About ahumblevessel

I am a happily married, stay at home mom who was able to Home school 2 children while also caring for our 3 year old. We have since prayerfully placed our children into a wonderful school and are blessed by that. I am praying that through this blog, we can encourage one another to be the people God has called us to be. Bless you!

Be Still

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As I view this photo, it takes me back to the chilly fall day I had taken my daughters to Guadalupe River State Park.  It was too cold to swim that day, but in my mind’s eye, I crawled over the gnarled tree roots as I had done many times before.  Carefully and slowly I made my way to the water.

I was barefoot and anticipated first touch of the water on my bare toes. They tingled as I slid my foot into the water, big toe first testing the temperature.  It was cool against my skin. I placed both feet into the bubbling, gurgling river as the water fully surrounded me. Making room for me. Welcoming me.  My feet sank slowly into the sandy, murky mud that enveloped my feet completely.  They have disappeared into the bed of the river. Every now and then, if I wiggle my toes, they reappear above the mud.

Small minnows ,dart to and fro, between my legs, tickling me with their tiny bodies as they search for their next meal.

Water, aimlessly floats and meanders lazily, as I bask in the sunshine not wanting the quiet solace to end.

I am overwhelmed by the many colors that my eyes behold. I am thankful as my senses are fully ignited by the beauty surrounding me, engulfing me, protecting me, shielding me. I am relaxed in the beauty of God’s creation.

I am still before Him. I know that He is God.

Life Preserver

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“Those who guard their lips, preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3

This verse gave me such a mental picture!  I saw a person flailing and splashing about in the water. Screaming and yelling, though I am not sure if it was out of fear or anger. Fear of being alone. Fear of past or present. Fear and anger that nothing ever done is good enough. Fear that the kids won’t succeed. Fear that always keep friends pushed away, because we don’t want them to see the evil in our hearts. Or just because we are sinful, hurt people.  Fear consumes.

Regardless of the craziness, the first part of the verse, “those who guard their lips, preserve their lives.” struck me with full force.

Our words build up, encourage, tear down and hurt all out of the same mouth.

The latter part of the verse talks about bringing ruin. Not just ruin for us, but also for those around us.  This was a painful blog to write about, because of this very thing I am guilty. Perhaps this is the reason I was led to write these words?

I have a challenge. Let’s watch the faces of those we love, crumple as we speak loudly and rudely.  Let’s watch as they shine and sparkle as we encourage them. Let us see their hearts fly as we encourage them. Or, see them chained to the pain as we yell mercilessly.

I want to be a life-preserver. Not one who brings ruin.

Join me!

Humbly Bowed

Humbly bowed, in your presence Lord.  I call to you, come find me where I am.

I’m begging now, down on my knees. I need you God, to make me pure again.

Here I am, a sinner needing cleansed. Come wash me now, from all this filth and sin.

Forgiveness flows, like blood and water flowed. From Your side, Your life just slipped away.

Thank you God, forgiveness floods my soul. I’m pure again, washed as white as snow.

My sins are cast. Far away from me. From east to west, thank you God I’m free!

 

There Is Always Time…

This is something that struck me fully today. We are often so tied up with time constraints and schedules. Kids games, parties, lessons and even church activities stretch us. We frequently say that we don’t have time for anything.  The truth is, we make time for what we want to make time for.

Today.

Remember, “There is always time to do what God asks us to do.”  Donna Otto

The Bad Place

The Bad Place

My husband and I were missionaries in Africa early 2000-2003.  We were so excited to plan a rafting adventure!  Rather, he excitedly planned a rafting trip on the Nile River, while I was leery and fearful! I nearly drowned as a child, so it was natural apprehension.  Being the good wife, I put a frightened smile on my face and off we went.

Typical, well-balanced rafts, carry 8 or more people.  Our raft, including the guide, carried 5.  Should that have been an indication of our day???  It wasn’t as if we could say, “We’ll wait and do it another day” as we had flown from Kenya to Uganda!   We were at an extreme disadvantage with that, and that none of the four passengers had ever been rafting before.

img_6108With trepidation I carefully put my helmet on and tightened my life jacket.  It was so tight for safety reasons, it was really hard to breathe.  I felt trapped.  We paddled for a few minutes to practice.  He taught us how to hold onto the oar and the raft if we flipped, and how to climb back in the boat.  In calm water, that is much easier to do! He called different terms like the obvious, “ROW HARDER!” and “GET DOWN!” (I excelled at the latter!)  That was one he called most frequently because that meant we were either going to flip, or go into the rapid and come out properly in the boat on the other side,  and he was trying to keep us safe.  Did you know that guides have done this so often, they know if you are going to make it through the rapid or not?  Did you know that they will flip you for your own safety? No.  Me either.

