Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...
July 28, 2008

Outside my Window...
Another sunny, hot day...headed to the triple-digits.

I am thinking...
I'm ready for fall!! :)

I am thankful for...
Friends who are sharing their pool with us this summer!
A week with little on the calendar.
New space in the dining room/school room since the old piano was picked up Saturday!
Lessons God is teaching me about Sovereignty and Surrender.

From the kitchen...
As little as possible these days...with no AC in our kitchen, cooking is not my favorite task these days!

I am wearing...
an apricot tee and white capris.

I am reading...
Still working my way through a whole stack of books. :) Just started this week: A Bend in the Road, by David Jeremiah. More really good reading!!

I am hoping...
For a really productive week this week.
For renewed focus and creativity.

I am hearing...
The whirr of the fan behind me,
an occasional car drive past,
the last few moments of silence before the children awake. :)

Around the house...
Finally caught up on the dishes and almost caught up on laundry...yay!
*Must* get the dining room re-arranged and re-organized so that I can get back to school planning and scrapbooking projects (on which I am behind!)
Books desperately needing to be sorted...another *must do* this week.

One of my favorite things...
Time in the morning to chat with Billy before he goes to work.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Book sorting,
Dining Room re-arranging,
Reading with children,
Catching up on cards and notes I'm woefully behind on,
Catching up on scrapbooking projects I'm *also* woefully behind on,
My desk cleaned off (about the next thing on my list!),
Lesson planning!!!,
And *trying* to stay cool. :)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you..

one of Peter's many recent Lego creations.

Thanks to Peggy for hosting the Simple Woman's Daybook each week!


And yet another....

Incredible post on God's sovereignty and grace here...words of amazing beauty and truth. Grab a tissue or two...

Bombarded by His Sovereignty

Like waves from the sea, sometimes washing in gently, sometimes crashing mightily against the shore...reminders of His sovereignty continue to bombard me. It seems like I need those daily, hourly, and sometimes even minute by minute reminders these days as the battle continues to rage between trust and fear. As long as my eyes are on those glimpses of His sovereignty, His goodness, His love, and His mercy, trust triumphs and peace...however fragile it feels at times...reigns. But the minute my eyes go back to the threatening storm...I feel myself begin the tumble toward the pit.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is thy Faithfulness.
~Lamentations 3:22

Every day, He is faithful to send new reminders...scripture, books, songs, even blogs...that He is in control, that nothing that comes to us can come without first passing through His hand, and that He *is* working for our good and for His glory. I am so thankful for that.

Yesterday I meandered over to the blog of an online friend...and quickly realized that my "meandering" had been no accident, but God's direction. As I read, I felt something I've felt a time or two before in reading a book, a blog, etc....a feeling that, despite the fact that we have never met, we've been students in the same class: "The Sovereignty of God 101". Julie's blog, In Light of Eternity, has in and of itself already been a tremendous encouragement to me. Her post There are no Accidents is an absolute must-read. She says, "Contemplating the Sovereignty of God is an amazing exercise." I agree, and I so identify with her thoughts on "a sideline God".

While perusing her blog, I came across a link she had posted to this article on Adversity. The article is actually a sample chapter from the book, When Grace Comes Home, by Terry L. Johnson, which has now been added to my "Want to Read" list. In the meantime, the sample chapter is excellent. He says so well what God has been teaching me lately. Instead of asking "Why is there suffering?", we should be asking, "Why is there blessing?" (he uses the words pain and pleasure.) I *love* this quote...

"Only when we understand that God has ordained our suffering can we begin to make sense of it. Only then can we be certain that He has a purpose in it.
When tragedy comes, when adversity strikes, we will not be shaken.
Yes, we will cry. Yes, we will grieve.
But we will move on confidently
knowing that God is on His throne,
that we are in His hand,
that our circumstances are His doing,
and He is working them for our good."
~Terry L. Johnson

And in some sort of "link to link" exercise, I traveled from Julie's blog to Annemarie's The Days Fashioned For Me. I look forward to reading more there, but right now I am pondering her post To Lie or To Tell the Truth. Ouch. I think there are certainly times when answering with the ever-expected "Fine" is, well, fine. They're being polite, we're being polite, and all is...fine. But then there are those times when we know someone is asking the deeper question, and our answer is not motivated by courtesy, but rooted in pride. She suggests that in those times, we are actually stealing the glory of God. OUCH, again. Quote for thought:

"That's right. Go ahead, steal God's glory.

