Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!

Today, Chris and I have been married 11 years. Its amazing that this much time has passed so quickly. Then, I think that we have had time to have these four wonderful children!

Chris is a fabulous husband. He is my very best friend. Chris is someone I can be silly with, who will play, listen, hold, pray with and for me, and just be there in any way I need. I love watching him interact with our children. He has all these quirky traditional things they do together...."I'm the tickle monster gonna hug you, I'm the tickle monster gonna hold-you-tight....." You have to see it to really know what I am talking about. One of their favorite things for the girls is for Chris to turn on music and dance with them. The boys love when he plays catch with them or wrestles. Then they have sweet times where he just has a special way of relating to them and touching their hearts. These children KNOW their Daddy loves them!

Chris has romanced my heart from the very beginning. He is a writer, although he doesn't want anyone to know it. I have boxes of love letters that I have received over the last 11 years. Chris loves to speak through music. I have tapes and, now, cd's with special music that Chris has especially picked along with letters to explain why each song was selected. He has planned wonderful, thoughtful evenings for us to share together (although those come further apart now with the kids). I like the simple things, though even more...a hug as he walks by, a touch on the arm or a kiss while I am cooking, a smile from across a room. These sweet things along with many inside jokes keep us having fun and enjoying each other.

He will do anything to help me out. Most of his very few days off, he is helping me with housework or other things that need to get done, just because he wants to make my life a little easier. He is selfless towards his family. Chris has such an integrity, loyalty, and work ethic! When those characteristics come together in one person, a lot of good is done. I can sleep soundly at night knowing that I am safe and completely loved. I trust in this man's heart. He will not wander, and he goes out of his way to show me this. For example, he honors me by closing his eyes or changing the channel when commercials come on with women hardly dressed. He makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the room.

Chris has a strong faith. He knows that God loves him, and that Jesus lived and died so that he may have eternal life. Chris tries to live that out each day as he interacts with the students in his classes, the football players, and the staff he works with. He loves on his children, teaching them that they are wonderfully made and loved by God. God teaches me many things as I live beside Chris. I have grown so much over the last 11, well actually 13 years of knowing him.

If you have met Chris, I am sure you liked him immediately. I am humbled that God would bless me so enormously through this man. I love him with all my heart!!!

Happy Anniversary, Chris!!! I love you!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Christmas Letter

I was reading my e-newsletter from Shoahannah's Hope, an organization that raises money to help families adopt, and Mary Beth Chapman had posted a Christmas letter to all from her.

If you have ever known anything of the Chapman's, I am sure your heart was torn open along with mine as they grieved the loss of their five year old daughter this year.

I have been touched and inspired as I have watched this family grieve with such faith in God's goodness even in the midst of tragedy.

Here is the link to her letter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Comments on the reviews regarding The Shack

The following comments are based mainly on one of the reviews I read on The Shack, by William Young. You may read the review yourself to see where I am coming from.

I have read the reviews and the warnings. I think some go too far sometimes. If you can read this book and by doing so, come away with a fresh view of God's love, then the author as succeeded. This book can reach the lost or hurt, showing a way to still trust in God's goodness even in the midst of horrible situations. It brings the amazing mystery of the scripture in a way that helps the human mind grasp the rolls of each part of the trinity. It helps the human mind grasp what God's design for relationship is.

Reading, there are many concerns with the book's accuracy with the concepts of hierarchy and submission and with the details of the trinity. I don't see the "danger" everyone speaks of. Salvation issues are the only "dangers." If someone has accepted Christ and lives with some misinterpretations of scripture, it doesn't cost him his soul. I personally find MANY problems with the reviewer's take on forgiveness. Not forgiving is a personal problem that eats you up from the inside out, giving Satan a huge foothold. Someone else's repentance is between them and God. My forgiving can't possibly be dependent on their repentance. You could relate this to my submission to my husband. God tells me to submit. I am in sin if I don't. My submission is not based on my husband willingness or capability to lead our family as Christ leads the church.

