I've been convicted tonight about my lack of study into God's word. I am like a regular at the Friendswood library, I follow like - ten people's blogs, I read articles online all the time - things to do with art and photography, etc... but I seem to have, or to fool myself into thinking that I have, a huge lack of time when it comes to spending time in THE greatest word of all. I don't know why I do this.

I've been organizing my Google Reader list tonight - cleaning up things that aren't really relevant or needful for me to read, and making sure I add things that are beneficial for me to be reading. I'm purposing myself to focus though not so much on reading these things, but instead to begin to focus back on reading what God has spoken to humanity... and I am not going to make a bold promise to say I will start regularly writing, but I am asking God to keep me faithful on my task - and maybe along the way I will find some things so pressed on my heart that I cannot help but to share :)


Let's live

I've experienced the busiest week of my life this week. I'm not one to normally wish time away, but yesterday all I found myself looking forward to was next Monday. My apartment is in disarray, my finances are all kinds of jumbled, my clothes really need to see the washing machine, I need to accept some sub jobs and I really need to get my car drive-able! But tonight as I sit and reflect I know I am really going to miss this week next week. That's a funny sounding sentence, but I have been so utterly blessed this week while coincidentally this week have spent a good time feeling ashamed/rebuked/convicted. None of those are the right words to describe it... so really I have been feeling blessed and _____________. Inadequate? But even still, God has chosen ME to work and serve Him through my inadequacy. WHAT A PRIVILEGE!
I'm feeling renewed and revived and ready to simplify. I know this doesn't make sense to most, but right now I just feel good. I feel blessed and lucky and privileged and I can't wait to shake some things up. I seriously can't wait. I love my life. I love my husband so much. I love Friendswood Baptist Church... I am thrilled that God has given us life to live together!

Basically this post isn't saying much. Once I get my life re-organized (right now that is scheduled for Monday afternoon), I am planning on posting a more thought provoking post, maybe relaying some things I've been blessed with this week. But for now, I just want everyone to know how much I love them. I've really missed blogging and it feels good to just type right now. (I know that makes you happy, UG.)

One more quick thing -- I have the song Majesty stuck in my head... Specifically the line "Your Grace has found me just as I am, empty handed but alive in Your hands." I am so glad that God chooses to use us for His glory. I am literally nothing without him. Nothing but a speck, and I am glad for the purpose he has given me in life by placing me in his hands.


What's the dealio?

I just realized I didn't write a blog in January.
Life is wayyyy too busy and full of thoughts to not be shared to blog right now


There'll be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear

No more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there;
And forever I will be with the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

I cannot believe that Preacher is gone. This has been without a doubt the longest, saddest, busiest week of my life. Before this week, I wasn't sure how I would handle the passing of my father in law. I told McCauley that I knew I would be sad, but that I wasn't sure how much grieving I would do because of sadness I was feeling, or if it would be more grieving for the rest of my family who was so terribly sad. My thought process here was that I would be more sad for my husband and his family who had enjoyed a lifetime with Preacher, not thinking I would be terribly sad since I had only known him for more than a few years and had only been a part of the family for 4 months.

Whenever Angie came into class last Sunday morning, my heart was instantly gripped with fear. She looked at McCauley & I and said, with tears in her eyes, "We need to go home". While McCauley wrapped up his few last words with the teens, I grabbed Achaya & rushed to the car. What I was feeling was different, was raw, was scary. I didn't make it out of the door to the church before tears filled my eyes. I didn't even know what was going on and my heart was pounding. This was not what I was expecting! We rushed into the back bedroom and all enjoyed precious last moments with Preacher, even though he wasn't aware we were there. We all said our last words, we cried, and we sang. My Preacher, my Hoppy, my precious, precious father-in-law passed at 1:35 that afternoon.

This past week was filled with a variety of emotions. We have experienced some great, joyful times. Laughter has exploded talking about the quirky and funny ways of Rick Austin. Times of remembering Hoppy and things he loved, times of remembering Preacher and things he taught. We have had some very, very sad times. McCauley, Angela, Will and myself went through a Taco Bell drive through earlier this week and were all nearly depressed thinking about the countless numbers of Big Beef Burrito Supremes we have ordered in the past, and how we wouldn't have to order one of those that time around. My heart has broken at the thought that my kids will never know their Hoppy. My heart breaks for my dear mother-in-law. I cannot imagine how I would hurt if I were to lose McCauley, my husband of 4 months, and she lost her husband of 33 years.

I miss him. Thursday afternoon I was home alone and became really sad. Before I got a job, I would come home in the afternoons and Preacher was always there. We may not even be in the same room, but his presence was a comfort. I wished so badly on Thursday afternoon that while I was sitting on the couch He would walk in from his room and say "Hey baby, you need anything?" I will never, ever forget the prayer he had with me as I was walking out to interview for a job that hired me on the spot. I will always treasure the memory of the phone call I got as he was on his way home from the hospital, thanking me for being a part of his family, and for putting up with his crazy son. I told him I just wanted to be a part of his family, and I knew marrying his crazy son was what I had to do to accomplish that. :)

He was an amazing man, one of the Godliest that I knew. Also one of the most loving, compassionate, and caring men I have ever known. It was a blessing to share some time with him on this earth. As much as I hated that McCauley & I had to move out of our trailer and in with his parents, I will eternally be grateful for the extra time that we got to share with him. I know without a doubt God had that planned for a reason. I thank those of you who have offered condolences, I know you are grieving as well. For those of you who didn't know Rick Austin, I am terribly sad for you.

