Category Archives: Truth

The Honda Pilot

Something crazy happened yesterday.

A woman from Northern California drove all the way down to San Diego and handed us the keys to her family’s Honda Pilot for us to use for the rest of the time we are here in the states before we head to Italy. I had never met or spoken to her before today.

I told you. CRAZY! Right?!

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The Conflict

So if you will remember, I posted on my Facebook page about a week ago:

CAN ANYONE HELP? Thank you everyone for your excitement and prayers about our move to Italy! We really do mean it… if you head out to Italy (or anywhere in Europe really) please let us know and we will do our best to meet up with you or flat out host you while you visit. Since we are on a crazy roll… seems our prayers worked and Brian got a great offer on his Prius today so his car is sold!!! Which is awesome… BUT that means he has no car. Umm… yeah. So by some crazy chance does anyone in our circle of friends or friends of friends have a car we can borrow for the next 6-10weeks? Any car even a beater would work (so long as it works) because it is just his commuter car. Any leads would be appreciated. Thank you!!!

A friend of ours contacted us wanting to allow us use of her husbands car because he is deployed and the car is just sitting being stored and unused. We thought that would be perfect! Several other families offered to help and we were so appreciative but they came with various stipulations that would have been difficult for both parties to maneuver around… not impossible, but not cut and dry like the case with this car of the deployed spouse.

We were about to drive up to pick up the car this past Friday, when we get a call saying that borrowing the car wasn’t going to work out after all because of circumstances beyond her control.  I can’t tell you why but that didn’t panic me. I told her not to worry because God would provide us with a car.

To be honest I kind of forgot about the car situation since it fell through on Friday. We’ve got the whole Italy move going on and having moved in with my in-laws this week. My husband turned thirty this weekend and a big party was in the works to celebrate. Then the cherry on top of a busy weekend was discovering lice in my daughters hair… so the car just wasn’t at the forefront of my worries even though it was a huge need (I’ll post about how we quickly got rid of the lice another time because we learned a lot of good stuff from some professionals).

We turned in our minivan to to be shipped to Italy two weeks ago and we’ve been using one of Brian’s parents cars to get by. Then Brian sold his car a week ago and we’ve had a loaner car for him to commute to work in but we’d have to return it soon because it too was being sold. So really how many cars can one family borrow in such a short amount of time?!

The Climax

Come Sunday afternoon… in the midst of the lice fiasco, I get a text from the same friend with the deployed spouse asking if we still needed a car? UMMM… YES PLEASE... thinking that borrowing her husbands car was somehow going to end up working. She then informs me that her husbands parents (her in-laws whom she is staying with in Northern California while her husband is deployed) would like to lend us their Honda Pilot if we were willing to take it.

Me: I don’t think I understand?! They want to lend us their car? They don’t even know us and how would we get the car if it is in Northern California? 

Her: My MIL will drive it down to you. 

Me: That is crazy! Who would do that?! And how would she get home?

Her: She just asks you drive her to the airport so she can get home by tomorrow night because she has a class she doesn’t want to miss on Tuesday. 

Me: Wait, what?! THAT IS CRAZY! She is going to fly back? And she is going to get this to us by tomorrow? 

Her: Yes. I know it sounds crazy. It sounded crazy to me too. They told me at lunch today that they had been praying about how they could help you guys, I had no idea they were praying about it, but ever since I told them I was upset that we weren’t able to help you with my husbands car they got to praying. And they said the Lord confirmed in their hearts that they needed to lend you their car. 

Me: I just don’t know what to say. I just think it is too crazy to let them do that. I’ll have to talk to Brian and get back to you.

Her: Okay. Call me back soon because she would like to book her flight asap… since you know, it’s tomorrow.

WHAT?! TELL ME WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH THAT INFORMATION?!!!

So I talked to Brian and my own in-laws (whom we too are currently living with while we transition to Italy) and we all kind of didn’t know how to respond. An initial thought that came up was to try and put the feelers out one more time to our friends and see if anyone local had another car we could use… you know before one had to come for us from the other end of the state.

Me: I know a lot of people here in San Diego, you’d think I would be able to find someone with a car locally. This just seems like too crazy a way to have this prayer answered. 

In saying these words audibly as we processed, a couple of thoughts came racing to my mind:

  1. This was an answer to prayer. Many people have already begun praying for our journey and our needs and although this was crazy, it was in fact an answer to prayer.
  2. God can do crazy things in ways we can’t even begin to imagine! It says so in His word: Eph3-20.21-640x640
  3. I was trying to steal God’s glory. If I ignored this offer and went about re-posting our need for a car more than likely I could find someone with a car to lend. But if that were the case, who would get the glory? I would… because “I know a lot of people…” Who does? I DO. So it would be my efforts and my connections whom I would remain thinking I relied on, instead of the Lord, in spite of the many prayers that have been lifted on our behalf in his name.

So it seemed pretty clear. As crazy as it sounds, we had to accept this car.