What?!? Yep, it's by far easier to fake it, than admit that we are only existing by the sheer grace of God. When does God get glory in our life? When we suffer and yet praise Him. Therefore I ask, can He get glory if we don't admit that we suffer?"
~Annemarie, The Days Fashioned for Me

Am I thankful right now for the underlying circumstances God is using as our classroom in the School of Suffering and Sovereignty? To be honest, no. I'm not there yet. But...am I thankful for the lessons He is teaching us through those circumstances...lessons I know could not have been learned any other way? Definitely yes. Through the storm clouds, He has graced us with glimpses of His sovereignty that are beyond amazing. For those glimpses, I am thankful.

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Blast from the Past....

I've been cleaning out/re-organizing the dining/school/scrapbook room, and running across all kinds of interesting things in the process. I couldn't resist making this my Facebook profile picture for a while...it's my all-time favorite picture of Tauna and I (from a *million* years ago...well, okay, maybe not quite 20 ;-)) It's actually one of those giant buttons from a mall photo booth...too funny. (Okay...T, I suddenly had a thought here...was this from the same mall outing as the infamous Lerner's trip?? The white blouse one?? Hmmm. I'm trying to remember what year it's from and I can't even do that. *rolling eyes*)

It took Tauna less than an hour to find it and snag it for *her* profile pic...so now we have matching avatars. :-D It's almost like being back in high school! ;-) I suppose it's fitting...I have been in a bit of a nostalgic mood this week. I'm not sure if it's getting in touch with some old friends through our blogs and Facebook, playing Scramble online with Tauna (we used to play strategy/word games together years ago...often with my dad :)), or just life in general right now, but I've pondered life *then* and *now* and all that has happened in between more than usual.

Btw...if you haven't already this week, you *must* go to Tauna's blog. Now. Well...actually, grab a drink and get comfortable, and *then* go to her blog. She is posting her Haiti journal and pictures, and they are absolutely awesome. Great photos, narrative that will make you feel like you are *right there*, and such a great testimony of God's work there. Incredible stuff.


Good Answer...

It's been one of those weeks. You know, the ones when it seems that no one is aging but *you*? Yeah...one of those.

It all started when an old friend from "back home" posted about a visit with several ladies I've known most of my life. They were teachers and mentors during my growing up years, and had children close to my age. After looking at their pictures, I left a comment to the effect of "How come I am the only one who looks any older after all these years??"

Then another old friend...who was a couple of years ahead of me in school...found my blog and commented on it. I in turn went to her blog...and discovered that she still looks just like she did the last time I saw her...which was probably 15 years ago...or longer.

Then my friend T posted a new avatar picture on Facebook. My first thought when I saw it was, "She looks just like she did in college!"

Now...let me just say, for those who don't know already...no one is *ever* going to see a picture of me now and think I look anything remotely like what I looked like 15 years ago.

So today I was on T's Facebook page, and Emlyn wandered by...

"Mom, who is that?"

"That's Ta-Ta."

"Ta-Ta?????" (Eyes as big as saucers.)

Yes, Ta-Ta. Why?"

(Long pause.) "Ummm.....I thought Ta-Ta was OLD."

(Feeling a bit like Eyeore...) "Well, she is about a year older than I am...so is that *old*?"

(Long, thoughtful pause.) "Uhhh....No."

We may need to have a lesson on honesty tomorrow, but she's doing pretty well with tact and self-preservation today. :-D

Simple Woman's Daybook

July 16, 2008

Outside My Window...
sunshine, birds singing, trees rustling in a bit of breeze

I am thinking...
of decisions that need to be made this week,
of plans for school and schedule for the coming year,
of ways to add beauty and comfort to our home,
of how to add simple fun to every day

I am thankful for...
my husband,
my children,
my parents and extended family,
my friends,
and most of all, that God is good, all the time.

From the kitchen...
homemade waffles :)

I am wearing...
red striped shirt and navy shorts

I am creating...
re-focusing on creating a Haven at home for my family,
creating plans for more order, productivity, and beauty for the coming year,
digging (back) into some major scrapbooking projects

I am going...
to do some major purging this week,
to get caught up on reading with the kids,
to get birthday/thank you/other cards finished and in the mail!!

I am reading...
The Beautiful Ache, by Leigh McLeroy
Hidden Art, by Edith Schaeffer
Educating the WholeHearted Child, by Clay and Sally Clarkson
Dearest Friend, the Life of Abigail Adams

I am hoping...
that the finger I burned making waffles feels better by church time tonight!

