Thursday, March 28, 2013

Blessings (Part 2)

So I shared in my last post (http://thehardenhousehold.blogspot.com/2013/03/im-blessed.html) how blessed we are with the friends God has given us, but my blessings go beyond just that. I'm not sure why, but I have been overwhelmed in the past few months with just how good God has been to me!

My greatest gift at this time is my beautiful son and the ability to stay home with him, but back in August as everyone was preparing to go back to school, I began to feel a little sad and wistful. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love staying home with my son and the role that I now have, but I also loved teaching! Not every moment, of course, but I truly enjoyed my days being filled with planning and preparing, teaching students, seeing them learn new concepts, laughing at the crazy things they said & did that all teenagers say & do, listening when they needed to vent, offering advice when I could, and spending time with them so that I could still feel young too! I loved it! I loved planning prom, putting together a beauty pageant for boys who dressed like girls (yes, yes, I did plan that event! It made us a fortune for prom and was simply tradition at GHS!), going to football games, and just laughing at the ridiculous stories from my colleagues every day! But I wasn't fulfilled despite all the joy I found in teaching. Deep down I wanted something else, but God was telling me to wait, so in the mean time I threw myself into what I was doing to avoid the ache in my heart. Then one day, God decided to grant me my deepest desire, and He made me a mom!

My life has changed so drastically, but when the back-to-school season rolled around, I admit I was a little sad at the thought of not going back to school like I had for the past 26 years, and I worried about how I would fill my days now. How silly of me?!?! God has always had a wonderful plan for my life, and I've clung to that verse in Jeremiah that says so, but I'm not sure I really got it until this year.

In the midst of my worrying what I would ever do to fill my days, God began to fill them for me! (And let's be honest, that's the way it should be, but I haven't always let Him.) He opened doors I never even imagined doing! I now keep an adorable little girl very close in age to Ryder, a couple of days a week. I don't talk about it much out of privacy for her, but it has been a great ooportunity for Ryder to learn to share and play with another child, and it's provided a little extra income for our family. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve, but God didn't stop there!

He also gave me an opportunity to get involved in an incredible ministry through my church. I was asked to join the steering committee of our newly started MOPS group as the Publicity Leader. At first, I was a little unsure about the role, but God knew this was the perfect position for me! I still get to use my English background as I prepare a monthly newsletter, but I've gotten to stretch some other areas as I began selling and designing ads for the newsletter, and I swore I could never do anything involving sales because that's justnot my personality, but again, God knew better (of course!). I also got to tap into my creative side by including recipes and craft ideas each month. I never really had time for things like cooking or crafting when I taught, but I always enjoyed those things, so now I really get to try my hand at some new things! It's been so much fun getting to be part of this group and meet so many new women and see families come visit our church because of their experience at MOPS! Not only do I work on a newsletter, but I also get to help plan meetings, play dates, and lots of other fun events, and I get to use that detailed/OCD background in the planning and organizing! God truly knew exactly where I needed to be.

As I look at what my days are filled with now, I know that this is what I was meant to do all along, I just had to wait for God's perfect timing. I loved teaching (most days), but I had no idea how much I would love what I'm doing now! I hoped, I dreamed, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect this! God truly does give us exceedingly above, all we could ask or think, I'm just sorry it took me his long to know what that really meant! And I'm sorry that I'm not continuously grateful and appreciative of what He's done!

Yep, I'm blessed, and I'm incredibly grateful, humbled, awestruck, and somewhat intimidated by the awesomeness and goodness of our mighty, wonderful, everlasting, loving, and great GOD!! :)

Ahhhh, so many blessings, so many great things, and He decided I was worth it to share them with me!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I'm Blessed

The past few weeks, God has been reminding me of how truly blessed I am, and how He answered a prayer of mine from as far back as high school. All through high school, college, and even our first year of marriage, I had an ongoing prayer request before the Lord. The request might seem silly to most people, but it was a deep felt need in my heart and life. The request was for the Lord to help me find true friends.

