A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a few co-workers about Heaven, marriage and relationships we will have in Heaven. Along with death, this is another subject I try not to think too much about because of lack of knowledge and fear. When I was doing the Bible study on Heaven a lot of questions were answered and some were not or I just wasn’t in the bible study at that time to hear the answer. My husband and I were talking tonight after the kids had gone to bed on marriage in Heaven. I had been researching without much luck and I was bound and determined to write in my blog on marriage in Heaven. After getting frustrated and nearly giving up for the night, I prayed that maybe tonight while I was asleep, God would point me in the right direction to know what to write. Earlier in the night Jon had reminded me of a Bible verse I read to him a while back that gave me comfort and apparently it did the same for him because he wrote it down and gave it to another person today.
It is Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, the title of the chapter is: Oppression, Toil, Friendlessness. My Bible gives a brief back ground on each book of the Bible. This particular book states that it explores the meaning of life.
4:9- Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10- If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11- Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12- Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Our men’s’ group is doing a Bible study on Revelations and I have to admit, I’m so jealous! My very first Bible study was on Revelations and I was a new Christian. What a great way to be introduced to the word of God than to start with the least talked about and most feared book of the Bible, Revelations! I Loved that Bible study and I want to do it again! Well, this past Saturday I went to the Christian book store and got Jon two books on Revelations to help aid in his understanding of the book. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the above Bible verse was in it! Along with Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12, it listed:
Hebrew 10:24-25 : And, let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25-Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
This verse hit to my core of why I blog. I get all my thoughts out on paper, maybe by my confessions on how hard I struggle daily with being a Christian someone might see that it’s SO normal to have issues and then I ask God to forgive me.
The last verse is 1 Peter 4:8-10: 8-Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9- Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10- Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
The book then went on to ask the question below. As Jon asked me the question, tears welled up in my eyes and I remember back almost three years ago when God took the security out of my life. I say security only because at the time it was security, whether false or not, it was my security.
According to Hebrews 10:24-25, James 5:16, and 1 Peter 4:8-10, how can you take practical steps to counter an attitude of self-sufficiency?
My answer to Jon: I can remember one day riding down the road and looking over into another car and thinking how lucky I was. I had healthy kids, a wonderful husband, great job and my life was wonderful! Like a blink of an eye, I woke up the next morning in fear. In fear of any and everything! I was scared to go to work, I was scared to drive down the road by myself, I was scared to breathe, to be alone and to die! You name it, I was terrified of it! I was embarrassed to tell anyone how bad it was in fear they would think I had totally lost my mind! I had said that maybe it was post-partum depression because the twins were still babies and I had a lot on me from nearly losing Ella to meningitis, to the demands of being a fulltime mom of 5 children, to working full-time. Now, looking back at it, I know it was God and he knew I was hard headed and it would take a huge jolt to shape me into the person he knew I could be. He had sent several life changing events to my life that made me turn to him but as soon as I felt secure again I’d stop going to church. So I think that God had every right to take my security away from me the way he did. I deserved it. A couple of days passed and we went to church and I felt safe. It was the only place I felt somewhat normal and safe. Days passed and it got to where I wanted Monday and Tuesday to quickly pass so I could go to church on Wednesday nights then it seemed Thursday thru Saturday took forever and Sunday went too fast! I did visit a therapist that helped me and the doctor put me on antidepressant/anxiety meds to help me but the side effects and I didn’t really agree. I felt ashamed because I wasn’t strong enough to pull myself out of it but God was! God was right there next to me and even holding me most of the time. I got tired of the battle and just wished I could find the security I once had. A song that Ella was singing today in the van when I opened the van door to get her out keeps repeating in my head right now. It’s by the Veggie Tales, “God is bigger than the boogie man. He is watching over you and me.” So true my sweet Ella. So true! He was watching over you when you had the meningitis and me when the boogie man was trying to get me.
It has been a few years since then and I wouldn’t change what happen to me although I have not been the same. Which I think that was what God intended. I would do it all again and endure the struggles of anxiety and depression and even go through the embarrassment of telling others all over if it meant I was helping another person see what God is doing in their own life. God deserves all the credit in my life.
Jon and I went on to talking about what he thought about marriage in Heaven. I told him that I couldn’t find what I was looking for to comfort me and tell my co-workers about. So, I asked him. He has always been so good at wording things the way I understand along with my office mate. I’d be lost in this world without them explaining things to me!
In the book of Matthew 22: 23 thru 33, (you will have to read it but here’s a somewhat summary of it) in trying to trick Jesus, one religious group, the Sadducees told Jesus of a woman who had seven husbands who all died. They asked Him, “Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?” (Matt. 22:28) Christ replied, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in Heaven.” (Matt. 22:30) This bothered me and Jon was okay with it. And, of course I was being a fleshly woman wanted him to explain how he could be okay with it. He reminded me of what Randy Alcorn had written in his book “Heaven.” Randy Alcorn had stated that he thinks we will be closer. In Gen. 2:18, God states: “It is not good for the man to be alone” and he is the giver and blesser of our relationships. He went on to say that our Life on this changing thought! Just think of who got you interested in coming to church. I can think of her right now and praise God for putting her in my life. From Her telling us about this great church, almost my whole family now goes to church there! Just one person speaking out about an awesome church created a domino effect in my own family and friends. Neat!
