Blessed Assurance

God never promises us a life without trials.  In fact, James even tells us that we should “consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”  James 1:2-3  To say that Greg and I have had our faith tested over the last few months would be the understatement of the year.  Being a Christian doesn’t mean we are exempt from the devil’s schemes.  In fact, I think being a Christian makes us even more desirable to the devil.  He desires to tear us down, to weaken our faith, and lead us down paths of destruction.  If we are not diligent about continually building and fostering the relationship we have with God by being in His Word daily and through prayer, we can easily be deceived by the devil’s schemes.  And before we know it, we may find ourselves down a path of destruction and sin, wondering how we got so far from the true path of righteousness.  But it doesn’t mean God gave up on us.  He never gives up on His children.  If we simply open our eyes to our own sins, and seek God’s instruction, He will lead us out of the darkness and back into His light.  Like a shepherd who seeks and finds a lost sheep, so does our God in our times of trouble.  And just as the father who rejoices over the return of his prodigal son, so God rejoices when we come back to Him with a repentant heart.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. -James 1:12

I have faced trials of many kinds, and God has pulled me from the depths of my sin and I can honestly say today I feel closer to God than I have in a long time, maybe even ever.  God has also been working in Greg over the last few months, testing his faith and producing perseverance.  We can see God’s work in our marriage as boldly as if it was written in black and white.  I always wondered when people said, “God told me this” or “I knew God was telling me such and such” what that really meant?  I always felt like I had a hard time distinguishing if I was really hearing God’s commands or just my own thoughts.  How would I know it was from God?  Well, I can assure you that if you dive into His word, it is much easier to know what God is trying to tell you.  I began reading through Proverbs, and it was like every chapter had clear instructions on how I needed to change my life.  And here’s something else.  In Sunday school about a year ago, our teacher gave all us ladies the book The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian.  And I took it home and never read it.  Well, a few months ago, I decided to start reading this book and HOLY CRAP!  It was like God breathed every word into this book just for me and what seemed to be random topics for each day of prayer, God absolutely orchestrated it so that our lives perfectly lined up with the specific prayers I would read that day.  I wasn’t even reading it every single day.  Sometimes I would skip days (usually on my early mornings of work).  But every chapter I read was EXACTLY what I needed to hear that day.  I have never been more convinced of God’s direction in my life.  Praise Jesus for his many blessings!

Like I said, Greg has been discovering his own journey as well.  We both grew up going to church, and we’ve been going to church together ever since we started dating.  We’ve been involved in a newly-wed Sunday school class since about our 1-year anniversary.  We even went to Israel with several other couples from our class last summer and walked where Jesus walked.  But something still kept us from really engaging in our spiritual walks with one another. We sort of just had our own walks separately, and didn’t really share them with one another.  Maybe out of fear or our own insecurities, I’m not sure.  But when God begins testing your faith, dramatic things can happen.  God can use anything for His own good and glory.  Even our sin.  And I don’t believe that God purposely allows things to happen that cause us to sin (that’s called temptation, and that’s the devil’s work), but He can take those circumstances and work in us for His glory.  God has done some amazing things in our marriage over the past few months.  Where we didn’t even see struggles, God has opened our eyes.  Greg and I have opened up a lot more about our faith and our walk with God.  We read the Bible together (I know, it’s really sad that we didn’t do that before).  We pray together.  We quit letting fear control our pursuit of God’s plan for us.

About a month ago, during Sunday morning service, Greg felt called to come forward and commit himself to baptism.  It was a desire he shared with me sometime last summer, but beyond that one conversation, we never talked about it again.  He had been “sprinkled” as a child in church along with everyone else his age at a certain time.  But now his relationship with God has deepened and he better understands His purpose in this life, and to show his faithfulness to God he wanted to be baptized by immersion.  And this past Sunday, we celebrated his baptism.  We were so blessed to have several friends and family come witness his baptism. His good friend John from Kentucky even drove down for the weekend.  We are truly blessed with wonderful friends who are there for us when we need them!  After the service, a big group of family and friends went to lunch together.  It was a dreary raining day, but we were filled with joy in our hearts.

Below is the video I took of the baptism.  Each participant gives a small testimony prior to their baptism, so you can hear Greg’s story as well.  I am so happy to call this man my husband.  My appreciation for him has grown tremendously over the past few months, as well as my love for him.  I pray God continues to do great work in us as we continue to seek Him.

Springtime Happenings

Y’all, I am done with another semester!!!!!!  *Cue hallelujah chorus*  As you know, as much as I hate not keeping my blog updated, I just don’t have the time or brain space to regularly post while school is in session. Forgive me for that.  If you used to be a regular visitor to my site, I hope you will continue to check-in occasionally. Because I will update it eventually.  I have no intentions of letting it completely fall off the radar.  So, with that, let’s do a little springtime catchup.

