Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Short and sweet, looking for a retreat

Hi my sisters!

I've been rather wireless here over the holiday season, and unfortunately, I only have a wee moment here on this one.  Also, I just ate five slices of pizza and a cinnamon role and they're making me rather sleepy, so I'm pondering an afternoon nap. Grin.

To forego all the things I'd love to blog about, like my first married Christmas and my Jesus, I'm jumping right to my reason for this brief blog, however direct and presumptuous it may be. In short, Nate and I are researching our get-away from the world options. He's got the rarest commodity in the Griffin household beginning around Jan. 1st/2nd and it will last for nearly a week. It's called time. And it will be his first break in 10.5 months. No exaggeration. The man needs to get away. And I, of course, would love to join my man for his mental break.

All that to say, if y'all know of anyone that has a cabin, a rental, a vacancy, or something along those lines, could you let me know? We are willing to travel. Or at least do our best :)

I apologize if this seems so impersonal. I noted it on facebook, and I felt like the word 'gumption' was written all over my forehead. It's a little much gumption for my personal comfort zone, but nonetheless, I'm desperate. So in the name of keeping my wonderful marriage wonderful, I thought I'd give y'all a shout-out.

My love to you all
PS - I pray you continue to ponder His birth. It has taken me over this Christmas like none other. I want Him so much more for all of us.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My body hates me

Dear fellow bloggies,

I've had high goals of posting about a week ago, but shortly after Thanksgiving, I fell off the face of the planet. I'm not sure I've mentioned it, but November has been a bit of a rough month for me. For whatever reason, my body has become my enemy. Early in the month, I got your basic miserable cold. It then transgressed to a basic miserable sinus infection (prior to, during, and right after Thanksgiving). After four days of feeling normal and pretty confident that I had kicked all germs in the gluteus maximus, something really ugly overtook me late this Friday night.

Nate had left Thursday morning for the last Deeper Still event of the year. I had connected with one of my favorite single gals here in Nashville on Friday night, and returned home around 10:30 pm (b/c I'm old and I'm allowed to be in bed by then without feeling guilty!) And then it happened...baaah!

Not that you need to know the details, but since late Friday night, I've had a fever ranging from 100 - 101.5, a sore throat (understatement of this entire post), a 20 hour a day sleeping pattern, and I've been leaning over my porcelain bowl in such frequency that I have now noticed its brand is called 'Church.' Only in the midst of a raging fever, chills, and vomiting (excuse me for the gross factor), would yours truly begin to make a spiritual analogy over the fact that her porcelain bowl is branded 'Church.' But the analogies game...yes they did. And for your sake, because I love you, I'm going to spare you my hyperspiritual attitude.

To keep you siesta Mamas' fear at bay, yes I did go to the doctor. And yes, they did rule out strep and swine flu. Unfortunately, he never concluded anything else. Sweet.

But I am on an antiobiotic and I have returned to the land of the living, albeit only for a couple of hours at a time.

Other than that, HGTV is my very best friend when I'm awake. It requires me to say nothing (which makes  my throat happy) and there are no food items or restaurants advertised during commercial breaks (which makes my tummy happy). Additionally, it requires zilch mental stimulation, so its rocking my present mental status.

I do miss you. I've wanted to read the blogs and connect with you in your Christmas seasons. It's always a tender, sometimes tough, but joyful time for me. I hope to return soon - with more words than my latest bah-humbug sick status.

Love y'all.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

In the midst of my turkey consumption

Hi all!

I hope you have been able to have a sweet time over the Thanksgiving holidays. Maybe you have had kids running around your living room, 5 am Black Friday alarm ringings, more turkey than you ever needed, or long-missed relatives' faces back for an overdue hug. Nate and I had a wonderful time visiting his sister's family and parents. I'll post pictures of my darling nieces and nephews soon! But until then, I thought I'd share what's been on my mind.

I'm always in a deep contemplative mood during the holidays. I don't want to come across as a solemn unhappy Scrooge during one of the seasons that makes me happiest. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love the Christmas season. Or maybe I will on a later post....I think the height of the joy I feel during this time simultaneously brings with it a depth of thoughtfulness upon those less fortunate. Maybe it's because five years of my Christmas holidays were burdened with five years of extreme suffering. Thus, I can't help but think about the widow, the unemployed, the terminally ill, the ears that haven't heard and the eyes that haven't seen. These forgotten ones are very  dear to my heart, but ever near to me the months surrounding December.

For me, the turkey, the manger, the magi, the gifts, and the holy night are all united. They are woven together in my heart and I become lost in passion over the lost of this world. I've followed the weary sinful hearts of a wayward Israel all the way to the holy awaited night of a Savior born. And I cannot stand content knowing that there are those who do not know.

To let images speak more boldly than my words, I am sharing a video link that is beloved by my husband and I. It is one he spent months shooting the footage for, editing, re-editing, and more. And yes, he had a gifted  team of irreplaceable help! It began last November, in the remote bush village of the Moi people.

If you click on the green box of 4 arrows, it will bring the movie to full screen, which is nice. You can watch it without buying it, so forgive me that the link I'm sending you to has the buying option. My intent is not to be husband's saleswoman. Grin.

But I do want us to consider the unreached and the lost in a time that can be tainted by business, materialism, or an aching belly from too many dinner rolls.

PS - There is a brief segment which is slightly heavy. The film is rather intense, so view it first before letting your children do so.

My love to you all....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My love for carbs potentially justified

I love carbs. There is nothing like a soft warm dinner roll to me. Or cereal, a waffle, a good sandwich, muffins, a doughnut, or an entire bag of chips to sustain my need to drink salsa with them. I love 'good' carbs too. I crave fruit at least twice a day and have to have it. But woe is me, those are carb-packed too.

For all of those brave people who prefer to keep care of their temples by moderating or decreasing the amount of carbohydrates they intake, I need to tell you something: We can still be friends and I do esteem you, just let me have that roll that you're not going to eat.

Combined with my outrageous propensity for being hungry and some colossal deliverance years ago, I am shameless about the fact that I like to eat. And I like to eat carbs too. And that is okay.

Because Jesus told me so. Yep. He surely did.

And today, I read about carbs being hot. And I don't mean hot in the Fahrenheit context.

I've undoubtedly read it before, but missed it until now. Y'all know how I told you that I've been in the Song of Solomon for a couple of weeks? Well of course I'm still there because I'm obsessed with details. Lo and behold, that aforementioned couple in holy, crazy, love with one another - they exchange quite the phrases of praise.


The young man, in his aching yearning for his bride, describes how lovely and dignified and beautiful she is. Do y'all know what he said in the midst of some rightly scandalous and romantic verbal exchanges???! This: "Your belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies." Song of Solomon 7:2

He notes her beauty from head to toe, and right smack in the middle of his googly-eyedness, he praises her belly and compares it to being a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies.

Wheat = carbs.
Encircled with lilies --> I'm going to go with those being our present day 'tire tubes' (with no iota of biblical validity)

She must have thought carbs were okay too. I'm pretty sure she and I could be friends. Or maybe not, because she probably wouldn't share her roll with me over Thanksgiving.

I could write a book on healthy and godly views towards our bodies, self-image, and the likes, so you must know that this isn't a subject that I take lightly. And maybe that's why I can laugh about it a bit in the midst of an image-obsessed world where thinness is sadly equated to be superior. This young man, head over heels in love, thought his belly-of-wheat woman was hot. And I like that about him. Grin.

So, just for me, over these next few holiday weeks, I will recall my Song of Solomon woman while I ponder that dinner roll. And I'll give praise to the Lord that my man still loves me with or without encircling lilies.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Better check yourself before you wreck yourself

Sometimes as a kid, my Mom would use this phrase as a humorous and light disciplinary reprimand. It was usually spoken when one of us kids were on the verge of misbehaving or being on her 'last nerve.' I know between my two other siblings, we zapped all my Mom's nerves. Bless her. 

"You better check yourself before you wreck yourself." Profound, right? Well, at least profound to me, because it made me stop and ponder where I stood in that moment. And it was usually too far across 'that' line that had been drawn for me.

I've been thinking about the phrase since I came upon something in the Song of Solomon two weeks ago. Now, you must know, the Song of Solomon is perhaps one of the books with which I am least familiar. My knowledge of it is completely inadequate and the various interpretations of it leave me a little overwhelmed. Nonetheless, the Spirit is our Teacher and He can lead us into knowledge and truth.