So, if what we do here on earth matters and we are able to touch strings that reverberate for all eternity and we are recognized by our families, then we must not change too much. And, by that I mean all our good traits stay with us and the evil emotions will apart from us just as those who Jesus does not recognize apart from him. One book put it this way: If when I arrive in heaven I’m not the same person with the same identity, history and memory, then I didn’t go to Heaven. In Luke 24:39, Jesus stayed the same. “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Then again in John 20:24-29, Jesus appeared to Thomas. Along with Thomas, Jesus dealt with Mary and Peter in very personal ways steaming off the assumptions of previous relationships’ and memories. My husband lost his mother in 2007. She heard the calling that God had placed in her heart, quit her teaching job of 20 plus years, went to seminary school, went on numerous mission trips and two months after she got her doctorate in theology she went to be with the Lord. The day she passed, her husband was shaving and getting ready to face his first day without his dear wife when all of the sudden his right arm went numb and he dropped the razor. In the past, Mrs. Martin had always told him she was his right arm. I think that morning she was letting him know that she was no longer suffering the pain cancer had caused her. She was with her savior. Just as Jesus appeared to his followers, Mrs. Martin (not in person) had appeared to her husband of 20 plus years still with the memories she possessed from her life on earth and the love she had in her heart for her earthly soul mate.
Jon and I both believe that we are soul mates that God put together. I can still picture in my head the first time I laid eyes on my future husband. He was wearing a blue cap, jeans and a white shirt. He had on brown boots, not the ones he still wears although you might think by looking at them he has had them that long. We were both trying to catch glimpses of each other without being obvious and then we parted ways for a month. I felt in my heart from the moment he came into my life although words were not even spoke nor were we introduced that my life was fixing to take off on a journey of a lifetime. I felt that God had spoken to me that day telling me to take this whole month to myself because after that month I would no longer be alone. We met the first part of December with no words exchanged and January 4th 1995, Jon and I had our first conversation and haven’t stopped since.
So, the question that I wanted an answer to was “Will I still be his wife in Heaven and what happens when you have married several different people whether due to death of spouse or by divorce, who will I be with in Heaven?” I’m sure a lot of devout Christians and leaders can tell you of different verses out of the Bible that point to whether or not you will still be married to your spouse. I have found the verse that tells us “At resurrection people will neither marry or be given in marriage; they will be like angels in Heaven.” My thoughts are old-fashioned and maybe in this day and age considered a fairy tale to those that do not believe in true love. I believe that everyone has that one and only person that God intends for us to be with and I call that our soul-mate. It’s that person that you connect with without words and your souls connect. It’s the connection you feel the moment you lay eyes on your new baby or the connection you get when you meet a stranger that turns into sisterhood for life and even the connection you feel at church with fellow believers. It’s like you’ve known them for life but you haven’t! When you start to follow Christ and ask Jesus to come into your heart, that immediate feeling you feel. You can’t describe it to anyone and you can’t contain it either! This past Sunday, our Choir with our choir director singing, sang a song on choosing Jesus. The emotions not only I felt but fellow believers felt was so explosive that you just wanted to cry for joy and beg Jesus to take you now! I have a hard time believing that God would take all those relationship and connections away from you in Heaven. We are the same in Heaven as we are here on earth but without the bad stuff. We will be closer with our spouse because for once we will understand and feel the true meaning of Love. My thoughts on the people who have been married and divorce are this: God has a soul-mate for you in Heaven, whether it was your first Husband, your middle husband, third husband or last, you will meet in Heaven. The difference Jon gave me on Love in Heaven verses Love on earth is it will be our love first to Christ, then our soul mate, our children, family and friends. Our relationship with Christ is not the physical relationship we have with our husband/wife on earth. It’s the relationship where we devote ourselves to him and he watches over us. It’s a love that we will not truly understand until we get there!
The benefit of writing a blog is the fact I can write what I believe. I’m not controlled on what others say or believe. And, from my research on the topic on marriage in Heaven, it’s all in how the Bible is interpreted by whoever reads it. I’m not down playing anyone’s interpretations and the way they believe. I think it’s great!
Heaven is a mystery that until we cross over to the light, we will never truly know everything in store for us. We can read books from talented theologians and even from those who claim to experience Heaven for a few minutes. And from what the Bible tells us in Revelations and other books of the Bible, we will never be able to fully comprehend in our fleshly bodies what God has in store for us. Until then I want to go back to the book of Ecclesiastes 12: 9-14. It is titled The Conclusion of the matter. If you will remember, my Bible states that this book explores the meaning of life.
9-Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10-The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. 11- The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd. 12-Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. 13-Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14-For God will bring every deed to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether is it good or evil.
“To share an uncommon love where we have uncommon ground---now, that’s a marriage.”