So out of our 8 hour Nile River rafting adventure, we flipped 5 out of 10 times.  Wait.  He flipped us 5 out of 10 times.  We made it through the level 2 & 3 rapids, but not the level  4’s or 5’s.  Also unknown to me, because I was not aware much of the time being separimg_6109-1ated from the boat, and being rescued and brought back to the boat by my own personal kayak-er rescuer,  that there were Nile Crocodiles on the banks as I sailed by crying and peeing my pants as my life passed before my eyes. I was also hit by branches and had red ants on my life jacket and in my hair. (On a good note, though I was unable to hold on to the raft, I did hold on to my paddle!)

At the end our long journey, there was one more optional level 6 rapid. Saved for the risk taking, professionals!  It was called The Bad Place.  I can hear you saying, “Don’t do it! Tara! Don’t do it!”  That  was what my heart and mind were saying as well! Believe me!   One of the men said, “Man, I am not doing that!  No way!”  “I am going to sit this out!”  It came down to me.  Sammy and the other guy were game so I had a decision to make. Quit, or hit this rapid head on, knowing full well we weren’t going to make it through.  I can honestly say that I had tears of fear dripping down my sun-blocked, sunburned cheeks. Not all weepy boohoo, just plain old fright, panic, horror and dread!   My comment, which made my husband beam with pride was, “I didn’t come this far to quit. Let’s go.”

the-bad-placeWe got into the raft and as soon as we sat down, he pushed us off and yelled, “GET DOWN!”  it was at that moment, I let go of my paddle because I was already under water.  I was tossed, turned, scared and tumbling like a towel in a washing machine!  I thought I was going to die.  I couldn’t get to the surface. I couldn’t see the surface! Twisting, whirling, spiraling out of control, until I finally, I reached the end of the rapid.  Sammy apparently was still under water, but popped up soon after I did and was already at the bank down river a bit smiling. I on the other hand, was breathless, hyperventilating and crying.  I saw just a hand reached out saying, “I got you. You are ok.” One of my fellow rafters was there to help me out of the water.

Sammy and I walked up the hill with his arms around me.  He said something like, “that was fun.” Or, “I am so proud of you!” or both.  We arrived at the top of the hill, after a long day, to an awaiting celebration feast.  In my heart I thanked God for my survival.

I can say with pride, “I Rafted The Nile River!”

Life is like rafting that river sometimes isn’t it? We are rafting along smoothly enjoying the ride,  until He being the guide,  sees things that we can’t and protects us by flipping our boat. Or circumstances like the life jacket, tiny red ants, or branches smacking or biting us, cause us great discomfort and pain.  We begin flailing and tumbling in the rapids of life, and forget that God is always there.

He sends friends to give us a hand. He sends a way for us to get back in the boat.  He never leaves us alone. Psalm 138:3 says, ” On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.”  He hears us when we call. He gives us strength.
He equips us for  “The Bad Places” in life and gives us the courage to go through them, even though we know going in, it is going to be hard and scary.  Yet, we are able to say, “I didn’t come this far to quit.”

Lord, be with my friends who may be going into, or are already in The Bad Place. Please protect each one and bring them safely out the other side.

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

About Nana

About Nana

We met Karen in our old neighborhood and weren’t instant friends, but the kids were drawn to her and wouldn’t give up the pursuit. She let us love her, and loves us in return.

Karen quickly became the kind of friend whose door was always open, and the coffee pot was always on. She came to our house for noise and excitement. At her home,  Jelly Belly jelly beans and water were always present.  She is a woman who is retired from the army after 22 years. A little rough around the edges, but life has dealt her some harsh blows.  I think in many ways, we are all rough around the edges aren’t we?   I want to be a friend like her. One who always opens the door to her neighbors and their wild, full of life children. One who gardens in the heat of the day, to get rid of those awful weeds.   One who accepts a glass of lemonade on a hot Texas day, from grubby little toddler hands, and drinks every drop and is thankful. One who seeks to know what our favorite things are and pops in with surprise groceries, when we didn’t know how we were going to make it that month.  The friend who always listens, asks the right questions, and seeks to make sure we know how loved we are. She has been the break from reality, when Sammy was coaching 96 hours a week.  She comes for birthdays.  Truth be told, she has brought the birthday many times! The kids found chocolate chip cookie cakes with maraschino cherries, whipped cream , icing, sprinkles and whatever toppings they chose to be undeniably delicious!  I think she has made cookie cakes for the last 8 years!

