Sunday, June 21, 2009

Niece~Paisley Mae Vire-Bowling


This blog dedicated to our adorable niece, Paisley. She is called everything from, Princess, PB, Paize, Paisley Button, to Rolly Polly. Paisley was born Feb 4th of this year. Her mommy is my older sister, Serena. She is the cutest 21lb ,4 month old, ball of love that I've ever seen! Ha! Paisley was named after the town that my mother is from in Paisley, Scotland. My sister wanted to add some "heritage" (as we call it in my family) to her daughters name. Paisley captured every one's heart the day she was born.
I pray that she'll grow into a beautiful woman inside and out. That she will also grow to learn about the Creator of the world and how just how much He loves her. I pray that she would know that she can do all things through Christ and learn to put her faith and trust in Him.
And now begins the Auntie bragging photo shoot:


Mommy and Paisley (below)


Jesus Wept

I want share a little bit about something I was struggling with this week. On Monday, I had received a mass email to pray for a boy named, Victor, who was only 13 months old. He was in the hospital with a serious heart condition. I realized that I actually knew his parents! I used to work as Stephen's Admin Assistant while he pastored a college group called, Shelter. We worked in the same building with the Brazilian Church Pastor, Pierre. It was Pierre's son who was in the hospital! Pierre and Denise are such a beautiful and kind-hearted couple and my heart broke for them. I know how much Stephen and I were devastated over our miscarriage in December and we couldn't imagine being able to cuddle, love, and enjoy a child for 13 months...only to have to let him go. It didn't seem "fair" to me! "Couldn't you have thought of a better plan, God?" Anger was filling my heart, and it finally exploded the day that we received the last email that Victor had gone home to be with Jesus. "Are you kidding me? If anyone deserved to have a beautiful boy to love and cherish...it was Denise and Pierre." I was not satisfied with that decision. Not at all!

That same day, I read the newspaper after I got home from work and noticed an article about a "Slaying in Riverside County" which is about an hour north of where we live. There was a Marine named Jan, who was from Brooklyn, NY, and was stationed in Camp Pendleton, CA. He was only 24 years old and his beautiful wife was only 26. There were four men (only 18-22 years old) who worked under Jan's command. They didn't like Jan so one night they decided to stop by his house, torture Jan, rape his wife, destroy their home, and then shoot them each three times in the head! What sick, evil, maddness! My stomach churned and I felt so heavy as I read this. Jan's mother said, "I was prepared to hear news that my son had died at war serving his country, but nothing could prepare me to hear that he was killed in the privacy of his own home." How sad! "Oh God! Why?" My heart was again stirred with anger. I told this story to my husband and he too was burdened for them. He reminded me that God is always the first one we choose to blame. He was right...even so, I went to sleep wrestling in my mind.

The next day, Friday, was the day of Victor's Memorial service. I knew that I needed to talk to God, so on my break at work I began to journal. I thought that I would put some excerpts of my thoughts from my journal into this post. Please know this was just my conversation with God and I wrote as the thoughts were coming (very "unedited" and through many tears):

"God I'm so angry at You and have been too prideful to admit it. I know that I need to write this down because I keep trying to justify my thoughts. I know that You are a sovereign God and could change any heart...You could have protected that innocent military man and his wife...You could have changed the hearts of those military guys (boys!) from committing that awful crime and ruining their lives at such a young age. Oh God! How come You weren't there for them? Why did you have to take Victor Rose early? Why did you have to let him die and break Denise and Pierre's heart? I am so so angry, confused, frustrated, and hurt...and my thoughts are violently arrogant! On one hand, I know "You are God in Heaven and I am here on earth" so I should "let my words be few" as the song says. But Oh God! This is bursts from soul and I am in agony for them. I wish there wasn't ever any evil or sorrow in the world. .....Father, I am so sorry for getting angry at You...You ARE always the first Person we blame when bad things happen. I think of Mary and Martha when they were in tears over their brother Lazarus when he died. They too, were angry that you didn't come to get there in time to save him. However, that was also the time, Jesus, that You wept. I need to stop and read John 11 right now. Wow! This is so comforting! Your Word says, "When Jesus heard that, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus...so....he stayed." This death was going to bring You glory and THAT is our whole purpose for being on earth...THAT is what we're created for. Whether our finest hour of bringing you glory is completed after 13 months of life or 99 years, when we have fulfilled our mission on this temporal earth...Father, You call us to our eternal home! What a fabulous thought! I also noticed that you said that "You loved them...so...you stayed." You didn't rush to their side right away to heal Lazarus and comfort Mary and Martha...You waited until he had been dead for 4 days and then did what was best for them even though they were angry and couldn't understand. Help me to trust and learn to depend on You and Your plan...to know and remember that You have a purpose for the things that I can not understand. I love you."