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10: Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11: Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13: Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14: Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16: Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17: Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19: Do not take revenge, my friend, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,”
21: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This past week was a pretty good week to share what God’s blessing were on me and how he really worked in me. Reading the above passage out of the Bible and looking back my week, I failed him but he still stood right by my side and lifted me up. I had so much to blog about without a good beginning to start my blog until this morning in Sunday school. Such simple and easy to understand verses, which are a nice change, but so hard to carry out daily. Maybe my past week of stumbling badly will help someone to see their stumbling only leaves room for God to pick us up and dust us off to try again better.
So far in the past month, my office mate and I have had a lot of Mondays; not just on Mondays but on other days as well. So, this past week I was bound and determined that we were going to have a Friday on Monday. I hope you are following me on this. I have found the best times for me to really pray to God is in the shower first thing in the morning before anyone else gets up otherwise I can pretty much hang up getting anything worthwhile said to him. So pray I did this past Monday. I prayed hard for a great Monday at work. Whether it was the peace I received from that prayer that came over me while at work, I’m not sure but my Monday during work was pretty good! (Notice I said during work) Well, since my day was going so great, I figured why not after picking up kids just go home. So, I did. Haewon first day of American school was that day and our kids had tons of homework. I wanted to start supper up, make sure Haewon’s first day was good, and help with homework. Our God-daughter was coming over for my husband to help with her homework so it just made sense. I don’t know how anyone else’s children act when there is a new member or even company in the house but mine forget rules, stop listening, and turn into little possessed creatures. No joke! Don’t get me wrong, I Love doing this exchange program but my children are wearing me out with the attitude and lack of listening and respect. Our oldest has started the 7th grade and he will be 13 on the 29th of September so I know it’s the teenage years kicking in but I don’t know if he will survive to 14 at the rate he is going. It wouldn’t be so bad if he was bad all the time but he’s not! It’s just a few things I want to pinch his head off for. Gracie, our oldest daughter but middle child has ADD and takes medicine for it. It helps her during the school-hours only which is fine with us. The sole purpose is to help her concentrate and sit still while in the learning environment. She does not take it on the weekends unless she has to sit in church and listen which is rare. Braydon is our only child so far that will sit, do ALL his homework, clean up his homework and not bother anyone but Gracie. Factoring all three of the older kid’s personality’s, 3 year old twins, our God-daughter and throw in an exciting person, our exchange student, it makes for an interesting afternoon of no one wanting to do homework, not listening and picking at each other. By the time Jon made it home, I was stressed. Not only did I need to leave for a few hours, I wanted to leave for a few hours to collect myself. Ever since Jon and I decided to take in an exchange student, I knew that some things were going to change in our house. I was prepared to watch my tone more closely with my kids, practice patience better than I have, set down the cleaning when there were opportunities to have family time, and just enjoy the experience of learning from our new guest as I hope she could learn from us. I know that it shouldn’t take a visitor to do these things but I’m not perfect and sometimes I need a push.
If it weren’t for my husband and very close friends and of course God, I probably wouldn’t have been able to handle this past week. I needed every single person closes to me to help me with my struggles of this week because the devil was after me!
Apparently my red eyes and not so cheerful self was another good indicator to my friend I was meeting that I was struggling with what I couldn’t quite put into words. I enjoyed our conversations and it felt nice to just get away for just a few hours. Without sharing any of our conversations I got to telling her that my anxiety was setting in but I would be okay. I was worried some about my dizziness but that was fading and just having time for everything and everyone was my biggest issue. (My everyone just meant my children, my husband, our God-daughter and our exchange student. I seem to make time for others and work. It does help too that one of my closest and dearest friends sits across from me Monday thru Friday in the same office.) I had gone on to tell my friend that I had thought about going back on my anxiety meds to help take the edge off but I don’t think that was the way I wanted to go. And, I know the next thing I said was what was a turning point in my night and angered the devil even more. I said that God had saved me from the darkest point in my life and this is nothing like that and he can do it again. I just have to give it to him. I want you to know that I got in my van, drove home and had a great rest of the night with my family all I needed was that person God put in my life for an ear and to give God the glory of saving me.
Wednesday was my husband’s 36th b-day. Yay! Now, he can stop picking on me by saying I’m 37 and he’s 35 because he is 36. Haewon was so sweet and got him a present. It was a set of pens with Korean writing on it. They were nice! I had still been struggling with anxiety and an issue came up at work that made me feel not too Christian. I have a certain person that I deal with often at work that I will honestly say brings out the not-so-nice side of me. And, for those I work with at the office that read my blog, no, it’s not you. I have a hard time being nice to this person because she has an air about her that makes you feel that she is talking down to you and you have no idea what you are doing. She’s quick to take credit for things that it took a group effort to do. I have issues with that type personalities and I’m so quick to want to put them in their place. This is where verses 17 thru 21 come into play and I got a big fat F on this! If I am really honest, I always get F’s on this if it means someone else is being mean to another or if someone else is taking credit for something I know other people helped with. Now, I get an A on it if it has anything to do with me. You can beat me, ignore me, mistreat me or take credit for something I had a hand in and I’ll be silent. I will even tell people, God will take care of them. So, why can’t I do it when it comes to others? I feel like I have to be the protector. I wonder if it’s just my mothering instinct kicking in to overload. That is what I want and need God to help me with. He helped me that day by kicking me off-line every time I went to email my reply of telling them how wrong this person really was. The only thing I could get to work on was my lesson for Wednesday night church! Go figure!
