paid in full

we paid our final van payment today.  i was told the title will come in the mail in about two weeks.  feels so strange to make a final payment on something that is a pretty big thing in our lives.  and to know that now we own it.  it is our van.

we started paying for our van five years ago, when we “bought” it.  we were starting a family.  2 people to 5 people overnight.  we needed something suitable for carting around a family.  a van would do.  and i was quite proud to get a mini-van.  that meant i was becoming a mama.  and that, i really, really wanted to do.

i am so glad we purchased this van.  it has been perfect for our family. that doesn’t mean there haven’t been days when i would dream of getting a newer van.  a bigger van.  a van with more features, like a dvd player.  when josh lost his job, it was quite obvious that the Lord intended for us to keep our van.  and i became quite, actually very, content with that.

during our year plus of unemployment, we never missed a van payment.  never even made any late.  and when we realized the final payment was coming, we were thrilled.  the Lord’s provision in this way was and is amazing.

and now, that money is free.  it doesn’t go to the van anymore.  we now have a big chunk of money to set aside every month, for what we’re not yet sure.  but we’ve never had a time in our marriage where we could set that much money aside.  we’ll be seeking wisdom from Him in this.

the first thought that entered my mind as i left the bank was “paid in full, that’s what Jesus did for me!”  and i thanked Him for giving me such a clear and simple picture of His sacrifice at this time of year.

we’re heading into good friday.  a day that’s often viewed in a very solemn way.  i remember as a child, sometimes sitting in my room during the hours that Jesus hung on the cross.  it seemed as if it were always dark outside, cloudy, on the verge of a storm.  i remember being sad.  i remember wishing Jesus didn’t have to experience death the way He did, for me.

i still feel that way.  but, as an adult, i understand that the moment of His death was shared with the moment He declared victory.  all of my sin debt, paid in full.  all of yours.  all of everyone’s.  paid. in full.  in one moment of time.  thank you Lord!

“when you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh,
God made you alive with Christ.
He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness,
which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.”
~colossians 2:13~14

“when He had received the drink, Jesus said, “it is finished.”
with that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”
~john 19:30

“on this mountain He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations; He will swallow up death forever.”
~isaiah 25:7~8

“for this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  when the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality,
then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
1 corinthians 15:53~54

a new form of provision

worried.  scared.  discouraged.
the way people would describe how i must be feeling during our unemployment.

relieved.  happy.  weight lifted from your shoulders.  secure.
the way people currently describe how i must be feeling now that josh is once again employed.

content.  provided for.  at peace.  thankful.  safe.  trusting.  excited.
the way i would describe how i felt during our unemployment.  and, the way i would describe how i am feeling in this time of our new employment.

josh started a new job march 28th.

before josh lost his job last february, God provided.  when josh lost his job last february, God provided.  the new job, is quite simply, a new form of God’s provision.

His provision doesn’t always look the way we think it will, the way we think it should.  we knew without a doubt He would provide during unemployment.  and if we questioned that, what would that say about our faith?  what would that say about our belief in the Word?

i couldn’t be worried:
i’ve shared luke 12 with you here before.  matthew 6 says pretty much the same thing.  in vs. 25~34, the word worry is used six times.  “do not worry about your life…”  “can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  “and why do you worry about clothes?” “so do not worry saying, ‘what shall we eat?’ or ‘what shall we drink?’ or ‘what shall we wear?’” “therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”

i couldn’t be scared:
“for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
~2 timothy 1:7
do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine!”
~isaiah 43:1

i couldn’t be discouraged:
“the LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”~deuteronomy 31:8
“have i not commanded you? be strong and courageous. do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”~joshua 1:9

i think the one word that has eaten at me the most is “secure”.  the idea that i must feel “secure” now that josh has a job.  as if i couldn’t feel “secure” without that one thing.  as if a job could/would/should provide my security.  but it doesn’t.  and it can’t.  and it won’t.  if i try to find my security in anything, anyone, other than Jesus, i will never be secure.  josh’s job could be taken tomorrow.  the salary could be taken tomorrow.  the salary could diminish.  the only thing that’s sure and secure is my Savior.

