Monday, December 10, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Jeremiah 2:13

"My people have committed two sins: 
They have forsaken me, the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." 
Jeremiah 2:13, NIV


I can't get enough of this verse!  

God is love,

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

13.1 in 1/13

Who wants to join me in running 13.1 in 1/13? 

I hope to run the Callaway Gardens Half Marathon on January 27, 2013 and I would love it if you joined me!!! 

Here is my training schedule:

Prior to doing this training program you should build up your running to the point where you feel comfortable running a 6 mile run. You should also be comfortable running a total of three days a week.

During the training program be sure to take at least one day off a week from exercising. You can cross train for 30-40 minutes two to three days a week, if you like.

Key to schedule:

  • Easy: run at a an easy pace
  • Tempo: run at a race tempo pace
  • Long: run at least one-two minutes a mile slower than your intended race pace
  • Rest / XT: rest or cross train

*I'm not a running expert or a doctor. I suggest consulting one prior to joining the training program or signing up for a half marathon.*

I gotta run... God bless!
God is love,

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Ezekiel 36:26

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26

God is love,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Isaiah 49:14-16

"Yet Jerusalem says, "The Lord has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us." "Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my min is a picture of Jerusalem's walls in ruins." - Isaiah 49:14-16 NLT

via pinterest

via pinterest

God is love,

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Isaiah 14:27

Isaiah 14:27 "The Lord of Heaven's Armies has spoken - who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?"

God is love,

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Review

This week I thought I'd try something new....Let's review the past few week's memory verses... no new verse this week. :)

  • Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take."
  • Deuteronomy 31:6 "So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you."
  • 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 "Be strong and courageous! Don't be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!" Hezekiah's words greatly encouraged the people."
  • Psalm 16:7-8 "I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord With  him at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
  • Psalm 51:10-12 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit."

God is love,

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Psalm 51:10-12

"Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

Psalm 51:10-12

God is love,

Monday, October 1, 2012

Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Psalm 16:7-8

Greetings faithful memory verse readers!

This week's verse is found in the book of Psalms, chapter 16, verses 7 & 8:
"I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

May God's word continue to feed your soul!!!!

God is love,

Friday, September 28, 2012

This Morning's Soul Food

Today's schedule afforded me time to do my morning devotions with my husband via cell phone. What a blessing it was to worship with the love of my life who is across the country, fighting fires in Washington state!

We read the last four chapters of Hosea and the first couple chapters of Joel. Then we followed the scripture with chapter 25 of Acts of the Apostles by Ellen G. White. There was a paragraph out of the latter that really spoke to me. So much so that I would like to share it with y'all!

"The watchful Christian is a working Christian, seeking zealously to do all in his power for the advancement of the gospel. As love for his Redeemer increases, so also does love for his fellow men. He has severe trials, as had his Master; but he does not allow affliction to sour his temper or destroy his peace of mind. He knows that trial, if well borne, will refine and purify him, and bring him into closer fellowship with Christ. Those who are partakers of Christ's suffering will also be partakers of His consolation and at last sharers of His glory." pg. 261

This goes right along with a quote that I heard on the radio recently, "Trials are the soil in which faith grows." 

I can't recall a single person who isn't enduring a trial of some sort. Can you? 

God, in His incomprehensible love, has given each of us the freedom of choice. We get to choose whether trails are the soil in which we grow... or the soil in which we are buried beneath. 

God is love,

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: 2 Chronicles 32:7-8

This week's memory verse:

 “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him.  With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah." - 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 NKJV

God is love (give Him your battle),
Vanessa (who is releasing battles to God. join me?)

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Deuteronomy 31:6

This week's memory verse:

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you." - Deuteronomy 31:6

I'm going to be quizzed on this verse tomorrow.... have I mentioned how much I appreciate the education I'm receiving?

God is love and by your side,
Vanessa the appreciative student

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Psalm 37:5-6

This week's memory verse in one that I am required to memorize for my Christian Spirituality class (insert big smile here).

"Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:5-6 TNIV

God is love,
Vanessa the very thankful student 

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Matthew 28:18-20

Today is Monday and it is also happens to be Labor Day in the United States and Canada.

