Tag Archives: God’s faithfulness

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Turning Distraction into Delight

IMAG2744“Our cravings and distractions are not meant to overwhelm us. They are meant to show our ability to crave what we need most – a soul that is no longer tangled, distracted, and hindered, because we have set apart in our hearts the lordship and love of Christ.” Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave Devotional

Right now* the LORD feels very sweet. He has truly met me in places of discouragement, fear, and need this day. He gave me new promises to hang onto, some good friends to have a real cry with, free pizza, a movie night at home with Jerry and the kids, and a couple of other big surprises. He knew how little reserves I felt I had, how I sought to believe Him for what I needed to hang on a little longer, one moment at a time.

I have clung to the verse that God never leaves or forsakes me. That truth is paramount because I need it when my feelings tell me the opposite.

Jerry and I walked through some hard knocks the last 6 or 7 years. I’ve fought through discouragement with the reminder that I don’t need to be dismayed or discouraged because my GOD is with me.

I have other verses I turn to–like the one that says God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. I’ve had fear in my life that has almost paralyzed me, and I must have prayed that Scripture hundreds of times, reminding myself I could rise above the fear because GOD gave me the ability.

When I don’t understand life I return to the verse that tells me that God loves me with an everlasting love, and to another that promises His ways are best for me. I cling to the truth that He loves me and plans GOOD for me.

The craving for food is just a microcosm of lots of things that distract me from God. But it is such great training ground to learn to think of HIM. If I can turn a longing for chocolate into a reminder I need Jesus, maybe when other life distractions hit I can do the same with them, allowing the distraction to push me closer to the One who meets my needs.

Father,

Please pour Truth into our lives to displace the things that distract us from You. When we bump up against food cravings, worries, hardships, or fears, meet us there with promises from Your word. Redirect our thoughts to thoughts of YOU and draw us into Your heart. Reach into the deep places of the things that hold us back from You and the goals you have for us. Pull out the roots of the lies that need to be exposed and plant new seeds of life and hope and joy and the ability to overcome the things that separate us from You. Give us success. Show us Your goals for us, make them our goals, and then show us we can meet them in Your strength.

What about you?
I’d love to hear about a verse that gets you through a distraction from HIM.

*This devotional was written some time ago.

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Like Butter Across Too Much Bread

tree branches 2Don’t you hate stretching? The kind where you sense you must change–are changing–but it’s so foreign, so excruciatingly slow that you wonder who you are and even if you are.

Many times I’ve watched friends go through intense growth seasons. They felt nothing was happening, but I saw it in them. There are seasons when the exterior output seems minimal, when we can’t figure out what’s going on inside of us, but there is change. Deep. Real. Good.

But of course the person changing is blind to all that’s being accomplished.

I must be in one of those seasons.  I’ve felt dead inside, like I’m not changing, not moving forward, not accomplishing. But last week I heard the kinds of words I’ve said to others during intense growing season they couldn’t see. Only this time the words came back to me.

Perhaps this thin feeling which has made me quiet here on A Benew Journey isn’t emptiness at all. Maybe the stretching is happening so fast that I struggle to keep up with it. So deep that I have to step inside myself for a time to to let me catch up to it and once again fill the whole space.

So what does a girl do?

On occasion she digs in her heels. She’s quiet. She bakes. She reads until she’s bored.

Sometimes she cries.

She tries to work–to learn a new business, to write a novel. Some days she sees a little success. Other days she wonders.

Sometimes she forces resistant feet out the door, determined to maintain the hard-earned new body, determined to feel God in the sunshine, breathe Him in the fresh air. Other times she drinks a salted caramel mocha and eats dark chocolate and screams into her journal with big angry words.

She complains and moans to God, wondering if He’s getting completely sick of her.

Then she remembers King David of the Psalms, and how he was called the apple of God’s eye even though he could be a major whiner. And that King David was also a heroic warrior and a passionate worshiper. That a person can be all of that.

Even on the same day.