The one rare thing I feel safe to comment upon is this: "I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases." (SofS 2:7, 3:5, 8:4, and a variation of it in 5:8, ESV).

It really speaks for itself, so I don't know why I'm blogging about it. But I have been totally digging it. And it has been a verse that I've began praying over my single girlfriends, my engaged girlfriends, and even the potential unborn Griffin girl Nate and I could have one day (grin...).

One thing is for certain in the Song of Solomon - the young woman and young man are deeply and passionately in love with one another. Their descriptive words, longings, and compliments of one another are shameless, edifying, scandalous and pure (yes, those can go together in the proper marriage context). These two can think of nothing but the other and know without a doubt that they belong to one another. However, in the midst of consuming passion, so close to her marriage, the woman stops to plead and encourage her girlfriends 4 times to 'not awaken love until it pleases.'

 Even in the best pursuits of holiness, the young godly single women of today have a rough time keeping love at a slumber. They are bombarded with emotionally-lusting movies and having to attend one wedding of their girlfriends after another. They are reminded of their singleness. Their Christian and wholesome times of nurturing are often imbalanced in a setting of hundreds of other single men and women, gathered together for the purpose of a teaching. But amidst the dimmed lights, eyes search from wall to wall for someone attractive or cute. And amidst the tables filled with Bibles and ready pens, sit girls' journals whose pages from only a night before echo moments of loneliness, questioning, and self-degradation. I declare myself a fan of such gatherings. But it desperately needs to be balanced with an individual's own time before the Lord as well as mentorship in some form by an elder (Titus 2 anybody?).

Even in the best pursuits of holiness, the young godly dating and engaged women of today have a rough time keeping emotional and physical love at a slumber. Let me tell you this darling one, all the promised commitment in the world doesn't justify the awakening of sensous love that leads to consummation. No matter how in love you are, no matter how hard it is (don't even get me started on how hard it is), no matter how ready you think you are, I am going to tell you like it is: You are NOT ready. Because you are NOT married. It is only meant for fulfillment in the marriage context. The end.

You, oh Lord, open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living things (Psalm 145:16). The One who IS Love is the only One able to fulfill your need and desire for love, whether you're married, engaged, singled, or widowed. That is the reason we can pray this over ourselves and others all day long.  And that is why we can courageously pray that our love is kept at rest towards the unknown or known significant other.

Girlfriend, your friends may tell you its time. Your heart may feel like it will die if it's not time. Your entertainment culture may tell you your behind time. But from the truth of His Word, and the power He puts behind it, we can be sure that if marriage is not the context, it is not time.

Siestas, would you please pray over the single ladies, friends and daughters God has placed in your sphere? Theirs is a tough lot. But not one that God hasn't called and meant to be pleasant (Psalm 16:5-6).

I ask now, in the zealous love of Jesus, that your heart oh sister, would not be awakened with emotional or physical love until it desires...or in other words, until the time is right on His Kingdom calendar. Or, as my Mom would say, check yourself before your wreck yourself girlfriend :)

[Disclaimer: I, like countless others I'm sure, have 'wrecked myself' to an unmentionable degree on an unnamed spectrum. So worthy of another post on another day, forgiveness is your's to be had if your love not only woke up but walked around a bit...He is our Righteousness.]

Monday, October 26, 2009

Job-matching

I'm pretty sure I word-vomited, spiritually speaking, on my last post to y'all. I felt horrible about it before I even started. And I felt horrible afterwards. I get total 'booh' points for talking from Genesis history all the way to ... well .... Jesus. It's a problem when I've got 12 months of biblical heart-beat that comes out in the expression of one overly long blog on one verse. It's my fault for not giving outlet to my heart before now. My 52 page exegesis paper two semesters ago bore the weight of some of it, but y'all, it's been too long. My unwanted sabbatical from blogland I hope is finally coming to an end, but y'all might have to bear with me for a few posts until I can get some of it out.

Anyway, to be nice, and not dizzying, I thought I would share something light-hearted. So...here we go. Y'all know that I'm jobless. Thus, because of this, I'm registered with several different temp. agencies that send emails out once a week or so of potential employment opportunities. They seek to email me jobs that would be a match for my skills, education, and experience. Most of the time, they are in the ballpark with types of jobs that I could perform well. However, I got one recently that was such a shot in the dark, I got the giggles over it. Here it is:::

Company X (we'll say) is currently recruiting for a company in the North Nashville area - Not that I live in the North Nashville area...but oh well...I can commute.


We are looking for a motivated individual... - check!



...with Aluminum welding and MIG welding experience - Uhmm....Houston, we could have a problem.



This individual will be welding 95% of the time - Maybe they'll hire me for whatever it is I would be doing the other 5% of the time!


This position requires you to stand... - check! i can even do so in high heels.



...lift up to 50 pounds... - Uhm....Like, bench press style, or free-standing? I might be under-qualified, in all senses. 


...bending, twisting, - Check! Sounds like we get to have a dance party.



and using hands. - Uhm...I went through an origami phase as a child. Does that count?



Must be able to pass a basic math test - Stank. I can't :( No lie y'all, I can only do higher-level math. Don't have enough common sense for it.



Candidate will be working first shift. - Hmm....I wonder how early that is going to be?



Working hours: 7:00 AM -4:00 PM A - Have mercy! Maybe they'll serve doughnuts in lieu of the disdainful hour I'll have to wake up, get ready, and make my commute to North Nashville



Company Y is a leader in matching great people with great companies - I thought so at one time.



Our experienced agents will listen carefully to your employment needs and then work diligently to match your skills and qualifications to the right job and company - Maybe they got me confused with my husband?



Whether you're looking for temporary, temporary-to-permanent or permanent opportunities, no one works harder for you than Company Y - I think they might need to work a little harder, or either I need to go take a welding class. 


Your welder,
Shelly

Friday, October 16, 2009

The One who Keeps

I got weepy over a set of bowls recently. Nope, it wasn't that I dropped and broke any. Nor was it that I walked in half-slumber on an early morning to pour that  must-have bowl of cereal only to then find that no bowl was clean (talk about a bummer). The truth of the matter is that I got weepy over four hundred and forty bowls. Every stinking single one of them. Ezra did me in. Well, to be precise, the LORD did me in.

Maybe it is because I have been heart-deep for over a year in the study of the Northern and Southern Kingdom time periods (and no where close to being done). So don't question yourself and scratch your head if this means not more than half an iota to you. Because I've been bonding with this portion of the Word for over a year, I'm kind of all emotionally wrapped up in it. You would be the normal person. I mean, who cries over bowls?

Nonetheless: Here's the short story deal: Abraham --> Isaac --> Jacob --> born 12 Tribes of Israel --> from which is derived Judah --> born King David --> born King Solomon --> who builds the temple in Jerusalem. Solomon's bears a son, Rehoboam, who later becomes king. Rehoboam refused to lighten his father's tax burden on the people he now rules. So what happens? One of Solomon's able servants, Jeroboam, takes 10 of the tribes, and high tales it to the north. Taking these 10 tribes out from under the 'slavery' of the house of David, Jeroboam (northern kingdom) is the man of the hour. He was given word that God would build him a sure house and establish his kingdom (1 Kings 11). But stank, you know what Jeroboam does? Because he didn't want his own 10 tribes venturing back down south to worship in the true center and dwelling place of their God in the temple of Jerusalem, he set up two golden calves in their city of Bethel and told the 10 tribes 'Behold your gods, O Israel...' (1 Kings 12:28). (Can anybody say 'Aaron?') Stank - you would have thought they would have remembered the sin of their fathers here on this repeat, but nope :(  For 208 years, those calves remain as a center of worship amongst the 10 tribes of Israel. And that's just the Northern Kingdom....


While Jeroboam leaves on his valid tantrum away from Solomon's son Rehoboam, and sets a plum line for the remaining history of the northern kingdom in idolatry, we hope for the best in the Southern Kingdom. Maybe they will obey God and His laws.The Southern Kingdom, the line from which God promised there would always be a 'lamp before Him in Jerusalem, the city where He had chosen to put His name' and dwell (1 Kings 11:36), does not meet God's hope of obedience and blessing. The lineage of Jesus during the days of the Southern Kingdom rocks out the following: pagan religious practices, cult prostitution, harlotry, murders, child sacrifices, payments to foreign kings for protection instead of seeking their God for help, witchcraft, idolatry, as well as placing idols in their very temple. Now, not every single one of their 20 kings is evil; some of them are wonderful kings, bringing covenant renewal, the removing of idols, and a trust for their God. But in summary, the Southern Kingdom, the line which God's promise was that He would always maintain a king on the throne for the sake of His servant David, cycles with evil and horrible sin, and fewer occasions of obedience and trust.