This week's memory verse is about the work that Jesus has called his followers to:

"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20

There is a holiday for this type of work too, but this day only comes once... and that's the day Jesus' returns. The more the merrier; so lets work hard to invite as many people as we can!!! :)


God is love,

PS. (If this is  your first time reading "A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak" then you might want to read this post to learn how it all came about... )

Thursday, August 30, 2012

First Day of School

My first day of school for the Fall 2012 semester was wonderful! Throughout the day, I thought to myself, "I can't believe I'm finally here!!! I can't believe I get to learn at such a great school!!!"

And throughout the day I thanked God for this unique time in my life.

We started our school day off right by singing worship songs!

My first convocation! I love that I'm required to be in church mid week! 
"Free" water bottles to all the new students after convocation! 

James 4:7. *My professor asked that we pray for him, that he may teach more like Jesus, his role model!!!!!!!

"Free" t-shirt for the S.A.L.T. program. I'm so thankful that I received the postcard about salt 3+ months ago... God knew what he was doing by starting off my SAU experience in this program!!

Back of the shirt. :)

This is hanging in my teachers office. Little things like this make a big impression on me since SAU is the first time I've ever attended a Christian school (at least I guess that's why).

I <3 this!

All my classes are in this building except for my Chemistry class and my outreach practicum. 

Where I'll be spending lots of quality time the next 4 months. :)

I killed a snake for my very first time last night! The timing could not have been better... huge spiritual lesson gleaned.... "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you." Luke 10:19

This is just a glimpse of my blessed day. I'd love to provide more detail but it's past my bedtime. Speaking of bedtime... my cat woke me up at 5:30 this morning... I hope he does the same tomorrow! God is soooo good!!!

God is love,

PS. For those of you praying for Poco... I think he is on the mend... I take him back to the vet tomorrow for a medicated bath and check up. I've learned that Poco loves Peanut butter on saltine crackers... it's the best way I've found to get him to eat his pills. The problem is I like peanut butter on saltine crackers... and maybe a lil honey too... NIGHT. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Point of Prayer Chains

One trial after another. That seems to be my life the past few weeks. With God's help I've managed to keep a positive attitude... until this evening...

Taking my dog, Poco, to the veterinarian was the proverbial last straw. Discouragement and frustration finally made it's ugly head well known in my afternoon/evening. And tomorrow is my first day of Fall term at Southern Adventist University. Coincidence in timing? I think not.

Turns out I'm not the only one experiencing frustrating trials. Tonight was orientation to the S.A.L.T. program, it started at 6:30pm. I ended up being late because of the veterinarian trip. So I missed my fellow students introductions and whatever else was covered in the first 12 minutes of "class". While listening to the speakers I quietly counted the students. I only came up with 17. There were suppose to be 25.

After class I found out that approximately eight people had dropped out of the S.A.L.T. program at the last minute due to frustrating/discouraging trials.... some health related, some finance related, all living in this world related...

And for some sick reason I was comforted by this fact. I took comfort in knowing that other people were suffering. How messed up is that??!?! It's like my logical suddenly transcended to; "Well what I'm about to embark in must be important for Satan to be working so hard to mess it all up."

And then my friend told me about a friend of hers, an acquaintance of mine, that has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time and has been given six to twelve months to live. This brings me no comfort, just big fat tears. And later tonight it will bring me to my knees.

I've had this question floating in my head off and on for the past month or so: "What's the point to prayer chains? What's the point in having other people pray?" 

If God is all knowing and all powerful, does He really need multiple people praying? I asked these questions to some prayer warriors recently... and here are the answers I got:

  • "Remember that the purpose of prayer is not necessarily to have then answered as we imagine, but to bring us up to God so we can see things from His point of view.  His objective from the very beginning was and is to place things on an eternal basis of security. Also, God will not force people to make a decision; but He will influence them, create opportunities, and work circumstances out to place them in the best position to make logical and reasonable decisions.  Because God respects our freedom of choice, He needs permission, the OK, from us to work in us.  If loved ones don't pray for themselves, we must intercede for them and give God permission to work in their lives.  As far as prayer chains and having multiple people pray about something; that's only to strengthen our faith in God and in each other, and encourage unity in God's cause.  God can and does work in the lives of others through the prays of one person or many."
  • When it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man's best service, and he makes up for the deficiency with his own divine merit; for He is the source of every right impulse"  Oriental Watch, A Friend to the Friendless 1909
  • "...Also God blesses our actions when we sincerely come to others and to Him.  He gives us our church family to go to, to lean on, and support us. "
  • "There is amazing power in prayer and we all need it. Praying for each other brings us closer to God and the people we are praying for. Jesus prays for us everyday, why wouldn't we pray for each other?! Organized prayer groups are spectacular in the fact that it makes us all vulneralble and we need that to grow spiritually."
  • "as to prayer chains- it is a powerful gift! "Where two or three come together in My name, there I am, in the midst of them" Matthew 18:20. to me, this goes beyond actually meeting and holding hands together in a room. when you have a group of people focusing their prayers on something together, it is a joint effort. and God hears each one!  "And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12"
  • I don't know. I think they CAN and SHOULD strengthen people, bring people together, and put the focus on God. It's hard for me when I don't know a person I'm asked to pray for and It's hard for me to know what to pray and how. James 5:16 mentions praying for each other. I feel that it's more a community activity though, and prayer chains often seem disconnected to me.
  •  I'm not sure... I think it's community. It seems at times that we think we can convince God to do what we want if we get enough people on our side begging him. Like we can convince Him if we beg enough. On the other hand, we live in a spiritual battle field -and there is power in prayer.
  • James 5:13-16 the effective prayer of the righteous man can accomplish much. If we belive this, the BIBLE/GOD, the more righteous people praying the more God will accomplish for us. So the prayer chains are blessed by God
  • Well God has commanded us to pray and He has also commanded us to bear one another's burdens. James 5:13,14, Galations 6:2.
  • "The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" comes to mind. . . Have to look for the reference :) In truth, though, I believe prayer changes ME (aligns MY heart with God's) far more than it changes HIS mind. "Our thoughts are not His thoughts nor our plans His" - He has SUCH bigger plans than ours...I believe prayer chains link our hearts with His and with the Body of Christ - becoming "Jesus with skin on" to the watching world. As urine hearts are transformed, we live and act truly as "little Christi" May it be so! James 5:16 & Isaiah 55:8 we the two references

What do you think?

Here's what I think.... I'm reminded of last Fall when myself and many other prayer warriors across the country prayed for a dear friend, Blaine, who had a brain tumor. Church members and I gathered together multiple times to pray for Blaine. Countless emails and phone calls were sent pleading for prayers for Blaine. It wasn't until I was beside the hospital bed in which Blaine died that I realized how Blaine was bring ing people to Jesus when he was at his weakest. And even though our prayer for his survival wasn't answered how we wanted, our prayer was answered in that God's will took place. I have friends today because of prayer chains last Fall. And the experience brought me closer to some of my fellow church members. 

There are plenty of Bible verses that recommend prayer. Jesus spent a huge portion of His time here on planet Earth in prayer. But Bible verses aside....

Praying for others... or knowing others are praying for what I'm praying for is... ENCOURAGING.
Psalm 138:3, TLB. "When I pray, You answer me, and encourage me by giving me the strength I need."
Some how I find strength in intercessory prayer. I don't know that I could argue this belief with Bible verses and such... I just know my experience.

So with that said: I NEED PRAYER!!!! I'm weak and I need all the help I can get!!!! Just sayin'!!! In case you don't have enough to pray about, here are some things you can add to your list:

  • As I mentioned, Fall semester starts tomorrow. My schedule is crazy full (more like Tachenko full which by definition is crazy full by the way ;). Please pray that I can effectively manage my time that God has blessed me with.
  • Sleep. Please pray that I'm in bed at a decent time each night so that I can get up early enough to do my devotionals  and exercise before class at 8:30am.
  • Money money money.... (insert "The Love of Money" song by O Jays)... God always comes through for us in this department... I'm hesitant to even bring this up because of how He always blesses.
  • My pets. No more vet trips please. See previous prayer request. Please pray that Poco heals quickly.
  • Ryan and I have been apart for almost 3 months now. Please pray that God makes His will clear as to a job and so forth... so Ryan can join me here in TN.
I feel really selfish asking for prayer when some many others need prayer more than me. But Jesus reminds me that kind of thinking is silliness. 

