Thursday, April 29, 2010

Solomon, Jesus, & Mammoth Caves

Ephesians 5
5Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing"[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."[c] 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

I told Aron a few weeks ago that in our zeal & passion to serve Jesus, I felt as if we overlooking our relationship with one another. Not purposefully, but almost as if our love for one another was a given & so our attention focused on more pressing matters: family, ministry, children, work. Duty calls after all.

My husband took this to heart. So what did he do? He began reading the Song of Songs. Yes, the most scandalously beautiful book of the entire Bible. And he was indeed inspired. You see, scripture commands men to love their wives as Christ loves the church (his followers). What does this look like?
* He gave himself up for her, literally giving his very life to rescue us
* He nurtures her
* He pursues her
* He leads her
* He disciplines (corrects) her to keep her from falling into sin

There are probably more ways, but it is late and that's what I can gather off the top of my head. I'd love to hear your ideas.

So with the Love of Christ for his bride & the words of Solomon on his heart, Aron began planning.

On Sunday as I was preparing to leave for a week with the kids & travel with his mom to Southern Ohio, Aron handed me a letter for each day that we were apart.

I am forbidden to disclose the contents of them, but I am quite certain the Spirit moved in Aron as he wrote. Each day, he revisited special moments in our journey, and validated so many wounds and insecurities that I have faced as a young woman.
The words alone were completely overwhelming.
But on Wednesday morning, the letter closed with the statement of how our love for one another refreshes his spirit. And that he wanted me to be refreshed as well. Then followed instructions to show up for a massage at 11:00 am, babysitting already arranged (Thank you, Alyssa!).

Thursday's Letter was the Icing on the Cake. After quoting one of my favorite songs that he has written:

I think we need
Some sweet release
Some time away
Wide Open Space

Or just close your eyes and say you love me
And don't regret one word you say
And as you speak your love surrounds me
And the rest just fades away.

He wrote, "Will you come away with me?"

So away we go. Not far, but far enough.
He is a little excited about the mammoth king sized bed he isn't sharing with Judah for 2 nights.
I am excited to capture the beauty (holding a baby isn't exactly conducive to taking photos).
Our adventure doesn't really begin until tomorrow. But we went exploring a little this evening.
(I know, Mom. No socks & no tennis shoes...I was regretting it!!!)
This cave entrance was great until the bats starting coming out. I strongly considered vetoing our two expeditions already booked for tomorrow at that point.

The wildlife isn't afraid of humans at all.
I have notoriously had a difficult time leaving the young ones. This was no exception (especially since Judah isn't weaned & refuses a bottle...poor Grandma Jackie & Aunt Alyssa...I'm sorry!!!)

Aron surprised me with an early Mother's Day gift so that Belle & Judah could be near to my heart while we were away! So very thoughtful this man is, and how grateful & blessed am I! So undeserving of his affection, and so humbled by his pursuit.
So I share of all of this in hope that you closet man-readers out there might be inspired to find a new way to love & pursue your wives. It doesn't have to be as elaborate or expensive as a getaway. A simple love letter or a whisper of the things that you adore about your wife would do more to awaken your wife's heart than you can know. And as you do, the desire to submit, respect, honor, follow, and support you will overflow from her in ways neither you nor she can imagine.
I dare you.

PS...These are for you, Isabelle Rose.

We saw a real castle on our trip! Do you think a princess lives here?
And Daddy got chased by a pteridactyle at Dinosaur World. Good thing Daddy was very fast and ran to safety before he was snatched up!
And finally, in honor of all you P90 X'ers out there,
"I'm a pteridactyle, backing out of trouble..."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

He intercedes for us

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." -- Romans 8:26-27

Have you ever felt like you don't know what to pray for? I found myself this morning with a giant list of "to-do's" and not enough time in the day. I thought of problems I have to deal with, and I don't even know what a good solution would look like. The Bible says to ask God for what you need, and he will give it to you, but what do you do when you don't know what you need?!?!

I started to pray a few times, only to groan and sigh, frustrated that I didn't know what to pray about. I was stressed and frustrated.(my stress was multiplied because we had just studied Philippians 4:6-7 in our small group Bible study this past week, so I knew in order to have peace, I needed to pray, and here I am not knowing what to pray for!)