I ask you all to pray for McCauley & I. McCauley has been announced as the interim pastor of the Friendswood Baptist Church. It is an exciting time, but bittersweet because of the circumstances. This new role, if even temporary, will majorly change my life. I'm not going to lie, I'm scared. I'm scared, but I trust God. Please continue to pray for my family, especially Faith. We are all still experiencing very hard times, and believe that God has designated times of grief and are not trying to rush past this time. We still believe that God is right, and give him all the glory. I praise MY Lord, because my Hoppy is no longer in the pain and suffering that he has been in the past few months.

Oh, how I wish I could experience what Hoppy is experiencing now...


Not my will, but as YOU will...

When I got married on August 9th, 2008, I had NO idea the things that God had in store for my life. Some things were good, some not so pleasant, but all planned by our Holy & sovereign God. These are my reflectings.

The week we got back from our honeymoon, Ryan & Kaylan stayed with us like two or three nights in a row. Some might think it is unorthodox to have guests so soon after a wedding, but it was a HUGE blessing for me. I am fully convinced that them staying with us greatly helped me in the transition from Grand Prairie to Friendswood. I am soooo thankful for God moving them to Deer Park, as I have found one of my best friends in Kay.

Not even a month after we were married, Mac & I found out that the man who owned the property that our mobile home sat on was selling the property and that we had until February to either move the trailer. We thought about moving it to another location, or getting a house of our own. We decided to go the house route, and I was extremely excited about this. Then, just one short week after finding this out, Hurricane Ike hit. Since we were living in a mobile home, we were very worried about the damage that could possibly be done. The morning of the day that we evacuated we moved ALL of our belongings out of the trailer, and into a church van & travel trailer. When we got back to Houston, we stayed with my in-laws while deciding what to do about the trailer. It didn't suffer severe damage from the Ike, but all of our belongings were out of it & we were faced with choosing between moving it back in for a few months, or staying out while searching for a new place to make our home. We decided to stay with my in-laws and go ahead and sell the trailer now.

Nothing majorly huge happened immediately after Ike & our move. Amber, Josh & Jossy started coming to church right after Ike - they have been SUCH a blessing to me. I love that Jossalyn with my whole heart. Preacher was already suffering with liver cancer, but he was able to get around pretty well, although he did experience some pretty bad pain. My life was becoming a routine of school & home in the afternoons. I was desperately searching for a job. A few weeks after Ike, as everyone was just getting resettled, we found out that Preacher's liver cancer had spread to bone cancer, and that it was affecting several areas of the bone. This was devestating news, but we immediately began praying for healing. The Lord blessed me with a job, an awesome job with a great boss. Things seemed to be good. Not optimal, but good.

While all of this has been going on, I have heard from several people "I can't believe how strong you are being! You have gone through so much in such a short time, it's unreal." I would hear them, but to me it just seemed like the natural thing was to be strong. I was married to the love of my life, and despite a few setbacks life was GOOD. Leave it to the devil to wreak havoc when I was feeling the strongest and most content with this craziness of a life that I'm living. I really started to struggle. And I mean REALLY struggle. All of a sudden I was discontent with my schooling, discontent with my living situation, discontent with everything going on. As soon as I gave into one of thought of discontenment, it all came crumbling down. And, on top of it all, Preacher's cancer has only gotten worse and his pain has only multiplied.

It wasn't until this week that things started to become better. I had talks with my awesome mom, an amazing friend, and the best husband in the world. And then Thursday morning, in my art class, I listened to a sermon podcast by Mark Driscoll about praying like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. I cannot even begin to explain how much that sermon ministered to me. As Jesus prays that night, he prays "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." As Driscoll preached on this example of prayer from Jesus, my heart was seized. Several times, sitting in class, listening to this sermon, my eyes welled up with tears. I realized several things. I realized the selfishness of how I had acted, and how above all it is HIS will that we need to seek after, not our own. And when it comes to Preacher, if I had my will I would heal his body TWO years ago, but it's not my will, it is as YOU will.

I am unsure really of how to tie this all in. All I know is that I have been ministered to, and my perspective has changed. Many circumstances in my life are not going the way I would want them to go, but I am now going to try on contentment instead of try to hurry things into being MY way. In all that I do, I am now praying for GOD's will to be done, and not my own.

I want to thank anyone, if anyone is reading this, that has been praying for Preacher. We appreciate it so much, and he needs all the prayer that he can get. But, as we all pray for him, let us be careful to pray for God's will to be done above all.