Monday, March 7, 2011


 I am not a “Type A” personality.  My husband can vouch for this, but to prove it to myself, I went and took an online test to have some more substantial evidence.  I say all of this and yet, I do have some “Type A” tendencies (which I mostly blame my husband for since I don’t recall having these characteristics before meeting him).  Although I do not feel the need to have a strict schedule that I uphold, I thrive on routine and consistency.  As much as I may work at keeping my family and household on a steady rhythm of grocery shopping, Bible study, nap times, meal preparation, cleaning up, organizing, and bed times, we live in an ever-changing world of inconsistencies and foul-ups – in other words… sin. 

This week, I had the chance to go visit with some friends that are very near and dear to my heart.  They were a major part of my life for almost 3 years when I was a newlywed and rookie teacher.  Although we don’t live all that far away from each other, we don’t see one another on a regular basis.  So, I cherish the times we have together.  On this recent visit with a friend who is battling serious difficulties with his health, my mind reflected back on those early days of teaching: bulletin boards, teacher’s meetings, and parent/teacher conferences.  I also thought about the highs and lows of Andy’s seminary days. 

On my drive home (with a sleeping toddler in the back seat) I was considering some of the different seasons of my life and was amazed that with each one I had a vivid memory of a great blessing or accomplishment along with a memory of a particular hardship I had gone through:

I had perfect attendance in Kindergarten (the only year I ever accomplished this), and it was immediately followed (approximately a week after school let out) with coming down with the chicken pox – which I kindly passed on to my sister. J

At 16, I said a final good-bye to my grandfather after a long battle with cancer, and about 3 days later I passed my driver’s test and received my license. 

Before leaving for my first year of college, a great uncle that I was very close to offered to significantly help me with the remainder of my tuition costs – and did.  Several months later (before I completed that school year), he passed away. 

Less than 2 months away from giving birth to my son, the principal of the school I was teaching at (and my co-teacher in the middle school) was diagnosed with cancer and went through surgery 2 weeks before we welcomed our little one to our life.

After graduating from seminary, my husband was called as pastor at the church we are now at (a huge blessing!).  A month later our closest friends moved a long distance away from us.

On the day that very good friends of ours had their first child, my husband’s grandmother passed away. 

As I recalled these moments of my life, my mind immediately went to that well-known passage of Scripture in Ecclesiastes:

     “There is a time for everything,
     and a season for every activity under the heavens:
        a time to be born and a time to die,
        a time to plant and a time to uproot,
        a time to kill and a time to heal,
        a time to tear down and a time to build,
        a time to weep and a time to laugh,
        a time to mourn and a time to dance,
        a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
        a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
        a time to search and a time to give up,
        a time to keep and a time to throw away,
        a time to tear and a time to mend,
        a time to be silent and a time to speak,
        a time to love and a time to hate,
        a time for war and a time for peace.
     What do workers gain from their toil?  I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.  He has
     made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom  
     what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for people than to be  
     happy and to do good while they live.  That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all 
     their toil—this is the gift of God.  I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be 
     added to it and nothing taken from it.  God does it so that people will fear him.“
Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

So many moments like these come to mind - each with a varying level of seriousness to it.  Thankfully, I can look back on several of them and even laugh a little at the circumstances that took place. 

I will be turning 27 years old in August, so I can’t say that I’ve had a ton of “seasons” in my life yet.  Thankfully, I can also say that God has protected me and my family from major tragedy.  He has been good to me and my family… more than I deserve.
I could, however, look at each of these situations in my life and react in fear (What’s going to happen next?).  Or I can look at these portions of my life and see hope.  This is more than just the proverbial “silver-lining” that all of the optimists of the world demand we search for.  God is our hope and peace in the midst of life’s storms, the one who we should “take refuge in” as Psalm 34 states. 

So what have I learned in my 27 years of life’s ups and downs – in the midst of love and loss, sickness and health, life and death?
  1. Despite my own attempts to create routine in my life, we live in a world of chaos.  God is attributed with order, peace, and perfection.  My hope is in Him. 
  2. God always keeps his promises.  He’s the definition of consistency.  Scripture is full of God’s promises to “never leave (me) nor forsake (me)” (Deut. 31:6, Josh. 1:5, Heb. 13:5 – just to name a few).  
  3. My response should always be the same: faith, hope, and love.  My faith is in God, my holy and loving creator.  My hope is in Jesus Christ, the perfect substitute for my sin, who fulfilled God’s standard perfectly – something I could never do.  My response of repentance and faith should be lived out in love for God and others – despite my own circumstances. 
Good things and bad things are going to happen in life – that’s the way it’s been, and that’s the way it’s going to be.  God is above all things.  He’s there when we struggle and when we celebrate.  God is still God, no matter what takes place around me or to me.  I’m forever grateful for all that God has done in my life and I don’t dread the days ahead, but rather eagerly await all that He will be teaching me about himself. 

        “Praise the LORD, you his servants;
           praise the name of the LORD.
         Let the name of the LORD be praised,
           both now and forevermore.
         From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
           the name of the LORD is to be praised.
         The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
           his glory above the heavens.
         Who is like the LORD our God,
           the One who sits enthroned on high,
         who stoops down to look
           on the heavens and the earth?
        He raises the poor from the dust
           and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
         he seats them with princes,
           with the princes of his people.
         He settles the childless woman in her home
           as a happy mother of children.
         Praise the LORD.”
                                                            Psalm 113

This is my prayer... I hope it is yours.  

~ Carrie ~

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