Faithfulness

My Dad posted this quote earlier today on Facebook:

Jesus looks out for faithful men, and He fixes His eyes upon them, to observe them, to bring them forward, to encourage them, and to reward them. Let no truehearted man think that he is overlooked; the King Himself has His eye upon him.
C. H. Spurgeon

Someone commented “Wow, good one.” And that’s all I could think. Wow.. I derived from that quote two things. One, He is faithful to me. Two, am I faithful to Him? I was so convicted when I read that. In the department of faithfulness I’ve failed miserably.

I work in a library. A quiet, small library where I’m responsible for shelving the books. My job is secluded and serene. (Most of the time). Though sometimes I’m ready to walk out and never come back, this job gives me thinking time. Time for me to walk around as slowly or as quickly as I want without being bothered and just think. Let my mind wander.

Lately, well I say lately, my Dad has really struggled with his job situation. Meaning, he hates it. And I don’t blame him. Day in day out with the same ungrateful people who give him no respect. It hurts me, but it hurts him a lot more. We took our family vacation last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee where my dad’s sister moved when she remarried an incredible man. He is strong in the Lord and an encouragement to me and my family probably more than he knows. This man ministered to my dad to stay strong in the Lord and to see His will for him and our family.

When my mind was wandering here in the library yesterday, my thoughts wandered to my dad. I was thinking about how much I didn’t want to be here at work and how much I wanted to quit when I thought of him. He leaves our house at 5:30 every morning and gets home about 5, sometimes later. He’s there with loud machines and people who don’t lift him up. All day. I complain working here for three hours a day! My dad is faithful. Faithful to that job because he knows he has 4 girls to support. One heading to middle school, another off to college, and one getting married.

Faithfulness. I’ve heard this word a lot this week. On the radio a Christian artist explained how God told him to be faithful. So he was. And God was faithful back! So why do we struggle with that so much? If we’re faithful to God and His will He will surely be faithful to us. Like He always is.

So dad, if you’re reading this, take heart in that quote you posted and trust that something big is coming. Expect rain. Expect a huge thunderstorm. Expect something a lot bigger than yourself because it’s coming. And when it does, we’ll all be in awe.

Tennessee Family

Since last Sunday evening we’ve been here in Chattanooga, TN. I’ve loved every second. I’ve done things I’ve never done before and spent precious time with our chaotic family. Yesterday we went white water rafting. I was so afraid and scared I would topple out of that $8,000 raft and never get back to it, but I never fell out and it was one of the most fun experiences I have ever had! Last night, my sister got a tattoo. Yes. A tattoo. I plan on getting one today if they have an opening. (Pray for me! Shel said it hurts.) I’ve been tubing down this relaxing river with all of my family and eaten at a German themed restaurant. I’ve eaten breakfast every morning and been woken up by a cloud of family members in the kitchen.

There are mountains covered in tall trees with tons of shades of green. The roads are winding everywhere you go. We’re two hours from everything: Nashville, Atlanta, rafting, tubing, Birmingham… Everything is cheaper. Houses are huge and gorgeous. Acres of land are cheaper. Family is here. Family alone is a good enough reason to pick up and move 10 hours away from where I’ve been for 19 years of my life.

Every single one of us has been in this house for a week or more. Every single one of us has had the time of our lives exploring this new town and the surrounding areas. We’ve all enjoyed making fun of each other and being loud and dancing and singing and driving way too fast on these scary curves. I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to go back to reality. Anticipating this vacation I didn’t think it’d be anything like a vacation. We’re staying in our cousins’ house in a town we’ve never been too. There’s no beach to go to everyday, there’s no snow to ski in. But there are rivers, creeks, hiking, shopping. But most of all there’s FAMILY. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that it doesn’t matter where your vacation is. It’s who you’re vacationing with.

If you know anything about my family you know we’re loud and chaotic. We’re big and you’ll know where we are when we’re there. I love them and I would never ever trade them for anyone or anything.

