- Too young - Mary was of too young an age to have been engaging in marital relations with Joseph, and therefore would not have been able to conceive.
- Too old - Elizabeth was too old to be carrying and child and had been barren her whole life
- Too far - the prophets told of the Messiah being born in Bethlehem, but Mary & Joseph were living no where close to there.
- Too crowded - Joseph could find no place suitable for his family to stay and for the birth of the child.
And yet, Mary did bear a child, born of the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth, too, bore a child who would prepare the way of the Lord. And who but God could arrange such a timely census which would bring the gestating Messiah to the proper place? Joseph may have felt he was "settling" for second or third best by bunking in a stable. But God ordained that birth place and took note of it for the angels to proclaim on high. Proving once again that he excels in the unlikely and the miraculous. Proving that he is indeed mighty, sovereign, glorious. This Christmas season, like no other, I need to know this. I need to know that I serve and worship and surrender to a god like that; the Old Testament calls him El Shaddai. I call him "Father". Thank you Lord for humbling yourself into the body of a helpless, frail, and vulnerable baby and subjecting yourself to the hardships of this sin-infested world. All so that we may know you through your suffering and death. Immanuel --"God with us".
Babe, I am so proud of the man you are and the heart you have. To God be the glory for what He is doing in our lives!
So many things are up in the air right now and my mind sometimes feels like it is swirling. Our house is for sale (great time to be selling Real Estate, huh?) and our possessions are being sold and boxed up. Questions arise like: When should I quit my job? What will it be like to be a single mom? What will it be like to be single for 12 weeks? How will Tim fare? What will Dylan think, and more importantly what will he remember? When and where will we move to? How will we adjust? The thing is - I HAVE NO IDEA. But one thing I do know...I know God's heart. I know that He will show himself mighty to those who are faithful to Him. Scripture says that "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." Phil. 1:6 God is definitely the originator of what has transpired in our lives, so we are trusting him to keep us going until we reach that place of completion. Our motto in this home is DEFINITELY "One day at a time".
Tim's Commissioning Service is this Sunday afternoon and we are excitedly anticipating that. He will thenceforth be known as Lieutenant Raburn. That will take some getting used to! In all seriousness, I just have to say from the bottom of my heart that I am so inexpressibly proud of Tim in general, and doubly so in light of the sacrifice he is going to make. Lately I have been asked quite frequently if I am sad about leaving or if I'm "okay" with moving. My answer is and has been this: When you see someone that you love dearly find what it is they are called to do and run toward it, unafraid, with enthusiasm and passion, your heart has room for nothing but pride. I love Tim and support him whole-heartedly in this endeavor. Does this mean there won't be days of sorrow and nights of tears? No. Even though my heart is filled with pride for Tim, does that mean that my mind doesn't try to fill with fear? No. The best way I can think to describe my thoughts about this is to quote from the book I am (STILL) reading (I'm a reeeaallly slow reader) "Lies Women Believe" by Nancy DeMoss:
"Joy, peace, and stability come from believing that every circumstance that touches our lives has first been filtered through His fingers of love and is part of a great, eternal plan that He is working out in this world and our lives."
We found a tree where the beavers had clearly left their mark!
Optical illusion: which way is up and which way is down? Tim took this shot with our camera upside down. The water was almost perfectly reflective, proving that things are not always what they seem :)The beautiful view from our cabin's deck.
I Jn 1:9 - If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unfrighteousness.
I think the reason this caught my attention is because it seems to have elements of contradiction in it. Knowing that the Bible is infallible and that it is truth, I took a closer look. The words "faithful" and "just", at first glance, appear to be opposites. Faithfulness, when it come to forgiving sins, tends to imply unconditional love and favor toward us who are undeserving. "Just" or justice, when it comes to sins, tends to imply punishment and getting what we deserve. I have read this verse so many times yet never stopped to dwell on each adjective. It was almost as if I read them together so many times and so fast that they became a new word" 'faithfulandjust"! But seperating them back out brought them new life to me.
