Friday, September 5, 2008

joy's blog

If you have two minutes, please stop by my beautiful friend, Joy's, blog. She's posted a powerful video clip prepared by the Chapman Family's ministry Shaohannah's Hope (Show Hope). While you're there, be sure to enjoy the pictures of her precious family!!!

I love seeing others who are not only LIVING A BLESSED LIFE, but helping others to do so in the name of LOVE!!!

The needs are endless--and, worldwide. Today, you have an opportunity to reach out to "one of the least of these."

Praying Christ's sweet & abundant blessings upon each of you!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I choose hard

Over the past ten years or so, God has placed countless decisions in front of me:

* Should I continue to work outside the home, or become a full-time mom?
* Should I homeschool or keep my kids in public school?
* Should I embrace the grief life brought me or should I bury it?
* Should we adopt or maintain our relatively "simple" life with one daughter
and one son?
* If we adopt, should we consider adopting a special-needs child or request
a "healthy" child?
* Should I implement a schedule for our days or continue to fly-by-the-seat
-of-my-pants? [That cracks me up just typing it! :-)]
* Should I choose to take good care of myself by getting enough sleep,
start exercising and eating right or choose the alternatives?
* Should I prepare this book proposal or not?

The list goes on...

Now, before I continue, please know these are choices God placed before me. I am in no way saying that these are choices everyone should make, or are in a position to do so. Neither am I saying that if you are facing any of these choices, that the choices I made are right for you and your family.

Thank goodness, we are all unique, as are our circumstances. For me, however, God has placed before me two obvious choices--the hard way or the (seemingly) easy way (or maybe I should say, the comfortable way.)

A few weekends ago, my husband chose to climb Mt. Adams. (This is a good example of how thankful I am that God made us all unique. Honestly, while I enjoy hiking, I have absolutely NO desire to climb a mountain. At least not at this point in my life - grin.)

Here's the challenge that was placed before Geoff:
And yes, he chose the "hard way," which results in some amazing pictures and stories. Geoff explained that this particular mountain has what is called a false summit. Many, many climbers see what appears to be the summit ahead and pull out the last bit of their strength and stamina to climb just a little bit farther.

From what I understand, the climb is incredibly intense. I heard stories of climbing on ice, picking their way through a painful scree field with boulders falling at unexpected moments, and other treacherous challenges. Arriving at the false summit, therefore, is actually quite an accomplishment. Unless, of course, you were actually planning on climbing to the very top of said mountain.

Throughout the journey, a climber may only be able to take a few short steps before taking a break. Each and every step is mentally counted as a means of surviving the climb. You can imagine what a terrible letdown it would be for the naive climber who mistakes the false summit for the true summit. Many, if not all, decide to give up, having used every last bit of energy to make it to the "top." Disappointed, they turn back to make the long trek back down the mountain.

This picture was taken while standing on the false summit. As you can see, there's still more mountain to climb...As tempting as it may have been to stop at the false summit, my man chose the hard way. He kept going (and going, and going)!

All the way to the top - the TRUE summit!

Along with lots of cuts and bruises, he brought back his trusty GPS showing the incredible height to which he climbed. (Oh and some pretty breathtaking photos as well!)

The view from the top:Through the course of our lives, we are all faced with countless decisions. I'm a firm believer in God's gift of free will. When it comes to choices presented to us, they are in fact that, choices. While there may be repercussions for choosing the seemingly easier route, more often than not, our life will continue on as it was before. We may therefore think that we made the "right choice." (Are you following me on this?)

My personal life experience, however, has taught me that choosing the harder way (and pushing through the trials we may face), will result in God blessing us beyond our wildest belief. As was true for Geoff. :-) When he finally made his way to the true summit, God blessed him with the unexepected treat of seeing thousands of beautiful butterlies all around him. The imagery doesn't get any better than this: when we choose the hard way, we will be transformed. The miracle of course, resides within the butterfly (or really, his former self, Mr. Caterpillar!) and the One who made him.

While I can't claim to have climbed a mountain, I joyfully admit that I have come to cherish the hard way. (No, I haven't always chosen the hard way. But, when I have, the rewards have far outweighed the struggle.) I pray that if you are facing a choice in your life, that God will give you the courage (and faith) to choose the hard way.

If you're already making your way up the "mountain" I pray He would give you the wisdom and strength to press on past the false summit. I promise that God has amazing blessings in store for you!

If you chose the "easy" way, don't worry, I trust that God will bring you many more adventures your way. He knows our human flesh and He never gives up on us. (Again, I'm not saying that the seemingly easy way is wrong. I do believe, however, that God gives us countless opportunities to be challenged in order for Him to grow and change us. He also desires to bless us in the process!) Keep pressing into Him and trust that His will for your life is good!

For myself, choosing "hard" has always resulted in LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

photos courtesy of Geoffrey D. & Christophe