Sunday, July 25, 2010

Just a Thought..

I was sitting in church last week and the pastor was talking about marriage. He was talking about a book and the subtitle was:
What if Marriage is Supposed to Make Us Holy not Happy?

Now think about that for just a moment...society tell us we need to find our 'soul-mate' so we can be happy for ever, never be alone, and grow old together. But when it comes down to it, that isn't really the purpose of marriage now is it?

The truth is, marriage is hard work. Yes we all have our happy moments and moments where we laugh so hard tears come pouring out of our eyes, but in reality, there is a lot of giving up of oneself and compromising because we want to keep our spouses happy too. In some instences, we give up our own means of happiness because we don't want our spouse to give up anymore of their happiness. Or on the flip side, we are so selfish and think we have given up so much already we don't care if our spouse suffers. It takes years of hard work and lots of prayer to learn to come to a happy medium in your marriage. My husband and I have been married for four months, sometimes it feels like we have been together forever because we seem to flow so well together. Other times it feels like I have married a stranger and I have no idea what I am doing or how I even got there.

This brings me back to that title-What if marriage is supposed to make us Holy and not Happy? My husband and I have a lot of good examples of what a marriage is supposed to look like, and it's true, your marriage is supposed to make you more holy and more like Jesus. Jesus sacrificed so much and gave up everything for us because He loved us SO MUCH. Jesus didn't care what the price was, He just wanted to be with us. He was beaten and killed because of His love for us. A holy and just love. This is how I want to love my husband. I want to learn to love him so much that I would allow myself to be sacrificed over him so he could continue on in this life telling others about such a love.

My conclusion: Marriage is supposed to make us Holy and more like Jesus, not make us happy. Happiness fades, but love, joy, and holiness last forever.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rise Against - Hero Of War

Hero of War.

My brother came home the other day after being gone since January. He joined the military and over the last several months was going through boot camp and technical training. He became an MP (military police) with high security clearance. Because of his clearance, he could be deployed to any military base with any branch. We are grateful that his first term will be in Montana where he will be safe, at least for now. Who knows what plans God has for him.
My brother is third generation military, he is in the Air Force, both of my parents, grandpa and my uncle were in the Army, and I had a couple uncles in the Navy. To say the least, I come from a strong military background.

My dad served in Desert Storm, and my uncle who was in the Army spent some time fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. My grandpa was called to active duty for the Bay of Pigs conflict with Cuba. They have sacrificed so much, not just themselves, but their families.

My brother said his new favorite song is "Hero of War." Every time I listen to it the tears won't stop. These men have given up so much, they don't want to fight, but they know they have to to keep us free and safe in this country. Curious boys who want to see the world have to quickly turn into men as they face reality.

This song pulls at my heart strings. My husband and I want to go and be missionaries to these people-these people that our military men are trying to keep us safe from. The part of the song where he sings: "She walked through bullets and haze.." shatters my heart to pieces... woman and children are being sacrificed because of the stupidity of men... They have no hope, they are shown no love. They need Jesus. They need someone to open their eyes and change their hearts.

I remember when my uncle got back from Iraq the first time, he was a different person. Hatred and sadness filled his eyes. I have never seen him so vulnerable in my life. War changed him. I was wanting to go to Northern Iraq to see the culture and share with the world that there is more going on in that country than hopelessness and war. I will never forget what he said to me. He was so angry that I wanted to go over there, he said, "I have seen young men as young as 18 and 19 years old die over there. People have died trying to keep you safe and you are going to be stupid and go over there and throw it all away." I didn't know what to say.

How do you say no to a calling that Almighty God himself has given you? How do you tell your friends and family that you might end up in a war zone giving people HOPE, when they all think you are losing your mind and you are going to lose your life? How do you get people to understand that you are going to bring Jesus and LIFE to a Muslim community when that community wants to see you die because you are a Christian and you are from America? How do you make people understand that there is more than just the physical battle-but a spiritual one as well, and we are all apart of God's Military? How???

Sometimes you cannot make people understand. They will wonder if you have lost your mind for the rest of your life. You might die, and all they will say is, "If they were more careful with their lives, they might still be here with us today. They died because of their stupidity." REMEMBER THIS: we are not here to play is safe, to stay in our comfy little houses drinking our soy chi lattes. We were placed here on this earth to win a battle. Whether that spiritual battle for you is down the street or across the world, it is a battle that needs to be fought with pride and integrity.

I am proud of the military men serving our country. I am also proud of our missionaries out there serving our KING. Pray for them as you celebrate Independence day. God bless.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Failure over Success?

I just made a mistake. I didn't study hard enough for my exam. I didn't ask my professor for help. I am pretty sure I failed it. Part of me doesn't care...because I know if I work hard enough on the rest of the work for this class I will still be able to pass the class with a C or a low B. But at the same time, I am so angry with myself. Why didn't I try harder? I know I am capable, I know I am smart enough. I am a constant reminder to myself that I am lazy and I don't care enough about myself to try harder.