My heart broke over the cyclical failures of God's people - the people He had chosen for His very own possession. My heart broke for the deaf ears turned to the prophets that God sent again and again and again to warn, judge, and encourage His people. My heart ached for the curses of the Mosaic covenant that befell His people: In 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar takes the people of Judah (our Southern Kingdom peeps) into exile in Babylon. The temple, where God had made His dwelling, He abandoned. Nebuchadnezzar, and the full weight of his army, destroy the man-made dwelling place of God. Truly, His glory has departed. And His people, a display of His glory, are at this time, a display of His justice, righteousness, and zeal, as He chooses, in His own timing, to love them with discipline. He will be their only God.

Nebuchadnezzar and his fellow Babylonians destroy everything, yet they carry off many of the temple furnishings for the value of their metal. And he places them in the temple of his god. The beautiful instruments used to worship the LORD of heaven and earth are placed in the house of a false god because of their material value (2 Kings 25:13-17).

And the clock ticks. And the exiles are weary. And the hope of a true Saving King surely comes to doubt in a man's mind. And the prophets lament over the destruction of Jerusalem. And they mourn.

Yet in the heavenlies, the kingdom clock resounds. And where the Southern Kingdom ended, God's promise did not. No, God did not forget His promise. And the line of Judah, the lineage of promise, continues. And one man, born into exile, an exile's son, is born - Zerubbabel. More time passes, and decades later, the Persian Empire defeats Babylon.

This Persian king, King Cyrus, issues a decree in 539 BC that allows the Israelites to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their ruined temple. One year later, temple building begins under Zerubbabel. But not without this to start with:
"Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god. Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.  This was the inventory:
 gold dishes 30
 silver dishes 1,000
 silver pans 29
 gold bowls 30
 matching silver bowls 410
 other articles 1,000
In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along when the exiles came up from Babylon to Jerusalem." Ezra 1:7-11

Those articles fashioned for the dwelling place of God, stolen by King Nebuchardnezzar merely for their monetary value, and set up in a idol's den, were preserved in the midst of a city destroyed to a state of absolute desolation. And not only were they preserved, but they were returned to the people for their trip home and the temple's rebuilding.

The thought was more than I could bear. They were such a small detail of life, yet they were preserved. Like the Israelites themselves, they too had been taken in to exile, but they too were called back to a life of service in worship. The remnant had been preserved. The temple instruments had been preserved. No sin could usurp the promise of God's steadfast love in the promise to His people. And He called them back home to fulfill His promise. He called them back home to a place of obedience, trust, and worship to the One True God.


I cannot be overly dramatic and exclude the fact that the temple is indeed rebuilt, but with no evidence of God's glorious return. The LORD's coming is delayed due to the sin of His people. But you and I know, on this side of the cross, that He does return, and no temple made by man is necessary, for the Son became flesh, and His glory dwelled among us.

The Covenant-Keeper kept it all. He kept His promise. He kept His people. And He even kept bowls, pans, and dishes, in the midst of their misplacement in the house of an idol, to be set back again in their proper context - one of worship for the One and Only.

I was undone...

Because He does that for me. And He does it for you. No amount of time on that kingdom clock lessens His power to preserve, protect, and keep guard over those things from which He has promised to bring forth life and worship. Even if my past, gifts, talents, relationships, or emotions have been set in an idol's den at some point, God can still keep watch over them to bring them back to their proper setting. That thing I thought I had lost, the Restorer of ancient ruins brings back through the oddest of circumstances and the strongest of healings to full restoration, for the display of His splendor. That 'bowl' I had once used in service to Him, that I lost or gave up in sin to a false god, He does not forget. But He is able, with my obedience, to bring back life to that area of spiritual death, that I may worship Him. He has taken my soul out of prison, be it the one I created on my own, or the one I was placed in by another, that I may praise His name (Psalm 142:7).

He's in to the details. He is in to preserving, for the sake of restoring. He's in to keeping guard over, for the sake of keeping your worship. He's zealous over you and all that you have, for He is a God not willing to share His glory with another.

With what you gave me Lord to worship you, I offer back to you. With the things you put in me, that I offered up to a false god, You call back to true worship. As one who has been brought from death to life, I offer the parts of my body, and all that I am, to You, as an instrument of righteousness. Come, Lord Jesus, and hear the love song that I sing in worship to You, my Covenant-Keeper and Protector of Love. You are my Glory (Psalm 3:3). Come and get Your glory LORD.

Friday, September 25, 2009

He knows

Sweet siestas,

I have just finished reading yet again your comments from the last blog. Nearly a month has passed since you started responding about where you were in life at that moment. And for a month, the Spirit has brought you to mind and beckoned me to prayer. At times with a lump in my throat, at times with claps of joy because I knew God was working on your behalf, at times on my dirty carpet, face down, and at other times just saying the all powerful name of Jesus on your behalf.

I wondered how the house-hunting situation was going. I wondered if God had provided jobs for a couple of you yet. And then I wondered if He hadn't, could you testify with me about His faithfulness to provide. I wanted to weep over the several comments left anonymously, all denoting rejection, hurt, and feelings of being overwhelmed. Your pain clearly so deep, anonymity a valid grasp for covering. You are covered dear sister...covered indeed under the wings of the Almighty. And lastly, there were a few honest confessions of sin. Don't you know mercy was coming new and mighty that moment?

I told you I would share my own answer. And so here are some phrases that paint a picture of the recent weeks: confused, feeling lost, rejected, rejected, did I mention rejected?, fightin' mad at the enemy, fightin' mad at myself, broken, thankful, humbled, in-stink'in-secure (so tired of that one), deeply loved, chosen, and waiting.

It's Friday night, I'm eating some of my husband's ice cream (shhh! Grin), and I'm mentally pooped. But this is what I wanted to say before I closed. This is what I know.

He knows. He thinks about it. He resolves and purposes to do something about it. And He knows you.

Hurting friend, He is intimately acquainted with your grief and sees your tears (Psalm 56:8). He knows.
Insulted and grieving from painful words or actions, those insults have already fallen on Him (Psalm 69:9). He knows.
Child of God, struggling in sin, your High Priest is able to sympathize with your weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). He knows.
Waiting on a job, a prodigal to return, a spouse to be what you think he/she should be? Waiting on an apology (that may never come), waiting to be married, waiting ....waiting...waiting. Redirect all that difficult waiting unto the LORD, for it is He who ultimately fulfills your desires in Himself. But don't think for a second that He doesn't know (Psalm 130:6). He knows.
Rejected and lonely sister, the LORD, the King of the Universe, receives you (Psalm 27) and rejoices over you with singing (Zeph. 3:17). From the perfect One, who was very much one with His Father, to then be rejected by His own people and abandoned for a moment by His Father, He knows this one.
And to the overwhelmed one, you can cast all those responsibilities and anxieties at the foot of His throne. I suggest maybe throwing them there to make sure they leave your hand. For the One who gives you peace, is able to handle that which you entrust to Him. He knows (1 Peter 5:7).

And not only does He know, but He cares. He's concerned about it. He's concerned about you. He has not forgotten you. How could He when your name is inscribed on the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16)? The One whose hand etched 10 laws upon two tablets of stone commanded that we keep those laws. And the One whose same hand bears your name knew we wouldn't be able to do so. And so it is true that the One whose hands bear your name also bear the scar of a nail.

The LORD, the LORD GOD, knows (2 Sam 7:20).

Having taken dance for over 18 years, I can count on my hand how many times I've been a klutz. Not because I'm any better, but I've had some serious training. My single hand count just turned into two however. Last Friday, I ran into a corner wall that jutted out of the hotel room Nate and I were in. (Don't make me discuss the details all out here in world wide web fashion...let's just say Nate was asleep, and my double thud was so loud that it woke him up! (one thud for hitting the wall, the other for hitting the floor) Once I got through the sobs, we had the giggles until 2 am. And an ice-pack covering my goose egg. It has throbbed off and on for about a week, because I'm a cool kid like that. With the pain of my forehead, my testifying goose egg, and my mental hyper-spirituality at times, I couldn't help but to think about God telling the Israelites to impress His commandments upon their hearts, write them on their doorframes, and bind them on their foreheads (Deut. 6:4-9). Because that is how well they were supposed to know the laws. And so a phylactery they wore, literally, wrapped around their forehead, with parchments of Scripture contained inside of the phylactery box. They were to know those laws girlfriend.

