Fishing Practice

It does not matter how many times my husband shouts “Ten and Two” while we are fly fishing, I’m still going to mess it up. I get the line tangled in the branches behind me.  I lose the fly or leader.  I’m still unsteady on moss covered rocks thigh deep in moving water, so I slip on the rocks and end up with freezing cold water inside my waders.

For whatever reason, I have a hard time casting the fly rod.  My husband on the other hand is graceful and fruitful with a fly rod.  I’ve been fly fishing about half a dozen times annually for the last 5 years and often get frustrated with the sport.  He’s been fly fishing every day for the last 30 years and adores it above all other forms of fishing.

The reason I’m having a hard time casting the fly rod?  Probably because I’m not practicing enough.  The reason my husband is amazing at it?  Probably because he practices every day.

Here, sweet friends, is where I struggle spiritually. I’m not practicing all the time.  I go through seasons where I feel much closer to the Lord than other times. There are times that I’m faithful to a strong prayer life and there are other times that I wean away from prayer.  I have seasons where I’m immersed in the word daily…and other times where my Bible is opened only on Sunday.

I frankly don’t practice enough.

If you are feeling the same way, I’d like to offer encouragement.  I think each of us has room to practice more in our relationship with God.  Each of us could improve some aspect of our spiritual walk.  None of us, on this side of heaven, has perfected our faith life.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:9 “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.”

From childhood many of us have heard the phrase “practice makes perfect.”  While I may not agree with the “perfect” portion of that phrase, I do agree that practice certainly brings better performance.

Just as fall has arrived in the South, I now have an opportunity to practice fly fishing more.  And in the next weeks, I’m going to focus on prayer as a place I need to practice more faithfully in order to draw closer to God.

What do you want to start practicing more?

~Emily

Fly Fishing2

 

 

Little Moments and the Main Event

A week ago, my family was involved in one of the most beautiful weddings that I’ve ever attended. The bride was gorgeous and the groom was dashing.  The floral arrangements were perfect in the soft glow of candle light. The food was amazing and the blueberry wine was fantabulous.

The main event, as at all weddings, was the moment the bride and groom meet at the altar and pledge their love and faithfulness before God and all their friends and family members.  This wedding was no different.  The main event was a covenant between two people and their God. Everyone attending was sure to witness the main event.

But there were dozens of little moments that lead up to the main event.  These little moments are missed by many as they focus on helping the bride and groom. For instance, how many saw all the breakfast preparations that morning?  How many saw the wedding coordinator triple checking the details? How many saw the DJ take a moment to chat with the mother of the bride? How many witnessed the night-time prayers of the flower girl and ring bearer?

In the midst of constantly being told to keep their clothes clean, to be quieter, or stay off the grass, how many got to see that flower girl and ring bearer trying to blow dandelions without getting dirty clothes?UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_d611These are snapshot moments that make up the entire day.  They are the little moments that lead up to the main event.  They are examples of how each moment is in support of the bride and groom…each moment in support of a covenant with God.

It made me reflect on all the little moments that lead up to another main event that created a covenant between all of us and God: The Crucifixion of Christ.

Imagine the events of the crucifixion, as you would a wedding.  All the preparation and planning.  Ensuring all the right people were in place.  The long walk.  The prayers to the Father.  The declaration “it is done.” Everyone attending saw the main event.

But how many little moments were missed?  Who was responsible for the tree being cut down and the cross being constructed? Who was witness to the beatings and whippings of Christ the day before? Who was bore witness to the nails being created? Who watched Mother Mary weeping for her child?

All little moments that lead up to the main event.

But each of those moments were snapshot memories that made up an entire day.  They lead to the main event.  Examples of how God’s perfect plan was in motion before any of them…or us…knew we needed that perfect plan.

The little moments, such as the flower girl and ring bearer blowing on dandelions, are mere memories offered to a selected few. Yet they represent the love and support that lead up to the main event of a bride and groom uniting as one.

Each of the seemingly little moments leading to Christ’s death were seen by few. Yet they represented God’s love and support of all of us.  All of us.

This week, I’m praying that each of us takes a moment to reflect on the little moments that lead to the main events of life.

~Emily

Cockroach Leg Eyebrows

As a small child, my mom would smooth down my eyebrows as soon as I woke up in the morning.  As a teen, I would make my eyebrows a mess by pushing them backwards against the grain…just to see if my mom would notice. She always did.  Apparently, those eyebrows were wild!

