Monday, March 28, 2011

Hearing God

How do I know if it is God? This has been my heart cry for many weeks, months, possibly years now. A few weeks ago, I felt graced by the Spirit. I felt as if I was in His presence... clean, redeemed, content. I did not want to leave His presence. His Spirit seemed to linger and then the next moment was gone. I have longed to be there continually... just to sit before Him.

This past weekend, I continued this journey in listening prayer.

I have never been good at staying focused during prayer and usually my mind is consumed with other thoughts: things I need to get done, planning lessons for school, trying to plan meals for the week, simply just making mental to-do lists.

So, here I am Sunday morning, trying to ask God questions burdening my heart eagerly hoping that He will answer. I felt His presence once again. When I felt Him join our prayer time, I didn't care if He answered my questions... I mean, I wanted Him to, but I was so grateful to just feel Him near me. I did hear Him speak, but one thing stood out more than anything else. I kept begging Him to stay with me a little longer and I believe with all my heart that He responded, "I will never leave you." It happened many times.

That was yesterday morning. I went to church and invited Him to join us.... to reveal Himself and He is faithful in answering prayers. I felt His presence join me once again. It was a beautiful time of worship... I wanted to be no where else in the world. I remember Psalm 51 where it says, "Cast me not from your presence and take not your spirit from me." I thought a moment about what life would be like without even that fading presence and I felt hopeless. So my heart cry became PLEASE never cast me from your presence.

After community dinner, I just wanted to sit in His presence. Justin and I did some listening prayer. We questioned what we were supposed to do in our future... seeking guidance, clarity, and confirmation. God seemed so silent, and yet I so desperately wanted Him to speak. We began asking if we were asking the wrong questions. It was then that I realized something stood in between the present and our future. He revealed that my identity has been so intertwined with my job or future role(s). I was getting caught up in who I was according to the world. Justin encouraged me to ask God who He saw me as. At first I thought the question was silly because I knew what I was supposed to say... God was silent though. I heard nothing. But what I saw was everything... before me, lay a cross. That is what I am supposed to identify with.

This weekend, I spent some time reflecting on 2 Corinthians 4:11. "For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh."

I am to identify with Christ. I am to die with Christ that His life may be revealed in my mortal body. May the cross be ever before me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break 2011!

Spring Break: fun, relaxing, restful, intentional, restorative, spontaneous, and so much more!

On Friday, March 11th, I came home determined to finish all that fell in the school category. I graded papers until 12:30 AM, but I finished!

On Saturday, my hubby and I woke up to celebrate the beginning of Griffin and Lisa's marriage. It was a beautiful day, and it ended with beautiful community. I am so grateful for college friends... time passes and it could be months between our meetings, but I love how it takes no time at all for us to pick up where we left off.

On Sunday, I spent some time with my sister and her two kids. I love my niece and nephew and never get enough time with them. After that, we went to church and community dinner. Then, we began packing. It was a bit stressful... usually I am more on top of things than that.

Monday, J and I rose early (around 5:30 AM) and went to the airport. We arrived in Miami and took a cab to our cruise ship. This was our first cruise together, and it was wonderful! We needed this time to rest and relax, to put away the media and devote time to each other, and just to run away and have fun!

Funny story from Monday... I thought we were arriving home on Friday night. I had a full Saturday planned... I was going to go to a friend's baby shower and then my mom and I were going to plant shrubs in my front yard. I was really looking forward to this day! After talking with a crew member, I realized we weren't getting back until Saturday evening... WHAT?!?! I immediately began to panic. Fortunately, our airline tickets back were for the correct day... I just didn't know what day the 19th really was.

Also, on Monday, we met some people who became instant friends. J and Collin instantly bonded over zombies.

Tuesday, we spent a day at sea on our way to Honduras. J and I relaxed at the back of the boat watching the waves and reading. We spent some time in the Whirlpool, at enormous amounts of food, went to the evening show, and hung out with our new friends.

On Wednesday, we landed in Honduras and began our adventure. We grabbed a cab and headed to a lovely beach... so picturesque! When we got back on the boat, we had to jump in the jacuzzi to get the sand off... bummer! That evening, we went to eat at the grand restaurant... I got two desserts (I couldn't choose)! We finished the day with a comedian, but I retired before the show was over. Between the rocking of the boat and the sun, I was exhausted!

On Thursday, we landed in Cozumel. Another beautiful day and another beautiful beach. J and I took the ultimate adventure. We rented a car... half the time, Justin couldn't find the right gear because the stick rotated a full 360 degrees. I don't know much about driving stick but even I know that that is not normal. We went to visit some ancient Mayan ruins which were a bit anti climatic and then headed to the beach. We went out on paddle boats, played a large game of checkers, hung out in the hammocks (I miss them a lot!), and walked along the white sandy shore. When we arrived back on the boat, we hit the jacuzzi again and then gobbled up a lot of food. That evening, the show was a comedian juggler... absolutely amazing! He rode a unicycle with a 60 year old woman on his shoulders. After that, we met our friends on the back of the boat. While there, we met another guy, Eric, who was part of an acapella group on the ship, Tideflats. He was really fun, and he and Justin became instant friends over Arrested Development. Needless to say, we made it to the rest of the Tideflats shows and really enjoyed hanging out with him.

On Friday, we had another day at sea. A lot of relaxing, reading, spending time in the Whirlpool, dreaming about our future together, and more relaxing. We spent the evening soaking up our time with Amy, Collin, and Eric at the back of the boat. I will never forget the brightness of the moon, the swiftness of the wind, and the sound of the waves; quite delightful!
On Saturday, after a 10 hour day of traveling, we finally arrived home in Houston. This trip was all I needed and more. I am so grateful for the time spent with my hubby.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pillow Talk

Yesterday was a wonderful day... family lunch with mom, dad, and lil sis. Time to catch up with college friends to celebrate bride-to-be, Lisa... but to top it all off, I came home to my wonderful hubby.

I feel like my hubby and I communicate fairly well... we definitely have our moments, and there are some subjects one or the other try to avoid (i.e. scheduling, money, etc.)

Last night, I got home around 11, and J was in a mood to just be with me. It was wonderful. We curled up in bed and had some old-fashioned pillow talk. We joked, shared what we were learning, picked on one another, laughed, and more than anything, just loved the company... I came to the realization once again that this man is the one whom my soul loves and it is such a privilege to share life together.

Friday, March 4, 2011

what a week!

This week was VERY long... it all began last Sunday.

I got in very early on Sunday morning from a girls' Vegas trip with my mom for her 50th. On Sunday, my hubby took my car to his parent's church, and I woke up slowly and eventually headed out to run some errands. I hopped in his car feeling ready to be productive. Unfortunately, the camry did not agree... I drove less than a mile, dropped it off at an Auto Check in front of our neighborhood and walked home. Later that day, we learned that the car pretty much needed a new engine. And that began the longest, most stressful week of this entire school year.

Coming off of a fun weekend, I did not spend much time thoroughly planning my week, so I have felt behind in my school work. I cannot seem to catch up with grading. Additionally, Justin and I had to carpool to work which would have been great but we work about 45 minutes away from one another with traffic.

On top of that, we did our taxes and found out we owed money... Therefore, this lead to much anxiety about money especially knowing that we are now car shopping. Thankfully, Paw is gracious enough to let J borrow a car until we get all of this sorted out.

Needless to say, I am so thankful for Friday. This will soon be a weekend of rest, relaxation, and preparation for the week!

This week will definitely be much better... how can it not be when spring break is only FIVE school days away!