I don’t yet understand why this car… from this person… who doesn’t even know me?!!! But as I met this kind hearted stranger today it was clear it didn’t matter that she didn’t know me or my husband, all that mattered was that she knew Him. She knew Jesus. And she was simply being obedient to drive down and lend us a car. That was a lot less convenient than what was being asked of me- which was simply to be gracious and receive the car from her… yet I was the one sitting here thinking this is too crazy!

As quickly as she arrived with the car, she left.

I drove her to the airport in the red Honda Pilot she delivered no more than an hour after she arrived. We are so grateful to their family and to this answer to prayer. What’s also crazy is that this whole time I was thinking we’d be getting a commuter car for Brian and instead we got the family car we could fit the whole family in.

The Resolution

As I drove back home from the airport, I had a couple of thoughts pressed upon me from the Lord:

  • I have to be willing to receive His answers to prayer in the manner he chooses to answer them. That means how I think things will play out might not be the plan God has in mind. No matter how crazy it sounds.
  • God is faithful to remember us and our needs in his timing. I had forgotten about the car dilemma in the business of the weekend and God was still faithful. I wouldn’t have chosen the end of this lice infested weekend to be the time to receive an out of town guest with a car, but that is how it worked out to meet our needs.
  • I can’t rely on me and who I know apart from Him. In a couple of months I will be unable to simply post and ask friends to help because no one I know will be there to help. So I need to remember this moment and know that God doesn’t need me to know anyone in order to help me. So long as I know Him… and rest in his provision… he will work it all out.

There was terrible traffic on the way home, thanks to the rain, so I exited the freeway early in La Mesa planning to drive side streets the rest of the way home. On my detour I saw a sign that pointed to Mt. Helix and did something that felt a little daring to me at the time- I followed the sign. I abandoned the course home and decided to check out the top of the mountain. I have seen beautiful pictures of the top before, but have never been myself. What I found was breathtaking. The views of the San Diego stretched 360 degrees around me, even all the way to the ocean and at the height of it all… the cross. AMAZING.

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I pray that this would be only the beginning of the many ways that we would be able to point to God and give him the glory in this crazy adventure that is Italy. Praise Him! There truly is no other way to explain this experience.

Thanks for the Honda Pilot!

Don’t Toss Your Christmas Cards Out!

If you are like most people, I would venture to say all your Christmas stuff is still out (because it’s only New Year) and you will try to put most of it away this coming weekend (if you are good). When the time does come to put Christmas away, I have struggled knowing what to do with all the wonderful Christmas cards I get in the mail. I love everyone of them! And nowadays most of them come with photos of family and friends on them… so it just feels wrong to toss them out. Is it just me?! Here is 2014’s very full Christmas card wreathe.

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I wanted to share something we started doing with our Christmas cards a couple of years ago. After Christmas I collect all the cards and put them in a photo box. Nothing fancy, it’s just a plain black one I had on hand (they have them on sale quite often at Michaels). I place the photo box near the dining room table. In our dining room it lands on the hutch near the table.

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Did you see the black photo box? Blends in nicely which I like.

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At dinner time, when we pray for our meal, we take turns letting the kids go to the box and pick a card. We include the person or family whose card gets pulled in our dinner prayer.

That’s it! So simple. BUT it has allowed us to enjoy the Christmas cards throughout the year and it has expanded our prayer time which has been awesome for the kids to be a part of. Do we remember every dinner time? No, of course not. But with the kids involved they help us get back on track when we forget.

A couple of added things we’ve learned from doing this…

1. So that you don’t continue to pull the same card, we include a gallon zip-lock bag in the box to catch the cards we have already prayed for. This leaves cards we haven’t pulled free in the box to be grabbed by one of the kids.

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2. We now include other “cards” we receive. Invitations (birthday, wedding, baby showers, etc), announcements (wedding, gradations, retirements, etc.), thank you notes, etc. That way more special people and occasions can be remembered to pray for.

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3. There does come a time when the cards in the box need to be cleaned out. So I guess this post should read… don’t throw your Christmas cards out YET!  But you wouldn’t want your box to be overflowing and adding to the chaos in your life. So the next time we put Christmas away I take some time and toss some of the older cards we have used (aka. the ones in the zip-lock bag) especially if they can be replaced by a new card by the same person or family.

Something super easy you and your family can try in the New Year!

Pray with confidence friends.

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Defined by the label of “Mom.” Blah!

Friends! It is crazy to think I haven’t written a blog post in over two months. The holidays came and went as did the new year with all its resolutions. Although life went on a part of me didn’t. I became a passive observer. So what’s up? Why haven’t I felt inclined to share or write?

The truth can be summed up in a sound: BLAH.

At the beginning of November Brian and I discovered we were pregnant. The idea of our family being complete was exciting and planned. We announced to our family at Thanksgiving and then made a larger announcement online once I had seen my doctor in December. In case you missed it, this is the image we shared:

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But the excitement ended there.

I entered a funk of BLAH. Nothing sounded good to do or to eat. Like NOTHING. I don’t suffer from morning sickness, thank God, but my husband says that at the beginning of every pregnancy I get a case of the bluey blues.

