Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ronald Reagan Tribute

I never knew that Ronald Reagan was a Christian.  I was a newborn when Reagan was president, and I marvel how far our nation has fallen in less than 30 years.  I wonder if Reagan was God's "voice in the wilderness" before He gave up this nation to its own evil devices.

Monday, June 4, 2012

One-Year Update

One week from now, Michael and I will be celebrating our one-year wedding anniversary!  Time has flown! And for me, life has changed so much!  June 11, 2011, Michael and I were married after being engaged the previous December.  We had dated until that time from June 26, 2010 when we met at a wedding.  I had moved in October 2010 to New Jersey from Massachusetts so I could get to know Michael better.  I had transitioned from Christian school teaching to online editing and began learning how to live in a vastly different culture of suburban New Jersey compared to the quiet pace of Northern Indiana and South Coast Massachusetts.  Over the year, I began to establish loving roots with my new family, getting to know my new aunts and uncles, cousins, and brothers and sisters-in-law.  God was guiding me through the emotional process of coping at a distance with the massive changes occurring in what I had always known as my "secure" home in Indiana.  Mom and Dad moved away from the house of my last single years, my sister married and then recently moved with her husband to Michigan, my brother married and established his own home with his new bride, my last remaining grandparent died, and I realized that going home would never be the same.  Nevertheless, God was giving me a new family that I was learning to cherish, and He replaced my grandma with another who is close by.  I have been learning to make New Jersey my home, but more than that, I have been learning not to set my hope too strongly on anything in this world.  God has been teaching me more about heavenly citizenship.

Since being a wife, the transitions have multiplied.  Now a homemaker, I have my own Cape Cod-style home to manage while muddling through the complications of Chronic Fatigue.  Feeling rooted in a quiet neighborhood with a man who loves you so much is a tremendous blessing.  God has been good, but He does use pain and trials to keep us on our knees and make sure we hold these earthly gifts loosely and relinquish our pride.  Despite these physical setbacks, He has enabled Michael and me to transform the house into a comfortable home that has our own personal touches.  The living room has gone from off white to warm green with white trim; the ragged brown carpets have been removed to reveal beautiful hardwood flooring, accented with a beautiful, rusty brown, Hungarian carpet given to us by friends; the living room windows have been adorned with lacy white valances; and the spare rooms have been cleaned and organized, and have even received guests!  Outdoors, the gardens have been tamed and dabs of color added to clay pots and hanging porch baskets.  The trees have flooded with multi-colored birds for their daily suet feeding.  The skunks have tried to take advantage of our hospitality but failed.  The groundhogs and deer have learned that the Adamus home is a habitat for birds and small rodents only.  And there's more...Michael's sister Betsy and her husband have loaned us their dog for a year upon moving across country from New Mexico to New York for additional schooling.  Hezzy (Hezekiah)--the new member of the family--has been a source of companionship, laughter and good exercise.  God is faithful in everything, and He is good, even when the body seems to restrain all advancement.

Since returning from teaching in the Dominican Republic, I have been so blessed to have for the first time a regular medical doctor to care for me that specializes in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.  We are praising God for Michael's medical package through work that has enabled me to get regular treatments and gain better answers into my health difficulties.  I have begun to explore more seriously and regularly the world of healthy food, fruits, vegetables and gluten-free baking and set up foundations for healthy lifestyles for years to come, by God's grace.

Preakness Valley URC during the youth group's Mother's Day Flower Sale 
Over the past year, we have been established as a married couple in the church of our membership (Preakness Valley United Reformed Church) where I lead ladies' Bible studies and prayer groups, seek to help out in outreaches such as evangelistic events and Vacation Bible School, and join the Preakness Chorale.  Michael has continued to deepen his ministry as an adult Sunday School teacher, youth leader, musician, and choir director, among other things.

Ministering to the neighbors has lain heavily upon our hearts as we pray for their salvation and God's grace to enable us to be His witnesses.  Our relationships with various neighbors have grown in the past year, and as we clean up our yard and patio, we hope for opportunities for cookouts this summer!

Above all, we have seen God growing us toward Him together, which has drawn us closer and deepened our love and appreciation for each other.  Marriage has a way of exposing sins and selfishness.  It is humbling.  It makes me realize how much we need God's grace and Spirit to love each other for better or for worse.  But God is so good and so gracious.  He has shown me His tender, unconditional love through my husband.  Now into Year 2: I pray God enables me to learn how to be the wife of noble character while being content with my physical limitations in a Christ-centered way.  We are eager to see what our Lord has in store for us this year, praying for new lessons, new mercies, and deeper love toward Him and each other.

God's Will, Not Mine

Why won't I get it through my head?  I learn, and then it's like I never learned it before, and God patiently re-teaches me the same simple lesson: not my will but Thine be done.  Yesterday, God opened my eyes anew to this simple but foundational concept of the Christian faith.  In the weeks previous, I had been in spiritual and emotional agony over my ongoing physical weakness and my inability to carry out my "dreams for God" (which were really my dreams wrapped up in fancy language), such as starting a Christian school or even having my own children.  I felt like I had some wisdom or talents to bring to the table.  That's where I went completely wrong.  God started showing me just how much I had to bring to the table by removing just a little of that restraining grace against sin and lengthening just a little the leash that holds Satan back from carrying out his efforts to deceive and temp and discourage.  By yesterday, I was utterly worthless in my own eyes and realized I had absolutely nothing to offer of my own.  God had brought me low, destroyed my wretched pride, and made me feel my own evils and Satan's lies and accusations, which I had been prone to believe (i.e., the godless neighbors have it better), for which I hated myself all the more, knowing that wasn't really true but seeming helpless to not embrace the idea of it.  God's hand was heavy upon me.  I begged Him to deliver me, while wondering if He even heard my prayers anymore--the thought of which gave even further cause for grief and despair over my state, for I knew in my mind that God did hear me and loved me through Christ.  However, in my experience, it seemed the contrary.  So I waited.  With heavy, broken heart I waited, sighing for heaven.

Then last night, God sent me on a mission to do what I didn't think I had talents to do, where I had no personal knowledge or wisdom, where I knew I needed to act but where I was helpless.  And God acted.  In the middle of the moment, when I needed it, He gave His wisdom.  He showed me worldly wisdom is futile.  He showed me self-confidence is futile.  He showed me personal talents mean nothing if He has not called me and sent  me.  And if He has called me and commissioned me, He will do it, and glory to His redeeming grace, He often does use the pieces of our broken human experiences and talents to do it!  Why did it seem before that God did not hear my prayers?  Because I was praying for my will, not His, and I was thinking I could do it; He could just help.  Oh devilish mutiny!

Oh gracious Father--that He did not leave me in my wretched, selfish state but disciplined me and still used me--this chief of sinners!  Oh how magnificent is His love and grace!  How patient and faithful a Father!  How marvelous the power of Christ's redemption!