And she remembers that Jesus died on a cross for whiners like her, that He didn’t come to rescue perfect people who were always strong and good, but just the ordinary person who chooses to believe He is and He loves.

And she writes on her gratitude wall in an effort to show her God that she does recognize the gifts, not just the struggle. And sometimes she reads her Bible and pulls the Words into her heart, remembering that God promises to restore locust years and to give hope and a good future. (And sometimes she doesn’t. She tells Him she’s tired of trying, of doing Christian things and He’s going to just have to hold her together ’cause she’s done.)

Her faithful friends remind her of all God has promised and all the direction He’s given.

And slowly she begins to believe the thin feeling of being stretched like butter “scraped across too much bread”* is just that. A feeling.

That God is at work.

That after a season of stretching she’ll fill up her whole new self.

That His promises are simply waiting for when she will be able to receive them.

Friend~It’s humbling to share the ugly parts, the me who struggles, but really aren’t we on this journey together? Humanity seeking to be full and real and good . . . and often stumbling, bumbling and wondering. The temptation is to only write about the good, especially now that I’m stepping into a new role as a business woman. Shouldn’t I always put my best foot forward, show the successful Paula?

But maybe you have these times too–times as a business person, a mom, a dad, an author, or one seeking to lose weight . . . and maybe the old voices scream at you, too. Tell you nothing changes, and you’re just a wimpy, little whiner.

When maybe, just maybe, God is stretching you. Making you bigger and better on the inside, where it counts.

And maybe if we’re honest with the journey, you and me together, we can unfurl the tight places, stretch our wings, and fly.

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Like butter across too much bread

*Bilbo Baggins in The Fellowship of the Ring

Seeker Spirit Sunday ~ Finding Security

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“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19

The “one who casts something between two to cause a separation” (Satan) is coming against me with just the kind of thing Lysa wrote about in the Made to Crave Devotional–the doubts about whether or not God will meet our needs. God has continually proved the Phil 4:19 verse true. For years our God has met our needs. Why would He stop now?

I’m reminded of a friend who had to survive day-to-day. She told me God promised to give her DAILY bread. To her that literally meant trusting that she and her children would be able to eat the next meal.

Daily bread can be literal food, but sometimes it is other stuff, like emotional stamina or will power. But God promises to provide all my needs, and right now in this moment I have the provision for what I need. Instead of looking toward the journey that looms before me I’m convicted to force my mind away from the fears of whether or not tomorrow will be provided for.

Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow. We don’t usually have enough trust for the endless demands of the future, but we typically have enough trust for this one moment. Tomorrow I can ask again for the daily provision I need for that next hard moment.

In the devotion Lysa asked readers to fill in the following blank. “I need ___________ so I can be satisfied.

I put security in that blank. What do you put?

I’ll bet there’s nothing wrong with whatever most of us put above.

I said security. Feeling secure is a good thing! The problem is when I buy into the lie that I have to get that security at all cost. That I can never be satisfied if I don’t have the kind of security I long for. See, the only completely secure place is in God’s hand. Life will never be completely stable or safe or secure. My Father is my only unending, never-failing security.

Think about Your answer.

What do you think you need to be satisfied? Will that thing truly satisfy? Or does the yearning for it throw you out of balance? Make you worry?

Does it displace Him?

Lysa said the enemy wants to separate us from God BEST plans, PROPER provision, and PEACE.

As I work on this blog which will post in a few days, I feel this struggle, the enemy fighting to separate me from God’s plan.

I don’t want to “overspend, overwork, overeat”, or over-anything  to fill try to myself up, chasing after desires that will never completely satisfy.

The only complete, deep inside satisfaction is Him.

I’m also convicted that “God’s provision satisfies the soul” and “Satan’s provision gratifies the flesh.” I cling to the thought that God’s provision in the short term will reap blessing in the long term. It has in my weight loss journey. At the year mark I’ve 55 pounds lighter. Now I need to that that daily quest to receive God’s provision into my new challenges. I pray to resist the enemy’s short term solutions because they will only bring long-term heartache.