So how can God be faithful and just when it comes to sins? In order for Him to be faithful to forgive our sins, He had to bring about justice through someone else. God's supreme character demands (and I say deserves!) holiness. In His sovereignty, He set forth a universe with the sole purpose to glorify Himself unto that holiness. That universe turned its back on Him and left Him unglorified. A price had to be paid for that eternal mistake. And since we were the offenders, we should be the ones to pay. "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." Eph 2:4-5. God offered up His son as a payment for the price of that eternal mistake. God's wrath toward our mistakes was satisfied in the punishment of Jesus Christ - namely his death. There is the "just" component of our verse.
With Jesus having taken our blame through his substitutionary death ("and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." I Jn 2:2), God can now show His favor toward us through the redemption of our souls (salvation), eternal life, and forgiveness of sins. There is the "faithful" component of our verse.
Though at first this Scripture may have seemed "old hat" to me, I found (once again) that there is life in every verse. "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
We thought everything was "sealed up" in the envelope, so to speak, and was on its way to the recent Chaplain Accessions (sp?) board meeting. However, we recently learned that a single portion of the paperwork had not made it in time for the board hearing. So...that means that Tim's packet, or envelope, will have to wait until the next board meeting in early November.
We are unsure how this affects his timetable for training, etc. but for now we can do nothing but wait. We are truly on God's timetable. It has been an interesting process to say the least! At times, we sit on 'go' and at other times we just sit. It seems like we stand still for a few weeks, then we run forward 3-4 steps, and then stand still again. I'm sure it is all preparation and training for what's ahead, though. Please continue to lift us up in prayer as we wait and continually petition the Lord for wisdom...and as we pray for stamina for the race/walk ahead.
Now for some braggin' time! :) I'm sure you've all seen the YouTube video out there of the cute little asian girl singing the Lord's prayer. It is adorable and boy, does she belt it out!! Well, Dylan has joined the ranks of Toddler Theology Stars with his first Scripture memorization!! That's right, he can recite the following verse:
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth Genesis 1:1"
Thanks to AWANA Puggles and a little help from Mom & Dad, Dylan has been saying this quite frequently. I wish you could hear him say it - it is, of course, adorable. When he says Genesis 1:1, it comes out "jennis wowon"! Maybe I can get techno-savy and record & post-it on my blog...maybe;)
We are so proud of you, Dylan! We pray that as you grow the Bible will be something you truly cherish as you learn:
"Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11
God, please help us as parents to remember the Scriptures are vital to a child's well-being and to:
"Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:19
- I once survived a tornado that ripped through my hometown. My Dad was actually out on the road when it was passing through our city. I can "smell" a tornado coming, too.
- I dreamed of a career in the WNBA, but barely made the cut for the varsity basketbal team...needless to say, dream shattered.
- I met my now-husband when I was in high school, but we didn't start dating until my sophomore year in college. We got to know each other while singing in our BCM praise band. We shared a hymnal! :) The most attractive thing about him to me was that he had surrendered to the ministry (and that's saying alot, 'cause he's HANDSOME)
- One of my favorite things is enjoying coffee with creamer in the mornings.
- My first car was a Chevrolet Celebrity stationwagon...also known as the "cool-mobile"!
- If I could have a career that didn't necessarily have to generate income, I would be a caterer or a pastry chef.
Well, there you go. As random as they came to me. :) Thanks Laura, for the "tag"!
Oh, and I wanted you all to meet our new family doctor! He is so cute and uses only TLC in his treatments. Best of all, he IS taking new patients!!
- Regarding God's goodness...
- Regarding the way that God loves us the same as He loves His Son...
Again, Hanna W. Smith said: "If we believed this, could we ever have an anxious or rebellious thought again? Would we not believe in every conceivable circumstance that the divine Father would care for us in the best possible way and meet our every need?"
In believing this, what hesistation should their be in us to follow any leading from Him? None!
- Regarding the "problems" in our life...
"We want God to fix all our problems. God says instead, 'I have a purpose for your problems. I want to use your problems to change you and to reveal My grace and power to the world.'"
We spent the long holiday weekend with my parents for Labor Day. We enjoyed their company and their help. We did a few weekender projects and also made time for fun. Pictures to follow soon, I promise.