Friday was my Monday!!! All day long!! Our 10 year old son was diagnosed with Servers’ disease three or four weeks ago and x-rays showed he had a crack heel. He had been wearing braces on his legs at night and kept one on during the day to protect his cracked heel. His follow up appointment was Friday and we were eager to have another x-ray done to see if his heel was healed and what our next step was. Earlier in the day I had not been in the best of moods. I was feeling sorry for myself, I hadn’t gotten a chance to do my devotionals in two going on three days, and I had gotten an email from Hunter’s teacher on Thursday telling me he had not turned in two assignments so he was going to be on restriction all weekend. So when Jon and I took Braydon to the doctor only to find out that we weren’t going to get an x-ray because he didn’t think it was necessary, he took him off the braces and replaced it with two small heel pads you put in his shoes, I was irritated. He even told us to not limit him on sports. Relief to Braydon but it irritated me. I have seen how he walks after a day or two of running, I see him in the morning when he wakes up and can’t put weight on his feet. It might not seem that bad to that doctor but to his momma it was a lot more serious than what that doctor was willing to do for him.
Here are some recent conversations I have had with the twins. I thought it would make to the perfect ending:
Ella and I have had to squirt medicines up our nose for allergies. It is kind of comical when you look at us in the morning because I get the meds and Ella instantly tells me now that she doesn’t want that med today. That’s the answer to a lot of things I tell or ask the twins. The two funniest ones they have told me was: Me: “You need to wipe your hiney, Emma.” Emma: “No, I wiped it yesterday.” Me: “Emma, that’s not something you just do every other day.” Or Me: “You need to poo-poo?” twins: “No, I not poo-poo today, I poo-poo yesterday.”
Today was a pretty good day. It was Haewon’s first time in an American Southern Baptist church with an awesome group of church family, Sunday school teachers and God-given talented Preacher! I haven’t really had too much of an opportunity to talk with Haewon about the difference in her Church in Korea and our church. I did get a few similarities’ and differences. They do worship at the same time as we do however the kids and youth worship separately from the adults. I’ll get more as the day goes by, hopefully!
The bible reminds me of a map of the United States. It has 52 states, the bible has 39 Old Testament chapters and 27 New Testament chapters with a combine total of 66 chapters, each state has a capital, each chapter has a message, and within each state are cities, within each message are verses, within each city are people and within each verse is a powerful meaning. As I was growing up as a preteen, I LOVED to read. My favorite books were the Sweet Valley Twins and then Sweet Valley High. As I would finish one book and waited for another book to come out, I’d write my own stories. It was fun and I could imagine myself as anyone doing exciting adventures. A neat thing I thought that was kind of ironic was sometimes I pretended I was a twin myself. It might have been because of reading books about twin sisters or I used to think it was because I was a twin and they never told my mom she had two. Funny, I know but I did have an imagination! Now, I write because it is an outlet for me to express myself in a way I never could in public. It’s also therapeutic and humbling at times. I will never and have never claimed to be a teacher of Word, I just blog about my experiences and how I relate it with what I’m learning at the time whether with devotionals’, Sunday school class, worship service, radio stations, what my friends are going through and other ways that feed my need for Christ. If I inspire someone then God is using me and I’m thankful. I used to think that I took the summer off from writing because of writers block, busy summer and I just felt as though I was being looked at funny with different people who may have read my blog entries. I know it was more than likely the Devil putting those thoughts into my head because if one person is made to think twice about their journey with God or if one person decides ‘Hey, she’s nowhere near perfect but she knows she’s going to Heaven. I can too by getting in the word and excepting Jesus as my savior.’ then, I have served part of my purpose for God the rest of the blog entries are for my therapy and someone’s enjoyment! Enjoy my crazy life!!! I sure am trying! I know there is more to getting into Heaven than getting into the word and accepting Jesus as my savior but it is a GREAT start!
I have been dying to write a neat thought down but haven’t been able to work it into my blogs about the pearl. So, I’m going to do it now whether it flows or not! It’s not like my thoughts always flow slow and smooth all of the time. I’m on overflow most of the time especially when I think about Jesus Christ and I figured something out that I want to share!
