choose to trust and obey Him.

I trust in you, Lord. 
You are good.
You are faithful.

I was asked recently to describe what made me fall in love with Jesus and what makes me follow Him. My response came with ease but it also came with wet eyes. Love stories are usually told with wet eyes.

It's for two words: redemption and transformation. I witnessed how He redeems and makes all things new. You can read our story here. And His work of redemption and transformation never ends. There's always more: more ways we need to surrender to Him and more ways He wants to transform us.

He is my hope . . . the hope for better. A life without Him would be a life without hope. A life without Him is one I will not choose.

Maybe what I love most about this season is how I have fallen in love with Him all over again. As He becomes greater in my life (John 3:30), through devoted time with Him and In His Word, He performs new miracles. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). I come before Him with my fears, doubts and thoughts of unworthiness, and He says, "I'm not finished with you yet, Beth. Look, I am doing a new thing" (Isaiah 43:19).

I have come to a place of knowing this season He has me in is the very place I need to be. I can see so clearly His love and goodness, even in the midst of sorrow. He will not waste this. There will be beauty on the other side. There will be a transformation. I know this with every fiber of my being because I have come to know Him.

This is the hope I profess: He is faithful. He is good always. His love is never-ending. His arms are far reaching—nothing is too far off for Him to redeem and transform.

It’s the hope which keeps my eyes and heart set on Him always. When He comes to my door He does not need to knock because the door to my heart remains wide open (Revelation 3:20).

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Friday, May 1, 2015

What I've Learned {in April}

1. Hubs and I have bought into many myths pertaining to debt. We are being challenged in a convicting and positive way through a David Ramsey “Financial Peace” course offered through our church.

God’s Word: “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

2. God has much to say on being a good steward of money.

God’s Word: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” Luke 16:10

3. Taking the “Financial Peace” course means creating a monthly budget. Creating a monthly budget means allocating how and where you spend your income. Allocating how and where you spend your money means you come to the conclusion you don’t need to spend money on a maid. I surely did learn in April how much I miss my maid. She did a great job with the deep cleaning. I am slowly learning to enjoy again a daily routine of tending to our home.

God’s Word: Proverbs 31

4. I love that we are a part of the Army Reserves family. They do a fabulous job of taking care of their soldiers and their families.

God’s Word: “Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others.” Philippians 2:4

5. Twenty-five years of marriage does not mean we have this marriage thing all figured out. Hubs and I are thankful for the chaplain-led program, Strong Bonds, offered through the Army. We enjoyed two days in Minneapolis last weekend focused on strengthening our marriage and connecting with other military couples.

God’s Word: “Let marriage be held in honor among all.” Hebrews 13:4

6. When you get to Deuteronomy 34 after seven months of studying The Life of Moses tears will fall over the death of Moses and him only seeing the Promised Land from a distance. Even though Moses asked God to let him cross over to see the wonderful land (Deuteronomy 3:25), I imagine Moses was far more excited about his heavenly home with God.

God’s Word: “No eye has ever seen or no ear has ever heard or no mind has ever thought of the wonderful things God has made ready for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

7. I already know I am going to miss my Monday evenings with Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). My prayer is that the habits I have formed as a result of BSF stay with me throughout the summer months instead of waiting to take them back up again come September when we study Revelation. Time with God and in His Word should not be a seasonal thing but a daily thing.

God’s Word: Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

8. An extra day or two was probably needed to ponder vow renewal plans before I pressed send on our Save the Date email. Once the email was out I had a panic attack over the number of people we had invited to our home. All is good though because God is good! We are likely making alternate plans to have our celebration elsewhere and thankfully our first choice for a venue is still available. It’s a good thing Save the Date’s don’t include details on the location.

God's Word:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

9. Watching your children go through hard seasons is one of the most difficult things we do as parents. But God doesn't waste our suffering. Our family of four is growing closer as we walk through the hard stuff together.

God’s Word: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

10. My new favorite game is TableTopics. Our family stays in frequent communication these days via group text messaging thanks to this lovely game. I’m in charge of asking the question and then the men join in with their answers. I have 135 questions to choose from. Oh, what fun!

God’s Word: “A happy heart makes the face cheerful but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13

How about you? What did God teach you in April?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Should I Make Myself Write?

A recent post by a sweet friend has me asking myself if I should just make myself write. There's no inspiration to write these days. If I were to write something I am not sure what the something would be. I really don't know where to begin with the thoughts twirling and twirling around in my mind.

Should I make myself write? Would the inspiration then come?

Then I recalled words written by another friend. I read Mary's post, The Importance of Real Connections in a Non-Connected World, this morning after my time with God and before tending to the daily routine of getting ready for the work day. Imagine my surprise to find her writing about me. Thank you for the encouragement, Mary!

"My good friend Beth at Simply Beth has been writing and talking about real life connections and their importance. She has stepped out intentionally to make this happen and it has encouraged me in my own life. It has been a beautiful journey to follow and learn from Beth as she sits with friends over coffee, hangs out with her neighbors, puts family first and works on being present to others in her daily life. She models what friendship should be and I am blessed to learn from her bravery and challenged to carry this out in my own life."

So here's the thing. Maybe I could make myself write. There's some writing but not much these days. Instead of making myself write though, I am making time for real life connections. First and foremost, I make time for my husband. Actually, God first and then time with my man.

Then there are days devoted to meeting online friends in real life. Like breakfast at an adorable restaurant (best ever coffee and pancakes) with the lovely Mel of Barefoot Mel. Winning a giveaway on her blog revealed we only live thirty minutes from one another. Yippee!

And I anxiously await sharing a meal again with Dawn of Journeys in Grace this weekend.

 And we spend lots and lots of time with friends we are blessed to have as neighbors.

I love any opportunity to hang out with my BFF who will forever be known as "my Hawaii friend." The photo is from the morning we left for Hawaii as I did not think to take one of us together when recently met to share a meal and have a glass of wine while my husband took our youngest son to a Chicago Blackhawks game.

There's also a wedding to plan. Yes, I refer to it as "Our Wedding." It's a renewal of vows. It's a desire to say before God once again, but for real this time because the first time we didn't know God like we do now, that we will love one another until death do us part. Want to follow along as I plan? Come check out my Pinterest board.

How about a sneak peak at our photo session for the Save the Date cards? The photo below happens to be a favorite from our session. Hubs didn't like his squinty eye so we won't be using it for our card. I love him so very much!

I admitted to my friend Mary in the comment I left on her post (shared above) that I honestly fear a loss of online friendships, friendships I hold dear to my heart, because I am not writing. Less writing has gradually meant less time on other blogs.

Really though, less time on other blogs is not because I am writing less but because I am being intentional in others areas.

God has called me to a different season. It's a season where He isn't asking me to write. Mostly it's a season where I feel I'm learning to love God with all my heart, my soul and my strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). Could there be any better season?

At my Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class last night our teaching leader reminded me of this truth: "We can't add God to our life; He must be our life."

I need Him to be my everything. I want Him to be my everything.

Can I admit I almost backed out of my yes to God to become a Group Leader for BSF in the fall? I wrote about my yes to God here.

But as I learn to love God with my heart, soul and strength, I know it includes trusting His ways are always best. If His ways include me shepherding a group of women as we study God's Word together, then my yes will stay a yes. Satan isn't winning in his attempt to tell me I'm not ready.

So . . . the writing? It will continue to take a back seat. I will not fear what I may lose as a result for God is filling my days with much goodness.

You are forever part of the goodness in my life.

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