Tag Archives: trusting God in the blessings and the trials in life

Future Winds

Quite frankly, I have not seen anything like the winds we encountered here yesterday. At least not in the winter, or since moving. It was like watching a National Geographic special on PBS about Antarctica–the winds thrusting the snow all around in fierce fashion. It was pretty insane.

Growing up, it was just a known fact: spring meant wind. And with high drought, and living among potato fields, this meant a lot of dirt, sometimes dirt devils too. Oh, and did I mention that we lived an hour from The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Reserve? From where we lived, the dunes made a tiny gold outline against the San Juan mountains. But entering the park, the dunes are a mass of towering hills of sand. When the wind started to blow, whether you were climbing the peaks or not, often the hot sand would swipe and tingle your arms or legs–not the greatest feeling, but rolling down the dunes was always worth strenuous upward trek.

There are several other notable times when strong winds were evident. Once, during VBS, I was leading the Sing and Play at the end of the day, before our youth pastor took over with the concluding end lesson. The wind that day was so powerful it knocked the power out of most of the town–so there we were…around close to 200 in the sanctuary with no lights, microphones, nothing. Of course most of the kids think it’s great and thankfully it didn’t scare the little ones too bad. I got some help on stage in the vocal area, and we sang a capella before Josh took over–he didn’t need a microphone anyway. On our way home, we passed by a grove of huge trees; one had simply snapped like a twig under the wind.

The summer of 2009, I moved to Denver as that Fall semester would be my last of college days. Between part-time work and volunteering once a week with the street church kids, I was finishing the last of my Gen-Ed courses online (which I enjoyed and should have taken more advantage of earlier…but no regrets.) Me and a few roommates from school rented an apartment a few blocks from campus. We didn’t have internet set, so it was my routine to swing by campus on my way home from work to submit assignments or fill in my two-cents of discussion in the forums.

I had permission from the security office to stay later than when the computer labs closed and often they came around to check on me, which I appreciated very much. One night, it was stormy but I had to submit a paper by midnight. I text my roommate that I would be coming in late so if she was going to bed, don’t bother leaving a light on for me. I get to work and being at the bottom of a drafty stairwell, don’t think much about the wind and rain, until I glance out the window and see massive hail balls pelting my car and the cement. My phone starts vibrating and I start receiving all these texts from my roommates telling me to stay put–the tornado siren had just been heard. Not by me.

I still had my paper to finish, so I moved a chair to the middle hallway’s door and sat under the frame structure. I figured that was the best I could do and continued to type. I submitted my paper by 11:58pm. Barely made it! I was surprised that I even had a car when I went outside; I had parked under the biggest tree on campus which had lost many large branches in the wind. I drove back to my apartment with only a few dents on my hood and minor cracks in my windshield.

Last night I watched a few old episodes of 19 Kids and Counting on Netflix with Mom. One episode we watched was when the Duggars announced their exciting news of expecting another child, but at 18-weeks, Michelle (mom) has a miscarriage. A very heart-breaking episode to watch. As Michelle talked with tearful eyes about their time of mourning and grieving the loss–she also that they would see their little girl again someday in heaven. They were given peace.

One comment that Michelle said stayed with me. I woke this morning deciding that yesterday’s wind was a bit parallel to what she discussed. She simply mentions that if we were given the ability to see into our future, we most likely wouldn’t want to face it, at least not the hardships. So I thought about my own life–if I saw my future ten years ago to what I am now, I wouldn’t (then) want to face this…all the changes the disease has caused. And I can say now that I don’t want to see my future, as much as I have tried to plan my course in the past.

The future is like the wind–invisible; yet I am certain there will be winds of pain and sorrow, but also joy, hope and peace.

Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may beperfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

James 1:2-6, ESV

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“Awaiting a Cup of Coffee” and other ramblings…

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It’s like waiting for a cup of coffee.

And while I feel like I sit around waiting for the brew button to shut off, I am finding that the cup of coffee comes with preparation. I wake in the morning and come to the kitchen. Lights turn on and the cupboard to the stash opens. I place in the filter and measure the fine grind coffee, often adding an extra pinch for a strong cup. I add water, push the start button and watch the coffee begin. The smell enters my nose. I get excited as I pull out a mug, the creamers, the spoon to stir. Then I wait.

Most days, I feel like I too am just sitting around waiting for the signal to turn off so I can grab my cup and go. Do something meaningful, something big. But God is showing me that while I wait for His timing on a job, there is work to do. There is preparation. I need to let go of my expectations, impatience, doubts that form in my limitations.

