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!

Happy SWEET 16 ~ JULIA!!

10:45pm – just chilling on the couch, watching “Dateline”. It had been a long day. My grandpa’s funeral was that morning, followed by the lunch… you know the drill. Emotionally draining. It was a full circle-of-life day knowing that my baby girl was due to arrive in just over 3 weeks. After the funeral, I spent some time snuggling my 2 1/2 year old niece, Lauren. It was precious, snuggling Lauren and feeling little Julia in my belly. But now we were back in Findlay, the day was wrapping up and I was relaxing before getting back at it at school the next day. I had told my students on Monday, “Guys, I’m NOT having the baby. My Grandpa passed away and tomorrow (that Tuesday) is the funeral. I WILL BE BACK WEDNESDAY.”

Then I felt something. Kind of like that feeling when start your period, or pee your pants or… what was happening?!? I jolted to the bathroom (as quick as a 9 month pregnant lady can “jolt”). My. Water. Had. Broke.

What the wha??? I wasn’t due for three more weeks. I told my students I would be back on Wednesday. I told my student teacher I would be back on Wednesday! Um, I hadn’t fully prepared for maternity leave yet! Yikes!

I called the Dr. He assured me that I didn’t need to go to the hospital until the contractions started. So we waited. And at 11:15pm I called my stoic, authoritative boss (my principal ~ that was a fun call 🙂 ) and let him know I wouldn’t be in the next day. Eeeeeek! What was happening???

A little while later I had a contraction. After a few of those, I did what every new mom would do… pack up and head to the hospital! 😀 Once at the hospital, my contractions were registering irregularly on the monitor, and the precious nurse, ahem, and by precious I mean #$@#%@, told me my water hadn’t broke. (Oh really, what exactly was that liquid coming out of me few hours ago? It certainly wasn’t pee!) They sent me home. Gahhhh!

We rested a bit but at 7am my contractions did start and were regular. By 11am I called the Dr (my doctor was out of town, sadly, so I called his back-up) and since the contractors were about 7-8 minutes apart, he wanted me to come in to the office to be checked. When he checked me, he said, “Your baby has a full head of hair! Time to head over to the hospital!”

After a very manageable labor and an hour of pushing… shortly after 7pm, Julia Lee Grubinski entered the world.   3 years of trying, 6 months of infertility treatments, almost nine months of waiting, 12 hours of labor. She was here! And we became parents! A 6 lbs 9oz bundle of Grubbie love, Grubbie nose and all!

FullSizeRender-1 FullSizeRenderAnd now she’s 16. Sweet 16! 16 years of giggles and grins. Energy and exploration. Curiosity and some craziness. Maybe even a little drama…. He he! She IS a girl, after all! She has always been strong-willed, which when channeled she achieves what she puts her mind to. She sets goals and reaches them. She loves God and is passionate about serving Him.

Happy birthday, JujuBee! I cannot imagine life without you. You make me laugh. Your love of life is contagious. You’re sensitive. You’re sweet. God began a good work in you and it is our blessing to watch as He continues to complete it.

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Everything and Nothing

For everything there is a season.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Nothing New

In a couple months I will leave 40 behind and enter my, ahem, 40s.  I may be the old lady at work, but I must say the view from here is most interesting.   If I look one direction I see the beauty of aging and non-respecter-of-persons sickness.  I see wisdom, fulfillment and end of life.  If I look the other direction I see young families, a flurry of activity, youthfulness, hope, newness and start of life.  Either direction I see joy and I see struggle. Of course there’s some overlap either way I look, but one theme that is sinking in to my middle-aged spirit – there is nothing new under the sun.  Ecc. 1:9.  I wonder if Solomon was middle aged when he wrote this???

Joy has been here since the beginning and heartache will be here ‘til the end.  In life you will interact with some real gems and some real jerks. New experiences will always exist and old habits may never die.

It is strangely comforting. And humbling.  And convicting.

In an ego-centric age where my crisis > than yours or no one can possibly understand what I’m going through ­­– we are stopped dead in our tracks and reminded in Ecclesiastes that yes, others have had, have and will have struggles.  Others have had, have and will have celebrations.  Others have felt, feel and will feel misunderstood, misplaced, misguided, mixed up.  In fact, you may even feel that the season you’re in is futile, question its purpose, and even ask why.  So did Solomon (Ecc. 1). From biblical times to the present people cry out to God, asking for forgiveness, comfort, help, looking for answers on one hand and offering to Him worship, and praise and honor on the other. It’s nothing new. 