It’s crazy how a devotional about weight loss can get so deep. But really, isn’t that why we overeat too often, looking to satisfy something that will never be satisfied outside of Jesus? I’ve given into temptation and gone to bed bloated and over-full, but not satisfied. I’ve done it literally with food. I’ve done it figuratively with other stuff.

How much better to ask for the grace to truly believe that my God supplies ALL my needs. I don’t have to grasp at anything–food or other–to try to stuff that scared, empty place inside.

Won’t you pray Lysa’s prayer with me?

Dear Lord,
I am reminded once again of how dangerous temptations are, because they invite me to meet my needs outside of Your will. Keep me from compromising and from justifying today. I know that only Your provision sustains life and satisfies my soul. I want this truth to ring loud and clear throughout my day today. In Jesus’ name

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Filling the craving in a way that satisfies

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Hope

resevoir“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

This hits me between the eyes: “Jesus is saying, ‘If you come to me, I will take your exhaustion in this area and turn it into expectation. In this place of hopelessness, I can make you feel hopeful.'” (Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave Devotional)

Okay. I’ve read this devotional before. But as I read again I stop and question. Really? That sounds too good to be true.

Honestly, I can receive it for my weight loss journey because–well, I’m having CHANGE and success, and what seemed hopeless a year ago is hopeful now because I have FORWARD progress.

But there are other places in my life that I don’t see much forward movement, and that’s what I think of when I read these words. Those struggles that are the same for too many days in a row, too many months, too many years. Those places where disappointment has dug a soul exhaustion.

When I go through a tough spot my friend Kordee often tells me, I have the questions, I don’t have the answers. It’s comforting because she’s saying, “you know what? I know how you feel. I’m not going to give you pat answers. We’re in this together.”

Then Kordee and I work through our crap, accept our lack of answers, and say things like, “But I choose God. There is no other answer. I don’t like this, but I will trust Him.”

Sometimes we find some hope for the situation; sometimes we don’t. But I guess even when it’s hard to believe there can be change, there is something inside of us that is banking our hope on God. On the promises that He leads on the best pathway for our life, that He guides us and watches over us. On the promise that says He will finish the work He started in us, and will never leave or forsake us.

My strength often feels more like exhaustion, even anger. Sometimes I can’t pray for a while because I know if I do I have to get real. And I’m just not ready to cry, to admit how deeply I hurt. Those are the days of my SOS prayers, that quick, “Help!” that’s whispered almost subconsciously.

But Lysa says, “”Jesus is saying, ‘If you come to me, I will take your exhaustion in this area and turn it into expectation. In this place of hopelessness, I can make you feel hopeful.'” and later she adds, “God knows where you strength ends and that is the exact point where His strength begins.”

Talk about meat to chew on!

I know it’s true, this hope thing. Scripture says that when I persevere in hard trials, I learn hope, and that hope won’t disappoint me, that it’s actually a mark of maturity, this being able to hope.

And so I pray,

“Father, You know the places in me that are soul exhaustion, where hope is fleeting or seemingly non-existent. But I DO want You to take those places and turn my exhaustion into expectation–not white knuckle hanging on for all I’m worth in my own strength expectation, but supernatural, God-breathed expectation that can hope because of Who You are. Because I believe You truly love me. Because I believe You WILL finish all You’ve started in me.

And Lord, I know some of my friends who read this blog have soul exhaustion, too. Please give them hope. Draw us to Your heart, remind us of Your character–how loving, steady, and faithful You are. Give us expectation for positive forward movement, not because we have the strength to take that next step into where we want to go, but because YOU do. And You will lead. And You take us to good.

Trading in Soul Exhaustion for Hope

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ To be in the Center

IMAG2511“To be in the center of God’s will is to be a woman who is joyful, prayer, and thankful.” Lysa TerKeurst

It’s coming at me from all sides. First a friend talked to me about being intentional to use the weapons of warfare the Lord has given me, specifically to think on all that is lovely, good, pure. She said the enemy tries to steal from me constantly through life’s battles, and one of my most powerful weapons is focusing my thoughts on all that is good. The next day I received an email that said almost exactly the same thing, this time from someone I’ve never met.