“let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in Him, for He shields Him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between His shoulders.”~deuteronomy 33:12

“it is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.”~2 samuel 22:33

“you will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.”~job 11:18

“LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.”~psalm 16:5

“we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”~hebrews 6:19


too many questions?

i often finding myself telling our children to stop asking me questions.  “mommy’s answered too many and she needs a question break!”, i’ll say.  and in their silence i feel guilty.  and i think i shouldn’t ask them to stop.  i am their mom.  i want them to get their answers from me.  not everyone can be trusted to answer their questions appropriately.  and, i want to be a good parent.  i desperately want that.

thinking about God being the ultimate parent, i wondered if He’d ever say to me, “stop asking questions kirsten!  I’ve answered too many, and I need a break!”  my first thought was “no, He’d never tell me to stop.”  but then i thought, “He does ask me to stop sometimes.” sometimes He says,”I’ve given you all you need to know right now.  I’m not answering more questions right now.  rest in what I’ve given you for this time.  be still.”

He can’t answer every question i ask, every time i ask one.  well, He can, He is God.  but, in His sovereignty, He chooses to ask me to wait for His timing.  and in my silence, He doesn’t feel guilty, because He’s doing what’s best for me.

while my children aren’t always asking me potentially life~altering questions, like i’m usually asking my Heavenly Father, it’s okay for me to tell them ‘no more questions’ for a period of time.  there will be a time when i’m not questioned out. there will be a time for answers.

salvation at an early age

i asked Jesus to be my Savior when i was 5.  when i hear people share of their redemption at an older age, i feel a bit of jealousy.  my story doesn’t seem as special or important, having known Jesus since i was so young.

i often wonder what that would feel like, having not a clue about Him, and learning about Him one day.  it would be amazing.  this man, who came so many years ago, not knowing Him for so long and then finally, salvation! i often wonder what it would be like to have been down a really rocky path of my own choosing, to come to the end and find a loving Savior waiting there for me.  these stories are exciting to me.  so foreign from my own.

and when someone who has one of those amazing stories hears my story, it is amazing to them.  they can’t imagine what it would be like to have known this loving Savior for so long.  they wonder what it would be like to have been spared from some of the pain and heartache and despair they experienced in their journey.  they wonder if they would have turned out differently, if their lives would look different.

my children have all accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, at an early age, in our home. for a moment today part of the reality of that became overwhelming to me.  they will never have to know life without Him.  their eternity is secured, already.  and i know where they are going when they leave this earth.  and i know whenever that happens, i will see them again.

and sure they may wonder, once they’re older, what it would be like to have come to know Him at an older age.  but they also, like me, will come to see the beauty in knowing Him for so long.  and they will understand, like me, the sweet, sweet salvation story of the Lord capturing their hearts at such a tender age.  and as their mom, i am so grateful to my God for getting a hold of them when He did.

passing judgment

i’ve noticed it lately, rolling around facebook.  it’s a new poll question ~ “do you think people on welfare should have mandatory drug tests?”  it appears as though most people answer overwhelmingly “yes”.

i am wondering how that ‘yes’ is determined.  everyone on welfare should be tested?  everyone?  how would we judge that?  are there certain behaviors we’d look for in an individual?  would it be based on where they live?  how they live?  if they’re single or married or divorced?  if they have children?  and if so, how many?  would they be judged as needing a drug test based on the color of their skin?  or their level of education?

who decides?  who judges?  based on the majority ‘yes’ answer to the poll question, most people who answered feel they’d be qualified to judge.

josh and i were on welfare for the past year. should we have been given drug tests?  who would be responsible for judging us?

without an official judgment, i felt judged every time i used my ohio direction card.   

it’s just like food stamps, only slightly more dignified.  or is it?  every time i pulled out my card at sam’s club, giant eagle, even aldi, someone, somewhere, was looking at me, passing judgment.

from looking at me, you wouldn’t guess i’d be on welfare.  i wasn’t dirty and unkempt.  i didn’t smell bad.  my car wasn’t falling apart, i wasn’t taking the bus.  by the grace of God, during our year of unemployment, we didn’t lose our home.  i was still able to bathe.  i kept the clothes i had before josh’s job loss.  i kept the jewelry too, and i wore it everyday ~ my engagement ring, my pearl bracelet, my pearl earrings.  i didn’t look like someone on welfare.  or did i?

welfare doesn’t have a look.  welfare has a need.  without that welfare assistance, we wouldn’t have been able to put food on the table at breakfast time or for dinner.  we wouldn’t have been able to pack our children’s lunch boxes or given them a snack after school.  without that welfare, we wouldn’t have been able to continue to make our house payment or pay our utility bills.  the ohio direction card freed up money to help maintain everything else in our world.

i am wondering if people knew that people like me were on welfare, if they’d still think people on welfare should have mandatory drug tests?  or maybe they’d have some compassion?  or maybe they’d  get some education on how the system works and who it helps?

i wonder what judgment would be passed on us.