I won't get into details, but I had a rough time in high school, partly because of my own insecurities, and partly because of the people I was surrounded by at the time. But either way, I was desperate for friendship, a true friendship, and spent a lot of time feeling very lonely. When I got to college, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people surrounding me, and felt a little lost in the numbers at times. I did begin to forge sweet friendships, and even met my best friend for life, my husband, there. But even then, I was still lacking that connection with other people, where I felt accepted and wanted.

After Tyler and I got married, as much as we loved our time alone together, we began to realize our need for friendship with other couples, if only to help us see that we weren't the only couple in the world who argued over what to watch on television! I began to pray once again that God would help us to find friends, real friends.

Fourteen years after my original prayer for friendship, and six years after praying for God to lead us to Godly couples that we could become friends with, I look at my life, and realize that I would be deeply remiss if I didn't thank the Lord publicly for answering my prayer, abundantly, above, all I could ask or think!

Tyler and I are now surrounded with wonderful friends, more than I can even count! We have friends from church that we share the joys and trials of parenting with, that we share our needs and prayer requests with, and people that we just get to laugh & enjoy life with! It's such a beautiful picture to me, to look around and see how surrounded we are by so many special people who have had impacted our lives in big and small ways! God has been so good to us, and I am so thankful!

Beyond our amazing friends from church, we have also made other friends through our jobs and brought friends with us from our high school and college years that have grown into deeper, more meaningful relationships over th years. I thank the Lord for each and every friend He has given us, and I am overwhelmed by the way God answered that prayer of a lonely teenage girl, who thought she wasn't good enough to be able to make friends. I know that God led me through a time of waiting for friendship, in order for me to draw closer to Him first, and He truly is all that I need, but life here on earth sure is sweeter with friends to do life with too!! :)

Friendship is such a precious thing and such a good gift from my Lord!

Tiny Dancer

Our little man loves to dance! And I love to watch him! It brings a smile to my face every time! I'm not sure where he got his moves from, but I assure you, it wasn't me! :)
 

video

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Love this boy so much!!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ouch!

Recently, I've read a few articles that have mentioned my Alma Mater, Liberty University, some giving praise to the school and others harshly criticizing it, but what stung the most were the comments made by people at the end of the articles. I knew people didn't like the school, but to read the attacks made on the students and graduates was kind of upsetting for me.

There were comments made that said no one should ever employ a graduate from Liberty because their education was sub-par and narrow-minded given the evangelical nature of their education. It stung for people to basically make a claim about me and my ability to participate in society because of where I attended school without knowing me or seeing my abilities. It made me feel like I wasn't good enough, that I didn't measure up. And then I was a little angry, because these people made statements about me being ignorant out of their own ignorance, and they accused me of being narrow-minded because my belief system doesn't mesh with their belief system. The irony of these comments are not lost on me, but it doesn't ease the sting.

Thankfully, I know who I am, I know Whose I am, I know what I have accomplished despite my so-called "sub-par" education, and I know that I don't have to argue with these people to prove myself to them. Words prove nothing, instead, I hope that my actions and the way I live demonstrate how untrue the comments made by those people really are.

I knew that people felt that way, but I just hadn't really exposed myself to it recently. I heard it often when I was at Liberty, and even when I first started working. I was aware that people didn't think my school was quite on the same level of other schools, and I was even more aware that peole were watching my every move and judging me, but it wasn't until reading those comments that I was reminded how people felt. It reminds me of what Christ warned His disiples of in the last days. He said that His people would be despised and rejected by men. But He also, taught us through Paul, that when we suffered at the hands of those who hated us, we were to count it pure joy. I don't know that it's easy to find joy in people tearing you down, but it does make me want to work harder to prove what Dr. Falwell always said, "If it's Christian, it should be better." I'm willing to be held to the higher standard that society has set, and prove to them that they're wrong, not by arguing or retaliating with name-calling or attacking the other person's charater, but by loving God, staying true to my faith and beliefs no matter the cost, and loving people, even those who hurt me, because that is what Christianity is really about and that is what I was taught every day while I was at Liberty.