Friday, October 28, 2011

A Blogger's Prayer by Ann Voskamp

A Blogger’s Prayer
I am no longer my own blogger, but Thine.
Refine me with each post how You will, rank me how You will.
Put me to service, or put me to suffering.
Let me be a follower, instead of seeking followers
Let me post for thee or be put aside for thee,
Lifted high, only for thee, or brought low, all for thee.
Do with me and each post whatever you will, because You alone know best.
Let me not strive but submit
Let me not compete but care
Let me not desire hits but holiness
Let my blog be full of You, and let it be empty of me.
Let me crave all things of You, let me care nothing of this world.
Let my words be worthy of the greatest of audiences: You.
And You are enough.
May I write not for subscribers… but only for Your smile.
May my daily affirmation be in the surety of my atonement not the size of my audience.
May my identity be in the innumerable graces of Christ, never, God forbid,
the numbers of my comments.
And may the only words that matter in my life not be the ones I write on a screen —
but the ones I live with my skin.
I freely and heartily yield every sentence, every title, every post, every comment… or no comments… all to Your pleasure and perfect will.
My only fame is that I bear your name
My only glory is the gift of Your Grace
My only readership, Your eyes that seek to and for to find a heart hard after you.
Make this so. Lord…
Yahweh, You alone are my God, not Google
Jesus, You alone are my Savior, not site meters
And Holy Spirit, you alone are my Comforter, not comments
So be it, today, yesterday, and every post to come.
This is my prayer I have made on earth, over this keyboard…
may it be ratified in heaven.
A Blogger's Prayer by Ann Voskamp 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

He Will Never Let Me Go

Addy’s starting to sit up.  It’s so cute to watch her (it’s cute watching her do anything!).  As Addy was learning this milestone, my hands would be all around her waiting to break her fall.  Eventually, I realized that sometimes I just had to let her fall in order for her to learn how to balance herself.  Although she may not know it yet, balance is something that will be an absolute necessity, as she gets older.  This made me think of God and how in some instances He allows us to stumble in order for us to learn something valuable.  His hands are all around us. Sometimes He catches our fall, but other times, He just lets us tumble. 
I’m going through a season of internal challenges right now.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m extremely happy with the events that God has allowed me to experience this year.  I’m beyond ecstatic, but they’re some things I still can’t shake, some things I’m anxious about.  While I have so much in my life, I also have a lot to lose and this feeling overwhelms me.  I’ve got everything that I’ve ever dreamed of: a loving husband, a beautiful daughter and so much more.   Unfortunately, lately I can’t seem to get over the fear of facing another storm. My worst storm would be losing my loved ones.  My heart is tremendously heavy with the thought of loss.  I know if I’m dwelling on these awful feelings, I could miss out on some really amazing moments.  I try to push the unwanted thoughts down deep, but they resurface uncontrollably.
I wish I could get “stuck” in the joyful moments, the moments where I’m so happy that my heart feels like it will explode out of my chest.  Life doesn’t work that way though.  Scripture tells us that there is going to be heartache, pain and struggles.  Fortunately, scripture also tells us that God has promised to hold us when the storms of life fall upon us.
I was reminded this past Sunday that God hurts for us. In one of my favorite moments in the New Testament, God allowed himself to feel heartache, loss and pain through Jesus.  “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled…. Jesus wept.” John 11:33-35.  Jesus wept!  Let me say it again… for myself, He wept!   He wept with me when I lost my father at a very young age.  He wept with me when I lost Luke.  He wept with me when I lost Evie and He will weep with me through future pain and suffering.  He’s also promised me that His grace is all that I will ever need:  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9.  This is a huge weakness, a thorn in my flesh: these thoughts of loss.  I know that I should not put my hope in this life, but I do.
I continue to hear the words of a song I heard at church.  I desperately tried to cling to every word, promises from God that were incredibly comforting.  Words that I believe in but fail to put my focus on daily.  I felt a peace in my heart like no other on Sunday.   In that moment, I put complete hope in God and the promises that were being sung.  I was moved to the point of tears.  I wish I could stay in these moments forever.  But, this world is going to be uncomfortable and I will probably always feel a sense of uneasiness until I’m with Him.  Maybe, He makes it uncomfortable so we can cling to Jesus and His teachings.  Maybe, He makes it uncomfortable so we can come to know Him, as best we know how, here on earth.  Maybe, He makes it uncomfortable so we can lift our eyes and hands to Him releasing our life and everything in it to Him.  Maybe, maybe not but I know this for myself; when I’m at my weakest I’m much more willing to accept the peace that comes with His amazing Grace.  I will continue to cling to the cross.  Not on these thoughts of loss, but on what Christ promised me two thousand years ago.  It’s His amazing love and grace that will get me through these painful thoughts.  I will continue to put hope and find peace in these words.  He will never let me go:  

