Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"The" Wedding!

My family and I were so blessed this past weekend to be allowed the privilege and honor to attend the wedding of Peter Bradrick and Kelly Brown (now Mrs. Peter Bradrick!).

What a wedding! This is one that I will remember for a very long time. I truly think this was the best wedding I have ever attended. This is saying a lot considering that I was a wedding consultant in my earlier years.

What made this wedding so great was that EVERYTHING was biblical, and not only that, but it was truly meant by the bride, the groom, and their families.

After Kelly came down the aisle and was presented to Peter by her father, Scott Brown, they went to kneel facing each other. Peter was saying some wonderful things to Kelly that no one but Kelly could hear... it was obviously a precious moment between the two of them. Then, the groomsmen and the bridesmaids sang a hymn while the bride and groom's parents prayed over them.... so, so special. It was very hard not to cry - for just about everyone there.

To hear Scott say, "This is my daughter..... she has never caused me grief.... I present her to you now..." Was such a testimony to what the Lord can do in a family to raise up godly seed!

Many people would balk, I think, to know that Kelly was prayed over to be blessed, like Rebekah, to be "the mother of hundreds of thousands," but if those who might balk could have seen her face as I could when that was prayed over her, they would only know that this is the fervent desire of her heart. May God truly bless them, and, yes, may they "contend with their enemies in the gates!"

Doug's blog, and Scott's blog both have tremendous pictures that I think just about everyone has seen, but just in case you haven't seen them yet, go look! Also, we have one picture of our own that turned out OK. This picture, although not of the kind of quality that Doug and Scott have on their blogs, shows the intimacy of Christ in this couple's relationship. Although these two had never kissed before their wedding (as Doug said, their first kiss was just that, "a genuine first kiss" because they had kept themselves completely for their future spouse) one can easily see the closeness they feel as a result of Christ being the defining factor in their relationship. Look closely at their body language in this picture. They are comfortable with one another. They know they are within the Lord's will in their relationship. They have honored Him, their parents and one another by keeping themselves pure before marriage. And now, so soon after their vows were taken, they are bonded in the unity of the love of Christ. It is a beautiful thing indeed! Peter and Kelly sought Christ first and His righteousness BEFORE their own physical pleasure, and it is obvious to anyone who attended the wedding that Christ will add that also unto them. Please feel free to gape and wonder! I know that Peter and Kelly will be pleased to know that their union has brought such joy, inspiration, the gospel message, and refreshment to so many souls!

And the two shall become one...

Peter and Kelly, God bless your union, God bless your offspring, God bless you two as you begin your life as a new family! Jim Bob and I will be here to support you every step of the way however we can. It will be an honor to support you! Thank you so much for inviting us to your wedding! I am still reeling from everything I saw and heard. I have been praying for you for a long time, and I will continue to do so. May you be richly blessed in your life together!

May your parents also be richly blessed for the investment they put into your lives! Thank you also to the Browns who blessed us with food and fellowship and lodging the day after the wedding when our car broke down when trying to drive home. Your hospitality will never be forgotten. You were a refreshment to our souls also. Thank you for setting such a godly example for us in raising your children unto the Lord. It can be done with the Lord's strength! God bless you, Browns and Bradricks!

Friday, August 18, 2006

In The Arms of Grace

This morning I re-read Psalm 46. This psalm is one of my favorites. I've read it so many times, but this morning certain parts of it struck me afresh. I needed the reminder that He is always with me.

Verse 5: "God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her."

Verse 7: "The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge."

Verse 8: "Come, behold the works of the Lord."

Verse 10: "Be still, and know that I am God..."

Verse 11: "The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge."

When I started my quiet time this morning, I was thinking of berating myself for all of the ways that I've fallen short lately, and then looking up scriptures to speak to those character flaws. But my Lord had a different plan—a better plan. He, being a wise and loving Father, instead took me on His knee, spoke words of comfort, kindness, and grace to me. He soothed the raging seas within me. He calmed my storm. I am at peace once again in His loving care.

Lately, my oldest daughter has wanted to be held a lot. I've given her that love. I've given her that "cuddle time," knowing that she's happier and much more content afterward. Now I know how she feels. Sometimes we all need to be held, loved, and put at peace. Sometimes we all need to simply "Be still and know..." Know not only that He is God, but that He loves us, He feels our pain, and "weeps with those who weep." He knows our need for comfort and grace—and He gives it abundantly.

Lord, help me to come to You for that comfort more often. In the busy-ness of life and caring for so many others, I can forget that I must be filled by and with Your love first, before I have any to give, because You are my Source for all. Thank You.

Monday, August 14, 2006


As I have been enduring a loss in my life, I have seen the incredible goodness of the Lord at the same time. Many of you have either emailed me or commented and I want to thank you for your encouragement and prayers. It means much to me that you are so thoughtful as to pray for me even when some of you have never met me. You are evidence of Jesus' continuing grace in my life.