I seriously doubt God has any need to wear a phylactery, since A. He's not in bodily form and B. since Jesus was and is the Word, He would have to phylactery Himself up....I don't think that works. Outright heresy. But, I can't help but grin reflecting on the truth that God, without a doubt, has you on His mind. No box necessary.

He knows dear one. Run to those mighty everlasting arms, for He will not fail you.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I want to know

Hey girlfriends (and guyfriends),

I've been thinking about how I'd like to hop back in to my blogworld and with what topic to begin my first post. I really have been digging some new things the Spirit is teaching me in some of my academic reading and own personal Scripture readings. Buuuuttttttt, it is on the wrath of God. Stank...I thought it best not to write my first overdue blog post on God's wrath, because I love you dear things :) So, I'll refrain from it for just a momentary season.

I have decided that before I write anything, I really really want to know how you are doing. I miss you each. I so wish I could make a drive to Alabama, take a flight to Colorado, or Boston, or Florida, or learn to skype. Well, nevermind the latter...it's best you don't have to rejoice in the sufferings of my appearance right now. Grin. I actually have a lump in my throat thinking about each of you right now. I can see some of your cute hair styles, hear some of your voices in my head, and recall some of the things God has brought you through, because He delights in the impossible.

So if you would be so vulnerable, I would love to hear how you are. I want the honest response. Give me a one-word adjective, or a paragraph. I don't care. I just would love the unspeakable privilege of having the ability to share our hearts in this strange world of blogland so that we can 'encourage one another daily.' If you want to make your comment anonymous, by all means feel free to do so.

Just here lately, we Griffins can say two things that we know for sure. One, life is hard. I mean s-t-i-n-k-i-n hard. Secondly, the LORD our God IS God, and remains enthroned and in reign, despite of, in the midst of, and even for the purpose of (perhaps) the tragedies, evil, and pain of our present society. We are in a season where our extended circle of dear ones are experiencing some serious loss, hurt, effects of sin, or tragedy.

To be honest, I could go cry face down on my pillow this very moment over some of them. But God.....Sigh.....I keep letting it roll over my Spirit. But God....but God.....but GOD.....IS God and in Him all things work together for good to those who love Him. And what the enemy meant for evil, my God means it for good. He will not fail you (Joshua 3:1-9). Let me tell you something, in His presence there is fullness of joy. At his right hand, are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 15:16). He is quite aware of what you're feeling at this very moment.

I love you. And if you'd be willing, give us an answer to the proposed shout-out, anonymous or boldly :) I cannot wait to hear from you. And after a few days worth of responses, I'll provide my own answer too!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Excuses, excuses...

Y'all,

I might be back to blogworld!!! Here are my top five reasons for my lengthy departure.

1) Theology class --> completed now! I won't even look at my syllabus to tell you how many pages of reading I had to do for this class.
2) Job searching in all spare time --> I have accepted my lot - this seems to be an inevitable part of my life for this season. I cannot tell you how many hours a day one can spend searching for a job.
3) Politely evading everyone in my life for about 3 weeks while my husband was home --> what can I say? We are protective of the time we have together!
4) Friends! Yes, we Griffins are finally getting to have friends who share our season of life.
5) Getting back in the exercise grind in the mornings --> trying to keep up with my man!

So, these are my reasons that I have been absent from blogworld. I hope to give y'all a further shout-out this weekend. Miss you...me, my Bible, and Jesus do that is....Grin
A hello from the Griffins and my big humidity-testifying hair on a lovely Nashville night :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

From Nater

Greetings my missed blogsters,

Clearly, I haven't had a single moment to blog over the past month. My excuses are as follows: I started a temp job that is keeping me busy, at least for a few more days! Add that to the mix of the long drawn out process of me trying to learn to cook each night when I get home, grow in my marriage, and work on my theology class, and you hopefully can understand why I'm a goner.

Soooo, since I'm still officially a 'goner,' I'm posting something that Nate wrote in response to another blog. That man challenges me in ways I never imagined . Grin. And I love my Jesus all the more so for it. He is good for me.

I'm not typically a blogger but I wanted to share something with you. My buddy and I were having a conversation about freedom. What does it mean to be free? Thinking back over the exchange later my mind wondered to one of those snapshots that all of us have of our past. A distinct scene in our lives illuminated by the flashbulb of our memory and vivid in every detail. Fourth grade.

I was sitting in my little cubical in the middle of a row of identical cubicles struggling with the complexities of diagramming a sentence with more than one prepositional phrase. As hard as I tried I couldn't concentrate on anything but the insane slowness of the big black hands of the big white clock that hung mockingly on the opposite wall of the class room. It was a beautiful day outside and the sluggish heat of the early summer had affected that clock with a serious case of lethargy! I was a typical boy and I was born to be outside. I wasn't much happier than when the prickly feeling of scabby knees and the guilty awareness of grass stains were the foremost realities in my life! Neither the scabs nor the grass stains are present in my snapshot! Just me, my work book and that clock.

Have you ever actually felt realization wash over you? You know that 'felt' since a truth? That since is the brightest part of my fourth grade picture! In that second I had the most profound since of eternity! In the space between prepositional phrase one and two I saw eternity! I knew with all the certainty that a fourth grader can muster that I was trapped! My life as a student would never end! I would be trapped in an endless battle with the minions of sentence structure, presided over by a clock with frozen hands! I wonder if I have ever craved freedom like I did that moment! It was longing that I had! Oh, to do whatever I wanted! No more hour bells, no more detention for being late from our laughably short recesses, no more grown ups telling me what to do! Just me and... whatever I wanted to do! How wonderful! How Magical!
That's an old snapshot. I can scarcely believe that more than 20 years have passed since then. Of course school did eventually let out for the summer. I did eventually graduate, never to diagram another sentence as long as I live. I can now do whatever I want to... no grown ups.

Here's the funny thing. Doing what ever I want hasn't made me free. In fact because I can now do what ever I want I have often found myself not able to do much of anything. Freedom isn't at all what I thought it was 20 years ago confined to my fourth grade English prison. It's not at all the allowance to do whatever I want. In fact I'm learning that freedom is quite often the opposite of that. Most often 'whatever i want' is a reaction to my emotions, my circumstances, my selfishness, my pride. Freedom is a result. Not a prerequisite. It is as much restraint as it is movement. I just got married. In planning our wedding I began to experience all kinds of new and exciting things about the death of bachelorhood! Most of them had to do with um... female dynamics. Now I am a man and as such I tend to very quickly snap into 'fix it mode'. I responded to my beautiful bride to be in very logical ways. So business like and straightforward... Okay, the point is that I could respond to her any way I wanted to. I quickly learned however that if I didn't learn the 'correct' way to respond I would seriously impede my ability to function freely around her! Aka: Dog House! Please don't get me wrong! My now wife is wonderful to me! She is far from a diva. I just had/have a lot to learn in the marriage department. It's the same in all aspects of our lives. The choices we make determine our freedom!

I've long since left the fourth grade. I haven't diagrammed a sentence in a couple of decades and time seems to be passing at an ever increasing rate. Today, for just a moment though, I was back there, at my desk, craving freedom.
nate griffin

Friday, April 3, 2009

My wannabe friend

My name is fear. I'm not your friend.
But thank you for welcoming me my dear
for I easily invade your thoughts day and night
Paralysis my goal, no strength left for you to fight

I've many disguises, forms, and ways
And I'm often the cause when you disobey
I lie, exaggerate, distort, and repeat
Sowing me instead, you reap defeat

I'll pervade your heart, teaching you distrust
Your lack of authenticity thought to be a 'must'
Self-made walls keep all away
Life-giving Words ineffective held at bay

You've forgotten the foundation on which you stand
The unchanging, unshakable, Great I AM
For I am the god on your heart's throne
And to my delight, I rule not alone

My sister 'Worry', and my brother 'Fright'
My cousin 'Dread', my father 'What might...?'
Tirelessly help me remain in command
Fear is my name, your life I demand

I hope you allow me to stay quite awhile
For there is much I hope to taint and defile
Upon only this condition must I flee:
When you believe His tabernacled Spirit of Truth, choosing Him over me.


Friday, March 27, 2009

A spiritual soap box...should I apologize beforehand?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' " Genesis 3:1-3 (NIV)

The dialog between the serpent and Eve once again struck a spiritual nerve of mine, rooted in conviction from the Spirit. Many of us have heard one of the important messages drawn from this story of Scripture, that being of not engaging in conversation with the enemy. By listening to the enemy in conversation, we may already be giving him power, for his words are death, not life.