How may I pray for you????? I have a prayer board that I keep track of prayer requests on... can I add you to the board?

Thanks for the prayers!!!!!!!

God is love,

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Isaiah 45:8-10

"Open up, heavens, and rain. 

Clouds, pour out buckets of my goodness!

Loosen up, earth, and bloom salvation; 
   sprout right living. 
   I, God, generate all this.
But doom to you who fight your Maker— 
   you're a pot at odds with the potter!
Does clay talk back to the potter: 
   'What are you doing? What clumsy fingers!'
Would a sperm say to a father, 
   'Who gave you permission to use me to make a baby?'
Or a fetus to a mother, 
   'Why have you cooped me up in this belly?'"
-Isaiah 45:8-10 (MSG)

God is love,

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Deuteronomy 10:20

"Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name." Deuteronomy 10:20

Perhaps I'll share more on this verse later... perhaps... :)

God is love,

Monday, August 6, 2012

Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: Romans 5:10

"For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" Romans 5:10, TNIV

God is love,
Vanessa the sinner who desperately needs grace 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What’s Unique About Jesus?

 In the book Always Prepared William G. Johnson wrote an essay titled “What’s Unique About Jesus?” The essay does an eloquent job of answering the title’s question. On page 69, Johnson urges, “Work your own way through to the answer. Don’t trust anyone else’s opinions or views. It’s got to be your answer.” Which is so true, what’s unique about Jesus is different for each unique individual.  Johnson spends most of the essay describing why he believes Jesus “is unique: in impact, in birth, in life, in teachings, in what He claims about Himself, in death, and in continuing presence.” (page 71).
             Volumes and volumes of books could be written in an attempt to answer this single question. I don’t know that I could write volumes, but I could certainly write dozens of pages if given the time to do so. For now, I’ll just touch on two aspects that make Jesus unique; these qualities are something I’ve been pondering a lot lately, and that is Jesus’ uniqueness in association and acceptance of others…
            I am a Facebook user. I admit it. I check my Facebook account at least once a day, six days a week. Lately I’ve really noticed the mean words, slogans, and pictures that my Facebook friends, I have 496 of them, (I’m mentioning this number not to brag, but to give an idea of how many posts can be generated in a day) have been posting. What are the mean posts about? In a word: politics.

President Obama's official portrait
Jesus died for this man.
Jesus died for this man.
It really blows me away at how my Facebook friends (some of which I love very much) can say such mean things about other people that don’t believe the same way that they do. This sort of behavior has recently increased with the Chick-fil-A issue (if you’re not familiar with the issue then I suggest Googling “Chick-fil-A” and then reading the original interview that the uproar is about.  You can read the original interview by going to this website:  These mean posts are coming from “Christians” and “non-Christians” alike. All of the posts that I have seen either doesn’t portray the Jesus I know and love, or the posts speak horribly of the Jesus I know and love. Either way it hurts, it literally makes my stomach hurt. So what does this have to do with “What’s Unique about Jesus?”
            Jesus has a unique way of associating and accepting people the way they are. If Jesus were alive today, I think you would find him in a Chick-fil-A restaurant. I think you would also find him with the Chick-fil-A protesters and gay marriage supporters. I think Jesus would be found amongst the liberals and the conservatives. You would find him with these kinds of people because Jesus associated with the sinners, as He pointed out in Matthew 9:11-13. Gay/straight or liberal/conservative – anyone who has a pulse is a sinner. Perhaps Jesus would offer the same words to these folks as he offered to the Samaritan woman at the well:
            “But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you're called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration."
These verses are found in John 4:23-24 (I used the Message version), however it would be well to read John 4:1-30 (in other versions too) for the entire conversation that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman. Jesus wasn’t concerned about what people might think of Him for associating with the Samaritan woman. She too was a child of God, another soul for which he would hang on the cross for, and Jesus accepted her as such. Before I go further, let me be clear on something; Did Jesus condone her sinful behavior? You tell me (read the verses mentioned above). The same is true for sin of today or any day.
Chick-fil-A and the Samaritan woman aren’t the only reasons why I believe Jesus is unique in acceptance and association. Johnson offers other great examples on page 74, “As I contemplate the life of Jesus as portrayed by the Gospel writers, several characteristics jump out: never too busy to stop and help, love of children, one-on-one conversations, thoughtfulness, unceasing outpouring of love and compassion, and Friend of the marginalized. Jesus lives a full life, but He finds time to talk with the Samaritan woman who comes to the well to draw water.” Now that’s something to share on Facebook; what makes Jesus unique, His acceptance and association.

