Monday, July 15, 2013

Mini Vacation

My husband is good at many things.  One thing in particular is planning short get-a-ways.  He sets a budget, saves money, searches for the best deals, and plans activities for the days.  I'm thankful for that because I'm a saver (not a spender) so I would never ever suggest spending money on a vacation as I'm simply too practical for that.  Isn't it great how God connects people who have varying strengths and weaknesses?  While my frugality is a strength in many ways, it's not when it comes to having fun and relaxing.

Anyway, James planned a short vacation (Monday - Wednesday) for us in Amana, Iowa.  It's a former German settlement area with lots of historical buildings, shopping, a water park, and Chick-fil-A close by!

And because we Lackeys can't do anything the easy way.  It was a rough beginning to our vacation.  James woke up Sunday with Poison Ivy on both hands and wrists.  We surmise that he got it that weekend while doing yard work.  Then Sunday, after bringing the Pack 'n Play up from the basement Hudson decided to pull up on it thereby pulling it on top of himself.  Those things way a ton.  I was sure he'd have a cracked rib, but he was fine.  Monday while loading the car.  I somehow didn't pull the kitchen door (leading to the garage) shut completely and Hudson pried it open and of course tumbled down the two carpeted steps leading into the garage.  There were lots of tear, not just from him.  He was fine, thankfully though you will notice a nice carpet burn on the bridge of his nose courtesy of his fall. 

Whew...after a start like that it took a while to get relaxed.  Fortunately we did and had a good time.

H was a big fan of the hotel room.  He liked opening/closing the AC.

He loved jumping on the plush pillows on the bed.  Such a silly boy.

We went to the hotel's indoor water park.  Hudson was not a fan. The water was f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g and there was a lot going on - water splashing, teens having fun, changing colored lights - he never offered to cry but tensed up and held on to us for dear life. 

Relaxing while Daddy shops for shoes.

After 3 months of no fast food.  We indulged. 
My tummy was not happy afterward.

"Where's mine?" Hudson wants to know.
 A photo tour of the Amana Colonies - 26,000 acres.

Tuesday evening we drove to Des Moines for James to buy a weedeater (it was a good deal hence the long drive).  The mall there (Jordan's Creek) was amazing!  We ate Chick-fil-A and ColdStone for James' birthday.  The mall had a family area that included a nursing room, three (!) baby changing stations, and a nice play area.  It was a great time to let Hudson move around before we loaded him back into the car.

On the way home Wednesday, we stopped in Coralville for Chick-fil-A (again!) and Hudson enjoyed his first carousel.

All-in-all, we had a great time.  Thankful for a few days to get away.

Friday, July 5, 2013

To Glorify God

and enjoy him forever.”  That is the purpose of man, according to the Westminster Catechism. 

The Lord was kind to teach me (yet another) lesson in glorifying him this week. 

I went into town to go to the grocery store.  Afterwards, I stopped to fill up the gas tank because when you live in the middle of nowhere you never pass up a gas station.  I only had cash, so I had to prepay.  In line I was behind a sweet African-American lady.  I only mention this fact because out here I have for real only seen 2 people with brown skin in the 3 months I’ve lived here - it’s very strange and very white.  Suddenly she turned around and said, “I don’t mean to bother you, but could I ask you something….” 

“Do you have spina bifida?”  Now I get asked this question or something similar quite often as I wrote about recently on my friend Kate’s blog.  I must confess that as a child/teen/young adult I was not kind to those who asked me this.  I’d give curt answers, sarcastic answers, etc…but as I’ve aged I’ve lightened up about it and am open to talking about my stupid spine.

So, I answer the lady’s question.  She responds with, “Oh I just wondered because my 6-year-old granddaughter has spina bifida and she can’t walk yet and I just wanted to know if there was any hope for her.”

Right at that exact moment, the cashier taking our money for the fuel needed the grandma’s attention.  Thankfully the Lord prompted me to pray and I had about 90 seconds to pray and prepare for how to answer her. 

As she turned around I was able to tell her about hope.  Hope that her daughter, regardless of ability to walk, could have a good life.  I told her about my childhood spent with wonderful friends and family.  I told her about the blessing my education - a master’s degree, no less.  I told her about my husband.  I told her about my sweet, sweet baby.  My perfectly healthy 13-month-old son whom I was blessed to carry and deliver and now parent.  Most importantly, I was able to tell her about how all of this was the direct result of the kindness and faithfulness of Jesus. I wasn’t able to give a complete gospel presentation because the cashier needed me to pay for my gas so the line could keep moving, but I was able to get in most of my personal testimony.

With her eyes tearing up, she thanked me and was gone. 

To glorify God. 

Last week, I was invited to a “healing service” at a local charismatic/Pentecostal church.  I respectfully declined.  It’s not that I don’t think that God can/could heal me.  I am 100% confident in the Lord’s ability to do so.  That said I am equally confident in that I do not think it is the Lord’s will to do so.  Call me crazy, but I think the Lord receives more glory in my limping around than he would if I was healed.  You see, in my limping around, I stand out - I garner attention.  That attention affords me the opportunity to share the wonderful news of Christ with others that I simply wouldn’t have if I was “normal.”

Now, this is not to say God wouldn’t be glorified had I been healed.  But it’s more of a reflection of me. I know me.  I know how fiercely independent I am.  I fear that had the Lord healed me, no one would ever know because I, in my sinful pride, wouldn’t share about it.  I know people whom the Lord has healed from diseases or delivered from sinful lifestyles who bring him tremendous glory so I say this not to belittle their ministry.  It’s awesome when God does miraculous things.  But it’s also awesome when God doesn’t heal but gives daily strength and grace to simply thrive. 

Now I should have taken the opportunity to share this testimony with the sweet charismatic/Pentecostal lady who invited to this "healing service" but I was annoyed at her invitation and simply said, "no thank you."  Just being transparent lest anyone think I've arrived.  I have so far to go y'all.

Overall though I’m thankful that this is one way I can glorify God.  And I am thankful that the Lord has disciplined me to the point that I can be mostly thankful for this (dis)ability to glorify to him.

I asked the Lord three times to take it away from me. He answered me, “I am all you need. I give you My loving-favor. My power works best in weak people.” I am happy to be weak and have troubles so I can have Christ’s power in me.  I receive joy when I am weak. I receive joy when people talk against me and make it hard for me and try to hurt me and make trouble for me.
I receive joy when all these things come to me because of Christ.
For when I am weak, then I am strong. -- 1 Corinthians 12:8-10