I do not propose the following as the main exegetical idea of Genesis 3, but God has mercifully struck me to the core with it: Talking to and with God is imperative to our abiding in relationship with Him, rather than talking about God.

I wonder what the 'Fall' story would have looked like had Eve done a couple of things differently. Her response is painfully void of the relationship she actually has with her LORD God. First, just as the serpent deliberately avoids using God's personal name Yahweh (LORD) when he addresses Eve, she responds in exact fashion. Though brought to life by His very hands, she does not use the more intimate name of her Creator. Secondly, Eve talks about what God said (though the words are marred by her human modifications) rather than turning towards God and discussing with Him the previously uttered words. Sad day...

I do pray that we are demolishing arguments and pretensions that set themselves up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:5) through the use of Scripture and prayer. His Word is our offensive weapon against the enemy. But sisters, I hope we are not skimping over the very relationship in which we know God! We can attempt to stand our ground against the enemy all day long, but if we are not standing our ground in the Holy of Holies to start with I don't think we're going to last very long!

It is frighteningly easy to behave as Eve did in her response to the enemy's deception. We can respond immediately back to that liar, foregoing dropping to our knees in spirit, calling on the LORD by name, and allowing Him to bring back to mind the truth of what He has said in His Word. Perhaps what has been more disturbing to my spirit, in a most holy of discomforts, has been the propensity for this type of action in my own spiritual world. I love getting to talk about my Jesus with you siestas, with my girlfriends over the phone, and with my man. If anybody has the capacity to listen to me, it is one of my unspeakable joys to boast in Him through verbal or written word. He has just been so good to me; I need others to fall in love with Him. It's that simple. But, my blogging about Him does not equate itself to my being in unveiled constant communication with Him.

It is our blessed position as a child of God to 'cry out to God Most High, who fulfills His purposes for us.' (Psalm 57:2) We can draw near to the throne of grace, for we have a Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16). Oh sisters, I plead with you to remain bowed down before Him, speaking to Him, before we run off speaking to others about Him.

In continuity with this privilege of speaking to our Jesus, might I add our need to listen to Him before going to hear of Him from another?! Y'all, you know that I am the biggest fan of learning from others, be they teachers, pastors, theologians, your very own child, writers, or those your elder. For crying out loud, I went to seminary for nearly two years, and could not write notes fast enough of the professors whose classes I had the privilege of attending; they are spiritual heroes in the faith to me, their lives sacrificed and dedicated to learning and teaching.

But for a plethora of reasons, my generation in particular falls into the hole of dashing off to the next conference, bible study session, or iTunes teaching for their spiritual health as opposed to the living and God-breathed words of the Bible sitting before their laps. We are 'fans' of Mr. So-and-So, or Mrs. So-and-So. My heart beats for us to be 'fans' of Jesus instead. Just as we are given the privilege to talk to God, we are given possibly the even greater privilege to hear Him. Ours is a God who speaks. His chosen possession, the Israelites, were marked time and time again by their ability to 'Hear oh Israel...' Girlfriends, He wants to reveal Himself to you. I pray we seek His voice before another's. And I pray we learn to talk to Him as well before we find ourselves only talking about Him. I fear if we don't, we place ourselves at risk of paraphrasing His truth in an impersonal way, tainting it in our fallen fleshly state, and naively believing that we are powerfully defending the enemy.

Dear sister, take your rightful inheritance as the child of God that you are. Call on His name. Hear His voice that created the very heavens and the earth, and then speak humbly back in response. He disrobed Himself of His glory to give you such access. Those of us in Christ have the miraculous privilege to dialogue with the One whose Words never fail.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Domesticity ... or something like it


Hey my lovely siestas!

I have returned to siestaville, after I myself could not even handle the bombardment of thoughts in my head. I have been thinking about y'all a lot lately. [Pause] Actually, I think I have actually been talking to some of you in my head and to myself. Does that make me crazy???? Yes, I do believe so...

Nate and I got back to Nashville about 2 weeks ago. He hit the ground running with work. I hit the bed in sleep, trying to overcome a brutal cold I got when we had returned from our honeymoon. Four days later, I drove my new husband to get on a tour bus that would take him away from me for a total of about 3 weeks. I don't like that tour bus...don't like it one bit. I would go so far as to call it ugly, but it's carrying precious cargo inside, so I'll refrain.

And thus began my newlywed life in Nashville. And thus began some loneliness. And thus began my short conversations about Scripture with some of you in my head. And thus began my realization that I needed to get a life! Bless my dear Nashvillian friend Abby Lane for her sweet presence. She was in town long enough to take me to church with her last Sunday. I stood beside her, torn between joining in the incredible worship and wanting to sit right down on that cushioned pew with her and talk one another's girly hearts slap out. Rest assured; I behaved. Thank goodness the God I get to serve is bigger than a woman's need for girlfriend time. Grin.

Let me add somewhat intermittently here that I wholeheartedly support my man, which means I support his being gone for this moment as well. This tour was a last minute opportunity of provision that arose for us, and thus he took it. We are both downright miserable apart from one another. Those ahead of us in years of marriage tell me that I will get used to his being gone when he has to travel. Part of me knows that I will come to appreciate those moments of solitude b/c I love nothing more than to hide with my Jesus and some books. But most of me prays, not in disrespect towards my elders, that I don't get used to his absence. If God can sustain and renew my love and excitement for Him through each season, then He can sustain and renew my love for Nate enough so that I will delight in his returning home the 200th time as much as I will this time!

[Insert: Y'all might want to skip this part of you have an insanely weak stomach]. In light of no longer eating in a school dining hall, and wanting to serve my man, Miss turkey sandwich herself has entered the domain of the kitchen. Y'all, I was really coming to enjoy finding recipes and attempting to bring them into fruition. I hadn't burned something in two full days. And I think that's why it happened, b/c y'all know pride comes before a fall. I had just set out what I needed for dinner, and then I did it. I received my merit badge for newlywed domestic activity. I cut the index finger on my right hand with a gigantic knife of ours. (cringing still). Yes, yes, I did. After I caught my breathe from the pain and shock, I ran into the bathroom to run cold water over it. Apparently, in my unconscious, to have just stayed put at the sink I was at and run cold water over it would have been a most harmful decision, since there was a profuse amount of blood. And we mustn't contaminate the kitchen sink, right???

In my 'fight' or 'flight' response, I resumed my 'fight' position as always. In awkward left-handed fashion, I grabbed a ziploc bag, added ice, and made some type of compression over it with a rag so that I could try and get myself to the ER. Oh wait! But not before I ran over to my laptop, pulled up my theology syllabus, and checked to see which book I would need to bring with me to read while I wait. (Oh yes I did, even in the midst of all that pain....y'all know one should not leave home to sit in an ER waiting room for 4 hours without one's most recent theology book. I am highly embarrassed with myself). I actually only read a few chapters of it; I got to have a long-awaited phone date with my Mandy Lu while there. A few stitches later, I returned home, drained and famished. I'll end my story with letting you know that I have eaten a lot of cereal lately and have had nothing but bad hair days since the damage was done. I would pay someone to come brush my hair and fix it, b/c I can't do it with my incapable left hand.

As for these most recent days, I'm mainly job searching and working on my theology class. I can't figure out why there aren't any job openings for someone who loves the Word, lives in Nashville, loves to write, is fairly young and inexperienced, and hasn't yet fully completed her master's degree. It must be my hair y'all....I do so believe it is.

Love y'all. Miss y'all! And will write soon with something the Spirit has been working out in my heart.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Saying mahola to Kauai



My top 16 favorite Kauai memories upon mine and Nate's 16 days of marriage. Grin.

