Monday, March 5, 2012

"The Porch": Stephanie from Just a Vapor

Can I admit something here real quick? I almost got a speeding ticket yesterday driving (obviously too fast) to CHURCH, of all places! It was so humbling to say the least. I saw those blue flashing lights and really thought it was for someone else. I have NEVER gotten a speeding ticket, but my husband does say I am a little speedy... Anyways, the police officer walks up and I hand him all of my information and I ask him... "Was I speeding on my way to church?" He kindly told me I was and then I just started crying silent tears. He walked away and I just knew I was getting a ticket. I was in the wrong. I didn't deserve anything, but a ticket. While he was writing the ticket in his car, I started bawling like a baby with my real life baby in the back seat! I couldn't find any napkins or tissues in my car, so I grabbed the package of baby wipes, pulling my Bible out next to me. Then, I'm wiping my tears with a Huggies wipe when I realize the officer is back standing next to my window. I look at him and tell him, "I'm sorry! I'm a huge sinner and I really need to go to church now, for sure!" I'm not sure what he thought. He probably thought I was a complete lunatic, but he handed me my WARNING and told me that I better stop crying, because my make up was going to come all off, before I got to church. I told him it was too late. When I realized he had just told me I was given a WARNING, I told him I didn't deserve that kind of grace! But I was so thankful that he had been so kind! Seriously. Then, I wiped away more tears with my Huggies baby wipe feeling like a huge baby for crying in front of a police officer. I cried the whole way to church and walked into church with tears in my eyes. I didn't care, because I knew no one in church would care either. It was amazing how much better my heart listened to the sermon, because I had JUST experienced what true grace was all about and it was amazing.
There is one such person in my life that has always shown me what true grace is always about. She is my real life best friend from college and I love her with all my heart. She blogs about her lovely life at Just a Vapor. Stephanie is very crafty, and I'm so proud of her, because she is currently learning to sew! You go girl! We need to Skype some sewing fun real soon! Steph is also probably why I say the word "Sweet" all the time, if you have ever wondering why... well, it's been picked up from her and I just say it like I was born saying it. Sooo...
meet sweet stephanie
my real life BF
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Hi ya’ll!  Thanks for stopping by V’s porch!  I am one of Vanessa’s real life BFs, and had the sweet privilege of being roommates with V during college while we attended the University of South Carolina (Go cocks!).  Now-a-days, V and I live states apart.  Even though we are separated by miles and miles, the Lord has been so gracious to bond us together in a sisterhood and is rooted in Him!  It doesn’t matter where we are or how much time has passed, we can always sit on our porches for a chat and walk away feeling like we are as close as ever.  I am truly thankful for this kind of friendship.
 holding cai as a newborn on my real porch

I wish I could sit on V’s real porch.  First of all because I LOVE Vanessa’s porch.  Secondly because it would be so good to share with her (in person!) all of the things that the Lord has been teaching me in my life lately.  I guess I will have to settle for the next best thing.  V’s virtual porch with a few more friends along for the conversation!

Friends, I have been feeling weary lately.  Uh oh!  Did I just admit that for the world to see?  Yes.  This is what I would tell my real life BF, Vanessa, and so this is what I must tell you as well.   

Here is a quick recap of life lately this month.  

I lost my closest grandparent.  My sweet nine month old baby girl has been on again off again sick (all of my mom friends get this one!).  My hubdaddy has been super busy with work and graduate school.  I hosted a brunch and a shower for different friends all while having house guests for about a week.  

Crazy month?  I would say so.  Even though I am feeling weary, I am learning that weariness only draws us closer to Jesus.  Life is unpredictable.  One minute it is the best season of your life and the next you are scattered on the kitchen floor in a million pieces. 

I have been reading Paul Miller’s “Praying Life” lately.  I love the way he described the Christian’s prayer life.  He says, “God wants us to come to him empty-handed, weary and heavy-laden.”  

Praise Jesus that my Hope is in Him!  He is teaching me in this season, that although life is inconsistent, His love is never changing!  John 13: 1 says, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”  

Can you even imagine this?  Jesus knows he is about to willingly die.  For me.  And for you.  On a cross.  In order for this to happen, His very own Father must turn away from Him.  Even in the midst of Jesus preparing for His crucifixion, He is comforting His disciples.  Showing them that He would love them.  Even to the end.  

Even though life, this side of glory, has made me weary lately. I am resting in Jesus’ “never changing, never giving up, always and forever (verbiage adapted from the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones) love for His people.  A love that took him to the cross at Calvary!  To His very end.  The Lord has been teaching me lately that even though His love is constant I can still be real about the struggles that I have in this earthly life.   

I believe that the worst thing we can do as Christians is to ignore that life is hard, and put on a fake joyful face.  

Yes.  It is true!  I have much joy and much hope in Christ.  Does that mean that I don’t experience hurt and pain and sadness in this broken and fallen world?  I love the way Miller encourages the Christian by saying that, “The feel of a praying life is cautious optimist—caution because of the Fall, optimism because of redemption.  Cautious optimism allows Jesus to boldly send his disciples into an evil world.”  

How freeing is that Christian friends?  We don’t have to pretend that life is easy.  Sometimes life is hard.  Sometimes it isn’t.  If we know Jesus and trust in Him alone for our salvation we can, “hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, because He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).”

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Surely, now you can see why I love this girl like my own sister! She is so so so encouraging to my heart. Thank you, Stephanie! Be sure to catch her over at Just a Vapor! She's got a pretty cute little girl you must meet! That is exactly what I needed to hear today, in this moment, after almost getting a speeding ticket! 
And just for fun... this is us back in the day! 
My hair looks so crazy here, because most of it fell out after all my surgeries... but we will get to that in the next portion of "My Story". Coming soon!