I am hearing...
"The Power of the Cross", sung by Calling Levi
Sounds of happy children playing

Around the house...
Finally decided on paint colors for living room bookcases, etc....now I need to get busy painting!
Serious decluttering this week
"One beautiful thing every day."

One of my favorite things...
Sweet pictures and cards from my children
Hearing from old friends
(Okay, I know, that's two ;-))

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
A quiet week, I hope...
A trip to the library
Two week shopping trip end of week
Simple fun, lots of reading, cleaning, and decluttering
A fun outside surprise for the kids later in the week. :)

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Jello tastes so much better in pretty glass dessert cups! ;-)

And Yahtzee is way more fun with Mickey Mouse Ears dice!

For more of the Simple Woman's Daybook, visit Peggy at The Simple Woman.


Bless the Lord...

"Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me, Bless His holy Name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me, Bless His holy Name.

He has done great things,
He has done great things,
He has done great things,
Bless His holy Name."
~Andre Crouch

Once again tonight, the song said exactly what I was feeling. We were sitting behind my brother-in-law, who was waiting to give his testimony tonight. Sitting in front of him was a couple who have been friends of ours for a long time, but whom we hadn't seen in forever. He was a dear friend of my dad's, who sat with Daddy for hours during his last few months, reading the Bible, praying, talking, or just sitting. Although none of us knew the connection until tonight, he and Tim had become friends recently...he has been praying with and encouraging Tim, and he and his wife came to church tonight to support Tim as he shared his testimony. It was wonderful to visit with them...they are such special blessings to us!

Tim's testimony, although I had heard/read most of it before, brought tears to my eyes again. Most of what he said can be read here and here. I had never heard Tim speak to a group before and was amazed at how smoothly and naturally he spoke; I knew he was nervous, but had he not said so, I would never have imagined he was. As always these days, his love for the Lord and his concern for the lost were exciting and convicting. So many (including me) have said lately, "Tim is so on fire for the Lord," and I am more and more convicted that that is how we all should be...and I am not there.

Tim, Shelly, and Brianna are such a blessing to us...I am so thankful to call them family!

What a blessing today has been...I'm going to remember that the next time I'm tempted to stay in bed and pull the blanket over my head on Sunday morning!! (See details on that here. :))

I am continually amazed...

at the awesomeness of God. Even in the darkest of times, even in the worst of trials. Or maybe...especially in those times. Perhaps those are the times when we stop and see what is there in front of us all the time.

This weekend has been one of those spiritual and emotional rollercoaster times. Just when we thought things were calming down, life was going to get back to normal, and we could begin to breathe again...we were slammed with another wave of a storm we thought was past. My first reaction...unbelievably....was incredible peace. A firm assurance that no matter what happens from here, God is answering a prayer that has been a continual burden this past week. My second reaction...much more believable...was cold, stark fear. The two have warred...hour by hour and sometimes minute by minute...all weekend long. Complete peace that God is about to once again show an amazing new view of His incredible glory one minute...fighting symptoms of a panic attack the next. I spent a good part of one day completely unable to even talk on the phone...even to my closest friends (which anyone who knows me well knows is an absolute *first*!!)

It shouldn't amaze me, but it still does...how with all the billions of people on the earth (and even the hundred-however-many at church), God in His sovereignty and love places just the words and music that I need in my path at these times.

As fear was waging an all-out war against peace the other night, I pulled out The Beautiful Ache, by Leigh McLeroy, and re-read the words I blogged about here. I began to think of the songs that He has put in my mind all week (especially this one). He began to remind me of Scripture promises He has shown to be true time and time again. He sent friends who knowingly and unknowingly encouraged and comforted and distracted me...whether it was showing up with an armload of goodies (and supper!), sending a card that arrived at just the right time, or providing an opportunity for some much-needed family fun.

I didn't want to go to church this morning. I told Billy yesterday that if it weren't for the fact that I had to fill in for Kathy today while she is on vacation, I would have stayed home in bed (especially after being awake until almost 3 a.m.!) But as usual on the days that it is hardest to get there, God blessed me the most.

Our choir special this morning was "How Can I Keep From Singing?" As we sang these words...

There is an endless song, echoes in my soul,
and I hear the music ring.
And tho' the storms may come, I am holding on,
and to the rock I cling.

God reminded me that He has been our Rock through all the storms of the past few years, and He has shown Himself mightier than any storm that has come. And He has always...ALWAYS...given a song in the storm.

