So anyways, here's a little update on what we've been up to, new things that are going on, and I may even go down a little rabbit trail on what's been on my heart lately....I haven't decided yet. (So yea, I have absolutely no plan for what I'm going to write. Ever.)
So Saturday evening we went to my other parent's house (a.k.a. my in-laws house) with some friends to go swimming. This is what we saw on our way out there. Can you say gorgeous?? My little smartphone soooo could not capture the full beauty of it. I think I took over 20 pictures in the five minute ride out there. I just couldn't get over how pretty it was. I'm hoping I can print some of these and frame them one day. How awesome is our God? I mean, come on, He painted all of this!! Pretty awesome in my book.
These pictures just remind me how much I L-O-V-E living in the country. All of the open fields and trees plus beautiful sunsets like this are just breathtaking. Awesome, awesome, awesome.
In other news, church on Sunday went great (in my opinion). In case you missed it, I wrote about my doubts in this post here as Sunday was the first service with me leading the worship. It was honestly a great feeling and a great experience. I was nervous, but for the most part I was able (with God's assistance) to conquer those nerves and press through. It was really encouraging for me to see God working through our worship team and to feel Him move in our service. And we had a great sermon as well. So all around, Sunday was just a really great day.
The only downside to this past week has been my battle with my back. In case you have not heard, my accident-prone self has managed to pinch not one, not two, but three nerves in my lower back. It started out as just a little bit of back pain that was totally manageable. But Sunday afternoon things quickly went downhill. So I have not ran since Thursday, and I have not gone to the gym at all this week since my doctor has ordered me to sit down and give my back time to heal. (Another reason perhaps why I have not cleaned my house this week??) But, I'm honestly not that worried about it. I know God's got my back (pun definitely intended) and when He decides it is time for me to be healed, I will be healed. Until then, I will continue to make funny faces and make strange noises every time I move and you people will just have to get over it. 0:)
In other news, (I seriously feel like I'm switching into news reporter mode.....only I'm not a serious news reporter who only talks about natural disasters and war...) I have a new job!!! Woo hoo!!! I'm going to write up a detailed post probably next week about how God has worked, but really guys....this whole ordeal has definitely had God's hand on it. It is awesome to look back over the chain of events and see where He has been guiding and directing me to this point in my life. I am really excited to start my new trabajo (sorry, switched to Spanish mode....that would be job) at the end of this month. (And for my family and friends, no worries...I'm not getting out of government employment....just switching to another division.) *insert professional voice here* We will be back next week with more details on these important developments.
In case some of you forgot, this past Tuesday was the day for all of us to act on our civil duties and vote. Like any good parent, we brought our child along in order to teach him to be a good, responsible civilian. Here he is, watching his Dad come out of the building after casting his vote.
I tried to explain to him the importance of voting....but he kept getting distracted by the birds flying and the people walking around. Sheesh....kids these days. They just don't understand all of the important things we adults do. Hopefully I've planted a seed though, and when he reaches the right age he will understand just how important his vote for civil servants and new legislation is.
And now, for the final topic on this morning's episode, I'd like to share a little something that straight up rocked my world last night. Yes, it's a big deal. In case you haven't read in other posts, the women's group in our church are doing a study by John Bevere called "Under Cover". Seriously guys, this whole series has rocked my world and we still have 7 more episodes to go. Not sure how much more rocking of worlds this home girl can take, but I'm excited. As in, after-we-get- done-I'm-going-to-buy-the-DVD-series-and-watch-it-again-at-home-and-buy-his-book-and-read-it-at-least-seven-times excited. So if you haven't figured it out yet, I highly recommend you guys check it out. He wrote a book and then also came out with a Bible study complete with a DVD. (And in case anyone from the legal realm reads this, no, I was not paid or given any kind of perk to say all of this....the series is just that good. So stop looking for legal issues and just go buy it already. Goodness.)
Anyways....back on the trail....the whole series (which is really good, you should check it out) is ultimately about obedience to God. Why we should be obedient, what happens when we aren't, being obedient to the authorities He has placed over us, etc. Last night we were talking about being obedient/honoring/respecting the authority that God has placed in our lives. We were discussing the need for us to realize that God places all leadership -both good and bad- over us for a reason and that He is 100% in control of each and every situation. There was a lot of good stuff in there, but here is the statement that he made that blew me away (I'll have to paraphrase it because I forgot to bring the handout with me). God does not want to cause you any harm. He does not desire for any harm to come to you. But where we get confused is God's definition of harm. God looks at harm in the spiritual and eternal sense, not in the present physical sense.
Oh. My. Goodness. Be. Still. My. Soul. That one statement right there made my heart soar and made so many things click into place. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why are saints martyred? Or in my own life, why hasn't my husband found a job yet? Why are we still stuck in a trailer with a cruddy air conditioner in the middle of the summer? Because God cares more about our eternal souls than our present physical comfort. Now, please don't misunderstand me here. God wants us to be successful and He wants us to have a roof over our heads and food in our mouths. But sometimes we go through things....sometimes we go without the success and the roof and the food because our physical pain and trials impact the eternal realm. The Israelites had to be enslaved for four-hundred years so God could humble the most powerful nation in the world and therefore make His name great among millions. Martyrs
So yes, God does care about our physical comfort. But he cares more about our souls. That's not to say that all bad things that ever happen to us are from God, because we live in a fallen world and sometimes cruddy things just happen. But it does mean that in each and every situation...awesome or terrible...the Hand of God is there and He is working and moving to glorify His name and draw people to Him. I don't know about you guys, but that is powerful and that is liberating. That gives me the strength to press on through the hard times because these hard times are not meaningless. These hard times are going to be used to better me and to save some lost folks.
And so, let me put on my boots and say something that
Yes Lord, I will walk through the fire if You want me to. Because I know that fire has a purpose for me and a purpose for Your kingdom. And yes Lord, as much as I hate being uncomfortable in the physical here-and-now, I care a whole lot more about my soul and everyone else's souls than I care about my comfort. So I will volunteer to walk through that fire every day if that is what needs to be done to glorify Your name. And I know that You will be right there beside me, every step of the way, fashioning the future according to Your plan.
Dang...things just got serious folks. But really, search your own heart. Understand this walk with God really is not about us and our comfort. It really is all about His name and His glory and His kingdom. Are you willing to walk through that fire? Or do you want that bigger house and nice car more than heaven? I can tell you from my own personal experience, it is so much more gratifying to run after God than to run after the world. Even in the hard times when your back hurts real bad and you're real tired and the economy stinks and your husband can't find a full-time job and it's 90 degrees in your house and your dog eats the pillows on the couch. And your sweater. And a tennis ball. Life is so much sweeter in the midst of all of these "first-world hardships" with Jesus by my side than having a perfectly clean new house with a new car sitting outside in my perfectly manicured yard but no Jesus by my side and no direction for my life. Trust me.
So that folks, concludes today's episode. Please join us for our next episode of "Life with the Casterlines". I love you guys (no really, I do). I hope you guys have a great weekend...today is my Friday because I'm off work tomorrow (hallelujah). So a great weekend is definitely in store for this girl! ;)
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe." ~Ephesians 1:17-19