Friday, July 20, 2007

Cloud of Witnesses...

This week has been really crazy for me and for my family (half the families in our church could probably say the same thing!) This week was Summer Breakout for Grace and we had over 240 1st -6th graders running their Amazing Race. Our entire VBS was based on the life of Joseph and his choice to always trust that God had a plan for his life. He Chose to Believe no matter what the circumstances.

You could feel it in the air on this past Sunday that God really had something big in store. However, on the flip side of that, Satan was working on stopping that and trying to find every hole in my armor. Like I said earlier, I can just blog about personal experience. I am not in any way trying to set myself apart or diminish anything that other volunteers may have felt or dealt with.

Last week ended with Curly in the doctor's office, she had a double ear infection. No problem, right?! A really good antibiotic and all is well...maybe not. It wasn't long before Moe starting showing signs of illness and the snowball effect began. There were other things too, times where I began to feel parts of me being chipped away. Within a few days, I found myself face down crying out to God, begging him to protect me from all of the arrows Satan was throwing at me.

Something that He revealed to me though, was that I was not alone. Suddenly, there was a phone call, a friend, a hug, a kind word and most importantly a prayer and things began to look up. No big shock that a song came to mind...

Mark Schultz has a song entitled Cloud of Witnesses that is based on Hebrews 12:1, Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

The first verse says this (with a few minor changes):

I watched them running down the aisle, Summer Breakout time, Sunday morning
The preacher asked them who they loved, and they all smiled and started pointing to their moms, dads, teachers from their Summer Breakout class. And each and every one had just become...A cloud of witnesses, that would see them through the years. Cheer them with a smile and pray them through the tears. A cloud of witnesses that would see them to the end, and shower them with love that never ends. A cloud of witnesses.

It dawned on me that this is what Satan was fighting so hard to prevent. Foundations were laid in all of these children's lives this week. Some were growing in their relationship and understanding of Christ, others were hearing about Him and His love for the very first time. The cool thing is that every person who volunteered, no matter what the role, became part of that child's cloud of witnesses.

I believe in my heart that some time in the future one of those kids will be drawn to a memory that was formed this week. Maybe it will be that they finally learned all the books of the Bible (Thanks Michelle for adding that song, it helped this 30 something with that too!) or maybe, just maybe, they will remember that teacher, that volunteer that took the time to care. They'll stop and remember all the time and effort that went into making their week AMAZING (huh!) I know that I personally began to appreciate all the effort that the many unnamed adults put into the VBS's I attended as a child and I am grateful to them.

So whatever you take from this blog (or this week for those who attended), please remember that you, YES YOU, made a difference in a child's life! You stood with the full armor of God and told Satan, "Oh no, not this kid! I will help arm them will the love and forgiveness of Christ and you will never win...not this time, not this child!"

Peace Out!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Curly turns 4

I wish somebody would have been able to help me fully comprehend the message they were trying to convey when they said how quickly time would fly. It seems like only yesterday that your daddy and I were off to the hospital, anxiously awaiting your arrival. I remember the very first time I felt you move, the first time you got the hiccups in my tummy, the first time I yelled for daddy to look at your elbow rolling across my enlarged stomach. Most importantly though, I remember the first time I laid eyes on my beautiful first born daughter. You left me in awe. I loved the way you looked at me as though you were just as curious about me as I was you.

I love you my dear sweet Curly headed girl. You have brought your daddy and I joy that could never be described in words. I can not wait to see all the things that come your way in life. I love the way you already have such a love for God that it can be seen in your every move and every time you sing one of your praise songs. I think the group Watermark described it best when they sang, "the tenderness of God is twirling around in our living room tonight...I know your daddy wants to freeze you in time."

Thank you for all of the blessings you have brought to us and Happy Birthday my sweet girl.

Peace Out!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

One of the greatest gifts...

I celebrated an official 30 something birthday a couple weeks ago. Other Guy had some time ago purchased really cool seats for an upcoming concert only to find out that the chick cancelled. I was very bummed but took it okay. On my birthday, he presented my with a totally heartfelt card (I'm sure you can sense the sarcasm although it was really funny!) and inside the card was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.

Let me share an excerpt:

"when Natasha gets here, the two of you will have a fun filled day together...
and then I will join you for dinner."

Time, that is what my wonderful husband gave to me, time! Time alone with my sister to have a pedicure and pretzels, time to talk about everything and nothing, time to try on clothes and talk about our dreams...what they were, what they have become and things we still hope for. It was amazing to see how much we have changed since we were kids but how much closer we are as adults. In all of our differences, we find common ground. We both deal with the same fears, same desires but most importantly the same love for each other. To top off the wonderful day, Other Guy joined us for dinner and conversation that didn't include, "Don't touch that...don't climb under the table...leave the knife alone...please don't spill your drink, etc., etc., etc." I also like to give a shout out to the in-laws who enabled me to have this fun filled day minus the kiddos.

In true "Marie" fashion, I think the song Blessed by Martina McBride describes my life best. It's like she took a peek into what my life would be like and wrote the song long before I had the "life" and I'd like to share the lyrics with you...

I get kissed by the sun each morning,
put my feet on a hardwood floor
I get to hear my children laughing
down the hall through the bedroom door
Sometimes I sit on my front porch swing
Just soakin' up the day,
I think to myself, I think to myself,
this world is a beautiful place
I have been blessed
with so much more than I deserve
to be here with the ones who love me
to love them so much it hurts,
I have been blessed
Across a crowded room
I know you know what I'm thinkin'
by the way I look at you
and when we're lying in the quiet
and no words have to be said
I think to myself, I think to myself
this love is a beautiful gift
I have been blessed
with so much more than I deserve
to be here with the ones who love me
to love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed.
When I, when I'm singing my kids to sleep
when I feel you holding me, I know...
I am so blessed.
And I feel like I've found my way
I thank God for all I've been given
at the end of every day
I have been blessed.

Peace Out!