I will lay my life out on the line for others, but when it comes to myself I could care either way. Hey if I fail no big deal....but I go out of my way to help others not to fail. People are always coming to me for advice or help on something. Why don't I help myself? Why do I care more about others well being than my own? After all, if I cannot succeed in the little things, how I am supposed to help people with the big things in life? Am I a failure? Do I care too much about people?

Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself. Not love your neighbor less than you love yourself, nor even, love your neighbor more than yourself. It is wrong when you don't love people enough, and it is wrong when you love them too much-to the point when it start to affect your well being. So why do I do it? Is it because I want people to like me more? Is it because I really want to see people successful in their day to day lives even if that means my success will suffer? I don't understand why I keep doing this to myself.

I am important. God let his only son die for ME. Shouldn't that be enough for me to want to try and succeed in everything I do? Whether it be washing the dishes or studying for a college exam? I know I am asking a lot of questions, but thats all I have right now....questions and no answers. I just know what I need to work on in my life. I am not sure where to start, but I know it is a direction I need to start pushing myself in. If not for me, then for the sole fact that God thought I was worth it and spared my life from an eternal damnation so I could succeed through Him.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I am only one, but still I am one
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something
What I can do, I ought to do
and what I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do.
-Everett Hale

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I would not trade my life for anything.

I am blessed.
I am loved.
I am strong.
I am capable.
I am needed.
I am HIS.

The world keeps on spinning.

A lot of people look at my life and tell me that it seems rather tragic...but at the same time they still wish they had it. I am very blessed to have an amazing family that loves me so much, friends that love calling me to ask for advice or just to hang out, and a husband who is so in love with me, there is nothing I could ever do to change his mind. Love. There is a lot of love in my life. For that I am greatful.

At the same time though, I have seen a lot of death and witnessed such sorrow. I have lived through the pain of 7 deaths. Seven people that I loved and cared about. Most are in heaven, a few I am not sure about. I have been ripped from the comfort of a community and friends I had started to love and moved across the world with my family. I was thrown into an unknown culture and I felt as if I was left to drown there. I've wanted to die. I have wanted people to feel the pain that I have felt.

No matter what happened in my life, the world kept spinning. I kept getting older, and I just grow stronger. I learned to love people in a way most wouldn't understand. I began forgiving people for things most people would never forgive. I am learning to change the world one person at a time. You could probably say I grew up way faster than people normally grow up.

A few weeks ago a dear friend of mine lost her home. Her son was playing with a lighter and set the side of the house on fire. A few things were spared but the house was ruined buy flames and the water that tried to quench it out.
I have much to be thankful for, I have a roof over my head and I have never almost lost everything.

Last year my best friend died from complications to her cancer treatment. We were putting our lives together. I wanted her in my day to day life more than anything. She told me all of her secrets and I told her mine. I have never had a friend like that sense. She left behind parents two sisters and a niece. She is missed everyday.
I have much to be thankful for, I have never lost a sister nor a daughter. I don't know what that kindof pain feels like.

A friend of mine died in a car accident last year. A couple of weeks ago another friend was hit by a bus while he was teaching in Korea. I have survived two serious car accidents. Doctors and state patrols tell me I should be dead. If I didn't die in the crash, I should have died from injuries. God is keeping me alive. I am grateful and I pray every day to seek Gods face and to see where He is leading me. He made me a living miracle.

I know several people who have lost their spouses through the years. They are never the same afterwords. Some remarry, others die a short time later from a broken heart. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
God has blessed me with a strong and healthy husband. Though he is often goes where his job takes him, he is alive. I praise God for him everyday he is gone risking his life to keep others safe. I take him for granted too much...

Though there are times when it seems it is too hard to hold on, I know God is there. The world keeps spinning, life goes on, people get stronger, and God is always faithful. Be thankful for what you have and for what God has given you.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Addison Road "Hope Now" Music Video

Written by Jenny from Addison Rd

The other night my parents husband and I went to a concert at the Heights Church-my brother got us free tickets. He's pretty cool. ;) THANK YOU JEFFY!!!
I want to tell you how it happened...but Jenny Simmons does that better on her blog:

5.23.2010
5,000 Feet Above Dallas

Ever heard of Prescott, Arizona? Yea, me neither. It sits two hours outside of Phoenix, nestled in the mountains, 5,000 feet above Dallas. And from what I can tell, I'm sorry Chicago, but it is the windy city. I've never seen wind so fierce or birds so brave. Every time one takes off, the mother in me hurts for the poor stupid bird. They don't make it very long, but they sure do try. I guess even animals have to test their boundaries.
Back to Prescott... it is beautiful here and the people are particularly kind and hard working. The rugged west is growing on me.
Last weekend at the SeaWorld San Antonio show I met a group of guys (and one gal) who just finished basic training at Lackland Air Force Base. They stood up front through the whole show and made me nervous. Are they here because they like the music? Or will they, at any minute, die laughing? Nine years in and I still battle the voices of insecurity. But they just looked so stinkin' intimidating with their crew cuts and reserved, respectful mannerisms that I wasn't sure what to make of them. They stayed for the entire show. And when we ended with the song Hope Now, they linked arms and sang it together. One guy had tears running down his face. They waited in line forever, and of course I have a special love for military people, so I gave them as many hugs as I could :)
As I started talking to some of them they told me about boot camp and how they'd go back to their barracks each night and listen to Hope Now. They told me about their families and where they were going to be stationed. And as they started to walk off the last guy came up and asked if I would sign his program for his mom. He had been waiting patiently, quietly, for everyone else to go. He told me his mom was a huge fan of our music and had always wanted to see us in concert. I asked if she was at the show and he told me she didn't live around here, but that this would make her day. He said he hoped one day she'd be able to see a concert because it would mean a lot to her. "Where does she live?" I asked him. "Arizona." "We just played a show there last weekend outside of Phoenix! Bummer. I think we are playing there again soon, but I'm not sure where." "Well most shows are in Phoenix, but she lives in Prescott." Prescott. I've seen that name. I know I have. "Hold on." I went and found Richard (our new drummer) at the merchandise table and he looked up the show for the coming weekend. Prescott, Arizona. Sold out. I was so excited I almost fell over. My little heart was overflowing for happiness. Not because I was sooo happy that this person would get to come and see us in concert, as if I were blessing her with the gift of seeing Bono or The Beatles, but I was so happy that I could give Jeff something to give his mom. Because any guy who waits around for an hour to have you sign a CD for his mom living thousands of miles away, means he really loves his mom and longs to do something special for her. I ran back to the table and told him. "You're not going to believe this. Of all the places in the world we could be playing next weekend, we are playing in Prescott, Arizona. And your mom will be on my private guest list." Two hours outside of Phoenix, nestled in the mountains, 5,000 feet above Dallas and San Antonio. His mom wrote me that evening. I've highlighted the parts that made my heart soar: "Hi, I am Myra H., mother to a very excited Airman Jeff H., stationed at Lackland AFB in San Antonio. He told us you were in concert at Sea World San Antonio today and that something very special happened when he talked to you. What a huge blessing and answer to my prayers of the last few days. Jeff did not know of my prayers to be able to go see your concert at the Heights Church in Prescott . To tell you the truth, I was planning to bug the snot out of KGCB’s morning crew Steve and Dave when they have the contest starting Monday morning for the tickets to the concert. I am on leave of absence from work due to a recent surgery, so money is a bit tight right now. I have been praying, asking PAPA GOD if the contest was the way for my husband and myself to go to the concert that He would make a way. And then we get the call from Jeff this afternoon. WOW is all I can say." This story reminds me that the Holy Spirit is real. To me, that was not just a lucky, random conversation. I was tired. It had been a long day. The military guys were at the end of the line... the line that I assumed had been cut off already. I was slightly annoyed that there were still more people... I was so tired. I was ready to go and take care of Annie. But something moved inside of me and I felt such love for this group of guys who had been singing their hearts out. And something about this one guy pulled me in. I felt the urge to talk to him. That urge, I believe, is what the Christian church calls the Holy Spirit. The part of God that is alive and active and moving inside of our hearts and our lives. Calling out to us in that still small whisper. Speaking to us. Moving us. Prodding us. Convicting us. And moving our spirits to take care of and love those around us. Looking back, I didn't know it was God. I just felt the desire to talk to this guy. If it were me, I would've gone backstage. But in that moment, it wasn't me. It was God putting a different thought into my heart. I truly believe the Holy Spirit put this desire in my heart to have a conversation with Jeff. I believe it with everything inside of me. Not fate. Not chance. Not a random coincidence. But God himself who loves his children and longs to give us the desires of our hearts. There was a reason. And that reason was to answer the prayers of Myra; a mom recovering from surgery, tight on money, touched by our music, and praying quietly to her God that he would help her win a contest so she could spend a night listening to music that uplifts her soul. And God answered.
(Myra and David will be our special guests tonight at the Tenth Ave. North, Addison Road concert. We bought her flowers. :) Posted by jen at 5:30 PM)

Before the concert someone had brought flowers and randomly put then on the stage... I don't know why...but I knew right away those flowers were for my mom. God likes to bless in every way possible, even in the little things that give us joy. Thank you Jenny for allowing God to use you as an instrument to give my mom joy.

Jeff and Jenny at SeaWorld. I will put a picture of my mom and Jenny up later!