Then I remembered a song we sang this past week at church called "At the Cross" by Hillsong. Despite the stressful issues of this day, I lifted up the verse of the song as a prayer:
"O Lord, you've searched me. You know my way. And even when I fail you, I know you love me."

I felt peace about everything. The stress was gone. And then Romans 8:26-27 popped into my head. I was so humbled that we have a Father who loves us so much that he's given us his own Spirit. When we don't even know what to pray for or what we need, the Spirit intercedes in our behalf so that even in situations when we cannot recognize what God's will is, we still somehow accomplish it. What a gift from our God. It reminds me of a song I wrote awhile back called "Nothing We Have Done":

"I must confess I deserve the grave
Without your love I could never change.
Yet I find rest in your grace,
And what have you required of me

But to act justly,
And love mercy,
And walk humbly with you God.

There's nothing we have done to deserve your love,
While we were still sinners you gave your Son.
There's nothing we could do to be good enough.
It's only by your grace -- you first loved us.
It's only by your Son, it's only by his blood,
It's nothing we have done."


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mid-week Message

Here's a message by Brian Houston of Hillsong Church in Austrailia that really encouraged me this past week when I listened to it while working out. It's called "He takes away to Establish" and he talks about how God will sometimes take away some thing in our lives because he wants to establish something new and better, and it's based on Hebrews 10:9:
"Then he said, 'Here I am, I have come to do your will.' He sets aside [or takes away] the first to establish the second."

Go here and listen to message #7: He takes away to establish part 1.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Work Hard #2

"All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty."

-- Proverbs 14:23

Just wanted to follow up my post the other day with this reminder. When you're working hard, not only does your hunger or desire to succeed increase, but the Bible says it WILL turn a profit. At first it may be small, but as your skill increases with time, so will your results.

Have you felt like you've been lacking in any area of your life? Perhaps in your marriage? Perhaps in your job? Perhaps physically or emotionally?

How hard have you worked to try and "turn a profit" in that area. Proverbs says we should search for knowledge and wisdom as if searching for great wealth and that we should be willing to pay good money for it. Once you have the knowledge, putting it into practice through good ole hard work is the only way to grow your own skills and knowledge AND turn a profit.

It's kind of like the old saying, "Give a man a fish or teach a man to fish?" It's a lot harder to LEARN HOW TO FISH, but once you know how, you can feed yourself for life. And if you're always relying on chance or circumstance to GIVE you what you want, you'll be in want most of your life.

Sometimes we're waiting on God to produce the perfect circumstance to give us what we want, and he's up there ready and willing to show us how to WORK HARD to go out and get it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Work hard, stay hungry.

"The laborer's appetite works for him;
his hunger drives him on."
-- Proverbs 16:26

When I was working in sales, I often remember hearing our boss say "stay hungry." In fact, I remember interviewing for a sales position, and the interviewer told me they would rather hire someone who is inexperienced and "hungry" than someone who has tons of experience but no desire to succeed.

In most professions, one key quality that enables some people to rise to the top while others with similar talent and abilities settle in mediocrity is a hunger, or drive, that pushes you to go above and beyond anything you've done before. It's similar in our relationship with God. I know for a fact that the times when I've grown the most have and when I've been most satisfied in Him were in times when I was desperately "hungry" for God himself (kind of like when you haven't eaten for a long time and that next meal is oh so satisfying).

There are two ways to stay hungry, though. One is starvation. This is like when you go through a desperate time spiritually. The situation may be your fault (i.e. bad moral choices) or you could be completely blameless (i.e. job-loss due to economy), but either way you're desperate and hungry for God to be your refuge and strength.

Some of the deepest spiritual growth happens during these times. You learn things about God and yourself you never knew before. But God doesn't want us to go through life starving. The other way to stay hungry is to WORK HARD.