The above was a paper I had to write for one of my classes. I thought I'd share some Life Lessons I've gleaned after reflecting on above:

  1. If you read the initial interview that I shared above, I think you'll agree with me that the media has blown this way out of proportion! I've searched multiple articles and have discovered that the President of Chick-fil-A is very careful not to say anything judgmental or mean. His words have been taken out of context several times and in various ways. I've also read articles where many Chick-fil-A's across the South are purposely opening their doors to the gay community. I'm not trying to convince anyone that Chick-fil-A is a great place to eat (especially since I prefer a vegan diet), I'm merely pointing out that the mass media is once again doing a poor job of delivering the full story.
  2. I'm thankful to live in a country where people can say whatever they want, but this has caused me to remember that despite what the rhyme says, stick and stones can break bones and words do hurt.
  3. I also think back to 10 years ago, before I became a Christian... It wasn't people telling me how wrong premarital sex or doing drugs is that drew me to God and then eventually a church... It was loving individuals who pointed out Bible truths when I asked for them... It took years, after I accepted Jesus into my life before I made lifestyle changes... In fact I'm still needing to make changes... thank goodness we have the Holy Spirit to help with that. My point to this is: please, "Christians" stop and consider the message you are sending to lost souls when you "take a stand"...  please pray about your good intentions.  Which leads me to my next thought...
  4. There is a time and a place to take a stand against some things, but there is rarely (not never) a time to take a stand against some one... the line between the two seem to be getting fuzzier and fuzzier. If you read this post, then you'll know that I have learned that "Sometimes love involves judgement; but judgement must always involve love." It's been my experience that when people loved me enough to judge my sin, they also loved me enough to walk along side me as Jesus and I conquered that sin in my life... In other words, judging others is a big responsibility (let me know if you need Bible verses for this).
  5. Lately I've been feeling a bit like an outcast. May I offer this song to you if you ever feel like an outcast too:

        God is love,


Monday, July 30, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: James 1:5

This week's memory verse was inspired by my syllabus from my "Christian Beliefs" class. This is the first time I have ever read scripture in a syllabus, which means a lot to me!

Here it is: 

Yes, this is a picture of part of my syllabus.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." James 1:5 (TNIV)

God is love and the best source for wisdom,

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Homesick Dilemma

Yesterday evening I had the privilege of briefly talking with a family friend from back home. She had heard from another church member that I was horribly homesick. I immediately found myself being a bit defensive and even a little bit angry (on the angry scale from 0 to 10, 0 low, I was like a 1.5). It bothered me for two reasons; 1) I hadn't talked to this other church member since I left "home" and 2) it wasn't true.

So what did I say in response? I said, "Well that's interesting because I haven't talked to _______ since I moved to Tennessee."

But what do I say after that?

Do I say, "I'm not homesick"?.

But what kind of wife would I be if I didn't miss my husband? What kind of family member or friend would I be if I didn't miss my loved ones who live on the other side of the country? What kind of Oregonian would I be if I didn't miss her beauty and community?

My Superhero and I, one year ago, at one of my favorite places in the world. 
Sometimes I guilt myself in to saying I'm homesick because it's easier, but it's not the truth.

There was a time that I was indeed homesick; it lasted for about two weeks after I moved to Tennessee. If someone would have offered me a one way ticket back to Oregon within the first 36 hours of living in Tennessee, I would have quickly accepted and not looked back. Seriously. I've moved quite a few times in my life, and spent three months in Zimbabwe, but that was the first time  I had ever experienced the "homesick" feeling. 

But to say that I'm homesick now, would be a lie.

After returning from Zimbabwe in 2004, I shared a sermon titled "Home is Where Your Heart Is". In the sermon, I shared how my heart is ultimately and chiefly with the Lord, and so my home is with Him.

So am I homesick for Heaven?


But what kind of Christian am I if I don't want to be in Heaven? 