I missed the beginning of the sermon due to nursery issues, and started not to even get my notebook out to take notes. By the time I'd heard one sentence, I was pulling out my notebook and frantically digging a pen out of my purse.

I have to preface this by saying that Bro. Kent has been at Oak Cliff now for just over 3 years, and almost that entire time, he has been preaching verse-by-verse through the book of John on Sunday mornings. And...we are only to chapter 16. :-) I am a definite believer in expository preaching, but I think had anyone told me 3 years ago that it would take us 3 years to cover 16 chapters I would have been a bit scared. :-)

But not only have I gotten a great deal out of the individual sermons Bro. Kent has preached from the book of John each week, the overall process has given me a whole new sense of awe for the sovereignty of God and the power of His Word. I memorized Hebrews 4:12 as a child (For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any double-edged sword...), but this time in the book of John has made that come alive to me. No matter what is going on in my life from week to week, God meets my need and encourages and convicts and corrects from Bro. Kent's teaching from that week's passage.

This week was no exception.

From my notes (I think this was John 16:29-33...since I missed the beginning I'm not totally sure):

God didn't promise that we would have no trials. He promised peace in the midst of them, because we have a very big, omnipotent God. This is not a that comes through a denial of our circumstances, but a *real* and *living* peace.

Faith must include believing in the Word of Jesus. They (disciples) were affirming/taking Him at His word. They didn't necessarily understand it all...just believed it because He said it. Their faith involved belief that Jesus Christ is All-Sufficient.

We need to understand that our faith has some very real limitations. They had no clue...no idea...what was coming. They thought they could handle anything! Jesus checks them..."So, you think you believe? Don't be so sure of yourself and so confident. You won't be able to stand up in your own strength." Our confidence does not rest in our own strength, but in the Father...just as Jesus's did on the cross. There is coming a trial that will shake you to your very foundations. Your faith...on your own...is not able to stand up under it. It will be completely shaken.

God brings peace *in the midst of* tribulation. He *assures* us that there *will* be trials and suffering, but along with that, He assures us of *peace* through *His strength* in it. He has overcome the world!

He will give courage. Courage does NOT mean we will not be afraid. It means we will look beyond our present crisis to something better on the other side...Hope. It is hope and trust in Him in the midst of the fear.

Our peace comes because we know that He is sovereign...He is in control of *everything*. There is NOTHING that can come into our lives that has not passed through His hands. And we are to count it all joy. We can face the storms with a sense of confidence and peace *even in our anguish*. Romans 8:28

Peace and Joy go hand in hand. When we are going through a trial and we do *not* have peace, we have taken our eyes off Jesus.

I should have prefaced that with an apology, as those are my rough notes almost exactly as I hurriedly scribbled them as I tried to keep up this morning. :) Hopefully, the meaning comes through.

I realized this morning that that is exactly where we are now. We have gone through a number of storms in our lives...especially in the past few years. When we faced possibly losing Ammah Grace...and then the very real probability of brain damage...and then when my dad's health spiraled downhill later that year and he passed away right before Christmas...I thought we had been through the worst we could possibly go through. And they were hard...horribly hard. I felt fear like I had never felt before during those 6 awful weeks with Ammah Grace. I felt anguish like I had never felt before at being separated from my husband and other children during much of that time. I experienced grief and depression like I had never experienced before during my dad's last illness and death, and in the eighteen months afterward. But through it all, I very rarely even questioned God...I had bad days (lots), I struggled (tremendously), but there was no deep, shaking crisis of faith. We prayed like we had never prayed before, we clung to His promises and lived the truth of His Word as never before, and we saw Him work in ways we could never have imagined.

I realized this morning, that coming out of all of that, I really felt like my faith was strong and secure. We had gone through the fire, and we had come out singed but whole, and with much purification and growth having taken place. But as Bro. Kent said this morning, we had no idea what was about to hit us. We had no idea that we hadn't seen *anything* yet. I had no idea that my faith...which had always just innocently trusted that God was going to take care of everying and everything was going to be fine...was about to be shaken to its very core. I had no idea that for the first time in my life, I was going to question the very goodness and love of God, and the very truth of His Word.

The last two years have been, as I've said often, the hardest I could ever have imagined, in many ways. I have asked questions I never thought I would ask, and I have had doubts I would have scoffed at before. There have been days when I literally could not open my Bible without getting sick at my stomach. There have been times when I have been completely unable to pray...and frankly, I didn't want to and didn't care. But thankfully, because of His goodness and love, those times were overwhelmed by times when I saw His glory as never before. Times when I experienced His love in ways I had never experienced it before. Times when His Word was more precious than it had ever been.