This morning I read, “Fullness is our destiny, but emptiness is our crutch.”

As I pondered these words, I came to this passage in the Made to Crave Devotional, “joy is a choice we make, not a feeling we hope to get from our circumstances . . . look for the good . . . celebrate it even in small ways.”

I’m seeing a pattern here.

Much of life battles are won and lost in our minds. Probably most. The battle for joy is connected to where I plant my thoughts. The battle for weight loss is planted in where I focus my thoughts. The battle for how well I treat those I love is grounded in where I allow my thoughts to roam.

Of course we will have down days and days of trouble, but Jesus says, “be of good cheer for I have overcome the world!” And Lysa reminds us that the hard stuff, the temptations to eat (or lots of other stuff like to be negative, hurtful, unkind, etc.) are simply triggers to pray. To turn to God rather than anything else.

Of course the admonition to be thankful goes hand in hand with all of this. If we are thinking on all that is good and lovely, focusing on God and His strength, thanksgiving comes naturally!

I want to be victorious in weight loss and all of life, don’t you? I like what Lysa said, that we are most victorious when we are in the center of His will–being joyful, prayerful, thankful women. I’ve got a ways to go in all of this . . . but I’ve also come a long way, baby. How about you?

Learning to be joyful, prayerful, and thankful.

Spirit Seeker Sunday ~ Breaking Up

Spirit 19 stephen

Photo by Stephen Moldenhauer — taking the plunge!

Breaking old habits to make room for the new: That’s the theme of the devotional by Lisa TerKeurst which inspired this post.

Seems like I’ve done a lot of this since I took that first step onto the BeNew journey. I’ve sought to break habits of emotional or mindless eating. I’ve tried to be mindful of my movement quotient and break the habit of a sedentary lifestyle in front of my computer.

Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m breaking up with the old habits or just taking a break . . . If I want to continue to feel healthier and be thinner, I have to truly break up with my past habits.

But the conviction of this devotion went deeper than healthy food habits. For a time the car accident of last June took away my journaling and Bible study. But I added in long walks and found a sweet communion with the Lord. As I’m improving, I’m struggling to balance all that. I want to journal AND take a walk, but sometimes neither gets done, much less both! In this area I want to make good habits to replace non-habits.

I also catch myself looking too often to Facebook friends/interaction to fill that empty God place. There’s nothing wrong with getting fellowship and support from my friends, but when it replaces communion with my Creator, it falls flat.

I’m seeing the need for another break-up.

But all of that is about doing. What about the BEing of life?

There are old thought habits that need to go–like worry or putting myself down or entertaining thoughts of “it will never really change” or “this is too hard.” 

I need to do a major break-up with that stuff!

Every day I make the choice AGAIN to break up with my old nemesis, perfectionism, and the stealer-of-my-joy, performance-driven behavior.

Thankfully on this break-up journey I’m never alone and neither are you. Our Creator thrills in helping us walk away from the stuff that holds us back and knocks us down. He empowers us for change, promising always to finish the good work He starts in us. I believe this means not only the good work of making us more like His Son, but the good works He calls us to, including the sometimes daunting job of getting healthy!

Father,
Make YOURSELF the priority of my heart. Help me to stop clinging to the poor, the mediocre, and even the good when YOU offer all that is BEST. Help me to break-up with the stuff that pushes me backwards so that I can walk forward in freedom, diving into all You have for me.

How about you?
Any conviction about something you need to break up with to make room for what’s better?

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Breaking Up With Poor Choices

Epiphanies I

IMAG1753-1 (2)It all started on the side of that mountain. There I was minding my own business with my girlfriends minding theirs. I gazed at sloping green that opened into a valley surrounded by white-frosting-tipped peaks piercing a bright blue sky.

Beautiful.

My “baby” girl had just returned from a Mediterranean honeymoon cruise, and my sliver of travel, less than two hours from my home to Breckenridge, stirred longing. “Could I see the Mediterranean, someday, Lord? I want to cruise, to travel.”

