Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Live life as if you know 'the rest of the story'!

I learned...well, I'm still learning a great lesson recently.  My family moved to Wiesbaden Germany on 3 January after receiving orders last summer.  It has been a wonderful experience for my entire family, after having gone through some challenges.  Our son Christopher joined the US Air Force in September but unfortunately had to leave early because of a heart issue.  So our challenges getting to Germany were numerous.

I worried about many things.  First, getting Christopher on our orders after having heart issues was daunting.  I believed he would get denied because of the care in Germany and we would get our orders changed.  Second with the 'fiscal cliff' facing our nation because of our increased government spending and the subsequent cut backs, I thought our orders would get cancelled in order to save money.  And to top all of this off, I had a deep sense of guilt after receiving orders to Germany.  I know I do not deserve such gifts so I believed everything would fall through at the last minute.

But something fantastic happened...EVERYTHING came together as planned and actually it came together better than I could have anticipated.  We are now in Germany and Christopher is with us, doing well.  We moved in to our new house yesterday and even small gifts like an attached garage, which for Germany is a huge blessings because few people over here including military have garages.  We visited Worms and Heidelberg last weekend and we plan to visit Rothenburg this weekend.  Now usually things don't go as planned in my life, though it seems to work out nonetheless, but EVERYTHING came together.

So I learned a great God even when things go poorly but especially when things go well.  And trusting God involved knowing who He is and trusting that our Father in Heaven actually has a plan for our lives and works out all things for His good (Romans 8:28-36).

As for me, with all of the possible barriers preventing us from enjoying Europe, I learned that to trust God means to look at my life through His eyes.  He knows the end, the last page, the 'rest of the story' so I can trust that since He knows all, He does what's best.  If I look at my life through His eyes, I can live my life as if I know the end, the rest of the story because even though I don't know how my life will work out, He does.  And the end result is a sense of freedom; freedom from worry about my future.  Because if my future is anything like my past, I am in for a glorious 'rest of the story', no matter how it works out.  He is my Savior.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Why does God take the good ones?

My struggle lately...I suppose my life, is trusting a God I can't see or hear on a daily basis other than how He has revealed Himself in the Bible.  The past year has brought some difficulties in my life, things I have never experienced...death of a loved one.  I have lost grandparents, but I wasn't very close to them so the pain hasn't been too bad.  But last year I lost a brother-in-law just before I deployed and it affected me more than I planned.

Mike was one of the 'good ones'.  Everyone loved him and I deeply admired him.  His wife loved him and his kids were very close to him.  I had hoped I could get closer to Mike after moving to Fort Bliss, but unfortunately God had different plans.  I say 'unfortunately' but the reality is, it's fortunate, at least for Mike.  As the cliche goes, he is no longer in any pain and is now with His Savior.  But that fact brought little comfort to me and I'm sure to his family and friends.  Even today it brings little comfort.  He's gone...we miss him...his life left a great big hole in our lives...I don't care that he's better off...We aren't better off without him.  Sounds selfish, but it's raw emotion, even after a year.  I still feel that way.

But if I trust God as I say I do, then I have to believe that.  Nothing on this earth happens without God's approval.  NOTHING!  So, this was God's plan all along, from the beginning.  And though I don't understand, I trust because I have no other option.

During my deployment I witnessed death too often.  I hated seeing the soldiers come through the medical station being so young with their lives ahead of them, only to lose it.  Or the young soldiers coming through the medical station with serious injuries...losing limbs or losing a part of themselves emotionally.  At times it seemed like a waste.

And this week Shawn lost a dear sister in Christ named Elizabeth.  She was in her 30's with two young daughters and a husband.  She was also one of the 'good ones'.  So I asked myself, 'Why does God take the 'good ones'?  I'm not angry at God!  I'm not questioning His motives because He is God and I understand that His love is incomprehensible so to try to understand God in that sense is futile.

So I simply trust Him and move on.  And I am grateful for all I have in this life.  I have a wonderful wife who loves me.  I have three kids I am so proud of, and I have a God who I fully believe always does the right thing at the right time.  I trust that because I have no other choice.  And when I start to doubt it, my life becomes a life filled with doubt, anger and unhappiness.  When I trust, I am more content and less concerned with the things of this world.  In other words, I am happier.

So, why does God seem to take the 'good ones'?  From the words of a seminary professor who has since gone to glory, the Reverend Marquart, "I guess He just prefers their company."  I love that statement.  I guess I'll be here awhile.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Do I trust God? Really...

I've been struggling with a particular issue lately and I'm focusing my devotional time to satisfying my struggle.  In fact I'm reading a book on my Kindle App on trusting God.  It's not earth shattering, but it's helpful.

