Some things I’ve learned while raking leaves
So in the two hours it took me to rake the entire front lawn (not bad timing if you ask me), I learned a lot.
I learned that:
-maybe I should have found my own gloves before taking on such a project instead of borrowing Justin’s bigger and non-insulated gloves
-maybe I should have started at the farthest point and worked towards the road
-maybe I should have worn my “play shoes” instead of my new ones (oops)
-maybe I should have gotten my painting jeans and wore them instead of my good ones (oops again)
-maybe I shouldn’t have worn one of my nice jackets
-a tarp is always your friend instead of doing half of it with just a rake
-aleve will be needed for the next few days
-I should know better than to think that I would “just do a little bit” of raking
-I’m way too much of a neat freak to rake leaves
-the wind is not my friend
-leaves are heavy when wet
-it’s a good time while raking to talk to God. (I had to ask Him to calm the wind and keep the snow away until I finished).
-God is so awesome to know every one of the hairs on our heads because I lost count of the leaves I was raking at 20 jabillionzillion.
-I still have ab muscles somewhere under the “winter protective layer”
-snow shovels are surprisingly helpful
On another note…God answered my prayer with a yes and kept the wind pretty calm and once I entered the garage when all finished I literally turned around to shut the garage door and the snow was pouring down. Awesome huh?
It’s for a God Cause
Yes, I did mean to title this “…God Cause” instead of “Good Cause”. It’s that time of year when chaos breaks out at the mere thought of what to buy every single person you know for Christmas. Justin and I like to find somewhere like Samaritan’s purse and donate money in our loved ones’ names as a gift because let’s face it, we are all so fortunate and even the “poorest” of us have way more than we need. I want to encourage you this season to think of the most important things. One of them being “love your neighbor as yourself”. Give the gifts worth giving. I know Justin and I would LOVE for anyone to donate money or things to others in need over a present for ourselves.
Now with that said. If you are looking for a great “God Cause” to donate to this season, I just happened to know of one. Our former church Crestview Baptist Church in Shelby, NC is sending a team over Christmas (they are leaving their own families on Christmas morning) to Moscow, Russia for a mission trip. Justin and I have had the awesome privelege to go on three mission trips with them and have watched a church form and grow from nothing in an area with millions of people. They are lacking about $3,000 for the trip. I know that God will provide for them for they are doing His work, but maybe you are one of the pathways He plans on using. Your money will go much farther providing for this mission trip to lead people to Christ than in Toys R Us or Best Buy this season. This would be a life changing gift for someone.
If you would like to donate (please pray about this) here is the info:
Crestview Baptist Church
1090 Old Boiling Springs Rd
Shelby, NC 28152
Or if you want…just leave a comment here that you are interested and I will contact you individually. Thank you for your donation and the blessing you are willing to give to those you don’t even know.
18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Praising God ALL the time
So I had myself a mini cry fest on the way home from Journey tonight. I was listening to a CD mix I had made awhile back. “Praise You in The Storm” by Casting Crowns was on and I don’t know what hit me but I got to really missing my Crestview friends back home. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder why I met so many good Christian friends while there and then had to leave them. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% ready to be here in Indiana serving the Lord with Justin, but every now and then I get a bit sad. Tonight in Journey class Ron spoke about how we don’t always understand how things we pray for are not “answered” the way we want them to. He said maybe it’s because of how you prayed about them. Maybe they were only for your own selfish desires. So taking what I heard tonight and listening to the song coming through my speakers…when it got to the chorus: “And I’ll praise you in this storm. and I will lift my hands for You are who You are NO MATTER WHERE I AM,” I understood that the sadness I was feeling was selfishness. My God has a greater plan for me and He is my God no matter where I am. So I quickly dried my tears and smiled thanking my God for including me in His plan. Then of course happy tears fell as I walked in the house.
As I was approaching the doors of GCC (church) this morning it suddenly hit me that God was speaking to me last night. It sure took me long enough but I finally put it together. I spoke with a really awesome friend of mine (Debra Conn) on the phone the other day. I was sharing with her how when I was in Shelby I would sometimes hope and pray that when I ran into Walmart I wouldn’t run into anyone I knew (I’m sure you have all wished that at some time or another). Sometimes I just wanted to get in and get out without anyone seeing me. Most times I was unsuccessful and would at least see one person I knew. Now, it’s totally different for me here in South Bend/Mishawaka. I go into any given store and I’m just about guaranteed that I won’t know anyone…at all. As much as I used to long for that sometimes in Shelby, I now seem to long for the opposite. I still don’t know that many people and this is a busy place so my chances are so slim out in public. But just last night Justin and I were in Meijer doing some long awaited grocery shopping. We were at the self checkout and I was bagging while Justin did the scanning. Out of the blue I heard “Hi Bonnie.” I thought to myself “you are hearing things”, but looked around to see a few checkouts down was Laura Gekeler. She wasn’t only saying “Hi Bonnie” she was waving her hand in the air so I would see her. Someone was speaking to ME in a store in MIshawaka. Someone else was also speaking to me…God! How awesome is that, that in all the things that God has to do in and out of this world every second of everyday, He took just a moment to wave at me through a friend to let me know that He knew me, that He understood, and that He loves me and wants me to be happy. My heart can’t stop smiling because of it. I’m THAT special to God. I mean I know this but sometimes these little reminders are all I need to refresh my spirit.
