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Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Can Only Imagine... Part 2

Because I was in a hurry yesterday I didn't elaborate on some of the other things that were also going through my mind. These thoughts are still present and have not gone away. As I stood there singing the hymnals my mind was also focused on being thankful for the little things. I can't describe why, but the fact that Jason was standing next to me singing the music made me happy. It felt nice to know that he was not just standing there, but instead he was letting God's words flow freely through him. Strange, but I think it might have bothered me had he stood there silent. I also enjoyed how he held my hand throughout the entire service, and every time he squeezed it I knew it was his way of showing his emotion to me during certain moments. Several times we exchanged glances and when we talked later, we found out, we were thinking the exact same things. These are the little moments that make life worth living - and so many times we ignore them when they happen.

The fact that today he has the song "I Can Only Imagine" stuck in his head, and we keep finding ourselves singing it - and then saying "I love you" tells me we are on the same page ... funny how as time passes, you think you might be drifting apart because there are so many moments you are each doing your own thing, but in fact, you are drifting closer together as one! That's exciting!! And, I today, am so thankful.

We both talked about how life is so short, we need to stop sweating the small stuff. We talked about how one day, we want our kids to think back about how much we taught them and more importantly how much we loved them and taught them to love one another and God. I've found myself worried from time to time that Jason and I don't go to church and have a church family. We've both been exposed to so many hypocritical people who only follow God on Sundays so we were having a hard time in this area. But, I realize that God is leading us where we should be. He gives us moments like yesterday. He opens our hearts to His glory. And, even though we don't have a church yet, He'll be leading us the whole time.

Today I am so excited to be alive. I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life. Jason and I are so blessed to have found each other after all the roads we have both been down. God's plan for me has been amazing. My heart is so open right now, I can't even describe all I am feeling.

Jason and I have been reflecting on the song and this weekend. And we've grown closer yet again. Today he said, "I can only imagine our future together and having kids with you one day." I am enjoying the present and looking forward to all that is to come. Recognize the little things - life is full of them!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Can Only Imagine...

Today I accompanied Jason, my boyfriend, to a funeral of a long time family friend. Unfortunately I had never gotten to know this man we went to see laid to rest. As we drove to the church, my expectations were just really to be there for Jason - I didn't realize how much attending this service would affect me. The moment we sat down, I began to look through the pamphlet at what was to come, and felt a wave of emotion come over me. I sat and watched this man's wife and their two daughters smile as they hugged everyone, and began to dread the day that I will be in the same position. Immediately, everyone who I had ever lost flashed through my mind, and both my grandfathers were present in my mind.

We sang Amazing Grace, and I learned more about the man I was there to pay my respects to. He was a marine in the Vietnam War, brilliant, and a devoted husband and father. What struck me the most was how everyone spoke of his Faith. Even though he was dying of cancer, he was content knowing that he was living out the plan God had for him, and if dying now was part of the plan, so be it, he was ready.

Then it happened. A woman from the back of the room stood, microphone in hand, and prepared to sing the song, "I Can Only Imagine." She asked us to focus on the portrait of Jesus above the alter, remember all those that we've lost and really listen to the words of the song. I've heard the song many times, and love it, but today - it came to life....

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine

But it didn't end there. After I watched Marines salute him, listened to the guns, and watched them present his wife with a flag, I continued to think about both of my grandfathers. I thought about the sacrifices and awful things one of my grandfathers faced during World War II. My heart was crying out for God to comfort me.

And then, the following song was played and the lyrics spoke right to my heart.... For all of the loved ones you have lost - Let the following words sink in:

Our prayers have all been answered. I finally arrived.
The healing that had been delayed has now been realized.
No one's in a hurry. There's no schedule to keep.
We're all enjoying Jesus, just sitting at His feet.

Chorus: If you could see me now, I'm walking streets of gold.
If you could see me now, I'm standing strong and whole.
If you could see me now, you'd know I've seen His face.
If you could see me now, you'd know the pain is erased.
You wouldn't want me to ever leave this place,
If you could only see me now.

My light and temporary trials have worked out for my good,
To know it brought Him glory when I misunderstood.
Though we've had our sorrows, they can never compare.
What Jesus has in store for us, no language can share. (Chorus twice)

You wouldn't want me to ever leave this perfect place
If you could only see me now
If you could see me now
If you could only see me now

--------- God is taking care of all of us... You just have to believe.... I felt God reach out to me today, and He asked me to not take a single moment for granted, but to also have Faith in his Will....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A little direction...

Over the last 18 years I have watched my nieces and nephews grow up. Wow, it's hard to believe that that much time has gone by. I am certainly thankful for the experience of being an aunt before being a mother, as I have learned so many wonderful lessons about how I will raise my own children one day...

In watching them grow, I have been able to relate their hardships to those of my own youth, and try my best to give them advice or lend an ear that doesn't tell them how/what to feel, or what to do, but instead let them find their own way with my support. Each and every one of them has their own struggles to overcome, including divorce, self-esteem issues, addiction, or missing the loving arms of a parent being nearby.

I am proud of them for who they are becoming and am happy to see them overcome their struggles in their own way. They don't realize that they are also teaching me to be a better person as well. I've watched them do so many things, that I wish I would have done when I was their age and am thankful that they were able to experience it!

As they wish for the things that all young people do (making their own rules, getting a driver's license, graduating, getting a job, turning 21, getting married, getting their own house)and I did as well - I ask them to take the following words of advice with them -

Live in the moment. Don't wish your life away. I know the future is exciting and that you want to be at the next stage of your life, but when that comes, there's always the next thing. Just let things happen, don't worry about what is going to happen because it won't get you anywhere. Live for the moments you are in right now… because you aren't guaranteed the future, and what a shame it would be to put your happiness on hold! Stop waiting for your life to start - you've already crossed the starting line! You can't always plan ahead, sometimes you have to plan to be surprised.

When you think you can't go on anymore, you can, and you will. When you think love is 'just a game' it can be – you just have to learn how to play. Every road you travel down will lead you to where you are supposed to be just trust and have faith even when it seems like God is wrong – He isn't. If you are with someone, and you get into a fight, it shouldn't mean it is over – it simply means this: decide what you will put up with and what you won't and find a way to make it work or leave. Love is fragile – handle with care; but remember bruises WILL heal so don't be so quick to walk away. Love takes time.

Take the time to smile at a stranger, to wave at a neighbor. Take the time to listen to a friend, to call someone out of the blue. Take the time to write someone a letter. Give yourself permission to laugh. Answer that phone call you don't really feel like taking right now. Go outside. Breathe in life. Forgive. Trust. Stop being jealous. Call your brother. Call your sister. Call your mom. Call your Dad. When you drive by their house and you are in a hurry - stop for a minute just to give them a hug. Donate your time, your money. Write down your thoughts. Believe in something. Believe in yourself. Stop looking for something, wait for it to find you. Own up to your mistakes. Say sorry. When you talk to children, get on their level. They will teach you something every minute. Play on the slip and slide, even if you are embarrassed. Video tape it. Act like a kid. Go barefoot in the mud. Tell the truth. Surprise someone. Turn the TV off. Cuddle on the couch. Say what you are thinking. Take your time. Earn your money. Don't settle. Don't judge. Give up your seat. Make it a point to walk in the mountains. Don't jump over the puddles. Walk barefoot through the stream. Get muddy. Sit in the grass. Dream. Set goals. Surprise yourself. Kiss hello and goodbye. When someone hugs you let them be the first to let go. Pay it forward. And above all, love yourself. And LIVE your life.

For Chelsea, Devin, Cassy, Moriah, Dylan, and Lydia