The guilt came instantly. Starving children in Africa and all that. Me. Me. Me. Want. Want. Want. Thinking about my comfort. Fun. I have eternity to see good things. There are people who need HIM. Why am I thinking about myself?

“Why do you do that?”

His sudden appearance in my thoughts shocked me. Huh?

“Why do you feel guilty about wanting to experience the world I created for you to enjoy?”

That’s when the waterworks started. My friends clustered around asking what was wrong. It was too deep to share just then, on the side of a glorious mountain where just seconds before we’d been talking and laughing.

Anyway, I wasn’t ready. There was more to His Words and my reaction to them. It was time for another round of emotional weight loss.

Breck neighborhood 9After our hike we headed back to the cabin. I disappeared into my room with my journal and trusty pen. I often hear best with my pen in hand.

Seventeen journal pages of dialogue later I had an epiphany.

Or several.

Here’s the first: I was created to spread joy, created for delight, for celebration.

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~The Journal Conversation ~

Him: “I’ve asked you to do without in a culture where there is much. But that doesn’t mean it is more holy. It’s just been your process and Jerry’s. I’ve been teaching you to learn contentment in all things.”

I don’t think I’ve done very well with that . . .

“You have found joy in the small things. The real things–like relationship with Me, your family, and your friends. Small things like the fragrance of roses. The feel of a warm mug. The swirl of cream in coffee. The song of a bird.”

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I’m not sure those are so small.

(He Chuckles) “No. They are my gifts, more beautiful than you understand, but often overlooked . . . Even now you pause to enjoy My Aspen leaves dancing on the breeze outside the window. I like that about you.”

(Tears spring to think this pleases Him.) It’s simply how you wired me.

Us: It makes me/you more resilient.

“Can I not enjoy this trait even more knowing I gave it to you and that you have cared enough to develop it? My gift to you is your gift (our gift, really) to the world. Give them eyes to notice My beauty, Paula. And let me give you sweeping moments of beauty and joy so you can be continually refilled to pour out the celebration of the Good in Me and in My world.

“Receive My every gift with open abandon, arms stretching to Me, dancing in the falling joy-petals of My love-gifts.”

~

Of course there’s more to the seventeen pages of journaling, some of which I’ll share in the coming days. My epiphanies eventually circle back around to the curve ball post of a few days ago. I hope you’ll continue to journey with me as I drop emotional and mental weight.

For today I’m camping out here. In the joy of little things. Delighting in the idea that such simple notice of His gifts pleases Him. In letting go of the guilt barometer and learning to fully enjoy His gifts.

I’m wishing all of that for you, too, my friend. May today bring notice of the love-gifts of the Creator. My you dance in the falling joy-petals.

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Dancing in the Falling Joy-Petals

Opposition

IMAG2347I feel like weeping tears of joy as I post this blog today. I wrote it a few days ago and scheduled it ahead.

Yesterday morning I sat in my old blue recliner and told the Lord how very much I needed new shoes . . . how I couldn’t afford them, but missed walking. I reminded him that I’ve been praying about this for awhile. I was tempted to complain. Instead I simply slowed down and told Him that I was a daughter of the King, and I knew He wanted me to have good gifts.

That afternoon a friend asked me what I was doing for exercise. I admitted I’d been struggling due to the pain in my feet and my worn-out tennis shoes. Within an hour we were at a GOOD athletic shoe store. She bought me new shoes, inserts, and socks. Everything I needed and more.

Wow!

As you read my struggles below, do it with the delight of abundance, of knowing our LORD sees our struggles. Know that HE fights our battles. Stands with us when we are opposed in every good thing. That He is the Provider for all our needs.

HE cares about you and me, our struggles toward health, and even whether or not we have tennis shoes!

Here’s the post originally scheduled for today:

I’ve heard that every good thing will be opposed.

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A few weeks ago Jerry and I took a lovely 5 mile trek. Lots of time alone together to just talk while also doing something healthy. Glorious! (And free!)