Because of this story and one similar and even more awesome, you need to seriously check out this week’s sermon on “Is Jesus the Only Way?” Rob Wegner shares an awesome story/testimony about a neighbor of his and how God worked His miracle.
Let me know what you think and if you have a God story you want to share either leave a comment here or I can send you my email from your comment. I’d LOVE to hear about it.
Excited to Meet Jesus
Ok, so I was sitting in Journey class tonight thinking about how excited I should feel to meet Jesus someday. I know that day is coming. I know that Jesus is with me every single second of everyday even though I can’t physically see Him. Why am I not more excited than I am to finally meet Him face to face? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m excited, but I’m nowhere near as excited as I should be.
Think of it this way. We all have someone we love to pieces that loves us back right? Well take that person. Pretend you have never laid eyes on that person but all of your life you have had a relationship with them. This person has done things for you all along the path of life. Even little things like getting you your favorite junk food snack on the worst day you’ve had in awhile. This person felt your pain when you were upset or angry and embraced happiness with you. They know everything about you…even the stuff you tell no one else. Still…picture this real person in your life. For me, I picture Justin. If I had never met him yet still had the relationship I do with him and I knew there would be a day that I could actually see him and hold him and look him in the eyes, I would be totally completely out of control excited. I think I would be hoping to hit every telephone pole wherever I went just so I wouldn’t have to prolong the time before we could meet.
Well the Bible is God’s…Jesus’ too…love letter to us. We know He is with us when we study God’s word. We get to know Him and then we can “see” Him in new ways everyday in our life. I know I don’t yet know God completely but I want to be completely excited to meet Him. Boy has He been there with me even in the most awkward and awful times. He even giggles with me when I do silly things. No one on this earth can know me better than Him. It’s impossible. He knows every single hair I have on my head. He loves me that much. So just thinking about all this…I’m excited! He has given me glimpses of Himself everyday. In giving me Justin I know He loves me and wants the best for me. He knows me so well that He knows Justin is the perfect one for me. He gave me my awesome parents and sisters because He knows exactly the best people for my life.
Aren’t you excited to get to know God better and to be able to notice Him more everyday and to one day put an end to some of the mystery and see Him? Just a thought…
Squelching the Awesomeness of God
I got to thinking today…how often do we squelch the awesomeness of God? We take so much for granted that we don’t even see it at special, cool, amazing, etc. Take the seasons for example. How incredible is it that the entire earth knows just what to do at the right time to change the seasons every year? How do all the trees know just when to begin to start the leaf color changing process? How does the wind know how to blow just the right way to make the scent of Fall rush in? How does the sky know how to look amazingly pink at sunset (different from any other time of year)? We didn’t do that, we can’t do that. If left to us we’d for sure screw something up. It amazes me that in the Spring that one Bradford Pear tree can bloom at exactly the same time as another Bradford Pear tree miles down the road. How do they know? How do they know to bloom exactly then? It’s because God is amazing! How are we so strangely content to know that there is a blazing ball of fire in the “sky” we call the sun and a strange cheese-like ball in the “sky” at night? When the moon disappears each cycle, we just assume it will be back. Hello!!! That is awesome…That is the awesomeness of God. He thought of everything.
He has given us this world to do things “our way” and yet at every corner we mess it up. We destroy, we hurt, we kill. Isn’t it amazing to know that one day…if WE choose it (because God gives us that choice) we can live in Heaven, the place He has made for us and we cannot screw up? Sadly more people than not think they will get there just by being a “good person.” When that day comes, when we all die (because we will) we are going somewhere and not based on our character but based on whether or not we believe that God sent Jesus (His ONLY Son) to die on a cross for our salvation.
For it is stated…in John 3:14-16 4Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.[a]16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[b] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
So next time you see a tree with pretty Fall leaves or a Fall sunset don’t forget to acknowledge where it came from and think about where you are headed one day…which could even be today.
And…the world gets smaller
I’ve realized that I need to update this blog more often with my thoughts and with things that happen around me.
More and more I am amazed at how the world is connected. Justin and I started attending a small group called Starting Point at GCC for married individuals. We are the youngest in the group but it is really neat to see the different stages of life and marriage represented in this group. This past Monday was our second meeting. We met at Martin’s Deli and just chatted about ourselves to get to know each other better.
When they got to me and asked for me to tell a little bit about myself I didn’t even know where to begin. I spoke about going to Gardner-Webb University and meeting Justin and working there. I figured there was no way that anyone had heard of my tiny Baptist University in tiny Boiling Springs, North Carolina. When I finished, one of the ladies, Karen, spoke up. She said “Do you know Philip Swicegood?” I could not believe my ears. She knew one of my undergraduate professors! Wow! How can that be? I’ll tell you how that can be. It was a God wink assuring me that my story is important too and that God was making my heart smile that day. Isn’t is awesome how God has ALL the details worked out in life? Even down to the tiny details of knowing people? Oh how silly I feel when I think about those things and realize that, as God has said to me many times over the years, “Bonnie, I’ve got this.” So I’m working constantly to fight against what comes so easy in this world, worry and doubt. I know God has a plan for me. I just have to realize that it is not all about me and if I want Him to use me in this life I have to be patient and listen.