In our Ladies Bible study on Heaven, we learned many things on who was going to be there, the different levels/stages, how we would get there, what we might be doing there and how it looked once we got there! Such exciting things to learn! At first I wasn’t too sure about the study, which was the same way I felt about the book of Revelations. My opinion is that the Devil wants you to be scared of dying so you don’t want to even read about either one because it is a very serious and scary thought. Well, I am living proof that as a mother, wife, friend, sister and any other title you may have for me, I am a much stronger and happier person for struggling to read and learn about both! Three years ago, I would break out in a cold sweat, suffer a panic attack and even break down into tears just to think my 5 precious children may live on this earth without me! Where would I be? Where would they be? Honey, I thought if I didn’t think about death, then I was going to live forever at least until my children told me ‘Ok, mom, you can die now.’ That’s not the way it is. Every day, every minute, every second people die, even mothers like me. We have to get in the Word, accept the Word, stay in the Word, live the Word and share the Word with our friends, family and even strangers. Our preacher spoke today on Matthew 7 vs 13 thru 23 about the Narrow and Wide gates into Heaven and Hell and the Tree and its Fruit. Several parts stood out to me because I can remember back to when I first started my Christian walk. I didn’t understand the part on entering through to Heaven in a narrow gate and the wide gate was Hell. Why would anyone want to go to Hell? Why weren’t Heaven’s gates wide? It’s got to fit my family and friends and their family and friends? Even now I compare it to the entrance to Disney World and if you have never been there then picture going to the fair, the entrance gate has many different lanes to get in through. Some have different gates for instances, the north gate or south gate. And, a lot of times the exit is one or two lanes. Now, flip that except take away the exit. From what I’ve learned, once you’ve entered either Heaven or Hell there is no exiting. One time entrance and the experience lasts for eternity! Why would you not want to try and at least get in? It might be a long, hard and exhausting path at times but the end is paradise! You should read in Luke 17 vs 19-31 about the rich man and Lazarus. I’m thankful that I do not know anyone who had a harder life than Lazarus and he ended up with the riches in the end. Read it and then thank God for your life and ask him what your role is in serving him. Sometimes, well actually most of the time, when you pray for God’s guidance a bright light does not shine bright for us to follow, you must listen first and have patience then the light will shine. It might not shine as bright as you would like but maybe it’s because God is shaping you as you are looking for the light.
Last thing I want to share is the story of the Pearl:
At some time in the course of the Oyster’s Development, a foreign substance such as a grain of sand gets into the little muscle and irritates the Oyster. The Oyster will then cover that irritant with a secretion. The longer the irritation is there, the more the Oyster coats it. Pearl Oysters vary in size and can be quite rough and ugly. Yet what is happening inside is a combination of rainbows, moonlight, and bits of flame. Once the Oyster accepts the irritation as part of itself, the pearl beginnings to develop. The worst storms, gales, even hurricanes will not dislodge it. As time goes by and this Oyster is finally pulled up from the bed where it has been for many years, it is opened only to reveal a beautiful pearl.
The pearl itself is a beautiful, single entity, formed through suffering in the heart of the Oyster. Unlike precious stones which must be cut and polished to reveal their clarity and beauty, the pearl is perfect as it comes from the Oyster.
Take from the story of the pearl whatever comforts you. Whether you see yourself as the pearl after all the irritations’ this world throws your way to reveal how God has shaped your heart into revealing you as a pearl in Heaven. Or maybe you see the Pearl as Jesus because he needs no polishing as he came straight from our creator. We are the precious stones as Jesus has cut and polished us to reveal our clarity and beauty to our creator, the Lord.
Revelations 21 vs 18 thru 21 (After reading theses passages, close your eyes and picture Heaven’s gates and tell me why you wouldn’t want to do whatever you could to tell you friends, family and strangers about such a beautiful place. And, then maybe you might get a better picture of who the pearl might be and who the precious stones are. :)
18-The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19-The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20-the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth and the twelfth amethyst. 21- The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
I want to close with a poem our preacher quoted today in his sermon. He knew it by heart.
It’s by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
I hope you have enjoyed this Blog entry as much as I enjoyed writing it. Have a blessed week!
For the past couple of weeks to a month has been quite a challenge for me both spiritually and emotionally. However, it really hit me this past Tuesday on the way back from dropping my older kids off at soccer practice. I had been battling dizzy spells since the day before. Nighttime was very hard because the simple task of laying my head down on a pillow was torture! The room would spin and my eyes felt as though they were going in circles which made me sick to my stomach! I was still trying to figure out a good schedule for the kids with school and coming home to cook dinner and clean. And, we just added another item to our schedule by just filling out an information request form on the exchange student website. Now in less than a week, I was getting an exchange student from South Korea. What were we thinking? Now, before anyone reads this the wrong way, you must continue to read where I am going with this.