I have endeavored to fill my time and my thinking with things that are "noble, just, pure, lovely, good, and praiseworthy" as Philipians 4:8 says to do. I have been thinking about what I will be studying with my children for the upcoming year, and planning out their lessons and reading. I have also been busy with reorganizing the house to make things run more smoothly, not only for school, but to make our entire family more comfortable and so that it is easier to find things when we need them. And, finally, I've been piddling around a lot in my garden. I think I'll plant a few more perennials to add beauty and loveliness to my home. I think I will also script out some of my favorite passages of scripture to keep me constantly aware of the Lord's presence and good work in my life.

I wonder, what else do you all do to keep your focus on the things of the Lord and on His goodness in your life during times of trial? I mean, I read scripture and I pray a lot... that is first and foremost, without that nothing else will help. But I want to know what others do in addition to that. I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Pruner Who Was and Is and Is To Come

Lord God, I am hurting over the loss I am currently going through. Why is it that whenever I get such an enormous blessing in my life that it seems to be taken away?

Maybe it's not that way in reality. Maybe it only feels that way at the moment because of the intensity of the trial. I have to believe that You are at work for my good and the good of all of those involved. You most certainly are sovereign and full of grace and mercy. You always have been, You are, and You always will be.

You were there in my past when things were seemingly too hard to bear. You promise to always be there in the future, to never leave me nor forsake me. I must believe in You in the here and now while this one painful trial is to be endured. Your grace IS. It is sufficient, it was sufficient, it always will be sufficient for me.

As Psalm 78 reminds me to tell the next generation of Your marvelous deeds in days past ("We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done."), I must also remember at this time that You are still here. I must make the list stick firmly in my head of the wonderful things You have done for me in the past so that I will not grow faint in the now. I will. I will go and make that list, and as a sacrifice of praise, I will thank you for those things and for how You are at work now even if I cannot see what You are doing by pruning me in this painful manner.

I do thank You that You have proved Your love to me in the past by pruning me and allowing my roots in you to grow deeper through the pain. I have always, always grown stronger and more firmly trusting of You and Your goodness to me with every cut of Your shears in days gone by. I will remember those times, and your faithfulness to me through it. I am trusting You now to do the same in this present circumstance.

I praise You for You are good. You are faithful. I will not waiver in my belief, by Your grace. And by Your grace, You will see me through. You ARE seeing me through. You have always seen me through. For You are He Who was, and is, and is to come (Revelation 4:8).

Thank You, Jesus.

Friday, August 04, 2006

My List of Five...

I was recently tagged to do a list of five, so here goes:

Five things always in my purse:
Pencils/crayons for my children to doodle with

Five things I love to eat:
A good steak

Five things I love to hear:
"Wow! Your children are so well behaved!" (doesn't happen as often as I'd like ;) )
Birds chirping
The sound of snow falling
Classical Music playing in my home (especially DeBussey, Mozart, Bach, Handel, or Salas)
My children laughing

Five ages I've really enjoyed being:

Five women who have influenced me greatly (How I wish this one could be longer!):
My Mom (of course!)
Shirley Gipson
Noël Adams
Rachele Powell
Devon Carpenter
This one I'll have to leave open because no matter which way I try to list this last one, there are too many others I want to mention who have mentored me either knowingly or unknowingly... Thank you to you all!!!)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Two Blogging Amys

My family and I were given such a wonderful blessing over the weekend. We were blessed to meet the Scott family while they were visiting friends here in Virginia.

Amy Scott and I have talked through email over the last few months. For those of you who have seen her blog (and chances are that's most of you as her readership is far, far greater than mine!), you know that she is one great writer and a very funny gal. But there is more to her than that; she is just a regular girl, striving to please the Lord with her service as a wife and mother. It just so happens that she has been gifted with the ability to write well and speak to us in a very real, very genuine way.

We met the Scotts at a mutual friend's house for dessert on Sunday evening, and then shared a lunch together before they left town on Monday. We had a good discussion time of getting to know each other better and then (too soon!) it was time to part.

I will say this: It's always strange meeting someone whose writings have spoken to you. I was actually very nervous to meet Amy. I'm not sure why except for the fact that I respect her. Meeting her threw all that nervousness away. She is very down-to-earth, and very willing to talk of things of substance, not just gloss over things in the usual way of small talk which inevitably drives me mad. No, I think (hope) that we will be friends from here on. She and her lovely family are quality people. True genuineness of character is a gem to find. For those of you who have never met Amy Scott, she is one of those gems.

Bad News

What do you do with bad news? There's the worldly reaction of throwing one's hands up in the air, wanting to give up, throw in the proverbial towel, get depressed, and possibly have some sort of knee-jerk reaction to the news.

But that's not an option for any professing Believer. We are to hope as never before. We are to trust in Christ alone for the outcome. We are to listen to wise counsel. We are to lean on the strong right arm of God Almighty. We are to look to our local Body of Believers for support and care. This, this is the right response.

Pray for me. I've received bad news today. I will not blog about the specific news, but I do covet prayers in handling this news in a godly manner. It would be easy, comfortable, and my usual M.O., to turn inward and say nothing to those closest to me of how hurt I am, but I must not do this. I must rely on Christ and His Body to see me through.

Thank you for your prayers.