Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lessons from Judges...

Do we obey the Lord just because we see others doing it and we want to fit in or because we really love Him with our whole hearts?

I have been reading the book of Judges in my times with the Lord and today it was encouraging/convicting to see how Israel lived and how we often follow in their footsteps. If you have not read the book- one of the main things that you see is the circle of sin and repentance of Israel. Israel would rebel against the Lord and fall into idolatry... God would deliver them into the hands of their enemies to serve them... Israel would cry out to the Lord for help... God would send a judge to deliver them and lead them back to the Lord... God would give them peace... then they would sin again and repeat the cycle.

What stuck out to me this time was that it seems that Israel was able to obey God as long as they had a judge alive to keep them from falling back into sin. It seems that their hearts were not right- they were just complying with the judge for national peace. It was not love that motivated them to keep God's commands. Once the judge would die, Israel would return to the sins that they had been involved in before the judge came. I pray that we are not like this. How often do we depend on pastors, friends, surroundings, etc to keep us from doing the sins that we really crave in our hearts? I feel like God wants us to evaluate our lives- if all restraints were taken away and we did not have anyone pushing us to do godly things- would we still do them or would we pursue lives of sin? Are we obeying God because He is wonderful and we love Him with our whole hearts or are we just obeying Him because we know that it gives us a good social standing in our communities? I pray that the Lord will continue to encourage us to check our faith to see if it is real. Do we honor Him when no one is looking?

This line of thinking reminds me of something I often think when getting on facebook. A common facebook "trend" is for women to praise their husbands and say how great they are. While I think it is WONDERFUL to think highly of your husband- I have seen some of these same women belittling their husbands when they think no one is looking (I want to add here that I also see some women who praise husbands on facebook love and adore them when no one is looking). Are we the same person in the quiet of our homes as we profess to be in public? I guess that's just what's been on my heart lately. I want to be genuine. I do want people to know that I adore my husband and kids but more than me SAYING I feel this way about them- I hope my actions SHOW that I feel this way. I know that the Lord wants us to be real. If we cannot love our families when no one is looking, let's not pretend in public that we are crazy about them. I guess my goal here is not to keep people from praising their families and friends but to love them as much in private as they do so openly on the internet.

My hope is the same for our faith. Let's not profess to love Jesus by just posting bible verses but let's post bible verses AND live lives (in public and in private) that show that we love the Lord.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Camp Mitchell NOW & THEN!! (2000 & 2011)

Sonny and Casi... Summer 2000 at Camp Mitchell =)

Sonny and Casi... Summer 2011 at Camp Mitchell =)

The first time Sonny and I both went to Camp Mitchell, we were both going into our junior year of highschool. We really did not know each other that well at all. I just thought he was really cute and he seemed to really love Jesus with his whole heart. We were both somewhat new to the student ministry- having both been called by the Lord that school year to leave our old lifestyles in order to pursue Jesus. I remember telling my friend Kelly while we were at camp in 2000, "I really like that Sonny guy. I really want to get to know him more..."

Well, as God would have it, we did get to know one another more and a few months later (October of our junior year) we went to homecoming together and the following year (January of our senior year) we got engaged (though we do think we should have waited a little longer- 2 year engagements are seriously SUPER tough if you are trying to stay pure!!) and 2 years later (January 2004) we were married!! The Lord is so kind, gracious and merciful. As many of you know, our first years of marriage were tough and even after that it has not been always easy- but God has always been faithful and we continue to seek to honor Him in all that we do. I know this is a super random post but I found that picture of us from Camp 2000 and was reminded of all that God has taken us through. His works are so wonderful!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Days are HOT!!!

This post is going to be very random but I had some pics that I needed to write about so I figured I would do it all in one post...

Today Asher asked me if he could hold Sissy. I sat her in his lap and then he said, "Mommy, camera." It was so cute to actually have him ask to have his picture taken =)

They honestly love one another so much- it blesses me everyday!

With it being August, it is almost unbearable to go outside on most days (unless you are going to the pool!!). To avoid being "cooped up" in the house, we often venture to the mall to enjoy the play areas and occasionally pay the ridiculous $3 per person to ride the mall train at Katy Mills mall. Since we think $3 per person is a bit over-priced, just Sonny and Ash rode the train. Asher LOVED it and even Sonny said it was nice to be carted around the mall in a train and not have to walk =). Our little man LOVES cars, trains, motorcycles, helicopters- anything motorized... he is "all boy."

I grew up babysitting- I have always LOVED kids. I started babysitting for the Helbigs when I was a sophomore and continued to watch them until the oldest was able to do it himself. Paige is the 2nd oldest and I have known her and her other 5 siblings for over 10 years and love them like my own siblings. I have watched Paige grow up and now she is going to be a sophomore!! Yikes!! She came to hang with us the other day and it was so neat getting to see her play with our kids. It amazes me how fast time flies! Here are some pics of Paige with my kiddos...

Ritter's Ice Cream

Attempt at a family photo... take 1

Attempt 2...

I guess it's easier to just take pics of us separately with the kiddos...
Ash and Daddy after some yummy ice cream!

Mommy and Zoee... she was enjoying a banana... what can we say: our kids LOVE food!!

Ash and Daddy sharing ice cream =)

A few days ago Sonny and I decided to treat Asher to Ritter's Ice Cream on our way to drop him off with Mimi and Papa. My parents and Sonny really love this place and we thought it would be a great treat for our sweet little guy! The funny thing is that when we stopped the car and told Ash we were getting ice cream, he started crying because he apparently didn't want any ice cream at that moment. We were so weirded out by his response. He LOVES sweets and he loves anything that Daddy loves, and Daddy loves ice cream!

Looking back, I know that this has to be an illustration to how we are with Lord. Sonny and I wanted so much to bless Asher with a treat but in his stubbornness, he whined and complained because it was not on his agenda. How often are we like that with the Lord. I am sure there are many times where He, as the Perfect Father, wants to bless us with something He knows we desire but we are too stubborn to trust and follow Him to see what it is. Once we CONVINCED Ash to eat the ice cream (it was creamy pina colada), he loved it and kept wanting more. It ended up being an enjoyable trip and a great little pit stop on our family day.

I hope that we (me definitely included in this) can learn to trust the Lord when He tells us that He has plans that we did not know about. I hope that we can trust Him and know that He is a great Father who wants to show us His love. I know I struggle a lot with understanding and experiencing the Fatherhood of God and I sure pray that He will grow me in this area so that I can enjoy Him and be a blessing to Him as His daughter.