Part 1: Too Incredible to Deny

Just for the record as you read this post, I’m not referring to our foreign exchange student we hosted a few years ago. I’m a youth leader so I have a lot of interaction with jr high and high school kids and this post is in reference to one of the many.

I visited with a young girl who’d been in the United States temporarily. I asked her about her time here and if she’d enjoyed coming to church while she was here (something which was a new experience for her).

Her response: “I do like it, but I don’t believe.”

Me: “Really? Like you don’t believe in God?!”

Her: “No, I don’t.”

Me: (without any hesitation whatsoever, because I lack patience) “So what do you do??!! What do you do when you hurt, when you fear, when you worry, when the bottom drops out?! Where do you place your hope?”

She hesitated thoughtfully… but didn’t have an answer.

Our conversation was soon interrupted, but I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to look for another opportunity to visit with this out going girl before she returned to her homeland; so a few days later I was picking her up from school, grabbing soda pops from a little family-owned coffee shop, and then heading to a beautifully landscaped, wide-spread park—where we proceeded to walk and talk…

She knew ahead of time that the purpose of us meeting was to talk to Jesus, but I didn’t want to freak her out either, but even more so, I didn’t want to miss my chance.

(We’ll call her Vera from here on out for the sake of privacy and mainly because my husband and I wished we would’ve named our youngest daughter that;)

So at what I felt was the right moment I finally said, “You know Vera, I’ve been thinking about how you said you didn’t believe in God and honestly I don’t want to be forceful at all, it’s just that as a Christian I’m called to be obedient to God and ALL I want out of life is to see people saved. I just don’t want to see you unsaved, that’s all.”

I also explained how if this whole God-thing is made up then when we die that’s it, we’re done, when our life is over no big deal, no loss for anyone!!—BUT on the other hand if the believer is right and God does in fact exist, and He is who He says He is, (which is what I believe) then those who have chosen to believe end up in Heaven one day and the unbelievers are consigned to the fires of Hell. (the fiery Lake of burning sulfur, according to Revelation 21:8)

To which she replied, “I’m just having trouble understanding how people got here, how the earth populated, how there’s so many languages, and I just don’t think that it could be this way by itself.”

Yes!!!! She’s on the right track, I thought to myself…because people and the beauty of mountains, oceans, sunrises and sunsets are entirely too amazing to be here by random chance or accident. It’s all too incredible to deny that an awesome Creator is in control of it all. It takes a Perfect Creator to come up with the blessings of life and beauty…I could tell the wheels were turning and she’d been doing some thinking. She wanted to know more about creation…

 

With her being from a different country, I kept my answers very short and simple so I wouldn’t risk being misunderstood. I pointed her to the first book of the Bible (Genesis) where a lot of her confusion could be answered from a Biblical (creation) perspective. She remained attentive and respectful of our conversation.

We walked and talked…a lot.

I returned her to her host family later that day and wondered if our conversation left an impact on her heart.

A few weeks later on a Sunday morning at church that same spunky young lady excitedly approached me. This time she held in her hands something that has the power to forever and dramatically change one’s life….the Word of Life, the answer to worries, fear, forgiveness and salvation, the call to live boldly and free from bondage.

“I got my first Bible!!!!” she proclaimed enthusiastically.

The church had gifted Bibles to the graduating students and she now had her first and very own. I saw the joy in her eyes and heard the passion in her voice as we chatted about it…

A pretty incredible moment…too incredible to deny. The seed was planted, watering was done…now it’s up to her to remain obedient so God can do the growing..

(PART 2 TO FOLLOW)

 

Applicable verses:

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:17

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15

 

Thank you!!!

August marked one year of for His purpose blog—100ish followers, just over 30 posts, and lots of thought.

I want to take the opportunity to thank every one of you readers. Thank you for taking the time to read, to hit the like button, to comment, to encourage, to support, to drive me to want to continue writing.

Thank you!!

Because of this blog I’ve been able to put words to major parts of my life—parts that never made sense before. Parts of my life that seemed so broken and life shattering—I’ve now found the words to piece the broken areas together for His purpose, and goodness have I ever drawn closer to Him in the midst.

God is good.

This weekend our family finds ourselves at one of our favorite camping spots where we can include our four wheelers. I’m convinced every time we show up at this campground that the most important things in life are (without a doubt) God first, then family and friends, and then of course four wheelers.

