Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Secret Blessings

When you’re in the thick of it you don’t see the purpose, plan or point of why things are happening the way they are, but it’s a beautiful thing when you come out on the other side, look back and see how God positioned things together like a perfect puzzle and what’s left is a priceless masterpiece.
I look back now on certain seasons in my life with such gratitude and clarity. I see how God went ahead of me and put everything right where it needed to be and asked me to be still and trust Him.
An example of this came to mind the other night when we were spending some time with our Catalyst Group.
While Averie was growing and developing at UAMS, someone anonymously donated a furnished apartment for me to stay in while living in Little Rock. It was such a blessing and a huge weight off our shoulders. I didn’t have to worry about living out of a suitcase, hotel costs, or any other factors that would cause even more anxiety. I lived in Little Rock Monday through Friday and usually would come home on the weekends. Casey came to visit when he could, but he had to work so we lived apart for close to four months. Now I know for some of you that’s nothing, but to us it was an eternity. Our marriage took a big hit.
My new home was nice. It was a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment. It was very spacious and would allow for guests who came to visit Averie a free place to stay. September came and Averie was doing well and I was settled into my Little Rock routine. Then one day I got a call from Casey and he proceeded to tell me he had broken his foot while on the job. Now this may sound horrible, but if he was going to break his foot I sure am glad he did it at work. Those were medical bills we did NOT need! Not only was his foot broken but he needed surgery to repair it. Are you kidding me?! My life had become a sick joke!
I checked in with Averie’s nurses at the hospital to ensure she was doing well and then made my trip home to Bentonville to be with Casey for his surgery. Everything went well and he was discharged with instructions to not put any weight on his foot whatsoever for a solid week. So that meant he was wheelchair bound and depended solely on me. I see clearly now how God gave me the grace and strength to do what I needed to do. I packed some of Casey’s stuff, loaded him in the car, and took him back to Little Rock with me.
When I first moved into the apartment I noticed it was more spacious than most apartments, but I didn’t think anything of it until I wheeled my temporarily handicapped husband through the door. THIS APARTMENT WAS HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE! Wide doorways, a sink he could roll right up to, a roll in shower, this place had it all and made getting around so much easier for him. I was and still am blown away by God’s provision! Although he was there recovering from an injury, I had my husband with me 24/7 for a solid week. That was a good week full of funny memories, sweet moments and much needed time together. I can still see me pushing him up the steep hill to the hospital entrance. We laughed every time because I had to get a running start to make it. I cherish that week because it came at a time when I needed him. I needed a surge of momentum to get me through. God had gone ahead and laid it all out just for us. I’m thankful for those secret blessings; those moments that may disguise themselves as additional hardships but when you look back they are a gift from above.
Look back on your journey and recognize God’s hand on your life. I know you will be able to pinpoint those secret blessings. He’s positioned and planned our life perfectly, now lets just set back and trust Him. What do ya say?

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Tribute To Her

So my little sister is getting married in October and of course I am her matron of honor. UGH! I have to say ‘MATRON’ of honor since I’m married. It makes me sound so old!

Anyway, I’ve got this "matron" of honor speech that I’m writing and when I stop to think about it it’s such a daunting task. I mean how can I wrap up a lifetimes’ worth of memories and feelings into one speech?! There’s just no way! So it really got me thinking about my sissy, our relationship and life together.

Tayla Dawn Baker and I are 3 ½ years apart in age and although we may look the same we are very different, but that’s the beauty of our relationship. Where she is scared, I am brave and where I am unsure she is fearless. We complement each other very well. What is it about this sisterly bond? Its hard to put into words.

I never liked sleeping alone growing up, and even though we had our own rooms, more times than not I would find myself in her bed. Sometimes she would try to kick me out, but I would just keep coming back. HA! There was just something comforting about being together. Once my parents got us bunk beds and we had these sleeping bags that were pink with frogs whose eyes glowed in the dark. Now that I think about it, they were kind of creepy. We liked them anyway.

You wouldn’t believe it now, but Tay used to be a HUGE tomboy! She didn’t care about getting dressed up or painting her nails and her hair was always in a ponytail. When we were really little she used to run away crying when my mom would say it was time to get ready for church. She did NOT want to wear a dress. I loved them of course because I was little Miss Priss and even better, they were matching dresses!! One time dad was recording me singing on the fireplace with my hairbrush microphone and low and behold here comes Tayla running right in front of the camera naked as a jay bird stealing the show!

Tay was always outside! She climbed trees, collected rocks and weird things like curly fries from Arby’s. (That’s not a joke. The really cool ones she kept. My mom found some in her dresser drawer once.)

Tayla doesn’t even know how funny she is, she has that dry sense of humor that sends you into a belly laugh and the whole time she’s looking at you like, “What’s so funny?!” Some of the funniest memories as a kid involve Tay somehow. Now there are times when Asher will give me a look and I’ll say; “You look exactly like your Tee Tee!”

I love looking back with such fondness on my childhood with her and now that we are both adults, I’m excited about what’s ahead. She’s getting married and I will be so honored to stand beside her on that day. There have been some definite rocky patches but one thing has always remained…her and I; together! We’ve survived a lot and have only grown closer because of it. My sister is the best and I cannot imagine my life without her. I LOVE YOU TAYBAY!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Who's In Control?

I believe with all my heart that our gracious and loving God has a wonderful sense of humor.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a planner. I like things to be orderly, scheduled and I really DO NOT like it when unexpected circumstances are thrown at me at the last minute that causes my carefully laid plans to change. It’s horrible I know and I’m getting better. Seeing the way my life has unfolded, you would think I would have learned by now that I have control of absolutely nothing. I only think I do. I can just imagine God looking at me trying to control and schedule my life down to the smallest detail, shaking his head and chuckling under his breath. So many times I know he’s said, “Oh my sweet Tressa, you only think that’s how it’s gonna go.”

Time and time again I see how patience and allowing God’s plan to unfold is so much more fulfilling than anything I could dream up, but yet I still find myself striving to control the situation and make things happen as I think they should. Goodness, that’s exhausting! Anyone else out there like this? Why do we do this when the alternative brings such peace, rest and the desires of our heart?! For me, fear is one of the big reasons! I fear that if I don’t make these plans and ensure that it all unfolds accordingly then WHO WILL?! I fear the unknown. I like to know what’s coming. The thought of my future just floating around out there and me just flying by the seat of my pants literally makes it hard for me to breathe. But you know what, that’s not how it is at all. God has our lives in the palm of his hand. He sees every second of everyday and he’s planned it all. He knows how life is going to go for us and he has a purpose for everything. The most beautiful part is that it’s a GOOD purpose. All good things come from him. James 1:17; “Every good and perfect gift is from above…”

Think about it. God, the Creator of everything, has a specific and very detailed life laid out just for YOU! Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I think his plan just might be better than ours. This is where intimately knowing Him and his Holy Spirit is crucial because He will order your steps and send his Holy Spirit to speak and tell you when to move or when to be still. So again, this all goes back to KNOWING HIM! That’s our job!

It’s so liberating to know that I don’t have to figure this whole thing out and make things happen. I just have to know Christ and follow His lead. Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God…”

I leave you with a scripture my friend sent me; Proverbs 16:9 MSG, “We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.”