Saturday, January 13, 2018

Always More



            Cars were backed up as far as I could see. Traffic was insane and I was beginning to question my own sanity for even coming out in this mess. Horns honking, people screaming and cars inching along as if we were not going anywhere at all.

I have never quite understood holiday traffic. I swear these people come out of hiding just during December. This same trip across town a month ago would have taken 30 minutes and yet it took almost 2 hours. THIS IS NUTS!

I felt as though I would inch 2 feet forward only to move nowhere at all. My nerves were shot, lines were long and I honestly believe people were losing their holiday spirit by coming out in this mess.

My mind began to race as I thought of my own life over the last year. It felt crazy similar to this Holiday traffic. This last year has been anything but easy. In fact, this year ranks up there as one of the hardest and most challenging years we have faced in a while.  

Much like the cars, I felt as though I had been inching along only to hit a million bumps in the road. I had lost my spirit, my joy and so much more this past year. I felt as though any curve ball that could be thrown our way had been a million times over.

I was defeated. Depressed. Alone. Exhausted. Helpless.

It would be so easy to look on this last year and allow those feeling to encompass my entire soul.  It was so easy at times to let people and life situations still my joy and distract me from what was real and what was important. I was so consumed with the burdens surrounding me that I allowed my circumstances to take over. At times I honestly began to feel helpless and alone in my own surroundings that I forgot that I was never truly alone, and my circumstances never defined me.

The truth is, this last year was a year of growth, learning and restoration. A year where I was wrapped in an unbelievable amount of grace at every turn and frustration. My faith and praise failed too many times too count and yet the grace of my Savior never did.

This has been a season of growth and reflection. A season where I have learned that every day may not be perfection, but yet it is imperfectly perfect because I get to live it. There have been too many challenges that have left me on my knees before the Lord, but they have left me stronger and more grateful than ever for this life I have with my children and husband.

I will NEVER forget this last year of my life. I will NEVER forget the trails, the burdens, the growth and all I have learned by learning to lean even MORE on my Lord and Savior.

This has been a season when I have realized that He is always with me, always there, and ALWAYS MORE than I can ask for or IMAGINE.

No matter what you are going through today, RIGHT now. NO burden is TOO big for Him. There is nothing that you can't take to the foot of the cross. You are NEVER alone, He is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than you can imagine. Seek Him, go to Him, Trust Him today! 


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20
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Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Journey

I wrote this a few years ago and I was honored that one of our Middle School girls at church memorized this and said it at a banquet at church. You can click on the link to hear..

By: Amy von Oven

I woke up in a daze. I felt out of sorts and wasn't quite sure where I was. I began to walk around as if I was in some sort of twilight zone.

There were lights and people everywhere. The streets were crowded as children and adults ran faster and faster to get ahead of the crowd. My heart began to race as the commotion grew stronger and stronger.

I stood in the center as if I were I statue frozen in time. Parents and children alike dashed passed me, breaking me down faster and faster.

There were tears and laughter and even screaming as people ran by. What was going on? What could be  this important?

I suddenly felt strangely cold as I wrapped my blanket tightly around my shivering body. My curiosity began dancing around in my mind and I was like a child in a candy store.

I had to know.... what was going on?

I followed the ever growing crowd as we walked further and further into what seemed like the unknown. The dark clouds began to steam above our heads. My stomach began rolling in knots and I followed the crowd.

My feet grew tired and my body was numb.

My mind was racing as I wondered if we walking after anything at all. Could anything be this important?

This special?

Worth this?

Just when I felt like I could go on no more, I saw a light coming from the center of the crowd and a man collapsed on the ground.

Who was it? Where are we? What is going on?

I made my way closer as I heard some laughing and others crying; I was so confused.

And then I heard the screaming….

"Crucify Him!"
 
"Crucify Him!"

WHAT?!?  It was Jesus.... Could this be real? This had to be a dream, but I was intrigued. I couldn't take my eyes off of Him.

I looked around and realized I was really in Jerusalem.

I watched as the crowd followed His broken and beaten body all the way to Golgotha to be crucified.  They yelled and screamed and my heart broke.

I watched Mary as she watched her son. She watched as He was beaten and hung on a cross. I looked deep into her eyes as I saw the love and hurt.

