Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Me, the Maid in the Mist, and being covered in God's "Poncho"

I recently went on a trip to Niagara Falls. This was my first time seeing this beautiful, powerful sight. I of course had my camera in hand the whole time. Can you believe I took over 600 pictures?!
Anyway, as I was looking through my camera lens, I felt as if God was showing me some things. This happens to me alot when I'm out in His beautiful creation...

So one of the highlights of the trip was definitely riding on The Maid of the Mist! The falls are beautiful, but getting up close enough to feel the power of all that water...well, I have no words....well maybe just a few ;)

Before going on this ride, we stood safely up on solid ground and watched the boats go back and forth for awhile....

I also watched as people decided to get in line and go on the boat.... some went alone, some went with people they knew. There were all types of people from all over the world ( we heard many foreign languages spoken there).... Even though the boats are full, each person is having their own personal experience and feelings during the ride...fear...joy...awe...excitement... 

I also know that as much as I am enjoying watching others take these steps, I cannot know what it is like unless I go myself.... 

I have pretty much made the decision, at this point, to go on the boat.... but as I am watching, I notice that some are not putting on the protective blue ponchos... I've seen, however, how wet people are when they walk off of the boat.... and I'm carrying my precious camera equipment, so I have already decided to put on the protective poncho. 

OK, now I am down in the line to actually get on the boat, as I look up to the platform where I had been safely watching others, I notice that it looks like a cross to me. This reminds me that much like riding the elevator down to this experience, I also had a moment in life where I came to the cross....I chose to leave my "old self" behind and come through washed by the blood of Christ....I also realize that many people come to the cross, and for whatever reason, walk on by... refusing to be changed....a sad thought. 

So here we go....I put on my poncho and think of how we should always put on the armor of God...but sometimes we choose to go through this life without it and rely on our own strength....this usually leaves us looking a mess and tossed by the waves of life. 

See the front of the boat how it looks like a cross? This reminds me of how if we look, we can see God's presence anywhere, and when things get rough, we can fix our eyes on Him. 

Hey! There is one of the places I had been standing, taking in the beauty, but not yet experiencing the ride for myself....much like in life, at times we stand on the sidelines, which is fine sometimes...it is there we get a different perspective, but hopefully we eventually jump in and experience the life God has planned for us. 

As we got closer to the powerful falling water, I could see what was coming, I could feel the wind and the mist, I could hear the roar. The ride was getting rougher and I found myself gripping the hand rail much tighter. I was completely out of control of the situation. I had to rely on the guy steering the boat, the poncho to keep me (and my cameras) as dry as could be expected....and of course, God that he would bring us safely back to shore :)  

During these two shots, my camera was protected by the blue poncho. I held the plastic tight across the lens hoping that something would show up, and you can see the falls, just not clearly. This is kind of like life too....we can't always see where life is taking us, but if we trust in the One who sees the whole picture, we can trust in His faithfulness....This also reminds me of the scripture in I Corinthians that tells us that our understanding here on earth is like looking through a glass darkly...but one day we will see clearly. 

I couldn't take pictures during the roughest wettest part of the ride, but I will NEVER forget it. It was scary, thrilling, breathtaking, wonderful! It's kind of like coming out on the other side of a struggle in life, you feel all of the emotions and physical effects of going through it....but you look back and see what God brought you through and how God can turn even negative experiences into something beautiful.... 

As we got off of the ride, I thought about the people who had chosen NOT to put the poncho on....the storm of water had just pelted them....We ALL go through life....both rough waters and calm....I feel sad for those who choose not to take the free gift of salvation and protection of God's faithful hand.

I hope that as you read this, you have chosen to clothe yourself with the waterproof protection of Christ to go through the ever changing current of life.

Love and Blessings,

I've linked up with:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Beautiful Girlhood

   Those of you who know me, know that I am a mother of 3 amazing young men that I adore more than life itself. God did not see fit that I would have a daughter, but that doesn't mean he hasn't given me any girls to love...on the contrary, He has blessed me with many.

   Most of my very best friends have daughters, therefore, I have gotten to be a part of their lives. There are three girls in particular, that I have had the privilege of knowing since they were born. Stephanie, Chelsea, and Katelyn.

   Stephanie is a great girl that is a year older than my oldest son, so I got to watch her grow her first year and that helped me prepare for my baby. She has grown into a beautiful young woman, she is funny and easy to talk to. She comes from a godly home with good parents who have been our friends since high school. I pray that she will always hear God's voice and follow it. There is no better plan :)
Love ya Steph!

   Chelsea is an outgoing girl that I have also known since birth, she was born the same year as my oldest. And I have loved watching her grow up into the beauty she is now...and can this girl sing! I wish that she would use this wonderful talent that God gave her more often...keep singin Chels. Her mom and I had our kids convinced we were sisters so we think of ourselves more like "Aunts" to each other's kids. I pray for her too to follow God's leading throughout life.
Love ya Chels!

