Delayed Gifts

Excitement was in the air.  A new Christmas “schedule” was in place this year for the Grubbies – as Kevin is a staff member at church and would be at Gateway all day on Christmas Eve.  The kiddos and I attended the later services and afterward we. were. hungry!  I had prepared a few Christmas Eve snacks and we picked up some boneless wings on the way home to round out our Christmas Dinner. Doesn’t everyone eat wings for Christmas dinner?? 🙂

After dinner we got into “gift mode.”  Starting with stockings we each opened our decorative “sock” filled with goodies, gift cards, and other fun stuff… Then, it was PRESENT time.  I mean, who doesn’t love presents???  Julia opened her gift and although she knew what it was, she was thrilled and started digging in to the box so she could start using it.  Joey, who didn’t know what he was getting, opened his gift and squealed with gratitude, thankful to receive what he asked for.  Then, it was Emma’s turn.  There was a wrapped box and it was rather light.  She hurriedly opened it only to find there was not a gift inside.  There was a paper with a picture, drawn by her no-so-artist-mama, of her gift.  It hadn’t arrived yet – so all she had to hold onto was this paper.

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Her delayed gift arrived yesterday and it was even more wonderful than the amateur artist drawing foreshadowed ;). Emma was gracious throughout the delay, waiting in “faith” of the gift that was promised.

And it made me think.  We have the hope of a delayed gift.  We have the written promise(s) in the Bible.  Of course we know it’s not just a paper (or booklet of papers), it is the Word of Life and we have the Holy Spirit with us as we journey through this lifetime – but it is just a foretaste of what is to come.

Psalm 16:11You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”

Titus 2:13We look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.” 

Romans 8:23And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering.  We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.” 

This paper, this book, holds the HOPE of the PROMISE. The promise of an eternity in heaven, with Jesus, in paradise. Even though the Word of God is beautiful and full and WONDERFUL – it will seem an amateur drawing compared to the GIFT that awaits those of us who have trusted in Him.  Christmas excitement doesn’t hold a candle my anticipation and excitement of the hope of heaven. Glorious Day!

Home…

photoMonday ventured back ‘home’.   Well, we returned to what was our home for the past 8.5 years, but when we got here it actually was not our home as we closed on the sale of it on the 31st. We caught 2 sleeps there and then were off to our next ‘temporary home.’ Technically, we slept in a stranger’s home those 2 nights… CREEPY 🙂. Just kidding.

Sometimes the word ‘home’ confounds us a little. A lot of people experience this disassociation from the word ‘home:’

Missionaries who leave the country they serve in (home) to return to their homeland (home)

Military families who are not in one place for any long stretch of time

Marathon families (right, Findlay, OH?) or other families that move a lot for work

Many others who lose a house to a natural disaster, fire or even foreclosure

Life has redefined ‘home’ to me over the years. Having grown up in a very traditional family where we went to the same school, same church, same house etc., my life and that of my kiddos looks very different. They have been in five homes so far, plus our home of the past two months ~ six. And are about to be in #7 here shortly which is a temporary hop until we get back to the mission field (to find #8) (with a stint at language school so technically that will be #8, HA!). We have traveled many miles, stayed in people’s homes and hotels along the way and even with all of that get up and go, home is wherever we are.

The five of us. Our family. The roof looks different. The walls have distinctive colors. The climate varies… but (cliché) home is where the heart is. Take a look at our Nala girl. Since our move didn’t take us very far from our previous house, she followed us back and forth. She really didn’t care which house we stayed at, as long as she was with us. Home is where we are together.

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but since I’m just now getting around to posting it, I’ll add the insight that our missionary partner/friend, Erica Jude, posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago… Home is where Jesus sends me. This is so true. Please don’t be offended that we feel a little “eh” being here ~ because it’s not that we don’t love our family/friends here ~ it’s because we want to go where God is sending us. And we’re ready (just waiting on that support thangggg 🙂 ).

Finally, THIS WORLD is not our home. We have a home awaiting us in heaven one day as we have trusted CHRIST as our Savior. In the meantime, may we be faithful on these temporary home-stops along the way.

“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.  And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.”  Hebrews 13:14-16

Someone Should Tell Him

Taking a quick pit stop from marriage talk to follow up on the “Frozen Post” (previous marriage post). This time we’re talking Olaf. – – – What do you mean you haven’t seen Frozen yet??? — Rent it now :).

olafIn case you’re not familiar with the story, Olaf is the adorable and comical snowman in the movie “Frozen”. When he first comes to the scene, Kristof tells Olaf that they need Elsa to bring back summer. Olaf replies, “Oh, I’ve always loved the idea of summerrrr. And suuuuun. And all things hotttttt.“ olafsand

At which point he goes into a song dreaming about summer.  My favorite line from the song:

Winter’s a great time to stay in and cuddle.

Put me in summer and I’ll be a…

HAPPY SNOWMAN!

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Just before the song, though, Kristof says, “Someone should tell him.” See Olaf has this grandiose idea of what summer is like, that he’ll be sniffing flowers and tanning and feeling a summer breeze…   When he’s done with his song, Kristof reiterates, “Somebody’s gotta tell him!” The reality is if Olaf was in summer, he’d be a goner – melted away with the salty air of the hot beach. Sad face.

I think that is how some people think of heaven.   They have an idea, maybe even partly from the bible – sun, beautiful – crystal sea, lovely music and a bright light – God.  And they think they’re going. When someone passes away you always hear the phrase, “They’re in a better place.” We comfort one another with those words.   And while there is a better place, the best place even, there’s also a not-so-better place – the worst place even. And the truth is somebody should tell them. Somebody should tell them there is a wonderful place called heaven – but there is also the stark reality of hell. And when we die, we go to one of those two places. No cushy in-between. No whimsical, make-believe dreamland for good people or nice people or people who haven’t killed anyone.  And, there’s only one-way to the best place and that’s through Jesus. He IS the way, the truth and the life – no one comes to the Father except through Him. John 14:6

There’s a lot of talk right now that Heaven is For Real. And it is. Not because a little boy can tell us about it, but because of a Book that gives us glimpses of it – and a roadmap to it.

You can see God’s work and glory all over the earth, so we have not excuse not to acknowledge He exists. – Romans 1:20

And He does want you in heaven; He doesn’t want anyone to go to hell. He’s patient and loves you. 2 Peter 3:9

None of us are “good enough” for heaven. We all mess up. We all “sin”. Romans 3:23

That’s why Christ died for you and me! Romans 5:8   1 Cor 15

So if you believe in Jesus Romans 10:9 and repent (turn away from sin) Acts 3:19 and choose to FOLLOW Jesus in this life Luke 9:23

…then Heaven will be FOR REAL for you. The crystal sea. The GLORY of God. No more pain, sorrows, sickness, tears. Spending eternity worshipping Him who made it even possible.

If this is a new concept to you or something you’ve never thought about, click on those verses. Check them out. Feel free to message me if you’d like to talk further.

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When life gets rough, I like to hold on to my dream

Relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin’ off steam

Oh the sky would be blue, and you guys’ll be there too

When I finally do what frozen things do in summerrrrrrr!