1) Seeing double rainbows right from the view of our cottage porch. Neither of us had ever seen anything like this particular set, for they landed right smack in the depths of the ocean. Nate stood behind me, arms wrapped around me, and we remained silent except for the name of Jesus coming from our lips a few times. It was breathtaking. He is breathtaking.
2) Not wearing make-up during my time here. I never even broke out my set of curlers y'all. Praise Jesus Nate still thinks I'm beautiful without the beauty products. Bless him...
3) Waking up beside my husband. I love it if I manage to wake up before him so I can see him still asleep; this is a rare occasion however :)
4) Sitting inside our cottage, doors open, reading my book. I allow my focus to be easily interrupted to take in two things: the amazing ocean view Jesus gave us, and watching my man paint. I love the look he gets on his face when he is so wrapped up in it. I can only imagine the look of delight on the Heavenly Father's face so wrapped up in Nate praising Him one paint stroke at a time.
5) Getting mad for a brief moment at Nate during our kayak'ing trip. And then laughing at myself for how stupid I was acting (he did nothing wrong...) And then, he and I cracking up over another couple who was yelling at each other; you could hear them even when we passed them. Nate and I decided that if we ever did marriage training, we were going to make couples take a similar kayak'ing trip. The trip is worth a post in itself, and I haven't made the time for such yet, so I'll get back to it once we return to Nashville and I can attach pictures.
6) Piddling in a number of towns here. Our favorites: Hanalei, Koloa, and Ka'paa. With that, visiting numerous art galleries and watching Nate become mesmerized. I too became mesmerized, just in a different gallery. Well, more like a display of delights. Well, not a gallery at all really. But our discovery of Lapparts - an amazing coffee and dessert place - was quite the beautiful display to me. Hehe
7) Sleeping in, and waking up with absolutely nothing to do, except that which we wanted to do.
8) Cell phones turned off!
9) Reading our Bibles separately, but often in the same space...I felt the Spirit just invade our room with His Presence. I could weep over this one, so I'm moving on...
10) Continuously cracking up when out-of-the-blue I would realize I'm married, and married to Nate at that! We'd grin at each other, shake our heads, and remind the other we were husband and wife. I'm still very much in transition. I asked Nate if it felt so weird (in a good way) and unusual to him as well. His response: "Well....kinda. (Pause) I mean...yea. (Pause) But not really. It feels so natural. Like the way it's supposed to be. The way it's always been." Oh! Be still my heart...
11) Deciding to walk like roosters when we were out walking one day. There are so many of them here, and I jokingly and rhetorically asked Nate, 'What if we walked like that?!' So he did. And so I did....Neither of us caring about any passerby.
12) Discovering that the strawberry pancake I had ordered for breakfast one morning was really more like strawberry shortcake in disguise. Delicious....
13) Taking in the landscape of Kauai: ocean, mountain, and lush tropical foliage. We paused along one of our walks today and I tried to wrap my finite mind around the fact that God 'spoke, and it was so...' (Gen. 3). By His very Word, the Universe was formed. How on Earth (no pun intended) could you and I not believe with every part of our being that His written Word is that true and that bound for fulfillment through Him...It is ours girlfriends. How I long that we walk in obedience to His Truth.
14) Being able to celebrate Nate's birthday here in Kauai, four days after we got married.
15) The praise Jesus hand flings we did in the Jacksonville, FL and Dallas, TX airports on our way here. We realized the day before we were supposed to leave that my tickets were booked as Shelly Griffin, but that we had no copy of our marriage certificate as they were to mail it. And I had no other form of ID that showed Griffin. Y'all, one of the guys got distracted talking to us at 7 in the morning, and dropped my ticket. He picked it back up and just passed us on. I just flashed the other security guard in the following airport the best smile I could manage, and God granted us favor on that round too. You better believe we knew God's favor was on us.
16) How well Nate loves me, even in our inexperienced marriage days totaling only sixteen. That imperfect man loves me so so well...I am thrilled with the privilege to learn how to do life with him as we return to Nashville.
Mahola. Grin.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day #10 in Kauai!

Aloha from Kauai,

I just forced myself to close my reading in the Mark of the Lion series. Not that my opinion matters one iota in the literary world, but my oh my this book is amazing! The characters in this book have become so vivid to me, I nearly spoke about a couple of them to Nate yesterday in wondering if he knew how they were doing. Oh dear....I do need a life. Grin. 

A couple of noteworthy things have occurred since my last post, so I'm here again, sitting on our porch. My Jesus tunes are going, the oceans waves are roaring, and a rooster is crowing near. [Side note: When we arrived, we learned that roosters would be greeting nearly every island corner we embraced. A hurricane in the early 90's set the farmed-ones loose, and needless to say, they have done quite the job of increasing their boundary lines, outside of their inheritance if you ask me.]

Nate is just a few feet from me, sitting in a chair and painting. He's wearing camo pants, and I've rubbed his back in such an amount of sunscreen, that those tattoos of his all have a nice white glare upon their shapes. Grin... To my absolute delight, Jesus got a hold of that man's mind and heart again in the past few days over an area of gifting that Nate doesn't get to walk in much - that of his art. I have been praying over those holy hands of his, asking them to be an extension of the very magnificent and creative mind of our God. I am increasing in passion for the world of art to be redeemed for our El Roi - the God who sees, and who has created mankind in His image. We are visually-minded people, who are consciously and unconsciously pulled into worship by the visual, be it our strong sense or not. "For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Rom. 1:20). 
Nate wants his art to be a reflection of His Glory. His canvases are nearly all filled with nature, as he wrestles with the holy tension to take joy in the gift-Giver and reflect His Glory back to Him in the minute way that he can with the stroke of a brush . I wonder what it would take for us to be filled with the same sense of awe such as that which floods us over a sunset and that of our own human bodies, created in the image of the Most High God. Yahweh made them both, and they are a demonstration of His Glory; we are not to worship that which we see, but the One who has given us eyes to catch a mere glimpse of His Glory here on this Earth.  Before I get myself in a holy hissy fit, don't misinterpret my summarized thoughts here: Girlfriend, you better keep on walking by faith and not by sight! But for a world paralyzed and demoralized in a 'worship' of that which this culture visually displays to us, I am beginning to sense a moving in my spirit for God to redeem the eyes of His people, spiritual and physical. May what we read, view, and look upon reflect the day in eternity where the breathe of God spoke, 'and it was so.' May the literal that we see only feed our minds with what is true and noble. And may we ask Him for a godly view of those around us, realizing that it was YHWH's hands that knitted them together. 

A second matter of importance during our honeymoon, and not in the least bit spiritual, has been another favorite local dining spot discovery. Well, uhmm.....it's not exactly a 'dining spot.' [Let me go get my handy tourist book that I grabbed from Barnes & Nobles before we left.] Yes, here is the description of 'Duane's Ono-Char Burger: 3rd decade, still serving some of the best burgers on the island, specialty burger is the teriyaki burger (scrumptious)...most opt to eat at the cement outdoor tables (ahuh) where marauding wild chickens compete for your fries (yep).' We were straight up Kauai hippie beach bumb styling it for this lunch experience. Y'all, I'm not much of a red-meat eater, but this place was so good, Nate and I have plans to go back and order 2 burgers a piece instead of the 1 per individual we ordered for our first experience. That was a lame move... :) 

Sigh...this post was supposed to be about mine and Nate's adventurous kayak'ing trip. Clearly, I never made it that far, and I've likely already bored you sweet things who are still reading. I'll save it for tomorrow, m'kay? 

*THANK YOU for your prayers regarding the weather! It has improved drastically, and we keep giving Jesus the praise for it! 
*We have plans to go hiking in the Waimea Canyon tomorrow or the day after. My Tarzan could run and climb in this jungle, but princess Jane has not yet recuperated from the kayak'ing trip. [Laughing at myself even now...] 

Love y'all to pieces. Asking for more of Jesus for you right now...you are so dear to me.
Closing with a few photos


Friday, February 20, 2009

Kauai...

I'm currently sitting on the porch of our honeymoon cottage, with some good Jesus tunes going, but not so loud as to drown out the powerful roar of the ocean's waves that are right below me. I prefer my Creator's natural songs of praise; it is absolutely glorious. Nate and I keep the sliding glass door of our cottage open all day and night, with the screen door as the covering, so that we can hear it. I wish the photos I have taken of our view do it justice. They do not...they provide an absolutely pitiful display of the majestic view God has given this Jesus-brat of His.

My man and I have had a wonderful past couple of days. Wait, let me rewrite that...my husband and I have had a wonderful past couple of days (insert me with a big goofy grin on my face). We wake rather early, a fact this sleep-lover shamelessly accounts to the five hour time zone difference. We hop in our tan rental car and embrace one of the most rewarding and seemingly endless twelve minutes of our day. It is rewarding because of the breathtaking views that just envelope us: lush jungle spotted with the most vibrant white, orange, and yellow flowers, rolling mountains on one side, and a turquoise ocean on the other. I comment on their beauty every morning as if we haven't taken this drive before, pointing them out to Nate for the umpteenth time. He nods and smiles ... saying warmly, 'I know baby...' I'm a gush for the beauty of creation - I really do feel like God has just fashioned it for me. I know... selfish and ridiculous, but it's our time together and I love it. 

