Monday, July 30, 2012

Best Phone Call of My Life

Twenty-nine years ago today I got a phone call from Rhode Island. The man of my dreams was on the other end. We'd been dating for several months, but ours had become a long-distance relationship while he attended the U.S. Navy's Officer Candidate School (OCS) in the city of Newport. That day he'd gotten his orders for where he'd be stationed after he finished OCS in October. To my deep surprise I learned he was to be stationed in Denver, the city where I'd grown up and still resided as I attended the University of Colorado.

Denver? My head spun. What on earth would a new naval officer do in the land-locked capital of Colorado? I tried to make sense of this wonderful news but simply couldn't without more information. Jim quickly explained he would be working in a recruiting office before attending Nuclear Power School in Orlando the following March.

Before I could even begin to grasp the implications for the two of us, Jim had a question for me. "Will you marry me?" Unbeknownst to me, he had requested the recruiting-office billet, not knowing whether he stood a chance of getting it. The shuffling paperwork in an office would slow his progress toward becoming a nuclear engineer on one of the country's submarines. However, Jim recognized that if he could get the Denver billet, the five-month shore duty would allow an unheard-of window for a wedding during the two years of submarine training which would begin in Orlando and then require four cross-country moves.

I'd learn all these details at a later date. That night I just blissfully squealed, "Yeeeeessssss!!!!!" into the receiver.

The rest as they say is history!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Just Can't Help Myself!

I'm oh-so smitten with my new granddaughter! I just can't keep from posting another photo of her, taken last week while she was with us. I love Brielle's seemingly reflective expression in this picture.

What a gift Brielle is! What a joy to be a grandparent! I can't help echoing Nehemiah's sentiment, even though the context is utterly different, "The good hand of my God [is] on me" (Nehemiah 2:8).

However, it isn't just my granddaughter's perfect face (I've warned you that I'm biased) or my new role as a grandparent that are captivating my thoughts. I continue to be delighted that "Brielle" means "God is my strength". I continue to rehearse that TRUTH in my own life. God is my strength. In fact, "The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation" (Psalm 118:14). Never once did He leave me as I trudged through months and months of such debilitating pain that it eventually led us to a surgeon at the Mayo Clinic. He was my strength during that time of suffering. Never once has he given me less than all I need during my ongoing recovery in the three weeks since the surgery. There have been some trying moments and surprising setbacks, but God is my strength. Our growing intimacy as I cry out to Him again and again during this journey is my growing joy.

My granddaughter's name is beautiful. But even more significantly, it's meaning holds a truth that is life giving. God is my strength! I can't wait to share that certainty with Brielle as she grows! God is ready to be her strength. I can't wait to share the great good news of the Gospel with her! She never has to be without enough of His grace and strength to make it through the hardest of times. None of us does. Christ's self-denying sacrifice of His very life to take our rightful punishment before God has seen to that. Jesus has become my salvation. The good hand of my God will always be upon me.

How precious it is that a little face and a pretty name could lead to such soul-refreshing thoughts!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Life's Simple Pleasures

There are few things quite so satisfying in their simplicity as a good yawn. Although new at life, month-old Brielle has already discovered this.

How easy it is to miss the little blessings in life! Even a deep, satisfying yawn is reason to remember the Giver of All Good Gifts (James 1:17) and thank Him. Psalm 145:9 says, "His mercies are over all His works." With grateful hearts, let's be on the alert for the Lord's less obvious--but remarkably tender--touches of love on our lives. I suspect the exercise will encourage us and honor Him!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sweet Words About the Journey

Today I read words of Susannah Spurgeon after the death of her husband, British pastor Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892). The two were married for 36-years:
"I can see two pilgrims treading the highway of life together, hand in hand, heart linked to heart. True they had mountains to climb, but their Guide was ever watchful. Mostly they went on their way singing."*
 My husband, Jim, and I find ourselves singing as we relish the God-given gift of our first grandchild!

*in Arnold Dallimore, Spurgeon: A New Biography, pg. 61. Quoted in Tim Savage, No Ordinary Marriage, pg.29

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Just a Favorite Photo

One of the family paparazzi took this picture at the airport just as Grandpa and Brielle met.
(Lissie is in the background while her twin, John, gingingerly reaches for the first touch of his new neice's tiny hand.)

I am overwhelmed by God's tender mercies!

Photo Credit -- Jaynie? Cassandra? Daria?