Keep Away

Sunday morning bro. Bruce preached this message:

17. I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. 20. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Romans 16:17-20

Keep away from them. Avoid them. Don’t go near them. That kind of stings, doesn’t it? What if those people are our spouses? Our best friends? Our co-workers? Or sisters? Or cousins? Or any other family member? It hurts. So how do we deal with them? How do we co-exist with people who don’t serve our Lord? We must prepare ourselves and stand guard for our hearts and minds against these that we’ve noted in our hearts to be hurtful to our Christian life. Paul URGES us. It’s urgent that we do this. He doesn’t just say “Oh, be careful if you think about it.” He URGES us to separate ourselves from them. Stay away!

[P.S. I don’t take this to mean we should completely separate ourselves from these. Yes, we should surround ourselves with those of like-mind but we should also love on the lost and hurting. Love our enemies. The ones who hurt us. The ones who talk about us behind our backs and break our hearts. The ones who lie to us and shield our eyes from the truth. The ones who annoy us and frustrate us (even in the church!). We should love them.

Believe me, I’m preachin’ to myself here. There are plenty of people I could count off that I’d rather not spend my time with. But they are apart of the same body of Christ that I’m apart of. Makes it a lil’ tougher, doesn’t it?]

Ever seen/heard this demonstration?
Take two people and a chair.  One stands in the chair the other on the ground. The one in the chair represents a Christian, the other a non-Christian. The two together represent a relationship. The one in the chair tries his/her hardest to pull the other up, but fails. The one on the ground easily yanks the other down.

Moral of the story, it’s easier to fall than to pull your partner in that relationship onto that chair with you. Be conscious of them and know your limits.

I’m positive I knew this in my younger days. If I’d have been more aware of it I may not have dated some of the boys (yes, boys. Not men) I dated. I grew up in church. I made friends in church. All of the guys I dated attended my home church on a regular basis. (Well, as long as we were dating they did.) Most of them, with the exception of two, were bad for my health. Mentally and physically. I didn’t avoid them. I wasn’t constantly aware of them to stay away and watch out for them. Plenty of people URGED me to walk away. But I couldn’t. Not that I didn’t want to, because I did, I just couldn’t. Now, I look down at my left hand and know that the one I’m going to marry will never be bad for my health. I’ll never be urged to walk away from him nor him from me.

But Paul promises this; those who persecute you and put those obstacles in your way WILL be crushed under your feet. Hallelujah!

I know this post might seem a little scattered, but I had a lot I wanted to say. Hopefully it all made sense. 🙂

I Hate Summer

It’s 1 AM and I’m awake! I took Excedrin… Great for headaches, awful for sleep. So, since I haven’t blogged in a long while here ya go. 🙂

Let me just say, I am so glad that Jason and I set our wedding date for November. I don’t know if it’s me getting older or the fact that we had winter until April this year, but I have zero tolerance for this heat. Working in the library I’m between tall bookshelves 70% of my workday. If the air is on it’s set at about 80 in parts of the building. Needless to say, I’m not quite as fresh when I leave as when I came in. I hate feeling that way. I want to be cool, even cold! Freezing is fine with me! I’ve mentioned before how I just can’t get out of winter mode. On our honeymoon we’re going skiing and I guess that fact that wedding plans are always on my mind, I still think it’s going to magically be cold outside when I walk out there. I’m buying sweaters and long sleeve t’s and scarves and jeans! (all for the honeymoon, mind you.) I can’t shake this. When Jason and I hit the town this afternoon, I was miserable. The short walk into the store made each of us sweat. The cold A/C in every building made us sigh with relief as it washed over us only to know we’d eventually have to walk back out into the heat.

For those of you who don’t have air conditioning, I feel for you. I feel your misery and pain. Thankfully, ours only went out at the beginning of summer and we were able to have it fixed before the giant heat wave rolled through demolishing every ice-cube in its path.

Any of you feelin’ my pain? Stay cool!

Things That Make Me Happy

I haven’t really had a prominent topic for a blog lately so lying in bed I’m thinking of things that make me really happy and that I’m super excited about.

