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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Updates! (Part I)

Diligence and consistency: two things I know I need to pray for in referral to this blog; Life doesn’t slow down, thus, I better find a better way to find time for this rather than wait for more time!

I am going to try to update you by using a new tactic (hopefully its effectiveness will result in this posting being completed by Saturday night!) Instead of trying to pour out my life’s blessings and growths on one sit, I am going to break it up with time outside, chores, cooking, tending to my family, romancing my husband and playing with the dog! So, trusting the Lord to sustain me through this trial run, here we go:

Phase II beginnings

June 30th was the official first day of Phase II! And it’s a significant, and now historical, mark on Andrew and I’s military career: yes, that’s right…Andrew actually hit the flight-line and flew the T-6 for the first time, beginning at 8:09am! It was an exciting day! And everyday after that has been filled with excitement and anticipation for the flying stories Andrew has for me daily when his 12 hour day comes to an end. Yet, the exciting times are also met with the more challenging times: both academically/flying and on your relationship. Recent reflection on the attitude I came into this new stage of work with has humbled me tremendously. I have now taken off the rose-colored glasses and felt the pangs of reality seep in. As much as it sucks to realize that the “us” time you used to have with your husband has rapidly reduced and the demands of the job don’t go away once he comes home for the night/weekend, the gain you have from uncovering your secret trust in yourself is a greater joy as you begin to kill pride and entrust your heart where it should belong instead: In the work of the cross… and in Jesus Christ alone.

But God is faithful to provide for each season… and I have been thanking the Lord for the blessing He has given me for this year ahead. Through an unexpected job!

Presenting your new Columbus Air Force Base Student Spouse Representative! ME!

I have been praying for an opportunity to meet more of the spouses on the base and to share the truth of the gospel through alternative opportunities outside of church and bible studies. Yet I lacked a detailed vision for that desire. Good thing my trust is in the Lord! Because when you ask to be open to the Lord’s leading, He will be faithful to give you what He wants, especially if it aims at bringing Him more glory. His will was revealed in a bit more specific way for me this year during a dinner meeting we attended in Columbus, hosted by my husband’s partnership. The attendees included those associated with us in the community and on base, such as the Wing Commander and his wife Angie Reth. My husband encouraged me to go introduce myself to Angie while he went and talked with the wing commander. While we talked, Angie expressed a need for a willing girl to become a representative for the student spouses on base and for the Officer Spouses Club. Since I was pretty much the only one out of many of the girls I knew not given a strong desire to seek after a job or work outside the home, I agreed to help out and fill the opening as needed. Thrilled, Angie was very prompt on her promise to get me the information concerning the position and the contact data for the woman who had currently been managing it until further notice.

Thankfully, my job wasn’t an independent project, but came with a great surprise: help! Her name is Katie Rynbrandt and she has been one giant blessing to my life ever since I met her (To make it even better, she is a sister in Christ!). Forecasting bright sunshine with a certainty of smiles, Katie was most ready to help me take on this beast of a project and make it a blessing for both new and settled military spouses who really desired an outlet for meeting people that happen to be on the same page as far as lifestyle and pilot training goes (and honestly, with the demands of traditional pilot school, it is a sheer need for us creatures who are wired by God with a nature to be social!) The project has met some challenges, but with God’s help and a wonderful new friendship, it’s all joy from here! If you could, continue to pray that God helps me to be a faithful witness to him and a servant of Christ in the pursuit of the vision when originally agreeing to this opportunity. As the project unfolds daily, I will keep you updated so you may partake in God’s faithfulness throughout this journey!

Educational Struggles

Finishing up school has been a challenge thankfully met by God’s mercy. Struggling to even complete an assignment in distance learning, I felt defeated and helpless in my decision to take the class in a fashion of “go at your own speed”, with no accompanying teacher or students you could learn with. It seemed great at first, but quickly it turned for the worse. Tears streamed from my eyes as confessed the hidden struggle to my husband on the way back from our Saturday morning Bible study. It wasn’t long before I realized just how much I had put God in a box as far as giving Him my educational struggles ( I didn’t even consider asking God for his guidance, honestly!) Hopeless and very much desperate, I started praying for an alternative for taking these Spanish classes. Not long after, the Lord presented seemingly impossible doors to open and allowed UT to waive the hours to make it an option for me to finish at a community college with a UT degree! It was amazing…. And faithfulness from our Father that will reside in both Andrew and I’s heart for a very long time.

Sparrows never fall without the Lord’s knowledge… and He cares for sick puppies too!

Eli is healed! It seems like forever out poor little pup has been sick… and nobody knew what he had. For four months, it seemed Eli has had continual diarrhea. Our doctor exhausted every possible resource on Eli and on the last visit, closed the case as ‘unsolvable’, handed us Eli’s file, and told us to try somewhere off base instead. But only after a consecutive, all-nighter weekend with hourly bathroom runs for our caged puppy did I decide that it was time to get some help (and only thanks to mom! I couldn’t even think straight enough that day to come up with that resolution myself!) But again, God’s grace showered down on us as I was able to get an appointment at the ‘local’ university (Mississippi State University) that day! And, even better, the doctors figured out what was wrong with him! It was a bacterium too deep for our original doctor on base to diagnose. But hallelujah, with the university’s technological advances, they were able to take a step further to bring relief to our Eli! It was the most joyful news we had heard all week long—and the whole two hour total drive was totally filled with smiles and praise! Thank you God!! Eli is now on the road to recovery and feeling great! He is like a whole new dog—and has improved enormously!