She was there for the activities of the kids, a supporter of odd requests and purchaser of random last-minute birthday gifts that we couldn’t (or wouldn’t) purchase.  She has a son and daughter in law, but grandchildren haven’t arrived.  She has wall plaques, and picture frames that have Nana phrases. She has our hearts.  So, as she suffers from her third form of cancer in 3 years, we cry out to the Lord with sorrow and gratitude. With sorrow, because it hurts us to see her suffer.  With gratitude, that she has been led to the Maker of Heaven and Earth and we know eternity is in her heart. Selfishly, we want her forever here.  Not for her to be in suffering, but in selfishness we want her here, with us.  She became Nana.  You see, she is adopted into our family and as much of our family as any Grandmother or Grandfather would be. We wormed our way into her heart, and she planted the gift of love in ours.

So this is where the wish comes in. I wish we were all healthy at the same time so visits could be more frequent. Will you pray that we can be healthy to visit as often as possible?  According to the Dr, we have a month give or take.  A month of quiet kisses and I love you.  A month to take as many pictures as we can take. A month to get in as many cuddles as her pained body can bear. A month to share laughter and love over a meal. One last Christmas, birthday and Thanksgiving. One last…

Every day is a gift.  Every day matters.

I want to be like Nana. Full of love, patience and humor.  Generous to a fault.  Ready for adventure!

We love you Nana.

In times of questioning… part 2

Here I pick up where I left off.

Our cat passed away, my husband has just recovered from the flu, one of my daughters missed 3 days of school due to fever, and another had a fever today as well.

I heard the truck pull into the driveway after my husband and daughter left Friday morning for school.  I wondered what was wrong.   On the way out of our driveway, our eldest daughter saw our guard dog Shadow, lying lifeless on the road in front of our mailbox.  He NEVER went out of our gate. He NEVER left the property. Sweet Shadow was gone. Gone were the late night barks on alert. Gone was the goofy galloping, as he ran to us when we called…2 days after burying Mr. Pickles, we were burying another one of our pets.

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Gone.

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In our sorrow, we were thankful. Thankful that a friend had loaned us his tractor so that we could shred our property. Thankful that we were able to bury this sweet boy more easily in the parched, rock filled soil. “How much more Lord?” was a resounding question in our hearts.

I apologize for being so sorrowful, but as I said in the first post, these last few weeks have been tough.

Transparency.

That is what I offer you.

Here tonight as tears slide down my cheeks, I trust.  I trust in God.  I trust. He knows each one of our needs.  He knows that I may, after 13 years of not working a full-time job,  may have to place the kids back in school and get a full time job.  This isn’t a surprise to my Heavenly Father.

The truth? I’m scared.

Scared of giving up the blessing of being a stay at home mom, to become a full-time working mom.  People do it all the time.  I just never thought that I would need to.  Times change.  Home insurance goes up. Health insurance goes up. Cost of living goes up.

My eyes lift toward heaven as I pray.

Psalm 121:1-8

1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
         From where shall my help come?

2My help comes from the LORD,
         Who made heaven and earth.

3He will not allow your foot to slip;
         He who keeps you will not slumber.

4Behold, He who keeps Israel
         Will neither slumber nor sleep.

5The LORD is your keeper;
         The LORD is your shade on your right hand.

6The sun will not smite you by day,
         Nor the moon by night.

7The LORD will protect you from all evil;
         He will keep your soul.

8The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
         From this time forth and forever.

http://biblehub.com/context/psalms/121-1.htm

 

It is all going to be ok.  It will.  God will provide as He always has.

“What is Your will Father?” When all else seems to be lost in the time of confusion, one must ask, “Will You clear the way?” He has promised to do so.

So.

I.

Trust.

Psalm 20:7

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”

http://biblehub.com/psalms/20-7.htm

We trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Wherever you are on your journey, I pray that you don’t feel alone.  I pray that you will be able to lift your eyes up.  Lift your face to the Creator.  He loves you.

Lord, to all who carry a heavy burden of grief, fear, shame or loss, please comfort them. Please hold them tightly and allow them to feel Your presence as they never have before. Love them deeply with Your love everlasting.  In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Love and hugs,

Tara