A Post Of Thankful

So much has transpired since I last blogged. I guess you could say I’ve been busier living life than writing about it– which is exactly as it ought to be.

Among other things, nearly 8 months ago, I was incredibly blessed to become an auntie for the first time (hopefully first of many)!

13227871_1326205964060701_1215304272_n
Haylie, my niece, with her Uncle Joel (my brother)

My dad has gone through some job transitions, but thank God, we haven’t had to go through the upheaval of moving again. That has been a blessing for sure! Of course, if we could move closer to our TX family, I’m sure none of us would complain. 😉 Especially now that we have a niece/granddaughter. hehe.

And lately, God has been showing me how much He answers prayers– even for “the little things”. It blows me away! We indeed have a GOOD, GOOD Father!!

That’s not to say He doesn’t allow us to go through hard times. Believe me, my life has been rather tough (not compared to some, perhaps)– especially the past year or so. I felt like I was being attacked time and again. –I lost a very, very dear friendship, went through a church split of sorts, dad’s joblessness, sickness, depression, etc. But you know what? I learned to ask God what lessons He was trying to get through my thick skull and then to begin to work on those areas with the help of the Holy Spirit. Boy, has He been working on me!

I asked for patience– I got sick for over a year. I asked for humility– my skin broke out. I asked for wisdom concerning our church situation– I was prompted to leave. God’s ways are truly above and unlike ours. But He has good motives. He can see our future and knows what is BEST! I heard a quote once recently that went something like this [paraphrase]:

“Just because we don’t succeed at something doesn’t mean God isn’t with us. It is entirely possible God is just preventing us from doing that which may harm us in the long run.”

Wow! True *that*! How often have I leaped ahead of God, only to find myself in a hedge of heartache and destruction?! More times than I care to count. And yet, He is faithful. The Good Shepherd comes to me again, lifts me up on His shoulder and carries me back to safety.

 

 

For Such a Time As This

I– like many other young women– have struggled off and on with my self-worth. Especially recently.

It’s easy to feel that way. Friends not putting in much effort into being friends. Making slow progress in school. Failing at money-making endeavors. Struggling with a mysterious illness for over a year.

At certain points, I had trouble keeping my eyes fixed on the Author and Sustainer of all life. As though God wasn’t there for me.

At certain points, I felt lazy (I couldn’t do a lot of my chores because of my illness). As though my worth was in the things I accomplished.

At certain points, I was ashamed– I hated the way I looked, acted, and felt. As though my family loved me less because of those things.

At certain points, I felt depressed. As though my life wasn’t worth living anymore.

Several times, I was to the point of breaking. In His mercy, God prevented me from doing anything rash.

He prevented me by sending me encouraging friends. By showing me that ultimately academics are nothing in light of eternity. By reminding me that He will provide for all of my needs. By giving me patience (by way of the Holy Spirit) through my illness.

God showed me that I was walking through this fire so He could refine me– could mold me more into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Peter 1:6,7). He showed me that I didn’t really believe He loves me and that I have to daily choose to believe that He does.

I was assured that not only God loves me, but my family does too. They don’t find me burdensome.

God called me beautiful when He fearfully and wonderfully made me (Psalm 139:14). And even though that beauty was tainted by sin’s curse, He has re-beautified me by the death of His Son (Psalms 149:4). I’m no longer a slave, I’m His daughter! (Galatians 4:7)

And just like Esther in the Bible, I know God has placed me on this earth “for such a time as this…” Already, God has used this trial to draw me closer to Him, and to use it as an encouragement for others who struggle.

So be encouraged! Keep your eyes on God– He began a good work in you and He won’t give up on you! (Philippians 1:6) He can use your “such a time as this” as a spring-board to draw others close to Him. Daily choose to believe He loves you!!! He has proven it so many times, and ultimately by giving up His only Son on the cross!!!

Farm Life

Gah!!! It’s been ages since I last posted. My apologies– I’ve been busy *living life*. 😉

While my sisters Abby and Phoebe were enjoying church camp a couple of weeks ago, I spent that time with friends on their dairy farm. And boy, did I have fun! 🙂

I got to hand-milk and machine milk multiple cows (a life-long dream of mine); help move cattle from one pasture to another, feed various animals (cats, chickens and sheep), help make meals and cheese and butter, etc.

The rustic barn yard

 

B. and I explored their woods, and she showcased this lovely spring, which is all mossy now, but they used to use it.

 

I just love ivy and moss! As long as the ivy isn’t poisonous. 😉 Speaking of such, I had a pretty bad case of poison ivy until basically the day before I left on this trip. Thank God, it healed up– after much prayer and herbal remediation. 

 

I wonder if this is a succulent of some kind. Sure looks like one!

 

We stumbled upon a lovely fallen tree

 

Another view of the feed barn 🙂

 

Their older daughter has quite the lovely garden. She hand-crafted these arches, and trained several rose bushes to climb them. 🙂 

 

There were so many pretty wildflowers, and this was the middle of summer. I can’t imagine how splendid it must be in spring during the height of their blooming! 

 

Sweet L. (their youngest) naps. 🙂 I couldn’t resist sneaking this photo. 😉

 

With Mrs. W., B. and T. — sweet kindred spirits!
Of course, I had fun getting to know my friends better too. I’d only seen them twice before in person, but we’ve interacted a lot via snail mail and phone since I met them 7 years ago. And I quickly learned that they aren’t as sweet and innocent as they look. They are majorly mischievous deep down! I got teased a great deal but I liked that because it made me feel at home! 🙂 Besides, I tease a great deal myself. 😉 
 
T. and the W.’s friend, C. and I take a walk around their property

 

This is one thing we saw. 😉

 

T. had so many cheery flowers sprouting in her garden. I was very much inspired by her creativity in her garden work!

 

The local river

 

I sat for probably twenty minutes trying to capture this image of the energetic hummingbird. 🙂 It just wouldn’t stay still long enough! X)

I wish I would’ve taken more photos while there (and most of the photos I did take weren’t of people– most of their family members are camera-shy), but I was very busy actually doing stuff. 🙂 Which is fun! Memories and experiences are far better than photos. And yes, a sentimental photographer just said such a thing. 😉

By the end of my time there, I had fallen in love with their family and with their farm. But I was also ready to head home and be with my family…