I've been terrible about this blogging thing. Seems like I'm so busy, but I really like looking back on what I've written and being reminded of various things, including how God was working in my life at different times. So I was trying to think of what I might like to blog about, something that might make me excited to write.
I'm going to try to start with writing something about Brent and I, something about our relationship, how God is using us, whatever. If I can stay disciplined, I will do one day about us, one about each of the kids and one about work or something like that.
I must tell you that ministry has been beyond stressful lately. Actually, just life in general has been. There have been all sorts of stress: finances, relationships, time management, work related stuff for me, you name it. We can sense God really using us in different ways, but it also takes a toll. (I'm not one to blame everything on spiritual warfare, but looking back on our year, I can't help but wonder if Satan is trying to drag us down. I'm tired of picking up the phone to call home with another catastrophe.) We've had some friends going through a rough time in their marriage. We love being there for them, but it also brings up garbage in your own marriage, so we have had to talk through some stuff, which is not really all that fun. But in the process of watching Brent handle difficult situations, I have been so proud and so thankful for the man God gave to me. He has been so reliant on God. This particular situation is so much more than we know what to do with, but we know that we were called into the middle of it for a reason, and we want to be where God wants us to be and to be used by Him. I have watched Brent sit quietly praying for the next step and then listened to him as he acted on what he felt God leading him to do or say. It has been exciting to watch lives transforming because Brent has allowed himself to be used by God, even when he felt totally incapable. Truly amazing!!!!
I was "telling my story" at small group the other night. I've done this so many times before, beginning back when we were in Kyle Unruh's small group in Bartlesville, but it's always a little different and I always teach myself something (or remind myself of something) as I tell my own story. The thing I realized as I told my story last week is that God puts us through circumstances and gives us opportunities for a reason. If we are willing to be his tool, he will use us in really big ways. I've been watching my husband be taken out of his comfort zone to be God's tool, and he has been doing an amazing job.
I would just ask any of you who happen to read this to be praying for us. We had all the physical injuries last year with all six of us being in urgent care at one time or another (and David in on three occasions). There is an earlier post about that, I think. Recently, it has seemed more relational and emotional. James was mugged a little over a week ago. I will tell that story another time. I had to make a decision in effort to protect James's emotions in another situation and force him (and Jason) to delete one of our "friends" from Facebook because of hateful, sarcastic comments, which has caused even more relational turmoil for Brent and me, and as much as I play "tough", I don't like people not liking me, and Brent hates it when people are not happy with him. He wants to be loved by everyone. So it's been a tough couple weeks, and we could use your prayers for protection and for wisdom.
Here's the most recent family picture I have from our vacation to Yosemite last month. We went on our first ever camping trip. I will have to blog about that soon. Not the best picture. We were being swarmed by mosquitos, but the lake was beautiful and we hiked 3.5 miles one way to see it, so we had to get a picture.