Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

Unexpected gifts… July 10, 2011

Filed under: Deep thoughts — erikaivory @ 11:40 pm
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Walking through this season has already been full of surprises.  I feel like the Lord surprised us with a scavenger hunt of sorts and He gave us at the outset a big gift basket overflowing with wrapped presents and a backpack full of tools and necessary items.  We are going from clue to clue and seeing bent branches here and there, His footprints in the mud and little clues left along the way to remind us that He has definitely gone JUST ahead of us on the trail.  So we know we are on the right path and we have the assurance of His presence, we just have no idea where this crazy adventure is taking us!

I am also truly thankful that right now He is teaching me lots.  At the moment for me this is a fruitful journey.  My prayer is I can record these lessons and that they will be embedded in my heart and spirit because I am learning some good stuff!!  So I wanted to list some things that I have discovered already along the way.  Some of them may not really make a lot of sense but they are clear to me:)

1) We are immensely blessed with amazing friends!

Are you familiar with Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

By God’s grace we are blessed with so many crazy, Christ lovin’, Bible believin’, sacrificial, fun, awesome and giving friends!  We already knew this but we didn’t realize that they could love us so selflessly.  Many friends have come to us and already financially blessed us by giving us monetary gifts, bringing us meals and gift cards and offering support any way that we need it.  It is overwhelming.  These are friends that have already sacrificially given toward the adoption and friends that don’t have excess money lying around.  To give us these kinds of gifts means that they are SACRIFICING, and giving something to us means they are going without in some area of their own lives.

2) God’s provision through other people’s sacrifice and obedience also means that we learn great humility and surrender.

Accepting the fact that we are on the receiving end and not in a place to give this way ourselves is very humbling. There is no way around it.  The Lord is dealing with some big, bruised areas of pride in our hearts.  These are lessons I thought we already learned but apparently we need to be pruned more and it sounds so weird because we are SO overwhelmed at how loved we feel by these gifts and we are over the moon grateful…yet there is some bruising and pruning taking place that also stings and hurts.  This is Christ doing a work, a GOOD and necessary work in us!  This is keeping us on our faces and on our knees.  Keeping our hands open wide…it is a good place to be, but a place of rawness.

3) The Lord can make surrender and trust a place of joy.

We are truly trying to walk each day trusting and not staying in a place of anxiety.  That means a lot of prayer and speaking the truth of Scripture.  It means reminding ourselves of God’s great faithfulness in stories from His Word and also of stories from our past where He has proved Himself faithful. The amazing thing is as we awake each day with hope and focus our eyes on Him…He provides great opportunities for delight.

We have had SUCH an amazing and fun summer as a family so far.  We have been blessed with great time as a family and SO many tremendous experiences!!  We went to the mountains for a week with college friends and went rock hopping and slid down Sliding Rock and went tubing down a mountain river.  We celebrated God’s faithfulness with college friends. Several different families have opened up their homes and vacation homes to come and be with them. So we have had boat rides and gone tubing and celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks and made ice cream and fed baby deer and spied on alligators and taken golf cart rides and enjoyed time together and new experiences with wonderful, gracious friends.  Instead of sitting at home and worrying and pacing and fretting…we are doing all that we can faithfully and then trusting and enjoying the time we have together right now.

4) He has lessons to teach us each day, if we are walking with awareness.

Realizing that I really need to depend on the Lord because automatic draft is not going to make money appear in my bank account…has heightened my awareness and honed my listening skills.  I am hungry to hear what God has to say these days.  Yes, I always want to know what God has in mind but when I really need His input and movement in my life like now…suddenly I hear and see Him A LOT!  And I love it!!  We need His direction and we need Him to move on our behalf…but what I am realizing is He ALWAYS is!!  I just really don’t pay attention a lot.  This is making me hungry for communication with Him.  So as I see His fingerprints throughout my day it is oh so sweet!  Like I was having a really hard morning waking up with a hopeful attitude a few weeks ago. I went on a run and just wasn’t feelin’ it…I was crying out to Him and asking Him to help me keep my chin up and put on that garment of praise…well the last song that shuffled on my silly ipod was my absolute favorite praise song right now!! The one that I can never get the silly thing to play when I run without skipping…but it played JUST when I needed it!!  See, that is one of His fingerprints!  Or when my devotion was randomly enough in the book of Numbers and dealing with the Israelites complaining about manna…it spoke directly to me about how manna fulfilled the Israelite’s needs but not their desires and cravings because He wanted them to learn to turn that craving toward Him.  Kelly Minter says, “God uses scarcity in our lives (it can be in any area, not just financial) to draw us to dependency on Him self.”  God’s got my number!

5) God reads my mail!