Interestingly enough, my mom has never worn make up.  Therefore, she didn’t teach me about make up.  Other than smoothing my eyebrows down, she taught me nothing about taming the beasts above my eyes.  It wasn’t until I had been in the Air Force for over four years that friends took me to a tweezing session.  That first tweezing was HORRIBLE!  My eyes were welled up and I was sneezing. I thought my brains were being pulled out!

Since then, I’ve experienced cultural eyebrow grooming throughout the world.  Most notably, the string technique in Turkey, a wicked stinky mix of wax in Korea, and a hefty German woman plucking away while swilling beer.

My eyebrows have been beaten into submission.

My husband’s eyebrows? They are a different story.  He has one that shoots out like cockroach legs. I’m constantly smoothing his eyebrows down.  What I would give to take a pair of tweezers to his caterpillars!

Alas, last week while wiping a roach leg into place, I suddenly had a thought.  Does anyone, let alone God, really care about the appearance of our wild brows?  Instantly a verse came to mind.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”                ~1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)

Each of us have such potential to be great in God’s sight…with or without the outward adornments. God doesn’t equate the outward adornment of our eyebrows with our inner worth.

My eyebrows will continue to be tamed.

My husband’s will probably continue to get my attention.

With 1 Peter in mind, I’m going to try to give his brows less attention.

~Emily

Eyebrows

Resiliency through Adversity: A marriage journey (Guest Blogger)

Recently I made a trip to the Enlisted Heritage Hall, an Air Force museum, where my husband’s uniform is displayed.  It is the uniform that he almost died in when the bombing of Khobar Towers happened on June 25, 1996.

I was just a young bride with no children at the time; married less than 5 years.  After my husband completed his deployment, he came home and we got pregnant with our first child, a boy.  During that year, we were told I would miscarry that child.

The same week my husband had a massive brain hemorrhage.  Again, he should have died.  Two years later we welcomed another child, a girl.  During that year, she and I were hospitalized 7 different times. At the time, we did not know that she would most likely have lifelong health issues.

Over the years hardship plagued our family.  We dealt with a child on the Autism spectrum, military moves that were difficult on the family, a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a Traumatic Brain Injury (PTSD/TBI) and suicide of an extended family member.  Most recently, in the span of a year, we endured the death of my father, 2 uncles, my dad’s beloved dog, and my husband’s first service dog.

I am not writing these things to say “woe is me” or for you to think I’m looking for pity. Quite the opposite! I want to share how I managed to be in a happy fruitful marriage of 26 years despite these struggles.

When my husband and I married, we knew that God would be the head of our home.  Yet we were young and didn’t understand this concept completely. It is through some of these adversities that I learned who I had to lean on in the dark times. My biggest struggle is loneliness even with others around me. I think this a common issues most military spouses endure, especially those that have a spouse with the PTSD/TBI diagnosis. I can no longer go to my husband with things that bother me, because he will likely get overwhelmed and not be able to handle multiple issues.

I can’t share with those who are not in the military, as they do not understand the lifestyle. I do not share with other military spouses for fear of being judged.  Likewise, they don’t want to hear it for fear of it happening to their family.

Comfort can be found in Philippians 4:11 (KJV) “Not that I speak in respect of want for I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.” 

This does not mean a state like Nebraska or Ohio, but rather our mental state. Although in truth, sometimes I needed it to mean what literal state I was in at the time!  For me, I learned to rely heavily on God and I did this through His written word that was written in my heart.  We may not think it is important as we get older to remember verses, but when I couldn’t think of anything to say, to do or even how to just be; I relied on reciting verses.  This is how God kept me calm through many trials.

I was faithful in my devotionals, attending church, serving in my given mission fields, and trusting the advice of a few Godly people in my life. It was the reliance on my faith through adversity that made me a resilient person.

I have always sung the song, His eye is on the sparrow written by Ethel Waters, but never knew the backstory.  It was about one couple seeing another couple deal with adversity that seemed incomprehensible. When they asked the couple how they dealt with the life difficulties handed to them, the wife responded with “His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me.”

That, my friend, is how I live my life. When my emotions and the drama of life is all consuming, I know and TRUST that my God is watching over me and he is watching over you too.

-A Military Spouse

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