God, totally took my heart full circle and brought me back to his Word to find truth. A few hours after I journaled this, I left work early to attend the Memorial Service for Victor. It was a beautiful time of mourning and watching the brothers and sisters in Christ come together to encourage this family. May God continue to comfort the Rosa family and bless their work in taking care of their 13 month "loan" as they called him.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Updates!

I have been debating on how to posts the different updates that I have swimming through my mind. The way that I think is very much like spaghetti...everything connects and the sauce gets all over the place! However, I am going to try to think like a waffle through this post for clarification. I'll break it apart into different little sections or squares. :)


SMALL GROUP~BIBLE STUDY
Last night was our second meeting for our summer group. I still am very excited about the new people I am getting to know, and also the "old" people that are continuing to join us. In our study on Spiritual Disciplines, we talked about Memorizing Scripture and Meditation. Journaling is such a great way for me to talk to God and listen to what He may be trying to speak to me about as well. Stephen asked us a thought provoking question last night when he said..."What is True?" There were many great answers and good debates over this question; however, I drew more to the answer that true is....Real-Reality. God's word, the Bible, is truth and if we are constantly allowing scriptures to fill our mind and our heart, then ultimately we will be filling ourselves with truth. When times are discouraging or difficult, it's so awesome to have verses "hidden in our hearts" for the Spirit to bring to mind....especially when the last thing we feel like doing is picking up the Bible to read it. I have SO been there many many times! Stephen reiterated again that we do NOT do spiritual disciplines to be good Christians. These should be done with the right motive...to lead us into a deeper relationship with Christ and not into a deeper religion.

We all read this passage together from Psalms 1:1-3, you may have read it before: "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers." Then Stephen asked another series of very good questions, "Do you really believe what this scripture just said?" "Do we really believe that whatever we do will prosper?" If so, "then why aren't we doing it?" "Why aren't we taking scripture memory and meditation this seriously?" That was really thought provoking for me, and I was convicted that for a very long time this really has not been a priority in my life. So needless to stay, I'm excited about the topics to come! Stephen has been a big encouragement to stay consistent with memorizing scripture and it's been neat to hold each other accountable as we take these steps together. :)

COLLEGE
HOORAY! AHHH! I just thought I would get that out before I go on. I finished all my finals for this semester and I am thoroughly enjoying the beginning of summer. BIG sigh of relief! I passed all my classes which was a HUGE answer to prayer! I have a long ways to go before I get my degree, but I'm not going to let that stop me from celebrating each semester's accomplishment. :) Since I was working full time, wife-ing (I made it up) full-time, taking a full load of online classes, trying to keep food in the fridge and a clean house, and also trying to keep some kind of relationship with family and friends...I was definitely pushed beyond my limits in every aspect. God constantly gave me encouraging verses like: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. and Do not be weary in doing well, for in do season you will reap if you do not faint. Verses like these, gave me the jump start that I needed to continue on when I felt like quitting. Stephen suffered many weekends and late nights trying to occupy himself while I worked feverishly to finish "that one last assignment." He would never bring that up (he's too sweet) but I want to thank him for his encouragement and constant support. Also, those who prayed for me-thank you as well! Plans for the summer...REST, REJUVENATE, RELAX, and REPLENISH.


