Sunday, February 15, 2009

This is dedicated to the one I love...

In the spirit of Valentine's Day (which I'm not all that big on to be honest) I've decided to dedicate a blog to my husband, co-creator, and best friend Josh. He gets mentioned in my blogs many times, but mostly it is in reference to some crazy way that he has had to bail me out of some unbelievable situtation. So, I thought I would share how much I love this person who has apparently signed some kind of contract in which he will receive a million dollars for every year he puts up with me, or something like that. I cannot figure out another reason why he has put up with me this long.

In a time when so many people have lost all hope in true and lasting love, I am so thankful to God for my love story. I know that He has written it because it has been too well orchestrated for Josh or myself who both struggle a bit in the planning area. :) Apparently it started in fifth grade when I was much more interested in Barbie's than boys, but Josh swears he had a crush on me then. He even told me that he didn't ask me to sign his class T-shirt because he was too nervous to talk to me. For our one year anniversary I got one of those T-shirts from my 5th grade teacher and signed it Emily Fidler. :)

We didn't really have any contact again until 10th grade. We had chemistry together. The class I mean. Ha! Josh was so quiet and never talked. I was totally obsessed with some other boy. Josh still tells me that he knew since 5th grade we were supposed to be together and so I really wish he would have clued me in on that revelation and saved my needless obsessing and rejection by other people! The only thing I really remember was being in a group together and trying to draw a line and I couldn't even draw it straight with a ruler. Josh had to do it. He did it straight without the ruler.

You know how you always hear the stories of people running into each other's arms on the beach or something really romantic about how they first knew they liked each other? Well, let me tell you what I remember about our night. We were at McDonald's. It was after a football game and it was freezing. I had on about 10 layers of clothes and I really needed to go to the bathroom. Josh says we started talking about our history class and he just fell in love with me. Go figure. So much for all of the magazine articles about hair, makeup and flirting. I had just spent four hours at a football game, my hair was falling out of the mandatory french braid I had to wear as part of the dance team, and like I said I had on ten layers of sweats that didn't match. To top it off I chose the fascinating subject of history class to discuss! I was obviously not anticipating finding love at McDonald's that night. To this day the only thing I remember is how much I needed to go to the bathroom.

Well, it must be meant to be if it starts out that romantic right? Ha! At that time I had recently had my heartbroken and I was not in the mood to do it all over again. So, I did not make things easy for Josh. I'm very glad he was persistent! You can ask anybody who knew us then, we were JUST FRIENDS! It became my mantra. When I finally agreed to go to our junior prom with him I made it very clear that we were going as JUST FRIENDS!!!

I kept that up for a few more months, but the truth was that the first time we danced together I knew he was the one. I felt safe with him. I guess that doesn't sound very romantic, but my all time favorite verse is Proverbs 4:23. It says "Above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life." I've always taken guarding my heart very seriously and somehow I just knew with Josh that it would be safe.

I know I drove him crazy with all of the "friend" stuff and a whole list of rules I had. Yes, I had rules. But for some reason he decided I was worth all of it, and that was exactly what I needed. Someone who thought I was worth fighting for. And waiting for. I felt God leading me to a college 6 hours away from home and even though I knew I was supposed to marry Josh, I also knew that I was supposed to go to that school. It was hard and Josh and I could probably have bought a house with what we spent on phone cards, but he waited.

I'm not sure why I felt the need to write this. I guess just thinking about Valentine's Day. Things have a way of becoming so commercialized to the point that they start to lose their meaning. I feel sad for our kids growing up in a time when they are taught to be cynical about love and to just accept that relationships never last and everybody ends up miserable in the end. I don't believe it!

Our first Valentine's Day together, I really got into the whole experience. I cooked Josh's favorite food (okay, it wasn't really his favorite, but it was the only thing I knew how to make) and I set the table with the fancy dinnerware (that was before we had moved 50 times and had 3 kids to break it all) and I even lit a fire in the fireplace. Well...those were the days Josh was working LONG hours as a breadman and I had not yet learned to add 2 hours onto whatever time he said he would be home. Anyway, in the process of preserving the food and the candlelight I managed to nearly burn our apartment down. I had put a candlebra with 6 or 7 candles on the floor in front of the fireplace. Yea, not a good idea. It took me a while to figure out that all of the candles were completely melting all over the tile. I mean COMPLETELY melting. I picked wax off of that floor for weeks.