Keep in mind what I’m talking about above is my home life. A lot of my stress starts at 8:30 am Monday thru Friday. It’s called work and it spills into my home life at times! My doctor told me that if I was to take work out of my equation, I would not need antidepressants. To me, I thought it was funny and I do agree. However, I replaced antidepressants with the word of God and he suits me better. The only side effects are the Devil tries to get you harder and you can cure that with staying in the Word of God not another pill. Now, I’m not against taking them. They serve their purpose in my life for quite awhile and I needed them too. For those that do not know or haven’t read my background. I, along with my family, husband and wonderful close friends run a Nursing home company together. We have 9 nursing homes and 2 retirement centers in Georgia and Alabama. We are hands on owners is which is probably why it is more stressful because we care so much. In my department, I have an excellent right hand lady and I’m her right hand lady! Our job is to keep money coming in by billing Medicaid, Medicare, insurance and other payor sources. Very stressful job to do but we have each other. This week, the company was trying to make the decision on whether or not we wanted to take on another Nursing Home. I don’t handle change too well if I don’t have at least some time to think about it and more information to go with it. Which is the same situation I was going through at home with our soon to be exchange student. I know it would seem with 5 kids, I could handle change. I mean they are changing constantly aren’t they? However, I think what was my breaking point was it was too much change at the same time! School was starting so I had to juggle school, cleaning house and washing clothes differently now. Braydon (our 10 yr old) just got diagnosed with Servers disease and now had a cracked heel. He had to wear boot looking cast on his legs every night and one on the leg he had the cracked heel and soccer season was fixing to start so he was crushed. We were getting a new nursing home and I had an exchange student that I had no idea what to do with her once I got her and I felt dizzy every time my head moved! Looking back at it, I picture a scene from that movie where the guy takes the pill that makes him smarter and his world moves quickly in front of him! My world felt like it was going too fast and I didn’t know whether to put the brakes on or let if fall the way it could. Then, I got to thinking about what made me chose her.
Last Thursday, Jon and I got 5 profiles on different exchange students from different countries. Reading their likes and GPA was very interesting. We weren’t allowed to see pictures of them just yet nor did we get to learn too much more about them except their likes and GPA. There was something that really grabbed my attention over any of the other profiles. She listed that she was a Christian and wanted to attend our religious services. I knew from that, she’d be the perfect fit for us. With me being a fairly new Christian and having 5 very influential children, I did not want to wonder what our exchange student thought about religion. Plus, I am very cautious on my children talking about different religions with anyone other than close friends and family. From our interview with our Case manager with CIEE, you can host students that are Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, and others that I’m not aware of. I’m sure that God would guide me in trying to show them our religion but I’m just not quite ready for that! I was told that I could look at this experience as a reverse mission’s trip!
On Monday morning we got the green light that our new daughter from Korea would be here on Thursday and we were to pick her up at the airport. My dizziness had just started the night before so I could not get much sleep and we were having a meeting at work on the new nursing home. We had been working nonstop on getting our house ready for her that past weekend. Needless to say, we were exhausted! We had our meeting as I was headed back to my office, I heard my phone ring and to my surprise, it was our exchange student! Our conversation didn’t last too long and we didn’t get too much of anything said but from that point on I felt a connection. It was weird! Not a bad weird but a confusing weird!
In the past, I have always been the one that has wanted to foster and adopt other people's children. Jon has always been the one to make me really think about it and bring me back to reality each and every time! This time, it was nothing like that! Jon never once got frustrated and told me that we didn’t have time for it. He was just the opposite! Several times I asked him if he was doing reverse psychology on me and he just laughed at me! I finally ask him why he was so calm about it all and he said something that calmed me through the next several days. He told me that it was because he thought we were called to do this.
Because we were called to do this is why I feel as though the Devil set his sights on me once again! Monday came, went and my anxiety set in big time. My dizziness was getting to the point when I laid my head one certain way, Jon said he could see my eyes literally jump until I laid on my back. That was freaky! Tuesday morning came, at work everyone would come in our office and ask if I heard from her again and tell me how excited they were for us. I know they were trying to help get me through this but I just couldn’t shake my dizziness and my anxiety. I seemed far from excited. Tuesday afternoon I had just dropped the other kids off at soccer practice and the twins and I were headed home. Now, I have always been the type to try and fight back tears but at this moment driving down the interstate, I thought that it would be the best thing for me to let them flow! I talk to God a lot during the day and this was not different! In my walk with God, I have learned that being independent is not God’s way for us. Don’t get me wrong, being independent is great with other things. But with God, we need him to survive! I prayed that God would take care of the Devil because apparently this was an adventure the Devil didn’t approve of! Jon said that this was something he thought we were called to do. Not everybody gets to touch someone else’s life in the way we were fixing to touch her life and her, our life!
Wednesday was registration for Awana’s and I had to be there. We had posted on facebook the video of our exchange student and I wasn’t ready for questions about her. I had found out that morning that we weren’t sure about when I was suppose to register her for school because another Case manager couldn’t get anyone on the phone. We were picking her up tomorrow and we were unsure of school registration. Jon and I couldn’t agree on whether we should take the older kids with us to the airport to meet her or just us. I was able to figure out my dizziness was probably coming from an ear infection so I got put on antibiotics.
Thursday was the day that two families from opposite sides of the world were fixing to have a life changing experience that will last 10 months! That morning, Jon and I compromised with the older kids. They went to school for half a day. The twins went to daycare and the dogs went to the groomers! It was actually somewhat a normal Thursday! God was taking care of us that day!
The flight was delayed by thirty minutes, so we took a detour to Babies R Us and Best Buy. I LOVE babies R us although my babies are three. Jon went to Best Buy to get a TV for our exchange student’s room. We got to the airport on time and waited for her and waited.