I realize that as a Christian, the politically correct answer is to be homesick for Heaven, but that would also be a lie. 

So if I'm not homesick; what am I?

I'm appreciative.
I'm appreciating this unique time in my life, where I'm out of my comfort zone. I think about the characters of the Bible; and whom of them lived a comfortable life?And if you can think of someone; would you want to be like them? I appreciate the updates my loved ones post on Facebook, so I can feel connected. I appreciate the new friends that I'm making here and the little extended family that we have here.

I'm learning.
I'm learning life lessons every day. I'm learning more about myself, my pets, our marriage, and my God. I'm learning how to better take care of myself. I'm learning to conquer fears. I'm learning about anatomy and physiology. And starting tomorrow I'll be learning in my "Christian Beliefs" class. I'm learning to trust and depend on my Heavenly Father more than I ever have. 

I'm trusting.
Like I just mentioned, I'm trusting the Lord more than ever. I'm trusting Him with precious people like my Grandma, who according to the medical world, is on borrowed time. I'm trusting the Lord with our income... some days are easier than others to trust. 

I'm distracted.
God has done a marvelous job of keeping me distracted from feeling like a bum or homesick. He keeps providing new people and experiences to keep my mind occupied. I've been blessed with the opportunity to give Bible studies to folks, bake bread from banquets, help with outreach, search for my dog, write about searching for my dog, read, exercise, discover new music, and explore a "foreign land" (to name a few). The distractions really help, especially since it would be really easy for me to feel like a bum for not working. Like even now, as I'm typing, I feel obligated to tell you all that I've submitted resumes/applications at dozens of places and have only had 2 interviews. I feel obligated to tell you that the two local hospitals are on a hiring freeze and just recently laid off employees. But then again, a guy I know, who has only been here for two weeks, has already found a job. So then I feel obligated to tell you that perhaps God knows what's best since this Fall I will be in class from 830am to 830pm three days a week, and from 830am to 330pm two days a week, and nearly all my weekends are already full starting in September to late December (because that's the nature of the scholastic program I'm registered for). I keep applying for jobs but the distractions are nice for when I'm "rejected"... again...

I'm claiming...
I'm claiming Bible verses/promises like I never have before. Every time I walk the path that had the huge snake skin (especially at night), I claim Jeremiah 29:11. Or when I start to worry (especially about money), I claim Matthew 6:25-34. Or when there is a creepy bug/spider/amphibian/reptile all up in my personal space, and everything in my wants to scream like a little girl, and holler for my Superhero husband, and my legs are crossed so I don't wet myself, I claim Isaiah 41:10 (and yell for my cat Ike). Sometimes I don't know how to articulate my desires or I'm too tired to pray the dozens of things on my prayers list, so at  times like those I'll claim Psalm 37:4-5 and ask God to read my heart. The more I claim verses, the more He gives me verses to claim.

So here's the thing...
Of course I miss my husband and my other loved ones. Of course I miss the beautiful valley and community that I called home for nearly 10 years prior to moving to Tennessee. And if Jesus were to come today or if I died today, of course I would be ecstatic to be truly "home".

But God is taking such great care of me, in such an undeniable way, that I can't in good conscience claim that I'm anywhere close to being "homesick".  Please don't misunderstand me, my life isn't perfect, and I have hard days/weeks, but God is even closer in those times... which takes me back to the comfort zone thing... I wouldn't trade anything to have the walk that I'm having with my Lord right now. (Please see Philippians 4:6-9).

Which is exactly what I told my friend on the phone, "God is taking really good care of me."

If I were to choose one word, it would be, "abiding". I'm abiding in the Lord. So if you hear anyone say, "Vanessa is homesick.", while that might be partially true, you now know to politely correct them by saying, "Vanessa is abiding."And then just refer them to this blog post! ;)

God is love,
Vanessa who is abiding

PS. I did a little Bible study on the words "home" and "sick" and found the following verses stuck out to me (which I have copied and pasted from (they are all TNIV)):

  • "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:5-9

  • "29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to comeeternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:29-31

  • "Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." John 14:23

  • "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12 

  • "10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." Matthew 9:10-12

  • "34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’" Matthew 25:34-36

  • "13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make them well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:14
Perhaps this will shed more light on why I don't take the word "homesick" lightly. :)