Friday, October 30, 2009

Back home, well almost. Cleared customs, claimed our bags, reloaded our bags ... Still in Chicago. We arrived in Chicago @ 8pm, our flight was supposed to depart 9:45 ... It has now been pushed to 11:55. Our expected arrival in Indy 1:55am. Wow my internal time is messed up - Greece is 6 hours ahead... Already looking forward to my bed.
I took about 200 pix each day ... Looking forward to posting.
grace and peace

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Tomorrow is the 22nd of October ... tomorrow my father is picking us up at 7am to make a 10:30am flight ... tomorrow we head for Athens.
This is all still so incredibly unbelievable!
The bags are packed, all but bathroom stuff ...

Aaron and I elected to not enable our phone for Europe and also unplug from the internet. I have a sneaking suspicion that we will have many other things to focus our attention on.
our trip on the Regent Seven Seas Navigator :
Athens, Greece 10/23
Santorini, Greece 10/24
Kusadasi, Turkey 10/25
Bodrum, Turkey 10/26
Rhodes, Greece 10/27
Mykonos, Greece 10/28
Istanbul, Turkey 10/29
Head home from Istanbul 10/30

Such an unreal experience.

Please pray for traveling mercies ... I will return to blogging in November!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

another look at the same story!

October 20, 2009

The Ram is on its Way

Glynnis Whitwer

"So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, 'On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.'" Genesis 22:14 (NIV)


Have you ever been in a situation so desperate that it looked hopeless?

Have you ever sat at the kitchen table wondering how you were going to pay the electric bill? Have you ever stood at a door that's been slammed in your face by an angry teenager and despaired at ever having a relationship with him again? Have you ever had your heart broken so deeply that you wondered if you would ever feel whole again?

Sadly, we live in a broken world where desperate situations happen every day. I know someone reading this devotion is wondering how she will make it through the day because her situation looks hopeless. If that is you, I encourage you to keep reading. I believe God has a message of hope for you today.

That message is found in the Bible, in the story of a man who was dealing with his own desperate situation. His name was Abraham and he faced the greatest testing of his life. After longing for a son for many years, God finally gave Abraham a boy, whom he named Isaac. Abraham never imagined God would test his faith by asking him to sacrifice his son. But it happened.

It had to have been the darkest day of Abraham's life as he trudged up the mountain, with firewood strapped to his son's back. Every step took Abraham closer to what he believed to be the sad ending of a hopeless situation - the death of his son. Yet in spite of his sorrow, Abraham trusted God. His heart wasn't soaring with joy. He wasn't dancing up the mountain. But he put one foot in front of the other. Walking through the darkness of the situation; obeying His God's commands.

Unbeknownst to Abraham, something else was walking up that mountain. Quietly. Out of sight. On the other side of the mountain. Something else was putting one foot in front of the other. Only Abraham couldn't see it.

For every step Abraham took, a ram on the other side of the mountain took a step.

All Abraham saw that day was his solitary journey of pain. As he got closer to the top of the mountain, his dread must have increased. I wonder if he asked himself any questions. I would have. I would have wondered why hadn't God intervened? Why hadn't God stopped this testing? Couldn't God see that Abraham was a man of faith? Why test him in this way?

But there was no answer. There was no voice from heaven. And so Abraham kept obeying his God's command. He put Isaac on an altar and prepared to sacrifice his one and only son.

And just at that very moment, at the very last second, when it looked like the end had come, God spoke, stopping the sacrifice. Abraham looked up and there caught in the thicket was a ram. Abraham took his son off the altar, replaced him with the ram, and offered the sacrifice to God.

Abraham named that place "Yahweh-Yireh" or "The Lord Will Provide." And the story was written down for generations of God-followers to read. It was written so that you and I today would read it as we face our own hopeless situations. It was captured in print so that you and I would know that God is already planning for our provision. We don't see it. We don't hear it. But we can trust that our God is at work. On your behalf, and on mine.

I choose to trust God today. A ram is on the way.

Dear Lord, You know how desperate I am today. You know that my faith has wavered. Although I want to trust You, I'm having trouble doing so. I ask for Your intervention in my situation, and for an increase of my faith while I wait. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

New Eyes

Many know that I began teaching Sunday school this summer. I teach the 5th and 6th graders at Brookside Community Church. When Aaron began pastoring the inner city church I was dead set against being placed in Children's Ministry. Partially, because I was teaching monday - friday and I was trying to go against the grain of the typical pastors wife. Well, the spirit moved me this summer, and I am now teaching sunday school ...