Only I awoke the next morning with a returning case of plantar fasciitis. I’m told plantar fasciitis is often brought on by poor support in your shoes, especially if you walk or hike. I’ve been holding off replacing my walking shoes, despite the holes in the bottom and the worn away support system. Every penny has been needed elsewhere.  But my feet hurt, and the times I’ve tried to walk anyway in my old shoes only bring negative consequences.

So I’ve tried to do more pilates with my at home DVD. Wouldn’t you know it? The exercises are done with a long plastic band, and the band broke!

Sinister opposition if you ask me!

Today I’m trying to think of another healthy way to burn calories that doesn’t make my feet hurt, and I’m seeking to be especially mindful of what I eat, returning to daily BeNew meal replacement shakes to help me guard my caloric intake since I’m not burning as much off.

I didn’t come all this way to go backwards!

How about you? What things creep into your life to oppose your victories on your benew journey?

Standing against the opposition

Celebrating Good Surprises

Journeying with God and Friends

Perhaps you’re out enjoying a camping trip or a day at the movies, celebrating summer’s end on Labor Day weekend. Since I have no real recreation plans, this weekend I’m re-living an earlier vacation.

This summer was a friend summer, with lots of good moments with folks I hold dear. I got away more than usual, first in Montrose, then Breckenridge, and later at the Broadmoor. I had one more mountain adventure I haven’t had time to blog about. My friends Heather and Niki provided this one. It included great food, amazing views, and late night conversations. (Also a bit of weight gain for the first time in 9 months, but I came home and dealt with that in short order!)

Buena Vista 4

The drive toward Buena Vista includes one of my husband’s favorite mountain plateaus. I usually prefer gurgling streams and lots of trees, but Jerry likes the open valley with peaks around the circumference no matter which way you look. I have to admit this trip through the high plain included some beautiful scenery, like this incredible sky.

Buena Vista 1

The view from the front door

Once we arrived at Niki’s in-laws beautiful home, the views again spoke peace and praise into my heart. This gorgeous home is over 4,000 square feet and built by its owners. I love the rustic feel, the rope trim, the natural wood, the personal touches that create an ambiance all its own. The space reminds me of my uncles’ homes back in Oklahoma, where much of the decor came from their own craftsmanship. It was the perfect place for our mountain get-away. (If you want to move to the Colorado Rockies, this home is for sale!)

Buena Vista 5

I started the weekend with high hopes for healthy eating. The three of us love good food, and Heather purchased several treats, the best Muscato I’ve ever had and my favorite dark chocolate (Lindt) were among them. Niki and I bought melons and I brought along my trusty salad and fixins.

Niki also treated me to my favorite flavors in a wonderful frozen yogurt with raspberries and dark chocolate. This would have all been well and good if I could have resisted second helpings and the bowls of popcorn.

But there’s something about midnight conversations that give way to snacking and another glass of wine.

It also gave way to a wonderful experience with the night sky. I’m a city girl now, but spent several years as a country girl. What I miss the very most about country living is the vibrancy of the stars. As we sat outside late at night, talking as good friends do, I was disappointed by some low-hanging wispy clouds that blocked a more complete view of God’s twinkle lights. I asked Him if He would please move the clouds on out so we could enjoy His handiwork. Smart people like my brother would give the scientific reasons behind what happened, but I’m audacious enough to think the Good Lord didn’t mind blowing those clouds out of the way just for our enjoyment. As the night lingered Niki and Heather continued chatting, but I curled up on the ground, wrapped in a soft blanket, and just stared at the sky, diamonds sparkling on rich, black velvet.

buena vista 7With the dawn of a new day came my determination to cut back on the portions and eat healthy. I even packed a wise lunch, some spinach, apples, pecans, and a small sandwich.

The problem is there was also a bag of my favorite chips: vinegar and sea salt. As I journaled beside a bounding mountain river later that day, the Lord pushed me to deal with an attitude He wanted changed. The angrier I grew, the more chips I ingested.

Sheesh. Will I ever learn?

You’d think after my amazing star experience the night before I’d be filled upon Love, but there I sat, atop a boulder, accusing my Savior and munching potato chips.