   Katelyn was also born the same year as my oldest...if he would've been a girl they would have had the same name, same spelling and all...I love her name. Katelyn is so easy to be around and has a servant heart, she will help anyone anyway she can. This makes her beautiful inside and out. Her parents are also longtime friends of ours, so since our families have been so close, Katelyn has just beautifully grown literally before our eyes. My prayer is the same for her as well...to keep following the Lord all through life.
Love ya Kate!

   Recently, God has seen fit to have me be involved with the teen girls from our church youth group. I get to lead a Bible study every week with these girls and they are awesome. My friend Lorilee leads the music and worship portion of our night. She is also a mom of boys, but God is using her in these girls lives as well. Another friend, Denise, helps out as well, but she actually is a mom to girls and understands the "details" of teen girls. I am so blessed to be a part of this group of beautiful young girls, just take a look...
Kellie, Alyssa, Chloe, Bethany, Theodora
(Katelyn, Chelsea, Hannah, Caity and Kelly are missing from this picture)

Theodora is one of the sweetest girls I know. She has a great laugh and is a fabulous story writer! She has a heart for God and I pray she stays close to him. Love ya Theodora!

Chloe is a sweet, funny, godly young lady. I have seen her be a big help to her family as a big sister, she will be a great mom someday. I pray that she will stay on the godly path she is on now and grow in the Lord. Love ya Chloe!

Alyssa is a funny, wonderful girl I have not known as long, but have gotten attached to quickly. I am glad her and her mom are a part of our "Girl's Nights" I pray for her to hear God's leading for her life and that she will always listen for it. Love ya Alyssa!

Kellie is a sweet, compassionate girl that loves the Lord. I am so glad to be getting to know her more in our group and see her grow in her walk as a beautiful young woman of God. I pray she always goes to the One who has the plan. Love ya Kellie!

Hannah is a sweet girl that seeks after God, she is always ready to pray for someone in need. I pray that she always has this fire for God and that she seeks wisdom from the Word when making life decisions. Love ya Hannah!

Bethany is perhaps the closest relationship I have to a daughter right now since she is Cody's girlfriend. But even before she was his girlfriend, I have enjoyed knowing her and seeing how she truly wants to please God. I pray that she will always rest in the faith that God is in control and He is faithful. Love ya Bethany I'm so glad to have you in my life!

Our group is a great mix of girls and we have added to the group here and there. Caity and Kelly, I don't have pictures of you beautiful girls yet, but have loved having you in our Bible studies!

   So...I have this sphere of girls that I get to be an encouragement to...it's a big responsibility and it is an honor to know each of them. God knew I had a desire to "mother" young girls. Each of them have wonderful mothers and great relationships with them. It is my desire to just be part of a support team for these girls.

   God is so loving that he would provide all these girls in my life. I pray that I am a positive influence and can speak encouragement to the fact that they are beautiful creations, made by a perfect Creator who made them with a purpose just for them.

   With all the negative influences on young women out there, I encourage everyone to get involved with a teen girl and speak encouragement into her life, pray for her, love her unconditionally...your life will be blessed by it.

I've linked up with:

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Pledge Allegiance...will you?

   I have been following the ACLJ and their fight to not only keep the words "under God" in our pledge, but now there is a fight to keep the entire pledge from disappearing!
In one town, the governor has been quoted as saying that the Pledge of Allegiance is too divisive and therefore will not be said at the start of counsel meetings. He also said that reciting the pledge was like reading the Communist Manifesto! Some on his counsel said they would rather pledge allegiance to the world...

   Well people protested so there was a compromise...the Pledge of Allegiance will be said 4 times a year, but not on this July 4th because it is still too fresh of a heated issue.
    Excuse me, ...4 times a year?!...Divisive?!...the same as the Communist Manifesto?!
People need to wake up and not be silent, we can't let the words "under God" be taken out of our nation's pledge...and we certainly can't let the pledge fade away completely.

   My Grandpa would be so upset, he fought for this country, this flag, this UNITED states of America. When people are in a crowd, hands on hearts, proudly stating that we are "One nation" ...how would that not be uniting?

   Why do the few voices get things changed? Because WE are silent...I will not let someone else speak for me and then hang my head in shame when my children's children ask "What was the Pledge of Allegiance?"

   I have also noticed we are recognizing our veterans less and less, while people are constantly recognized for frivolous things. There are not many, sadly, that can tell us about the World Wars anymore. We have a generation that is not hearing the first hand accounts of our brave soldiers who fought in World War I & II...this is sad to me because I know the pride that my Grandpa and my husbands Pap had when they spoke of this country and our flag...it's up to us to pump this generation full of national pride.

The generation before me was silent as prayer slipped out of school and the rights of unborn children were rinsed from the hands of "choice".

   Please stand with me and not be silent as the Pledge of Allegiance is under attack as well as the very foundations of our U.S Constitution. This is America the "Land of the free and home of the brave" not the "Land of the politically correct and cowardly silent" I usually do not take a political stand here on this blog, but on this 4th of July weekend, I felt it was due.

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (NKJV)

Lord, forgive our sin of silence. Bring about a fresh revival of faith in you throughout this country. Open the eyes of our leaders to the fact that you have had your hand of blessing on this land...

Please click the link and join me in our pledge...

Have a blessed and safe 4th...God bless America!