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Adoption, Bible, Family, Life, Theology, Uncategorized

Sorrowful But Always Rejoicing

December 11, 2017

The past few months have been some of the darkest I’ve experienced in years.  l had expected the fall of 2017 to be full of joy and celebration as Museum of the Bible opened, a project I’ve been invested in for nearly 8 years. But along with the great joy from this season, it’s been full of pain. And it’s hit on many levels.

The past two months have brought personal medical issues (infertility), a family member’s death, broken trust in close relationships, personal attacks, and many close friends experiencing their own tragedies, all the while as l am trying to keep up with my full time job, a PhD work load on nights and weekends, and co-writing my first book with my mother. It’s a season that’s brought back panic attacks, heartache, doubt, and insecurity. It’s also a season l feel God’s presence more than l have in a long time. It’s driven me to His Word, and to prayer.

In the midst of this season, one night l was supposed to go to an award ceremony in the evening to receive an award along with dozens of other recipients. l actually hadn’t told anyone about the award except my mom and husband. The day of the award ceremony turned out to be one of the more difficult days because of events that transpired. Those difficult events caused me to feel unable to get to a place where l could get out and go to this award banquet.

My husband Michael was out of town, but a few friends knew what was going on. As I got home from work, my sister (in-law) and a close friend from my community group showed up at my door with listening ears, my favorite snacks, flowers and a candle. (My sisters live on opposite coasts, and had told these friends what my favorite things were.) They spent hours with me, just listening to me and loving on me.

That same week, l was in church during the worship time when my best friend came over to just wrap her arms around me tight and l just began to cry. No words were necessary. She knew she couldn’t make it better, but she could be present.

So, you get the idea: it has been a season with varying levels of suffering. I’ve been broken, and it’s been difficult.

This is not a post for sympathy, or a “poor me” attitude. No, this is a “me too” because l know I’m not the only one who has felt weary.

Through it all, l rest in the words “it is well.”

In the midst of the storm, l am acutely aware of where my hope lies. Can you believe that our hope is not in our circumstances or even in this life? What a gift. Our hope lies beyond the grave, and in Christ. The author of Hebrews says that it was “for the JOY that was set before him (Christ) endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2, italics mine)

Our hope lies beyond the grave, and in Christ. Click To Tweet

How could Christ have possibly had any measure of joy before him in enduring the horrible death on the cross? It’s because His hope was in what was beyond the cross. And for those of us in Him, our hope is the same. Someday every tear will be gone and every broken thing redeemed for those of us that know God through His Son. That is my hope.

Yes, l am human, and l will grieve, cry, vent and take time to heal. But the hope from Christ makes the season sweet. l love the way it’s brought me closer to Him. l love that it’s been a process of stripping away the things l places my identity in so that all l have left is Christ. l love that it’s made me grateful for the many small joys l see every day. And l love that its allowed me (okay, forced me) to experienced grace from my husband, sisters, closest friends and my church community group.

l love that this suffering created a process of stripping away the things l places my identity in… Click To Tweet

A season like this gives me greater appreciation for the words of Horatio Spafford who wrote these lyrics after losing his four daughters in a shipwreck:

 

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well, with my soul”

 

Indeed, because of the cross, it is well with my soul. 

 

-LM

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Brunch, Life, Travel, Uncategorized

Lake Tahoe

September 18, 2015

Have you ever been to Lake Tahoe? I just went for the first time, and LOVED it!

Michael and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary at the beginning of August. To celebrate, we decided to take a trip over the long Labor Day weekend, and we chose Lake Tahoe as our destination.

Our schedule included some sleeping in, taking naps, sitting on the beach, getting in the water via paddle boarding and kayaking, going up the mountain for the scenery and hiking, and checking out some of the cute local restaurants and coffee spots. It was ideal.

Taking the time to reflect on the many transitions this year has held for us so far was just what we needed.

With that being said, let me show you the memories we made while in Lake Tahoe.

Day 1:

The first was only a half day, but we made the most of it by checking out the beach, catching a nice dinner, and enjoying the fire pit.

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Day 2:

We wanted to check out South Lake Tahoe, so we got up early and went down to Emerald Bay to see the sunrise. It. Was. Amazing.

Then we went over to the Heavenly Gondola and went up to the highest peak in the area. The altitude was killer for this Oklahoma girl. I was already out of breath just from walking, so we kept our “hike” pretty mild.

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Taking a break from hiking, we also enjoyed playing corn hole. (Michael won.)

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We also had the chance to witness a proposal at the top of the mountain! (She said yes!)

We finished off the day with a nice lunch by the beach, some reading at a coffee shop, an early dinner, and then we were asleep before 9:00pm!

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Day 3:

A number of people recommended a restaurant called The Log Cabin, so we got up and enjoyed a delicious breakfast before heading to a river for some fly fishing. This breakfast was good! And their coffee was the best I had while in Tahoe.

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The rest of the day was spent at the hotel. We had fun paddle boarding and kayaking before dinner.

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LaKayak

It ended with s’mores and sweatpants by the fire. A perfect way to end the day!

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Day 4:

By day four we had explored as much as we wanted to, and were ready to just sit at the hotel all day! We got breakfast at the resort, did more reading on the beach, kayaking again, and just hanging out until going back down to South Lake for dinner at the restaurant with my FAVORITE view: Edgewood.

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I should take some time here to tell you my most embarrassing moment of the trip. It of course happened at Edgewood, which was the nicest restaurant we ate at.

Michael and I were seated in a one-sided semi-circle booth, so we could cuddle up next to each other and not be accused of being a “same-side-sitting” couple.  It was just the only way.

During the appetizer, I accidentally pulled on the table cloth, and ALMOST spilled both of my drinks. (This place was the kind of place that gave you your iced tea AND a water.) Thankfully, it was a close call, but I didn’t actually spill.

Five minutes later though, somehow I managed to do the exact same thing, but this time I wasn’t as lucky. Two full glasses of water and tea actually flew all over the table, seat, and me. Oops.

I guess I did it so gracefully that our waiter didn’t even notice. Unfortunately, the tables around defiantly heard the crash, and were giving side glances to check out the disaster while I cleaned up.

Because half of the booth was wet, I had to scoot way over to Michael’s side. (Maybe I actually spilled the drinks on purpose for the excuse to be closer to my hubby.) Thankfully the rest of the meal was less eventful, and we enjoyed watching the sunset together cuddle up rather close in that half wet, half dry booth.

Watching the sun set over that lake was one of my favorite memories. It was beautiful.

Lake Tahoe, I like you. I hope I will be seeing you again some day.

What are some of your favorite vacations spots? Any suggestions I should add to me dream list of places to visit? I would love to hear from you!

-LM

P.S. If you are ready to start planning your own vacation, consider planning ahead for Washington D.C. in 2017. You can have your chance to win a free trip to our Museum of the Bible grand opening by entering in our sweepstakes! Good luck!