I just started an intense work-out program this week, and one thing I noticed is that when I'm working my body much harder than normal, I am much hungrier than normal and I eat a lot more! In my life lately, it seems like things have been pretty smooth sailing. But I'm working hard to be a great husband. I've noticed when I intentionally work hard to be a great husband, my DESIRE to be a great husband increases. When I work hard at being a great dad, my DESIRE to be a great dad increases. When I work hard to be a great leader in my profession, my DESIRE to be a great leader increases. When I work hard to know God and please him in my life, my DESIRE to know God and please him increases.

When you're starving, look to God, he promises to satisfy. But when things are good, work hard and stay hungry!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

And, he's off!

We've known its coming soon.
The signs have all been there.
After all, it is quite frustrating to play with sister,
and watch her get up & go away
and not be able to do a single thing about it.
But he's been practicing.

Watching very carefully,
And studying just how its done.
Oh yes, this feels right.
Check me out!
Beautiful, proud sister gleaming as she watches!

And so excited for Judah's big day.

How did I do that again? Concentrate...
A little demonstration from SissyBelle
And encouragement from his biggest cheerleader.
And a hug & a kiss when he falls down.

"Let's try again, Bubby."
"Mom! He's doing it!!!"

And he's off & crawling!
And with Belle's imagination, I'm sure you can guess where her mind went when she saw Judah crawling like this:

He is now her puppy dog & they love to play "Fetch".
I love my job!
all our movin' & groovin' love,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A story about our Small Paul

This is a very small Paul.
But don't be fooled by his size.
"You are a lion's cub, O Judah," (Genesis 49:9)
Son of Aron Paul, an Oak with the heart of a Lion.
Grandson of Donald Paul, Paul Douglas, and Paul Don - each brave and wise leaders of their Pack.
This is Judah Paul's cousin, Isaiah Matthew. Only 3 weeks apart, they are sure to explore their cub-like curiosity together. Marking territory & getting into mischief, one can only imagine the way these two will learn to walk on the wild side & find their "ROAR" side by side.
When at the store I read "Small Paul" on the adorable outfit, I couldn't resist getting one for our own Judah Paul.
This small Paul had his mind elsewhere during mommy's attempt to capture his cuteness.
If you can't guess by this photo...
Or this one...
Then surely by this one you will know that nature calls, even Small Pauls...
But in no time this Small Paul was back to his wild cub ways.
And back to the hard work of cutting those fierce lion teeth (notice how swollen those top gums are!!!).
And most of all, stealing his mommy's heart.
Thankful for all of the Pauls - great & small -
in my life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

catching up

I am I'm going to 'boil down' what should have been several posts to the 'meat & potatoes'. Here it goes:

Bite 1:
Belle hunting eggs with her main man. A few families from church who don't have extended families nearby with whom to celebrate got together for an Easter egg hunt Sunday evening.
Team K. exploring their spoils.

Bite 2:
I honestly never know when I walk into a room how Belle will have dressed up her brother. He's a happy & willing participant...for now.

Bite 3:
I'm venturing into baby food making. The first attempt was a soaring success. I steamed an extra (organic) apple, then proceeded to mash it by hand (which was insufficient to achieve desired consistency). I don't have a food processor, but I am thrifty; so I pulled out my KitchenAid immersion blender (a gift from my mom to make my wifely duty of milkshake making for my husband a little less taxing). The tiny terror pureed those apples into the smoothest texture.
I would highly recommend one for baby food making. Its small and stores easily, and the clean up is a breeze, especially compared to a food processor. The process was so easy and far cheaper than buying Gerber Organic, I can't wait to make more. Oh, and best of all, Judah loved it!
Bite 4:
We hit up Dodge Park with our sweet friends Phil, Mistey, & Chase.
Chase & Judah enjoyed a swing ride together.
While Aron & Belle wrangled dinosaurs.
We took a walk along Clinton River.

And threw a football in the open grass.

And for the final bite, a few last random picts from that evening...

Even a 'boiled down' meal requires dessert (at least at our house)
So here's a treat to pacify your sweet tooth:

Remember the post a few days back entitled Right Now, well after I wrote the post, I ventured out to the porch to find that Belle had given Judah her sweater because "He was cold, mamma." Sweet as honey & simply delightful to my heart.