2BEB5C7D-A17B-45B7-8169-7874D2B1F14A.jpeg
I know, I know no helmets..don’t judge

My daughter (Paige) and I rode together while the little kids rode on the big four wheeler with Nate yesterday evening. A fresh rain had just come through so the pine trees were soaked and it smelled like Christmas all over as we blazed along the sandy trails.

I allowed Paige to drive the two of us and she insisted we bring her dog. He’s just a teeny tiny Yorkie which is a good thing—because I can’t imagine myself with my arms around Paige and then trying to hold a bulldog on her lap…that’s right he’s very in love with Paige so he had to ride on her lap BUT since she had both hands on the handle bars that meant me holding him while I sat behind her on the four wheeler, trying to hold the dog on her lap. We got some funny looks as other riders passed by us.62C4A9B4-1DE2-4905-8404-36AA53EB46B0.jpeg

Paige is a good driver—she knows when to upshift, and downshift at the right times with me prompting her just every once in a while. Honestly I’m not sure what the deal was last night though, maybe it was the awkwardness of her dog bouncing around all over her lap, he’d lay content for a bit but then pretty soon he’d want to climb up so that he could sit perched up on her shoulder, it was quite comical…nevertheless he really does love riding, he doesn’t get scared so no worries about feeling sorry for him..besides a dog on a four wheeler-ride sounds pretty spoiled to me! And that he is!

Anyways Paige, for whatever reason, kept driving a little too close to the embankments, drifting from one side to the other. At one point she even ran over a small log that popped up and smacked my shin. I probably have a bruise from that one. Either way we had fun regardless.1B245D1F-FAD9-4B47-893C-1E3238612E7C.jpeg

The two of us love to sing when riding and right now our current jam is anything from the movie The Greatest Showman. We’re slightly obsessed, so as we rode along we sang and thankfully the noise of the four wheeler drowns out “my voice” anyway. Paige, on the other hand, has a fantastic voice and I LOVE to hear that girl use it just as long as it’s not when she’s being mouthy.

Riding deeper into the heavily wooded sand hills the temperatures dropped dramatically and the fog nestled in around us. The trails were covered with decent sized balls of hail from the storm that was traveling along minutes ahead of us. It was such a beautiful sight, like a winter wonderland. We were the only crazy ones out on the trails at this point and we were loving every bit of it.BDD420AF-0D95-4D09-A900-614E2B108837.jpeg

Yet again I’m reminded of how incredibly amazing God is. I’m thankful for these moments He orchestrates and I count them as blessings.70050C71-EAA8-4FDC-9B10-F380B84658CB.jpeg

Time spent with my family is one of my greatest treasures; I love the adventure of a wild ride! I’m thankful I recognize God in the midst of it all. This blog serves as a way to note all of the good things God has and is doing in mine, my husband, and our kid’s lives. I love the idea of being able to read it in the years to come and see the ways of God’s goodness and faithfulness with us.207D1E84-9F3F-4341-AFA7-EF3CB1F994A63650E0B7-D21E-47F2-B70B-AB62A861FA19

Thank you once again for reading—for His purpose.

I’m going to (very soon) repost a blog from last year titled The Three “F” words: Faith, Family, and Four-wheelers. It was one of my first posts but never got much attention because I didn’t have many reading my blog at the time..it’s probably one of my favorite posts to-date and one that was written last year at this time…

My family is now begging to go ride, so until next time…enjoy! and more importantly don’t miss out on the adventure God is giving you.

What’s your idea of a great adventure?

Do you make it a priority to include Him? …Because I can guarantee if you aren’t, you’re not fully living that adventure.

 

Good Good Father

84E813FF-1EB2-4778-968E-9E6130E30CE5.jpeg
Photo taken in Ouray, CO

Chris Tomlin (a Christian musician) sings Good Good Father, a song regarding and recognizing God’s immense love for us.

The other morning I listened to this very song and noticed I can finally get all the way through without choking up as I sing along to the words. I wasn’t always able to do so before…And I’m thankful beyond measure.

I’ve intentionally and passionately pursued Christ for the past five years, not perfectly but with great effort. I’ve read and memorized scripture. I’ve counteracted and demolished negative thoughts by applying God’s faithful word where fear and worry long to thrive.

But in all that, can I just be honest and admit that for a long time I failed to see that God loves, loves, loves me deeply and without limitations…He LOVES me with unconditional genuine love. Keep in mind I’ve believed in Him since I was a young girl, and was taught of His love from a young age but the idea and reality of His love never struck me until more recently.

God absolutely loves me even though I mess up everyday and I don’t deserve His love. I simply didn’t understand and couldn’t grasp that concept until I allowed the words of this song to sweep in and settle throughout me.

