It has been several months since I last posted….much longer than I anticipated. April and May were a whirlwind with finishing school, finishing Wounded Heart, Dee’s graduation, birthday marathon week, The Handy Man going back to school and increased hours at work. Since we ended our school year, I have been working overtime trying to pay bills and get a little ahead before the new school year. In the midst of all that, though, God has been ministering to me in amazing ways, underscoring the lessons He taught me (and continues to teach me) through Wounded Heart.
As I reflect upon the last year of healing, I realize that God was stripping me, revealing me, making me soft, and bringing out who He really intended for me to be. Our pastor preached a sermon in which he used the perfect illustration, and I want to share that with you now. Our pastor and his wife had an old bed frame–beautiful in shape but ugly with layer upon layer of old peeling paint. They took it to someone who specialized in refinishing wood, and that man stripped all the old paint off the bed frame. He then sanded it, stained it, and allowed the beauty of the wood to be revealed. When our pastor went to pick up the bed frame, he was asked if he wanted to see the bucket where the old paint was. The re-finisher had used harsh chemicals to strip off the old paint, and there all that mess swirled in a bucket.
God has stripped the old off me–continues to do that with me, actually–and I have a feeling that He will continue to do so, revealing the dark and ugly parts of me so that He can make them new. I can look in that old bucket and see years of coping and self-destruction, and walls of self-protection, and sins of rebellion against my Maker. But here is the beautiful part: That old bucket does not condemn me. Jesus has made me new. I have mourned the losses of what never was, of what could have been. I am learning to rejoice in the what is, in the glorious abundance of now.
The last few months have been busy. Exhausting even. I am looking very forward to a rest. But I am in awe of seeing how God provided for us at every junction, delighting to give not just what we needed, but things that gave us joy, too. He gave us three days at the beach which we will enjoy in a few weeks. Sometimes when he plops down a new blessing, I think I hear him laughing with me and delighting in my joy. God is interested in saving sinners. That is why Jesus came. But Jesus also said he came that we might have life abundantly. Not in riches or worldly pleasures, but in Him. No matter what happens or what needs our family may have, my Heavenly Father delights in meeting those needs and blessing us with even more than we ask. Walking in grace is a joyful thing.
It is a set of lessons I will never forget and will probably always need to learn just a little more. I still mess up in my relationships. I still have to repent daily. I am thankful for the God of new beginnings, who accepts me as I am, who requires only that I come, and who takes on the business of fixing me in spite of myself.
And now, some pictures from the last few months.
Lil’ Adventurer turned five. We had a party at the park and a “just family” celebration at home:
Grandma and Papa (the Handy Man’s parents)
Omie and Opa (my parents):
We had a pinata (Curious George destroying something with our approval):
And I made a dinosaur cake (It was partially cut when I took this picture):
And Lindy came to celebrate with us, too….
I love my five-year old!
Star Child and Gladys Mae had an archery tournament (Star Child pictured)
Dee got ready for graduation….(pictures of the actual event to come)
We hosted a party for Dee, which required some sprucing up….we painted the kitchen cabinets green with white doors (and the exterior of the house tan, but we didn’t get pictures of that)
Before we painted….it really needed it! (and the love of my life in a rare picture of him just sitting and smiling.)
I fell in June and hurt my leg at work. It was extremely painful!
The Doorman came back. (He comes every summer and lives under our porch…he likes to sit in front of our door every evening. He keeps getting bigger.)
It rained on the Fourth of July, but on July 6th my family attended a party with a great view of the fireworks in Dahlonega. I had to work. 😦
I took my youngest three to a local lake to swim. We met up with a few friends and had a delightful afternoon.
Four peas in a pod (or something like that):