Saturday, November 23, 2013

How God Uses Weather To Teach

Dallas weather is unpredictable at best. 
Last weekend, it was in the 80s and hot; this weekend freezing temps - literally. With a high chance of sleet tomorrow and Monday. 

A few weeks ago as I was driving to work, I was struck by the idea of seasons. Namely the four seasons in most of the states. Having lived the past several years where seasons vary between hot, humid and rainy to hot and dry, it has been a change in having distinct weather patterns. 
As I talked to the Lord about this phenomena, the season of fall was distinctly prominent and convicting. The trees were starting to brown (not a ton of vibrant color in Dallas), the air was becoming more crisp, nights were getting longer and the days shorter, and the smells changed. Time was moving forward, into the new, on to the next, and straining for yet another change to come - winter. 

Tears sprang to my eyes because I connected. My branches were preparing for what was next. It meant letting go of what had been grown the past spring and summer and straining toward what was to come. "Oh, but Lord, the letting go is too much. What if it means forgetting? What if it means I am forgotten?" That last statement was like a dagger. Whoa! So ultimately does the change of seasons indicate it's about me or about what the Lord has done throughout His seasons? Time for some confession. 

In these weeks, the Lord has been pointing to letting Him prepare my branches for winter. Letting loose of the leaves He has grown. Being willing to be caught in winds of change. To risk the release of the past for the hope of the future. 

Today, I finished a journal. I'm a haphazard journal-er. 
Case in point: this journal was started in 2010. The first entry date was almost exactly three years ago, off by 3 days. 

As I flipped through some of the entries, I marveled at the sweetness of the Lord. When this journal was started, I was in Santa Catalina with the 650 crew + Caleb (adopted 650-ite) and loved being with the Lord doing that time away. 

That seems like a lifetime ago. No idea what the Lord was going to do in those next three years. 
Sitting where I am now, would I have wanted to know? Nope. I would have fought. Hard. 

I found this in my journal. It was a list of goals and thoughts from 2012 (I'm not a resolution person). 
As I looked at the list, this section stood out to me...

The Lord had already begun stirring. I looked at all of these options.  Every single one of these came into play as I entered the season of returning to the states for real. I didn't look at this list when it was time. Honestly, I had forgotten about it. 
So today, when the Lord brought it around, I marveled. Only He could have known then what was to come. And you know what, one of those dreams - MST - is where He has me! I stand amazed! 

So at the end of November, the Dallas leaves have finally changed. 

And winter has come (literally - I am freezing and it is supposed to sleet the next two days). 
The leaves will soon all fall off. The limbs will hang naked. It will appear as though the trees have died. 

But what you and I cannot see is the hidden transformation. 
They are not dead. Winter has them in a time of preparation. Of waiting. Of hoping. 
Life is being renewed. 

Because after the winter comes spring. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hodge-Podge or Brain Scramble

Random title, yes, I know. You are welcome. :)

There are a bajillion thoughts running around my head because so much has been going on, so I'm thinking a mish-mash of a blog post for tonight and perhaps details will follow.

* Just spent the last week with some of my dear heart friends (this is what I call them, I feel like it is not strong enough of a term, but it's the best I've got!). Y'all, it was such a reminder again of the faithfulness of the Lord in providing such amazing women to do life with - walking through the pit together and celebrating together. Cue these women like crazy and still stand amazed at God's sweetness in putting us together. Wow. We spent days laughing, crying, talking on top of one another, telling stories, catching up, making predictions (this makes me laugh!), snuggling babies, and just enjoying the togetherness. We've already made plans for next year, which made the good-byes somewhat easier.

NOTE: This picture makes me laugh, because 1) we always talked about going to Starbucks together and 2) Memphie looks like he is stabbing me with his coffee plug.

* The Gideon Bible study at church finished this past week. As I sat there, I marveled at the Lord's sweetness in the opportunity to be a part of this small group. Each week I would get in the car and say, "Lord, really? Thank you for this varied and incredible group of women to share life with as we study together." I have no photo. :(

* I'm beyond grateful for my job/ministry. There are a bunch of humorous and sweet stories I could share as I've talked to people on the phone. Some of the stories bring me to tears and I marvel at the way the Lord moves in the hearts of His people. This week, our sweet bosses brought each one of us a rose just because.

I love the team I get to be a part of and the fun we have each day. (Those of us who were in the office early on "rose" day decided to take a pageant style photo - notice Kat's head tilt! Love these ladies)

* I came home today to a Facebook message asking me to come to India to visit. Um...yes, please!!!! Just got to figure out how to make that one work!

* In ONE week, I will be with my sweet family to celebrate Thanksgiving. I'm trying to remember the last time we were all together for Thanksgiving - I'm going with 2004. I don't even know. AND I get to see this crazy cute munchkin!!!

* The Paper Game might be my favorite-ist non-manufactured game EVER! (To others, it is called Telephone Pictionary, but I like the Paper Game better!)
I don't even remember what was written for this one, but we laughed so hard and I'm holding back guffaws of laughter right now!!!!! (I remember something about palm trees throwing sheep). Y'all, laugh until you cry this game brings!

* So excited it is about to cool off in Dallas and that means "Make-a-big-ole-pot-of-chili" time!!! Woot, woot!

Told you this was random.
The end of today's brain scramble.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Provision, Part 12857260

Yep, I changed the number. :)

This is a continuation to the first part.

The very next day after the Awaken event, the day after being reminded in an incredible time of prayer and reminder of God's provision, the day after a stranger prayed so specifically for me, I received an email from a lady in one of my Bible study groups wanting to know if we could get together to have dinner and get to know each other.

I tried to play it cool in the response and only used 20 exclamation points. :)

Again, it was the Lord's confirmation of, "Abby, don't you think I'm going to take care of you? Don't you know I've been listening to your heart being poured out in my presence? Here's only a hint of what I can do for you and what I have in store."


We met up for dinner a week later and I was so blessed to hear her story, hear more of her journey, share some of my own, and just begin the development of a new friendship.

(Also, we met at this Thai restaurant I had a groupon for. Y'all, best music I've ever heard in a restaurant! Seriously. I sat there while I was waiting and sang so many songs - there was only one other customer there during that time. It was lots of popular songs, but all of them were covers. So good.)

This process of transition, letting go, moving forward - it's filled with all kinds of lessons.
The biggest one is realizing in a new and deeper way an incredible depth in my dependence on the Lord. It's a new place in my relationship with Him. We talk a lot and I'm so thankful.

Everyday is still a journey.
It's a learning time of growth.
It's realizing I have so much more to learn.
It's asking for His eyes to see.

I'm thankful. Thankful for His goodness to provide when I least expect it and in ways I would not have imagined.