Then it happened. This morning the light came on and the door to my heart opened. I filtered my thoughts and measured the cost of saying “Yes, I will wait for the Lord.”  I added in His promises and watched the day begin. And in seeking Him, the sweet aroma of peace started to fill my body.

And I wait.

Psalm 40:1-5, 16-17 ESV

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told…

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!” As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!

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Book review: The Vow

I’ve never done a book review before, only book reports or research papers–but never an official “review” per say. Though I have mentioned book summaries on here before, such as Kathy Van Riper’s A Race Worth Running, I am not sure of what a book review entitles. Which is a pity, only because I never give reviews on Goodreads or other websites like Barnes and Nobles about what books I just completed or struggled through; how spectacular (or not so spectacular) a certain read is. Of course, it is all humble opinion. You have heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I like to add, “Or its title; or its book review.” 🙂

Over this weekend, I had the chance to read The Vow by Kim and Krickett Carpenter. For all the books I have on my list of “to-read” or “currently reading,” this has never been one. In fact, I had never even heard of the Carpenter’s story, until the movie based on the true events hit theatres last year. Completely forgetting about it, I get a text from my friend a few months ago who asked me if I had read the book. “Is that a Nicholas Sparks book?”, I text back. Shame, I know–but the title just sounded like something that he could have penned. She responded back and told me a brief synopsis of the book and then brought up the movie. “Oh, I know which one you are talking about!” Like a lightbulb came on. She was just finishing the book and sent me her copy to read for myself. And I am glad I did!

The Carpenter’s story of life, faith through every circumstance and love challenged me from the moment I started the first chapter. As I moved from the opening chapter titled “Boy Meets Girl”–a fun, heart warming reminder of the early 1990’s dating scene: late night phone calls using a land-line phone resulting in huge monthly phone bills, handwritten letters and commuting back and forth to see each other (in the Carpenter’s case, they had a long distance relationship)–I found myself in tears as I started the next. In no way could I imagine the pain endured of what happened two months after their wedding.

Kim and Krickett had just come off a “mountain top” experience: within eight weeks of meeting, they were in love and planning a wedding. Starting life together, they did not imagine that a fatal car accident would leave Krickett with serious head injuries and in a coma for weeks. She suffered short-term memory loss of everything that they just had lived a few months prior. She did not–and to this day–ever regained memory of meeting Kim, dating him, or getting married to him.

As I continued reading, I was greatly encouraged by the Carpenter’s faith. The book is written mostly from Kim’s point of view and I completely appreciate his honesty about his faith during those trials. Krickett’s faith–even though she suffered brain damage, memory loss, loss of all other function/skills…went through extensive physical, occupational, and speech rehabilitation–still talked about her faith like a solid rock. Personally, I related to the kind of faith Kim endured during those months–trying to do it on my own, forgetting that God holds the bigger picture and cares deeply about every detail in our lives. He promises never to leave us…but that is so easy to forget during the darkest hours.

Doctors did not expect Krickett to make it to the hospital alive, seeing as she had been trapped in the car for more than a half hour, unconscious and bleeding. Doctors did not expect Krickett to make it on the hour flight-for-life helicopter ride from Gallup, NM to Albuquerque. They did not expect her to live through the first full day; the first week; make it to rehabilitation; recover in physical aspects as well as she did (of course, she had been an All-American gymnast in college.) After seven months since the accident, Krickett and Kim found themselves against the odds and literally starting a new life together. After seeking help, the Carpenter’s started to date again, even though they were married. Krickett needed the new memories as the old wasn’t to be found. After a season of “re-falling in love,” they had a renew of vows ceremony. The rest goes from there.

In the last chapter, Kim writes,

Although Krickett has never gained any memory of meeting, dating. or marrying me (the first time), our life today could not be greater. After all we have been through enduring the trials and tribulations that have confronted us, we know that there will be more to come. That’s just how life works. But we have a great sense of appreciation and thankfulness for what God has given us. We have been truly blessed. (175)

As I neared the end of the book, I thought to myself, “I am not even married and this shows what true love and seeking God with our whole lives is about.” Then I thought how I can tend to focus on the past, but there is no need for that…instead seeking to live out for today to the best of my ability. Of course, it will be a habit I need to work on. Like today, Mom and I went to swing at the park. I told her in the car how I used to walk everyday after class at CCU to the local park and swing for a half hour or so, then walk back. Then I added, “I can’t do that anymore.” Then I went on to say how my body is not the same as it was last year around this time, or even from Thanksgiving, to just a month ago. I do not think of my body being on a downward spiral, but when I look at the bigger picture…most often that is what I see–until I remember (or am humbly reminded) of all that I have been blessed with even in the darkest hours.

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

Job 23:10

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies