Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Book of Revelation

Ok, so I'm going to take a break from general family updates, and let you in on a little part of my heart that God is opening! When you look at the title of this blog, you're probably immediately thinking, "Uh oh, weirdo post about 2012 and the doom and gloom of the coming end of THE WORLD." If you're not thinking that, the rest of the world sure is. Just google image search the word "revelation." You'll find everything from Jesus in the clouds, aliens, weird asteroids, and the Journey Greatest Hits album cover. For me, the book of Revelation has always been a book that was "over my head." Something that I stayed away from because I just felt that it was a mystery that only John and Jesus understood. I've skimmed through the pages...even read chapters at a time, but never studied it deeply.

Back in January, Matt's cousin Brooke (I'll just say she's MY cousin because I love her so much) told me about something called CBS that she is a part of. CBS (Community Bible Study) is exactly what the title of it describes it to be. It's a gathering of women from the community that come together every week from September to May and study one book of the bible. I was instantly intrigued when I heard about it. I have never spent a year on one book of the bible, and I dare say I can't spend an entire month in one book of the bible and stay focused. I felt drawn to this kind of study, prayed about it, and decided to join. Shortly after, I found out that the book we would be studying was Revelation. Uh oh...not that strange and potentially divisive topic of the end of the world! I was nervous but at the same time could feel my pulse start to race with excitement to walk an untrodden path in my spiritual life.

Shortly before starting the CBS study, I started a class with the Wesleyan denomination to be licensed as a pastor called New Testament Elective. I thought this could be anything from studying the culture in which God sent His son to do His something mild like Acts (ha!). When I found out the topic was Eschatology (aka studying end times), I knew that it was no coincidence. God wants me to KNOW Revelation...not just have some knowledge of it, but truly understand it!

Needless to say, I have been studying end times for the last month, and there is a new zeal in my heart for ministry, for evangelism, for my relationship with God. A few things that have been life changing for me...

1. Revelation is not too hard for me to understand. Sure, there are parts of Scripture that are a mystery, but John 16:13 says, "But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into ALL truth..." This verse is a great comfort to me that maybe my human mind cannot comprehend Scripture in all it's entirety, but God has given us the Holy Spirit to understand ALL truth....What an encouragement when starting to study such a hard subject such as end times.

2. Jesus is coming BACK! SOON! I know I know...I'm a Christian and should know this and live like it's the last days, but honestly, sometimes I forget! I think of Jesus words, "The kingdom of heaven is near." My first reaction is to see those words as thousands of years old and to subconsciously think, "what are the chances it would happen in my lifetime? Of all generations it most likely won't be this one." Let me tell you, every day that we live is ONE DAY CLOSER to us seeing our Lord's face! Whether or not I see that before I die a physical death is irrelevant really...I will see Him...and SOON!

3. Jesus is NOT who I thought He was! Going into this study, I don't think I had the correct understanding of who Jesus is. I know who He mind understands it, but I don't think my heart really connected to the idea that HE IS GOD! Read the first chapter of Revelation alone, and your Sunday School rendition of a mild and meek Jesus sleeping with lambs and talking gently will be crushed! Jesus is coming back in POWER AND GLORY! His voice will be heard by everyone and EVERYONE will know that He is God. This is the God that I worship. This is my Savior!

I find in myself a renewed sense of urgency. I don't look at Revelation as the "END OF THE WORLD" or a time of doom and gloom. Sure, it will be hard, but instead I see it as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ...the fulfillment of all God's promises. The time when all brokenness, sin, and injustice will be corrected! I can't wait. I want it to come now. I'm not afraid for once in my life of not being on the earth. In fact, I pray for Him to come. The early church used to greet each other with the word "Maranatha" which means COME LORD JESUS COME. That's going to become my new Hello to cashiers and pizza delivery guys. Ok, maybe not, but maybe it should be!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Recap for the Year!

Well, hello. You may or may not notice that my last blog update was almost a YEAR AGO! I have on my weekly calendar to blog every week, and you can see how well that works :) Let's just do a quick recap of the last year.

Hailey is almost a year old. Just typing that brings tears to my eyes. I didn't think I would be this emotional about it, but the reality that she is going to be exiting the "baby stage" is surreal. A couple of weeks ago I re-organized her room, putting away all the clothes and items that she just doesn't need or use anymore. It looks now like a little girl room rather than a baby room. The last year has been absolutely incredible. She is the BEST baby...and anyone that knows her knows I am not exaggerating when I say that. Her demeanor is so calm and sweet, and she is laid back beyond belief! The last couple of months have been so tremendous as far as her development goes. I can see her imagination starting to bloom. She can sit with a toy and play quietly for a while. She is completely OVER baby food. This started at about 8 months. She wanted anything and everything that she could chew...even though up until recently she only had two perfect teeth. Speaking of teething, she went through one TERRIBLE bout of teething that lasted three weeks. She was up at random hours (which she has NEVER done since the very beginning). She had a high fever, and was fussy in general. Let's just say it was humbling. I learned a new gratitude to God for blessing me with an easy child. Hailey has such a funny personality. She dances every chance she gets, she makes funny faces to make people laugh, and she laughs if I try and correct her. She doesn't respond to my change in tone. She just smiles. She knows "Don't Touch", but sometimes decides its more worth it to touch whatever it is than to make me not upset. This has been a challenge, and I daily ask God for wisdom in how to discipline a child! All in all, Hailey is the biggest joy in my life...the most incredible gift God could ever bestow upon me. We have hard days, days where I lose my patience just as any mom does, but at the end of a hard day, I wouldn't trade my life in for anything.

She loves the swings! Big Girl Riding The Jelly Belly Car

Eating a BlackBerry at Apple Hill (picked it herself)
Pig tails!!
Parenting has really brought a new dynamic to Matt and my marriage. I didn't really know what to expect adding a child to our seemingly perfect world. Parenting has grown in me a deeper love and respect for my husband than I could ever have thought. Before Hailey, there were times when I thought, "There is no way I could love this man more." Well, God has opened my heart to love deeper and fuller. Matt is the BEST DAD. He loves that little girl unlike he's loved anything before. His time spent with her is time spent with HER. Every time I come home from work, I get a summary of the days activities. "I took Hailey to the park, then we had a snack, then we made faces at each other, and then I had her laughing." I admit that sometimes I respond with, "BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DISHES or THE LAUNDRY." I am convicted even now writing this. Hailey is the luckiest girl in the world to have a daddy like Matt, and she knows it! He has stepped into the role of father with such ease and enthusiasm, and I couldn't imagine raising children and spending the rest of my life with anyone else. He is the calm one in this relationship for sure! I find myself flailing around sometimes, and he is always standing there in patience and understanding. Ok, enough of the mushy stuff.

Me! Beside spending my days as a mom, I am on the Executive Staff at our church, and I work at Cut Loose Hair Design on the weekends. Working at the church in this capacity has been...well I can't even think of a word. I have never been so challenged, tested, and sharpened before. Let me tell you if you don't already know it: Our God is an incredible God. Every day I get to see and play a human part in lives changed, people healed, and lifelong relationships built. It is a challenge to say the least. The enemy comes to steal and kill and destroy for sure, but our Lord is stronger and bigger and better! I love it and am humbled to have the opportunities I do at such a young age to serve God. I also love working at the Hair Salon. It really feels like an oasis for me. A place I can go where I am just me! I love the people I work with!

Last update and get ready for this one...I have a new hobby. I learned to SEW! It is the strangest thing and you're probably thinking, "What the heck Ash, are you that much of a home body?" Ok, here's the story. I went to one of our Crossroads seniors homes(Thelma...LOVE HER). I went over there more to visit her than to do anything else. As usual with the seniors, I left with more wisdom than I could ask for. She taught me how to use the sewing machine that day. I literally did not even know what a bobbin was when I walked in her front door. She showed me the very basics and let me use some of her material to make a pillow case (fancy I know). I really don't see myself as a creative person, but all of a sudden I was flooded with excitement. I left there and went immediately to the fabric store! Ever since, I sew whenever I get a free moment! I have so many projects I want to do. I want to take a vacation, tell everyone I'm going to Fiji, but really lock myself in my house and sew until the cows come home. I know what you're thinking, "You're the weirdest 24 year old ever." You're probably right :)

I will update more, I promise. Life has seemed to settle down lately, which will allow for more blog time! Thanks for reading!
Me in all my weirdness

Attempt at double fold bias tape!
Made this laptop sleeve for a friend who left on a missions trip
Laptop sleeve for me :)