A few weeks ago I was completely struggling, I lamented to Aaron that I was working way out of my gifting. I have a complete curriculum guide, 52 lessons from Genesis to Revelation, so it should be easy - right? It has been a slow start ... but after my confession of struggling things really began to get better. Starting with the lesson on the Noah ... but when we got to the Tower of Babel, that was a BLAST - we built towers using gummy bears and toothpicks (not very easy) ... also we began scripture memory with "prizes". They get rewards for being able to verbally recite the verse and reference then a second reward for being able to write the verse from memory ... and bonus rewards for the previous weeks verse. The class dynamic has changed - they are listening, building, memorizing and building on stories.

This weekend, we were learning about Sacrifice, Abraham and Isaac ... my eyes saw the story in a completely new light, a new perspective, which happened during the lesson.
I was teaching from Genesis 22: 1-13, Abraham obeys God and is willing to sacrifice his son. Most of us know this story. As a class we talked about things we treasure and what it would be like to have to give up those treasures. It was a good discussion. As we read the story out loud, I began to see the story through Isaac's eyes ... I have personally always looked at this story from Abraham's eyes and his willingness to obey the Lord. To take his promised son to the mountain as a sacrifice. Never taking into consideration that Isaac would probably have been about the same age as the kids in my class, fully capable of saying no, or being able to over power his "old" father.
But Isaac trusted his earthly father and his Heavenly Father. He showed the type of obedience we expect out of our young people today. Our discussion in the class shifted to Isaac's willingness to obey and show absolute trust to his earthly father and his Heavenly Father. I was blown away. Not sure my kiddos were - but wow I can not stop thinking about it. What a revelation. We had a great discussion about obeying adults that we know are walking with the Lord ... it was good.
They will continue the talk on sacrifice this Sunday, without me - but I know Miss Cassie will do an awesome job.

Love these NEW EYES!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Full of Challenges

So yesterday was my birthday, Hello 36. I am actually closer to 40 then 30 now ... YIKES! I think I heard, 40 is the new 30 ... if I did not hear that I am declaring it NOW!
Aaron has challenged me to create 30 goals / things to do this year ... I now have 364 days to complete the challenge. Which I cannot complete until I have created the list, so less then 364 - gee-ze I am already putting pressure on myself! I figure i have a long plan ride ahead of me that will provide an excellent opportunity to create the list, and I will only loose 6 days, which leaves me with 359 days to complete 36 goals ... I think the first 7 will include visits to Greece and Turkey. That might be cheating?? I will pray on that ...

The past two days have been amazing ... Northview is in the midst of a Church Wide Spiritual Growth Campaign ... "RESET" - the idea is to push the reset button on our assumptions about Jesus. This study is designed to challenge us in our expectations and discover (or rediscover) our own beliefs about Jesus.
Along with this study, our life group meets weekly - each week we get a challenge. This week it was to go to a cemetery and listen to a podcast.
Let me begin with the receiving of the challenge - last Saturday I completely broke down - big tears and I think a couple of those loud heaves that happened when you are trying not to cry - none the less, it was all brought on by the fact that I have not been to the Cemetery since we buried Jeremy... I was not expecting that reaction AT ALL! But the group handled it well, and we moved on. Our life group is simply AMAZING!! So on Thursday, the 15th, I was looking for pants for Aaron and was being pulled to Oak Lawn Memorial Gardens (96th and Allisonville) ... where Jeremy is buried. Aaron met me, we parked by his plot, and listened to the podcast. It was a great lesson and I actually felt quite peaceful with the visit.
Then yesterday, before going out to dinner, Aaron and I went to Northview for the Prayer Experience. .... The Reset Prayer Experience will take place Oct. 14 - 25 at Northview. It's designed to be a simple, personal prayer journey with an audio guide to help you engage with God. It's great for those who have never prayed, or for those who pray everyday. It's designed to last about an hour, but you can take as much time as you'd like.
WOW WOW WOW. I learned that I have been harboring bitterness regarding loosing Jeremy. I also learned that I have been carrying around more baggage about how I have felt that I must have displeased God and he is punishing me ... but I have the physical act of nailing that to the cross - I released those feelings I was holding on to - it was an excellent physical act that I did not even know that I needed to to. Those feelings were DEEP - and they sprung up unexpected - but what a weight that has gone with them being exposed.

