Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Month: December 2007

The Wait

This week has been excruciatingly long. Mike and I have been living in two different states for 75 days. We got in two little visits. But buying and selling a house is so stressful that it just wasn’t the same as being together day in and day out.

Yesterday was the big day. Mike did his final walk through of our house in AL and signed all the papers. We are now the proud and nervous owners of two houses. Hopefully not for more than a few days. The previous owners of our new house scheduled a professional cleaning of our house and carpets. And were planning to be out by noon today.

Mike called and let me know all went well. Closing cost were less than they had expected and Glenna, our sweet realtor, gave us an iron cross to hang over our new fire place for a house warming gift. He didn’t have much to do for the rest of the day. He was all packed and ready to move out of his apartment. We had one last excruciating day of waiting for him to be able to move his stuff into the house and drive down to help us move up.

One thing that’s been nice about the separation is that we have free minutes to talk to each other on the cell phone. We’ve done hours and hours of that. Around 6 pm I started wondering what he was up to and called and asked where he was and what he was doing. His first answer was that he was in AL. I said “Well, I know that.” Then he said he had been out shopping, named off some stores that he had been to, and said he had a surprise for me. We chatted some more. I kept thinking that it was awful quite on his end and I asked are you still shopping or are you home now. He said he was home. I kept thinking why don’t I hear your TV. I was looking at stuff on line and wanted to send him some links via e-mail to look at. He didn’t act real interested in looking. I thought that was odd.

We hung up because I had to get ready to take the kids to One Thing, an international house of prayer. The kids and I were out late. One Thing ended at 11 pm then we went to Walmart to pick up a couple of things and to McDonalds for a snack. Got home and made some tea to unwind and sat down. A few minutes later I heard James calling out, “Dad’s home.” It didn’t compute. He walks in my room saying “Ho, Ho, Ho.” I thought, “Is he supposed to be home?” Then as I jumped up to hug and kiss him I realized what you now know.

Yay! The wait is over!

Jenny

Father’s Love Letter

Making my Home a Temple

One day a few months ago I was praying about what house God wanted us to buy in AL and what His vision was for our new home and life.  He put in my heart an idea about setting up a communion table that has continual supply of crackers and juice and an inspirational painting hanging above inviting us to commune with God so that at any time on any day any one at my house could stop and have a quite moment with alone with God.  
Later that week I got a devotion by Charles Spurgeon in my e-mail that asked “Is there a Church in this house?”  It went on to say, “More is expected of a Church than of an ordinary household; family worship is a must, in such a case, be more devout and hearty; internal love must be more warm and unbroken and external conduct must be more sanctified and Christlike… As a Church let us now draw nigh to the great head of the one Church universal, and let us beseech Him to give us grace to shine before men to the glory of His name.”  I thought it was so inspirational to think of your home in that way.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what being temples of the Holy Spirit of God means and I think that your home is a perfect place to express who you are – or want to be.  Early in my career as a home maker, before I even had a desire to for my home to reflect God’s love, I had visitors giving me encouraging words that it did.  Now I want to do it on purpose.  
 About the time all these thoughts were going though my head I had a dream or a vision or something and heard God tell me that I was going to buy a nativity set.  It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard God tell me.  I thought, “OK?”  The Christmas decorations in the stores weren’t out yet.  So, I kept praying about it.  
Then a few weeks ago when the stores put out their Christmas stuff I took a day of shopping and visited several to see their nativity sets.  I found a couple that I liked but not the one that said, “This is the one.”  So, I kept praying.  
One day I had some extra time for the computer and decided to do some online shopping for nativity sets.  I looked at some Christian book stores, I looked on e-bay, then finally I felt real strongly that I should look at Craig’s list.  I almost never look on Craig’s list for anything.  When I say I felt strongly that I should look on Craigs list I mean that I thought God was about to yell it in my ear so I looked.  I did a search for nativities in the Tampa area and a large Fontanini set came up.  I couldn’t believe it.  
My MIL had given us a beginner set 19 years ago when we went to Thailand as missionaries.  That Christmas in Thailand our oldest (8 months) threw away baby Jesus.  He loved throwing things away.  By the time I realized it was missing it was too late… so the next year I just took a cotton ball and rapped piece of muslin around it for a baby Jesus and used it for years.  
One year a friend of mine in IL bought me a new baby Jesus – I didn’t know you could do that.  Then I saw her collection.  It was huge, beautiful, a whole village that she placed in niches around her living room with green garland and white Christmas lights.  Ever since then I’ve always wanted to collect them but they are expensive and I have had to use many a Christmas check for groceries instead.  
So here on Craig’s list was my chance.  I knew that was the set God had been talking about.  I prayed. The seller said he would take any offer seriously.  I called Mike in AL and asked if I could offer $200.  I about fainted when he said yes.  When I e-mailed the seller my offer he said he couldn’t possibly take less than $500.  It was worth $900 so I understood but there was no way I could spend that much.  
I prayed some more – I felt like I could go up to $275 and kept watching Craig’s list.  Each week he posted a new lower price.  I thought for sure someone else would snatch it up.  They go for retail prices and up on e-bay.  After a few weeks, the seller contacted me and said that he was lowering his price to $275 and asked me if I was interested.  
Ta da.. Here it is.  Sorry the picture isn’t that great.  