For those of you who are keeping up with our chaplaincy progress, Tim was recently granted a necessary medical waiver regarding his ear (he had surgery to correct some hearing loss a few years ago). So the next steps he is facing are a physical and an interview.
I am about to begin reading "Lies Women Believe" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. From what I hear it is a must-read for all women. If you've read it, please let me know so we can compare notes. If you haven't, I'd love for you to start reading it with me! I'm sure I'll be posting what God lays on my heart.
This afternoon we went for a walk, had a wonderful time at the park, threw rocks in the stream (very boyish!), and spotted birds and planes. As our stroller approached our driveway, I peaked down into the seat and saw the most precious sleeping boy. My heart melted, for only the 6,457th time since February 24, 2006.
But we can’t see past the ingredients list; we often feel the mixing will never end; we await the pre-heating oven as if it will never come. And then when the baking begins, we are unsure if the timer will ever ding or if the cake will turn out right after all. But what about the times, God, when you know the outcome will be negative, or worse, tragic? How is your waiting then? Do you feel angst as each step nears the catastrophic completion? Does sorrow sweep over you knowing that suffering will be the picture seen once the transparencies are all lined up? If there’s one thing we know it’s that, as your children, your heartbreaks for us when we hurt.
There’s something else to consider, too. That there is a purpose and design in suffering. Because of your strength, you not only see the good but God you can take the terrible and make it worth while. Even in the tragic, there is order – so that what happens to us is not accidental or a product of chaos, but falls in to array, like the transparency sheets. The same strength that comes from your confidence of knowing good outcomes is also present in our bad times and can carry us through. Help me, God, as I wait on you. Weary and anxious, may I rest in the strength of your confidence – trusting that you know what’s coming, and that good or bad, you see it, know it, and have a plan for it.
Boy, have I been missing my blog! I have had NO time to write recently and it's funny how I feel so pent up. I guess this posting is as much for my benefit as for anyone else. Work has been such a stressful place for me this week and it has been very draining to deal with. I have sensed an oppressive presence here that has made for a challenging work environment. Each night I have left work, gone home, released the days anxieties, gone to bed, and prayed that the next day would have a better layout. But not so. It seems that each day just got more and more stressful and continued the draining process from the day before. Today all I can think of is "It's the weekend! It's the weekend!" Thoughts of sleep and relaxation are dancing through my mind and visions of me getting my hair done and a pedicure are in my head. I guess I am in major need of some refreshing :) So I pulled out my pocket calendar (that Mom gave me) to make a hair appt and there at the top of the month of July was a scripture verse. It amazes me how timely and poignant the scriptures can be! The verse said "The times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." Acts 3:19. Thank you, Lord, for the reminder I needed that while beauty shops can be beneficial for the body, it is time with the Lord that refreshes our souls. So, over the next week I hope to refresh my soul and myself.
Whenever I am feeling stressed or anxious, music (and prayer) is one of the ways I cope. I have found alot of solace in this song on our i-Pod by Jeremy Camp:You spread out the skies over empty space
Said, let there be light
To a dark and formless world
Your light was born
You spread out your arms over empty hearts
Said, let there be light
To a dark and hopeless world
Your son was born...
What a wonderful maker
What a wonderful savior ...
No eye has fully seen how beautiful the cross
And we have only heard the faintest whispers
Of how great you are
That last part is exciting to me. To think that of all the glorious and wonderful things we have heard and know about God; they are only like a faint whisper of His full and true majesty. Wow!
America the Beautiful by Katharine Bates
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self
their country loved
And mercy more than life! America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
All this causes me to think about the way Jesus Christ changes lives: how a man in a pick-up truck picked up a hitchhiking soldier one day from the side of the road and made it a point to tell the hitchhiker about Jesus. And how that hitchhiker, under Holy Spirit conviction, prayed the sinner's prayer that day. And how that hitchhiker turned baseball player became a minister of the gospel. And how together with his wife that minister of the gospel of Christ raised a family of 3 children for the honor and glory of God. And those 3 children - one of whom is a minister, one of whom is a minister's wife, and one of who ministers through foster care - each worked to raise their children in a Christian home for God's glory. And now, together with my husband, the baton is ours, to in turn pass along to our children, and so on. But it all started with one man who knew the power of God in his life, and was not afraid to share it. Even with a hitchhiking soldier. It's purely a humbling thing, to think that God has been working His purpose in me since that time. Just think of what a story-weaver God is. I'm so glad to serve a Mighty God who regards His children with love & foresight.
