"God must bring us to a point--I cannot tell you how it will be, but he will do it--where, through a deep and dark experience, our natural power is touched and fundamentally weakened, so that we no longer dare trust ourselves. He has had to deal with some of us very strangely, and take us through difficult and painful ways, in order to get us there....But then at last is is that he can begin to use us...
We would like to have death and resurrection put together within one hour of each other. We cannot face the thought that God will keep us aside for so long a time; we cannot bear to wait. And of course I cannot tell you how long he will take, but in principle I think it is quite safe to say this, that there will be a definite period when he will keep you there...All is in darkness, but it is only for a night. It must indeed be a full night, but that is all. Afterwards you will find that everything is given back to you in glorious resurrection; and nothing can measure the difference between what was before and what now is!"

Watchman Nee (China)
taken from 'Devotions for Lent'
from the Mosaic Holy Bible

I feel it's easy to get caught up in the "blessings" side of Christianity. We assume that if we are in God's will, if we are being obedient, that life will be all smiles and happiness. But it's important to remember that He has begun a good work in us (Phil 1:6) and He wouldn't be a good Father if He didn't work to complete it in us.
It is the surrendering to the troubles that is so hard for me. I want to fight them and conquer them. Like the author said, I want them to be over immediately.
I find myself comparing my troubles to the troubles of other people. "I shouldn't be so upset over this. There are people going through things way worse than me." But, this isn't the point.
God can use the small troubles to form and shape us just as He can use the large ones.
It's these small troubles that can catch us off guard, to just wobble our walk a bit. After enough wobbling, we will fall over if our feet aren't planted firm.
It's my desire to embrace the hardship. Even REJOICE in it so that I can grow in maturity and wisdom (James 1:2-4). Instead of praying for the hard times to pass, pray for God to teach me and grow me through these things.
He is GOOD. His plans are GOOD. He is FOR us (Rom 8:31)...



Opinions, Please!

I have been talking about glazing my kitchen cabinets for several months now.
To read about my reasons and my vision for them, go here.
This week I took the leap. I used some walnut stain that I already had in the garage and did an over all coat. Then, I wiped it all off, resulting in a slight difference in the overall color and a stronger contrast in the grain of the wood.
Then, I custom mixed some glaze using my Valspar Mocha glaze mixed with some of the dark stain. I used this on the insets.
B came home at lunch time and witnessed my progress.
Now, let me tell you something about my husband. He is so gracious and allows me to paint walls when I want...and then repaint them when I change my mind. He hangs pictures for me...and then rehangs them when I find something new. He helps me rearrange the kids bedrooms. Again. And again. And again. (one of these times we'll hit it right and all the kids will be settled *wink*)
All this to say, he tells me his opinion, but really he wants me to do what I want. He's made his peace with it changing with my mood and our season of life. (we used to have lots of really bold colors on the walls, which I felt was inspiring. Now, we're going for more peace and tranquility in our home, so the walls are changing to calmer, muted tones)
Okay, back to the cabinets. He likes the look I'm going for. He can even envision what it will look like with new hardware and different floors and counter tops...because *we will* have new floors and maybe new counter tops one day!
But his first impression is that they look a little, um, "old school" aka DATED. Yea, NOT the look I'm going for. He is a bit concerned that my glazing is turning the yellowish oak cabinets into 80's style dark oak cabinets.
We're in the process of painting the kitchen walls, which is partly why I wanted to darken the cabinets. The walls are becoming "whole wheat" color instead of the dark, rusty color. I needed some contrast and I don't at all like the whole wheat color next to the yellowy cabinets.
I know I'm rambling before I get to the pics, but you have to understand the VISION before you judge. You can go there with me, right? So, envision some oil-rubbed and/or rustic hardware, and let me know what you think...
{color before}
{color after}
{color before}
{color after}
{top in original color, bottom after glazing}
...and please ignore my messy counter tops...
What do you think? Should I keep going?


Swimming...Against the Current

I've been absent on purpose.

This life we live...we, meaning the ones in my home and we, the bloggers, facebookers, twitterers, Moms, friends...it can get so hurried. So pressured. So fast.

So I made a decision to sloooow. To quiet. To allow for breathing. For smiling. For joy.

The pressure to keep up can become so great that we forget to look up. To notice the ones around us. The beauty around us.

This is where I found myself, anyway.

So I have quieted. And now I can sense His prompting "It's okay. Tiptoe."

So I am tiptoe-ing. Quietly. And slowly.

The process and WORK that He has been doing in me has been...thick. Does that make sense? Without ceasing, I push through the waist-high-mud, longing for the shore. Longing for a break from the labor.

But through all of this, this work, this labor...I know He is GOOD. The work He is doing in me is GOOD. Even when I don't see any fruit from my labor...when it feels like it's all done in secret and please oh please let me know that I am on the right path...He is GOOD.

He sees me. He is for me.

I could run and choose an easier way.

Or I can lean into it. I can ask for more. More wisdom. More strength. More of Him and what He has for me.

And this is what I am choosing. I am leaning and pressing and asking...

And for those of you that are moms, or even if you just find yourself rushed and hurried, you can go here for some extra encouragement. This post helped to breathe life and purpose to the journey I've found myself on...