He knows every need we have. He answers us in lots of different ways, but I am learning slowly, that He wants us to take every need to Him and let Him decide how to fill it.  It doesn’t hurt to ask!  I was really sick last week with strep.  Our insurance just ended and we are working on getting some “in-between” insurance but of course this week we don’t have any.  I hated to do it but I was tore up sick so I went to Urgent Care and paid more than a pretty penny for it.  I am truly thankful because I was so wanting to get better, but I gotta admit I was feeling awfully guilty for spending that much money on a strep test and a Z-pack! Today I received an anonymous letter in the mail with a Scripture verse and cash totaling, almost to the dollar, the exact amount I paid at the doctor’s office.  What is that?????? God’s amazing provision and tender reminder that He is enough and He knows my need.  I told maybe one family member how much the doctor visit cost.  God used someone’s blind and complete obedience to not only meet our need but remind us that He is ahead of us on this path, therefore we do NOT need to fear.

Now do I expect people to be paying our mortgage for the next six months if Mark hasn’t found a job by then? No…but I can simply wake up tomorrow confident that God has a plan and whatever tomorrow holds, it is going to be okay.  Not only okay, but good because I serve a God who is faithful and good.  And God is not pulling out the stops for us because it is US.  We are not super hero Christians or amazingly faithful Christ followers.  We are sinners that mess up and make mistakes and don’t deserve our friends to sacrifice for us and certainly don’t deserve the Lord to rescue us.  But that’s grace and it is beautiful.

I warned you that some of this might not make sense but I first of all need to record this journey because it is significant to us personally and as a family.  But we also want to proclaim God’s faithfulness and how He provides and how He is SO, SO faithful!!

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Wearin’ my Hat Bible… July 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — erikaivory @ 3:27 am
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This is where I’m at:

Yes, that is a Bible on my head. A big, honkin’ Bible.  I’m considering the best way to pass this idea on to Beth Moore for a Hat Bible.  I need His Word to be a constant IV drip into my system. I need to soak it in and fill me up!

You may have never been in a similar season in your life but right now I am hanging onto the Lord and His grace and strength and mercy for dear life.  I wake up talking to Him and grab my phone and pull up YouVersion (the Bible) and start reading. Because I am so holy…NO, SO I DON’T FREAK OUT!!!

Certainly I can be overdramatic and do not in any way feel sorry for me, but I’m just keepin’ it real…I need some Jesus right about now:)  And He has been showing up BIG time…through friends and family, circumstances, notes and particular Scripture verses right when I need it most.

Sigh…the drug Mark was a rep for went generic rather unexpectedly and about two weeks ago Mark’s entire sales force was laid off.  We’ve been down this road before but the last time his company provided two months severance but not this time.  So he is diligently job hunting.  We are on our faces seeking the Lord’s direction. We know He will provide and He already has been SO faithful!

At the same time Mark’s sister just found out that she has breast cancer.  So there is a lot going on in our lives.  We are really doing well.  We are thoroughly enjoying time together as a family and truly making the most of it.  At the same time there is a TON of uncertainty (that’s an understatement) and some big giants we are staring down…I’m honestly not a fan of giant slaying.  Oh yeah and you throw in that whole waiting on the adoption thing…which, by the way Mark does need a job in order to be able to bring our baby/babies home.  Plus he needs to make a certain amount, as well, to stay approved to adopt.

HOWEVER, none of this is a surprise to God and He truly has a plan, we know this.  Our biggest prayer is that He will be glorified through our lives during this season and He will get all the glory as He reveals His plan. We desire nothing less than our lives be a monument of His goodness and glory.  He will make a way and we want to be faithful as we wait.  We don’t want this season to be wasted.  We want to learn and grow and be transformed through this process and prepared for whatever is next.

It isn’t easy though and some days I find it hard to find my Pollyanna positive attitude.  People have so graciously and lovingly helped us already…and I am finding it SO hard to accept help.  I LOVE helping other people, but doggone it, it is not as much fun to be on the receiving end!  Just being honest here.  This is truly revealing to me so many areas where I am unbroken and full of pride and I need to be stripped.  It is not pretty.  It is draining…and exhausting…and just plain old hard.  I am SO, SO thankful. And that’s another thing…the Lord keeps reminding me that I am supposed to be TRULY thankful for this season…and that’s just hard too!!

I’m learning a ton…about who He IS and who He ISN’T…about my idols that need to be torn down…about dark corners of my heart that need to cleaned out…about how amazing my husband is…about how truly selfless and grace-filled and compassionate my friends are…about how rich I am in the friends department (like Donald Trump rich!!)…about how much I depend on my circumstances to determine my peace instead of Jesus’ promises and presence…

Is it becoming more clear why I need the aforementioned Hat Bible?  If you’ve seen one marketed anywhere-hook me up!  If not maybe I can go on the Shark Tank and present my idea…whatcha think?

So if you see me in Wal-mart wearing my Hat Bible holler out a reference for me or simply look away:)  But certainly stay tuned because I just KNOW my amazing Father has a really cool something up His sleeve:)  And I am believing that the other end of this story is going to be just incredible and I also am convinced that what He is doing in us through this…is just as significant.  He’s writing a really cool story in us…we certainly would love your prayers!

Maybe I should call it Bible Hat instead?…