1. GETTING MARRIED!
I’m sure that came as a shock. I’m ready to call Jason “the hubs” or “hubby”. And I’m ready to sign my name “Melody Rich”. I’m ready to decorate that house! Little things like being able to take weekend trips camping or to Mavs games. Bigger things like starting a family and falling deeper in love with one another.

2. The movie “The Holiday”.
Jason, my sister and I absolutely adore this movie! The music, the actors, the story line, everything! Even though it takes place around Christmas time, it’s ALWAYS  a good movie to watch.

3. GLEE
Being a music major, I appreciate the popularity of this season and their REAL musical capabilities. Wow. Just wow.

4. Fridays
Jason and I have the blessing of both having this day off. So far we’ve taken full advantage.

5. Shopping
When I’m in a shopping mood, these days are so relaxing. What makes them even better is finding $4 yoga pants at Old Navy.

6. Cleaning
I used to loathe anything that had to do with cleaning. Now I loathe it when something is the least bit dirty. Cleaning has become extremely therapeutic for me. I love a quiet day at home alone where I can just clean and mop and listen to music. Ahhh….

7. Cold Weather
Even though we’re nearly halfway through June, I can’t stop thinking about (and wearing) sweaters, long sleeve tees, jeans, boots, scarves and hats! The fact that 70% of my closet is stocked full of these items couldn’t be a contributing factor. 😛

8. Jason’s Encouraging Spirit
Before Jason came along I had no self-motivation. I would NEVER voluntarily clean anything or wake up before noon if I didn’t have to. Looking back over these past months since we got engaged I’ve obtained so many new qualities. I’m suddenly a neat-freak, I eat healthier, I get up at nine and try to walk or jog, (I actually WANT to do that. Whaaat!?) As soon as he walks in the door I start to move a lot more. He’s the reason I have so much on my to-do list.

9. My iPhone
I know, I know. That’s so lame. I love all its many functions: GPS, Facebook, Twitter, notes, calendar, etc etc. I don’t know what I’d do without it. Isn’t that pitiful?

10. Jason
He’s hot, he has a red beard, he loves to work-out, he loves to travel, he loves dogs and cats (though he’s allergic), he encourages me, he’s exactly like me,  he buys me chocolate, he surprises me at work, he spoils me, he wants what is absolutely best for me, he wants what I want, but most of all, he loves me!

So, there you have it. The top 10 things I could think of that make me happy and excite me. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I actually enjoy those things. 🙂

Night!

Motionless

Ever feel like you’re moving a mile a minute but you’re not getting anywhere?

Since summer started I’ve had tons of free time and I’ve filled it with cleaning, exercising, laundry, Jason, road trips, wedding planning, and the couch. I’ve done a lot of moving during this time but I haven’t moved. Jason often makes the comment that if I don’t have something to look at, do, or think about I’ll just go to sleep. And that’s the truth. Every time we go on a date I’m awake as ever but as soon as you put me in that car and drive me home I lie my head against the seat and go to sleep.

I see things differently now. Becoming a wife has made me see this house as my house. I want to keep it clean, do my laundry, and take care of it. I never really take a moment for myself. If I know something has to be done it nags at me and itches until I get up and do it. Right now I have about 20 or more things on my to-do list. Some looming in the near future, others farther off. But none of them matter past November 20. It breaks my heart to see nothing eternal on that to-do list. No quiet time is scheduled, no verses I wanna read.

In this moment, I long so much to be married. It’s been a long nine months and we’ve still got five and a half to go. I want quiet. I want alone time and to be in that country rock house with cows and a bus barn in the backyard. But I can’t speed up time. I need to soak up THIS moment and revel in these months when I’m still apart of my family. It’s difficult, to say the least. But these aren’t bad times. There the good times. (that sounded cheesy, didn’t it?)

So, in my effort to produce a blog out of nothing, I think I did alright. Hopefully next time I’ll have something more profound. 🙂