Do I trust God?  I came across a quote from MLK, "Faith is taking the first step when can't see the rest of the stairs."  It's not an exact quote, but close enough.  I can say I trust God, but I'm put to the test when things don't go my way or when I don't get what I want.  This struggle stems from my struggle with prayer.  If God knows all, why pray?  Does He wait for His 'prayer warriors' to implore Him to respond and if so, why?  That doesn't seem 'godlike'.  It seems something I would do.  If my kids ask once, I tend to say no, but if they repeatedly ask or if all three ask, I tend to say yes.  Somehow that doesn't seem something God would do.  So I began praying God would reveal to me His plan and show me daily situations I can learn to trust His way and not insist on my way.  I feel better about praying that way...I suppose it's less disappointment.

But trusting God is quite difficult at times.  It seems to me that those who don't identify themselves as Christian but do identify themselves as spiritual suffer from the same concept...trusting God.  He just seems so random.  Some 'good' people suffer while 'bad' people prosper.  Natural disasters affect not only the non-Christians but Christians as well.  Does God punish?  If so, who?  Someone who dies at 47 because of cancer and leaves behind a wife, two kids and a grandson and from all appearance is a really great person, doesn't seem to make sense.  But someone who causes pain on others appears to prosper.  Honestly, because I don't understand and many others don't as well, God just doesn't make sense and it's hard to trust that God.  And it's quite difficult to share God's love because sometimes it seems so shallow.  So, what do I do?  How do I trust God when He just doesn't make sense?

I remember!  I reflect on my life and I remember how God has ALWAYS led me to the path that makes sense.  At the time, I wondered and when I reflect I can honestly say God didn't make sense.  Why didn't I get the job at Whitefish Police Department or Flathead County Sheriff's Office, but instead was a police officer at Columbia Falls Police Department?  A good department, but I wanted more.  Why did I suddenly feel as if I needed to resign and pursue the ministry?  Why did I struggle during seminary and then at my first congregation?  Because it seems God guided me to the Army Chaplaincy where I feel content that where I am, God wants me to be.  I remember all of those struggles and fully believe God is in control, He always does what's best (though sometimes I have to be patient and trust), and so long as I continue to reflect on my life and discern my mistakes and the struggles I create because of my own errors from God's discipline and correction, I feel I can trust God more and rely on myself less.

I can trust God if I seek Him on His terms and not on the God I create.  Mark Twain once said, "In the beginning God created man in His own image and ever since, man has tried to return the favor."  I must learn to trust the God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible and in my life and not create God to be who I expect Him to be.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Lightning Storm

Shawn is big on photos so I thought I'd post a photo I took from a lightning storm we had a few months ago at Fort Bliss.  Pretty cool!  Odd that we had no rain.
Wow, haven't blogged in quite some time.  I looked at the photos and comments made and realized a lot has happened since my last entry.  Ok, so I'm trying to keep up with my blog because it has some healing effects with my soul.

Here's what's on my mind today.  We've had quite a lot of changes lately.  I deployed to FOB Shank in Afghanistan 11 September 2011 and returned 6 July 2012...10 months away from my family.  After I returned my son Christopher joined the Air Force and two months later he had to leave the Air Force because of a heart issue.  It appears he has a leaky valve or the valve doesn't close when it's supposed to.  His absence was very hard on me.  Shawn too, but I'll speak for myself.  I cried often, at least for a few days and then recovered.  Then when he told us he was getting out, another big change occurred...we had to deal with his return.  So, now it's Thanksgiving and we're waiting to see if we can get him added to our orders!

Another little miracle.  His appointment with EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) went better than expected.  The doctor at his appointment passed him along with no issues, which means it shouldn't be a problem getting him added to our orders, although we may have to adjust our flights.  We should be able to find this out the end of next week.  God is good!

We are scheduled to fly out to Wiesbaden Germany on 8 January, but with the unknown involving the 'Fiscal Cliff' our nation is facing because of possible budget cuts and tax breaks not being extended makes me nervous about our travel to Germany.  As of today we have 46 days until we leave plus Shawn and I drove to Dallas on Monday to have our vehicle shipped to Germany.  Add to that my security clearance going through and I have a lot of confidence we'll be in Germany in less than two months, but who knows with politics today.

Speaking of politics, I am so thankful the election is over.  Since the election I haven't watched news on TV so my mind is clear from the influence of both sides...such as Fox News and MSNBC both of which are heavily favored by either the Republican or Democrate party.  I feel as if I am able to make a clear decision as to what is right or wrong based on reason and the Bible because I'm not being 'brainwashed' by either side.  It feels freeing in a sense.

Enough for today!  Blessings to all.  Thanksgiving was wonderful.  We went to the Silva household...our neighbors on Fort Bliss.  They are a wonderful family.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Please continue reading...

Please continue to read about our adventures as a Chaplain's Family at The Parson's Wife blog... I have been blogging there for a few years and although we wanted to have a seperate blog for our life in the military, we have found keeping up with two blogs, Face Book, email, and life are just to many things to have on our plate at once. Please continue to grow with us and join in on our life adventure at The Parson's Wife... God's richest blessings in 2010 for all indeed!

Friday, October 23, 2009

This Week...

Rico has learned to sit, shake, and is making great progress in potty training!

We were BLESSED by the US Army to attend a great night of football at University of Texas El Paso... not so good after-game hotdog issues... sorry honey!