In that very moment, I was taken back to the manger and the moment it all began. You see, Mary gave birth to the Savior of this world. She obeyed God and she loved Him and cared for Him. She trusted that God had a plan. A plan bigger than she could imagine.

I wonder what so many must of thought as Jesus died on the cross that day. Were they too taken back to the manger and the realization that this truly was the Savior born to save us?

I think about the journey from the manger to the cross and what He went through to teach so many, and yet it was not until He was gone that so many really understood.

I thought about the journey of so many that walked that road to Golgotha. The tears, exhaustion, cold and fear no longer mattered. What mattered was that moment and that they believed. It wasn't how they got there, but that they had followed the journey.


Without the journey from the manger to the cross....there would be no reality that Christ loves us enough to walk through life with us, just as we are. There would be no promise, no hope. The journey is a precious gift. A precious gift teaching us patience, hope, love and perseverance.


Without the journey we would have no hope that it truly does hold the most amazing and precious gift ever...eternal life.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Passing Years

There was a season of my life where I honestly felt I was either pregnant, nursing or chasing a toddler at any given moment. The nights were short and the days were long. I lived in a constant state of exhaustion and many times thought my strong willed daughter was trying to turn me gray by the time she was 3.  As crazy as life seemed at the time, I loved it. In fact, I felt as though THAT was the mom I knew how to be. I could change diapers, and play dress up or make believe for hours. Even when I felt defeated, sleep deprived and overwhelmed, I knew how to be THAT mom. I wanted them to be little forever.
            I fast forward to the life I have somehow morphed into today and I often question the mom I have become. When did I go from having it all figured out to simply running on fumes.
I have entered into a new level of exhausted and business. One I honestly didn’t know existed. I am a full time working mom whose kids are going from event to event then church, dinner, laundry, etc.  and honestly; I feel like I forget what day it is.
            This summer we literally had something going on every single week. My husband and I were talking about how busy this summer had been and all we had done. I began to think about how busy my life was now that my kiddos were older compared to when they were little. I found myself missing the moments of just being at home with them when they were little. I then began to think about what had made us so busy. Church camp, church missions, Church VBS, Youth events, and youth bible studies. God began to tug at my heart as I realized that there was no other type of busy I would want to be. My children are growing each and every day and I CAN’T get these moments back. Moments to serve God and worship Jesus Christ with my children.
            There is NEVER a day that doesn’t go by where my heart doesn’t stop and remember that as crazy is life is, it really should be just a tad bit crazier with two more feet running around.   God has given me the gift of knowing how precious and how short life really is. Tomorrow may never come, today is a gift…. USE it for Him! This is the BUSY kind of life I want right now. I want to be knee high in the middle of life with my kids. I want to look back on these moments and know that I GET to serve God with my children. I open my home to teenagers so that I can be a part of what God is doing in the life of my children. It will never be my home, but yet HIS home to use and bring people through to glorify His kingdom.
            The days are long, but oh the years are short. I no longer look over my shoulder to make sure my kiddos are following close by. I now pray that as they independently run ahead or fall behind, God is becoming their hand to hold instead of mine.

            I will never grow weary of hearing young people praising God! Knowing that at the end of the day all 3 of my children are in the mix of an amazing youth group learning that no insecurity, no failure and no fear can ever be greater than the love of God. I stand in awe that this is the life I get to have. These are the children I get to serve God with. One day I will look back and miss it all. The toddler years and YES, even the teenage years. I will miss the moments I got to be such a huge part of their life. The sleepless nights, the teenage hormones, the tears and mistakes are inevitable; I promise! I also promise that you will never look back and regret missing sleep to be involved. I am learning with every passing stage, that motherhood is never something I will get perfect or feel like I know how to do just right. I am growing with my children. Learning, crying, praying and growing. At the end of the day, my greatest treasure will be that our memories, mine and theirs, are intertwined forever!
Our Summer
My 3 Most Precious Treasures-School is Out-SUMMER VACA


1st Plane Ride!!!



Mall of America

Boat Riding


Minnesota

WOWBSAR-Their 1st youth event with ALL 3 of them in the Youth! :( 

Brayson's LAST Winshape

Braves Game


Fun at youth camp with my girl

Panama City Beach, Florida
(One of the BEST youth camps EVER) 

Watching my children wash each others feet and pray over one another. Humbling and Amazing! 

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