I am not sure why God wanted me to buy it –
 it seems silly spending so much money on little plastic figures – but it’s beauty draws me to Jesus and maybe it will help my home feel more like the temple God is designing it to be and draw people to commune with Him.  And I think I know the perfect place for it in my new home.

A Thankful Perspective

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.  I Thessalonians 5:18
This picture screams out, “COMPARE ME!”  As Princess J and I were staring at the startling differences- Princess J rightfully enjoying her youth and I marveling at where mine had gone, the mathematician of the family brought in some perspective, “Well, Mom is 3 times older than you, Princess J.”  
Pollyanna is one of my favorite movies.  She comes in on the scene having lost everything, she’s placed in a loveless home and by choosing  the right perspective brings an infectious change not only in her home but in the whole town, which honors her by nick naming themselves “The Glad Town.”
St. James addresses the problem of comparing people in the second chapter of his book.  I think Pollyanna brings verse 5 to life, “My dear brothers and sisters, listen to me. Hasn’t God chosen those who are poor in the world’s eyes to be rich in faith? Hasn’t he chosen them to receive the kingdom? Hasn’t he promised it to those who love him?”
Romans 8 has been an life changing chapter in my life.  It says that it’s all about perspective – what set your mind on…  Turn your thoughts toward God and you’ll  find the freedom to receive all Jesus died to give you.  Let yourself be consumed by sinful thoughts and they will lead you to your death.  When tough times come draw strength from the Spirit of God that is in you and pray with a hope in God who uses all things for the good of those who love him.
I was young and now I am old(er) and I have found that God is faithful in every circumstance.  In return I want my life to reflect an infectious perspective full of thankfulness.                  Jenny

Just a Taste

God has been doing a wonderful work in me.
He has been gently washing away all my fears and doubt.
He is teaching me to trust Him and in turn trusting me with His heart full of love.
He is crazy about me and I am sure He’s crazy about you, too.
You’ve seen how He dotes on us.
He sends us the most fragrant flowers, beautiful butterflies, 
Fascinating birds, reptiles and insects.  
You’ve watched the shows His creatures put on for us: from graceful to hilarious!
They’re like an extravagant, singing, telegram of His love.  
The majesty of His trees and mountains are astounding.  
He put them there just for us to enjoy.
Have you seen the vibrant colors He uses to paint the sunset?
They are only a shadow of the vibrance of His love for us. 
Then there are all the things that take our breath away: 
the sunrise, holding a new born baby, 
the sweet sound of a violin being played by a master, 
a giraffe with it’s amazing neck, the soaring eagle,
the wind, the ocean, stars and so many other things.  
They are a gift of His glory to us.  
As I am drawing near to Him I am learning so much about Him.
He is kinda shy and yet longs for friendship like me.  
He loves to share His secrets with those who love Him 
And seek a relationship with Him.  
He is so wonderfully good.  No one could hope for a better friend.  
He loves to surprise me, take long walks with me, 
To just sit with me in the stillness and hold me in His arms.  
When He looks at me with is gentle eyes, I am overcome with His peace 
And at the same time His longing to run away with me.  
He loves to dance and sing with me and for me.
His playful, joyful demeanor makes me laugh so hard sometimes I cry.  
The sound of His voice is so sweet and yet power packed with truth.  
His words reverberate through my soul.
I melt under his gentle caress.
I know love is blind.
Because He is always telling me that I am beautiful.  
I’ve seen myself in the mirror and in the darkness, too.
But He sees a beauty that only He could have created in me.
A pure, lovely, growing beauty deep with in.  I feel it.
The more I seek Him the more I feel it grows.
He is the warm sun, the gentle breeze and the refreshing rain it thirsts for.  
Have you ever sensed a thirst for something more than this life has to offer?
Do you know what that something is?  
The chasm in us is so big – so much bigger than I ever imagined.  
It’s eternal and the only thing that can satisfy us is Him.  
He is the fountain of youth, that special someone,
the answer to our search for significance, the ultimate treasure.  
The more I get of Him the bigger I realize my hunger is.  
It’s awakening out of the dullness I had stuffed it into.
I want to know Him more and more.
I want to live in His presence daily.
I want feel Him moving through me; loving others with His love.  
I want to hear His voice and obey with out fear.  
I want to wait patiently for Him with expectancy and hope 
And trust Him in the darkness. 
Close your eyes for a minute.  
Shut them to all the hurt, shame and guilt sin has caused you 
Then take a look around you at God’s goodness.  
It’s still there.  You just have to look in the right places.  
He is showering you with invitations to His love.  
Won’t you come and discover what a treasure He is?  
He has made a way for you.  
He sent His only Son, Jesus, to demonstrate His love for you 
By taking the sins of the world on Himself on the cross 
So that you could be free to come and enjoy knowing His love for you.  
He is the living water, the bread of life.  Won’t you come?
I’ve become a seeker of God in all things; 
in His creation, in the stillness, 
in the stuff of life, in acts of kindness, 
and in the miraculous change He works in those 
who come to Him and discover His incredible love for them.  
One day I will see Him face to face 
and know Him for who He is 
and I will be made like Him.  
What I am experiencing now is just a taste.  
Jennifer Coleman  9/08/07

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