Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Remembering ...

Yes, I found my way back to the internet, something that is a bit difficult these days. I thought I had found a "way in" but no so...thus the delay over these past few days. Thanks for being patient and bearing with us. The holidays are always busy and there are always a few "extras" tossed in for extra busy!

The above photos are taken in the warehouse. You can see some of the furniture making its way to the Gulf Coast. To the right are the doors and their frames, also donated. The furniture has been coming in complete sets, an added blessing to those who lost everything. Getting something that actually matches and goes together isn't something most residents planned on!

I have been doing alot of thinking over these past few days. Remembering last year this time when we were preparing to make the move to the coast. One of those "if I knew then what I know now" things! I had NO idea!

Pastor had a message this past week that put it all into perspective. He spoke about the "cost" of following the Lord. When I received the direct call from God to go to the coast there was no question who was doing the speaking. And there was no question in my mind as to whether we would go or not. I think some might refer to it as "blind faith". In some ways they were right.

I thought I knew exactly what we would be doing, how it all would flow. NOT! God always has a better plan, one we aren't even able to fathom. This time was no exception. I also thought I had faith. I grew up in a Christian household and didn't know anything else, any other way of life. I had no idea what real faith was!

This past year, with all its difficulties, challenges, hurdles, highs, lows, battles and blessings beyond measure have been nothing short of mind blowing! I wouldn't have traded it for the world. There is no amount of money that could have replaced it! NONE!

I feel as though our family has grown to spread across the nation. I wonder if that's what Moses felt like when God had him look to the stars and make the covenant with him?

Pastors preach on relationships, how they are vital to our faith. Pastors know what they are talking about. Our relationship with God is, of course, first and foremost. But the relationships that develop from there, with God's people, cannot be "planned" or "scheduled". God has His own timing, His own plan and He is always right on time.

When I look back over this past year it makes me stop and think. We really had no idea what we were getting into. God did! We didn't know how our lives would be changed forever, how we would grow closer and closer to God each and every day. He did! We didn't know what the challenges would be. God did! We didn't know what the blessings would be. God did!

Whenever we follow the calling God places on our lives there IS a cost! Sometimes our reputation gets bruised by what other people think. But we must put our character over our reputation. Our character is who we really are! Our character is what God sees.

This year has been life changing, not only for us but for all of those who came and volunteered. Each week we meet a room full of new faces on that Monday morning at devotions. We watch those faces change each day. By the end of the week those new faces have become old friends and will be included in our family for the rest of our lives. They also have become family within their own groups. They come to volunteer and leave different people, they leave blessed beyond measure! Their lives will also never be the same! THIS is what the experience is all about! THIS is what God has in His master plan!

To all of you who took time from your own lives to come and be a blessing ... you know what I am talking about. To those of you who have only heard and/or read about it, think about experiencing it for yourselves. You won't be sorry! I promise!

This time of year has us all looking back over the past year and doing some remembering. I will always look back at this year as a year that changed my life! A year that has been unlike any other in all my 52 years! I have missed some things, some people, my home, my recliner at the end of the day, my bed where we both can sleep together, working in my yard, sitting in my same seat each Sunday morning, seeing my family at church....I could go on and on and on.

BUT ... the blessings I have received, the miracles that I have seen with my own eyes, seeing hope come to the hopeless, seeing life come to the lifeless, feeling the hugs of thanks that are unlike any hug I have ever felt, seeing the tears of joy flow from the faces of those who thought they had been forgotten about, seeing the change in my husband and most of all --- seeing the change in me ... these things are priceless, these things have made this year the best year of my life! This year has been a life changing year! I want to thank all of you who made this possible! I want to thank God for calling me!

Until next time .... God bless. Susan and Monty

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