Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Derby Festivities

Springtime in Louisville means one thing: Derby.  If you're not completely horse, steamboat, fireworks, and parade-obsessed then you just don't quite fit in.  Only Louisville could take something otherwise not that exciting (a 2-minute horse race) and turn it into something spectacular.  For firework enthusiasts such as myself, the best part of the Derby festival is Thunder Over Louisville, one of the biggest firework displays in the world.  This year we went with our friends Stacy and Andrew.  We found a great spot to watch from and not get stuck in hours worth of traffic.  
Waiting for the fireworks to start
Steamboat Race
No Derby Festival is complete without a Derby party, and this year we had one at our house.  I remember going to Derby parties as a kid and wanting to be able to throw my own someday when I grew up.  Funny the aspirations we have as kids right?  Well, this year my dream finally came true, and it was a blast!  We celebrated Holly's birthday the same day and had a delightful house-full of people.  Despite the rainy weather we went out in the field next to our house to play Ultimate Frisbee (horse and jockey style.)  Let me tell you, that was an experience!  As a special birthday treat for Holly we even got to Skype with some of our friends in Zambia!  All in all, and great way to celebrate!
Watching the "greatest two minutes of sports"

Skyping friends in Zambia

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Desert Land

Recently I have felt like I'm going through a spiritual desert.   I have been discouraged, because I haven't been able to feel God's presence as strongly as I usually do.  This has made it hard to focus during my quiet times with Him when I've tried to pray or read the Word.  For several weeks I've been mired in the muck of my own apathy, and I'm more than ready to get past it!   Last week during our community group the girls discussed whether or not we are desiring God and/or desiring other people to know God.  It occurred to me that I desperately want others to know the joy and peace God offers, but I haven't been pursuing the Lord with that same kind of urgency.  There's something seriously wrong with that.  After all, how can I reflect Jesus when I'm not seeking Him constantly?  How can I serve God when I'm not pursuing Him?

I'm sure that for some, seasons of spiritual dryness such as this are enough to make them give up on God altogether.  It's a very human response to want to call it quits when we no longer feel God's presence, or when we can't point to specific ways we see him working in our lives.  But faith is about so much more than how we feel on any given day.  (And thank goodness too, because otherwise no one would have a truly committed relationship with God!)  The words Jesus spoke to Thomas came to mind a few days ago.  He had risen from the dead and appeared to the disciples, but Thomas missed out on that first meeting and didn't believe the others when they told him they'd seen the Lord.  Later when Jesus appeared to Thomas he tells him, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."  I started thinking how those same words can apply to these times of dryness; blessed are those who don't experience some tingly feeling and still believe.  It's wonderful when we're able to point exactly to where God is showing up in our lives, but sometimes that's not how He works.  Faith is about believing that God still is who He says He is, even when we have no evidence and no warm fuzzy feelings to back it up.

Our community group has been studying 2 Corinthians, and Paul's words in chapter 4 have been very encouraging.  He says, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  Yes, there will be times like this when God seems distant, but we can't lose sight of the fact that He still is.  We won't always know exactly why we experience these moments of dryness, but we can rest assured that God will never forsake us.  "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)

Sometimes I picture God as a loving father who is teaching his child to walk.  He must let go of her hands so she can take steps on her own.  So at the moment it's as if God has let go of my hands as I take a few tentative steps on my own.  And so I find that I have a choice: walk away from God or stumble toward him with outstretched hands?  I think I'd take stumbling toward my Heavenly Father over walking in my own way any day!