About how God communicates, I do not agree with the reviewer once again. I do not believe Young is discounting scripture. He is showing disgust for how many in our modern world pervert the scripture, limit God through it, and miss out on relationship totally. There are many many Pharisees in our time today. The reviewer also ridicules Young's description of hearing and being led by the Spirit. Yes we have the Word, but a believer also has the Holy Spirit living in them. One can discern if they have truly heard the Spirit by comparing the message to scripture. In this way, scripture is the authority, but the Spirit speaks and moves nonetheless.

There are big concerns about the author not clearly stating the danger of a human not accepting the relationship God offers. One comment to this is that again, this is a fictional story about a believer, confused as he was. There was no need to convert him, so this topic was irrelevant. In addition to this, though, I love that Young is against the "religion" which is all law and cold and misses the gospel completely. God does love ALL of His creation and does desire ALL to come into relationship with Him. Young is right to say that all paths do not lead to God, but speaks of God's wonderful creativity in attempts to reach us. God tries many paths and ways to get through to us. God never gives up. We have the ultimate decision to make, though.

Seminary can be good. (It is human taught, and so not always good.) Studying the scripture is good. Fear is not. I think that sadly, many are missing the heart of this book, which I think God is very pleased with. God is alive and I think many are in danger of stuffing Him in a very little box. God is as alive and real today as He was in Bible times. God loves each of us today as much as He does Adam and Eve. If your view of God is all law, then yes, this book may be an exciting, fresh new view, allowing you to finally see God's heart loving you. If your view is already this, then you are going to simply enjoy this book as a fun read. There is nothing harmful in freshness when what was there before was inaccurate.

Overall, I felt fear in the reviewers tone throughout. I would have to say, I disagree most of the time. Where there are points that are unbiblical, I believe this book can do much more good than harm. I still recommend it very much.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More on The Shack

I have been getting many warnings regarding this book. Apparently there are conflicting views. For those who have not read this book, the number one thing to keep in mind is that you are an intelligent human being and this is fiction. The other thing to keep in mind is that you must always weigh everything you are taking in as truth against the scriptures. I can see where some may get upset at some of the details of the story. What I hope you take from this book is the beautiful picture of relationship and God's COMPLETE love for you. I think that most of this book actually does line up with scripture. I think it is just a different idea that may take many out of their comfort zone. As long as scripture does not conflict, then there is no problem. I do find some inconsistencies with scripture, but nothing that took away the beauty of this story. I encourage you to read it, let it touch your life, and allow the Holy Spirit to help you discern what you take away from it.

Friends that are really family

I just took a fabulous trip to visit friends of ours. We spent the first day looking around their part of Connecticut. It was beautiful! Here, we are enjoying time at the nearby beaches. You can see that it is COLD!
Stephanie and I went into New York City, just the two of us. At this moment, we are at the top lookout of the Statue of Liberty with Manhattan behind us.

We went through the museum under the statue and cried at some of the history.
We had fun exploring Central Park and enjoying all the street performers that we saw. Afterwards, we saw Rockefeller Center, and had dinner in Time Square. Then we saw an AMAZING Broadway play that her husband, Steve, and another one of our friends, Debbie, gave us tickets for. It was a wonderful day!

That night, after our wonderful day in NY, it snowed!!! It was beautiful! We had snow ball fights with the kids and made snowmen.
God's beauty is amazing! I love traveling and seeing different parts of His creation. What a wonderful, diverse world we live in!

The Shack

I was just recently blessed by a trip ALONE to go visit a dear friend. For the first time in years, I had concentrated reading time. The book I chose was The Shack, by William P. Young. If you have not already read this, it needs to be the very next book on your list. It will make you cry. It will make you laugh, and it will challenge you in ways you never saw coming. In the end you will be deeply touched and changed. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.