As we stand on the brink of what may become another hurricane-force storm, I am so thankful to have been reminded of these things this morning:

Now I will lift my eyes in the darkest night,
for I know my Savior lives.
And I will walk with You, knowing You'll see me through,
and sing the songs You give.
How can I keep from singing your praise?
How can I ever say enough?
How amazing is your love.
How can I keep from shouting your name?
I know I am loved by the King,
and it makes my heart want to sing.
~from "How Can I Keep From Singing?",
by Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and Ed Cash

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart!
I have overcome the world. "
~John 16:33

ETA: I have tried and tried to correct the spacing on this post. After the first centered quote, I canNOT get Blogger to double-space between paragraphs no matter what I do. It looks fine until I hit publish, and then it moves it all. Grrrrr! I'll try again to fix it later...for now, time to get ready for church again. :) In the meantime, I am sorry for the reading difficulty!

Sunday Morning Visitor

Last Sunday morning, as we were about to leave for church, we discovered this in the top of our front hedge...
See him? (Her? It? :-))
We weren't sure if it was just playing possum, or if it was really stuck, but since it was so small, Billy decided to help it down...
(A-child-who-shall-remain-nameless has misplaced one of Billy's gloves--hence the oven mitt! :))
Isn't it cute?

Billy put it under the hedge in the shade, and when we got home, it was gone. We are hoping it found it's mama and went home.

Wet and Wonderful

Mamoe's neighbors, Bob and Wanda (aka "The Best Neighbors in the World"...a title earned years ago when Granny Kitty and Papaw were still living there), invited us to come use their pool yesterday. The kids had not been swimming since camp, so this was a HUGE treat. Billy, the former water safety instructor/lifeguard, is teaching them all to swim. They had a *wonderful* time and did *not* want to go home. We've entered the really *ugly* heat of an Arkansas summer (for those who don't know...I am NOT a summer person ;-)), and the pool and Bob and Wanda's beautifully shaded yard were a perfect combination.


Finally pierced!!

I was in my mid-20s before I got my ears pierced...it was just one of those things I was in no hurry to do, and I probably would not have had it done then, had I not been desperate to cheer up my friend T, who was going through a really difficult time, and who had been insisting for years that I *really* needed to get my ears pierced so that she could buy me earrings. ;-)

So...I was not prepared for my oldest daughter to start asking "When can I get my ears pierced?" before grade school. Billy and I decided ten sounded like a good age for that milestone, so that became the answer..."when you are ten."

Then her friend Kaitlyn got her ears pierced when she turned 9 in December, and suddenly 10 seemed like an eternity...particularly because Bay's August birthday would put her waiting *over* a year and a half.

So...Billy and I discussed it and decided ten was pretty arbitrary anyway, so we would let her have hers done for her 9th birthday. She was in raptures...well, when she wasn't thinking about how far away her birthday was!

A month or so ago, Bay came to me with an appeal. People were already talking about getting her earrings for her birthday, and if she didn't get her ears pierced *until* her birthday, she wouldn't be able to *wear* all those new earrings until 6 weeks *after* her birthday.

Hmm. I had to admit it made sense. So we made plans to take Kaitlyn with us and go the first week in July. We would go have her ears pierced and go get ice cream.

One day as Kathy and I were planning, we decided that Kathy could go along, too...and the four of us would have dinner before, rather than ice cream after.

Then Billy started talking about putt-putt. The same night as we were planning the Great Ear Piercing Adventure. The four of us girls discussed it and decided "the more the merrier".

So...all ten of us--moms, dads, big girls, little girls, and the boys--ended up meeting for dinner, heading to the mall for the Main Event, and then playing putt-putt afterward. It was quite an evening. Philly even joined us for putt-putt (and beat everyone, if I remember correctly!)

The girls posing before the ear piercing...