As I finished the experience, a new friend approached me, (new as in I just met her last night!) she shared with me how the video testimony Aaron and I shared had helped a friend of hers. She was so thankful for our openness and willingness to share our journey - what a word of confirmation that the Lord uses all things for good.
The experiences were humbling and healing - I am so thankful for both of these challenges this week.

Turn your eyes to behold ME. Look away from sordid surroundings, from lack of beauty, from the imperfections in yourselves and those around you. Then you who have the Faith-Vision will see all you could and do desire in Me.
In your unrest behold My calm, My rest. In your impatience, My unfailing patience. In your lack and limitation, My Perfection. Looking at Me you will grow like Me, until men say to you, too, that you have been with Jesus.
As you grow like Me you will be enabled to do the things I do, and greater works then these shall ye do because I go unto My Father.
From that place of abiding limited by none of humanity's limitations I can endue you with the all-conquering, all miracle-working Power of your Divine Brother and Ally.

Healing continues to take place, even when I am unaware ... GOD IS GOOD!


Monday, October 12, 2009

what a delay!

Wow - i have neglected posting. I have been busy, and focused on accomplishing projects that are about to meet their deadline.

Really enjoyed my reading from God Calling this Morning ...
"Thine they were and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word." John 17:6
Remember, that just as you thank God for Me, so I thank God for His Gift to Me of you. In that hour of pain. The thought of the souls, given Me by My Father, who had kept My Word.
They had not then done great deeds, as they did later, for, and in, My Name. They were simple doers of My Word, not hearers only. Just in their daily tasks and ways they kept My Word.
You, too, can bring Joy to My Heart by faithful service. Faithful service in the little things. Be faithful.
Do your simple tasks for Me.

This entry helps me keep in perspective that everyday, everything we do can be and should be done for his Glory. As I look over the past few weeks - I have been busy ... with The Father, how exciting!

I have draft one of my talk for an upcoming retreat complete and share it with the group this Wednesday. I am now working on the visuals that will accompany the talk - there is a small trace of performance anxiety ... I am certain My Daddy will help me through that.

Then there is this trip .... we leave on the 22nd of October! 10 days! Are the bags packed, NO, have I called the bank to let them know we would be traveling a broad, NO, Have I checked with AT&T to see if our phones will work, NO ... the only thing I do have: Our travel Plans and Passports .... but clearly it is time to get on the ball.

Aaron and I met with some ladies from church who just recently traveled to the Mediterainian and they shared all sorts of useful tips - which gave me a whole new list of things that I have not done. BUT there is still time .... right??
This week once I fulfill my ministry duties, I will begin going through our clothes and seeing what will make the trip. I am reluctant to pull out the suitcases, because of the cat. Foster will get anxious ... that is a whole different thing - he has never been alone this long. Until May Murphy was with him ... Aaron suggested having him stay with my parents - and I think that is Aaron hoping he would stay there FOREVER ....

Over half of my mind still cannot believe we are planning a trip half way around the world ...I mean really - who does this! Apparently Aaron and I:)

On to making Posters a simple task for HIM ....


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We Cling to Thee

From God Calling:
A Child's Hand
Dear Lord, we cling to Thee
Yes, cling. Your faith shall be rewarded. Do you not know what it means to feel a little trusting hand in yours, to know a child's confidence? Does that not draw our your Love and desire to protect, to care. Think what MY Heart feels, when in your helplessness you turn to Me, clinging, desiring My Love and Protection. Would you fail that child, faulty and weak as you are? Could I fail you? Just know it is not possible. Know all is well. You must not doubt. You must be sure. There is not miracle I cannot perform, nothing I cannot do. No eleventh-hour rescue I cannot accomplish.

I have had the honor to hold many little hands, and they are sure you will protect them as you walk along side each other. So in the same way a child will cling to an adult ... I long to cling to My Father. He will never fail us, GLORY.

I am working on writing for an upcoming retreat .... please pray for me, I ask for wisdom, clarity and to Glorify the Lord through the writing.