Mom's Birthday!
June 4th was me mum's birthday. She's the cutest little Scottish woman you'll ever meet! She has the red hair, freckles, personality, accent, and hospitality to prove it too. I know I don't look it (thanks to my dad's contribution to the gene pool) but I am 1/2 Scottish because of this wee lassy! We all went to The Old Spaghetti Factory downtown since Italian is my mum's favorite food. We had a fun time laughing and taking pictures of our time together. My mom has been through a lot in her lifetime and has never stopped loving others during the process. She suffered through having cancer and by God's grace has been cancer-free for many years now! I'm so thankful to have my mom. It's because of her that I like to keep my house clean, to cook and bake, shop on the sale racks, entertain friends, keep my husband a priority, lock all the doors and windows (and check them all again), and remember to remain flexible. She has taught me so much. Here are some photos of our night. My lovely sister-Serena, and her daughter/my niece-Paisley, my mum-Jackie, my brother-Jared, and of course Stephen:


BOOK: Loving God with All Your Mind-Elizabeth George
I highly recommend it! It's been sitting on my shelf for almost 3 years. Do you have any of those? God knew just the right time that I would need to break open this book, though. His sovereignty completely amazes me.

Something that popped out to me was this excerpt, "Many times your work is half done or done poorly. Why? Because of poor physical health...which means less energy...and even less performance. The same thing happens in the spiritual realm! Like a virus, your thoughts can drain your energy and cripple your usefulness. But, praise God, the opposite is true...Every time you hold your thoughts up against God's standards of what is true and what is real...and then choose to "think on these things," you are loving God with all your mind. With His help, His Word, and His Spirit, you can triumph over negative emotions, damaging thoughts, and destructive attitudes." Isn't that SO good! The entire book has been like that. I have a crazy imagination and tend to over think everything so it's been awesome to read statements like, "The future is not real...today is!" I don't have to worry about tomorrow and all that could go wrong in the future because I am only promised today! After reading that, I had one of those "Ah-Hah!" moments and felt like I had permission to NOT worry about what's head but to focus on one day at a time.

I am not saying that I have become Mrs. Wonderwoman who never worries about anything anymore. I feel like now that I know this truth, it's become more apparent and obvious when I am giving in to wrong thinking and have to correct it! Please pray for me in this area that I would consecrate my future, past and present to God. I'm still learning and have a long way to go!


Future-Mission
This word "mission" has been coming up a lot all around me. My counselor mentioned that I need to find what my mission in my family and relationships is. That following Sunday, the preacher said that we each need to ask ourselves and God what our mission for still being on this earth is. Once in a meeting at work, my manager said that we each are at our job for a specific purpose. And through reading the Bible, I notice how Paul says that he would much rather be in Heaven but it was needful for him to on earth for the people he was sent to minister to. This brought my mind to start thinking about how I have a purpose for being alive today! There's a mission for me within my family, throughout this day, at my job, in my marriage, and in the future.

As Stephen draws closer and closer to his last class in summer school, the idea of being a Chaplain is becoming more and more of a reality. I remember in the winter of last year, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law invited us to come with them to visit their cousin's grave who died while serving our country in Iraq. I honestly was not prepared for what I was about to experience that morning as we all stepped out of the van at Arlington Cemetery in D.C. We were automatically approached by an older couple who offered us cookies and treats to express their appreciation for those who have been lost in battle. We all walked towards the grave site and I began taking pictures not really noticing what was going on around me. It wasn't until I saw young men weeping over a grave that looked like it had just been added to the sea of white tombstones, and the young mother holding her child's hand as they sat near their loved ones grave....it wasn't until I allowed myself to "be" in that moment that I became so overwhelmed with emotion. I remembered how my daddy was a Marine for 17 years and the many men and women I grew up with in my parent's military ministry. I remembered how they were like brothers and sisters to me and most of them under the age of 25 going to risk their lives for my freedom. I looked at Stephen's face which was also wet from tears as he remembers even more personally those that he called "brothers" in the Marine Corps and the many men who never knew anything about salvation through Christ Jesus. Our hearts were broken, and since then we've been seeking God to give us further direction as to what His will would be. We are taking steps of faith and ask that you would pray for us as there many "what ifs?" that can not be known at this time. Father, you are the God of our past, present and future. Help us as we plan for the future, but remind us to then leave those plans in your hands.