Bay anxiously waiting in the chair...
All done! (And she did really well. Both times, she let out a barely audible, "ouch". :))Bayley and Kaitlyn.
The guys. Serious business here...;-)
Peter relaxing. It was HOT.
And a good time was had by all (well, most of us, anyway. The dads were good sports and put up with it all, as usual! :))


Simple Woman's Daybook

July 7, 2008

Outside my Window...
sunny, hot, and humid.
I am thinking...
about the goodness of God in taking a week that promised to be very difficult (and certainly started out that way), and blessing and encouraging me immensely in it.
Special blessings...
a precious email from Leigh McLeroy after I posted about her book,
relaxing and fun family time and time with family friends,
a few hours to scrapbook with a friend,
and the highlight of our week...the baptisms of my BIL and niece yesterday.
I am thankful for...
my husband, who puts up with me even in the bad weeks...when I am grumpy, stressed, physically exhausted/hurting, and *not* a good help-meet at all...and who loves and supports me regardless. I am very blessed.
From the kitchen...
chocolate chip cookies...yumm.
For supper...maybe chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes?
I am creating...
plans for the rest of the summer and fall.
Scrapbook pages...a few this weekend and hopefully more this week!
a more organized and beautiful home as we (slowly) declutter and beautify.
I am going...
to be home all day today!
to be diligent in working through my *list* today.
to settle in on the sofa and read to the kidlets after lunch.
I am reading...
creative blogs, for inspiration!
continuing through The Beautiful Ache, by Leigh McLeroy...an amazing book.
I am hoping...
for a peaceful week, and no crises as we enter into perhaps the first extended period of *normalcy* we've had in years.
And praying for safe travel as two friends return from their travels and another leaves later this week.
I am hearing...
"Trust His Heart", sung by Babbie Mason...my theme song from last week!...transitioning into "The Power of the Cross", sung by Calling Levi (another of my favorite songs, sung by a group I hadn't heard of until last week, but which I am really enjoying.)
Around the house...
working toward order and beauty on the *inside*, as Billy works toward it on the *outside*...painting trim and clearing out our fallen-down ancient garage.
One of my favorite things...
beautiful music that God sends at *just the right time*.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Lots of reading with the kids,
lots of work on the house,
lots of creative pursuits, with the kids, for the house, and *just because*,
lots of planning time,
and some quiet evenings with Billy watching movies and recuperating from some crazy weeks lately. :)
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

My brother-in-law being baptized yesterday. Not the best photo...I ended up in the choir loft without any tissue...so my pictures turned out a bit blurry. ;-) The baptism was beautiful...Bro. Kent baptized Tim, and then Tim baptized his daughter, Brianna. Tim has posted the video Shelly took on his blog...it's worth watching!

Visit Peggy for more on the Simple Woman's Daybook!


Trust His Heart

Trust His Heart

All things work for our good
though sometimes we can't see how they could
struggles that break our hearts in two
sometimes blind us to the truth

Our Father knows what's best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim, and you just can't see Him
Remember you're never alone

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His heart

He sees the master plan
And He holds our future in His hands
So don't live as those who have no hope
All our hope is found in Him

We see the present clearly
But He sees the first and the last
And like a tapestry He's weaving you and me to someday be just like Him

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand
Trust His heart

He alone is faithful and true
He alone knows what is best for you
So when you don't understand
When you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand trust His heart

~Babbie Mason and Eddie Carswell

This song has been a favorite of mine for years, and yesterday on the way home from an extremely difficult morning, the chorus began to run through my head, over and over. I found myself humming it all day and evening. This morning when I woke up, it was still playing in my mind.

Yesterday did not go as I had hoped and prayed. In some ways, it was not nearly as bad as it could have been, but in some ways, it was much worse than I expected. It didn't help that my perspective was very different than that of many other people involved...people whom I care about very much, but who either aren't aware of "the story behind the story" or who are aware, but don't see it through the same eyes we do. The complicated mix of emotions was stirred even more by unsuspecting words on the part of others...I felt as though I were swallowing ground glass as I sat and listened to people describe a version of the situation that was far, far from the truth...and knowing that, at least for the moment, I was powerless to do anything about it.

But...God is still God. He is still good. He is still sovereign and sufficient to meet every need. There has been much in the past two years that I have not understood about God's plan and His work in our lives. And as I told a friend yesterday, "The fact that I don't understand this is no different than all the other things I haven't understood in the past two years." I reminded Billy this morning that two years ago today, on what would turn out to be the worst day of my life before or since, I would *never* have been able to imagine the ways that God has worked in this situation. Yesterday's outcome...although not exactly what I would have chosen...was nothing less than a miracle, considering the bleak outlook from two years ago.

The day for which we waited for almost 18 months has come and gone. I suppose in some respects there has now been some *closure*, although the scars will linger forever, and it will never truly be *over*. I am thankful for an opportunity to begin moving toward a *new normal* in our lives, without the cloud of *waiting* hanging over our heads with every step we take. I am most of all thankful for the lessons God has taught us...and is still teaching us...through all of this...about His love, His goodness, His grace and mercy, and His sovereignty.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:21-26