It’s like this: We can read the same verse three or four times and it may just come across as words and nothing more. It may not be until reading that same verse for the 100th time that we finally realize the power and hope found in those very words. And then it hits us like a ton of bricks and we have that “ah-ha” moment.

Sometimes God uses His people to amplify the meaning of His words, whether it’s through a song, a devotion, a church message, a fellow believer…fill in the blank.

For me, I was just taking for granted the raw truth of God’s love for me. I was missing an important key ingredient to my faith..functioning and believing in Him—but not absorbing the fullness of His words. I was reading scripture and applying it to my life, but not always in a heart-pounding, adrenaline-rushing way.

If you’d have asked me if God loved me I would’ve been quick to respond with, “yes, absolutely!”…because I knew the answer in my head from reading scripture, but my heart didn’t know and feel it.

The first time I heard Good Good Father was nearly a year ago. I was driving alone and as the music spilled from the car’s radio those words melted over my heart overwhelmingly. Tears ran down my cheeks as I soaked in the lyrics—

You’re a good good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.

Those words brought me to tears over and over every time I’d hear that song because it became this revelation of finally understanding and realizing that I am loved by God.

I AM LOVED BY GOD!!

(It kind of makes me want to head to Colorado and shout it from the mountaintops).

There’s something about knowing who you are, more importantly knowing who you identify as (as a follower of Christ) and knowing who He is.

Being able to declare that you are loved by God…there’s just simply nothing like it.

It’s when you feel lost, hurt, broken, or lonely but knowing and saying, “everything is going to be alright because I AM LOVED BY GOD regardless of my circumstances or feelings.”

I don’t know anything or anyone else in the world that can provide that kind of grace, mercy, and truth. When you’re in those moments of despair all you want is to feel love, because relationships are all that really matter and Jesus’ love offers the ultimate healing and restoration.

It causes me to consider those who don’t know God as Lord and Savior, where do they draw hope and comfort? I’ve said it before: “I’m still kind of a mess some days, but without God I’d be a bigger mess.” I’m so thankful for a life with Him as my Good Good Father. I’ve tried it the other way (with me in control) and it’s always left me empty and disappointed.

You aren’t living, until you’re believing and living IN HIM—immersed in all He has to give as truth.

Do you know and trust that God loves you unconditionally?

Check out Good Good Father for yourself by clicking on the photo link.

Part 3: Remembering My Dad (lessons and spiritual growth)

That was nearly twenty years ago; I can still feel the sting of the pain even now…Goodness I miss my dad…

*This is part 3 of a 3 part series- links to parts 1 and 2 are located at the bottom of this post

Growing up I took for granted the idea of family time and commitment. We had many fun times, but I failed to place much value on our years together while they were occurring.

AB98AAF1-3A61-4951-88F2-020EEDAAA123
Winter of 1999-a few months after my dad’s motorcycle accident

I’ve managed to mentally revisit and collect the moments we spent together and I hold on to those precious memories now.

I can also identify our number one struggle as well. We believed in God, but we were far from a relationship with Jesus, therefore our family-dynamic suffered in following Christian morals, which led to lenient parenting. Often times I was absent—drinking and partying with friends. House rules and expectations were shallow for me; late nights and a selfish mentality were abundant. Mistakes and poor choices were high as I ran wild.

It wasn’t until I was married with three young children and in my mid-twenties that I recognized the hurt and brokenness in me. I thought I could fix it on my own and I tried for the next five years.

I watched as my mother, meanwhile, had found healing over my father’s death by seeking Christ. I remember relying heavily on her for wisdom during that trying period and she pointed me to Jesus every time.

And then one day I finally submitted… Continue reading “Part 3: Remembering My Dad (lessons and spiritual growth)”

Part 2: Remembering My Dad (story)

As the years move on, I slip further away from memories of my dad. In this crazy, busy world I must intentionally reminisce of our times together or I risk altogether losing the memory of the sweet time we had together…”

639A5B15-4867-436F-91D8-A949151DCE35.jpeg
October of 1983-mom, dad and I

*This is part 2 of a 3 part series- links to parts 1 and 3 are located at the bottom of this post

My father was not perfect, as no one is, but he was incredibly good to my mom, brothers, and me; hard-working and courageous and taking pride in caring for his family and looking after my epileptic mother. He struggled with drug and alcohol addictions for most of my younger years but eventually abandoned the two and in the mix found out who his true friends were. He began attending church regularly with my mom and us kids but soon afterward discovered an interest in an old-time hobby of his…

Dirt bike racing.