Because, for

Everything

there is a season. Ecc. 3:1 Again, from my vantage point on top of this hill, I am starting to grasp the bigger picture.   I can see in many circumstances that there is:

a time to give birth and a time to die;

a time to plant and a time to uproot;

a time to kill and a time to heal;

a time to tear down and a time to build;

a time to weep and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn and a time to dance;

a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;

a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;

a time to search and a time to count as lost;

a time to keep and a time to throw away;

a time to tear and a time to sew;

a time to be silent and a time to speak;

 time for love and a time to hate;

a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecc. 3:2-8

And it is good.  All of it.  Wouldn’t you and I rather just have the birth but not the death or the dancing and not the mourning? But the thing is, each of them have their purpose.  That’s why in James 1 we are challenged to “consider it a great joy, my brothers whenever you experience various trials.”  That’s rather counter-cultural.  Society pushes multitudes of “self-help” books so we can avoid said trials. But trials have a place.  And they are good.  Because  “the testing of your faith produces endurance.  But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”   Trials are actually beneficial for us; they are an opportunity for God to work in us, creating a maturity that we wouldn’t have otherwise developed.

If it weren’t for trials, we would we not understand that we can rejoice in those trials or afflictions because they “produce endurance, and endurance produces proven character and proven character produces hope.”  Romans 5. Hope.

Hope in an “all things work together for good” God.  A loving, sovereign Father whose vantage point is ALL the way from the beginning and all the way to the end. I saw a quote online today from John Piper, “We embrace the hand we’ve been dealt, because we know the Dealer, and He never deals badly.”   He’s not going to allow something to be thrown at us that isn’t part of a plan for our good and for His glory. In all of it, good and bad, we can trust that God is working in us, both to desire and to work out His good purpose. Phil 2:13

I think about this in relation to planting and subsequently closing our church.   I even shared on here the certain call that we heard to plant LP.  There was a time to plant.  But there also was a time to uproot.  It didn’t make a whole lot of sense that God would have us uproot that which He called us to plant, but He did.  I even gave a bunch of reasons that lead to its uprooting; citing our failures, shortcomings and even sin.  However, God could have kept the doors open in spite of our inadequacies – because it was always about HIS work anyways, not what we did or didn’t do. But it was time.   And that hope in a Sovereign God is comforting when seasons change.   He sees from before the beginning to beyond the end.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, 
and your ways are not My ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth,
so My ways are higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts. For just as rain and snow fall from heaven
and do not return there
without saturating the earth
and making it germinate and sprout,
and providing seed to sow
and food to eat, so My word that comes from My mouth
will not return to Me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please
and will prosper in what I send it to do.” Isaiah 55:8-11.

That is what it is all about.  He is what it is all about.  Everything has a season and nothing is really new, but He continues to accomplish what He will for His glory and our good. God is unchanging, eternal, immortal, loving, good and sovereign – and whether you’re in the cusp of delight or the cup of despair He loves you and is working in and for you in this season and the next.

The Gift of Peace

 

peacePeace is not in abundance.  Just check out your Facebook feed.  Two words – Duck Dynasty.  Everyone has an opinion.  And that’s just this week’s uproar.   Next month it will be something different.  Good Lawd – can’t we all get along ? 🙂

 

Conflict is just one of the many things that steal our peace.  Fear, frustration, failure. Crisis, chaos, cash flow.   Worry, anger, grief. An unsettling diagnosis.  Shoot – even Christmas can attempt to steal our peace if we let it.  Or even if we don’t.  

 

Speaking of Christmas – we give and receive gifts, but have we received the gift of PEACE?  Last week at church, the message centered on the fact that Peace is a gift from God.   It’s one that He wants us to receive.   He is blessed when we receive it.

 

Anyone can have moments of peace.  Snuggling a sleeping newborn.  A beautiful sunrise/sunset.  Reading a book by a quiet stream on a lovely, warm spring day.   Ahhhhhhh. *Happy place… But, if you’re a Christ Follower, you can have peace even when life’s not peaceful.   You can be hunkered down in a tornado warning but have peace.  You can walk through a scary diagnosis or financial crisis and have peace.  You can be in a waiting/longing stage of life and still have peace.

And it’s a gift. 

 

For a Child will be born FOR us, a son will be given us, and the government will be on His shoulders.  He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of PEACE. Isaiah 9:6

 

The child will be born FOR us.  Because He is a gift to us, for us.   This Christmas, if you’ve not received that gift, call out to God.  Ask Him for the gift of His Son in your life.   Ask Him for His peace and commit to follow Him, which brings peace.   Christ Follower, – ask Him for the peace only He can give in conflict, in crisis, in Christmas.   It’s a gift He wants to give you, not only when you choose Him as your Savior, but every day as you walk with Him.

 

“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”  Luke 2:14

 

Is God pleased with you?  Does He favor you?  If you are His child, He is/He does.  Regardless, His peace is readily available to you – for the first time or continually as His child.  Ask Him today for His gift of PEACE.

 

~Blessings and Merry Christmas – The Grubbies ~

Grubbie Kiddos