There with the sound of the rushing water filling our ears, peace prevailed for my friends, even as the rain sprinkled upon us. Niki held her face to the sky and as droplets of refreshment dusted her cheeks, she smiled.

Me? I got madder.

As the rain splatters decorated the pages of my journal, I slammed it shut and went to the SUV Heather had buena vista 11rented for the weekend. My friends delighted in the gifts around them while I sulked.

Angry words poured onto the the pages of my journal as I sat, shut up in a dreary car.

The Lord had me right where He wanted me. I’d shoved down some stuff that needed dealing with, and He loved me too much to leave me walking around without acknowledging the crud invading my heart and mind.

Someday I’ll write about all that. But not much yet. Suffice it to say it had to do with feeling like I received only trickles of the blessings He’d promised.

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It was several days before He got it through my thick skull that He had a river of blessings He wanted to give, but I had shut down to the possibilities. For all my brave talk and determination, down deep inside I was on the floor expecting scraps when the Master had laid an abundant table. There’s so much more to all that. Maybe someday I’ll be ready to share more, but this post is already twice as long as I typically allow myself, and the subject matter is still too raw.

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Lest you think all my time was wasted at that gorgeous river, I must say I did take some time that day to enjoy the it and the companionship of the best of friends.

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And back at the house, I could still thank God for the beauty of the Columbine, Colorado’s stateBuena Vista 2 flower. I’d never seen yellow and pink before, and I love the way they combine my two favorite colors.

The drive back to Denver with Niki and Heather included some good processing of my river attitude as we splashed through rivulets made by pounding rain on I-70. It took me several hours before I would talk with them about my journaling experience and several more days of processing with other friends, including Jill and Kay, whose weird dream about me had started the probing in the first place. It was actually a couple of weeks later when I got alone again with my journal that all the anger simply disappeared. Funny how it happened. The Lord showed me He was proud of me.

Proud?

Crazy that in all my failure He is still applauding, cheering me on, seeing the good in me. It blows me away.

The wonderful Heather visit concluded with a few special times–overeating at Carrabas, Heather getting me hooked on Downton Abbey (which I had sworn I wouldn’t watch until all the crises were wrapped up with a real ending), and a wonderful time of coffee and chatter with friends.

coffee with friends

Journeying with God and Friends

God’s Real Life Fairy Tale (Part V)

wedding, Darlene's disk (160)Maybe I’m just not ready to let go.

To write the last wedding post is to move on from the big day and into the reality that my daughter is a married woman. That she and David are now their own family.

My excuse is that I’ve been busy transitioning, painting Sarah’s old room lime green and black so her youngest brother could have his own room for the first time in his life. Honestly, I could have found time to write this post.

But to write it is to place “the end” on one of the most beautiful days of my life.

It really was a joyful time, a true celebration of all the beauty, hope, passion, and wonder of the new life that began with the ceremony I wrote about last time.

After the final prayer and their first kiss and man and wife, Sarah and David skipped (literally) down the sidewalk. It was time to party.

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The guest enjoyed chips and salsa and the “fun table” activities Sarah had prepared while the family took pictures.wedding, Darlene's disk (130)

wedding, Darlene's disk (129)

Although I’m becoming as bad as a new grandma at subjecting people to wedding pictures, I’ll just show you one of both sides of the family all piled in together and spare you all the other family pictures I itch to post.

family both sides

Then it was time to enjoy a wonderful meal of Italian food. A fun surprise is that the caterer’s sister is a dear woman in Sarah’s life, but was unable to attend. She sent a special little love message to Sarah in the form of Sarah’s favorite Miss Maggie dish, macaroni and cheese! What’s funny is that dish went first, before all the fancier dishes offered! The tables looked beautiful, all Sarah had planned and worked to create. Minus the napkin ring holders we couldn’t find at set-up time. My friend Deb, my sister-in-law, Anne, and I probably had 15 or 20 collective hours in the making of those napkin rings, but hey, if that is the biggest confusion of the wedding, who cares! Maybe Sarah can make some money on Esty!

