Sunday, March 30, 2014

Is not this the fast that I have chosen?

"Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?
Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.
Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." ~Isaiah 58:511

Saturday, June 29, 2013

I said I do

I spent some time this afternoon cleaning and organizing, and tackling the huge project of going through my old trunk full of keepsakes and memories. I ran across my huge stacks of writings, including the 10+ journals that I've filled throughout my life. As I shuffled through the seemingly never-ending piles of tattered papers and books, some inspiration came to me -- inspiration I've awaited for quite a while now.

And all of a sudden, I wanted to write again. And I knew what to start with.

So I abandoned my project (it can wait), and made my way to my laptop.

Now my fingers are flying.

And I'm on a roll.

And I'm happy. So happy.

I really believe writing is my strongest, most effective form of communication. Sure, I can talk. But it doesn't come out the same. When I really need to communicate something from the bottom of my heart, no matter who I'm talking to or what I'm saying, I write it.

Over the last year or so, I really lost my zeal for writing -- and that made me really sad. I felt like I had lost a precious gift that couldn't be replaced. I would try; I really would. I wanted to. But the words just wouldn't come.

Thank You, Jesus, for giving this gift back to me.

Writing is returning to my heart. Which causes it to return to my head. Which causes it to return to my fingers.

Which causes it to return to my blog. :)

As some of you may know, I've gone through some pretty major life changes over the past year. I met an amazing, handsome man online not too long ago, and he asked if we could meet on Skype. I said yes.

My life hasn't been the same ever since!

After we met on Skype, he asked me if I wanted to meet in person. I said yes.

Not too long after we met in person, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I said yes.

Not too long after he asked me to be his girlfriend, and I said yes, he asked me to be his wife.

I said yes.

Not too long after he asked me to be his wife, and I said yes, our wedding officiant asked me if I promised to love, serve and cherish this man until death do us part. I said, "I do."

My life has changed. For better or for worse, for richer or poorer. Yes, until death do us part. Praise the Lord! I'm in love. :)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Thoughts to ponder, at both the close and the beginning of a year...

"Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs. We are, and must be, one and all, burdened with faults in this world: but the time will soon come when, I trust, we shall put them off in putting off our corruptible bodies; when debasement and sin will fall from us with this cumbrous frame of flesh, and only the spark of the spirit will remain -- the impalpable principle of life and thought, pure as when it left the Creator to inspire the creature; whence it came it will return, perhaps again to be communicated to some being higher than man -- perhaps to pass through gradations of glory, from the pale human soul to brighten to the seraph! Surely it will never, on the contrary, be suffered to degenerate from man to fiend? No, I cannot believe that: I hold another creed, which no one ever taught me, and which I seldom mention, but in which I delight, and to which I cling, for it extends hope to all; it makes eternity a rest -- a mighty home -- not a terror and an abyss. Besides, with this creed, I can so clearly distinguish between the criminal and his crime, I can so sincerely forgive the first while I abhor the last; with this creed, revenge never worries my heart, degradation never too deeply disgusts me, injustice never crushes me too low; I live in calm, looking to the end."
--Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Living for Him?

Am I living my life for His glory?

That is one of many questions that have been bouncing through my head as of late. And when I say bouncing, I don't mean a slow, rhythmic bouncing up and down, up and down. I mean bouncing off the walls kinda bouncing. Tumbling, rumbling, cuttin' the rug, tearing through. Hyper -- like just-drank-five-espresso's kinda hyper. The kinda thoughts that won't let you rest. Won't let you read. Won't let you write. Won't let you sleep. Won't let you even sit still half the time. Yeah, that's me lately.

I am grieved.

Am I living my life for His glory?

Theoretically, I may be. But, pratically -- tangibly -- nuh-uh. I know the answer. And the answer is a big, fat NO.

And that makes me sick.

I know we as human beings can't expect perfection from ourselves. At least, not on our own strength. But I know that through the strength of the Lord, there is a lot more I could be doing. A lot more I could be dedicating to Him: of my life, my time, my money, my energy, my attention, my LOVE. Most importantly, my love.

I need His strength and His wisdom, an outpouring of His Spirit. I need Him. The flame in my heart needs re-kindling...and I'm trusting Him to take care of that.

I live for myself. That is a fact. As humans, we all do to one degree or another. But speaking for me -- I am SPOILED. Spoiled rotten. Comfortable. Pampered. Sleek and lazy in my spirit, like a fat cat napping in the sunshine. I think about me all day long -- how to pleasure myself and my pathetic flesh. Being too hard on myself, you say? I think not.

I am still searching for wisdom, and especially for balance, in all areas of my life.
I know that I personally have a tendency to see everything as either black or white. I have a hard time understanding the concept of gray areas. Which is good, in a way -- but it also can present some stumbling blocks.
I am very prone to treading the path of legalism. At the same time, however, if I don't completely understand something that I believe God requires, I can tend to flat-out rebel against it because I can't find a balance.
So I am usually going extremely one way or extremely the other.

It's frustrating, to say the least.

I'm trying to learn to take it one step at a time, one day at a time -- one moment at a time. To obey Him as far as I understand, and accept His grace when I veer off the way (in either direction). I don't completely understand grace at this point in my life. I'm trying to. I want to. And I know that He will be faithful to reveal it to me as He so desires. But in the meantime, it does make some things in life life rather confusing.

Anyway, back to my beginning point.

I think it's safe to say, I don't understand sacrifice. I don't understand what it is to die to myself, to live for others -- and most importantly, to live for God. Frankly, I think there is a very small percentage of people who truly do understand these things. Oh, Father in Heaven, let me be one of them. That is my heart's desire...

I want to know His love in a way like never before, and share His love like never before. I want Him to show me where He wants me to place my love. Where He's asking me to pour it out. What He would do with it. I don't want to love me anymore. I want to love HIM!

Just some thoughts.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's been a long time!

WOW.
Wow! Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Wow!

I can't believe it's been a year since the last time I've posted!

I've started numerous posts, especially in the last couple of months...but the time has just never seemed right. I haven't been able to share everything on my heart the way I've wanted to. And I still can't, exactly. But I would like to at least share a little bit of what's been on my mind lately and what's been happening in my life -- if for no other reason, to make some people, that I haven't had a chance to keep up with on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis, aware of where I'm at and what I'm doing.

It would be a complete understatement for me to declare that a lot has happened in one year.

It goes way further than that.

In a multitude of ways, and for a plethora of reasons -- I am literally not the same person I was last year. I'm just not. It's a whole new day, and a whole new game...God has done things in my heart in the past 365 days that I couldn't have even imagined. And yet, He always has been and always will be so far beyond what our finite imaginations can conjure up, yes? Yes. He is. He really is...

Things have happened in my life, in my heart, in my family...nothing is as it was. Except for God. Only He has been sure, steadfast, and unchanging.
And even then -- no, He hasn't changed. But my perspective of Him certainly has. I have never seen God or understood Him to be as I do now. I'm not even sure what was "wrong" with my previous perspective. But I know it's changed now...I see Him with a degree of reverence and Godly fear and awe that I never knew existed. He is not "just God" to me anymore...He is the Creator of heaven and earth, of things I don't even understand...He is Lord of all, of every thought and life and joy and sorrow. He knows all, He is everywhere, and He can do anything. There aren't even words fit to describe Him. He is GOD! What else is there to compare Him to?

Praise His Name!

At any rate, I have much along those lines to share -- but in the meantime, I'd like for you all to know what I'm doing right now...why I'm so busy, and have a glimpse of what's happening in my life (on the outside, anyway [smile]).

I have spent much of the last two months (and all of the last 2-1/2 weeks) with a family located approximately 2-1/2 hours northwest of us. They are dear friends of ours...we have known them for quite a few years now! Currently, the mama of the family is very soon due with her 8th child (and her oldest is only 13!), and they are needing some help right about now. :)  It's been a joy spending time with them...I love this family! <3
So, yes. I am busier than...than...well, than I ever have been! :)  There is always someone needing something -- a dispute to resolve, an owie to bandage (or kiss!), a story to be read, a game to be played, a meal to be made, an area to be cleaned, a kiddo to cuddle, a conversation to have, confidence to build up, baths to be taken, promises to keep...and in the meantime, the great outdoors and the spring air and the sunshine are SCREAMING our names! :)  (That has been wonderful indeed!)

So for those of you who are wishing I'd have a bit more time to spend with you in some way (you know who you are) -- please know, I miss you big time too and I truly want to spend time with you. But right now, I have to have priorities. I know you understand, and are gracious about it...but I want you to know I am NOT putting you off. I am truly so busy most of the time, I hardly have a moment to breathe! :)  Though that poses its challenges, it is also truly a delight -- not to mention excellent practice for whatever other callings life and the Lord may bring.

So between all the extreme busy-ness of my day-to-day life right now, a large chunk of the little spare time I have is eaten up by "inside work" -- things the Lord is doing, miraculously, wondrously, beautifully and mightily in my heart. And in the larger scheme of things, this IS the most important thing in my life right now -- this needs to be (and most of the time, I hope and believe it is) my very top priority, above all others. More on that later!

So while I love all my friends dearly, and I miss you all too!, I am in a season of life right now that does not allow for much free time to laugh and chat and "catch up". I am praying for each of you, though! I love you TONS!

(Also, I forgot to mention -- another thing that has kept me on my toes [or off of them!] has been sickness. All of the children, except for one, in the family I'm helping out [the Christenson family] have come down with strep throat in the last week or so, and so that was pretty hectic for a bit! But this winter has been a really rough one for me as far as health. I have been sick over a dozen times in the last few months, with a couple episodes being very severe. This too has added to my list of things that had to be backed up and postponed, etc.)

So, all in all -- God is working in a huge way, and I am excited and content with where He has me right now. Much has changed, and I'm sure there will be much more to change as time flies by. But now y'all have a little taste of what's been keepin' me -- umm -- BUSY!!! :)

Don't forget -- you're in my prayers. And I covet yours as well.

Blessings to each and every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Revolution

Recently something came to me...something that I believe with my whole heart was a very much-needed insight from the Lord.

According to what He showed me, I've decided to revolutionize my whole concept of blogging. No, I'm not dillusionally thinking that it's an original concept...far from it! But the Lord has been showing me SO much lately, and He's in the process of bringing me through what I believe has been the deepest, darkest, most emotional time of my entire life. At least, the deepest, darkest emotional time I've ever been in touch with.

When traumatic things happen in a person's life, it is so incredibly easy to just stuff it all down inside and not let yourself be in touch with the reality of what has been done to you. I lived that way for most of my life...and I'm ready to be done with it!
By God's grace, I'm making a total U-turn in every sense of the word -- and in every area.
I've been chugging down the road of denial and pretense...numbness, really...and only recently have I been making the choice to turn wholeheartedly from that way of living, and run breathlessly for Truth and Light.
I've made a lot of stupid mistakes in my life...I've made horrible choices. And so has everybody else.

The sad thing is, the ripple effect of everybody's horrible choices reaches farther than they'd ever know, -- believe me when I say this: I've been bowled over by some pretty big ripples myself.
I know I've sent out some damaging ripples, too. I'm terribly grieved by that...and while I know, inevitably, I will make more bad choices along the journey, now I'm turning to the Lord for help to overcome the enormous pressure all the bad choices puts on me every day. And He is holding me up with His strength.
The awesome part is this -- the more good choices that are made, the easier it becomes to choose the good! How's that for a deal?! :)  The Lord's ways are so incredible!

At any rate...back to my original point: I've decided to revolutionize my whole concept of blogging.

Truth and reality are the ONLY way to go in this life...in every relationship and every dealing...whether we're dealing with ourselves or with others. I've had to learn this lesson the hard way. But finally -- finally -- I'm beginning to learn it. Note that I said beginning..that's the truth! I am just beginning! I'm not very far along...I know for a fact that the Lord has lots of things yet to reveal to me about myself...all the subtle untruths/misleadings I have the tendency to give off without even knowing it. The human mind is SUCH a complicated thing, and it can play the dirtiest tricks on you. Like God says, in Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
That tells me that no matter how "far along" we think or believe we are on our spiritual journey -- when it really comes down to it, it doesn't matter a hill of beans. We have to be focused on the Lord, and we have to be completely and totally open to His voice speaking to our hearts and convicting us of sin in our lives...or we are never going to get anywhere.
And I'm absolutely not claiming to be, at this time, completely focused on the Lord, completely and totally open to His voice. He's still got a loooooooot of work to do on me, -- BUT my heart's deepest desire IS to be those things. I believe I've come far in a short period of time. But I know I still got a lot of stuff to see.

I'm really thankful for everything He's doing...even when it hurts. I'm really thankful.

Coz if we never go through the fires of affliction, we are never going to glorify God with our lives in any way. And that's what I want to do, from the depths of my heart. And on top of that, we're going to live some kind of zombie pseudo-life with no real depth of meaning or purpose. And what kind of life is that? None.

So all that to say this: I have a lot of heavy things on my heart, and I feel compelled by the Lord to share them. I'm not going to mince words anymore. I'm not going to pretend anything anymore, -- with as much understanding the Lord gives me in the face of each choice.

And no, I'm not going to be blogging only seriousness either. :)

As those that know me personally can testify: I'm big on silly light-heartedness, humor, entertainment, and just downright fun. But life's not all about that, and that's something I'm coming to realize more and more every day. We don't have that much time left...every day there are hundreds of souls pouring in through the gates of hell like sand through a crack.

And that is no laughing matter.

The Lord's principles say that we are responsible for what we see. Well, there are things that I'm seeing that I can't keep to myself any longer...I hear the Lord's call, and I'm ready to respond to it!

Lord, please be with me on this fresh, new journey I'm about to embark on...I need Your strength.
Coz I don't have any of my own.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

To My Readers, However Few Or Many They May Be!

Dear Readers of my Blog,

I want to be more faithful with my blogging. I don't like the fact that I'm not, and I'm working on remedying that.

For those of you that saw my blog as it was a few weeks ago, yes, I have changed it again.
I've been going through a lot of...how shall I say it...ups and downs lately, and have been dealing with some really stressful issues -- which, in turn, has caused me to be quite unable to settle on a balanced approach at my blogging.
One thing about me is that I feel very strongly about everything I say. If I say it, I mean it. And so I tried an approach to my writing -- a dark, very serious approach, which is how I was feeling at the time. But as I looked at my blog through objective eyes, I realized it was still yet unbalanced. I do have serious things on my heart, but an "overdose" of dark seriousness could -- at best, defeat the purpose. At worst, it could give people who don't yet know the truth of God's Word a really wrong impression.
Our God is a jealous God, and He is full of truth and reality, and doesn't mince His words. But He is also full of Light and Life -- Love and Creativity. He is the epitome of each of His attributes. And I believe that's how He calls us to live our lives out as well.
So yes, life is dark, heavy and serious -- but not every aspect of it.
Light-heartedness is most certainly not a sin. :)
And I've never felt that way...but in thinking further about the appearance of my blog, I decided that it just might come across that way to some people. And so I changed it. Again.
And I may change it even more in times to come. :)  Ya'll will just have to bear with me...or do without me!

Life is real; life is earnest; and the grave is not its goal.

But truth is.

Love,
Noelle

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A quote that spoke to me tremendously, that I felt led to share...

"Morality is first an attitude, a way of viewing the self in relationship to the stimuli that assail us. Morality is the right choice in the face of choices that are immediately more fun. Morality is choosing principle and duty above thrill and laziness. Morality is love of truth; it is a pure heart; it is love, grace, mercy, patience, kindness, hard work, wisdom, faith, joy, thankfulness, and serving others. Morality is not the lack of certain acts of debauchery. It is the heart of God practiced in these bodies of flesh." --Michael Pearl

Thursday, July 15, 2010

So --

I don't know what's happened to me.

I used to blog so much...so often...so enthusiastically!

I still want to blog. I think about it quite often...but when I click new post I find myself staring for who knows how long at a blank box. A box with no words. A box with endless possibilities of words...but I just don't know which ones to use.

I am a very communicative person. I want to speak the Truth at all times. And I want to share my heart. I want to open myself up to others, and build relationships.

But then again, I'm also learning to be cautious. Part of this lifelong process of learning is learning how to build relationships -- healthy, blessed relationships that have the potential to last a lifetime. And I'm realizing the way to do that is to not always play all your cards at once.

When a person plays with fire, they get burned. Eventually, they learn that if they keep playing with fire, they keep getting burned. For some, it takes longer to learn this lesson than others. I'm beginning to. Yes, it's taken quite a while. Probably longer than it should have. But what can I say? Sometimes it takes a heck of a lot to get concepts through my thick head.

My heart is scarred.

Everybody's is. Some more than others, some less. I'm know my heart is more whole than a lot of people's. But it's also more damaged than others'. But I'm finally learning to stay away from the flames. At least, the ones that are not mine to be near.

And sometimes I overcompensate, and I don't share enough. Sometimes I still fall into my old patterns and share too much. But I believe, slowly, I'm getting to a point of balance. It's only the Lord's doing -- He gets ALL the credit and the glory. Because if it was just me, I can guarantee I'd do a lot more stupid things than I've already done. Praise the Lord He is faithful, He is true, He is my Shield, and He is my Balm of Gilead. He is LOVE. And I'm thankful beyond measure for that.

So all that to say...yeah, I would love to communicate more here on my little blog. But my heart, my life, my mind, everything in and about me is undergoing major construction right now...and a lot of times, it just leaves me a little bit quiet. I'll be back eventually.

Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hi Friends,

I'm going out of town for a couple weeks -- obviously, my posting has been scarce as it is, but it's gonna have to remain scarce for (at least) another two weeks. :S
I will try to resume posting when I get back!

Blessings to you all!

~Noelle

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

:(

Hi Friends,

I know how sparse my posting has been lately and I really apologize. I'm trying to get back into the swing of frequent blogging -- but sometimes it's difficult...a lot going on in my life at this time. Winter was busy, and this spring is proving even busier. So I'll try to get back into somewhat regular posting...but for now, please just bear with me and be patient :)

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I have seen the many faces of fear and of pain
I have watched the tears fall plenty from heartache and strain
So if life’s journey has you weary and afraid
There’s rest in the shadow of his wing.


I have walked through the valleys
the mountains and plains
I have held the hand of freedom that washes all my stains
If you feel weight of many trials ad burdens of this world
There’s freedom in the shelter of the Lord.

I have seen the healing hand of God
Reaching out and mending broken hearts
So taste and see the fullness of his peace
And hold on to what’s being held out
The healing hand of God.

I have touched the scars upon his hands to see if they were real
He has walked the road before me; He knows just how I feel
When you feel that there’s not anyone who understands your pain
Just remember all of Jesus’ suffering.

Cast all your cares on Him for he cares for you
He’s near to the broken and confused
By his stripes our spirit is renewed
So enter in the joy prepared for you...

I have seen the healing hand of God
Reaching out and mending broken hearts
So taste and see the fullness of his peace
And hold on to what’s being held out
The healing hand of God.


--Jeremy Camp

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Maintain a healthy level of insanity!


Something to think about in the New Year!

To maintain a healthy level of insanity:

1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.
3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
4. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to Espresso.
5. In the Memo field of all your checks, write "For Marijuana".
6. Skip down the hall rather than walk and see how many looks you get.
7. Order a diet water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.
8. Specify that your drive-through order is "to go".
9. Sing along at the opera.
10. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you have a headache.
11. When the money comes out the ATM, scream "I won! I won!"
12. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot, yelling, "Run for your lives! They're loose!"

And the thirteenth and final way to keep a healthy level of insanity:

Tell your children over dinner, "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Intimate with Jesus

"Once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely and we never lack for understanding or compassion. We can continually pour out our hearts to Him without being perceived as overly emotional or pitiful. The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to himself but will only show the evidence of a life where Jesus is completely in control. This is the outcome of allowing Jesus to satisfy every area of life to its depth. The picture resulting from such a life is that of the strong, calm balance that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him."
--Oswald Chambers

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Can I communicate?


Can I communicate? Can I speak my heart, can I share what is pressing? The things that cause my soul to overflow with pain and many tears of grief?

That's a good question. I wonder if I can. Can I put into words the things that ache in my heart? I challenge myself. Can I put them forth in such a way as to communicate their intensity in my innermost being? Can I express myself effectively using our most effete English language?

I want to. I need to. But can I? Can I?

This is the question that haunts me. Taunts me. Defies me, and dares me.

I've posted quite a few videos lately here on my blog -- posting them without a word of explanation or praise or...anything. I realize this, and I hope my silence doesn't communicate a wrong message -- one of harshness and judgement. It's not that. It's a heaviness of heart -- it's a...a season. A season of quietness and learning. The Lord is pruning me and preparing me to be a vessel fit for His use. And it's also a developing burden -- growing bigger and more all-consuming every day.

All the things that I share hold important meaning to me. Special meaning. They hit close to home, and my heart clings to their truths. But sometimes I don't have the correct words to express the concepts, feelings and ideas that they strike in my heart. So, feeling overwhelmed, I share these hard-core truths without explaining how they apply to me (and how I feel they apply to everybody!). Communication is a hard thing when your heart is sorting out tough issues. Especially when these tough issues mean so much.

Does anybody follow what I'm saying? Can anyone relate?

The Vine and the Branches - Paul Washer from I'll Be Honest on Vimeo.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Two In A Manger

Two In A Manger


We were overseas for a short-term missions trip and it was nearing the holiday season, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem . Finding no room in the inn , the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger.

Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city.

Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid trips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel were used for the baby's blanket a doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we brought from the United States.

The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where a little boy sat. He looked to be about 6-years-old and had finished his project. I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger.

Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously.



For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately -- until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then he started to ad-lib.

He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Mary laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay.


"Then Jesus told me I could stay with Him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give Him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept Him warm, that would be a good gift."
"So I asked Jesus, 'If I keep You warm, will that be a good enough gift?' And Jesus told me, 'If you keep Me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave Me.' So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and He told me I could st ay with Him -- for always."

As he finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor leave him, Someone who would stay with him -- for always!

And the Americans? They had learned the lesson they had come to teach --- that it is not what you have in life, but Who you have in your life, that really counts.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beauty

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonders, compassion and purity;
Oh, Thou, the Spirit divine,
All my nature refine --
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

From God, to His Children

O my child, give Me your heart, for out of it are the issues of life. For I say to you, My hand is on you, and I will keep you in all places wherever you go. Yes, I am your God, and I am your Father, and I will care for you and provide for you according to all that you need. Yes, and I will be at your side, ready to help you whenever you will call on Me.

I am not unmindful of any of your needs, and My concern is for you. You do not need to carry your own load, for I will be happy to help you carry it and to also bear you up as well. You do not walk alone or meet any situation alone, for I am with you, and I will give you wisdom and I will give you strength, and My blessing will be on you. Only keep your heart set on Me, and your affection on things above; for I cannot bless you unless you ask Me, and I cannot answer if you do not call, and I cannot come to you except you come to Me.

Do not wait to feel more worthy, for no man is worthy of My blessings. My grace bypasses all your shortcomings that you hate, and I give to My children because they ask of Me and because I love them, and I do not love one more than another. I give most liberally to those who ask the most of Me. For I love to have you depend on Me. This is why the Spirit within you cries 'Abba-Father'.

As your Father I anticipate your dependence on Me. You may, by maturity outgrow your dependence on human parentage, but as My child, you will never "outgrow" your spiritual sonship, nor will I ever cast you out on your own resources, even when you will yourself come into this position of father in human relationship. You will then appreciate even more fully My feelings toward you. For you will know by your own human experience the love of a father, and the desire o care for and provide, and you will know more fully how much I love you, and how ready I am to help you, and how available I am to counsel with you and give you My support.
Heaven's resources are at your command, and you need never to want, so long as I am your Shepherd. Think not in your heart that since I know all about you, you need not tell Me. It is true that I know, but you need to tell Me so that in the telling, you may experience the release of an open heart, and the fellowship of a Friend.

Fir as you open your heart to Me, I will come to you. As you speak to Me, I will speak to you. As you reveal yourself to Me, I will reveal Myself to you. This is a law of life. There must be action to bring reaction. There must be a question to bring an answer. There must be an expression of love and confidence on the part of one person to arouse a corresponding response in another person.

Never presume upon My presence. Never assume that knowing your need, I will automatically supply. Ask, and it will be given. Call on Me, and I will answer you. Tell Me that you love Me, and I will make your heart to know in a very real way My love for you and My nearness, and you will never feel alone.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A godly woman...

My Dad and I have not always had the best relationship.
Things have been very rough between us over the years, as the Lord was working on him in some major areas of his life, and things were very complicated and oftentimes grievous. And at the same time, He was working on me, in areas of submission, respect for authority (whether the authority figure is always right, or not), unconditional love, and developing in me a servant's heart (and believe me, He's still working on me in each of these areas! :). My Dad and I are a lot alike -- and that is part of what has made things hard over the years!
But the Lord, always faithful!, has been working overtime on each one of us :), particularly in this last year and a half. And one of the many things He's been doing is cultivating my Dad and my relationship into something beautiful -- slowly, but surely. And we're not anywhere near arrived yet, but are confident that the Lord will keep His promise to us, to complete the good work He has begun! Thank you, Jesus! :)
But at any rate, as our relationship continues to heal, even through a lot of rocky stretches, we become closer and get to know each other better. A young lady's relationship with her parents, especially with her Dad, is so extremely important -- it's critical to her view of God, and other men. And it's detrimental to her emotional and spiritual well-being when her relationship with her father is in shambles, as mine was for so long. And I am so thankful to the Lord for His tender love and care to me, even when I rejected Him for a time, while all this junk was going on!
I experience new things all the time -- things to rejoice about, as a precious relationship is restored and renewed! Just this morning, Daddy and I started a Bible study together -- an important one, a special one. I told Daddy that I was wanting to, over time, go through the entire Bible (one book at a time, though not in any certain order) and take note of and write down the traits of a Godly woman. He thought that was a great idea! :) I asked him if he'd want to do it with me, and he was all for it -- and suggested that as we go through it, he would write down things that he observed as traits of a Godly man. This is a special blessing to me, and I treasure this study very much!
I was thinking of sharing these special observations with my blog readers as well! Would anybody be interested in keeping up with this?? :)
This morning we started with Ephesians chapter one, and it's amazing, and wonderful, how much we came up with in just the first chapter of Ephesians!
A Godly Woman (and most apply to a Godly Man as well :)...
  • is faithful in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:1)
  • wishes grace and peace on her brothers and sisters in Christ. (Ephesians 1:2)
  • praises God the Father. (Ephesians 1:3)
  • recognizes and lives in the fact that she has been blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)
  • was chosen in Him to be holy and blameless in His sight before the creation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4)
  • is redeemed and forgiven of her sins because of God's grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
  • has been chosen and predestined according to God's perfect plan. (Ephesians 1:11)
  • is marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13)
  • is God's posession. (Ephesians 1:14)
  • has faith in the Lord Jesus, and love for all the saints. (Ephesians 1:15)
  • gives thanks for her brothers and sisters in Christ, and remembers them in her prayers. (Ephesians 1:16)
  • is persistent in asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ may give her brothers and sisters the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, that they may know Him better. (Ephesians 1:17)
  • understands the hope to which He has called her, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe (Ephesians 1:18-19)
  • knows the resurrection power is at work in her life. (Ephesians 1:20)

Amen! Thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My October...

...has been busy!

Dear Friends!

I have finally returned, once again! Maybe I'll try and work on being a more steady blogger -- what do ya'll say? :P

Life has been full and busy, and very much incredible! My heart is overflowing, and I praise the Lord for the work He is faithful to continue, and one day to complete, in our lives!

These last several months have been hard, but very exciting as well. Many blessings, as well as trials, have been coming my way. But when the trials come, the Lord is faithful to bring me through them, as He has done for His children throughout the centuries. He is bringing me through the Refiner's Fire, as He is all of His sons and daughters!

I was blessed to be able to spend 15 days with the Herrlinger family at the beginning of the month. The Lord used that time in a big way in my life, teaching me lessons, encouraging, inspiring, and strengthening me. The Herrlinger's are such an amazing family -- their love for the Lord, their strength and stamina, their heart for others -- it's a huge blessing! And no, they're no more perfect than any one of us :) And they are not ashamed to admit that fact, and that is what is so refreshing!
Love you muchly, you guys!!! (((hugs)))

Here are a few pictures from my visit with them :)

Hiking trip at beautiful Hoffmann Hills in Menomonie, WI.

Friends <3

Allison at a moment of great exuberance! :)

Coffee and a movie make the miles pass quickly (right, Annie?? :)

Making supper at the Metz's.

It tasted great -- after it was cooked!! :P

Learning how to milk goats. :)

...And experiencing the beauty of new life!

Jamming!! :)

Adventures...

More jamming :)

Walking to the back pasture on my last day with them...

And taking pictures of each other! :) (Miss you, Andrea!)

LOVE you guys! :D
Thanks so much for everything! :)
(Photo credits: Andrea Herrlinger, and Laurissa Herrlinger :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tribute to a hurting child


I see you, child, I look into your eyes, and I know the pain that those liquid depths hold...I feel your hurt, I feel your heart, and I can sense the passion that your soul haunts you with. I can relate. The unwarranted guilt, the mistrust of every being, the connection that you long to feel...

Hurt, hide, flee...

Child, if only you could know what your life could be if you could only let go...surrender...fall into His strong arms...

He is strong, He is loving, He is secure. But you're afraid of Him. Afraid of me. Afraid of yourself. These chains that haggle with your soul are thick and they are strong. Are you afraid to be without them?

Hurt, hide, flee...

Open your heart, sweet child...let even a small shaft of Light in, and then you will know...you cannot survive any longer without it. Open up. Listen. Understand. Love will hold you to the very end...

...and back.


--Noelle Mathison, September 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Late Summer's Evening


I sit atop this mountain
Breathing in the grandeur
Away from the hassles of life
And the desolate heartache
That clouds my view

With a piece of wheatgrass in my mouth
And the sun's warm, tender embrace,
I am lost in dreams of time gone by
I am soothed
I am at peace

A gentle breeze teases with my hair
And far below, the wolves howl their misery
But I am at peace

I sit atop a Rock that is higher than I
And from the ends of the earth, I cry out to Him
I plant my feet in the firm crevices of His love
He Who is the Rock that has been cleft for me

My heart soars like an eagle and yet is strengthened
And at night, it is refreshed

The Father, in His love, gently holds my young dreams
And molds them to fit into His will
Perfectly
Perfectly
Peacefully

Soothe me, O Beautiful Rock.

~Noelle Mathison, 9/12/09

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I have returned :)



Wow is all I can say.


Wow, I've been gone a long time. And wow, am I glad I was!


It's been an awesome "vacation". Everyone should take one once in a while. :) You get a new perspective, a new outlook...and a lot of exciting things can happen while you're gone, as was the case with me!


The Lord has used this sabbatical to "prune" my spiritual life, so to speak. He is constantly breaking the old "us" and making us into something more beautiful, isn't He?? Preparing us to be used to His glory. Making us into vessels fit for the Master's use! Amen! Thank You, Lord!


At any rate, I'll be writing a longer post in the near future -- but for now, while I'm getting my thoughts together :), I wanted to leave you all with a link -- my Mom and I's homeschool-book store! We had a huge load of books given to us by our friends at Keepers of the Faith. We are blessed to be neighbors up here in the beautiful Northwoods, where we get so much of our inspiration for photography!

So, if you're interested in taking a look at all kinds of books and videos all for $3/piece -- click here! They are all so wonderful!

At any rate, hope you all had a great summer, and are having a wonderful early fall! :)


More to come soon! Stay tuned! :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Taking a sabbatical...

Hello Friends,

I know it's already been an incredibly long time since I've posted, but I'm going to have to tell you it'll be at least another 30 days before I post again...the Lord has laid on my heart to take a 30-day internet "vacation". While it's going to be somewhat difficult for me, I believe it'll bear good fruit. The Lord has been doing so much in my heart lately, and I believe that this is going to be just another step toward fullness in Christ!

In the meantime, keep the faith, brothers and sisters!

Many, many blessings to you!

~Noelle

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No distractions

No matter how big or how small, there are things in everybody's life -- including mine -- that dwell on the sidelines of our devotion...screaming, waving their arms, jumping up and down...vying furiously for your attention.

As they say, the Lord is a Gentleman (THE perfect One :), and He doesn't rip things out of your mind and heart that are, to one degree or another in an unhealthy way, dear to you. BUT -- He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

He also doesn't work against our will. Often, the reason that things in our lives, that we are anxious to have worked out in our minds and hearts, take so long is this: because no matter how much we think we're ready to give up and give all to the Lord, no matter how much we think we're ready to submit, surrender, yield to the workings of His glory -- we are still stubborn, prideful, and rebellious in nature (thanks Adam and Eve! :P). And so even if we'd like to think we've given up and given all to God, it usually takes a lot longer than we think.

But God knows what He's doing, and in His Mercy, He works things out in our lives, always in different ways, that He knows is going to bring us to a point where we're ready to give Him all the glory and all our lives. Our hearts -- our affections...everything. He wants it all. He doesn't want half-hearted, wimpy Christianity, or folks that are Christians on Sundays, and "regular people" the rest of the week. No -- He wants all of us, all the time. And if we're truly "in it" (our lives) for Him, He gives us the desire for Him -- all of Him, all the time.

So that's a huge lesson I've been learning lately -- one that, in this case, is taking a lot of pain and tears.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Healthy, devoted relationships


Hello Friends,

This is an excerpt from a booklet put out by "A Church in Indianapolis". We love these folks and have talked with certain members of the "church", a little bit, on and off throughout the years. They have put out many excellent books/booklets, teaching tapes, and music CDs. And much more -- click here to explore their website (and please take the time to watch the slideshow on the front page!)!


I know this is a somewhat long 'excerpt', but it'll really only take a couple minutes to read. I beseech you to read it! It's so powerful, so inspirational...and convicting. If you care about your relationship with God and with others, and are striving to live your life in the way that God has called you, as His child, to live...you'll find this very intriguing. :)

Blessings to you! I pray you read this with an open mind!

~Noelle

Lord Jesus, You're our Teacher and our Pattern. It is our prayer as we're gathered around You that the seeds of Your Word about devotion to one another would clarify our hearts and our minds and our actions. Our desire is that all
of Your Work be done Your Way, in peace and in love and humility, with diligence but with all the sensitivity You had. We want to follow after You in the Way that You functioned in raising up men. Please help us. We trust You that You
will. You have not left us without a shepherd, but You are our Shepherd and our Teacher. We're glad that we don't have to shoulder the burden of understanding exactly how everything needs to be. Instead, we can follow the Lamb wherever He
goes. We will follow You, Jesus. You'll help us. Please let Your Word increase and reign in our hearts and in our minds. Teach us how to submit to You, Your Spirit, and Your eternal, immutable Word. Amen.


Birth Pains for Each Other

Paul said to the Galatian Christians, "I'm in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you." And to the Colossians he said, "I want to fill up in my own flesh the afflictions of Christ as it relates to you, the church, His body." That's passion! He also said that he was "wrestling to present every man perfect in Christ."

That kind of commitment requires more than a dipsy-doodle life of sitting in a chair, singing choruses, and then just waiting until the next meeting is called. Shame on you if your life doesn't consist of anything more than that! You're making a serious mistake. Unfortunately, that mistake has been made for generations on all six inhabitable continents in the Name of Christ. But it is unbiblical and wrong, so I want to encourage you to snap that habit! Pursue making a difference in people's lives in a real way.


Every last person who reads these words is a priest of God, if he or she is truly a believer. And that calling doesn't have to do with chiming in during a meeting every so often -- that's not what a priest is. A priest, as the Bible defines the term, is a servant of God with the assignment of bringing God to man and man to God. That responsibility doesn't mean you are going to save anybody! "There is one mediator between God and man, Jesus." I don't mean that anybody can ever be Jesus for someone else. But you can do what Paul did: wrestle to present everyone perfect in Christ. Like him, you can be in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in people who are already believers. You can say with him, "I'm in the pains of childbirth until the Anointed One is formed in you -- until you are brought into the image and the fullness and grace and freedom of the Son of God. I cannot leave it alone! I'm dying a thousand deaths until I see true Life in you."

Now if you picture yourself solely on the receiving end of that statement, you are making a mistake. It's not that everyone else should be in the pains of childbirth for you. If that's how you are thinking, then you are walking in the Old Covenant instead of the New. In the Old Covenant you had a core group of mediators out there someplace -- a collection of prophets, priests, and kings -- and you basically sat around
and let them serve you. But that's not the way it is in God's New Covenant, where He is building a kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:4-10, Revelation 1:6). Active participation in that priesthood is God's intent for you.


You'll never know what it means to be free in your own life unless you devote yourself to helping other people know God better. You'll never even know what it means to abide in Christ if you don't live for that purpose. Really, if you think you have a relationship with God and you're not living to bring others
closer to Him, that you are self-deceived. On the authority of the Word of God, you don't really have a relationship with Him if you don't have the heart for others that Jesus had.

As Jesus Himself put it, "If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." A life of devotion to God's work in the world around you is the fruit and the overflow of abiding in Christ. You're not truly remaining in Him if deep down inside your heart isn't stirring towards that end. You're missing the heart of God in a serious way if you don't genuinely
care for others.
Your prayer time isn't directed entirely to the God of the Bible! You might spend a lot of time praying, but according to Jesus, abiding in the God of the Bible will yield a clear result: having a heart for serving others and bringing them higher into His ways. That's "bearing much fruit to the Father's glory -- fruit that will last."

So, to sum up: having that passionate heart, caring deeply for others, and being involved in their lives means taking risks. We dare not sit back, thinking we're to be the one on the receiving end of that kind of passion. We must thrust forward
in faith and in humility -- and it does take both.
Trusting God and laying down our lives for other people is a rare thing, but it's inseparable from biblical Christianity.


The book of Acts says that the early Christians went everywhere "gossiping" the Word of God. The Greek word for
"speaking" there is literally "gossiping." Sharing God's Word and His love was their heart and passion. They lived for it. So reject the idea that you can sit in your home with a scripture verse hung over your toaster and a plaque on your front door, have a great prayer time in the morning, listen to praise and
worship songs all day, and show up at a meeting every now and then, and that's what Christianity is all about.
Frankly, you haven't had a great prayer time if it doesn't result in a passionate heart to heal the wounds of the broken hearted and to loose the chains of those in bondage to
sin.
That is the heart of Jesus of Nazareth, and that is your heart if you are connected to the Head. It's automatic.

So really stretch yourself. Search deeply within to root out anything that would hinder that kind of heart. Crucify the fear and the selfishness and the lifestyle expectations and the busyness that the world and satan would want to impose on you. Reject any self-righteousness or laziness that would stand in the way. Get rid of all the excuses. Begin by "'fessing up." Then get rid of all the excuses in your life that would keep you from really being about the Father's business.


Jesus actually lives inside of you if you are really born from above, and His heart is consumed by zeal for the Father's house. It's a consuming fire -- not a religious, glassy-eyed stare into the heavens every morning followed by a few pious statements at a meeting,
offering some platitude or trite religious wisdom. Instead, lay down your life and make a difference, even in unglamorous ways. That's just basic
Christianity.


We really have to be about our Father's business,
for real, in our own lives, personally -- not just as part of some group. We're not talking about a group; we're talking about your personal life. Don't hide behind "I'm a mother" or "I'm this" or "I'm that, and so it won't work for me." All those excuses have been tried. But in the end, it is only the Jesus who lives inside of you being released that threatens satan to no end. Let me encourage you to be that kind of person, by God's grace. With a heart that is open to Him, to let go of everything that stands in your way.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Aliveness is addictive


"Why choose God's dangerous journey into grace? In a word, the reason is life. God invites us into pain because loving always costs us pain. He offers us danger, because fighting evil is never safe. He promises us persecution because God's people -- including His beloved Son -- have always been misunderstood and opposed. Resting in Jesus is infinitely harder than accomplishing our own agendas. Trusting grace feels more demeaning than earning our Salvation. Coming alive to hope is more painful and cruel than being dead to our emotions. But it is life. And once we've tasted being alive, we can't go back to being dead. Aliveness in God is addictive." --Nancy Groom

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Walnuts and Brain Power -- a must-read!

Most nuts and seeds, in their raw state, are excellent whole foods that literally contain "the stuff of life." Raw, organic walnuts have many health benefits. One of the major nutritional characteristics of the walnut is its ability to nourish and support brain and nervous system function. Walnuts are also composed of a slew of other phytonutrients that boost the health of the entire body, and act as excellent disease prevention measures to boot (if we are smart enough to eat them. Tip: eat more walnuts!).

The walnut, fruit of the walnut tree, has been valued for thousands of years for both its delicious, nutty flavor and for its medicinal value. The walnut tree has been highly esteemed in many cultures. It is a beautiful tree, often prized for ornamental usage, with a life span that can last several hundred years. Three main varieties exist: the English walnut (originally from the Indian continent), and the black and white walnuts, native to North America. Most commercially grown walnuts (in the U.S.) are white walnuts (sometimes called "butternut"), but the black walnut is a special treat known for its strong rich taste.

Traditional peoples enjoyed walnuts and instinctively knew that among its many other uses, the walnut was a great source of "brain food." Today we have the scientific understanding as to why this is true. However, it is very interesting how closely the walnut resembles the human brain. The wrinkly shell definitely looks like a brain, and the meat inside is split into two "lobes," just like the brain. Possibly our Creator used this design to give us a hint, and apparently more primitive cultures picked up on this.

Why Are Walnuts So Good For the Brain?

The main reason is the walnut's high content of omega-3 fatty acids. These types of fats are necessary for many functions in the body, but are particularly critical for proper brain and nervous system performance. Researchers have discovered that the membranes of all of our cells, including the brain, are composed primarily of fats -- omega-3, omega-6, and others. Omega-3 fats optimize brain function at the cellular level because they create an atmosphere that makes neurons and other nervous system cells react more effectively due to health elastic membranes that allow nutrients to enter and wastes to be eliminated most efficiently. Brain cells exposed to adequate amounts of omega-3 are also able to receive and transmit electrical signals to and from the nervous system better, thus the increase in brain function. Our brains are a very fatty organ, being made up of about 60% fats. Most Americans who eat a typical high-fat (high in the wrong kinds of fat) diet have too much omega-6 and way too little omega-3. In fact, one recent study found that 20% of the participants had so little omega-3 in their systems that it didn't even register in blood tests.

How Can Walnuts Help the Brain?

Deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to a myriad of cognitive problems in both children and adults including:

-ADHD
-Hyperactivity
-Depression
-Learning disabilities
-Memory loss
-Sleep disorders
-Poor problem-solving skills

An interesting body of evidence has also been assembled that shows eating walnuts can be of great help to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia in the elderly. In addition to the omega-3's, walnuts are also rich in many antioxidants that help to prevent and repair brain damage due to free-radicals. Walnuts truly are an excellent food source to boost your mood, clear your mind, and help it to perform at its best. They can also help avoid cognitive dysfunction as we age.

How to Choose Quality Walnuts

Like most nuts, walnuts are easily prone to rancidity if they are not fresh and properly stored. Be sure to use raw, organically-grown nuts that have been stored in a cool, dry place that is protected from light. Fresh walnuts in the shell are best, but shelled ones are OK if they have been well-cared for. Shells should not be cracked or stained (a sign of mold), and the nutmeat should be crunchy, not wrinkled or rubbery.Whether it be eating them by the handful or incorporating them into your favorite recipes, raw walnuts are an excellent whole-food addition to your diet. They come highly-recommended from some of the "smartest" people in the world!

--My Dad, Tom Mathison :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Reminder...

Hi Friends!

Don't forget about the giveaway going on right now! The drawing will be this Wednesday -- only 3 days left as of now. Don't miss the opportunity to read this book that will change your life, and the lives of many others through you! I believe this is a book that every Christian should be reading. It's revolutionizing!



I have 3 books to give away, and 3 of my commentors will be randomly chosen this Wednesday to get a copy of this wonderful book.

Blessings to you all, and have a beautiful Lord's Day!

~Noelle

P.S. If you would like to enter in this giveaway, you can either leave me a comment here, or on the original post. :)


Photo credit: Jupiterimages.com

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Mommy! :)


MOM! I LOVE you! :) I am so incredibly blessed to have you as my Momma'...I have learned so very much from you -- I don't think you can even imagine!

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies....She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue....Her chidren arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."

The Lord is doing so much in our lives right now, and I am so excited as to what He has done so far, and what I know He's going to do in the future -- in ALL of our lives!

Mom, one thing I'll always think of when I think of you are your favorite Scriptures...which are high on my favorite's list too! Here are just a few of them:

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." (Isaiah 30:15b)

"If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5)

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." (Psalm 126:5-6)

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127:1)

"'Even now,' declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.' Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing -- grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God." (Joel 2:12-14)

"I will restore the years the locusts have eaten..." (Joel 2:25)

"...To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." (Isaiah 61:3)

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

Mom, these Scriptures have always spoken to me in a huge way, too. These are a few of the commonly-quoted Scriptures I grew up with, and I have grown to love them, and take enormous comfort in them! I have always loved reading your Bible, because half of it is marked up -- and what is marked up is usually what speaks to me the most, too ;)

Mom, I love you so much and I am so blessed to be your daughter.

I hope you have a great rest of the day, and a wonderful year ahead!

Love ya!~

~Noelle
~~~
Years are lost on the wind, like stray embers from a fire
Remnants of smoke give testament to a love that never tires.
A million memories light up the road that she has traveled,
Along with faded snapshots of a woman, once a child.
Everyday she adds pages to the life she's made her own
An endless quilt of patches, tattered and then re-sewn.
Life has no perfect number, to which we can assign,
A moment or an afternoon that makes an entire life.
It's a brief slideshow of pictures forgotten and then replayed
Like the first time she read the Bible, or knelt down to pray
There's the day that she let her childhood slip into the past,
Beautiful in white—she gave her hand to a love that still lasts.
She watched her son's first at bat, her daughter's first ballet,
I envision the first tear she cried over dreams that never came.
Her laugh is louder and stronger, every day she truly gives,
Which adds depth and color to the quality of life she lives.
Fifty diamonds sparkle, each gem a cornerstone to shine,
Building blocks that create a window through passing time.
Embrace the moments that made you who you are today,
Because, dear friend, I wouldn't want a mother any other way.

--Megan Marie Munroe

Thursday, May 14, 2009