6D2A7447-B3FF-4FDB-A5AB-8F69096E5F7D.jpeg
Summer 1999-Photos from top left clockwise: mom, dad racing, brothers, me

Since the races were on Sunday mornings our church attendance as a family declined, while race attendance increased. The end of my dad’s first race season came in October of 1999 along with the abrupt end to his new hobby. Our lives were forever changed when a miscalculated double-jump left my father with a broken neck—paralyzed and ventilator dependent.

image
Christmas of 2000-our last family photo

During that time my dad lived hours away in an assisted health facility for proper care. We visited him often, but tragedy would strike again not even two years after the motorcycle accident.

We brought my dad home to visit for the Fourth of July weekend, upon returning him back to his “rehab-home” I fell asleep behind the wheel. My father didn’t survive the car accident. I was just seventeen at the time, my dad only thirty-nine.

A life cut far too short.

In an uncanny way, that accident was a blessing in disguise—that morning my dad had told my mom he ‘didn’t like living this way, that he was thankful she was the one caring for him over the weekend, but he didn’t want to live this way anymore…’

Whew..deep breath..heavy heart..

That was nearly twenty years ago; I can still feel the sting of the pain even now…Goodness I miss my dad…

*Part 3 follows with the lessons and faith I’ve found since my dad’s passing

Why Do You Run?

This is a longer post, but I’ve tried to keep my posts at under a thousand words (many times) and well, I’ve decided I can’t do it! I only post once every week or two so it makes it seem justified I suppose. Blessings and hope you enjoy…

My favorite little fur-friend is covered in silver and tan color, weighs a whopping four pounds, mimics a bulldog stance with his front legs, possesses separation anxiety, and usually has a seizure once or twice a week. (We joke as a family that he inherited seizures from my mom and youngest brother who also have them.)

His name is Eli, but sometimes we call him Liza Jane, E Bug, E.B…

He’s our family dog—A three year old, purebred Yorkie who will never be used for breeding stock because of his many flaws; but in our eyes he’s perfect!

371B11CE-2023-4D91-8069-A6DF6F2CA5C0.jpeg
Just look at his cuteness!

On a busy Monday morning, with joint effort, my kids and I packed their small luggage bags into the back of my “mom van.” They were going to be staying the week at grandma’s so they could participate in Vacation Bible School (VBS) at the church she attends. After what seemed like we had just loaded everything they own (except for bedroom furniture) we set out on our twenty-minute drive to my small hometown.

On the drive I ran through my mind my perfectly planned Monday morning…

  • Drop the kids off at church for VBS
  • drive to mom’s
  • unload handfuls of bags
  • unload more and more bags
  • Spend a few minutes sorting paperwork
  • Visit with my younger brother all the while
  • Take Eli for a walk on the nearby walking trail

Afterwards it would be time to pick up kids from church, head to afternoon dentist appointments, and thereafter the kids would land at my mom’s so they could enjoy a combination of Grandma, zero chores, and Vacation Bible School, all for a full week!

It was perfectly scheduled in my control-freak mind.

We soon made it to the church and I dropped the kids off. Then I headed to the little house I grew up in where I was greeted by my brother who helped me carry gobs of bags inside.

Everything was going just as I had planned.

But after a few minutes something seemed off…

Eli? Where was Eli?…If I was going to stick to my “perfectly planned” itinerary I would need my dog for my walk that was scheduled to happen shortly. Continue reading “Why Do You Run?”

Light of the World

IMG952821-1Our family began a tradition a few years ago that we look forward to each Christmas season. At some point, shortly before Christmas Day, we devote one evening to “light sight-seeing” and have somewhat of a set routine…

After loading up in the vehicle, we drive the few miles into town, with a pit stop to the local convenience store first, where we fill up cups of overly flavored hot chocolate, cappuccino, or coffee to sip on during our adventure. It’s not Starbucks by any means, but it excites my children to choose from the many options, mix flavors, and make their own concoction—plus its way easier on the pocket-book!

This year after returning myself, the kids, and our piping hot beverages to the vehicle we were greeted by my lovely husband, who was patiently waiting on us and who I figured was also creating the perfect Christmas music play-list…but as we left the gas station parking lot let’s just say ‘Joy to the World’ wasn’t music to our ears…and I hardly think when Axl Rose belts out ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ he’s referring to sweet little Baby Jesus, although I believe my husband would beg to differ apparently… Continue reading “Light of the World”