About fifteen minutes later, I got a phone call. “Hi! Haewon!.....” Another passenger at the airport saw that she was a little lost and was trying to call us by putting pennies in the pay phone. And, our adventure starts!
On our way home, our kids were so quiet and feel asleep within 10 minutes of being in the van. Our newest member of the family was full of smiles and limited English would just smile and nod when we asked her a few questions. I started feeling a little bit of anxiety along with excitement. When we arrived home the guys were finishing up our steps to get on our front porch and we had to walk around to the back of the house to get in. The minute she stepped in our house through the sunroom, her eyes just lit up like a little child in a candy store! She was looking around in amazement because of the space, I guess. Funny how I never really saw the space until then. I remember watching the video of her and her apartment and it seem like a nice apartment. But, then I realized that our house is a little over 2780 sq feet when we added our sunroom a few months back. We had a house inspector come in about a year ago to get our house appraised and he said that we most definitely use every space in our house. With 5 children, 2780 sq feet doesn’t seem that big at times! However coming from living in apartments, it is big even with 5 kids running around!
As she was getting settled into her room, I went to get her a TV at Wal-Mart along with supper and the twins. Jon had looked up the price of the TV he wanted me to get and it was on sale. When I got to Wal-Mart, the sale was marked down even more by $50, they had just got the TV thirty minutes ago and people had been calling about it. I thank God for that deal!
When I had gotten home, Grace had already introduced Haewon to chips and salsa. The boys were showing her stuff on the computer and she had brought gifts for everyone with cards. She’s so sweet! She was a perfect fit for us and us for her!
The next day, Jon and I did our normal routine of getting kids ready and off to school and then to work! I picked Haewon up and took her to register for classes. As we were sitting waiting to talk with the counselor, I was thinking about what I really needed to be doing when I got finish here. Then, it finally dawned on me! I was so busy with myself and how I was feeling and what this was going to do with our lives that I forgot to think about Haewon. This person had decided to travel 13 hours away from her comfort zone to come live with a family that she knew nothing about. Go to school that she knew nothing about, meet people she knew nothing about and spoke just enough English to get by. She was a Christian and she was going to attend religious services that were hopefully what she believed. She was doing this for a whole 10 months with limited contact with her own family and friends! At that moment, I wanted to shrink down in my chair and hide! This experience isn’t about me, it’s about how we will let God come in and take over. Unite two families, teach each other about not just our differences but about our similarities and how we can grow with God through the next 10 months.
After getting her schedule for Monday, we were headed home to get her money so she could go to the market (Our Wal-Mart). She asked what we were going to do for Dad’s (Jon) birthday on the 24th. I told her that I hadn’t really thought about it but maybe birthday cake. It’s funny how in our busy schedules, Wednesday (24th) might have came and I would have realized then that it was Jon’s birthday. Now, I’m racking my brain to come up with something special to celebrate his birthday.
I had asked her what she thought about Bolingbroke, where she would live for the next 10 months. She smiled and told me in her country, she wouldn’t see anything like this. It was beautiful to her to see the trees and grass. The simple things in life that I pass by everyday are so beautiful to someone who has never seen it with her own eyes.
When we got to Wal-Mart, I was all set to try and figure out what she wanted to get food wise but she just wanted socks and two summer shirts. I notice that she was having a hard time finding a shirt so I offered to take her to another store for shirts and she said that this was fine. She picked out two plain shirts and socks. She was set to go!
That night our youth was having a school kick-off that lasted from 6:00 until midnight. We wanted to take Haewon so she could get to know some kids from her new school. When we got there, several youth were outside waiting to meet her and welcome her. It was very nice. All throughout the evening more youth would come up and introduce themselves. Although she tended to cling to our 8yr old’s side, she did try talking to other youth. Around 9:30, Jon took me along with the twins and Grace home to see if we could get Haewon to come out from under Grace. She did! Our Minister of music had her playing a keyboard which I hate that I missed! She was so tired when she got home; she took a shower and went to bed!
Today is her first full day with all of us home. So far she is teaching Jon and the kids a little about her culture and how to write all our names in Korean while I am writing.
It’s been a humbling experience so far. I’m so thankful that God has chosen us to go through this wonderful experience together! I look forward to posting pictures and more blog entries for my readers to enjoy!
I took this from one of my facebook friend’s status:
Believes that faith is exactly what it takes to get through uncertainty.
The summer is over and it’s now time for school. Besides Christmas, I think this is my other favorite time of the year! It’s a time to start fresh with sports starting up, new friendships start, old friendships reunite, that crush you might have had last school year has faded and a new person strikes your fancy, and a chance to get that A or at least a B in history that was so distant last year is now within reach. And, for some church goers (you know who you are) it’s time to get back in the habit of Wednesday night suppers with an awesome sermon to top off your night and Sunday morning Sunday school and church to start off your week just right! We sure have missed you at church just as some of you have missed my writings in my blog.