Not too long after that a country song came out called "I Melt". Josh and I couldn't help but crack up everytime we heard it and had to make up our own version "Everything melts!"
I've been thinking about that Valentine's Day and that song and I realize that Josh still makes me melt. It would take days and weeks and months and years to write about all of the things, good and bad, that we have experienced since that first Valentine's Day, but the truth is that we love each other more now than we did when we had fancy plates to eat on. :)

I hope that all of you had an awesome Valentine's Day and if you are still waiting for that special someone, don't lose heart! Just guard your heart and be willing to wait. The best things are always worth waiting for!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Can I be honest with you? Sometimes I feel a little lost. Not in a spiritual, don't know God kind of way. Just in the general, what the heck is going on kind of way. I started thinking about this because since we moved to Mississippi we've only had one channel and LOST has become my favorite show. Despite the fact that I became obssessed with it and had to rent all of the seasons I had missed to catch me up, I'm having a hard time following it this season. Mostly because you have to have an attention span longer than three minutes to be able to follow it and I seem to be lacking greatly in that area.

Being lost has been a theme lately. Last Friday night Josh and I were supposed to go to an associational pastors and deacons banquet. After the week I had I was thrilled to be going any where out of my house without my children! Again, just being honest. We started the evening out late, which is par for the course for us. The sad thing is I thought we were going somewhere else and I didn't know we were running late. I thought I had timed it perfect. I really couldn't figure out why Josh kept asking if he could do something to help me get ready. I didn't trust him with the hair straightener or the eye shadow, so we just left late. We got the kids dropped off and headed out. There really is nothing like looking for county roads in Jasper County in the dark on highways that have no street lights. I can't see worth a flip anyway so I just offered encouragement like, "Maybe we should turn around" and "I don't think it would be in this county." :) Well, long story longer, we passed our turn and Josh just decided we would drive on to Laurel and get supper. I hate to admit it, but I was kind of excited. I can't remember the last time Josh and I went on a date and these days I have to take it however I can get it! That night getting lost had its perks.

Then on Monday the kids and I headed out to Wal-Mart. I really could write a book just about my experiences at Wal-Mart in the last year. We went to a different one than the one we usually go to and the whole time Eli was saying, "Are we lost? I think we're lost. Are we crashing? Are we racing?" :) He has this thing about crashing and being lost and I'm not sure why because Sarah is the only one who ever gets in wrecks with me. I haven't crashed with Eli once! (For anyone who doesn't know, I put my jeep in reverse and got out and watched it roll through a parking lot with Sarah in it. Yes, that was another blog.)

Well, I guess we all just have those times. I often feel lost in my own little world. Lost in piles of laundry and dishes. Lost in the woods. I even felt at a loss for words for a few days, though I doubt you will believe that! Then I heard a song I haven't heard in forever. Lost in Emotion! Very old school, very stuck in my head this week.

To top off my lost theme Josh came home from school Monday night and told me something that I had never heard in all my years in church. Somehow we started talking about the Israelites and their wanderings in the wilderness. You know, they spent 40 years trying to get to the Promised Land. I kind of understand because we live an hour and a half from Target. Ha! Just kidding. Anyway, he told me something that just blew my mind. Did you know that the actual trip to the Promised Land should have only taken 11 days?!?! Holy cow! Can't you just hear the Israelite women? "I told you we should stop and ask for directions!!" I tried to imagine 40 years listening to Eli say "Are we lost? I think we're lost?" Then I could imagine Sarah leading the way because she always knows exactly what is going on. :) Then I started thinking about Kate and wondering, "Did they have strollers?" Okay, I started getting a little side tracked.

As I thought about the 40 year trip that should have only taken 11 days it made me think about life now. As much as we look back at the Israelites wandering in the wilderness and wonder what in the world they were thinking, I know that we all have lost times. Times when we lose sight of God's direction or try to jump ahead of Him a little bit. When we were getting ready to move to Mississippi I accepted a job that I really didn't feel I was supposed to just because I was desperate to have a job. Fortunately God stepped in and put me back on track with the job I was supposed to have. I later found out the other company was being investigated for fraud! I wouldn't have just lost a job but I could have lost my social workers license as well! I'm still praising God I didn't have to suffer the wandering that decision could have cost me.

