Friday, December 31, 2010

Oh Gina!

It was the worst week of one of the worst years in my life and it just happened to be Christmas. We got to church early and sat in the third row. I like to sit up close because I'm a people watcher by nature and I try to not be distracted by this habit in church. I was not in a good mood. I was exhausted emotionally and hurting. I tried to remind myself about the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Then a very large couple came and sat down directly in front of me. They smelled bad and were covered in cat hair. Inside I began to feel angrier and more frustrated.

When the music started I could only listen. Sometimes we sing to worship and other times we listen to be ministered to. I needed ministering to. I could not imagine what could possibly rouse me from my self pity, after all it was a Christmas Eve service and I pretty much knew what to expect.

When our pastor began talking he started sharing stories about people in his life who had lost hope and how God worked in their lives to bring them hope abundantly. I had one of those moments where I was sure my face would show up on the screen with the words "Gina, this is for you".

He shared about his son who is in law school and really wanted to find a good Christian woman but in the setting he was in, that was almost an impossibility. He shared about a woman on staff who had tried everything to have a child and had been waiting and waiting to adopt. He showed a beautiful video from only days previous when his son propossed to the girl of his dreams. Then there was another video showing the staff person and her husband who only 2 weeks ago had been blessed with a child through adoption. Slowly I began to forget about the smell in front of me and I stopped noticing the cat hair.

"Lord that's what I need, Hope". God is doing a work in myself and in my family. God has a plan for us and it's a great plan. Right now we are experiencing the pain that often accompanies growth.
1 Corinthians 2:9 “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him.

Often times when we are hurting, we can lose sight of the future and the fact that growth takes time and is by no means easy. I don't know what things God has prepared for my family, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loves us enough to be building character in each of us.

I can't recall being more excited to ring in the new year than I am this year! It will go down in history as one of the most difficult years we've had as a family. I was thinking of this verse in 2 Corinthians and it pretty much describes how this year has been.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 2 Corinthians 4 7-11

I love how the last 2 verses give hope. Hope is what I need and I know that my greatest hope is in Jesus. At this point I feel hard pressed on every side and struck down but look at the promise He makes not to crush us or destroy us!

I know that I can trust in the goodness of God and in his perfect timing.

As for the couple sitting in front of us, He raised his hand during the invitation and the woman he was with wept openly. I don't know their story but I repent for my attitude and judgement and I bet God was shaking his head at me and laughing in an "Oh Gina!" kind of way because He knows I am a work in progress.

M.I.A.

I have been missing in action these past few weeks.  I treveled a bit with my husband to beautiful New York City and most recently to a resort in Northern Minnesota for some much needed relaxation and family fun.
My 5 year relationship with my Mac laptop has ended due to it's demise. I hardly know what to do with myself. My mind is full of stories to write and I simply can't do it on any computer but my own. My husband says I'm becoming quirkier in my older age and I suppose this is one example.
I will be back soon and I have a lot to say.
I hope your Christmas was happy and safe!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Winner!

Congratulations to Sarah Schwartz, winner of The Rusted Chain gift certificate!  Thanks to all who entered.