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Sarah’s handmade centerpieces, full of duct tape flowers and individually designed candle holders gleamed on each table. They were worth the months she spent creating them. (I think I mentioned earlier there was over 600 duct tape flowers at this wedding. She also designed the candle holders using rubber bands and paint! Each one has its own unique pattern, just like each of us was designed one of a kind!)

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Of course one of the especially fun parts of the dinner hour was that while Sarah and David wandered around greeting their guests, they had to pause often to kiss because the guests kept clinking their goblets. I love that old tradition, which I’d never experience until a couple of weeks after my own wedding. Jerry and I attended a huge family reunion full of people I didn’t know but who knew me because their cousin/nephew/great-nephew (you get the picture) had FINALLY been snagged. Since we were the newest married couple we kissed a LOT that night. As did Sarah and David on their special day.

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As we enjoyed our meal, the sun sank in the sky. It hovered on the horizon during the toast. Bryan, Ashley, and Jennie did an amazing job of honoring the couple. Ashley and Bryan made us first laugh, then fight the inevitable lump in our throats, then Jennie gave David the highest of compliments, declaring him even better than Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice. She went on to say said Sarah was the only person she knew who could capture the beauty of their childhood fairy tales and take them into this real-life world. Jennie ended by toasting her “real-life hero and heroine.” I guess she and I had the same idea with the whole real-life fairy tale motif.

toast 3 toast 2 toast

The blue above them deepened as the twinkle lights shimmered, and Sarah and her daddy danced.

Dad and Sarah father daughter dance

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Then as the sky slipped to navy David and his mom, Ronda, made us all smile and emit a collective “ahhhhh.”

Ronda and David dance Ronda and David dance 2

It was time for Sarah and David’s first dance as man and wife. The sky had drawn its night curtain and tiny diamonds began to sparkle on black velvet. The stars showed up to witness the couple’s celebration and beam upon them, giving Sarah her dream to dance beneath their light.

dancing in the dark - David

dancing in dark - Sarah

Sarah and David had practiced the dance for weeks, which always left my daughter giggling and excited to learn she could move without two left feet. The delight of their first dance is forever etched in my mind. I’m grinning with a grin the size of Texas as I type this.

hugging in the dark and lights

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Soon the dance floor was full of young and old, graceful and not-so-much, and everyone had a great time.

dance jendance flower girldance Annedance Ash

Magic joined the night dance.

magic!

lights in the night

From the farmhouse where she went to warm up, Jerry’s mom, now 88 years old, gazed out the window at the dancing and celebration. She turned to her son with a smile. “It is evident HIS Spirit is here.”

Her simple statement said it all. HE celebrated with us, infusing the night with joy unspeakable. He pulled the couple together, surrounded them with a community of love, gave them this gift of lifetime partnership. And we all basked in His glory, shared with us that night.

All too soon it was time to cut the cake.

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Standing sentinel across its top was a reminder of all God was teaching us in this celebration. The words gracing it were hand-picked by the bride and groom, then hand-written by a friend. Another little touch of love, another reminder that provision was everywhere, community was irreplaceable, and His love, their love, and our love paramount.

cake toppers

The big day was winding down, but not before the couple had a little fun.

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There was the search for the garter (which David’s sister, Kristina said made her blush), the bouquet toss, and one last dance. Soon the couple dashed through sparklers held by cheering guests and flew into the car, which had been appropriately adorned by the groomsman. The couple drove into the night, the obligatory tin cans rattling behind them.

And now I must type, “the end.” It makes me cry. I don’t want to let the wonder go.

Someone asked how I could let me girl go. “How can I not?” I replied, “You have to let them go when they are this happy.”

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Grundy. We stand with you cheering on your union, confident in your new beginning and the One who gave it to you.

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(Special thanks to Kim at the Creative Pixel Photography and to my sister-in-law Darlene for the photos used in this post. BTW, I added a few more from Darlene into the ceremony post so click here if you want to see what you missed the first time around.)