It is still a struggle sometimes knowing God's plans and more than that WAITING for God's plan. I've had many conversations with people about that this week as well. I'm a big believer that the plans God has for us are good, not just in spending eternity with Him, but here on earth as well. Often it is just the waiting to get to the good part that is so hard. Josh said that if you could look down at the path the Israelites took it would literally be a zigzag of circling through the wilderness. That's where our own plans and decisions get us. Lost, dizzy and in a big mess.

I love these verses: "Teach me your way, O LORD, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!" Psalm 27:11-14.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Special Day

Three years ago I had a chance to talk to my three year old about asking Jesus into her heart. I still remember it. Eli was a newborn and we were all in the car waiting for Josh to put up some bread in Sam's. (He was a breadman then, not a pastor.) I was attempting to sing to occupy the kids (I say attempting, because believe me I cannot carry a tune in a bucket). We were singing a song about Jesus knocking on your heart and asking to come in. Sarah asked, "Why does he have to knock if he already lives there?" Pretty deep for a three year old, huh? I explained to here that he doesn't automatically live in our hearts, but that we have to invite him in. She wanted to pray to ask Jesus in. We said a little prayer, but she was so young I didn't think much about it.

About a month later we were taking the Lord's Supper and she wanted to participate. I told her she couldn't that it was just for people who had asked Jesus into their hearts. She said, "But I did remember?" I was so in shock that she remembered that day.

I still felt that she was too young and we just continued to teach her and pray with her. It was always mine and Josh's prayer that she wouldn't go a day longer than she had to without asking Jesus into her heart.

Sarah Beth on the night she asked Jesus into her heart!

On December 11, 2008 we were eating supper and Josh and I were talking. The kids and I had been out of town for a week and we had a lot to catch up on. Out of nowhere Sarah asked about being baptized. She had been asking us about it for awhile, but we wanted to make sure she really understood it and understood why we should get baptized. We shared with her again that we get baptized to show that we have prayed and asked Jesus into our hearts. She said, "Well can I pray already?" Bless her heart, she was getting tired of waiting on us. We prayed with her that night.

I know that we often worry over kids making this decision and feel that they may not completely understand. I know a lot of people who made this decision as a child and later as adults questioned if it was sincere. I personally have come to the conclusion that I feel like too often it is not that children have not made the decision, but that we don't encourage and teach them as much as they need. I say this, because I know that it seems like they're too young to start Bible reading or praying. But, I've learned they're not. If anything they are much more eager and open to the Spirit. Jesus was clear about letting the children come to him.

Anyway, we decided to wait until after the holidays for Sarah's baptism. It seemed like there was always so much going on. She had literally been begging us to do it. I knew that was from God because she has talked about baptism for the last couple of years but kept telling us she was too scared and would wait until she was six. Guess she knew what she was talking about! These past few weeks have been a hard time for my family as my mamaw's house that she built with my papaw and lived in for over forty years burned to the ground. Fortunately no one was home but it was a total loss. A week after that she ended up in the hospital. They thought she had a heart attack, but they discovered that she had developed a lesion on one of the grafts from her last heart surgery that was blocking the blood flow and they were able to repair it.

We had already planned Sarah's baptism and we considered moving it after so much was going on and none of our family was going to be able to be there. But Sarah insisted! A few weeks before her best friend Jacey had come to talk to Josh about also being baptized. I took Sarah and Eli to Eli's room to read books while they talked. I asked if they wanted to pray for Jacey and Sarah did. She thanked Jesus for coming into her heart, and she thanked him for letting Jacey be her best friend. That was special to me, because Sarah had a little best friend in Panama City and when we moved I had prayed so much for the new friends she would make here. How exciting to hear her thank God for her best friend!

Josh didn't pray with Jacey that night. She let him know she had already prayed to ask Jesus into her heart! So Sarah and Jacey got to be baptized together! I sure do look forward to praying for and teaching these girls and seeing the plans God has for them!

Sarah Beth and Jacey February 1, 2009

Sarah being baptized by her daddy

at Montrose Baptist Church