A seemingly endless twelve minute drive because of what awaits us. The breakfast selections that we have eaten here the past few days have unarguably become my best breakfast meals ever. No joke y'all. Fluffy, light banana and macadamia nut pancakes with freshly made coconut syrup, eggs benedict, and fresh papaya, mango, grapes, and pineapple that leave me so water-heavy from my fill of them that Nate and I both require walks afterwards. 

The second day we were here, we made our way to the pristine beach right by our cottage. Me, being the ever-hungry one, packed Nate and I a cooler. Nate hauled that, along with our little chairs, and water bottles to a sunny spot. We dug our chairs into the soft white sand, and smiled goofily at one another, hearts speaking the unspoken. He opened his 'War and Peace,' and I flipped open the Mark of the Lion series book number one. I forced myself to not bring an academic or technical book with me on our honeymoon. It was a fight y'all: I love to learn and study, but I really felt like the Lord was calling me to learn to rest in all areas, including my mind! I have not read this series yet, and thanks due to school, I am hopping on board four years later after I should have in terms of relevancy. Grin....

Five minutes of beautiful weather passed. And then...well, I got a little cold. Well, more like, I got really cold. I didn't want to complain (who is supposed to be cold when it's 74 degrees outside for crying out loud??! I get on my own nerves in this arena...), so I threw my long sun-dress back on, and a jacket, resuming my reading. Poor Nate ... he was soaking up whatever sun his epidermis apparently had discovered, untouched by the cool ocean winds. And then y'all, it came. That dreaded afternoon shower swept upon us so quickly that we ran back to the car, laughing, flip-flops flapping, and Nate still hauling that untouched cooler. We have sadly not been able to go to the beach yet; the weather has been uninviting. We're asking Jesus to do a miracle for us, because the forecast doesn't seem to be improving. We have plans for kayaking in a couple of days, and I better not get wet :) 

It hasn't been too disheartening yet though. We have greatly needed the rest. The ugly weather has given us an excuse for such. For the first time yesterday, I think I was finally able to rest after everything. I have taken long afternoon naps the past two days, and have had a couple of cry sessions for no apparent reason. I think they are rooted in the emotions from the past week catching up with me. Sweet Nate just holds me patiently, suggesting chocolate and a long walk afterward. Good man  :)   

That's about all for now. Oh yea, we went exploring in this cave today. I am pitifully ignorant of the appropriate terminology to explain it, so I'll just say it was amazing, and post some pictures later :) We've wandered into a number of art stores here; most of y'all probably didn't know Nate was an artist, so he appears in there looking like what I would look like if I were in a library or something. I love watching him stare at the art. He has been living high on his ahi wraps and fish tacos; I have preferred the fresh coconut that I was given yesterday. I walked back down to our car with it, holding it clumsily in my hand for another two miles, drinking out of my umbrella straw. Could someone puh-lease write tourist on my forehead. :) Oh well. 

*My second disclaimer: Again, don't you sweet little ladies worry about my being on the computer on our honeymoon. Nate and I both love to write; this down time has been renewing for us both. He was so inspired yesterday, he poured his heart out over a film script he has been stumped upon in terms of writing while yours truly was napping. That's my sweet Jesus...allowing me to love Him more by giving purpose and vision to do that which we love to do, and which brings Him glory. 

'Our God Reigns' just came on my iTunes mix. And Nate just came out here to give me a kiss, letting me know that he's going to make us some chicken and zucchini. I'm totally undone, and totally in love. All the more for my Jesus....

Love y'all to pieces...
PS - I so appreciate some of you long-time hidden 'lurkers' leaving your sweet comments. My heart has just swelled over the power of the Father to bring His body together here in blogworld. May my words be ones that denote my joy in 'knowing' you here, and the privilege we have to serve the Most Glorious One...I do so smile at the thought that he takes note on a scroll as we boast in Him (Malachi 3:16). 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Becoming Mrs. Griffin

Hey ladies.
It's the Matron of Honor again. I interrupt this string of live-blogging from Shelly's honeymoon to bring you a video. I'm the one with all the vid footage, and have a few clips I think you'll enjoy.

Here's one:


Activate! from mandy thompson on Vimeo.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My husband...and Elizabeth Pointe Lodge


Y'all, 
I'm not writing too much of a post, just posting a link so that you can see where Nate and I have been these past couple of days. We fly out for Kauai so early tomorrow morning that only the One who never slumbers nor sleeps will be awake to care. 

Currently,  all Nate and I want to do is sleep. I feel like I've been hit by a truck. And I kinda look like it too; but I don't care  :)  I have the blessing of waking in the morning next to this fine hunk of a man who is now my husband. Most of the time, Nate and I look at each other and start laughing. Sometimes I get weepy over the fact that this godly man before me is the one whom my Merciful Father has given me....an unspeakable picture of grace. My weary mind cannot seem to process anything else other than that. 

We roll out of bed in the mornings and head down to the lodge's breakfast room, where the suns rays' wrap warmly around us. I obsess over their orange juice and fruit (b/c I have a love affair with fruit like no other), while Nate grins over his favorite: eggs benedict. I then manage to gobble down some amazing french toast with warm berries on top and some sugar free syrup, while Nate drools over his beloved piece of orange bread that is literally like orange-flavored poundcake. Yes mam, you better believe we took several slices of those back to our room for later. 

We strolled on the beach yesterday. Nate found two little shark teeth. He was like a little boy who had found his hidden treasure. I loved the look on his face. But the one he has on his face these days makes my heart melt and brings a lump in my throat. We are so overwhelmed at God's goodness over our pitiful lives that we do not know what to do with ourselves. We are humbled and deeply indebted to some loved ones who served as wedding slaves in order to pull this wedding together. [Mandy deserves the biggest matron of honor award you could ever imagine. If it were not for her, I would not have been sane or stress-free.]

I'm about to go grab us lemonade and cookies :)  Nate's sitting here beside me watching some man-channel on television :) His silver wedding band keeps catching my eye, and I breathe heavily once again to keep my tears down. I cannot believe that my Jesus loves me so to unite this spoiled-Jesus brat daughter of His to this fellow imperfect brother whose name I now share. Our hearts' cry is to glorify the Lord with one voice (Rom. 5)...He is our absolute delight.

*Note: Don't you sweet ladies worry that I'm not enjoying my honeymoon because I hopped on here to write a blog. Believe me...I am! But y'all know that writing is an outlet for me; and I am wanting to remember these days as well. Love y'all...

Shelly Elizabeth GRIFFIN!!! 

Monday, February 9, 2009

5 days before we get married!











         

I'm sitting in our new apartment, drinking a cup of coffee, staring outside at the sunshine who has graced us today with her enveloping presence. I just finished
some carpet-time with my Jesus; now that I think of it though, everything Nate and I have done here in the past week has been carpet time as we are 
completely furniture-less. Grin. I wouldn't trade it either. There is nothing like trying to create a dinner with the few pieces of kitchen appliances that you have and one old knife, and then sitting down together on our floor to dine. Personally, I could care less about owning much of anything, so I am more than content to prop our plates on one of my yet-unpacked moving boxes from Boston and laugh about it. 

        Nate and I are getting married in about 5 days. Oh...my....word. Y'all, I really need your prayers. My marriage to Nate feels so unreal that I cannot believe it's happening! I fear I'm going to get half-way down that aisle and drop flat on my face, veil flying forward, when the fullness of the reality hits me. The last few days, I have spent a lot of time in my car, repeating this to myself: "I'm getting married....I'm getting married....I'm getting married." I keep hoping it will resonate in this ever-active brain of mine. 
      Unfortunately, it seems more than my heart and mind can wrap around. It seems too good to be true. God has done so much in the 'more than you can ask or imagine' category in terms of my marrying Nate, that I really truly can't! Bless me, and help me! :) 

       We leave for St. Simons Island, GA tomorrow to prepare for the Day. I'll have friends flying in all the way from Boston 
(I treasure them so), and his troop of godly warriors and best buddies are likely going to take over the island. They are having his bachelor night Friday evening. Pause....Did y'all catch that? That's the night before we get married!!! That's all I'm going to say about that.....

