The Car Saga Contiues

We’re into week 2 of my car saga, and I’m not sure I see an end in sight.  While it took a bit for the adjuster to go and see the vehicle, once there, a vast difference appeared between the two companies in the ideas of how to repair my sweet car along with the cost of said repairs.  Alas, still no car.

I was starting to feel a little frustrated.  While having a car is assuredly a first world problem, I’ve been irritated about being at home without a vehicle in the event I wanted something…like an ice cold fountain Coke (that I don’t really need).   This has felt slightly overwhelming at my lack of control or answers to the problem.

This entire process has flown right in the face of what I’m studying.  We’re clearly told in the bible to trust God for everything.  Why is it so hard to let go of that control and hear what He’s saying?  Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.

That verse doesn’t say He’ll give me a quick answer.  It doesn’t even say He’ll give the answer I want.  What it does tell me that no matter how out of control I feel and no matter how long this process will take, He won’t forsake me.  Forsake means to abandon, and that’s one thing God never does.  He doesn’t just leave me to handle it on my own.  When I seek Him and when I trust, He is right there with me walking with me every step of the way.

I have no idea when I’ll get my car back.  But no matter the length of time or how frustrating the outcome, I can be assured that my situation and I are not forsaken.  He is right there holding my hand as we navigate this water together.

Iron Porch, have any of you been in a situation where you had to remind yourself that God was standing with you and walking beside you during a tough spot?  Let us know in the comments below.

~Erin

Suicidal Dream

Recently, my 9-year-old son came to my bedside in the middle of the night asking to lay down with me.  He said he’d had a bad dream and wanted to snuggle. I asked him about the dream and he shared that it included a pretty explicit description of me committing suicide in front of him.

Through the years, I’ve comforted him several times after a bad dream, but nothing had prepared me for him dreaming that I’d shot myself in front of him.  I held him tight and prayed with him to have a calm spirit so that he could fall back to sleep.  He recalled a scripture from Deuteronomy 31:6, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord, your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

I felt his heart rate slow down and his breathing level out as he fell asleep.

I, however, was wide awake and troubled by his dream.  Why on earth would his little mind have created a scenario where I would abandon him in such a manner? Are these residual ideas from his birth mom and the adoption process?  For that matter, how did he even know something so horrific could happen to a mom or a child?

I untangled myself from the blankets and the kiddo so I could get on my knees and place this burden at the feet of our Lord.  While I don’t understand the dream or why my child had it, I do know that I felt relief in sharing my concerns with God.

In the days after that situation, other verses of comfort came to both me and my son.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” ~Psalm 34:4

For the Lord says…do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine. ~Isaiah 43:1

Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” ~Isaiah 35:4

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” ~2 Timothy 1:7

The Iron Porch is a place to be transparent about real-life events.  With that in mind, I’ve got to admit my son’s dream has shaken me up for a few days.  The one thing that has kept me calm is scripture and prayer.  The constant provision of God’s word has encouraged me and reminded us that he does not want us to fear anything.

~Emily

Deuteronomy

 

The Check Engine Light

The ‘check engine’ light is a big deal.  Especially to a budgeter.  Or to someone who just simply likes to drive a vehicle.  Mine came on last week, and I couldn’t get in to the dealership to have it checked until this last Monday.  So I left it undriven (for the most part) because I was terrified that I would break down on the middle of the highway, cars speeding towards me at 87mph as I tried to maneuver off to the side of the road.  Turns out, I have a bigger problem.

RODENTS.

Yes, you read that right.  Some annoying tiny rodent footprints were found in the dusty underbelly as the technicians came upon 6 wires those buttheads enjoyed chewing through along with plenty of insulation missing from a cover for a harness-something-or-other they dined on.  Can you see the appreciation for the squirrel/mouse/rat/something with teeth written on my face?

While those lovely little creatures are going to cost me big time, it got me to thinking about the ‘check engine’ light in my life.   When I’m struggling with a situation or dealing with a problem, am I going to the place I need to go to fix it?  It’s easy for me to dwell on the anxiety and concern.  I feel like I can figure it out on my own.  Maybe the issue will just go away.  But it never really is that simple.