Pictures to follow soon from the trip, I promise!
- Soaking wet swimming pool hugs from a kid with blue lips
- That familiar smell of my husband's neck
- Capri pants, flip-flops, and freshly painted toenails
- The sound of my son's voice in a whisper
- The sweaty smell of a baby after a good, long nap
- Belly buttons
- A long, hard run - one where your muscles ache but it feels good
- Ringtones that let you know a loved one is calling
- Gentle rain falling in the night
- My husband bringing me home dark chocolate from the store, even though he went there to get medicine for himself
- A cool breeze on my shoulders on a hot summer day
- Listening to a Sunday sermon by a loud preacher, but hearing God's voice louder still
To trump that, how cool is God that he saw fit to bestow such a blessing on women. Every belly button is a gift given by a mother to another human - through God's design. What a task we women have, not just in passing on belly buttons but in being the portal through which each generation to come will come. God never makes mistakes and always does things in an orderly, purposeful way. He could have easily made our bodies so that our belly buttons disappear shortly after birth. But he didn't. He let us keep them as midsectional reminders of his divine plan.
Our vacation was a wonderful time of rest, relaxation, & refreshment sent from the Lord. The feeling of sand squeaking beneath our feet, the sound of waves lapping at the shore, the wind (and I do mean WIND) flowing over us like God's breath...all of it melted our stressors like falling shackles and made us feel alive. We had 2 days of decent weather to get out on the beach, and then 2 days of storms - and with not much else to do it made us slow down, rest, and just be still.
Tim enjoyed some much needed rest and reading some things other than seminary books! And as for me, I haven't been able to read so much since I was in nursing school! We had quite a host of company with us on the beach...King James, Beth Moore, John Piper and James McDonald, and the complimentary USA today. The bible study "Stepping Up" by Beth Moore kept me engrossed in the scriptures, while Dr. Piper (as always) challenged me in spiritually in-depth ways. When we arrived Monday and first stepped out on the beach, I was reminded of the way I feel each and every time I stand with my feet toward the ocean...small! For me, there is always a tendency to stand there and hear a voice tell me "See, all those problems and worries you thought were huge, they are seemingly insignificant and almost so tiny they are non-existent." Momentarily, that has offered my mind relief. But the next cry of my heart is "But they are real and significant to me!"
Dylan enjoyed the week at Grammy and Poppy's house, and fun was in no short supply. He has been talking about it ever since! At the week's end, we took a short trip to Tim's grandparent's house for a night's stay. It was good to see Granny and Pawpaw, and Dylan enjoyed 'exploring' their property and trying to catch their stray cats with a fish net!
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
Please continue to pray with/for us as we seek God's will about the next step in our ministry lives. We have some of the answers we need regarding Chaplaincy, but not all of them. God will be faithful to answer; we are trusting Him.
Graduation is May 9th...and then look out, VACATION HERE WE COME! (Thank you, Uncle Sam:)
Dylan, thank you for the lessons that you are teaching me about the Lord. So small, yet you are leading me to learn more about the God I have worshipped my whole life. From the womb your Father and I have prayed that you would one day come to know this Savior we call Jesus. I love you, son!
10. Tim can build a computer from the ground up with just a couple of pieces of conductor wire, a CPU tower, and a processor...and he can fix anything that has a mother board or a memory card in it :)
9. He loves Shakey's almost as much as I do.
8. He lets me win at basketball ;)
7. He tells me I am beautiful.
6. He watches chick-flicks with me.
5. He fixes my blog when I mess it up or need help with new features.
4. He gave me 2 dozen roses for Valentine's Day.
3. Twice when I was throwing-up sick, he stayed by my side and held my hair back so it didn't fall in the wastecan. (That is true love)
2. He is a GREAT father to Dylan
1. He answered God's call to be a minister.
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