A loss of control creeps into my reality and truly throws me for a loop. Being pregnant means I have to give birth to another human being. A human being we know nothing about or how they will inevitably change our world. It is scary to think about. And no matter what in nine months or so… Lord willing… this new person (I helped create!) is coming.

What are we going to do? What is my routine going to have to look like? What is my house going to have to look like? What will I have to add to my plate… or change… or worse GIVE UP in order to accommodate this new person? What does this mean for the comfortable reality I have settled into for my family?

Some days I suppose these questions could be answered romantically… but I have had three kids already… so most days it simply sounds like impending doom… mostly because the focus is a selfish one: me.

A deeper state of BLAH.

My husband takes the brunt of most of this worry. He assures me I have had this anxiety each of my pregnancies and the Lord has been so good to our family because each of our children has been a blessing and our routine has adjusted just fine to fit the new little one.

Okay… maybe that has been true in the past… but will the Lord be so good to us again? Or is this it? Will my life have to stop now?

Whoa.

Let me explain.

Growing up I was the oldest of three and the only girl. I was told over and over again that my parents weren’t raising a “housewife” and so I had better get to my studies because I was going to be “something.” A lot of time… and effort… and sacrifice was made by my family to make sure my “something” would be great… maybe even the greatest. But perhaps to my parents disappointment and my own, at 19 I found out I was pregnant. Flash forward and now I am married, a mom of three kids and yes I fit the bill of a “housewife” most of the time. Worse, I have signed up for yet another child to take care of because I am pregnant, again!

My Mom also told me, “Once you have kids, your life stops. You can no longer live for yourself; you now have other people depending on you and life becomes about them.” At face value this statement makes sense. But in reality it is a self destructive pill should you choose to swallow it as truth.

Somehow every time I’ve been pregnant I try to swallow this awful truth… that some how now my life would be over because I chose to become a mother again.

Even though I knew this wasn’t the truth I wanted for me, I resisted seeking the truth I knew I needed to hear. I resisted God in my state of BLAH. Remember how nothing sounded good? Well that included God. I didn’t want to talk to Him or hear from him. I was being anti-social, even to God, which is hard to do when the celebration of his birth rang all around me in December.

January came. Still pregnant.

I agreed to partake in a “SEEK WEEK,” that ironically I helped coordinate at the start of the year. We pumped Seek Week as a time we would set aside to intentionally pursue and hear from God for direction in the New Year. Although I didn’t really want to do that… the Lord met me in the half-hearted way I pursued Him that week. He was faithful when I wasn’t.

I am still trying to run back to Him, although at this pace it has felt more like a crawl. But his Word assures me in Psalm 86:15, “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” He isn’t mad it has taken me this long to turn to Him and run from the BLAH. He abounds in love for me and is faithful to meet me where I am… even if at the moment it is pregnant with impending doom.

I had another opportunity to hear from God at the tail end of my BLAH experience at a Working Women’s 9-5 Event. The speaker, Janice Thomspon- a successful Christian career mother of two, was asked if she ever experienced “Mommy guilt?” I fully expected her to say… Of course! We all do at some point or another…. because these are feelings I struggle with in choosing to do anything other than stay at home with my kids. But her response shocked me. It was something to the effect of… “No. (No?!) I haven’t. (You haven’t?!) You know why? (WHY?!) Because I am secure with my position in Christ. I look to Him and his Word in everything I do and I know he has called me to be a light in the working world. So everything else falls into place when I am obedient to Him and I don’t have to feel guilty. (WOW! Seriously. Mind blown.)” 

I want to have that kind of security in Christ.

The kind of security that doesn’t doubt.

God has given me a new truth- kids don’t have to mean the end of your life. Sure, you can chose to become a martyr for your children at the cost of your identity… your spouse… your outside relationships. Or you can choose something else. Something different. Something that gives life instead of takes it.

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I think that is one of the things my six weeks of BLAH has caused me to consider. Yes I am pregnant. Yes I am a Mom. But that isn’t my true identity. Nor do I want it to be.

I am now on a journey with God to define my identity in Him. I want to be His daughter. A servant for His kingdom. A person who lives life abundantly in Christ. I want to understand His truth in order to replace those destructive truths sewn in my past. Some days that absolutely looks like being a Mom… in all its glory: laughing with my children, drowning in laundry, being upset over the time I spent on a meal that no one wants to eat, encouraging my kids to try again and kissing owies to make them feel better.

Other times I am used by God to serve my spouse, or my neighbor, or my community. Still other times he uses me at my job through the young marrieds ministry I help lead. And that is not to say he couldn’t use me in ways I may not even be able to see or dream at the moment.

I don’t want to be defined by the label of “Mom.” I know I am a lot more to the One who loves me the most. And I want to trust in Him everyday to know how I can be used of him for his glory and not for my own need to be “something.”

With this new found freedom in Christ I feel like I have a voice again to begin blogging in 2014… so if you’d like, keep reading along with me. In the 6 weeks of BLAH God has grown me both spiritually and physically. Ha! Go figure. And I know He isn’t done growing me yet.

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