Shortly after my last post, we celebrated a gorgeous weekend together for Callen and Houston’s wedding.  Callen is Greg’s younger sister, and Houston actually was a fraternity brother of Greg’s at Samford.  The two of them got hitched at Gorham’s Bluff in Pisgah, AL on March 8th.  We got really lucky with the weather, cause it was still during that time when we were constantly going back and forth between gorgeous warm spring weather and rainy cold weather.  In typical Alabama fashion, for several weeks it was not uncommon for it to be in the 30s one day then in the upper 50s/60s a few days later.  So considering they had an outdoor ceremony and the location thrives on the beautiful views from the bluff overlooking the TN river, it was truly a blessing that God gave us such beautiful weather for the weekend. And since the location was about 2 hours north of Birmingham, it was a nice little getaway too!  All the bride’s wedding attendants (and our husbands for those of us who are married), stayed in the main lodge.  The rest of the property is full of precious little 2-story cottages that were rented out by family and out of town friends.  The rehearsal dinner was in the lodge, followed by a casual bonfire later that night that close friends and family could attend.  Then Saturday morning we had the bridesmaids’ luncheon in the lodge, followed by an afternoon of primping and getting ready for pictures and the ceremony.  And speaking of dinners and luncheons…all the food for the weekend was phenomenal!  I cannot speak more highly of the cooking staff at Gorham’s Bluff…they know how to cook a good meal.  Anyways, the ceremony took place on the bluff at sunset, and the views were breathtaking.  These were our views from the lodge Friday evening and Saturday morning…photo(16) photo(17)It truly could not have been a better location. It felt so casual yet elegant at the same time.  The reception was just walking distance down the road in a banquet hall.  All the Boggs and Holmes immediate family were able to sit and have dinner together in a loft of the banquet hall. Then we all joined the rest of the guests for a night of dancing and mingling.

Here are a few shots from the wedding day.  Actually, who am I kidding, I’m about to bombard you with wedding pics!  Their photographer, Ann Wade Shreve (Parrish) did an AMAZING job capturing it all. It’s practically impossible to just show you “a few” 😉11 12 13 1 2 15 16 14 22 17 19 18 5 4 3 6 9 7 20 8 10 21photo(14) photo(15)Beautiful wedding!  We are so happy for Callen and Houston.  Two peas in a pod, those two.

In other news, I think spring has finally come to stay here in Alabama. We’ve had some lovely sunny days a lot lately.  We spent a Saturday several weeks ago getting our yard in order (we’re bad to just completely neglect it all winter long).  I didn’t even tidy up the garden last fall.  Oops.  I just left all the wire vegetable cones and stakes up all winter long with dead tomato plants and cucumber vines all over the place.  So although I haven’t started planting anything yet for this summer, I’ve at least cleared last years mess out.  And honestly, I won’t plant nearly as much this year as I have in the past simply because of school this summer. I just know I won’t have time for a lot of garden tending.  I may just stick to tomatoes and peppers.  That’s what we use most of.  I usually end up just giving away most the cucumbers, and we haven’t even eaten all the pickles or salsa I canned from last summer.  Either way though, I’m really excited for warm weather and time spent outside. I’ve made the most of it so far by spending my study hours outside when it’s been nice 🙂photo(4) Greg has been tackling more projects around the house.  He completed the laundry room last fall, and it’s is so much nicer than doing laundry in the kitchen.  The space off the kitchen where the washer and dryer were removed are currently still a work in progress.  The plan is to turn that space into a butler’s pantry, since it’s right off the kitchen, and our kitchen could use some more cabinet and counter space.  For several months it just sat as a big empty space, but a few weeks ago we bought an unfinished bottom cabinet to fit the space.  So progress is being made!  His most recent project though was to add some storage space to the shed.  Shortly after we got married we bought a big shed for the backyard.  It’s been great, but we needed a better space for storing things like the lawn mower, garden tools and other outdoor equipment.  So Greg built an extension off the side, and I have to say, it turned out SO much better than I pictured when he first told me about his plan.  It looks like it was part of the shed all along.  And it was a fun project for him and his friends to conquer together.  Those boys love a good project.photo(11) photo(9)

We celebrated a wonderful Easter Sunday last weekend. It was another warm sunny day.  We went to church together with my family, then Katie and Chuck went to lunch with his family afterwards.  Mom, Dwayne and Emily joined Greg and me at his family’s lunch.  We all gathered at Eric and Jordan’s house, played with the kids for a while, mingled with his cousins, and ate a delicious meal.  And later that evening we met back up with Katie and Chuck, and Chuck’s brother Kyle and his wife Lisa at a Baron’s game.  It was a fun night!

photo(6) photo(7)Barons

And in 2 days, I will be on vacation from work and school-free for a week.  I can not wait!!  Hopefully going to get the garden going, tackle some small house projects, and spend some much needed fun time with Greg.  I just wish it would last longer than a week, but I’ll take what I can get.