As a Christian, my answer to the ‘check engine’ light is my Heavenly Father.  He is the One who can diagnose the problem and work you back to wholeness.  Through prayer and bible reading, we are able to see God’s goodness and provision as we weather a storm.

“Like a shepherd He will tend to His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” –Isaiah 40:11

This verse is so loving and powerful.  Not only will God watch over us and shepherd us, He holds us close and carries us as we brave the burden.  When it’s a situation that we need answers for, He lovingly leads us.  What an amazing Savior we serve.

I encourage you today…if you feel like that ‘check engine’ light is on in your world, call to Jesus Christ and open your bible.  He will guide you home.

~Erin

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This is not the evil beast that is costing me money.  If it was, he’d be looking scared towards me, not relaxed after eating such a large Happy Meal of my car. (Photo courtesy of unsplash)

Listening in the Lava Tunnels

The lava bed tunnels of Southern Oregon, formed near Medicine Lake, are an attraction that brings in casual hikers, deep cave explorers, and families looking for educational experiences. These lava bed tunnels are beneath hard, black, rocky surfaces of cooled lava, which are now also sprinkled with scrub-brush.  Visitors walk along the uneven surfaces, which feature openings leading to tunnels and larger caves underground.

As a child, my parents took us to this natural wonder often. I distinctly remember picnic lunches out of the hatchback of an 80’s Subaru and playing hide-and-seek in these tunnels.  I remember hiding in the pitch-black listening intently for my brother’s footsteps crunching across obsidian and lava gravel.

As an adult, there are days that I feel like I’m hiding in the pitch-black listening intently for the voice of God.  Those are the days that I know that I need to focus on how to draw closer to God.  Essentially how to listen more closely to how and when God speaks.

In order to do that, try these two techniques:

  1. Read your Bible…as in daily and with deliberate intent to truly study.
  2. Listen…as in sitting still without distractions of your family or phone.

I’ve found that when I can’t hear God, it’s not because He isn’t speaking. Rather it’s because I’ve become too busy to listen.

Imagine your child-like faith, playing hide-and-seek in the lava tunnels.  Then start practicing your intent listening skills.  You’ll then be poised to hear the voice of God.

~Emily

One Bathroom

A house with only one bathroom is a recipe for disaster.  And I still have one teenager left living at home.  It’s practically unbearable!  It’s a juggling act, sometimes, to figure out who can get in for their shower and who gets to brush their teeth or wash their face first.  This week, was no exception.  Chris, Peyton’s dad, needed to go to work and I hadn’t thought to let Peyton know.  (I mean, he’s had the same Tuesday schedule for three years, so it didn’t even cross my mind.)

The idea that Peyton had to shorten her shower and get out was not a pleasant solution in her 15-year-old mind.  When she emerged she looked at me and said, “Why can’t he get up earlier to get ready?!”  To which I reminded her that he’s had the same schedule for years.  She retorted, “I’m irritated with you too, mom!  You should’ve told me he was going to work!”

Do we have that reaction when it comes to knowing what the bible says?  Someone else will give me the answer!  I expect that when I go to church my pastor as the leader should be telling me what the bible says.  When I attend a bible study the writer gives me direction in my homework.  When I’m speaking to my accountability partner or mentor I think they’ll give me the answers.

But as Christ-followers, we shouldn’t be waiting for the advice alone of our mentors and leaders.  2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that the scripture is God-breathed.  The answers that we need are in the book that we should be studying!   We should be researching, reading, and seeking the answers for ourselves in the Bible.  We have a responsibility to do the work, as well.

I know I can be guilty of this.  Just like Peyton with the idea of ‘someone will let me know,’ I can very easily wait for a Sunday service, hoping the pastor will eventually touch on a topic that’s been on my mind.

Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You,” –Psalm 119:11

This verse reminds me that I should be in the Word, studying and growing in my walk.  I don’t need to wait for someone else to give me the answer.  God gave it to me in the form of a bible, and I’m going to make sure moving forward that I’m using it to mature my faith in Jesus.

~Erin

Airport Observations

I’ve been traveling quite a bit over the last few weeks: cross country to California from Alabama, two trips to Washington DC and a trip to Colorado.  Throughout those trips, I’ve made some observations about what people think is appropriate clothing and behavior while on public transportation.

Before I get started, let me be clear…I’m all for comfy clothes and I adore yoga pants. However, I must be slightly old-fashioned because I feel like there should be a dress code for flying.  I’m not talking about fancy formal wear or business attire.  I’m simply stating that there is a need to stop behaviors, such as wearing sleepwear in public.

For instance, why is there a need to wear bedroom slippers thru the airport?

Why is there a need to wearing jogging pants with an Aztec peach and turquoise skirt, paired with a black and white plaid blazer and purple ankle boots?

Matching pajamas?

The sequin jacket with fur lining looks appropriate for the 8am flight…who am I to judge?

The styles of clothing, while entertaining, was just as surprising as the language.  I heard lots of swearing, lots of children being yelled out, and lots of exasperated couples.

The most memorable overheard conversation was a couple behind me in the TSA line in Washington DC. The woman turned to her husband and said, “I wish this line would hurry up.  I want to eat, poop, and get a drink…and not in that order.”  It was all I could do to not giggle…or turn around to get a visual to match the voice of such a statement!

Through all these observations, I began to reflect on how I’m observed in an airport.  While I’m not wearing bedroom slippers or a sparkly jacket, do I look like I showered? While I’m not yelling at my son or swearing at my husband, am I speaking in a kind manner?

In my actions, in my clothing, in my words…am I reflecting the love and joy of being a Christian?  This next week I’m going to focus on how my words and behavior reflect that I’m a daughter of the one true King…rather than being seen as merely an observation.

~Emily

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” ~Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

Airport Observations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does 2020 Bring?

Two years ago, I had a ‘word of the year.’  It was a word to describe how I would enter into everything I did.  That word was sharpen.  Last year, I never even thought to pick a word…or a resolution for that matter.  My oldest daughter, McKenna, had just been through a hurricane and we went down in December to help do cleanup on her house.  It was just the furthest thing from my mind.  A few weeks ago with the hustle and bustle of 2019 almost behind me, I decided to sit down and pray about where God wanted to take me for the upcoming year.  This led to a new word:

Quality.

I’ve done a lot in 2019.  While I wouldn’t say I was disengaged, I would say that sometimes my attention was divided.  I give a little here, a little there, spreading bits of ‘Erin-time’ over a lengthy list of projects without really giving full attention to any one thing.

I like to read, but was I really taking the time to absorb the words?  I like to have conversations with my children; was I putting down the phone to listen to what they were saying?  I enjoy writing, so was I making sure that the time spent was uninterrupted and focused?

2020 is where it changes.  This year is calculated, because quality needs to mean something!

While I absolutely loved my hobby job, Boudin’s needed to go for a bit.  My last day was the 26th of December.  I’ll miss my co-workers there, but my allegiance was divided between two jobs and my daughter, Peyton, still in high school.  And while one of my jobs is from home, we all know how work from home does NOT mean I can just stop what I’m doing and take care of my kid!

Because I work better with a written schedule, I have times written in my planner in 2020 for prayer time, for bible study group, and for date nights with Peyton.  I have writing scheduled, and I’ve rearranged my office space (and times) so I have the least amount of distractions while maximizing the times with my family.  We’ve even planned a family cross-stitch project!

I want to enjoy good quality friendships and family time.  I want to spend quality time on the hobbies I love.  I want others to feel quality interaction with me.  And I want my time spent with God to be time well spent…a time of maturing and growth that leads me closer to Him which in turn leads others closer to Him, as well.

Do you have a word you want to represent 2020?  How about a resolution or commitment?  Share in the comments below!

~Erin

Word of the year