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back, I know you are near

I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear
Whom then shall I fear

OH no You never let go through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go in every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go, Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see the light that is comin' for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to the struggles
But until that day comes, we'll live to know You here on the Earth

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear
Whom then shall I fear

You keep on loving and you never let go

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
and there will be and end to the struggles
but until that day comes
Still I will praise you
Still I will praise you

Never Let Go
By: Matt Redman

Saturday, October 22, 2011

We Miss You, Aunt Naka!

While Addy's Aunt Naka (Natascha) is away at college, we don't get to see her very often.  We wanted to make her a special video to tell her how much we missed her and to show her how much Addy's growing....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Welcome Home, Rakovecs!

           We’ve moved in!  Boy, what an incredible experience it’s been.  We love our new home. It has so much charm and there’s lots of room for everyone, even the dogs.  
As I was unpacking, I found some really random things that we’ve kept along the way.  A lot of things I’ve thrown away to de-clutter, but there are some special items that I’ve also found. One, in particular, was tucked away deep inside a file cabinet.  It’s a letter.   An interesting letter filled with wisdom and truth.  The author’s thoughts are all over the place, but I think that’s what I love about it.   It’s not structured they way that you would expect.  It’s just a bunch of random ideas thrown together in a nice little package.  I can relate to this style of writing because my thoughts come so quickly; I just want to spit them all out on paper with no rhyme or reason.  
I’m not sure who gave it to me (I wish I did so I could thank them), but the person that wrote it is anonymous.  I’ve searched for the author online just to find others claiming it as their own writing.  It’s interesting how the author of this poem is unknown.  I find it very intriguing that this person didn’t want to take recognition of such a hopeful creation of thoughts.  It’s full of clich├ęs we’ve all heard before, but it spoke to my heart in a different way.  I automatically envisioned Christ, as a loving Father, writing this letter to me.  It brought me a little closer to Him as I read it.  As I read tons of Facebook statuses and hear many prayer requests needing hope and a newfound perspective, I thought it was too special not to share with all of you:

“Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, they serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson or help figure out who you are and who you want to become.  You never know who these people may be, but when you lock eyes with them, you know at that very moment that they will affect your life in some profound way.
The people you meet who affect your life and the successes and downfalls you experience create who you are, and even the bad experiences can be learned from, in fact, they are probably the poignant and important ones.
If someone hurts you, betrays you or breaks your heart.... forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart.  If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but because they are teaching you to love and opening your heart and eyes to things you would have never seen or felt without them.
Sometimes things happen to you and at that time they seem painful and unfair, but in reflection you realize that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential strength, will power, or heart.
“Everything happens for a reason.”  Nothing happens by chance or by means of good or bad luck.  Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of you soul. Without these tests, whether they be events, illnesses or relationships, life would be like a smoothly paved straight flat road to nowhere, safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.
Make everyday count.  Appreciate every moment and take from it everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again.  Talk to people you have never talked to before, and listen.  Let yourself fall in love, break free and set your sights high.
Hold your head up because you have every right too.  Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself…. For if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you either.  You can make your life anything you wish.  Live each day as if it were your last…. tomorrow is not promised.

I love you very much
I am so thankful that you were brought into my life”
            I wish I could live my life like this everyday. I wish I could love the people that love me more. I wish I could forgive those who hurt me more.  I wish I could see the beauty that God sees in me more.  I wish I could realize that moments of pain are just part of the plan.  I wish I didn’t take for granted the people in my life.  I wish I could make every moment count and live, as it was my last day.   I wish I spent time talking to people I didn’t know…. getting to know their hearts and souls. I can only strive to accomplish this mentality with God’s help and guidance.  This letter is a perfect reminder of how God wants me to live. I challenge you and me both to live out these values.... starting now.  So, instead of tucking it deep into a file cabinet, I’m going to put it out in the open.  Not only for me to gain comfort from, but also to those reading my blog.  I pray that it touches your heart as it did mine.  By the way, I love you very much and I am so thankful that you were brought into my life!