Just as God formed and shaped Adam from the dust of the ground and molded him into his perfect creation, God has been doing the same to me this summer. Let’s not forget what he did after he molded his perfect image as my VBS preschoolers say, “He blowed air into him.” Pretty good for a group of 3 and 4 yr olds. If you ask them what God took from Adam after he put him in a deep sleep, you will hear either ‘God took his pillow.’ (Ella) or ‘ God took his ribbon’ (Heather). Such innocent answers. My niece went home one night from VBS, she told her mom that ‘Jesus died on a bunch of sticks!’ By the end of the week, my class could answer all the questions and sing cute songs! By the end of the summer, I was able to understand a bit more than the beginning of the summer as well!
Our ladies Bible study did a bible study on Heaven. Although, I didn’t complete the Bible study with our wonderful ladies, I did still do some of them. Just enough to help me understand that dying is living and as soon as you realize that death isn’t as scary as it once was. Now, I’m not volunteering to die just yet and it will still hurt my heart if I lose someone close to me. I’m human! When John the Baptist was beheaded, Jesus suffered the painful feelings as well.
Matthew 14 v 13: When Jesus heard what happened; he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the town.
How many Moms of small children, or any children if truth be told, can relate to this verse? Jesus had just heard that his close friend (cousin) had just been beheaded and he just wants some privacy! He needs time to compose his self. (This is my words telling the story.) Now, in our daily lives of being a mom, aunt, wife, co-worker, best friend and our list goes on, we might not suffer through something as tragic as what he was going through then but we just might need a little space to compose ourselves or we might explode! Jesus had compassion on them and healed their sick! (Matthew 14 v 14) We had discussed some of this in our Sunday school class on Sunday. My thoughts on it were, Jesus was comforting himself by doing what he loved to do: healing and taking care of others! As a mother of 5 kids, I’m asked a lot on how do you do what you do and still take care of the house, full time job, bus kids from one place to another and still live to talk about it. My answer used to be that I’m a very routine person and my kids know what to expect and what we (my husband & I) expect from them plus, I try not to think about it. Truly, at home my kids see my head spin a couple of times and my eyes pop out of my head. One time of seeing your mom do that and you will listen & obey everything she tells you to do! It’s scary how true that sometimes is!!! But, putting all jokes aside, I suffer through the 21 loads (on a good week) of laundry, the back talk, the constant picking up of children’s belongings, sleepless nights, the mental stress of worrying if I’m really messing up 5 kids lives, soccer practices, ballet, tap & jazz classes, interrupted potty times and being the first one up in the morning so I can enjoy a shower without twin girls asking if I’m behind the shower curtain and the list goes on because I haven’t mentioned my work life just because every time I look at those 5 precious little perfect creations that God has trusted me to take care of, it’s worth it every stretch mark and wink they have caused me! Just think, Jesus looks at us the same way!
My family and I have watched Soul Surfer several times since it came out a few weeks ago. If you haven’t watched it, you really need too! You also need to read the book “Heaven is for Real” if you haven’t already. Anyways, at the end of the movie, Bethany Hamliton is asked if she could take back the day she went surfing and was attacked, would she. Her reply was ‘No, I would not take back what has happened to me. Having one arm is how He uses me. God put me on this earth to serve Him. I’m still happy,” How many of us would answer that question the same?
In the book “Heaven is for Real,” the little boy tells his daddy that he knows who Jesus is in Heaven by the marks on his hands. Jesus is in Heaven where he can get those same marks made by our sins taken away and he still has them. You can ask anyone who knows me on how terrified I am of thunder storms. The other day I had just picked up the twins from daycare and was trying to hurry home to beat the storm because the sky looked really mad! I was a few miles from home when I saw the lighting and felt the thunder. I knew there was no way I was getting out of my van until it was semi-over. I had a full tank of gas and the twins were watching a Dora DVD. I was set! As I slowly drove and watched every bolt of lightning, I thought that maybe that was God’s anger being unleashed on the world. After all, he has been taken out of our schools, the government doesn’t seem to want his help and people just don’t seem to have time for him with their busy schedules; not to mention his one and only son was beat and hung on a cross to pay for our sins. Not his sins, our sins! My oldest son and I watched the ‘Passion of the Christ’ together and he asked out loud while Jesus was being beat with nails and thorns, “Why so bad. Why won’t someone make it stop.” It wasn’t until later on this year that I understood why it was so bad and why no one made it stop. It was so bad because he had to have all of our sins thrown on his innocent human body. Why won’t someone make it stop? Because, he loved us that much to go through all the beatings with nails, leather whips and thorns placed on his head so we would have eternal life in Heaven with him.
My older kids often complain and roll their eyes when I tell them to do their homework or clean their rooms. When I want to surprise them, I’ll clean their room. Instead of a thank you, I will get ‘Well, I didn’t ask you too.’ My comment back is ‘No, you didn’t ask me to but I did it because I loved you.’
I’m by no means comparing a clean room to what Jesus went through for us on that day. But, how often do we wallow in our self pity because we feel unappreciated? Aren’t we so lucky to have a Savior that doesn’t! He even keeps his scars on his hands to remember the love he has for us! How lucky are we?