      The ceremony begins at 2 pm, and the reception (aka - you better bring your dancing shoes and give Jesus some praise time) will follow immediately. According to my future groom, he truly believes we should only have to stay at the reception for 
approximately thirty minutes. Bless his heart...  :)   We'll then stay in Amelia Island for a few days, and spend the next 2 weeks of our honeymoon in Kauai (the 4th island in the Hawaiian Island chain) with cell phones turned off! 

      This isn't a creative or inspiring post, but for those who wanted to be 
informed of the 'Shate and Nelly' future days, here it is. I love him to pieces y'all. I actually want to get back on my carpet and bawl thinking about it. We are wonderfully imperfect (I say 'wonderfully' b/c I know God gets the glory in our weaknesses), but that man is absolutely perfect for me.  I hopped in his very manly and sporty car yesterday to go to church and grinned sheepishly over how handsome he is. And then, I realized that he had put my CeCe CD in his player; he said he wanted to get his upbeat praise time on this morning. I nearly died laughing. 
      That woman (CeCe) makes me want to bust out in Jesus-based aerobics - so I did...in the car, on the way to church, with my man shaking his head at me half the the way. After he surprised me with flowers later that evening, and cooked dinner for us while I worked on the wedding, I decided he, and Jesus, were due some more praise. 

     Nate makes me love Jesus more. And I know that the only way I can serve
and love that man as I should is by keeping myself bound to my Only True Love. Anything Nate and I have to offer one another is only as a result of the overflow of our personal relationships with the Lord. I'm thankful the Lord has set things up that way. Because ain't nobody allowed to get in the way of my Jesus and I :) I love y'all sweet siestas. Nate and I have coveted your precious prayers - I mean that so sincerely. You could never imagine how they have covered us in this past year and a half. 

     So I leave you with the very last post as Shelly Elizabeth Bland. I am dropping the last name of the man whom I love more than words express; no name is necessary to remember him. How could I forget my first hero and love? I trust and pray that the life Nate and I live will be an offering of gratitude towards him. I am sure that if my Daddy had the blessing of meeting Nate, he would have given us quite the blessing; He and Nate are alike in many ways. Twinkle in his eye, and lump in his throat, he would undoubtedly have handed his little
girl over to the man she loves. And I would have danced with him one more time at the reception, on top of his feet, held upright by his strong arms, as always. I'll surely dance one for him on that day...

      Yes indeed, there will be much to celebrate on this Bland-Griffin wedding day. I suspect the celebration in heaven may be just a little rowdier than ours: If He does dance, God would likely be tapping his holy feet on His heavenly Throne, the angels giving Him praise,  and a cloud of witnesses cheering Nate and I along. 

     We give you all the praise, glory, and honor oh Lord. You are absolute Life to us. It is you that we adore....come sweet Jesus, and may we be a blessing back to you as we join, with one voice (Romans 5), to shout praises unto your holy and magnificent Name. We bless you Jesus.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I should be planning a wedding...but He's divinely jealous

My dearest siestas,

I would love to grab your sweet hand and take you on the walk of my last two months, but time simply does not allow me to do so. I'm going to post a puny little update after this one regarding my personal life. If you would just cover me with grace though, I'm entering into blogworld tonight with a bit of audacity and rusty writing skills :) I know I left 'your' worlds, but I have felt your prayers, realizing that by Jesus' sweet grace, you never left mine; I think of you often, wondering if you are getting to know and love Jesus more.

My current status: Nashville, job-less, just moved into mine and Nate's new place (applause to Jesus please), celebrated my 26th birthday in Jan. (gasp!), and feeling overwhelmingly hunger about every three hours (Nate doesn't know what to do with me!)

I have such a myriad of emotions these days, it is unfair for me to recount them to anyone but my sweet Jesus. He would be the only One that would not be left dizzy! But, I feel like I just must get this one affection out to you. In this present season of substantial transition, and in preparation for marrying my man, I have not been able to deter from a particular truth about my God: His divine jealousy.

It has consumed me. I think of it all throughout my day, with a lump in my throat. Even right now, I am taking a deep breathe to keep these brimming tears suppressed! I ... cannot ... get ... over ... it.

His divine jealousy. Exodus 20:4-5 provides us with the first mention: "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God,..." In essence, YHWH's jealousy denotes a great eagerness and zeal.

Pause just a moment girlfriend, and let this one sink into the self-protective layers of our hearts where we fear His discipline and avoid the all-knowing gaze of our El Roi. Any time God's jealousy is expressed as wrath in the OT, it is because of idolatry and the breaking of the covenant. The God of the Universe, the God who fashioned you with His very hands, has promised you Himself. Exodus 6:7 reads "I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God..." The Giver and Sustainer of Life must breathe a deep sigh of pain whenever He sees His children turn to another god. The heart of God must swell in pain upon our misplaced affections when He so longed to be your God that He disrobed His majesty and became flesh. He is divinely jealous for you child. This divine jealousy, that can take the form of discipline and holy anger, is the very part of His jealousy that I have come to love. For it is this holy passion and eager zeal of His that keeps this wayward child bound to His grace and will.

When I have been out of His will, it is then that He allows me to be dissatisfied and discontent. When I have walked outside of His laws of liberty, He has at times allowed me to be given over to the fleeting passions of my flesh. As painful as those times have been, it teaches this stubborn daughter of His a lesson: There is no One (or thing) like my God. I frequently ask Him to make me flat out miserable over any area of my life where my heart, mind, or soul is not entirely His. For you see, He is jealous enough over me and you to want every ounce of you. And because He is who He is, He's allowed to demand it. If we realize that His divine jealousy is a gracious holy zeal that keeps watch over our affections and emotions, sheltering them from wrong, we would willingly submit ourselves. As a matter of fact, we would probably be begging for His jealousy to be active in our lives. He already is the Jealous One for you, so He can't not be; but we can fight Him over it every misplaced affection on the way.

Isaiah 9:6-8: For to us a child is born; to us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

That's the divine jealousy of God girlfriend. If His holy zeal can establish the enduring kingdom of Christ from everlasting to everlasting, I bow myself in absolute humility before His divine jealousy for me, so that He may be my only true love and establishing His enduring kingdom in me. His Glory is worth it; I can promise you that.

And so I close, foregoing the exegetical details that the nerd in me would love to share with you if I had the time. I am doing this subject a pitiful service to how wonderful and mind-blowing it is, but this is all I can offer y'all at the moment, in this season, 5 days away from being married. I trust God through His living and active Word to spur you on to discovering this for yourself. And I ask the Holy Spirit to soften your heart to the wonderful reality of God's protective, beautiful, and accomplishing divine jealousy over you. For it has saved me. It has redeemed me from a pit of despair, depression, and insecurities. It has set me free from disorders and addictions. It has broken paralyzing chains of fear. It has kept me saved for Nate. And it has kept Nate in his position as the imperfect love of my life. And it has changed this heart of unhealthy desires into one that says instead, "I delight to do Thy will" (Ps. 40:8). It has caused me to love my Jesus more than anyone else in this world.

I pray you come to praise Him for His divine jealousy. And I ask that He would develop in us a godly jealousy for Him, and for one another, for the sake of His Great Name. He is worth it sister. 

Saturday, January 31, 2009

TWO WEEKS TWO WEEKS TWO WEEKS

Hello lovely ladies!

This is Mandy again, Matron of Honor Extraordinaire, even though I'm no substitute for your beautiful and beloved Shelly. She'll be back. Eventually. Probably sometime in March or April. After a two-week honeymoon (yes. two - count them - TWO), and then all the post-wedding nesting that will take place. Thank you cards. etc etc etc. Oh yeah, and spending time with Nate.

I wanted to ask a favor of you ladies that Shelly loves so much. (Did y'all know that she has mentioned some of you by name to me before? She thinks of you more than you realize...)

Anyway, back to the favor!

This is the two week mark - February 14th is fast approaching. They finally found an apartment and Shelly moved in this past week. (I heard through the grapevine that the location isn't the best, even though the apt has a HIGH cute factor rating.)

Anyway, back to y'all! :)

I wanted to invite you to give Shelly some last minute advice before her big day - but, I'm asking for a very specific focus to your advice... Since her head is swimming with to-do lists, could your advice be focused in the direction of how Shelly can STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT MATTERS over the next two weeks?

Something like this: Shelly, I know your head is swimming with information, and you have LOTS to accomplish over the next two weeks, but I think a great way for you to stay focused would be by _______________.

She'll be reading these comments via email, as they'll be sent directly to her (and me) - and it's my Matronly duty to make sure she pays attention.

Ok ladies! I'm looking forward to what you'll offer Shelly.