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Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Week and Wonderful Grace through Jesus

Back in the Alaska saddle again!

Being completely honest, it was not the warmest return for my heart. 

And I am not referring to the temperature we came back into either (and it was -4 this this last week!!)

Before I get to that, I want to share some Easter with you

From our home to yours:

Base Egg "hunt":

Cookies Elyse and I made:

Easter baskets:

Eli was almost too impatient to wait, but here is his easter basket ;)


We celebrated a bit early for various reasons, but here we are on Friday:
Elyse running for the goods!

Fabulous, dad.

 Andrew's master creation: votes on what it is?
(I'm not telling!)

Finally, the Easter Sunday morning egg hunt:

I wish I took more pictures of all the yummy food we had, but I didn't really get the chance... ok, not true.

I simply forgot.

Anyways, so back to where I have been for the last stretch of going MIA on blogging....

We went back to the states, February 1- March 9th. Traveling from Hawaii to Oklahoma to Texas to Memphis TN to Indiana back to Tennessee, the Knoxville part, to Florida, we enjoyed the warmth of a true blooming spring and the comforts of southern living. It was definitely a spoiler for my heart. But instead of being grateful to God for the opportunity to be back in familiarity for a short time and the blessing to escape the chilling Alaska weather, I formed an entitled spirit for what I was missing out on in the lower 48 opposed to where God had chosen for us. If he had so strongly placed on Andrew and I's heart to request a Pacific Air Force slot and then for us not to get Hawaii, wasn't there a greater reason than what I was seeing? Still not being entirely sure of why He sent us to Alaska (of all places), I am able to reflect back on these last two years and see all the little lessons He has taught my heart up here: dependence on Him opposed to dependence on people and environmental factors, an ability to do things I never would have attempted in a nice balmy area (like running in Moose country and negative temperatures  building furniture, walking down to the river with the pups....when we know there are bears fishing there, friendships that have both challenged and encouraged my heart, reaching out when WE had instead expected to be continually reached out to, seeing our little family become a unit as the four (going on five) of us live away from the comforts of 'home', and leaning on the truth of scripture opposed to mingling with the lies of this world ("I would be happier if we lived here", "I wouldn't have to worry about ___ if we were in the lower 48", etc etc... the lying heart goes on and on). 

The truth is the ideal situations don't provide growing experiences, they don't stretch you to breaking points and complete dependence on God, and they don't point your eyes heavenward. Ideal situations make you comfortable..... and as nice as comforts are, they are dangerous. They lead to materialism and a lack of dependence on God as your provider and guide through this life. Its when your future is up in the air, its when your presences seems like a bleak existence, its when life isn't happening on your timetables is when you finally step out of the small story you are muddling through and into the Bigger Picture, gaining perspective as when you near the cross. Who needs the cross when you feel life is going "your way"?

I read something today that really helped me to see the value of a quiet heart. It's called negligent trust. What is negligence? It is to omit to do what a reasonable man would do. Jesus displayed this kind of trust that God approved of throughout scripture. None of us possess the kind of heart so perfectly at rest like Jesus, being tossed by a violent storm. No, it is because we do not have a negligent heart to omit what reasonable people do not and follow a faith that pierces beyond reason. Having a will that is in unity with the Father's, submitting to the circumstance and people He puts in our paths, will give us carefree hearts like Jesus'. Maybe ours will never be as carefree as Jesus', but it is our aim:

"One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus"- Philippians 3:13-14.

"Purity of heart is to will one thing"-- Kierkegaard. This can lead to a completely quiet heart obviously, when you know who is taking care of you and allowing you to stay in Alaska for an additional year. 

"Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure"-- Psalm 16:5. So whatever happens is.... assigned. Not by the Air Force (believe it or not), but God, who is sovereign, in control and lovingly assigning our portions. 

Seeking a quiet heart results in contentment with what God gives. It is not for nothing when a loving and purposeful God is directing our paths. It's all part of the plan, obviously not mine. Submitting to His will immediately simplify my life.

Now, instead of taking a backseat in this journey into the unknown, I want to leap forward in contentment and joy, despite any unpleasant circumstances that come this way. All because I know the end result is good: "One things have I desired of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all of the days of my life [starting here where I am]... "--Psalm 27:4. What God gives: it is enough. My Father is in charge. 

As Elizabeth Elliott asks: 

"Shall I charge Him with a mistake in His measurements or with misjudging the sphere in which I can best learn to trust Him? Has He misplaced me? Is He ignorant of the things or people which, in my view, hinder my doing His will?"

The secret is Christ in us, not a different set of circumstances.-- Elliott. 

"As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you"-- Isaiah 66:13

God keeps teaching me more and more about being completely content in Him... and it has been extremely encouraging. My heart has gained more peace through all the struggles than I ever thought possible.

Here's to simplifying life, one thought of contentment at a time. 

Have a wonderful week: the next post will be all pictures of our trip to Disney.... so stay tuned.