But a bigger battle was won through this season: the battle of self-control! The nights Andrew and I would have to get up for the unexpected-middle-of-the-night bathroom yelp, Eli was shown anything from us except grace and love. To my shame, he was met with profanity, yelling, jerking and ungentle behavior. Looking back at myself in those times, it brings me to tears and shame. There was no love towards our beloved pet, the creature we thanked God daily for before this horrible sickness hit him. We did not care for our pup with affection and patience. Instead of loving patience towards his condition, he was met with our sin. It wasn’t until conviction and God’s work revealed the condition of my heart did I plea for God’s forgiveness and a change of heart! And sure enough, the all-nighter weekend rolled around. It was a test I believe God used to try my heart in its new found faith for God’s providence and grace as needed for the time at hand. The result: Christ’s victory over my sin! I was able, through Jesus’ strength--- the peace He placed in my heart--, to greet Eli when with the love and affection, no matter how drowsy and tired I felt. It was good to be reminded that we are our strongest only when we trust in God to strengthen us. After all, we can do all things through Him alone (Phil 3:14).

Knoxville Blessed Visits

Speaking of Eli, he has gotten bigger and has loved everyday here at the lake! We have been in Knoxville for a good, solid week—and it has been a refreshing from the tiring week before (Andrew had the 4:30 shift) and, best of all, a drink of cold and living water for my weary soul. As I have been in town, I have attended a beautiful wedding (Blake and Caroline Herron) which was saturated in gospel truth, I have been given the opportunity to ‘nurse’ (or rather just be there to encourage, serve and pray) both my dad and my youngest brother after their surgeries, and I have been able to meet up with some super spiritual towers that I cherish and have missed dearly (like Eva, Suzanne, Bonnie, Jenna, Grammy, mom, dad, etc). It has been a great visit and God has really blessed it—but I will be ready to get back to my hubbie! Being the end of the week now, I am starting to miss him so very much…

Fellowship has been awesome and my friends and family’s wisdom about the Lord has really been a huge encouragement for me. The first Saturday I was in was my favorite so far--- I caught up with a couple of good friends while at the wedding and hearing how God’s faithfulness covers all! The night was filled with lessons given to me from the Lord to show mercy before judging someone you knew from the past (funny: I am always so surprised when I meet people that have dramatically had their life truly turned around and spun upside down! I fail to remember that I have done the same thing myself because of God’s mercy on my life). It’s such a blessing to be able to share that joy with someone else that has experienced the same grace as was extended to you…. And it’s extremely encouraging to again be reminded of the fact that, when the Lord is involved, people really do change. So listen to Christ before you judge! It will be worth every effort to guard against!

As the night progressed, it just got better! Driving to and from my Grammy’s house was so encouraging as I anticipated from the time I got there our conversation and left in praise and thankfulness for her wisdom and love for the Lord! Something in particular we discussed was gifts and how they can sometimes be an inherited blessing from the Lord, given through family emphasis. Like, people that are business minded emphasizing financial budgeting, management, leadership, and other business-like traits. Comparatively, families that have music talent emphasize singing, being involved in the arts, getting involved in the choir, etc. If families are being lead in the Lord, these gifts can be detected and emphasized for the Lord’s glory! I am still trying to figure out how our family is gifted… I feel as if my family is a bunch of gifted-mutts! Ha! Something to think about anyways.

Other things that fellowship has revealed by God’s kindness is thought patterns we push aside as harmless, but then are abruptly revealed as deeply embedded habits that glorify self or an idol rather the Holy God Almighty. It’s really humbling, but through a friend’s personal conviction, I saw my own habitual idols revealed. However, I am thankful for the wisdom and great tips to apply for fighting this sick and twisted sin-pattern in the name of Jesus, accompanied by the Holy Spirit’s help! How excited I am to fight this for God’s glory!!! In fact, I believe this is the first time I have really been encouraged after being shown my long-term sinfulness…. For I have been given peace through the knowledge that the work of the battle has been finished the day Christ hung on the cross and hope is now possible because of His resurrection! AMEN, PRAISE THE LORD!

Through this trial, I don’t want to just ‘get it over with’, but grow in my faith because of it. Daily, God has strengthened my faith and I trust He is using all things to make me stronger in this area! Please be praying for me as I pursue holiness in the light of a loving God…

Thus, this concludes Part I of II ends of the story (Yes, my goal was not exactly met... but man! I got close!)Because I will be attending another wedding tonight (and I am already looking forward to writing about it!) and traveling for the next two days, I cannot update you thoroughly. However, I do want to extend hope for the rest of the story by entitling this post as Part I!! Be looking for the next post very soon. Until then, I encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on the Lord and His statutes. If you never let your eyes stray, you will never miss what our loving Father is leading you to do. But we should be reminded that we are not perfect and all human—that’s why God provided grace! And who knows: He could simply be leading you to read the next blog =)

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